Beyond Friendship

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The bell rings for school to end. Soon, it’ll be my favorite time of the day: the few minutes before He's picked up by his dad. That's when we talk.

He and I talk about the sky and whether there are clouds. We talk about music and movies I haven't seen. We talk about the people around us and how they are different today. We talk about whether the day was good or bad. If anything exciting happened, but it rarely does.
His name is Alex. I like him. I like him a little too much. I wish I could tell him that. But I don't want the awkward silence. I always ask myself, does he know about my crush on him? How do I tell him? Should I even try?
I stand there just staring at Alex's face (or so it seems) until he asks, "What are you thinking about that's so interesting?"
I hesitate, unsure of what to say. I wanted to say that I like him a lot. But that would ruin our friendship. "I'm thinking of a guy I like," I begin. He made a noise in his throat. "Want me to tell you about him?"
"Sure."
"Well, he's sweet, nice, and has a great sense of humor. He has an amazing smile. He's really kind of strange. One time, he sang a song, and I just HAD to look it up. He also seems to think he's stubborn. I don't know about that, though." I looked up to see how he had reacted. I wanted to see if he knew who I'm talking about. "I think you know him. You probably don't know who I'm talking about, though."
"No, I don't. Can't you just tell me his name?"
"No, I can't," I say, "That would ruin our friendship. And I'd rather be friends than nothing at all." I looked up at him. A small light bulb came on in his head, it was almost audible.
"Can you give me a hint?"
"Ummmm, okay," I paused to look at the sky for an inspiration, "He wears glasses." I say, and look back at him.
"A lot of people wear glasses. C'mon, Annie."
"Fine," This time I'm staring at the floor, "He's a sophomore, which really sucks. It basically means I have no chance." I look at him again, hoping he gets the message.
"Seriously? I'm never going to be able to guess with clues like that." He said as he pretended to punch my arm.
"I know. I just--"
"I gotta go. My dad's here. Sorry." He smiles and walks towards his dad's car. A tear falls down my cheek before he's even half-way there. He turns around and waves good-bye as he gets into the car. I smile and wave back. The car pulls off of the dirt lot where we were waiting for his ride.
I don't have a ride. I like to walk home most days. Today was one of the days I decided to walk. The whole way there I'm thinking about what I should have done but didn't do. I wish I had told him outright that I liked him. But that would have probably ruined our friendship. What if he didn't like me back? Then we would have that awkward moment. I'm not sure if we'd get over it. The entire hour walk home I debate with myself what I'm going to do tomorrow. I finally decided to tell him. But let him guess some more before.

It's tomorrow, and school hasn't ended yet. In fact, it hasn't even begun. Alex starts talking to me when I'm walking into the school. After all, we did come at the same time this morning.
He asks me how the rest of my day went yesterday. I tell him that it was okay and ask how his went automatically. He tells me about how he went to his friend, Louis's house and what they were doing. He made a few jokes- some of them at Louis's expense- and I laughed. He's really funny.
"So, Annie, I think I figured out who it was."
I flinched internally, turned to him and smiled. "Oh yeah? Who do you think it is?" I asked, almost mockingly. I knew he was about to guess wrong.
"I have two guesses. First guess, you like Ian."
"Eww, no." I had already dated Ian. That wasn't very fun. "What's your second guess?"
Apparently, he guessed that it was himself. He pulled me toward him and kissed me right on the lips. I tried to form a thought process big enough to smack him, or at the very least push him away, but I couldn't seem to do that. Instead, my hands, which were previously holding my backpack straps in nervousness, went around his neck and lightly clasped themselves.
I don't really remember the next few minutes, but we obviously decided we were going out. I'm pretty sure there wasn't a conversation about it, though.
The rest of the day was a dream. At lunch, he found me wandering aimlessly in the quad, because we have the same lunch. He grabbed my hand and led me to where he and his buddies were eating lunch.
"Annie, you remember Louis, Daniel, Lucas, and Ashley, right?" Alex asked.
"Ya. I remember them. Hi guys." I had been introduced once or twice to this group before, but hadn't bothered to remember their names. This time, I was making a real effort to do just that.
He sat down next to Louis,and I sat next to him, at a slight distance, because I'm not used to sitting so close to anyone, especially guys. Alex put his arm around me and pulled me right next to him, almost sitting on his lap.
It was a little bit awkward at first, sitting with this group. After all, I was a freshman sitting with sophomores. But after a few minutes, I got used to it and started joining in on the conversation.
This group was not very different from my usual group, a bunch of freshman punks. The only differences were that, first off, I wasn't the only girl. Second, these were sophomores (though that doesn't mean that they're more mature). Third, I was dating one of them.
I was the Kate (one of my usual group's girlfriend) of the group. The one who (hopefully) had a good chance of hanging around for a while.
Later, when the bell rang for the end of school, I couldn't seem to hold in my excitement.
"Whoa, there, Annie. What's got you so excited?" Jeff asked. He had stopped me. He didn't force me to stop or anything, just gently held me back.
"Because I am." I tried to walk away. He gripped my arm a little tighter so as to be a nuisance.
I kept my temper in check by closing my eyes and breathing slowly. "Let me go, Jeff." I warned.
He looks surprised. "Sorry. I just wanted to know if something was wrong."
I gave him the 'evil eye', smiled, and walked away, towards the dirt lot.
When I got there, Alex was waiting for me. From across the street, I saw the smile on his face. It was the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. I walked across the street, looking both ways first of course, and when I got over to the other side, he enveloped me in a hug.
I don't get hugs very often. So I was genuinely surprised. I couldn't seem to figure out what to do. When I did, he pulled away.
"Is something wrong, Annie?"
"No, I just don't get hugs often, so it takes me a little bit to remember how to hug someone back." I stepped forward, for he had taken a step back, and hugged him. He hugged me back, so hard that I think I almost suffocated. It was so nice. I never wanted to let go.
"Annie, why do you think that dating would ruin our friendship?"
I didn't answer. Not loud enough for him to hear, at least. I just whispered, "Because everything ends."





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