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Toothenknocker

¿Quién es Gabriela Cabezut?

 

Nació en la ciudad de México, en 1980 y es narradora en inglés y español. Ha publicado sus relatos en una comunidad de escritores en línea (Wattpad), como parte de los Wattpad Stars; esto le ha permitido escribir una historia corta para H&M. Sus novelas en Wattpad cuentan con más de 78 millones de vistas y más de 400,000 seguidores. Ha publicado Prince with Benefits (Pop Fiction Books. Filipinas), Hopelessly Imperfect (Limitless Publishing. EUA) y Perfectly Imperfect (Limitless Publishing. EUA). A continuación presentamos uno de sus relatos en inglés.

 

Toothenknocker

 

You know things are about to change when you find yourself staring at a drawer filled with teeth. Little teeth. Humanlike, little teeth.

Licking my lips, I fight the urge to grab one, just to see if they’re real. They look real. Most of them are shiny and almost pearly-white. The whole drawer is divided in different categories: canines, incisors, and molars are the ones that catch my eyes. I know, because there are little tags between the divisions. They look the same to me, though; all white, all shiny, all...teeth.

“Julie, did you find it?” A rough voice looms from behind the bathroom’s door.

I blink. I found something all right!

Trying to ignore the way my pulse is accelerating, I raise my tone. “Derek, why do you have a drawer full of teeth in your room?” All I want to say is, I thought you were a chef not a creepy dentist wannabe!

Something crashes inside the bathroom before the door flies open and the hallway fills with steam. My roommate of two months comes out, barely wrapping a towel over his hips, still all wet and looking mighty dangerous; not because of the teeth I just found, but because his chest is glistening. A few drops are sliding down the muscles, following that daunting trail of hair that hides beneath the towel.

Focus, Julie, focus.

In my defense, it’s the first time I see him in all his glory. In the two months he’s been around, we have interacted a few times. But that definitely needs to change. Not because he has an incredible athletic body. No. That has nothing to do with it. I have to know more about the teeth. Remember those little creepers. And don’t forget about the stupid no dating-roommates policy. Ugh.

His light brown eyes are wide as he stops fussing with the towel. I try to fix my gaze on his face, but my traitorous eyes slide down once before I force them up again. Black wisps of hair spatter water on the floor as he runs a hand through his hair.

“I told you it was on the second drawer to the right.” He quickly closes the drawer, pursing his lips.

My eyes cast down. I’d opened the one to the left. “My bad. Sorry.”

“Yeah, whatever.” He mutters under his breath, before opening the right drawer and pulling out the stapler I was searching for in the first place. As he moves, I can’t help but stare at his right arm, where there’s a curious tattoo I’d never noticed he had. It’s some sort of coat of arms. I lean over to take a better look at the little thing in the middle that looks suspiciously like a tooth, but he moves away.

“Do you have a tooth fetish?”

Derek freezes. He’s in the middle of the room when he turns to me. He rolls his shoulders and I can’t help but stare at the way his muscles bulge. “If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.”

I cross my arms on my chest. “Try me.”

He presses his lips together, before walking to his bed and sitting on it. He exhales softly, before his gaze fixes on me. Slowly, as if he’s thinking it through, his lips tug up in a wolfish grin.

Oh.

The way he is staring at me makes my insides squirm. I’m not sure if it’s a bad thing, though.

He doesn’t look crazy or dangerous. He never has. I read his submission form and he seemed normal. His background was boring, even. He moved from Boston and is majoring in the culinary institute. He pays his rent within the first ten days, and he’s pretty well-organized and clean.

“Okay. I can tell you under one condition.”

My stomach rolls and I’m not sure if it’s wise that I ask more, yet I’m dying to know. “I’m listening,” I murmur nonchalantly, fidgeting with the hem of my jersey.

“You go out with me tomorrow.”

I snort, smiling to myself. “We can’t date, it’s the first rule on the lease agreement.” And it’s the first time it bothers me. My parents were elated about it when I moved in. The dorms were located minutes away from the university, the lease was affordable and the only downside was the fact that it was mixed. I sold them the idea of moving in here solely on that rule.

He runs a hand through his hair again, and I follow the movement of this toned arm. “Yeah, I’m not great with rules.” He shrugs. “But, you’re the one who wants to know, so I’m cool with that.”

The smirk that plays on his lips makes me narrow my eyes. He’s pretty sure that I’m a goody-two-shoes, isn’t he?

My blood starts to boil because I am. Ugh. “Fine. It’s a date.” The words stumble out of my mouth and I regret them instantly.

“What?” His voice isn’t so rough anymore. He didn’t see that coming. That makes two of us.

Feeling all sassy now, I grin. “Tell me.”

“Let me get some clothes on.” He’s stalling, but I do think the bare chest is distracting. I mean, my lack of judgment is evidence enough.

I don’t want him to flee, so I turn around, making sure I’m staring at his desk where all the teeth are. I figure that if he runs, at least I have the evidence. My only concern is that I don’t have a clue what kind of evidence it is.

He chuckles. “So, that’s it? I change in front of you?”

“I’m turned away.” I raise my hand, gesturing to my front.

I hear his laughter as he shuffles through the room until he’s silent again. “You can turn around now.”

Biting my lip, I take a deep breath before turning. Thank God he’s all covered up now. Even his tattoo is well-hidden under that white T-shirt.

He starts rolling on his toes, placing one hand on his front pocket. “I collect teeth.”

“No shit, Sherlock.”

