Author's Note: I don't know if this can be called fiction, because it is true. This tale is what happened just last night (from my writing it, not necessarily from your reading it) between I and one of my friends. Some dialogue is missing, but only because my memory is poor, and thankfully it was nothing important. I'm sorry if it is confusing, but I left the two main characters unnamed. They are always referred to as 'he' and 'she', but the nice thing is, whenever you see those pronouns it will mean the characters; I do not use the pronouns any other time. I will fix that at some other time.
One last thing you will need to know to understand one comment: I only have one arm. Well, if you want to be technical, I only have one hand; my left arm stops just below the elbow. I think that was all I needed to explain. This was mainly written for my own solace, so if you do not wish to review, I will not beg. And so we begin...

He glanced at the kitchen clock. 9:57. "I suppose it's too late to go downstairs," he lamented.
"Why not?" she countered. Unable to think of a reason, he shrugged with his customary, "Meh."
They went quietly to the basement, trying not to wake her father who was sleeping in the living room. Entering the most comfortable room of the house, she spotted one of her stuffed animals lying on the floor. Picking it up, she flopped on the couch, animal safe in her arms. He glanced at the guitar along the wall.
"Yours?" he inquired. In her opinion it looked nothing like her guitar, but since both were made by Alvarez, she could forgive the misunderstanding.
She shook her head. "My mom's, actually." This was followed by a boring - though brief - explanation of the twenty-one year old guitar's history. He picked up said guitar and also sat on the couch, playing random songs and bits of songs. She sat quietly listening for a few minutes, then slumped over onto the pillows beside her, face mostly obscured by the faithful stuffed fox.
After a little time, he asked, "You okay?"
"Eh, I'll live," she said dismissively. This was, for the moment, true. She had been stoically ignoring his revelation to her, and therefore did not truly feel upset. She was a little sad, but this sadness came from that bothersome subconscious that knew she had every good reason to be upset no matter what she told herself. Still, she doggedly avoided the topic, satisfying herself with the knowledge she could dwell on it later. After his inquiry, however, she made a fatal mistake - Maybe I can think about it a little, she relented. He was still playing guitar, so she thought she would be safe from having to answer any questions for the time being. It is surprising that by now she did not know the Fates would never be so kind to her.
She slowly turned his words over in her mind, trying to figure out what she would do with this knowledge. She felt tears rising, but she fiercely refused to unleash them. She did not wish to hurt him, and she knew if he saw her cry he would be upset.
It was at this most inopportune moment that he again inquired, "You sure you okay?"
Now a curious thing happened that perplexed her greatly. After a brief pause, she shrugged - it was the only truthful way to say 'no' without admitting it - but even before her shoulder had raised completely, she froze. Her muscles contracted and held her arm in place. At the same time, an intense loathing for the truthful appendage arose within her. It was so sudden and such a violent feeling that it startled and almost frightened her. How can I hate my shoulder for that? she wondered. You're afraid it'll hurt him, the wisest part of her replied.
More moments of silence (not complete silence, he was playing guitar you remember) passed, and then he asked gently, "Do you want a head-rub?"
A small, bitter smile briefly passed over her lips. In her circle of closest friends, head-rubs were a staple of friendship, but she had reason to find this particular soothing caress a bitter one. "Sure," she replied with only slight reluctance. Relinquishing her hold on her fox, she pushed herself into an upright position.
He rose and put the guitar away, then came back and sat on the couch. She laid down and placed her head in his lap, unable to ignore the sharp taste of sorrow in her mouth as his fingers stroked her hair. They were silent for ten minutes, she restraining tears, he apologetically petting her. This stint of quiet was only broken once. She had laughed, and he had paused in his movements.
"It's because I have one arm isn't it?" she intoned with a laugh.
"No, that's not it." His voice was nearly inaudible and extremely sorrowful... It perplexed her greatly, but she could make nothing of it.
So the ten minutes came to completion, and he broke the silence, asking gently, "Do you mind if I ask how long?"
She shrugged slightly. "It is similar to your feelings for Kay; reoccurring." He gave the knowing, "Ah," and nothing more. She smiled slightly. "I suppose it's worse now because I have nothing to distract me." He murmured a small note of assent; he understood exactly what she had inferred. For four years she had faithfully loved and believed in one particular boy, but now they were graduated and gone their separate ways, the boy oblivious to her feelings. It was not a pleasant foreboding for the rest of her dealings with men.
After a moment, she asked softly, "How long have you known?"
"It's hard to say; I can't keep track of time in summer," he said, laughing slightly. "Awhile, though."
