People say first crushes never die, and Kennedy McKinley is no exception to that. After all the years that have passed, she was still hanging on to her first crush and the one she couldn't have – Mr. It of her rival school.
I was scared, and I was crying. What could a scrawny seven–year old girl possibly do against three boys? They may have been skin and bones, but they had the upper hand just because they were boys. Girls my age were supposed to stay inside the house and just play dress up or with dolls.
Why did I have to go to the nearby park and get bullied? I promised myself that when I got out of this, I'd never leave home again.
"Give us your ice cream," one of them said threateningly, and his menacing tone worked. I was practically writhing in my place. Tears were threatening to spill. "Hand it over!"
I held the cone tightly around my fingers, but not too much that I'd crack the cone. I felt the melting ice cream drip down my fingers. I didn't want to give it to them because if I did, I wouldn't have enough money to buy a new one.
"Hurry up!" another one of them said, pulling on my braided pigtails.
"We don't have the whole day to wait for you!"
Shoot. I really didn't want to give it. First off, they didn't deserve it. They didn't even ask nicely. Secondly, they were mean to me, so why would I give them something they wanted. Thir–…well, I wasn't able to come up with one since before I knew it, someone grabbed the cone from my grasp and shoved it against the face of one of the bullies. I blinked my eyes, rapidly and repeatedly, before I realized what happened. There was another guy, but he seemed like he was on my side, and he held my ice cream cone in his hand. Looking at him more, I saw that he had a proud grin on his face.
"Why would you idiots want to eat someone else's ice cream?" His face was filled with incredulity and pride. "Of all the things you can eat, someone else's ice cream! Gross." I saw his face turn red. He was probably pissed at how stupid these three boys were. "Don't tell me you three were thinking of sharing one, melting ice cream?"
I couldn't help but gape at the young boy standing beside me. For someone so young, he sure had guts, and that was when it happened – I fell in love, at the tender age of seven, with Liam Nicholson.
Liam and I became the best of friends. We were inseparable and knew almost everything about each other. We slept over at each other's houses on a weekly basis. Our families went on family outings both in and out of the state. I believed that he was the only guy who didn't have cooties, and when we grew older, I felt assured that he would protect me from the guys who asked me out, but whom I didn't like. Maybe, it was because I was hoping, someday, he'd be the one to ask me on a date.
When I was seven, I fell in love with him. Years later, I realized I had been exaggerating and had been young and stupid, so 'love' turned to 'like'. But then he'd do the simplest yet wonderful things like give me a call and wake me up at 6AM when I had training or give me bottles of Gatorade when I was tired and stressed, so it was just too easy to love him all over again. I was hopeless and in love with my best friend.
"Go out with me."
"Not tired yet?" I said, rolling my eyes at Ben. "I've said 'no' around ten times, want to make that eleven?"
For a seventh grader, Ben sure was acting like he was in high school. The guy kept asking me out, and I persistently turned him down. Sometimes, he would even go as far as to cage me or catch me in times where I wouldn't be able to escape. He'd proposition me and set the both of us in compromising positions, against the locker, in the shower rooms since he was a varsity player, and others, until I'd gather enough courage and strength to push him off. Just like now, he had me up against my locker, and none of the people that passed us in the hallway decided to help me out.
Couldn't they see that I wasn't enjoying the situation I was in?
"You could always just say 'yes'." His head was so close to mine. I swore that if one of us moved an inch forward, we'd kissed. Not that I was afraid of kissing. Been there, done that. I just didn't want to kiss him. Hell, I didn't even want be near him.
"I'm not up for lying" I let out an aggravated sigh. "Now, if you could just move, I can get back to my life."
I pushed myself off the locker and stepped to the side, but Ben just didn't know when to give up. He gripped my arm, and when I tried to free myself, he just held tighter.
"Ben, ouch," I winced. "Seriously, let go."
"Just give 'us' a try." He pressed harder on my arm. "I promise you won't regret it."
"Do you really expect me to say 'yes' with the way you're manhandling me?"
His nostrils flared, and his face and ears were turning red. For a moment there, I was scared, scared that he'd use his strength and muscle against me. Much to my relief, Liam decided to appear at that exact moment.
