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Guiding Star

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Guiding Star

CHAPTER XII : Half-Assed Confession


“This is a disaster and I hate everything that happened at the gala…” Damian mumbled against the top of his pile of books.


Ewen walked past him, not impressed after three days of Damian moping around like that.


“We have a test in an hour, Boss-man. If you don’t wake up, we’ll have to tell Professor Henderson you’re feeling unwell.”


“NO! If you do that, Henderson will call my brother and I cannot have him know that I am even a little disturbed by what happened the other night!!” Damian exclaimed, suddenly raising up with much vigour.


“You still haven’t told us what happened the other night that threw you into such a… mess…” Emile intervened.


His two friends stared at him, eager to help. Too many things had happened. Damian was incapable of talking about any of it. It felt too… raw. As for the other events of the night… it felt too precious a memory to share it.


For all he knew, he might have dreamt it all. Anya Forger? Telling him she was proud of him? Saying his full name? Kissing his cheek?


“Just… lots of things…” he answered, as vague as he could possibly be.


“All we know is that the amount of mumbling and muttering have increased–” Ewen started.


“I do not mumble.”


“–Especially at night, especially Anya Forger’s name!” Emile finished.


Damian whipped around so quickly he almost gave himself a nosebleed. The amount of intense blushing that rose to his face also didn’t help.


“I DO NOT!!” he shouted.


“Boys! What is happening in here?!” one of the hall guardians exclaimed, suddenly bursting into the room.


“N-n-nothing, sir!” Damian exclaimed, still red as a tomato.


The guardian stared at him, narrowing his eyes.


“We were just studying for our exam, and Boss-man keeps making silly mistakes,” Ewen quickly added.


Damian glared at him.


“Mmm. Hurry up to get ready or you’ll be late.”


And he left.


Damian let himself breathe, almost turning into a pool of sweat on the floor.


“If either one of you mentions anything about me dreaming about Forger, I will murder you and hide your body so that no one ever finds you, understood?” he hissed.


“Oh, don’t worry, Boss-man! Everyone already knows you like her!”


Damian chocked, but Ewen just smiled and walked away, perfectly fine despite the Desmond threat over his head.


“He’s braver than I am, I won’t pipe a word, promise, sir,” Emile muttered before hurrying after Ewen.


“You are both idiots!” Damian exclaimed, grabbing his Imperial Scholar cape.


He had hoped that putting it on would give him some courage. And as he walked towards the classroom, he felt that bravery building up. Dream or no dream, he was perfectly capable of facing Anya Forger. He had done it a million times over in the last decade. He was a Desmond, he was confident, he was handsome, he was intelligent, women threw themselves at his feet so he shouldn’t be surprised that Anya Forger had finally admitted defeat!


“Oh, look, Anya is here!” Ewen – traitor – exclaimed when they approached their class.


Upon hearing her name, the most beautiful girl Damian had ever seen turned around. He gasped, blushing at the memory of her soft lips against his cheek.


“Nope,” he muttered, turning on his heels.


Ewen and Emile each grabbed one of his arms and forced him to keep moving into the classroom.


“Let me go, you traitors!” he hissed, “I’m sick, very unwell, I caught a cold, I need to lie in bed!”


“And risk a failure on that exam you worked for so studiously? We don’t want that for you, Boss-man!” Ewen replied.


“Ewen! Emile!”


“Sorry, boss-man, it’s for your greater good!”


“It’s not my greater good at all!! It’s my… worst bad!!”


“As eloquent as ever.”




Damian was eventually brought into the classroom by his friends, held up by his arms, his heels unceremoniously dragging on the floor. He looked absolutely pathetic. It was revolting, he, a Desmond, being dragged around like that. He silently cursed his friends when several classmates chuckled at the pitiful spectacle he was showing.


“My, Mr Desmond,” Professor Henderson started when he saw the trio walk in, “What in heaven is this? How inelegant of you.”


Ewen and Emile let go of his arms. He dropped heavily on the floor.




“Sorry, I thought you would have reacted by now. I guess that whatever Forger did to you the other night was worse than I had assumed!” Ewen told him in a hushed voice.


“Shut up!!”


“That’s quite enough, go to your seats. Mr Desmond, get yourself off the floor before I consider giving you a Tonitrus bolt.” Professor Henderson intervened, his eyes sharp and threatening.


Ewen and Emile had never reached their seats so quickly, more scared of Damian than Professor Henderson.


Damian sat himself down at his desk, pulling out his pens and pencils for the exam that he was most definitely not in the mood for. He looked up. His eyes met Anya’s.