She nodded slightly, and once more silence reigned. A few minutes slipped by, then "Have I ever made you uncomfortable?" she asked, voice barely audible.
"No," he answered gently. "And you still don't," he added a moment later.
Another intermission of quiet. "I'm sorry if I ever hurt you," he said at last.
"It's not your fault," she replied sadly. Then, a short laugh, "Of course, I'm sorry if I ever hurt you." He did not reply right away, and this hurt her more than words. The knowledge she had caused him pain once again caused tears to rise, but she was too tired to cry.
"If I ever hurt it's because I thought you were," he murmured at last. This consoled her a little, but not much.
"It's kind of sad that I'm used to this," she lamented soon after. A moment's pause, then, "I almost wish I was immune to it by now."
"You never get immune to stuff like this," he informed with the sad tone of experience.
A bit of silence, then he tugged gently on her shoulder. She looked back inquiringly, and he murmured, "Come here." She half rose, and he bent and wrapped his arms around her, his head beside hers. He held for a minute, perhaps two, then sat back up, one arm still securely about her. Occasionally he would squeeze her gently, almost as though it were an apology. She rested her head against his chest, the irony of their position not lost upon her.
Her thoughts were interrupted by his inquiry to what a certain case contained. She replied it was her brother's keyboard (her house was home to no less than thirteen instruments, only three of them residing in the basement), and this led to a couple minutes of light conversation, followed by more silence.
"This would make a great book," he observed presently. She laughed, and this prompted him to say, "I assume you have thought about that."
"Many times," she admitted. (She had also begun said book, but she was not about to mention that.) "Especially since John is always saying how the situation with him and Kay would make an excellent chick-flick." He agreed it would, and now only a short moment passed before he spoke again.
"Tragic irony," he said with a short laugh. She nodded her wholehearted agreement.
"The Greeks couldn't have written a better plot," she declared. He uttered a low laugh of agreement.
A bit more quiet, during which she tried to decide whether or not to tell him something. She had been unsure whether or not to divulge this information for a while, but she felt now that she should let him know, though she did not understand why.
"More than two women have seen you cry," she said softly.
"Ah," he said. "You?" She nodded. "I'd been wondering about that," he admitted.
Interspersed silence, then, "I've made two women cry for the exact opposite reason," he mused.
"I haven't cried yet," she laughed.
"Yes, but by your own testimony..." he trailed off. She was confused for a moment, then remembered a comment she had made some time back. To be fair, however, she had not been crying the petty tears of unrequited love. It was the night she had seen him cry, and after he left she had wept because he was hurting and she did not know how to help.
After a few minutes he sighed. "Time to go." It had been prearranged that Kay was coming at 10:30 and he was to leave at that time. She was not supposed to know, but she had figured it out.
Sitting up, she turned and they hugged. She closed her eyes, forcing herself not to think why he was hugging her so that she could restrain her tears. He reached up with one hand and stroked her hair, once more inferring an apology. Then they parted, and he rose, offering her his hand. She accepted and he helped her up. Then they went upstairs and opened the door. There was Kay waiting with a plate of chocolate chip cookies and two strawberry bars. It was not the first time she thought everyone needed a friend like Kay.
"You know me too well," she said with a wry smile. Kay nodded with a smile of her own and slipped inside.
"And this is my cue to leave," he assumed.
Giving the two girls a hug in turn, he paused at the door to insure the possession of his car keys. Her father, lying supposedly asleep on the love seat, looked up and snapped, "Mel, shut the door! The air conditioning is on!"
His face assumed the look of a startled deer and he hopped out the door without further prompting.
Kay proceeded to procure milk from the kitchen while she went upstairs to deposit Kay's things in her room and gather her cats to lock them in the basement for the night. As she did so, she could not help but perform her ritual: Every time he left, she was headed to her room anyway (he usually left at 12:30), and so she would watch from her window until he had driven off to assure herself he had left safely. As she watched this night, tears welled up, and most likely would have fell, if not for a timely remembrance that she had to go back downstairs and in the process pass by her father. This was sufficient incentive to choke back her tears.
It was only several hours later she caught on to the irony that he had never had to explain that he did not reciprocate her feelings; it was a given. She almost wished she had asked why, but several things restrained her. He was her friend and always would be; that was all she needed to know. She had known all along it would come to this, and so it did not hurt as much as it could or even should have. Perhaps I have become immune to it, she thought languidly. Shrugging and pushing the thought aside, she went on to face the numerous other problems of her life.

The End... for now.