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It had been a long day. She was sitting there in bed. “What the hell came over me?”
She had known him for five years now. They dated, broke up (due to some parental guidance) and dated again with the same issue separating them once more. Now, five years later, they were alone again and for some strange reason she could not help but have this powerful feeling inside her pushing her closer to him. “God!” she thought, looking at him. Why did she feel this way? They were just friends. She continued eying him up and down, but his abs are amazing, and his eyes. She sat for a moment fantasizing about this beautiful creature sitting next to her. Why did he have to be so attractive? Smack!
He looked at her. “Did you just slap your face?” he asked her.
“No, I had an itch on my leg.” She smiled awkwardly. “I got it!” she laughed.
He just smiled a beautiful smile at her, and shaking his head, he looked back at the TV. This was incredibly awkward. She felt weird being attracted to him. “He’s just a friend,” she kept repeating to herself. She knew that being with him again as a boyfriend would not last and would just end in another disaster. She looked at him again, sighed and looked in the direction of the TV, but of course, she was not watching it. All of her thoughts were running around in her head, yelling different instructions from all angles. She wanted to scream. She could not handle this sort of thing right now. She had sports, school and family to deal with. He looked at her and placed his hand on her back.
“Are you ok? Really? You look exhausted,” he said.
She looked down, closing her eyes as hard as she could, as if that would make her thoughts go away, then she collected herself and looked up, smiling at him. He could see how fake she was being. Her eyes were shaking so hard it was as though they were trying to escape a prison of thought. And her awkward smile, crooked with her true emotion, said it all.
She giggled, “I’m just so tired, I’m sorry.”
“What is it with you and apologizing? You haven’t done anything.”
She looked down with a frown crawling onto her face.
“You’re apologizing for yourself being tired?”
“Well, yeah. I mean, it’s rude when you have a guest over.” She sounded fine, but he knew better.
“Really?” he said, raising his eyebrows, “You’re ridiculous. I’m no guest, just a friend.” He was moving his hand up and down on her back trying to relax her. “You don’t need to be so tense all of the time. The point of me being here is to help you relax and have fun. Isn’t it?”
She felt bad now, like she had let him down.
“You’re right,” she said, kind of depressed. Out of the corner of her eye she saw him leaning closer. She jumped off of the couch and said, “Hey, how’s about we play some pool? Huh? Huh? C’mon I know you want to.” She was trying to urge him to do something that would not bring them so close together. So, she grabbed his hand and began pulling him off of the couch and ran over to the pool table.
He laughed a quiet laugh and said, “Alright,” perking his eyebrows up, smiling, then rolling his hazel eyes. They each grabbed a pool stick and began setting up the game.
“You want to shoot first or should I?” he said.
She continuously found herself shuffling around the pool stick. She wondered if he could tell she was nervous with all the confusing thoughts swirling around her head. “Whatever,” she answered calmly.
“Alright, then ladies first.” He smiled and waved his hand towards the table as if he were presenting something magnificent behind an invisible curtain.
She made the break and the game began. They continued to dance around the table, and she was surprised at the fact that she was calm now. She looked down the stick to the purple four ball. Then her focus changed to the white cue ball as everything else around her became foggy and distant. She drew her stick back slowly, then stroked the white ball, sending the purple ball into one of the pockets. “Yes!” she jumped up and screamed. She turned to her right to get a high five from her friend but instead she bumped into him. They were chest to chest, forehead to forehead. He was looking down at her.
“Nice shot,” he said, his eyes staring into hers with an emotion she could not find a name for.
She had lost her ability to breathe the moment she bumped into him, and as he took a slow step to his left, she realized she needed to breathe and exhaled a slow shaky breath full of desperation. The random thoughts surprisingly did not come back though. All that came was a cold breeze in front of her, to the left of her, the right of her, all around. He was so warm, and now she was so cold. She suddenly felt scared. Her body turned all on its own, and she found herself running toward him. He saw her, dropped the stick and just a second later he hugged her as tight as he could. She hugged him back impressively with the same force. “I’m sorry,” she said.
“Hey, hey,” he said in a hushed voice trying to calm her down. “It’s ok, it’s ok.”
“I just, I just,” was all she could say.
“What?” he was looking her in the eyes, holding her shoulders in his hands a foot away from him.
“I just need a friend, someone to keep me safe. I feel so alone and cold. So, confused.” She landed on his left shoulder, soaking his shirt with her tears.
“It’s ok; it’s ok” he kept repeating, “I know, I know. He didn’t deserve you. It’s ok. Look, you’re safe.” He had forced her head to look straight at him with his hands gently but assertively cocking her head so that her eyes pierced his.
She only smiled. His eyes were dancing around, examining her face.
It was as though he were watching the words of his own thoughts dance around his head. He was not sure what move to make, so he just pulled her as close as possible and wrapped his arms around her as tight as possible. The clock made a ding. It was time for him to leave.
“Um, I got to,” he said calmly but with a hint of disappointment.
“I know,” she answered sadly before he could say another word.
He grabbed his coat and walked toward the door that led downstairs.
She did not want him to go, but she knew he could not stay. “You have a ride?” she sounded pleading almost.
“No, I was gonna just walk.”
“It’s freezing out!”
“Yeah, but it’s only two blocks.”
“I can give you a ride,” she said, secretly hoping that he would say yes. Just a few more minutes, even seconds with him would make her happy.
“No, it’s fine. I can walk. You look tired. Go to bed.”
“I’ll be alright. I’d rather know you were safe at home than buried in a blizzard.” It was the only excuse she could think of for giving him a ride.
“Alright, alright.” He put his hands up in surrender.
She turned off the light, and they walked down the stairs where their shoes were. She ran to her room to grab her keys and wallet, and he walked behind her out the door, following her to the car. It only took her forty-five seconds to get him home versus the twelve-minute walk in the cold he would have had to take.
She pulled into his driveway and put the car in park. He had his head down. He raised it and looked at her saying, “Thank you for the ride. Now get some sleep; you look tired.”
“Are you saying I look bad?” she snapped at him with a sarcastic edge.
“No, you still look beautiful; you always do, you always have.” He leaned closer to her, and she did not realize it, but her body had already moved the same distance closer to him. He softly drew his hand up and placed it on her cheek. She closed her eyes and the next thing she knew she was dancing and sleeping all at once. It was as though she was in a dream. She opened her eyes and her lips were no longer on his.
He slowly lowered his hand and said, “Good night” peacefully.
She replied exactly the same and watched as he got out of the car and made his way to his front door and into his house. Step by step, her heart beat to the rhythm that walked him into his house. The second she saw the door close she felt her pulse stop and a spring of self-realization entered her body. She gripped the steering wheel tighter and twisted her hands around it, looking nowhere but through her own thoughts. Silence filled the car as she drove home. It was impossible not to think. She could feel the pressure as the words of confusion begin to fill her head. She pulled into her driveway, put the car into park, got out, walked inside, locked the door, went to her room, dropped her keys and wallet, lay on her bed and said aloud, “What the hell came over me?”