|Kissing Is Part of Tradition
Author: Caseus PM
He loves me, he loves me not. Why can't I tell him that I love him? Oh yeah, because he's my best friend and I've been avoiding him for two months. So why am I standing on his front porch in the middle of winter break? Slash oneshot. 2008Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance - Words: 4,071 - Reviews: 10 - Favs: 22 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-31-08 - Status: Complete - id: 2615546
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Kissing Is Part Of Tradition
I don't know why I'm standing here.
Okay, in a way, I do. My mom, being the PTA mom she is, forced me to come and stand in front of my best friend's house. Not that I didn't care about him or anything But it's just that I really, really did not want to be here. I'd much rather be at home, playing Rock Band on my Wii or something like that, or at least just do my stupid winter-break-work. But no, instead I had to be here, standing on my best friend's front porch, with a bouquet of roses during the few days after Christmas, in the nineteen degree weather with the three inch layer of snow, freezing to death, and seriously hoping to God that Caleb is too sick to answer the door.
God really, really must not like me.
Once I had rung the doorbell, after several glances back to and from my mom, who was still in the (heated) car and was glaring at me to go, as I gave her "You really want me to do this?" and "What the hell?" and "Why aren't you coming with me and why do you want me doing this?" kind of looks, my prayers were answered (but not, well, satisfied) as someone finally answered the door.
And it was Caleb.
He was clad in his penguin pajama bottoms and a green tee shirt (that matched his eyes nicely, might I add) with a dancing brick on it (don't ask) and his hair was still messy. It was impossible not to look at him as I continued staring, mouth agape, not having any idea what to say. Luckily, though, I didn't need to, since he was the first to speak.
"What are you doing here, Dyl?"
His look of shock and surprise (okay, maybe shouldn't have used those words, since they're synonyms) wasn't that unexpected to me. What was I doing here? I've been avoiding Caleb, my best friend, for about a good two months--okay, maybe not ignoring, more like not acknowledging his existence at all--and then all of a sudden, in the dead of winter, during winter break when everyone's supposed to be in like Bermuda or something, I appear at his doorstep with a thing of flowers while he's stuck at home being completely shitty and dead with the flu.
I'm sorry, but two plus three does not exactly equal fish.
I shrug to his question, though, trying not to blush, and act completely casual and unnerved, as if the entire two paragraphs above was a completely common every-day type thing.
"Just wanted you to get better, I guess."
I stick out my gloved hand with the roses, hoping that he didn't get the wrong idea and didn't notice the second blush rise up my cheeks.
Wait, why would he get the wrong idea? To him, I'm still his best friend!
He awkwardly accepts them, but before I could turn to leave and relieve myself of my flushed cheeks (trust me, they're definitely not because of the cold), I hear a woman's voice all out from the kitchen, amongst clanging of pots and pans,
"Caleb! Who's at the door?"
"It's, er, Dylan," he calls back, looking at me, a bit embarrassed. I give him a sheepish grin, not minding his mom at all. It had been a while since I had seen her, you know, after avoiding Caleb and all.
"Oh, Dylan!" She rushes to the door in a nightgown and apron, and positively beams when she sees me, and embraces me into a hug. "It's so good to see you again! I haven't seen you around in such a while! How are you?"
"I'm good," I mutter a bit awkwardly, but trying to be as pleasant as I could. "Just, been busy with, you know, grades and all."
"Well, that's good!" she exclaims, clapping her hands together excitedly like a little girl. So I haven't seen the woman in a long time, but I haven't forgotten anything about her. Enthusiastic and peppy; Caleb's mom always was. I smile a bit at the memory.
"Why don't you come on in for a bit, catch up with Caleb?" she continues, ushering me inside. "You haven't been here in a while, so I assume you haven't hung out in school much either? Probably got caught up with teachers and exams."
"No, no, it's fine," I say hastily, turning to leave and wanting to get away from his presence, but then Caleb's mom quickly pulls me into the doorway, smiling genuinely.
"I insist," she says. " Caleb hasn't said anything about you for a while now, but you two don't seem to be mad at each other or anything. I guess it's just that college pressure on high school students nowadays! But it's the winter break and Caleb 's sick, he could use some comforting, and here you show up, gracing us with your presence!"
"He brought us roses, too, Mom," Caleb adds, muttering to her and gesturing to the bouquet in his hands. His mom is practically glowing by now, as she spots them and takes them from his hands.
"Really? Dylan, thank you so much!" she says gratefully. "You are such a thoughtful friend! I should put these in a vase. Roses in the winter are romantic, though they don't handle well. Oh, Dylan, thank you so much!"
