One. Two. Three. Four.
Sophie was lying in her bed, counting her own heartbeats. She could feel them across her entire body as her heart was beating so hard.
Five. Six. Seven. Eight.
She counted her heartbeats because she needed to cool down and think about what had just happened. Counting was then a welcome distraction.
Nine. Ten. Eleven.
She felt her heart slowing down and her shock was no longer overtaking her.
She was afraid of what had happened. Suddenly afraid of everything around her.
Her heart was slowing down more; Sophie knew her trick had worked and she could think clearly now. Her heavy panting, from all the running, had stopped too.
She stopped counting her own heartbeats and wanted to turn around and sleep happily ever after, but suddenly she heard a voice breaking the silence. It was Zach, her older brother, with whom she shared her room.
"What's wrong, Sophie?" The blonde-haired girl shook her head.
"It's nothing, really. Just leave me, I'm tired." Zach, however, wasn't the kind of guy to give up so soon.
"In the middle of the night, you run in, still in your nightgown, and smack the door behind you while you were supposed to sleepover at Sannes house. Then, you run off into your bed and pretend nothing has happened. Sophie, what's wrong?" Zach had probably been awake for a while now as his reasoning was too normal for someone who had been just awoken. Sophie usually didn't tell stuff to her brother, but she was defenceless and she knew her brother wouldn't give up until he knew the truth.
Sophie sighed and decided to just tell everything.
"Ah well, like I've got anything to lose."
Do you remember, Zach, when Sanne and me became friends? We've been friends since eighth grade and we're both in highschool now. She's one of the few people whom I trust completely. We're good friends and we tell each other everything.
You remember how I got together with Craig? Sanne and him played in the same band and when I was invited to join the band as keyboardist, mainly because Sanne knew me, I got to know Craig and fell in love with him.
After a year in the band – I've never been too quick with love, unfortunately – he asked me out in the band 'as a celebration' because I was in the band for a year now. We kissed then. I think you can still remember me coming home, as if I was high on sugar. That was last year.
As you also can probably remember, Craig broke up with me last week, after our last band training. I came home crying, remember? Sanne offered a sleepover at her own place to talk about things and make me forget about Craig.
It's not gone like I had expected.
The room fell silent as the blonde girl said nothing at all, gathering her courage and losing her train of thought because of the shock. Her heart began speeding up again and she tried calming it down by, again, counting the beats, as she was thinking, wondering about what she should do.
"Well?" Zach said in his most patient tone, which still wasn't very patient – he wasn't a very patient boy. He too was blonde; blonde was very much in the family. Only their mum was red-haired, something that was mentioned more than once at the table.
"It's... it's nothing, really. Why am I telling you this?" Zach snapped at hearing this words. Of course, way too quickly.
"Tell me what happens next! I'm trying to help you!"
"It's... it's... no, never mind, you're right. I'll... I'll carry on."
As you know, Sanne is an only child, so she has no siblings. Her parents are divorced, so she lives together with her father, and visits her mother twice a week. Her father allows her to do a lot. She's too good to abuse that, although she has considered so once or twice.
Her dad was still at work, and he works until the late hours, so we had the house all for ourselves. Sanne cooked us a meal with some help from me of course – she's a terrible cook, although she's improving – and we both prepared my bed in her room.
After a nice movie – I believe it was Pirates of the Carribean, we're both still great fans of Johnny Depp – and doing some other stuff most best friends just do normally, we went to bed without any intention of falling asleep yet. I had, in the meanwhile, forgotten Craig the best I could.
You're probably also familiar with the fact that when it gets dark, things get more personal and you tell more of yourself, especially if the person you're talking to is your best friend. You start to share things that you would never share in the light of day. I don't know if I would've told you this if it were to happen at noon. After a...
In the middle of a sentence, Sophie suddenly started sobbing.
"Soph? W-what is... why are you crying?" Zach, unhandily, attempted to stand up from his bed, but tripped over the backpack he had put there – he cursed and after a few seconds in frozen silence, fearing that one of their parents might just come in, get angry and ask them to go sleeping, Zach stood up and walked to her bed. He kneeled in front of it and tried to let Sophie talk again. He couldn't help Sophie if she didn't tell him everything.
And maybe, deep down inside, he might be a little curious about it too.
Although, maybe not so deep down inside.
"What's wrong, sis? Just... I can't help you if you don't tell me what's up. Please. You know you can tell your big brother everything." Sophie couldn't agree more. If there was anyone ever reliable, it was her big brother by one year difference. He never told any secrets to anyone.
Shakily, Sophie commenced talking and Zach sat down on the floor to make his position a bit more comfortable for himself.