"You can let go of her now, Kent," he said calmly, using Ben's last name. "Now."
"Mind your own business, man." Damn, this guy didn't know when to give up. "This is between her and me."
I caught Liam's eyes and pleaded to him to get me out of this Ben situation. He gave me a curt nod and turned to face the guy who still had a death grip on my arm.
"Not if she's my best friend." He stepped closer, grabbed a handful of Ben's shirt collar, and prodded him to let go of me. "Seriously, man. Give up. It's obvious she's not into you."
I couldn't help but let out a defeated sigh. Not to be misunderstood, I was definitely happy Liam was here trying to help me – like what he'd been doing always – but that's what best friends do, and knowing that we'd always just be best friends, nothing more and nothing less, brought a frown to my face.
Ben finally decided to give up and let go, but not before he cursed the both of us which we just rolled our eyes at.
"Seriously, why not get an ugly haircut, or stress yourself to get more pimples and zits," he said, casually putting his arm over my shoulders. "I don't think I can take any more guys trying to hit on you."
I couldn't help but let out a laugh.
"I honestly don't know if I should take that as a compliment or not." I then pursed my lips, contemplating. "Do you think I should just give those guys a chance and say 'yes'?"
He shook his head.
"Don't force yourself, Kennedy, and I'm just kidding. Helping you out makes me feel like some sort of a man." Chuckling, I swatted his shoulder. "Makes me feel macho, you know?"
And that was our usual routine. He'd get some guy off my case or I'd get a girl off his, and then we'd just hang around in school, in each other's houses, or at the nearby mall.
That was until high school began.
Remember when I said we'd always be best friends, nothing more and nothing less? I was wrong. From the best of buds, we fell apart to mere acquaintances.
There was no explosive falling apart, no dramatic 'goodbye, no last hugs and kisses shared. Nothing. We just went our separate ways and attended different high schools, rival high schools to be exact. We just grew apart, and when I realized that our friendship had really gone down the drain, I cried for a few days. I loved my best friend, but I knew when something was over, so I decided to pull myself back up and just carry on with my life.
"So are you going to the 'End of the World' party?" my best friend, Keisha Marx, asked, a knowing look settling on her face.
The 'End of the World' party was an event especially for high school seniors. It was hosted by the Student Body presidents of Creston and Barton, two of the most prestigious prep schools in the California area. This party was a yearly event with the purpose of trying to end the ongoing rivalry and bridge the gap between the two schools. Although the committee who planned this belonged to the two schools, anyone, as long as she or he was a senior, could come.
"Sure," I answered, tossing my auburn hair away from my eyes. "Too much has been going on with school anyway. We need to de–stress."
"Got that right, sister."
Keisha and I continued walking around the mall, stopping by a few shops here and there. It was a Friday afternoon, and school just ended about half an hour ago. We were just doing some last minute shopping for the party later and were hoping to find something good to wear. The 'End of the World' party was still next week, but I was also looking for a dress to wear for that. I didn't want to have to go back next week and buy new clothes. It was like killing two birds with one stone – two dresses in one day.
"Two o'clock," she then said, pinching me on the arm. I smirked, knowing she found some eye candy. "I know how impossibly high your standards are, but trust me, this guy…even just his back is ah–mazing."
Rolling my eyes, I turned my head to the right angle, and froze up the moment I realized who she was staring at.
Unbelievably white blond hair and piercing cobalt eyes – there was only one person I knew who had those characteristics, characteristics which made a rare combination of unbelievably light hair and taunting, mysterious dark orbs. It had been around four years since I last hung out with him, but I could never mistake him for someone else. Liam Nicholson.
I stiffened when he caught me looking at him.
"Fuck," I said to myself, looking at anywhere but the guy who was walking towards us. "Help me."
Too late. Liam Nicholson, along with two of his friends, stood before me and my best friend. As much as I hated to admit it, he was fucking gorgeous, but like I didn't already know that. Even when he was just in Middle School – when we were still best friends – he had a number of girls wrapped around his little finger. He just seemed to get better with age.