She pats me on the back, as she rushes to the kitchen to finish whatever she was doing and put the flowers somewhere. Caleb and I awkwardly stand in the front hall, trying to avoid each other's eye. For me, it was more awkward, but I'll get to it later. But really, being called "such a thoughtful friend" when really I didn't acknowledge Cale' at all for such a long time, it's kind of like one of those inadvertent-guilt-trip things. I hate them.
After standing for a bit, Caleb decides to go upstairs and back to his room. I admit, he does look like shit. His face is pale, his eyes are sunken in, losing a bit of their bluish sparkle, his auburn hair is messy and tangled, and he walks with a bit of a slump in his back. The flu really does wonders. And not good ones, either.
Seeing that he's leaving, I take it as my own cue to leave the house, but when I barely turned to reach the doorknob, I hear him say to me quietly, "Don't leave. You heard what my mom said."
I turn back to him, looking up, where he stood staring at me from atop the staircase. "Where do you expect me to go?"
"My room; where else?" he adds, with a bit of a snarl. Ah, good ol' Caleb. Being the normal jackass he was.
I suppose that's the reason he was my best friend, though.
I follow him back up to his room. I feel like I haven't been here in ages, though only for a couple of months. I see he's taken down a few of his Red Jumpsuit Apparatus posters, replacing them with some other punk emo rock band I haven't heard of. (Really, music is not my thing.) He still likes basketball, as I can tell the trophies on his dresser have increased by quite a bit. Hasn't gotten over his obsession with stuffed animals, I see, as his bed is piled more with them; really, what kind of guy likes stuffed animals? A few pictures of him and his sister rested on his bedside table, his parents here and there, uncles, aunts, relatives… Except, in the center of them all, there was a picture of me. Of us. Just the two of us.
I swallow the lump in my throat.
Once he had settled himself back into bed (with Popeye bed sheets and comforter, might I add), he looks across to me seeing as I was standing at the foot, and says to me, irritation in his voice,
"Tell me the truth. Why are you here?"
I don't blame him for the harshness in his voice. Two months ago, we had been talking and acting completely normal, average, nothing different…and then all of a sudden, the next day, I go completely with the silent treatment. As if he had never existed. As if I didn't know him. If my friends asked me about him (which they did, mind you), he didn't know. To him, it was like I didn't care. Because to him, it was like I started hating him for no good reason whatsoever.
Actually, it was quite the contrary.
It had been building up for a while now, I had been in denial, and it had definitely taken me a while to realize it. But the day of ignoring was when I decided to take action, and though I took the "wrong" road, I thought it was best. I thought it was best for us if I stayed away from my best friend for a while to ignore my feelings for him. It's called infatuation, it's called hormones, and they'll go away sometime. If I stayed away from him, they'd go away, and then we can go back and be best friends again and all that shit. (Okay, bad on my part.) But still. It's not like I didn't want these feelings for him…I mean, if he had any for me, hells yes I would want them. But he doesn't have them, and I don't want them because it could drastically change our friendship. And that I definitely don't want.
I snap out of my quick flashback, realizing that he's still staring at me intently, and now probably a bit annoyed since I refrained from answering. I shrug, nonchalant, and avoid his gaze by staring at the ceiling and saying bluntly,
"You heard what your mom said."
"Oh," says Caleb, sarcasm dripping, along with fury. "So I suppose the reason that you've been completely fucking avoiding me for the past, what, eight weeks, is because of fucking schoolwork. Because school is so much more important than me, don't you think? Because you'd much rather pretend I don't exist and focus on your fucking schoolwork while getting drunk at that fucking Halloween party than talk to me?"
I didn't expect him to know that, but I suppose everyone who went to that party got drunk.
I don't look at him; instead, I turn with my back to him, and observe myself in the mirror. Geez, I really do need a haircut. My brown hair isn't long like shoulder-length girly style or anything…but it's long. It nearly reaches the end of my neck, though it doesn't scrape past my ears, but more over the earlobes making it more annoying, and my shagged uneven bangs don't stick out or in like most guys'; instead, they just hang there teasingly in front of my eyes, without me having the capability of flicking them away.
"Don't stand there and admire yourself," Caleb scolds from his bed, coughing a bit. "Talk to me. Why the hell are you mad at me?"
"I'm not mad at you," I answer, pulling my bangs up and seeing what I look like like that. Ugh. Jesse McCartney.
"Then why have you been ignoring me?" he pesters, glaring, seething, and with no doubt frustrated.
"I haven't been ignoring you either," I say, attempting to put my hair in a ponytail and then grimacing. "I've been avoiding you."
