Peter heard the door of his house falling in the lock and bit his lower lip in an effort to keep the tears from coming. He really could use a hug right now and this was usually the time his dad came home, so it had probably been his dad who opened the door.
He ran downstairs and hugged his dad tightly, still trying to hold the tears back.
"Hey, son, what's wrong?" His dad said and Peter felt the tears coming up again and this time, he failed in stopping them. He didn't stop hugging his dad, so he drew his own conclusions.
He didn't respond and just hugged him back.
"I'm sorry, Peter, how things worked out." Still half in a sob, Peter replied.
"It's not... fair... why should it be... over? Why am I always... always correct?" His dad still didn't say anything but just hugged him back.
"Sit down on the sofa, I'm going to make you something to drink." Peter hugged, still feeling the tears coming down from his face.
He hadn't cried until that very moment. He thought that maybe the shock wasn't hard enough, maybe he was just without feelings, but the truth was that he just couldn't cry until that he was right there.
His dad had made him a lemonade which he drank gladly, still sobbing a little.
"What was the reason? Why did she do it?" Peter sighed as he told what had happened two hours ago.
Juline and Peter had been together for over a year and Peter loved Juline just as much as he loved her at first, probably even more. In the beginning, Peter was Juline's favourite victim when it came to bullying and they were enemies – until Peter realized he couldn't keep his eyes off Juline and realized he was in love with her. It took some time before he realized about his feelings and then it turned out Juline felt something for Peter too. The two of them got together during a party of a mutual friend of them, Timothy.
They started out wrong in the beginning. Juline continued to bully him and that annoyed Peter a lot since he had hoped he was past that now. The first two months of their time together, they switched between shouting at each other furiously because Peter hated Juline's bullying and kissing each other passionately because he loved her anyway.
That all changed when Peter realized that Juline wasn't bullying him. She was just teasing him. He was the centre of her teases and her favourite victim because she loved him so much. When he came to terms with that, the rowing stopped and Peter welcomed every single tease from her with open arms.
That was approximately ten months ago and now they worked much better together. Sure, they still had some rows, but less frequently because Peter stopped being so mad about her teasing him. He was sure she noticed but they never really brought up the subject since it didn't seem necessary – he was sure she knew the reason why he now loved being teased by her.
But Peter was going to confront her with something that had been bugging him for over a month.
You see, Peter had now seen Juline's teases as her way of showing her affection, because they really were like that. She teased her older brother too, and her parents, and her two little sisters. Hell, she even teased her best friends. Peter was just picked the most because she loved him more than all of them.
But her teases had stopped a month ago. Peter didn't notice it at first; well, he did, but more as a gut feeling that he couldn't place but bugged him anyway. But then, a week ago, suddenly he realized the link between his gut feeling and her lack of teases. He was going to face her with his troubles that day.
Peter and Juline had a lot of mutual friends, mostly because of the way they came together. There wasn't just one couple, no, Timothy used the party to bring four couples together in a Truth or Dare-game. They decided to make it a tradition and played Truth or Dare once every year on that exact day to celebrate the date.
But during the Truth or Dare game that year, he noticed that she was cold. Not cold as in that her body temperature wasn't warm enough, but cold towards him. She was still nice, but it felt... fake.
They also didn't meet up as often. While it used to be normal for the two of them to meet each other at least once a week, he could barely remember the last time she came to his house, or the other way round.
He was going to confront her on all that, that day. Both of them were done early since a teacher was ill and they were going to go together to a café close to them.
"Well... at least we're done early now." Peter nodded.
"Indeed, we are." He was glad with that information; he was going to confront her with wat had been bugging him.
They were talking like they had never talked before, for a short while, but Peter noticed they were talking only as friends. They talked about that weird teacher that was ill again, and about an insane biology teacher.
Every word she spoke hurt him a little bit more because he didn't want to ask what he was about to ask.
After a while, Juline asked Peter why he looked so sad. Peter sighed.
"There's been something that bugged me for a while, Juline." Because of the tone of his voice, Juline raised an eyebrow and kept her mouth shut, knowing that Peter would probably want to say what he needed to say. "Why have you stopped teasing me?"
Juline was silent for a while and then said: "Don't you enjoy being free of it, then?" The long, brown-haired teenager rolled his eyes.
"I used to hate them, I'll admit that. But remember the first time I visited your house? I saw you teasing your little sisters and your older brother. You teased your parents as well. I realized it was your way of showing that you loved someone and I got most of the teases because you loved me the most. But now they've stopped..." A corner of Julines mouth lifted itself in half a smirk.
"You're basically asking me to bully you again?" Peter raised his hand to tell Juline he wasn't done.
"I'm not done yet. When was the last time you came to my place? Or the other way round? I can't remember, can you? Or, at the Truth or Dare, where none of your attention towards me seemed real?" It was silent for a short while and it was Peter who broke the silence again. "Please tell me the truth, Juline. I've had enough lies."
Juline chewed her lower lip, shaking her head slowly, obviously in deep thought. Peter knew better than to say anything and, not stopping to look at her, waited for a reply.
