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“Arie, are you going to the party tonight?” Angela asked me.
“Umm, I really want to but I don’t think my mom will let me.”
“Just tell her you are staying the night at my house. I really want you to be there, and I am sure Jess wants you there too.”
My face of course turns a million shades of red just at the mention of my boyfriend Jess. We have been going out for two years, ever since freshman year when he bumped into me in the hallway. I hate when people just assume things about us. Everyone always gives me that tone or that look that says “oh yeah I know” but they have no idea. Right after she said this, who should happen to walk up and sit his tray down beside me but Jess. He leans over and gives me a peck on the cheek.
“Hey babe,” Jess says.
“So are you coming tonight?” Jess asks me.
Angela gives me a funny look, and I know I deserve it. The second I get around him my brain goes to mush and I agree to anything he says. This is actually a real problem. It has led me to have to do some things that I would never do like fishing. I hate fishing it is gross. Who wants to touch a slimy worm? Certainly not me! And rock climbing? I am a huge klutz. So me, heights, and rocks are not a good combination.
“Hey guys! Are you excited for tonight?” Zach asks us as he sits down with his tray across from me.
“What’s not to be excited about, Party, drinks, and an entire not with my girl?” while saying this Jess puts his arm around me and smiles my favorite grin of his.
I look over and see Zach grimace and shoot me a look. Zach is my oldest and best friend. He never keeps secrets from me, which is why I know for a fact that he hates my boyfriend. He hates how he calls me babe and never uses my name. He hates how Jess seems possessive of me. Now that I think about, Zach has never liked any of my boyfriends. What is that about?
“Wow Arie! Your mom is actually letting you out of the house to go to a party?”
I give Zach a dirty look. “You know me too well.”
“D-o-n’-t I know it.” Zach says while laughing. “Don’t worry too much Arie. I’ll watch your back.”
I give him a slight smile. He does know me too well. I see a little twinkle in his eyes as he looks at me. What is that all about?
“Why would she worry?” Jess asks.
Zach just stares at him. Sometimes I really do think my boyfriend just doesn’t get it. He doesn’t even realize that I hate parties. I hate the loudness. I hate the drinking. I hate most of the idiots that go to the parties, especially the drunk ones. Zach shakes his head at me sending me that look that says “Why are you still with him?”. I just shrug at him. That’s a very good question. Jess forces me to do all these things that I don’t like. We have virtually nothing in common. He’s a football player and I’m a runner. He likes to party and drink. I like to sit home and watch movies. So why am I still with him? Just as I am thinking this, Jess turns to look at me, and I melt. Yep I’m weak that’s why.
“Never mind.” Zach says to Jess while rolling his eyes.
Just then the bell rings. Everyone parts their own way except Jess who grabs my hand and walks me to class. He gives me another peck on the cheek.
“See you later, babe.” Jess says to me.
Man I am weak. I think if Jess told me to go jump off a bridge I would do it if he was there with me. This kind of obsession is exactly how I ended up here at the party even though I hate them. Angela sees my walk in and rushes over.
“Hey you made it! So are you spending the night with me?”
“That’s the plan.” I shout to be heard over the music.
“Is Jess here yet?”
“I haven’t seen him. Is Zach here?”
“Yeah... I saw him talking to Marissa earlier.”
“Marissa? Why was he talking to her?”
Angela sends me that knowingly smile before answering, “I don’t know, but they seemed quite comfortable together.”
“Hey babe.” Jess says as he wraps his arms around my waist and kisses me on the cheek.
“Hey, how was practice?”
“Brutal. Coach is punishing us for losing that last game. He made us.........Babe?”
This is one of our problems. When he starts talking all technically about football, I sort of zone him out because I have no idea what he is saying. This might be a problem considering the fact that one of the only things he talks about is football.
“Hmmm...Oh sorry. I didn’t catch what you said. I can barely hear anything over this music.”
“Hey Air.” Zach calls from half way across the room.
I hate it when he calls me that. Why give me a nickname for my nickname. Arie is already short enough compared to Arabella. The weird thing is is that he knows it bugs me and still persists in doing it.
“Having fun?” I ask Zach.
“Yeah, a little bit. But the party can really start now that you’re here.” Zach says while laughing.
I send him a death glare that just makes him laugh harder.
“I think you are right Zach. Dance with me, Arie?” Jess says.
What else am I going to say but yes? As I shake my head yes, I see Zach give me a dirty look.
“Zach, why don’t you ask Marissa to dance?” I shout to him as I am being pulled to the dance floor by Jess.
“What are you talking about?” he shouts to me.
I decide not to answer him. Instead, I just stare after him. He looks mad and has a beet red face. Man he is touchy today.
After four dances, I tell Jess that I have had enough for awhile.
“I’m thirsty. You want something to drink, babe?”