"You've been avoiding me," laughs Caleb, not much in questioning or amusement but more in a sarcastic angry sneer. "Fucking avoiding me. Is that supposed to make me feel any better?"
I shrug, continuing to experiment with hairstyles. Well, I guess I shouldn't really care. I mean, as a dude, I shouldn't, but seriously, I'll just let it the way it is. Once it turns butt-ugly or something, then I'll do something about it. Just get a haircut. I mean, gel isn't that important…or special. Neither is my hair, but, anything to get my mind off of the guy fifteen feet away from me.
"Dude, stop fucking ignoring me!" says Caleb, finally climbing out of bed (after a rapid cough attack) and walking over to me. He grabs me by the shoulders, wringing them in anger (and I'm pretty sure he snapped my collarbone; that bastard) and shouted (hopefully not loud enough for his parents to hear) and says, "Why are you being such an asshole?"
Instead of paying attention as to what he was saying, and not much minding the fact that he called me an asshole, because honestly, I had been one, I instead look up out of impulse, and I get very surprised at what I see. Because I did not plan on looking up, but I did. And all I expected to see was the wonderful woodenness of my best friend's bedroom dresser.
"Dude," I say, ignoring his extremely tight grip on me, "why the hell do you have mistletoe hanging from your dresser?"
I think I was first to blush, but his was probably completely out of embarrassment. I mean, seriously, you really don't expect to see mistletoe dangling from the dresser in the bedroom of a male teenager, would you?
"M-Mom said it was good for decoration…" he said, turning his pink cheeks away from me and letting go, and I realize it's my question that snaps him out of his rage. He rubs his head sheepishly, looking guilty and avoiding my eyes.
I do my best to not pounce on him. Because he looks too adorable when he does that.
He looks away, the heat creeping up the back of his neck, and continues speaking.
"Agh. Dylan, I'm sorry. I mean, for being such a hypocrite and a bastard and saying that you were an asshole and all out. And for asking you so many questions. I mean, yeah, you are avoiding me, you're probably mad at me for something, but you probably have a reason and I guess you'll tell me when you're ready. And now you're probably even more mad that I'm being such a jerk and yelli--mmf!"
He quickly stopped talking when I quickly took action. I didn't completely ignore what he said (my brain was still registering his words), but I was too focused on the mistletoe above us. Before he could finish his forever-long rant, avoiding my gaze and being all cute (THERE I SAID IT GOD ARE YOU HAPPY??), I quickly took the collar of his green dancing brick shirt, took careful aim, and slammed his mouth against mine.
To be honest, I really don't think I'm in my right mind right now. I didn't realize I was doing. Caleb was going on, apologizing for being such an ass he was being, when I decide to grab my best friend by the collar of his shirt and kiss him. Under the mistletoe. On the twenty-ninth of December.
Dude, it's not Christmas or New Years'! It's barely romantic!
I'M FUCKING KISSING MY BEST FRIEND! MY BEST FRIEND!
I quickly draw back, astounded at what I had just done. What the hell…? God, please tell me that was only in my ever-so-hopeful mind's eye… Please tell me I did not just kiss Caleb…
As said before, God must really, really hate me.
Caleb is looking just as astonished as I am, stares at me, and then touches his own lips with his fingers and stares down at them as well. I could seriously feel myself blushing tenfold, as I observe his reaction which is just shock, shock, shock. I don't think he believe it just happened, and I really wished it hadn't.
But I am bound not to lose my cool. Because that's just the kind of bastard I am.
"That's what mistletoe is for," I say, trying to hide my reddened cheeks and evidently failing. "Don't let it go to waste, dude."
Caleb looks at me again, with the same, well, shocked expression on his face. He opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. Lost the ability to speak, I guess. Well, it doesn't surprise me, because that is what bewilderment does to you. He opens his mouth, and then closes it again. I wait patiently as this goes on for about ten more seconds, before he finally chokes out,
And it wasn't in a strangled voice, either, mind you. More in the completely dazed I can't believe that just happened to me kind of voice. I was still astounded at myself that I kissed him--either that I had the guts to, or that I actually did, I'm not sure which--but I managed to compose myself, no matter how much I was really shaking on the inside.
And I was shaking. Really, really hard.
"That's what mistletoe is for," I repeat myself, though the coolness lost its effect as I blush harder. "For kissing, you know. You know the tradition? When two people are caught under it, they have to kiss?"
"Yeah, I know that," he says, still looking down at his fingers, before looking back up at me. "But…why did you kiss me?"
"To follow tradition," I answer simply, though I am sure my reddened face gives everything away and he sees right through me.
"But I'm sick," he points out.