"Kennedy," he said, nodding his head and smiling at me. "Are you going to next week's party?"
Liam was my first ever crush, my first love. Damn it. He had saved me from a bunch of bullies about ten years ago and had helped me out with and protected me from guys our age during our Middle School days. I remembered how close we used to be to the point that I had piles and piles of his clothes in my house and mountains of my own in his. We were stuck at the hip, and everyone back then, even our parents, thought we were going to marry each other and live happily ever after.
Then, this big, ugly, old monster – also known as 'high school' – reared its ugly head, and just like that, we had become less than what we used to be. I guess I'd consider our civility to each other a feat since our prep schools were rivals. But still, as much as I hated to admit it to anyone, I wanted to be more than just civil towards Liam Nicholson. Someone told me before, "First crushes never die." Whoever said that got me spot on.
"Don't tell me you're only going if I go?" Despite the fact that my heart was pounding against the inside of my chest, I managed to act calm and unaffected. "Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. Since when did the 'great' Liam Nicholson become a follower and not the leader?"
Bowing his head, he matched my stare with one of his own and answered, "And it's an honor to be called 'great' by someone like you."
Shaking my head, I didn't want to play the 'make–my–head–bigger' game anymore, so I placed a hand on my hip and replied, "Yes, I'm going. Bye."
I really thought our meeting was just going to end there, but I guess I didn't know Liam as well as I thought I did since I found myself being pulled backwards with a death grip on my arm. Pulling myself away from Liam, I spun around and cocked an eyebrow up at him.
"Do you need anything else?" I asked, my posture stern but the butterflies inside me were drumming wildly. "I have better things to do than compliment you."
Keisha and Liam's two companions snickered at my answer before they turned their heads and waited for Liam to answer back, an answer as equally witty as my earlier remark.
One of his eyebrows rose up, and I just knew, by that look he gave me, that he was challenging me.
"Compliment other guys, of course," I then answered, sauntering over to the two boys behind Liam and trailing my fingers down their arms. I felt his friends stiffen up at my touch, and I smirked in satisfaction. "In more ways than one."
I wasn't really like this – a flirt. It was just a façade, not me, but it was the only way to ignore my inner voice, the inner voice that was reminding me I was in love with the guy.
"Well, don't," he said, having the audacity to laugh. "Because I want to ask you to be my date to the party next week."
I froze up, and suddenly, my insides twisted into what I felt were a million, unmanageable knots. I even felt my breathing turn ragged and uneven, but I tried my best not to make it obvious. I didn't want to give Liam Nicholson the satisfaction of being able to stop me in my tracks, but with a defeated sigh, I realized that he could do that, and effortlessly even.
"Buy w–why?" Oh, fuck. I've been reduced to a smitten idiot. "Are you stupid?"
"Because…" When I wasn't satisfied with his answer, he elaborated. "The party's about tying the bonds and healing the rivalry between our schools." I nodded and told him to go on. "And you were my best friend a long time ago. Out of everyone in your school, you're the one I know best. Well fuck, you're probably the only one I know."
I laughed. Even when we were kids, Liam was always blunt, unafraid to say what was on his mind, except during awkward situations or times that were mostly special to him. I guessed that was one of the things why I liked, okay, fine, loved about him. He was cold on the outside, but a real softie on this inside, his tough guys act only a façade. I mentally cursed again. Damn, I've been cussing a lot lately. Fuck him. And there I go again.
"Fine," I said indifferently, but on the inside, I felt all giddy…and idiotically happy. "I'll be your date."
"Awesome." The smirk he sent me was all too devilish. "I'll pick you up at nine."
Then, his facial expression softened, lips tilted up into a smile, and I swore my heart flopped at that exact moment. Why did he have to be so disarmingly charming? I shook my head and reprimanded myself. I just knew I was just setting myself up for trouble.
Standing at the bottommost step of the staircase was Liam Nicholson, dressed in pair of dark jeans and a black button–up shirt. As always, he had the ability to reduce me into something reminiscent of a fish out of water. Who knew an unintelligible and simple word such as 'wow' can spur a number of complex feelings in me?
"Well, thanks," was all I could say back. I tried to look him in the eye but failed.
