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It’s a stupid party.
An incredibly stupid party.
In fact, it is so ridiculous I’m not sure why I’m still here. While the music is good, I abhor dancing. Most of the people here aren't people whose company I enjoy. There are a few I talk to, but overall the crowd was filled with annoying preppy girls, dumb jocks, and some girls who were only popular because of how they dress, and I don't mean "fashionable."
I had only come because my best friend is hosting the party. He had kept harping about it until I agreed to come. He hadn't needed to wait long. If it was him asking, I couldn't have refused him anything. He could ask me to help him rob a bank and I'd probably agree.
I scowl. He has me wrapped around his little finger, and he probably doesn't even know it. He is... cute, I guess you could say. I hate using girly words like 'cute', but there is honestly no other way to describe him. He has shaggy, dark brown hair that always looks ruffled from his habit of running his fingers through it when he gets nervous. His eyes are bluer than the sky, and I'm not even kidding. His cheeks dimple when he smiles, and he smiles a lot. At least half the girls in our school have crushes on him for his looks alone, while another quarter like him because he's always so polite and kind.
I’m lucky enough to be his best friend. I probably could have at least asked him out if not for one problem.
I’m not a girl.
I'm very much a man, thank you. Just because I have this... thing for my best buddy doesn't make me less of one. I wrestle, I play basketball. I make crude jokes. I don't dress in tight, girly jeans or wear pink or purple. I'm a loose jeans and T-shirt kind of guy. My black hair may be a bit on the long side, but I've seen plenty of other manly men who keep their hair tied back, just like me. It doesn't make me girly.
I watch the crowd 'dancing', keeping to the sidelines as the rock music pounds through the speakers. It's all I've been doing for hours, though I occasionally run to grab myself another root beer. I don't drink and I hate those that do. My parents are strict Christians and raised me with a firm set of rules.
They're another reason I refuse to tell anyone about my feelings. My poor mother would probably have a heart attack and my dad would throw me out. I can keep this quiet, at least until these feelings go away. Just because I'm a senior now and have been telling myself that since freshman year means nothing.
I check my watch, an early birthday gift from my best friend. It’s already 11:27 P.M., but the party shows no signs of letting up. It will probably be at least 3 A.M. before anyone goes home or to a friend's house. I, however, have to be home by midnight on weekends. It is almost time to go.
I glare at the dancing crowd, some couples dancing so close I can't tell where one person ends and the other begins. I want to say goodbye before I leave, but I don't want to try and make my way through that.
Through the crowd, I see a flash of shaggy brown hair. With a sigh, I begin heading through the crowd. I will simply have to make my way through as quickly as possible, but I can't leave without telling him I’m going.
I have to push more than one person aside, some so drunk they nearly topple over from the light shove. Some are still sober enough to curse at me and I probably crush a few toes, but I’m not too concerned. After a few minutes of pushing, being pushed, and having curses shouted in my ears, I break through to the other side.
There he is, a Sprite in his hands, as he talks excitedly with a few of our other friends. His face is flushed red, probably from dancing. It is his party, after all, and he loves dancing. His clothes are simple, as always, and as always he makes them look good. His jeans are loose; a blue button-up shirt open over a white undershirt.
His smile is already big, but I know the moment he sees me because his smile grows even bigger.
I think he is calling my name, but I can't hear him over the music. I walk casually over to him, already feeling my heart pick up the pace and my palms begin to sweat. He waves and I nod in acknowledgement, waiting until I am close enough for him to hear me before I begin speaking.
"I've got to get going soon. It's already late," I tell him over the music, needing to shout a bit. He nods, smile fading slightly.
"I figured as much," He runs his fingers through his hair, which I find odd. What is he nervous about? "Uh, could I talk to you for a few minutes before you go? Outside?"
I nod instantly. I'm sure that a few minutes won't make a difference. I can still get home on time.
At my response, he smiles widely and turns, motioning for me to follow him. I know his house like the back of my hand, but I let him lead me from the main room down a short hallway to the backyard door. As he turns the knob, he shoves his shoulder into it out of habit. That door has a nasty habit of sticking in its frame unless shoved. He steps out and I follow, shutting the door behind myself.
