Song: 18th Floor Balcony by Blue October
Chapter 36: No More What If
"Tyler? Tyler, snap out of it." Derric waved his hand in front of my face bringing me out of my thoughts and into the present.
"I'm not going to let you copy all of my work if you keep zoning out like that." He stated in his pompous manner.
"Whatever." I groaned not caring about the practice test problems our calculus teacher, Mr. Brand, had given us. My thoughts were more concerned with my last conversation with Roxy in which she suggested I was in love with Ella. Or still in love to be exact. Had anyone else noticed?
"Derric, can I ask you something?" I turned to the posh designer cardigan clad boy next to me.
"You just did."
"Do you think I like Ella?" I asked ignoring his snide remark.
"As a friend? Yes. As more than a friend? Definitely yes." He answered without bothering to look up from equation four.
"Why definitely yes?"
He finally set down his pencil turning to face me with the air of someone preparing to explain some abstract concept to an unintelligent child.
"You moved half way across the world for her." Derric stated
"Yeah that's been brought to my attention. But how does that make me have more than just friendly feelings for her?"
"Guys don't up root their entire lives for someone unless they are in love with them. Trust me, I date boys."
Okay so maybe my feelings for Ella had been strong, but since I moved here I felt that they had slowly faded. What if I was wrong though? What if I had just buried them like before and was just using Roxy as a distraction like she said? What now?
"So…what now?" I asked aloud.
"Are you asking my opinion on what you should do about your relationship with Ella?" Derric was suddenly very eager.
"Sure…I guess." Thinking I was probably going to regret this.
"I think you should go for it. See if there is a spark and if she feels the same."
"But what if it ruins our friendship?" Losing Ella was the main reason why I had never done this before.
"But what if it doesn't?" He purposed.
This was a question I had never dared to consider. After a few minutes of deliberation I came up with two options. The first was leave things with Ella the way they are and convince Roxy I don't love her. The second was take my chances with Ella risking our friendship, but no longer have to wonder what could be.
I hate wondering what if.
Chocolate. That was the smell I awoke to from my nap. Thinking it was just a smell wafting in from down the hall I stretched and yawned. Normally I didn't nap after class but the perpetually dreary weather we had been having drove me to the warm comfort of my bed which had overcome me.
"Good morning sleeping beauty." Braidon startled me, yet again. "Actually I should say good evening." He grinned from his lounging position on Roxy's bed.
"Were you watching me sleep again?" I inquired sleepily.
"Yes." He smiled completely unashamed as he crossed over to my bed picking up a hot beverage cup from the nightstand and holding it out to me. "Hot chocolate?"
"Oh so that's what I smelled." I sat up taking the warm container and making room for him on my bed. "As much as I appreciate the drink it doesn't make up for the fact that watching me sleep is kind of creepy." I glanced up at him while taking a tentative sip careful not to burn my tongue.
"I know. But I can't help it when you always seem to be sleeping. I don't want to wake…You were smiling in your sleep though." He raised an eyebrow wanting me to explain.
"I was having a dream." I replied secretively.
"Well there was this boy and he was what some would call handsome and charming. He kept flirting with me. I didn't know why until finally he confessed that he was in love with me." I smiled as I recounted the events of the previous evening.
"So what did you think of this handsome and charming boy's confession?" Braidon asked seeming tense about my even though I had heartedly kissed him less than 24 hours ago. I reached out taking his hand in mine.
"I thought that it was…perfect." I reassured him.
We couldn't help but smile knowing that we no longer harbored secret affections for each other. All of our feelings were not only out in the open but reciprocated and when I gazed into those familiar emerald eyes I suddenly felt at home.
Braidon put a hand on the back of my neck pulling me in for a kiss which immediately caused my stomach to fill with butterflies. Welcomed butterflies. He picked me up setting me on his lap as he leaned back against the headboard still kissing me.
When we finally broke apart I rested my head in the crook of his neck as his thumb traced slow circles on my arm. With his arms wrapped around me in a warm protective cocoon it seemed as though nothing outside of this room existed, just the two of us in our blissful little world.
As much as I wanted it to last, a frightful thought began to creep into my mind.
"Braidon." I finally spoke up.
"Yes." He whispered as though he too wanted stay in the moment.
"She went out with Ryan." He answered my dreaded question allowing me to breathe a small sigh of relief.
I knew I should have discussed this with Roxy. I should have told her the moment I walked into the room last night soaking wet and unable to stop smiling. I should have told her everything when she asked why I looked the way I did. But I couldn't. Not yet.
I sat up so Braidon and I were face to face. "Do you think that maybe we could keep this between us for awhile? Just until we figure out how to tell everyone?"
"You want to keep our relationship a secret?" He asked calmly.
"Only for a little while I promise." I said cautiously trying to plead with puppy dog eyes. He grinned.
"Whoa no need to pull out the big guns. I agree we should keep this between us for awhile. It might actually make it more fun."
"Thanks." I smiled back then sighed a moment later thinking of the task in front of me.
"Wow it's crowded here." Ella said as we made our way through the crowd at the Winter Wonderland Carnival in Hyde Park. "Do you see where everyone else is?" She asked searching for Roxy, Braidon, Ian, and Jesse whom we were supposed to be meeting there after dinner with my mother.
With only two weeks left to shop London was in full Christmas mode. The store windows were full of present displays and lights had been strung across the city streets. Hundreds of people it were out every day trying to finish their shopping as quickly as possible before the chilling cold air set in for the night.
The Hyde Park Christmas Carnival seemed to be the most popular place to be with its booths full of games, gifts, and festive holiday foods. There were families and children everywhere that finding our friends was taking longer than expected.
"I think I see Ian over by the ferris wheel." I said following behind Ella. I had spent the week trying to figure out what to do about the Ella situation as I had come to calling it. I had even tried to get Ella to subtly tell me if she had feelings for me by bringing up old memories of our fun time back in California. It wasn't working.
I couldn't just make a move on her without knowing how she felt. I'd just end up making a fool of myself. Plus she knew I was trying to get with Roxy. She would never see it coming. But maybe that was for the best.
Ella was now squeezing past a large couple when she was forced to stop for a man in a wheelchair. I glanced to the booth to our right noticing its display of real plant wreaths. There was also a string of mistletoe around the top of the booth canopy that came out to dangle down on the crowd. Ella was standing right underneath it.
My next move was an instant split decision. I grabbed Ella's arm turning her around to face me took her face in both of my hands and planted a kiss right on her lips. I felt her freeze beneath my lips as I waited for something to happen, anything really.
She was still frozen in surprise when I pulled away. Staring at me with wide eyes she opened her mouth to talk but only got as far as "What…" before she stopped.
Her expression went from shocked to scared as she stared at something over my shoulder. I followed her gaze to find none other than Roxy, Braidon, Ian, and Jesse all standing a few feet away.
A/N: First, I want to apologize for not having posted anything in the 7 months I've been back from London. Writers block and school is not a good combination. I think I'm back on track now so I really hope you guys enjoy this chapter. Thanks for sticking by me!
Don't forget to leave your thoughts and thanks for reading :)