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He smells the same as he always has. Well, his jacket does. He's on the other end of the couch, looking down at his phone.
His lips jut out just like they did in fifth grade when he focused on schoolwork.
He closes his phone and my eyes fall shut immediately. I know he's looking at me now. I try to hold back a smile but he poked my side, starting yet another tickle war.
Bestfriends. Is that all we could ever be?
He grabs my hand, making it impossible to continue tickling his stomach. He holds it tightly, and looks me in the eye, laughing.
I fake my sad face. "Ow, ow, ow!" I jut my lower lip out and fake a quiver, the face he's loved since we were kids.
His face softens for half a second, he almost believed me. But now he's squeezing harder and tickling my side so hard I want to pee. I squeel, and he copies me.
"Hal, Tracy's almost here." Me and Kale freeze and look over at my bestfriend Kim and her boyfriend Derek.
Kale cuts me off by tickling me again. We've been sitting at this trampoline place for an hour, waiting for a ride.
I reach for his stomach, one of his worst ticklish spots, but he grabs my hand to stop it. I stop pushing, but he doesn't let go. He holds my hand and my gaze. My breathing stops and my pulse races off like a foreign sports car. It feels as if someone poured boiling water all inside of me, but it doesn't hurt. It's the kind that leaves you colder than before when it's gone, which is exactly how I feel when his phone goes off again and he releases me and my eyes.
I know he's texting a girl, probably one of the cheerleaders, but it's something I've learned to live with. When he's not mine, he's someone else's. But I'm always his, whether he claims me or not.
I turn my attention back to the Eagles game on the TV in the little warehouse. "Get him down!" I yell at the TV. They obeyed, taking down the Runningback like he was just a tackle bag, flipping him up in the air like a feather, but he fell back down like the football player he is.
The TV was on the side of the couch, sort of, so my head was turned away from Kale. I was laying on my side, feet tucked under his leg, with his hoody drowning my whole torso. He punched my butt, joking around, and I would've punched his face, not joking around, if it was anyone else.
But it wasn't, it was him. Him, who is the only constant in my life. The only fifteen year old I'd ever call a man. My first kiss, hug, hand hold, and "I love you." And him who kept me wondering and wondering each time he left.