She blushed and whipped around so suddenly that he immediately knew it had not been a dream.


He gulped down, blushing as well.


Ewen, Emile, Becky and many more of their classmates, watched the silent exchange between the two.


“Enough!” Henderson exclaimed, getting frustrated by everyone’s distraction, “I will now distribute your exams. You know the rules! I want the greatest focus and attention, if I catch anyone cheating, it’s three Tonitrus bolts and I beg of you, write elegantly!”


Thank goodness for Damian, the exam required too much of his brain cells for his mind to wander anywhere. Unfortunately for Damian, the moment he didn’t have any distraction from the classes, he was forced to face the truth.


Anya Forger had kissed his cheek.


And his absentmindedness was even more pronounced than in the morning, enough that Ewen and Emile became far more insistent during lunch time:


“So, what happened with Forger?”


“Was it during the gala?”


“Did you talk?”


“Did you dance?”


“Did you propose to her?”


“Don’t be foolish!” Damian exclaimed, glaring at Emile who grinned at his friend’s flushed cheeks.


Ewen and Emile shared a look. It was more than confirmed that whatever had happened, besides some sort of argument with his older brother as vague rumours circulated among the students, something had happened between Damian and Anya Forger.


“Did you finally kiss?” Ewen asked in a hushed voice.


Damian startled, his cheeks turning a bright red. His two friends gasped, leaning forward:


“You did!”




“After all this time, we’re so proud of you, Boss-man!”


“S-shu-shut up!” he exclaimed, hiding his face in his hands, “It… it… yeah, s-she kissed me…”


“Of course, she’s the one who was brave enough to make a move,” Ewen added with a cheeky smile.


Damian blushed even more, if it was possible.


“I still can’t believe she kissed me on the cheek…” he whispered, more to himself than anyone else.


Ewen and Emile blinked.


“On the…”




“You… are reacting like that…”


“Because of a kiss on the cheek?!”


“Stop finishing each other’s sentences!!” Damian screeched, “And be quiet! I don’t want anyone else to know!!”


“How old are you?! To blush for a silly kiss on the cheek?!” Ewen hissed, leaning forward to scold him in as low a voice as possible.


“What do you–”


“Do you have any idea what the other Eden couples are doing in random places?”


“I don’t want to–”


“Even I kissed two different girls and I’m not even popular and no one is in love with me, how can you be so silly as to–”


“You kissed WHO?!” Damian exclaimed, standing up suddenly.


Ewen covered his face in embarrassment when half the cafeteria’s students turned around. Some snickered but Emile forced Damian to sit back down.


“You’ve kissed someone, and you never told me?!”


“I thought you had already kissed Forger and it was why you two were so… so… SO!”


“So what?!”




Ewen blushed, he hid his eyes behind his hands, unable to face The Great Innocent Damian Desmond.


“So horny,” Emile commented in a low voice.


Damian whipped towards him fast enough that he could have provoked a small typhoon.


Silence on the table, all three of them a little flushed (and Damian very, very flushed) to talk about such things… Their food was forgotten.


“I’m not… that… for Forger…” Damian mumbled, ears red.


Both Ewen and Emile stared at him, unimpressed by his denial. Ewen raised a single eyebrow. Damian swallowed hard.


“I’m… a gentleman.” He continued, eyes wide as his mind went into forbidden territory.


“Gentleman or not, it doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to feel some sort of… physical inclination towards the girl you’ve been in love with for a decade.”


“I’m not in–”


“Stop denying or I’ll smother you with my chocolate pudding!” Emile exclaimed, “Everyone knows you’re in love with her, and everyone knows she likes you too. You two are the only ones ignorant enough to not make a move!”


Damian stared at his two friends long enough that they assumed the storm had passed and therefore, went back to their lunches. Damian remained still, frozen in shock and wonder. He had certainly taken a little bit of time to admit his feelings (just a few years), and he certainly didn’t dare ‘make a move’ as they so roughly put it…


She had kissed his cheek. On the exact same spot she had punched him the first day they had met.


But that still seemed like more of a dream than reality.


“Anya likes me?” he finally asked in a hushed voice.


Ewen and Emile looked up from their foods, incredulity written all over their faces.


“…You didn’t know?” Emile asked.


“Oh, this is worse than I thought…” Ewen sighed, rolling his eyes.


“Wait, wait, who told you that she likes me?” Damian continued, eagerly leaning over.