He cracks up as he gazes at me. “I cash them out.” He shrugs at the same time I blink. “They’re not the best pay, but they will have to do until I’m promoted.”

What the hell is he talking about?

I should reassess the whole psycho thing. Maybe he’s a complete wacko.

Involuntarily, I take a step back. He notices, because he stops moving and with a mischievous glint in his eyes, he takes a step forward. “I’m a fairy.”

The little spike of fear I was feeling fades away as I burst out laughing. “Where’s your wand, and your wings? And,” I hiccup, ”your sparkles?”

Derek grimaces. “You know, that’s so degrading. Fairies aren’t girly and shit. We’re human with slight differences.”

“Oh my gosh.” I’m leaning over, still laughing at the idea. “What sort of differences?”

He rolls his eyes. “Stuff.”

That only spikes my interest. “What sort of stuff?”

He huffs. “You know, unimportant stuff.”

“Like?”

He forms a fist and covers his mouth as he coughs, but I do hear it. Wings.

I stare at him in awe for a second. I cross my arms. “You’re bullshitting me, aren’t you?” Apparently, I am not only naïve, but also gullible. Great.

“I could never bullshit you, Julie.” My toes curl at the way he says my name and my pulse accelerates as he takes another step forward. His eyes are deep and intense, and I can’t look away from them. I’m opening my mouth to protest when two things spring out of his back. They’re almost transparent, but they’re shimmering.

“Holy crap, you have wings!” I place a hand over my lips as I stare at him wide-eyed.

He smiles. “I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.”

My eyes travel from him to the drawer behind me as I add two and two together.“You’re the tooth fairy?” My tone is a mix between being scared, intrigued and amazed at the same time.

“We prefer being called Toothenknockers.” He shrugs. “And it’s just a minor setback. In a few months, I’ll be promoted.” He cringes as he tilts his head, looking at me. “Or, I might stay a Toothenknocker for longer now.”

My head is spinning as I signal the drawer. “How do you collect them? Do you go out every night and grab them from under the pillows? How do you not get caught?”

Derek smiles as he takes two more steps forward. “We have our ways.”

“But how?”

“If you let me kiss you right now, I’ll tell you.”

My heart skips a beat. I’m not sure if I’m more surprised at the way the wings move when he comes forward, or the fact that he wants to kiss me. I’m rooting for the latter.

Why does he wants to kiss me?

“Can I touch them?” My heart is racing non-stop and I’m trying to ignore the way he’s looking at me.

“Sure.” He moves forward, until he’s standing in front of me and my chest feels tight as I stare into his eyes. The pupils are dilated and I notice the little flecks of gold around them.

Swallowing hard, I reach out for one of the wings. It’s soft, like silk, but it’s see- through. I want to walk around him to take a better look, but he leans his arms at my sides, pinning me to the desk.

The sweet scent of soap envelopes me as he cups my chin. My heart is thumping so fast and so loud that I can’t hear anything else. I feel his breath caressing my lips as he leans forward. This is the moment where I usually close my eyes, but I don’t. I’m lost in his.

His lips brush against mine and my knees feel like jelly as he presses them harder.

It’s the most magical kiss.

Not because his arms wrap around my waist or my hands roam through his hair or the fact that I can’t feel the floor under my feet anymore, but because it feels so sweet, so fulfilling in a way. Like it’s meant to be.

We pull apart, but we’re still holding each other when I notice we’re flying in the middle of the room, his wings are barely moving, but they’re holding us together. I hold on to him tighter, scared to fall, when he chuckles. “I got you, Jules.”

In a slow motion, he brings us down. My feet are touching the floor, but I don’t let go of him. “Why do you say you won’t get promoted now?”

His eyes roam around my face as he brushes a hand on my cheek. “It’s doesn’t matter now.”

“Derek, tell me.”

His eyes train on my lips for a second longer before looking up. “I’m not supposed to tell anyone what I am.”

“Sorry...” My grip on his t-shirt loosens but he wraps my hand with his, flattening it against his chest. I can feel his heart thumping as fast as mine.

“Don’t be. I’ve been a Toothenknocker for quite some time, and I know the drill by memory. I can keep at it for longer.”

I smile and pat his chest. “It’s okay. I’m not telling anyone.”

Derek’s eyes sparkle as he grins back. “I do intend to collect my date, Jules.”

Butterflies flutter in my stomach. “But—”

“You’re the reason I moved into this crappy dorm in the first place.”

Taken aback, I frown. “What?”

“I saw you posting the wanted-roommate ad in Lola’s cafe and I had to meet you.”

My whole face feels hot as I swallow hard. “What?” I so want to slap myself. It’s like the word is stuck down my throat.

Derek leans his head on my forehead, his warm breath caresses my cheeks. His arms hold me tighter, closer to him. “I.Like.You.” My stomach flips. “But that’s not all, Jules.”

“What?” I grimace. I’m still wrapping my head around the fact that he’s into me.

He chuckles. “Our secret weapon is fairy dust. It makes people forget.” My eyes widen as he pulls away. “And it sparkles.” He rolls his eyes playfully.

My heart constricts. “Are you using it on me?”

He shakes his head. “Hell no. I’m using it on my supervisor. Anything to go out with you.”

A warm feeling runs through me. “You’re such a bad-boy, Derek.”

“And you’re such a goody-two-shoes.” I punch him playfully on his chest. It feels hard and I’m glad he’s still holding me, because my knees feel like jelly.

Derek cracks up. “We make the perfect couple.”

Butterflies flutter in my stomach. “I like the sound of that.”

I like the sound of that a lot.

 

 

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