He just had that kind of effect on me.
"Ready to go?" he then asked, his eyes skimming my form–fitting black dress which I matched with a pair of red peep–toe pumps. "You look good by the way." He paused for a moment. "Actually, great…you look great."
Tilting my lips up, I gave him my best smile. "So do you."
We both left my house, and he led me to his car – a sleek, black Mercedes Benz – parked up front.
"Nice ride," I said when I was seated inside. "How did you manage to bribe your parents?"
Laughing, he turned the engine of his car on then turned to me. For a moment, I felt my heart flutter, but as much as I enjoyed the staring contest, the smart thing to do was to turn away, and so, regretfully, I did. I didn't need him turning me into a sadder excuse for a woman than I already was.
"Let's just say an ivy–league acceptance brought a smile to their faces," he said, his voice anything but boastful. "So have you thought about which college you're going to?"
"Yeah, how about you?" I replied, looking at the road ahead of us. I didn't need him to distract me any more. "I've got my heart set out on Cornell, so yeah, I'll probably end up there."
"Great choice." He steered the wheel and took a turn. From a distance, I could see a number of cars lined up at the side and people my age scattered on the sidewalks. Some were engaging in activities that needed parental guidance; some were puking wherever they could; some were trying to get to their cars and desperately and amusingly failing. All in all, the party was in full swing. "I guess great minds really do think alike."
I turned to face him, and again, imitating a fish on land – mouth open looking like an idiot.
"No fucking way?!" I said, my voice so loud some people nearby turned to look at us. "You too?"
"I guess we won't be rivals anymore in a few months," he answered, eyes twinkling with excitement.
Then, he pulled to a stop, and silently, the two of us got out of his convertible. We entered the mansion with Liam following just a foot behind me.
When the doors opened, I saw how everyone was partying it up like there had been a "party drought" in the area when in reality, there were at least three parties a week – the music was cranked up to the highest possible volume; the drinks were overflowing; people were dancing, and…"dancing", if you could call pressing against each other and moving up and down that.
Not knowing where to start – to drink or to dance – I was thankful when my best friend, Keisha, ran up to us looking a little dazed. She had this weird smile on her face, and her eyes were looking out at a distance. She had two shots, one in each hand, and gave the both of them to Liam and me.
"You two look goooood togetheeeer," she drawled. "Hoook up, alreaaaady!"
Right. She was already drunk as hell as she leaned her whole body against mine just to be able to stand. My arm went around her waist for support, but after a few minutes, Liam decided to be the gentleman that he was and took Keisha's weight off me and onto him.
"You're finally here, man!" One of Liam's friends appeared from behind me and slapped Liam on the back. "We were starting to think you were going to miss out on a great party! Seriously, the drinks just keep coming and coming!"
"Me? Miss a chance to get drunk?" he said, giving his friend a look of disbelief. John – that was the name of his friend. "Fuck no."
The night went on like that, and after a few more shots of Bacardi and Patron – maybe ten of each – the four of us were quite hit. I had no idea how I was still able to walk, or stumble my way, to the bar from the dance floor, but thankfully I was still able to.
"You know what we should do?!" Keisha shouted over to Liam, John, and me, and we all looked at her with raised eyebrows. "Body shots!"
With that, a few people around us hollered and started to chant, "Body shots! Body shots! Body shots!"
With a shake of our heads, we let out a sigh, and obliged to the audience desires. John and Keisha were up first, and when she licked the alcohol off his neck and the salt off his collarbone, the crowd just went wild.
"I'd like to see you beat that," she then said mischievously over to me as Liam was taking his seat on the bar stool. "Nice one," she then said to John, giving him a small peck on the cheek.
"Oh, I will." I wasn't afraid of her taunt. Thank goodness, my beloved friends Jose, El Hombre, and the rest of the pack, gave me the encouragement I needed to be the daring one tonight. I then turned to face Liam and whispered against his ear, "take off your shirt."
He looked taken aback for a moment. I saw the surprise in his eyes, but he quickly covered it with a small smirk, and before I knew it, the shirt was off his body, and I was trying my best not to gape stupidly before him.
