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Just Friends This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Final class of the day; I’m almost done. I’ve managed to avoid him for the majority of the day, somehow escaping his attempts at conversation. Always somewhere to go, something to do. Sorry, no time to chat. If I can just stay out of sight for the next fifteen minutes, I’ll be home free.

Rushing into the crowded hall, I push through the swarm of buzzing students. I fight against the flow of bodies, the warm crush that threatens to overwhelm me. Desperate, I keep shoving, longing to reach the safety and quiet of my locker. I’m almost there, just a bit further. Finally I’ve made it, and he’s nowhere in sight.

I open my locker and lean into it, sighing with relief, when I see him. I straighten up, hurriedly shoving everything into that tiny metal box, but my hands aren’t cooperating. My nerves are making me shake, disconnecting my mind from the rest of my body. I struggle to remove myself from the impending situation, but as I start to spring away, he grabs my arm and says, “Now can I talk to you?”

And that’s when my heart sinks. My stomach starts to churn and I know nothing will be the same again.

Somehow I always knew it would come down to this moment. A silent showdown in some empty hallway, the echo of slamming lockers long since faded, but the shouts of students still lingering in the air. He stares at me, expectantly, awaiting an answer. I look at my feet, purposely not listening, not looking at him. I don’t want to hear it, don’t want to see him proclaim his love. It makes no difference; it doesn’t change the situation.

I’ve known him since first grade. I’ve seen him pick his nose and suck at kickball; I watched him grow six inches like a beanstalk and, with all the grace of a newborn calf, give himself a concussion on a shower head. We’ve been friends for what seems like always, but never ventured anywhere beyond that. To be honest, it never occurred to me that he could someday be more than a friend.

“Did you hear me? I said I like you. I like you a lot.”

Don’t say that. Anything but that. Talk to me about the weather, how horrible Mrs. Matthews is with her evil calculus equations. Even sports would be better, (and you know how much I hate sports). Just don’t say those words. Why would you say something that could irreversibly change our friendship?

“I’ve liked you for so long. Didn’t you know?”
Yes, of course I knew. I’m not stupid. I was – I don’t know – I guess I was hoping it was just a crush. Something fleeting, a passing fancy. Puppy love, if you must, but apparently not.

“Say something, anything.”

You don’t mean that, not really. I know what you’re hoping to hear, what you want me to say. I can’t and I won’t. I look at you and I see a brother, a friend, not a boyfriend. I don’t think anything could ever change that in my mind.

Everyone knew we’d end up here. That’s the rub. The whole freaking world probably knew that sooner or later we would clash at opposite ends of the spectrum. My parents, my friends. Hell, even your parents and friends knew it. They told me it was cruel to lead you on, but I never meant to. I never meant for it to go this far; it just never seemed like the right time to say, “Hey, we’ll always be best friends.” I never, ever wanted to hurt you; I just didn’t want to let you go.

I’ve deluded myself for years, lived in denial for so many summers, and now it’s senior year and you’ve finally found the courage to tell me how you feel. I’d love to blame you for this awkwardness, accuse you of letting this non-relationship charade drag on over the years. But truthfully, it’s my fault that we’ve reached this point, and I have to make things right.
I take a deep breath. This is it.

“Yeah. Me too.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 365 comments. Post your own!

SMAM99 said...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 1:27 pm:
Wow, the ending was really unexpected! This is an amazing story and the imagery is lovely.
 
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star2brite This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 4, 2011 at 8:06 am:
Great job with the subject matter--it wasn't cliche and the writing is very good! I didn't expect the ending either, which made me like this piece. The emotions were vivid without being overdone, too. Great job! :)
 
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SillyPanda779 said...
Oct. 13, 2011 at 3:37 pm:
Absolutely loooved this (: The emotions were very vivid! I could relate to this sooo much... Godo job! :D
 
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selenafan1 said...
Sept. 21, 2011 at 5:55 pm:
This is drop dead on the ground awesome u should be a writer cuz u r ah mazing
 
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Sadie said...
Sept. 21, 2011 at 9:15 am:
I really love this story i can relate to this so much. ME and my bestfriend have been friends since kindergrten and he likes me and i tokd him i do't want to ruin our relastionship because we was stupid enpught to datee. If we date then we may never talk agian and he said okay and every since that day we have been closer then ever. He is like a bog bro to me that i never had before. :)
 
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paigeturner9 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 21, 2011 at 12:18 am:
love this! I can totally relate, all the emotions seem so real
 
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AbigailSolorzano said...
Sept. 10, 2011 at 10:18 am:
I enjoyed reading this story. It shows a lot of great emotions.
 
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Jayanna said...
Aug. 30, 2011 at 8:39 pm:
Really good :) Love the ending:) , do you think you could read some of my stuff? but other than that keep writing :)
 
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LilLover5-15 said...
Aug. 30, 2011 at 3:45 pm:
Love it!!!!!!!!
 
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FlashlevitationThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 8, 2011 at 12:28 pm:
FANTASTiC!!!
 
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writerfreak21231This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 8, 2011 at 11:16 am:
wow that was sooo kewl! I very nice piece of work! great job! I just posted a new story i wrote called: Alien invasion series book one: the caller. If any of u had time please go check it out and post feedback and comments. It would be much appreciated! Thanks! and keep writing everyone! :)(:
 
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Journalizedandbonefied said...
Jul. 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm:
This reminds me of the sittuation that i'm in... but I'll never like him that way
 
SabrinaAnnFaith replied...
Aug. 8, 2011 at 11:58 am :
Same here, I was in almost the exact situation, except I'll never like him like that.  But this captured the feelings so well!
 
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writerfreak21231This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 17, 2011 at 5:13 pm:
LOVED!!! It! Great job! (sorry for advertizing,) anyone if you could check out my stories called the beast and nightstalker that would be great!. Also, if u could post comments if  liked it or not that would be great! I love helpful critszum and feedback! Thanks! and keep writing! :)(:
 
writerfreak21231This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. replied...
Jul. 17, 2011 at 5:18 pm :
This reminds of a friend but its the other way around :)
 
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LifeWriteThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 17, 2011 at 4:10 pm:
I absolutely love your writing style--the end kind of surprised me, which I liked. Keep writing! =D
 
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Peyton(: said...
Jul. 17, 2011 at 9:47 am:

This story was absolutely great to read! I love how it can relate to so many people, as well as me(: 

Another thing, Everyone should read the article Cursed Angel! Just type it up in the search box! If u liked this you'll like Cursed Angel. Just see!

 
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Whisperer said...
Jul. 17, 2011 at 8:56 am:
this piece is amazing. i can actually feel how this person is feeling. and i know the outcome of what might happen in a situation like this. this piece captures everything she felt in just a matter of minutes. it's INSPIRING.
 
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GittaRThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 17, 2011 at 4:54 am:
 This piece made me what to read it until the end. Which is saying something because I can ussualy predict the ending...I did predict...I just didnt predict right. Your descriptiond were so real. I felt like I was watching a short movie rather than reading a short story. The whole thing played out in my head perfectly. And the great thing is you didnt overdetail which so many people do. You are an amazing writer-keep writing! I loved the ending!!! Well Done:):):)
 
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citylightsgirl93 said...
Jun. 25, 2011 at 7:04 pm:

this was completely amazing. Honestly, this has to be my favorite piece that i have ever read on this website. I love how you turned the point around, because normall its the girls that feel that way for the guys. fantastic! don't EVER stop writing.

Also, if you wanted to check out some of the stuff I've posted. Definitely check out Miracle, and Unwed Bride. Thanks!

 
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