Author's Note: And here we are, the final chapter of iCrush! It's been a long, interesting road, and finally, it's come to an end. With this story's end comes the end of my first story done in the first person narrative, and to be honest, I'm glad with how it turned out. It's not perfect, but then again, I wasn't expecting it to be. :P At any rate, now that it's finished, I can move on to my next set of projects! Expect a new story to be posted by the end of the day, or late tonight, either one. If you're interested in knowing what my next romance story is going to be, I'll tell you the title and you can draw your own conclusions from there: I Wanna Be A Porn Star. ;P Anyhow, I appreciate all the people who have read, reviewed, and favorited this story, and I hope that you'll all be back for future stories. Stay awesome, and stay tuned! Enjoy!
Upon arriving home Thursday afternoon, I felt exhausted in more ways than one. Actually, I'd felt exhausted for days, maybe weeks now, so really, it was nothing new. But anyways, when I got home from school, nothing had really prepared me for what came next. Like, literally, what came next came completely from left field, of course, it may not have been so sudden shocking had I actually been paying attention, but still, the idea that something I had said and done would have such a profound effect on someone was amazing, if not a little bit disheartening, since, technically, I didn't say anything.
As I walked into the living room on my way to the kitchen, who did I find sitting the on the couch waiting for me? If you said Luke, you've just won the lottery.
"Luke, what are you doing here?" I asked. Really, I sounded more surprised than I should have. It's not like he wasn't there pretty much every waking hour of every day as it was.
Luke looked up at me, and suddenly rose to his feet. He was dressed up, not like he was going to church or a funeral or something like that, but he was wearing a nice, burgundy dress shirt and nice black slacks. Beside him was a suitcase; that was what confused the hell out of me.
"Hey, Codester," Luke said. "Been a while since I've seen you, how've you been?" he asked.
"I've been… good, I guess," I said. "What's with the get up?" I asked, indicating his clothes and the suitcase.
Luke looked down at his clothes, and back up at me with a smile.
"Oh, well… I'm fixing to be heading out to catch a plane to Detroit. I'm trying out for a basketball team there," he said.
My eyes about popped out of my head when I'd heard this. I know he'd told me, er, Lina that he'd been made offers to try out for some professional basketball teams, but he never did because he didn't want to leave his mom and sister to his drunkard step-dad. That begged the question, what changed? Of course, since he hadn't told that to me, I couldn't ask the logical question and find out what made him change his mind.
"Wow… so you're trying out for the Pistons?" I asked. How I knew the name of Detroit's NBA team was a miracle to me.
"Yeah, I figured since I'm Michigan native, might as well start out where I was born," Luke said.
He was born in Michigan? That's something he never told Lina.
"Oh, well… that's great," I said, smiling. Really, I didn't know what else to say. "So, is your leg better?"
"Yeah, I got the brace and all taken off several days ago. They said to take it easy for a while, but figure I'd be fine trying out for the team so long as I didn't push myself too hard just yet," Luke replied.
"Oh, well, that's good," I said, swallowing. "I'm happy for you."
I really was. Honestly. That actually came right out and said it was amazing, though.
"So… what are you doing here?" I asked, coming back to my original question. "Don't tell me Gabe's trying out for the team, too."
Luke laughed, shaking his head.
"No, no, he's just giving me a ride to the airport and seeing me off," he said. "I'm just waiting for him to get a shower and get ready."
"Oh…" I replied. "So you'll be leaving soon, huh?"
"Yeah…" Luke replied.
I stood there, backpack slung over one shoulder as I stood, staring up at Luke's gorgeous green eyes. Something had changed about him, and I couldn't put my finger on it.
"Why the sudden decision to try out for a pro team?" I asked suddenly to fill the void.
Luke took a deep breath, and sighed, licking his lips.
"Well, I'd been made several offers by teams to try out, but turned them all down because I didn't want to leave my family… but, recently my Mom decided to leave my step-dad and get a divorce, and so… yeah, now that things are starting to look up, I figured I'd take the initiative to pursue my dream," he said, smiling that million dollar smile that made my heart sing. "Of course, I got a little inspiration from a good friend of mine that left recently, made me realize that there's no time to let your dreams pass you by, gotta live for the minute and grab hold while you can, you know?"
Was he talking about Lina, or someone else? No, had to be Lina, she's the only person he told any of that to. Regardless, I was happy he was finally doing something for himself for a change. He deserved it.
"Well, I'm happy for you, I really am," I replied, and I was too.
"Thanks…" Luke said, smiling. "But there's another reason I'm here, too…" he added.
Raising a brow, I cocked my head to the side ever so slightly.
"Oh? And what is that?" I asked.
Luke swallowed hard, sliding his hands in his pockets as he bit his lip and bounced off the balls of his feet.
"Well, Gabe told me you wanted to see me," he said.
My heart stopped. Gabe told him I wanted to see him? What the hell?
"He did?" I asked.
"Yeah…" Luke said, furrowing a brow. "You did, didn't you?"
Of course I did, I mean, why wouldn't I want to see Luke? But I didn't ask for this, I didn't ask to see him before he ran off to pursue a wild, crazy dream he'd had since he was a kid. Hell, I didn't even know he was running off to try out for a professional basketball team.
"Yeah, I… did," I replied, smiling sheepishly. I could my face turn beet red as I looked down at the floor, at my feet as I kicked the carpet with my shoes.