"So? Tradition," I say.
"It's my house. You don't have to," he says.
"I'm in pajamas."
"It's not any special holiday."
"You hate me.
"Trad--I don't hate you."
Caleb takes this time to glare at me again. Though, I do have to say that it wasn't uncalled for.
He studies me, though, not yelling at me like I expected. He tilts his head left, tilts his head right, as if there was something on each side that could possibly explain what was going through my mind (which consisted of "WTF I'M SO SCREWED"), and then smirks. He looks hesitant, but he looks confident. Hell of an oxymoron, but it's true. His hesitating confidence scares me, since he's rarely hesitant. Or confident.
He quickly shakes the look off of his face, though, as I'm curious about it, and then presses on to the question I expected after my last outburst.
"What do you mean you don't hate me?"
"I mean, I…" I struggle with my words after this. "I mean I don't hate you. And yeah, I do have a reason for avoiding you…for a while…"
"Care to tell me now, since we're here, alone?" he asks, leaning against the wooden footer of his bed. "No one will interrupt us, and you have all the time in the world. Your mom seems busy." He and I peer out the window, seeing my mom reading something and looking very interested.
I look at him, and then I look down. I want to tell him, but I really don't know how. I mean, seriously, what am I supposed to say? "Oh yeah, Cale, the reason I've been avoiding you for the past two freaking months is because I'm secretly in love with you but I don't want that to ruin our friendship. So now I'm ignoring you to make my feelings go away or else they might ruin our friendship, except I've already ruined our friendship by freaking kissing you on the mouth!"
I really don't think that would work. Or make much sense, now that I think of it.
So instead, I simply say, "The same reason I kissed you."
Caleb thinks this over, and then he raises his eyebrows disbelievingly. He looks at me. "Tradition?"
"No!" I say, and to this, he laughs, and I laugh too. Okay, it's probably not the best answer. But I hope he gets it.
He does. Because we're best friends. And we know each other like that.
"For the sake of our friendship?" he questions.
"You could have told me," he said. I shake my head.
"You could have hated me," I retort. He looks up thoughtfully.
"No, I couldn't have," he replies. "You're my best friend. I can't blame a guy when he falls in love with his best friend. It's happened in movies and shit, so why couldn't it happen in real life?"
"Because it's not supposed to," I answer. "That's the difference. Between real life and movies. They have things we wish we have, but we don't."
"What do you mean by that?" Caleb asks, furrowing his brow. He looks so cute when he does that. His little blue eyes, scrunching up in confusion. (God, I really have to stop doing that.)
"I mean, the fairy tale type stuff," I say. "Like, person falls in love with another person, and another person just happens to fall back? You don't just love someone and expect them to love you back. That kind of stuff only happens in the movies. In real life, we don't just pick who we fall in love with. We just do and pray to God that they love you back. But apparently God is having a bad day today and taking all his anger out on me, so I guess today's not my day."
"Dude," Caleb says, laughing (and then coughing), and to this, I'm surprised. "What are you talking about?"
"I don't know," I laugh as well. "It's just that…love is so complicated. And here I am, after acting so pissed off at you forever, only a few days before New Years' and a few days after Christmas, in your house, while you have the flu, show up at your doorstep with a bouquet of roses, and I really don't know how to act myself after I just kissed you. Because you're my best friend."
"Hey." Caleb touches my arm. "You're my best friend too. Possibly more. I don't know. Kissing can do a lot to damage the brain."
"That probably explains why there are so many idiots this century nowadays," I chuckle. "But you don't hate me? You really don't hate me?"
"How can I hate such a great kisser like you?" giggles Caleb, and I blush in embarrassment. Caleb notices this, and chuckles some more, before adding, "So, what up with the roses? I thought you didn't want to tell me?"
"I didn't, it's just that my mom—"
And then I stopped short, looked out Caleb's window, and saw my mother smiling mischievously from reading her magazine. I don't know what she's smiling at, but I can tell that she's definitely noticed that I was looking at her.
Jesus Christ, my mom's a sly little bitch.
Caleb obviously gets the idea, and grins. "Wow. Your mom is a real matchmaker, huh?"
"Urg. Messing up my social life," I mutter to myself. Caleb rolls his eyes.
"Yeah right. As if you're not grateful," he says.
"Does that mean we're together?" I ask hopefully, all of a sudden with a happier mood. Caleb rolls his eyes again.
"You come over. You kiss me. I don't freak out. What do you suppose that means?" he asks.
"That you appreciate my love for tradition?"
Caleb kisses me again. And then he says, while I am dazed from our liplock, "Well, that wasn't part of tradition, was it?"