It's oddly quiet outside. The music is much fainter with the door shut, more a mild vibration through the air, present but inaudible. A few crickets chirp and the wind rustles the leaves of his mother's pride and joy: an old oak tree in the backyard. He and I used to play on that tree when we were younger, chasing each other around the roots and helping the other up if he tripped.
It's that tree he moves to now. He presses his hand against the bark, not looking at me. Curious, I keep moving until I'm right next to him.
"Didn't you want to talk to me about something?" I ask, trying to catch his eyes with mine. His smile becomes strained.
"Ah, well..." He takes a deep breath, still not meeting my eyes. "Someone just told me that... lately you've been watching me. A lot."
I swallow, trying to ignore the sudden and unseasonal chill that seems to have seeped into my bones. I haven't been watching him any more than usual, have I?
"No more than usual. We're friends, right?" I say. My mouth seems to have gone dry and I swallow again. He seems to hesitate, but then he looks up and finally looks directly at me.
"I noticed it too. You're always watching me. I just wanted to know why."
I curse mentally. Maybe I watched him a lot, but I didn't think it would be that noticeable!
He's still waiting for my reply, now leaning against the tree trunk and watching me. I've never felt more sympathy for germs under a microscope (before: microscrope, changed spelling error) than I do now.
"Best friends watch out for each other, that's all. Does it bother you?" I hope my voice doesn't give away my thoughts. I really hope it doesn't bother him, because if it does I'll have to be more careful when I stare.
"Best friends," he echoes. He's looking down again, and I have no clue why. "Right. Sorry."
He makes as if to move past me, but I catch his arm unthinkingly. He doesn't look at me, head tilted forward so his bangs cover his eyes.
"What are you apologizing for?" I don't want him to leave yet. The conversation is basically over, but I want to drag it out for just a few more minutes. He shrugs, the motion not quite freeing his arm from my grip.
"It's nothing. Now will you let me go so I can get back to the party?"
My grip loosens in surprise and he yanks his arm free. He's never taken that tone with me, nor with anyone else that I can remember. He never gets angry, so what set him off?
"It's obviously not 'nothing' or you wouldn't be so upset!" I retort. "It's no big deal, I'm just curious."
"I was just hoping that I was right!"
The moment freezes. His eyes go wide, anger gone as he holds up his hands and shakes his head. I can't move, the words echoing in my head until they're so mashed together they make no sense.
"I- I didn't mean that," he stutters out, tongue tripping over itself to make excuses. "I... It's nothing, don't worry about it-"
"Again with the 'it's nothing'," I interrupt softly. I can feel a grin forming on my lips and I step closer. He doesn't move away, tilting his head back slightly to keep eye contact. "That's not true, is it? Did you want the staring to mean something?"
"Maybe I did..." His voice trails off, breathing slowly. I know he's smart, so he's probably realized that I'm not bothered by him wanting my stares to mean something. He's always been quick to pick up on how other people feel, and while that worked against me when I was trying to hide my feelings, now it's helpful. Funny how life works like that sometimes.
"Did it?" he asks. I raise my eyebrow, and he clarifies. "Did the staring mean anything?"
"Maybe." My smile is teasing and he sees right through it. His eyes light up, but he doesn't move any closer. I think he's worried about my reaction, in case he's been misreading the situation.
"What exactly did it 'maybe' mean?" he asks, confirming my suspicion. I lean closer. He doesn't back away.
"I think I like you, as more than a friend. That's what it means." I lean forward again and he tilts his head just a bit. I can feel his breath move across my face, our lips are that close. "Is that the answer you were looking for?"
Instead of answering, he closes the distance between us. The kiss takes me completely by surprise and just as quickly as the feeling of lips on mine arrived, it was gone. He drew back a bit, judging my reaction.
"I'll take that as a yes." This time, I lean forward and kiss him. He returns the kiss, his arms coming up behind my back to pull me closer as I embrace him.
Looks like I won't be getting home ahead of curfew.