I swore I heard some women in the background, and a few guys, swooning at the sight of his toned everything, and yet he wasn't overly muscular and gross looking. He looked delicious, very delicious, and it was his body I needed to lick the alcohol and the chaser off.
Taking the shot glass positioned on his stomach with only my mouth and downing it in one go was effortless. What I didn't expect was Keisha placing the salt all over his lips and tongue. With my pride to consider and blame, I grabbed a couple more shots from the bar, downed them, and did the deed.
And once I started licking his lips and pushing his mouth open with my tongue to access more salt, I honestly didn't want to stop. I could feel him wanting the same thing with the way he was trying to meld our lips closer, but we both knew this wasn't the right time and place. We were drunk and surrounded by a number of our school mates who I was sure were going to spread around this little 'happening' like wildfire. I just knew that this would probably be the week's juiciest gossip. Two of the most popular people from rival schools getting their sexy on with body shots. Right. Not good gossip.
How we had the willpower to separate and disconnect our lips confused me, but I was thankful we did. When that was done, and when a number of our friends congratulated us with pats on the back and words of congratulations, I decided to get some air outside where there were fewer people.
After a few minutes of sitting alone on one of the chaises by the pool, Liam joined me, and when his leg brushed mine, my mind went on overdrive. All of a sudden, I couldn't think straight, and all I could think of was how I used to have feelings for the guy, or…how I still had those feelings after all those years.
"You okay?" he started, looking at the couple in front of us going at it like wild animals. "What happened back there…"
What happened back there…I didn't want to talk about it. I was hit, more than hit, and at this state, I'd probably end up telling him something I would regret later on. I didn't need him knowing how I fell in love with him years ago when we were still immature little kids. He didn't need to know how much it hurt me when we went to different high schools and weren't best friends anymore. After having body shots, I just didn't want to ruin the party mood, so I did the only thing I could think of. I grabbed his hand and led the way to the dance floor where we didn't have to speak.
The surround–sound speakers blasted deafeningly hip music all around us, and once we were at the center, I started swaying my hips as his hands travelled down from my arms to my waist. Gently, he pushed me closer to him, and together, we danced to the music.
"You know something?" he asked me, and when I looked up at him, I suddenly regretted doing so.
Looking at his lips, I could only remember how minutes ago, those had been attached to my own. Worse, I actually liked, loved, the feeling. I didn't want to remember how good he felt. And looking at his eyes, I saw a number of emotions swirling through them, emotions I couldn't place, but I knew he was as conflicted as I was.
"Yeah?" was my smart reply, still swaying with him.
He seemed hesitant for a moment, opening his mouth then closing it again, but after a while, he seemed to gather enough courage since what he said surprised me.
"I miss this." He avoided my eyes, and for a moment, I saw the younger version of him, not the seventh–grader Liam but the seven–year old one. The Liam that was all cute, adorable, and afraid to look someone in the eyes when he was telling the truth or something that deeply mattered to him. The awkward Liam, the side rarely seen by others. "I miss you."
I miss you…
With those three words, I lost it.
I hated drinking. I hated feelings. I hated unresolved sexual tension. I hated courage at the wrong time. Most of all, I hated myself for letting his words get to me. I hated the fact that I was letting the alcohol take over my body.
With everyone either drunk off their asses or too busy to notice their surroundings, I grabbed Liam's hand, led him upstairs, and into one of the bedrooms.
Once inside, we locked the door, and left all our inhibitions downstairs where everyone was. Slowly, I pressed my lips to his, and he kissed me back eagerly. When we were on the bed and under the comforters, everything just became a tangle of arms and legs and skin – pure bliss.
When all our clothes were forgotten and lying on the floor and he was positioning himself on top of me, he broke the kiss and looked at me once more. His eyes were tensed and full of passion. They seemed to ask, "Are you sure?"
I nodded, wrapping my arms around his neck and bringing his head down, giving him the answer I knew I wouldn't regret.
That night, I kissed him like I loved him, had sex and called it 'making love'. He, on the other hand, would probably just call it 'sex' or just another one of his conquests, and so, when morning came, and I was sober with a deadly hangover, I made my exit.
