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Darren couldn’t believe he was going to tell her. But Nikki convinced him it would be alright.
“Oh my God, I could be the Maid of Honor at your guys’ wedding! This is gonna be so awesome!” She was already going overboard with plans of the future, but that was how Nikki was. It almost made Darren regret telling her.
But it was too late to turn back now. Lauren was just now opening the glass door to their favorite coffee shop, not too cleverly named “The Coffee House.” It was raining outside, but she still looked great as she set her umbrella down by the entrance.
Nikki quietly excused herself to the “bathroom” as Lauren sat down, carrying her coffee and his water.
Darren took a deep breath. The only thing keeping him calm was seeing Nikki in the back, giving him a thumbs-up.
Darren, Nikki and Lauren had been best friends forever. Nikki was always the most outgoing, the star of everything she did. People often wondered why she hung out with Lauren and Darren, but she didn’t care. And if they had a problem with it, they wouldn’t dare tell her that.
Darren was what you could call a “jock”, or maybe even “star” of the basketball team, but at a school where only the arts matter, it wouldn’t mean much.
And Lauren was the mysterious one. Only Darren and Nikki knew that she wasn’t really. She put on an act of being a “tortured artist” by going everywhere with that stupid journal of hers. But nothing in that notebook was what you could call “deep.” It was actually very boring, because if she had something interesting to say, she wouldn’t write it down.
“So what’s up? How’d you do on that math test? I bet you passed, didn’t you? God, math makes no sense, I don’t know how you do it,” Lauren finally said, pushing her artificial black hair out of her face.
Darren looked down. He wasn’t here to talk about his calc test, even if he did pass it.
“Lauren, I need to tell you something. We’ve been friends for a while, right?”
She wrinkled her forehead, and just simply said “Yeah?” like it was a question. “Wait, you’re not moving, are you?”
At this point, he kinda wished he was.
“LaurenIlikeyou,” he blurted out, running the words together as if they were one.
“What?!?!” She spit out her coffee all over the table.
“Lauren, you’re great. I’ve liked you for a while now. I love your honesty, and the fact that you don’t care what anyone thinks. So please, Lauren? Will you go out with me?” He looked hopeful as he asked, wishing for nothing more than for her to say yes.
Lauren, on the other hand, swore under her breath as she was cleaning up the spilt beverage. After what seemed to be an eternity, she looked up at Darren.
“This is extremely hard to say, Darren. I could say that I just don’t want to ruin our friendship, but I just don’t like you as anything more than a friend. I almost wish I did, but I don’t. I’m sorry.”
She gathered her stuff and repeated that she was sorry. She left her umbrella as she ran through the door into the rain.
Darren looked down at his water bottle, and threw it across the café. There was a faint “Hey!” in the background, but he didn’t care.
Nikki looked back and forth from the door and Darren. She couldn’t decide which friend to follow. Eventually, she chose Darren.
“I’m so sorry. I thought it would work!” Darren was so sick of people apologizing.
She sat down in the very seat that Lauren just vacated, still trying to comfort him. While her attempts were sweet, they didn’t help at all. He had no clue how he was gonna get passed this.
But as Nikki smiled at him, giving him more and more clichés about “plenty of fish in the sea” and whatnot, he started to grin too.
After all, he thought. Nikki’s kinda cute.