They remained sitting like that for about fifteen minutes when Juline finally spoke up.
"You know, from the outside I seem like I'm not afraid of anything." Peter nodded slowly; he had seen the truth about her. Deep down inside, she was just as insecure as he was. "Truth is, I've never been more afraid than now." She paused briefly.
"Are you prepared for anything?" A little too quickly, Peter nodded.
"Including the worst?" No, he wasn't prepared. He was far from prepared for the worst, even though he saw it coming.
But even the worst was better than all these lies. He didn't want it to end, but he knew it was better than the alternative.
"Including the worst." He said, confirming what she said, lying to himself. Juline took a deep breath.
"Over the months, I've begun to feel less and less for you. You're still a brilliant guy, you're still wonderful, but... I've stopped seeing you as a boyfriend. I still feel things for you, but they're... more like feelings I have for a friend. I'm sorry." Peter felt tears popping up in his eyes, but he didn't want to cry. He sighed and perhaps he felt relief, but it was overshadowed by his grief.
"What have I done wrong?"
Juline shook her head. She stood up, walked around the table they were sitting, and put her hands on his shoulders.
"You haven't done anything wrong. No matter how cliché this might sound, it's not you, Peter, it's me. It's been me all along. I hope you can find a brilliant girl. I'm just... it's not me. Sorry." Peter squeezed his eyes in an effort to keep the tears away and, in an impulsive decision, he stood up as well and hugged her tightly.
"I'm going to... miss you." Juline nodded with a smile, trying to put him at ease.
He didn't cry all the way home, using public traffic. It made him wonder if he really did love her that much if he didn't cry.
He just put on his iPod and turned the volume of the music up highly as he listened to songs that reflected his feelings at best.
He even briefly met a friend of his at the subway, but he told him that he really wasn't in the mood for talking right now, or saying anything whatsoever. The friend stayed away from him the rest of the journey and he was grateful for that.
The real tears didn't come until his dad hugged him, in a way proving that it must have been love.
But it was over then.
His dad had left the room as Peter was watching television. He didn't do his homework then because he wasn't in the mood for it; he probably couldn't put a single letter on the paper anyway.
Suddenly, his phone was buzzing and when he checked to see who was calling him, it turned out to be Sascha.
Sascha was a guy who Peter didn't know that well until the Truth or Dare game. He got together with a girl named Vera because of that, but it also meant his friendship with Peter became better and better.
Peter sighed and answered the phone.
"I'm not really in the mood to talk right now, Sascha." He knew Sascha was shrugging.
"I just wanted to help you. Juline told me you guys broke up, so... if you need help, if I can do anything for you, I'm here for you." Peter tried to smile, but it didn't work. He knew Sascha was trying his best to show him he was there.
"Right now, the best you can do for me is leave me alone. Thank you for trying, though."
"Okay." Sascha was the one who hung up.
It wasn't going to be the first call he'd get; after another guy from the Truth or Dare game, Mike, called, he said exactly the same and turned off his mobile phone. He really didn't feel like talking.
Jason – Peters two years-younger brother – came home. He heard the door open, but his dad interfered and told Jason what was wrong. He asked the small blonde-haired guy to leave his big brother alone and he obliged. Peter overheard the conversation, glad his dad tried to shield him from his brother.
When Peters mother came home along with his little sister, Vivian, who was at Middle School, his dad told them exactly the same. Vivan went upstairs just like Jason did.
Time went by way too soon and before he knew it, it was dinner time. The five of them went sitting at the table and conversed about what had happened recently. Jason had had a falling out with his best friend, but everything was okay now, Vivian told the rest of the family in great detail how she found a guy at her school incredibly handsome – and, when Jason jumped in at the thought, added that she didn't like him, which was met with great laughter from everyone at the table including some fake laughs from Peter – and his mum had worked hard because she was about to face a promotion. Peter didn't really listen and his family didn't mind, for once.
When the desserts were done, though, and he wanted to go upstairs, his mum stopped him.
"How are you feeling?" Peter sighed and after a short pause, he found the word that described his emotions perfectly.
"Alone." Vivian, who was still at the table, as she wasn't a quick eater, quickly stood up and hugged her big brother tightly and Peter lifted one corner of his mouth up in a smirk as he hugged her back and played with her hair shortly.
Since Peter was very tall and Vivian very small, it wasn't a very comfortable hug for both of them.
"If you ever need help, big brother, or just need to talk, I'll help you." She smiled at him, showing how well her intentions were. It was weird for Peter to hear this coming from someone who was six years younger than he was, but he didn't mind it that much.
"Thanks," he said, feeling better for a short while.
That night, when he fell asleep in his bed, he thought about everything briefly. How that day had ended up horribly – he still wasn't feeling all too well. He was glad, though, that he had such a supportive family.
They certainly eased up the sadness a bit.
And with that thought, he drifted off to sleep.
Author's Note: I can't make a one-shot any more autobiographical than this one. Remove the bullying/teasing, replace Juline by my first love and Peter by me and you pretty much know how we parted in November, last year. Please leave a review and I hope you liked it!