I gathered my clothes sprawled on the carpeted floor before I put them on and went downstairs. I knew I was drunk as hell last night, but I wasn't out–of–this–world wasted not to remember what just happened. I knew what I did and who I did it with.
It was a good thing that I woke up earlier than I usually did, so I was able to avoid confrontation. Since I just rode with Liam last night, I decided to take a walk home and ponder on the possibilities that could happen when we'd finally have to face each other and talk. I was scared, and instead of thinking of what to say, I was coming up with ways on how to postpone our said meeting.
I didn't expect the confrontation to come right away. I thought I had a week to think about what I'd say or do or even make a quick escape, but I thought wrong. The whole morning, I was thinking of an escape or avoidance plan, and early on in the afternoon, he surprised me.
I was busy enjoying using the computer when the intercom rang with the caretaker telling me there was someone by the name of Liam waiting for me downstairs. When I went down, there he was, standing with his arms crossed over his chest and wearing a scowl. Despite the fact that he looked like he wanted to maim me, he still looked gorgeous, and my knees instantly buckled.
"Liam… " I managed to say out loud, but my eyes failed me. They widened instantly at the sight of him. "Why are you here?"
"I think you owe me an explanation." His eyes turned darker. He looked so different from last night, and I instantly missed the Liam last night, the one I knew all those years, the one who didn't know how be angry with me. "Why the fuck did you leave yesterday without even a word?"
With a deep sigh, I moved closer to him, my fingers playing with one another – a futile way of relaxing myself.
"I'll explain upstairs. Not here."
I led him up to my bedroom, but it wasn't like he needed directions around my house. I was sure he still knew every part of my home even if he never came over since high school started. I opened the door, letting him enter my room first. While I settled on the edge of my bed, he sat on the computer chair just a few feet away from me. He looked aggravated and pissed and infuriated.
"I'm sorry," I said softly, avoiding eye contact as much as possible. "I felt sick, so I jus–"
"Bullshit." That sharpness in his voice, I didn't expect. "You felt sick? But you had the energy to walk all the way home?"
Okay, he had a point.
"Well, what do you want me to say?"
If Liam were some other guy, I probably would have just raised my voice and matched his anger with my own, but that was exactly it. He wasn't just some other guy. He was the one I fell in love with when I was seven years old. He and his stick–thin, bony self. He and his caring self – the greatest best friend any one could ever have at such a young age.
"How about the truth?" he said with a roll of his eyes. It might have been the most obvious thing to do, but it wasn't the easiest.
How could I tell him that I ran away because I couldn't stand seeing him treat what happened last night like it was nothing at all, like it was just another one of his many escapades? How could I when it meant so, so much to me? I couldn't tell him that I still had feelings for him after all those years, and all of those resurfaced just last night?
So I did the thing I'd been doing all along. I escaped, evaded him by kissing him. At the same time, I wanted to curse him for making me impulsive and reckless. I never threw myself at a guy, ever. I loved being chased, and that was usually how it went, but not this time. I was the one chasing Liam Nicholson and taking advantage of our close proximity. What I didn't expect was his response. He kissed me back with so much passion that even after he pulled away, the heat on my lips still lingered.
"I also need an explanation for that," he said, looking me straight in the eye. "And don't avoid the question by mauling me again."
He may have let go of me, but he still managed to trap me between himself and a wall. Now, there was no escape.
"What exactly do you want to get out of me?" I could not tell him my feelings. I just couldn't, but what else I could do? I couldn't lie, and escaping once more was useless since he'd just find a way to get to me. Sink or swim? Fight or fall? "Iloveyou."
I said it in such a hurry that I wasn't sure if he understood, but with the way his eyes widened and the manner in which his arms fell limply at his sides, I knew he got it. Now he knew I loved him. Now, I had risked everything, and he had the power to call the shots, to make or break me.
I noticed how he took a few steps backward, how his eyes were still wide with shock, how he paled, and let his mouth hang open, and my heart broke again.
Before he could say anything, I decided to salvage myself.
"I was just kidding." I said, not even believing my own words. Then, I forced myself to smile. "Gotcha."