“Sure. Can you get me a coke?”
“Yeah. I’ll be right back.”
As soon as Jess leaves my side, Zach walks up to me.
“You seemed like you were having fun,” he says to me.
“Spying much?” I say with a laugh.
“Arie, I told you early I would watch out for you.”
“Yeah, but you don’t have to as long as I’m with Jess.”
“That’s what you think, but I think it is even more important to watch out for you when he is around. I don’t trust him.”
“You never trust any of the guys I date. Why is that?”
“Because you have only ever dated jerks that don’t deserve you.”
“Who is good enough for me? Name one person who YOU think is good enough for me.”
“Hey babe, here you go,” Jess says interrupting whatever response Zach was about to make.
Jess hands me a red cup with coke in it. Zach walks away, clearly disappointed because of our interruption. I look over at his cup and I see that he has deviated from soda to go with something that has a bit more kick to it. I shake my head. Why do I like him so much?
“Hey want to go somewhere to be alone.”
Jess takes my hand pulling me along. We head up the stairs and I just take one second to look back. I see Zach glaring at me. What is his problem? Jess continues to lead me until we reach one of the bedroom doors. Then he walks in and shuts the door behind us. I barely hear the click of the lock before he pulls me into his arms and starts kissing me. Jess continues kissing me as he leads me to the bed. We slowly lay back on it. I notice that something is different about the way he is kissing me like it is more demanding. This worries me. That coupled with the fact that he locked the door. He has never done that before. I then become aware of the fact that his hands are starting to roam, and it is making me uncomfortable. I push his hands away, but he doesn’t seem to get the message.
I breakaway from kissing him to say, “Stop!”
“What’s the matter babe?”
Before I even have a chance to answer he continues on not even caring to hear my response.
“I said stop.”
“What is with you? We have been going out for like two years. You should be fine with this. You should have been fine with this a LONG time ago.”
“Well I’m not and I’m leaving.”
Just then the door breaks open to reveal one very furious Zach.
“What are you doing Zach?” I say in a very astonished voice.
“Doing something I should have done a long time ago.” Zach said right before he punched Jess in the face.
“What is your problem?” Jess asks Zach.
“You are. Arie, let’s go now.”
“Zach, what’s going on? Why did you punch him?” I ask very curiously.
“I heard this jerk telling all his football friends how he was planning on scoring tonight. And no Arie they weren’t talking about football.”
“Okay, why didn’t you just warn me? Why did you have to punch him?”
“Well, I was hoping you would finely realize what a complete jerk he is and realize how I am completely in love with you.” Zach says with my favorite grin spread all across his face.
“What did you just say? Did you say you love me?”
“Yeah, I always have.”
“Why haven’t you ever said anything?”
“I’ve tried but it never comes out right. And then you started dating Jess...”
“So I tried telling you how I felt and I tried to make you see what a jerk he is but you are so naïve. You have missed all the signs.”
“You love me?”
“Yeah, I believe I already covered that.”
I just stand there dumbfounded with my boyfriend on the floor and my best friend standing in front of me confessing his love. What is going on? Do I love Zach? It is true he is always protective of me. And he has the twinkly eye thing going on when he looks at me. I feel one hundred percent comfortable around him. I love being around him and with him. Is that love? Before I have a chance to finish my thoughts, Zach starts moving closer to me.
“Are you okay?” Zach asks me.
“Yeah...I was just thinking about everything.”
“Maybe this will help” Zach says right before he grabs me and kisses me.
“What are you doing to my girlfriend? Get off of her!” Jess hollers at Zach.
See this is a problem. My best friend is kissing me right in front of my boyfriend, and I don’t want him to stop. That is very awful to even admit to myself. Zach pulls away from me realizing that I was fully kissing him back and that he was the one that ended the kiss and not me.
“Help you any?” Zach asks me.
“Maybe.” I say very quietly.
“What is going on here?” Jess says.
“I think you and Arie are threw because if you so much as touch her again you will be getting hit a lot harder than last time.”
“Don’t you think she should be the one to tell me that we are threw?”
“I don’t care what she says. She is never going back to you.”
“Arie?” Jess says while giving me a pleading look that reads “help”.
What do I do? I just stand there speechless. I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what to do. Apparently, my silence says enough because Jess exits the room mumbling to his self. I turn to Zach and see him grinning from ear to ear. I have to smile at him. He takes this as encouragement enough because he grabs me and starts kissing me again. He breaks away a couple minutes later.
“You know I really meant what I said.” Zach says.
“That you love me? Oh I know, and I think I have been in love with you for years and just didn’t know it. Today when Angela said you were talking to Marissa, I got super jealous and I had no idea why. But now I know.” I say smiling.
“You know that you love me?”
“Yes. Yes I do.”