“…No one said anything, she’s just obvious… Only you and her are oblivious to each other’s feelings.” Ewen clarified, taking a little bit of pity on his friend.


“Oblivious…” Damian repeated, confused.


He slowly stood up.


“Damian-sama… uh… what are you doing?” Ewen asked, slightly worried.


“I need to… uh… talk… to Forger… about… something!”


And just like that, Damian ran out of the cafeteria, his food barely touched. Ewen and Emile stared at him go.


“I’m worried, should we follow him?” Ewen asked.


“Not until I’m done with this delicious meal, do you think he’s going to propose?” Emile continued with a casual shrug.


“I wouldn’t be surprised if after ten years of denial and obliviousness, he’d propose to her on the very same day he finds out she likes him.” Ewen answered with a deadpanned expression.




Anya had forgotten some of her notebooks in the classroom, so she left Becky in the library to get a head start in their studies. Her steps slowed down when a familiar voice echoed in her mind.

She looked up to see Damian coming over, glancing all around with a confused flush on his cheeks. Recalling the horrifying act of kissing him on the cheek, Anya spun around, determined to ignore his presence and the burning of her face.


Thinking back on it, she had acted impulsively, wanting nothing more than comfort him, distract him, after the terrible meeting with his brother – but she hadn’t expected her lips to linger against his skin. She had wanted to drop the umbrella and kiss him on the mouth until he was all she could breathe.


It had been a terrifying thought. To want someone so badly, to depend so entirely on them, to want so much more that would involve delivering her heart, her soul, her body to someone who might very well… break it all. Or worse. Leave her.


So she had done the only thing she could think of, and ran away. She was glad that her parents hadn’t commented on her blushing, although she had noticed her father glancing repeatedly at her the last few days. She had read his thoughts and he was assuming the worst, he had already over twenty scenarios of Damian and her, confessing, kissing, or more. And he had about thirty ways to intimidate Damian – her mother had about a hundred at that point. No matter how encouraging her parents were, they were still embarrassingly overprotective.




She froze, in the middle of the hallway, when Sy-on boy called her. She heard his running steps when he tried to catch up with her. She decided to keep walking. Maybe if she ignored him long enough, he’d forget about the kiss. And so would she.


“Forger, wait!”


She accelerated, almost running, but his legs were far longer, and he easily caught up with her.


Wait, I said!!” he grumbled, trying to catch her arm.


She pivoted out of his way. He clicked his tongue and jumped in front of her. She tried to go around but he pushed her against an alcove, his arms around her.


Anya looked up, cheeks flushed. Damian looked irritated, but his cheeks were not in a better state than hers.


They were absolutely and completely alone in the hallway. It was dangerous. She could feel it in her bones, she could read it in his eyes.


“Yes? How can I help you, Sy-on boy?” she asked with a little smile.


I can’t doubt Ewen and Emile, they were far too annoyed with me, but she is so TROUBLESOME, there is no way she likes me!


Anya almost gasped. She bit on her tongue to keep silent. What did these idiots tell Damian to have him pursue her through the hallways?


But she did kiss me on the cheek the other day, and we always have this strange waltz of avoiding each other… or maybe we’ve been flirting this entire time without realising it? She does have that effect on me, it’s far too thrilling to irk her…


“W-what do you want?” she repeated to put an end to his thoughts.


She felt his gaze intensifying, observing her. He looked down at her, at the blush on her cheeks, at the way her mouth pout in embarrassment.


He swallowed hard when his gaze lingered on her lips.


I need to tell her, I can’t keep silent any longer, it’s too much for my heart…


Sy-on boy, is he about to confess? She thought, looking up, stunned.


“You like me.” Damian declared.


It wasn’t a question. It was a statement. It left no room for discussion.


She would have none of it!


“You wish! In your wildest dreams!” she exclaimed.


He finally got it into his head that they liked each other, but she was annoyed, no! She was furious, she was fuming, that instead of delivering a normal love confession, he’d make it sound like she had lost some sort of game!


And here was his prideful smirk that she wanted to slap and kiss off his face.


“You kissed me,” he continued, the corner of his lips tilting up.


He was the one in a position of power, of dominance, and Anya wasn’t sure that she disliked it as much as she would have expected. She was too used to see him run away from his own thoughts and feelings, this sudden change of behaviour was throwing her off balance.


“I kissed your cheek, because you were pathetically bawling like an abandoned child in the rain. I only wanted to distract you long enough for you to return to the dorms!” she replied, but her tone wasn’t convincing enough.


And Damian heard it too.