I had gauged his reaction and saw how surprised and perplexed he was with what I said. That could only mean one thing – he didn't return my feelings. He didn't love me, or at least liked me enough to smile. Instead, he left his mouth open like a fucking fish.
Then, he did the most surprising thing. He stormed off, just like that, leaving me to catch my breath, but I caught him just before he left my room completely. My fingers circled his wrists and he immediately stiffened. I breathed out a sigh? Was my touch this revolting that he had to freeze up? But it surely didn't seem that way last night.
"What are you doing?" he said, angrier than before, if that was possible.
"You storm in here, and you're just going to leave like that?" I crossed my arms over my chest. He had no right to be angry with me. "Why did you really come here?"
For a moment, he looked like he was having an inner battle with himself. He looked conflicted, unsure of what to do, more so of what to say, and I couldn't help but feel the same way. This was all last night's fault.
"To hear your explanation." He ran a hand sexily through his hair, and with a deep sigh, rushed himself to my side and planted himself on the computer chair in front of me. "For leaving just like that – no proper 'goodbye', no waking me up and telling me you had a great time or at least you wanting to talk about what happened."
"What do you want me to say?" I said, suddenly feeling more hurt than before. He couldn't know I still loved him all those years, not if he didn't feel the same way. "Last night was great." A pause. "And I enjoyed hanging out with you after so long."
Then, with a stiff smile, he nodded his head and bid goodbye.
That seemed to catch his attention. He stopped and turned around. He was here, in my house. The best friend I missed for far too long was standing in front of me, and I was just going to let him walk away? I shook my head. No. Even if he didn't like me back, that didn't mean that we couldn't be friends. It probably took him a great deal of courage to come to my house and confront me. The least I could do was not waste his time.
"Liam, stay." My hands began to turn clammy and my knees felt like they were about to buckle. "Stay. Not only right now. I don't want to lose you one more time."
Slowly, he stood up and placed himself on the space right beside me. We were on the edge of my bed, but it felt like my heart was also on edge. With him so close to me, I felt like anything and everything could happen right now.
"You actually never did," he answered, trying to smile. "You never left my mind, you know. We were just stupid to let distance get the best of our friendship."
"You got that right."
"And crazy enough to let sex fix it."
We couldn't help but share a laugh at that one, and slowly, I was beginning to think that we could really go back to how we were before.
"You'd think that those – sex and distance – only apply to couples–"
"–And look at us, we've been there done that, as both rivals and friends," he continued my sentence.
Rivals and friends – we were both, but I didn't want to be his rival nor did I want to be only his friend.
"Can I ask you something?" he then said when I turned silent. When I gave him a nod, he carried on, "Those three words you said earlier, did you really not mean them?"
I knew what he was thinking about, and I knew I was right. He understood me when I told him I loved him. And again, the questions remained, sink or swim? Or fight or fall? After seconds of silence passing, I gave him my most sincere answer.
"You look like you're so surprised." Then, my face turned somber. "Liam, it's not hard for someone to love you, you know. You're always present and there for anyone who'd need you. You saved me from a bunch of bullies when you didn't even know me. You protected me from arrogant teenage boys when I didn't want to date them."
When his face was as serious as mine, I nudged him lightly in the gut.
"With those tricks up your sleeve, you can make anyone fall for you."
"And did they work? For you?" He turned to face me, and now, he looked even more conflicted than before – eyebrows furrowed and lips in a thin line.
"You're my best friend, so you know me better than most of my friends do," I said, matching his stare with one of my own, and I realized that this guy was really a lethal weapon for the female population. "So answer this question, back when we were in middle school, did I ever go out with anyone just because I felt sorry for him? Just because I wanted to have fun?"
Without missing a beat, he replied, "No. You always asked me if you should give those guys a chance, but I told you never to force yourself, so no, when you do something, you always mean it. There are always feelings involved when it's you."
With a forced grin tugging on my lips and fear enveloping my whole body, I decided to put myself on the line once again and asked, "So do you think I'd just have sex with someone for the fun of it? Would I say 'I love you' just to be able to say 'I'm kidding' at the end?"