"Well, did you have anything you wanted to tell me?" Luke asked.
Looking up at him, I felt ice flow through my veins. What exactly did Gabe expect me to want to tell him? Did he want me to spill everything and tell Luke the truth and do what he thought was right? Or did he want me to…
I took a deep breath, licking my parched lips as I looked Luke in the face, my heart just a fluttering.
"Luke, I…" I said, suddenly realizing what Gabe had intended for me to do. I swallowed hard. "Luke, I wanted to apologize… for everything," I said.
Luke blinked, breathing in as he took his hands out of his pockets and crossed his arms across his chest.
"Apologize for… what?" he asked, furrowing his brow furtively.
Breathing a heavy sigh, I pursed my lips and slipped my hands into my pockets.
"Well… it's just… I've always sorta acted like a dick to you, and treated you like shit, and you didn't deserve it. Over the past several weeks, I've… sort of had an epiphany," I explained.
"An epiphany you say?" Luke asked, smiling, "About what?"
"A lot of things," I replied. "You see, I was… doing a project for a class, sociology, and I… wound up realizing some things about myself that never stopped to think about before. I've always treated other people like dirt, you especially and… the truth is that all along I've… I've…" I said, trailing off as I stammered, looking into Luke's gorgeous emerald gaze. "The truth is," I said, taking a deep breath, "you're a great guy, Luke. You always have been, and always will be, and you didn't deserve to be treated the way I've treated you over the years I've known you. So I'm sorry… for everything. For being a dick, for treating you like shit, for…" I said, smiling, "everything."
Luke looked me in the eyes, and for the first time, I saw something I'd always wanted to see, to know, to feel…
"I forgive you," he said softly, gently. "I forgive you… if you forgive me."
I blinked, shaking my head.
"Forgive you for what?" I asked.
Luke smiled, laughing.
"You know for what," he said. "I haven't exactly been the greatest to you, either, so… I'm sorry for being an insufferable prick all these years. I'm sorry for getting on your nerves and calling you Codester, I know you hate that, and for being a rude, arrogant disgusting jerk. I'm sorry…" he said, taking a step forward as he cupped my chin in his hand, "for not being there for you."
And then, he kissed me. He leaned down, closing his lips over mine, and… kissed me…
…Okay, I lied about that part. He didn't kiss me, but I really wanted him to. Hell, I really wanted to. But I didn't.
"I'm sorry for not being a better friend," he said, swallowing. "I'm hoping that we can… make things right and move on, do things right."
As I stood there, staring up into Luke's eyes, his face, I felt my breathing become controlled, restricted to a few short breaths every few seconds.
"I'd like that," I whispered loudly, swallowing. "I'd like that a lot."
Luke grinned, and laughed.
"Great…" he said. "But I hope you don't mind if I still call you Codester. You have to admit, that is a great name."
I laughed, and nodded.
"I don't mind," I replied. And I didn't. Not anymore.
I heard Gabe come from downstairs and into the living room where Luke and I were.
"Hey, so did you get to tell him what you wanted to tell him, bro?" Gabe asked as he hung in the threshold of the living room.
Looking up at Luke, and then smiling back at Gabe, I made direct eye contact, and I could tell that even though he wasn't smiling, in his eyes, he was, and he knew.
"Yeah," I replied. "I told him."
Gabe smiled, and nodded.
"Great, then I guess we should get going then, eh Luke?" Gabe asked.
Luke looked past me, and nodded.
"Yeah, can't miss my plane," he said, turning back to me. "Wouldn't look good for me if I missed the try outs, would it?"
I chuckled, shaking my head.
"No, it definitely wouldn't," I replied. "Good luck, and bring me back something from Detroit. Lord knows I'll never go there."
Luke grinned, picked up his suit case, and started towards Gabe.
"Don't worry," he said, patting me on the shoulder, "I'll find ya something you'll like," he added, winking. "See ya, Codester."
"See ya… Lukeyboy," I said.
As Gabe and Luke started out the door, I hesitated, and then:
"Hey, Luke," I said.
Luke stopped, and turned around.
"Yeah, Codester?" he asked.
I swallowed, taking a deep breath, and then swallowing.
"Um… I was just… wondering if… when you get back into town, would you be interested in hanging out and… doing something?" I asked.
Luke looked at me for a moment without saying anything, and slowly, a smile crept across his face.
"Yeah, sure, that sounds great," he replied, grinning ear to ear. "I'd love to."
Smiling back at him, I gave a nod.
"Sweet, then I'll be looking forward to that then," I said.
"Yeah," he said, "me too."
He lingered for a moment longer, and then:
"Well, I better get going. See you when I get back, Cody," he said. "Take care of yourself."
"You too," I called back.
As Luke headed out with Gabe, I heard the front door close, and suddenly I was all alone. Luke was gone, off to pursue his dream, and there I was, missing the son of a bitch already. Just then, the front door opened again and I saw Luke stick his head back in.
"Hey, Cody?" he called.
"Yeah," I called back.
"I was just wondering… do you have MySpace or something we could keep in touch with?" he asked.
I opened my mouth to answer, and froze. Clenching my jaw, and I cursed under my breath.
Goddamn you, Luke Forrester.
Author's Note: The ending is meant to be funny, FYI, if you couldn't figure it out for yourself. _ I know it seems kinda... ambiguous, but it's intended to be funny. Just thought I'd mention that.