He shook his head and she swallowed hard at the way his wavy hair just flew around. She wanted to dive her fingers through it and pull him down, to be the one throwing him against the wall, to lose herself in the taste of his lips.


“I am willing to give you a chance to confess right now.” He decided with a smug smile.


“Why would I be the one to confess first?” she hissed.


“Because you kissed me first.”


“What makes you think I want to do it again?”


“Because you can’t stop staring at my mouth.”


As he said those words, his own eyes lowered to her lips.


Anya breathed hard, opening and closing her mouth. She was fascinated by the shape of his lips.


“It was a very unpleasant experience,” she murmured, unable to look away.


“Are you quite certain of it?” he whispered, leaning down.


They were close enough for each other’s breath to warm their faces. Anya’s eyes fluttered shut.


If I kiss her now, nothing will ever be the same, we could never go back to before. My brother will dissect me if I ever tell him anything about Anya. He’d never understand. He’d–


Anya’s hand shot against his chest, forcing him to a stop. She looked down, her hair falling in front of her face to hide her expression.


Damian froze, staring at her with a dumbfounded look on his face.


Oh no, what have I done this time? Why is she always running away from me?


At that, Anya glared up at him:


“Why?” she exclaimed.


“Why what?” he replied, blinking.


“W-why do you keep doing that!”


“Doing what?!”


“Y-you act all nice with me one moment, and then you run away from me!” she continued, weakly punching him in the chest but he remained standing there.


I run away from you?!”


“You confuse me!” she screamed.


“You irritate me!!” he yelled back.


They stared at each other, intensely. Then he clicked his tongue, turning around.


“Damn it, I’m incapable of dealing with you! Not now, not ever!”


He started walking away, but before Anya could retort anything, he spun back, pointing at her:


“You drive me mad! Staring at me, driving me against the wall! Do you have any idea what you’re doing to my mind?!”


She couldn’t help but smirk at the irony of these words.


“I have a pretty good idea, indeed.”


“NO! You do not! You have no idea! You… you! The thought of you consumes me! I always think of you, I always want you and out of every person in the whole universe, you are the only one who understands me and always knows my mind, my feelings, as if my soul was an open book for you and it is… it is so! So!”


He screamed, driving his hands into his hair to pull at it.


Anya took a step forward, heart beating fast.


They looked at each other, just one step away. One step too far. Their hearts echoed to the same melody, their breathing followed the same erratic rhythm.


Where was this tension coming from? Pent-up tension that was only against himself and his inability to be honest with Anya Forger, about himself, and his feelings. The only times he had been capable of being himself had been with her, but he had been a mess. He hated losing control of himself, but it was all he ever did around her.


He lost sense of who he was, burnt and born anew for her and only her. And as he stared at her, he started realising that she was just as confused and lost about her feelings for him. It was quite clear they were in love with each other. It was surprisingly obvious now, after all this time. But how were they ever supposed to deal with such passion, such ardent emotions, such fear?


“It’s ridiculous,” Damian breathed, shaking his head, “I am a gentleman, I am perfectly capable of controlling myself, but you, you make me lose all sense of self…” he continued, in a low voice.


Anya swallowed, to control herself more than anything. She was so close to ruin it all.


“You love it when I ruffle your feathers, Desmond,” she replied.


She dived her gaze into his. Challenge sparked between them.


“And you love it when I push your limits, Forger,” he continued, taking half a step closer.


Their gazes were burning. The flames they felt in the depth of their bodies only got higher and higher.


“You are a miscreant.” Anya said.


“You irritate me,” Damian replied.


He put one hand against her cheek. Her eyes fluttered and she was suddenly pressed against him. Damian brushed his thumb against her lower lip, so soft and inviting. He leaned forward.


“You scoundrel…” she breathed against his mouth.


“You’re a dangerous woman, Anya Forger…”


“Nowhere near as dangerous as you, Damian Desmond…”


He was vaguely aware of the way her fingers tightened around his shirt, curling as if to reach his skin.


“I am a gentleman…” he breathed.


He was faced with a choice: losing his status, his name, his family. Or losing Anya Forger.


Anya stared up at him, her body tense as a bowstring as he pondered his next decision.


One move and they’d be kissing until their bodies burnt. One kiss and everything would change. For the two of them, their relationship, their lives


Sensing that he was hesitating, again, more, Anya pushed herself on her tiptoes, holding onto his shoulders.


“A kiss for a kiss,” she murmured, “I gave you one, the least you could do is give it back.”


Damian stared at her, bewildered.