Then slowly, his face – masked with grimness – slowly morphed into one of hope, and I couldn't help but lean my whole body closer to him, our legs touching and chests up again each other.
"But why'd you say you were only joking a while ago?" He raised a hand to cup my face. "The Kennedy I know would never joke about feelings, but…"
Before he could get another word in, I beat him to it.
"I saw the way you reacted," I said. "It was obvious it was a one–way thing with me on the losing end. You know how I am. I try to avoid getting myself hurt as much as possible."
"The way I reacted?" His eyebrows shot up. "You think I don't like you??"
"I saw how surprised you were…"
"And I couldn't believe it myself that's why–"
With a shake of his head and a loud groan escaping his mouth, he closed the distance between our lips with his hands cupping my face delicately. When a quick second passed, he pulled away and looked me straight in the eye.
"I love you," he said. "I mean it. And when you said those words, I just couldn't believe that what'd I'd been wishing to hear from you all these years finally happened. Yes, I was shocked, but in a fucking good way, and–"
It was my turn to surprise him by giving him a quick, chaste peck, but I kept my arms around his neck and his on my hips.
"Really?" I said, forcing myself not to cry with the happiness I was just feeling.
"I'd want to say I was only joking just to be able to get back at you earlier," he said, eyes clouded with mischief, but they softened soon after. "But then I'd just take it back right away."
"Asshole," I said, playfully slapping his arm, but he caught me and settled me in between his legs, his arms wrapping my waist from behind. "An asshole I liked for so many years…"
"Did you really think I saved you from those bullies because I was just being nice?" He shook his head, chuckling. "I decided to help you because I wanted to get to know you better, wanted to get close to you."
"And we did. We were best friends."
He began dropping sweet kisses all over my neck, shoulders, and jaw, and I wanted to slap myself when he was successful in getting a few moans out of me.
"And you know how I am, I'm a tough guy…" I rolled my eyes when he said this. "When it comes to beating the crap out of other guys, but I have a soft spot for women, especially those that I like, and more especially for those that I love."
When I opened my mouth to say something, he quickly put a hand over it.
"Just let me finish, please." When I kept quiet, he continued, "We became best friends, yeah, so I decided to not risk our friendship. Like you, I don't like getting myself hurt, so I didn't want a rejection, especially one coming from you, so I forced myself to believe that being your best friend was better than being nothing at all to you, and then neither of us saw high school coming, and we just drifted…"
"And then had sex, and now here we are," I finished for him.
"Yeah, no matter what you hear about me, I'm not the kind of guy who'd hook up with just anybody…" He held me closer to him. "Even though I was drunk off my ass last night, I knew what we did, and I couldn't have wished to do it with anyone other than you."
"I'm that good?" I teased, deciding to lighten the mood up a bit. When a soft chuckle escaped him, I couldn't help but smile.
"I wouldn't have confronted you if I didn't want a second…no, third, wait, fourth…tenth – no, an infinity number of runs." That earned him a slap from me. "But seriously, my feelings for you never went away, and last night, just put everything I felt into overdrive."
With a mischievous smile tugging on my lips, I repositioned myself, so that I was now facing him.
"And infinity is such a big number…" He quickly caught my drift, and I saw the way his eyes glazed with longing. "We should start soon…"
Slowly, we inched our heads closer together, and just when we were about to start our mission, a searing pain shot through my head, and I backed away.
"Ow, stupid hangover," I said, rubbing my temples and getting off Liam. "Seems like we've got to put in on hold. I'm going down to get some aspirin."
With a shake of his head, he turned to me saying, "Well I'm not going to complain. If it weren't for the two of us getting smashed, all this wouldn't have happened." Then, he pushed himself off the bed, and went over to me with one of his arms resting on my shoulders. "Let me get one too."
"And the faster we get rid of this hangover, the sooner we can get back to…"
Hey guys! Here's a rewrite!:) Added a few stuff here and there, and totally changed some of the scenes. No major revisions when it comes to plot though.
That aside, hope you enjoyed the read! And I really, really, really want to hear what you think! And I also hope to either revise my other stories or come up with new ones!:)