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Kyle is secretly in love with his best friend Rylie. And not in the creepy, stalker way…but in the way that he cherished every word spoken, and every look given. The two had been inseparable since grade school, and kept their friendship going into high school. Sure, she had her own friends, and he had his, but they still talked every night, whether it was over the phone, or IM. Even their screen names kind of matched. His, colorpaintboi99, and hers, paintedangel22, had been created when they had taken a summer job as painters three years prior. That is when Kyle had bought the box.
Kyle had saved up for the whole summer in order to buy a white gold box, 1 inch by 1 inch, that looked like a mini Christmas present, with the metal bow and everything. It was gorgeous, if he did say so himself, and he always knew exactly what he wanted to put it, but he had never had the nerve to give it to her. But now the time seemed right, because her birthday was the day after tomorrow, and graduation the day after that. This was his moment to tell her how he felt about her. It was now, or never.
Kyle leaned back onto his headboard, flicking a football up into the air, and catching it, repeating the process as he glanced at the computer. He was starting to get antsy, waiting for Rylie to sign on. He paused, with the football in his hand, looking at the clock. 10:53. He swore under his breath. Not tonight. She could not be late tonight, of all nights.
“Common Rye!” muttered Kyle, tapping the keyboard. He turned his attention to his Calc book, trying to focus for his exam the next day.
There! The AIM icon at the base of the screen lit up in a bright, exciting orange glow, and the box on the right lower side slid up, with the words he looked forward to every night: paintedangel22 has signed online. Kyle’s hand twitched to the mouse, clicking on the blinking bar.
paintedangel22(10:54:09): hehe…we’re graduating! can u believe it?! :) 3 days and we’re out of here! omg, im so xcited!
colorpaintboi99(10:54:22): I know huh? it doesn’t seem possible…
colorpaintboi99(10:54:30): and hey, ur bday is in two! ur gonna be 18! :D whatcha want anyways?
paintedangel22(10:56:05): uhuh, like im gonna tell u! lol, aren’t you funny…ive told u every other year…this time, u need to find the “perfect gift” by urself! :) got any ideas yet?
colorpaintboi99 has entered text.
But Kyle didn’t know what to type. He glanced over at the box, and felt a tug at his heartstrings. He wanted her to have it, and the simple, yet symbolic gift inside. But how could he tell her what it meant, without sounding stupid?
paintedangel22 is typing
paintedangel22(11:06:27): kyle? u there?
Kyle looked at the screen, his fingers seemingly frozen over the keyboard. He started typing letters; first an I, then an L, and an O, but then he saw she was typing again.
colorpaintboi99 is typing
paintedangel22 is typing
paintedangel22(11:15:39): ok, well, i have to go finish studying…lol…i know im a procrastinator…lol…but lets chill tomorrow, after exams? ill c u 2morrow. g’night kyle
paintedangel22 has signed offline
Kyle stared at the screen, and hit the backspace eight times, slowly erasing the message “I love y” from his text box. He just started at the box announcing her log off, thoughts racing through his head. Why was this so hard for him? He had always told her everything, and seemed to have plenty of time, though now it seemed as if time had played an evil trick on him…
“Mom!” Kyle yelled as he leaped off his bed and bounded down the carpeted stairs. His mom was sitting in the living room, on the couch watching an old black and white movie on TV. His dad was next to her, reading a medicine journal.
“Yes honey?” his mom turned her attention to him, her piercing eyes searching his face and body language. “What’s wrong hon? I thought you were doing homework.” She said.
“Mom…” he hesitated, debating his word choice, but continuing with “Mom…never mind. I’m gonna go over to Rylie’s. I’ll be back before midnight.” At his mothers protesting look, he convinced her that they needed to study for their calculus exam, and left through the garage door.
As Kyle looked at the two cars in the cement enclosure, he played a possible scenario over in his mind, as he had many times before. Ideally, he would go over, and ring the bell…No! He would knock. Yes, he would knock on the front door, and her brother would answer, and let him in. Kyle and Mick got along well, so Mick wouldn’t mind Kyle being there that late. Speaking of late…Darn it! Kyle looked at his watch, realizing that it was 11:53, which was too late to go over. At least tonight, because of exams tomorrow…He reached into his pocket, tracing his finger over the intricately carved box. Oh well, it would have to wait again.
2 Days Later
“Kyle! Kyle, over here!” screamed a beaming Rylie. She was waving frantically at him, and pointing at the open cafeteria chair to her right.
“Happy birthday girl!” Kyle smiled.
“So…did you ever figure out what I wanted?” she asked, grinning cutely, looking around him for a gift.
“Yeah, I did actually.” He grinned nervously, as her smile softened, making him blush.
“Yeah? Really?” she looked at him questionly. “What is it? Why are you blushing?” she giggled, and looked into his eyes.
“Umm, Rye, can you come with me for a sec?” he asked.
“Sure! I’ll be right back guys.” She said as she stood, grabbing Kyle’s hand as they started walking off. “You know you just pulled me away from the greatest party on Earth, right?” she said as she pouted playfully, her ivory face barely seeable through her long dark brown bangs.
They walked towards a small quiet park, their favorite place to go when they were kids. They were laughing and joking around, Rylie still holding onto Kyle’s hand, swinging it back and forth dramatically. They came up to a group of swings and Rylie bounded up to one, dragging him with her. She started swinging herself back and forth, while Kyle picked up a stick and started tapping the pole holding up the swings.
“So…why are we here? We haven’t come here in forever.” She asked, swinging lightly back and forth.
“Umm, okay…so, I have something for you, but it involves an explanation.” He shifted uncomfortably.
“Okay. What is it?”
“Here.” Kyle held out the white gold box, looking even more spectacular than usual because of the sunlight hitting it. The metal still held warmth from Kyle’s pocket. “I picked it up a few years ago…when we had that painting job, remember? Well, anyway…I thought you would like it.”
Rylies eyes grew wide as she took the tiny box in her hand. She began to open it, looking up at Kyle as she did so.
“Wait.” Rylies fingers paused on the lid, leaving a perfect fingerprint on the edge. “Let me explain first. Then you can open it.” Kyle paused, taking a deep breath, and Rylie stood up as he began his explanation.
“I put this together about three years ago, the day we got our final payment from painting houses. I was going to give it to you for your 15th birthday, but the timing just didn’t seem right.” Kyle looked into her eyes.
“But then I started realizing that if I don’t give you this now, then I never will, and you will never know…you will never know how much you mean to me.” He looked at her, and she looked almost confused. His heart sank slightly, and it took the biggest amount of courage he had ever had to form the next six words: “Okay, you can open it now.”
His eyes traced her fingers as they gently swung the lid off the box, its hinges silent as it opened. There was a single piece of doubly folded paper lying on the purple satin. She looked up at him questioningly, and began to slowly unfold the twice folded paper. She smoothed the creases, and flipped it over. The paper was blank.
“I want us to have a clean slate.” He said, looking into her clear blue eyes, which were now tearing up. “I want to give you my heart.” Her eyes began leaking tears, as she realized that he had felt what she had for over three years.
“Rylie, will you be my girlfriend?” asked Kyle
Her whole face registered an almost shocked look, then broke into a wide, bright smile.
“I was wondering when you were going to ask me! I’ve been waiting for that for the last 3 years!” she cried, laughing and throwing her arms around his neck.
With their faces inches apart, he looked into her eyes and said:
“I thought I would be to late. I have waited our whole friendship to say this to you…I love you Rylie Anne.”
She leaned in closer, so their lips were barely touching.
“I love you too Kyle.”