After a nice discussion about how the coffee at school is too warm, the discussion once again trailed back to the most important subject. And if you still haven't figured out what that subject is, then you're dumb. I still remember it almost word-for-word, probably because I've rewinded it in my head about a million times now. Sanne brought up the subject after a short silence.
"I'm sorry it ended up like that with Craig, but would you not go to the band if you knew it was going to turn out like this?" I shook my head.
"I'd still go. Definitely. I'd even get involved with Craig, I think. But you know... I mean, it's... I would've given everything to not let our relationship get destroyed like it happened right here."
"Maybe I never should've introduced you to Craig."
"Yes, you should, Sanne. I'm eternally glad you did because we've had some great times together. Only... yeah, the longer the relationship..." Sanne finished my sentence.
"...The longer it takes to get over your ex-lover." I smiled.
"Indeed." Again, it was silent between the two of us as I thought up a good way to word what I was going to word. Finally, I managed.
"I still have doubts, you know. Doubts about whether I should've let him go. I saw it coming, you remember? He didn't give a reason about why he broke up and when I asked, he refused to answer. Maybe it's my fault. After all, I've made my mistakes too and perhaps I should've been less jealous..." I heard Sanne sighing.
"I don't think it's your fault, Sophie. As you said yourself, everything has to end, and it always allows new..."
"But why wouldn't he give a reason? I'm sure it's my fault. He just doesn't want to hurt my feelings." Tears welled up in my eyes and it remained silent until I felt the tears disappear. Maybe the light reflected them, because Sanne would only talk when I had blinked them away properly, so she must've seen them.
"I also have doubts. Lots and lots of doubts, often, concerning everyone."
"What do you mean?" I heard a slight tone of hesitance in her voice, confusing me. She shook her head.
"No... no, it's nothing." I shrugged and cut off. Knowing Sanne, she'd tell me if it were important. And otherwise, it was none of my business. Even best friends don't tell each other every little thing that's on their minds.
The silence that fell between us was oddly awkward. We'd never had awkward silences before, so this was extra weird. It was almost as if I had just said an eternally stupid thing that landed even worse than intended. Fortunately, I always think twice before saying something, so that doesn't happen often with me and with Sanne, we both just have a laugh about it.
I heard Sannes breathing increase and I kept on wondering what was wrong with her, with us. Maybe I was just seeing – or hearing – ghosts, but it was almost as if Sanne was giving birth. I began listening to the calming but rapid breathing with my eyes closed when Sanne made a noisy sound – it was probably meant to be the first part of a syllable or something – and someone knocked three times on the door.
After Sanne said yes, the door opened and I found her dad – his hair was even blacker than Sanne's – behind the door.
"I see the two of you are talking. Have a good night, both of you. Hate to disturb you, so I'll leave now." I waved at mr. Tardon. He waved back and closed the door. It felt as if he was imprisoning me and I hated myself for that feeling.
Again, it was silent in the room, but the awkwardness returned and had somehow even reached a higher level. Finally, Sanne spoke up and I finally breathed again – I realized I had been holding my breath ever since mr. Tardon closed the door.
"I've got doubts about everything nowadays. About dad, about mum, about my family, about you, about my other friends and the reason I let you sleep over." I confusedly shook my head. Was she going to tell me some kind of secret? But we never had any secrets, right?
Or was that the reason she was going to tell me now? Was this the reason for the big awkward silence?
"No." I confusedly shook my head. Sanne was being very un-Sanne now.
"Why not? If there was a reason you let me sleepover, I assume I'd be told, right?" The reply took a while.
"I'll... I'll... I'll just show you. Yeah, that's probably better. Can I show you?"
"Sure..." I said confusedly once again and I gripped the sheets tightly – as if I sat in a train that was about to hit a brick wall and I was bracing for impact.
I had expected her to stand up, walk around my bed and open the curtains because something was sitting in the garden, but instead, she just sat down at the edge of her bed, with her legs in the space between our beds, and kneeled down.
I gripped the sheets even tighter and then I felt something at my own lips – it took me half a second to realize they were Sanne's lips. Out of confusion, I opened my mouth and her tongue snuck in. I was unable to respond, though, as I was in shock and panting.
When I had finally regained my courage, I rolled over and broke the kiss. I ran to the lightswitch of the room and there I saw Sanne, still in the space between our beds, in all her embarrassed glory, panting as well.
I just stared her in the eyes. Was this girl, lfooking at me like she was a prisoner who attempted to escape but just got caught in the lights, really the same Sanne? The same girl that I had formerly seen as my best friend? The same girl that was all friendship one second, and the other second had me involved in a full-blown French kiss?
Did this girl really have a crush on me? Was that what she wanted to show me?
My head was full of questions. I ran down the stairs as fast as I could, forgetting my stuff, and...
Sophie broke down sobbing. Zach was there to hug her while she was lying down; she sat up and moved to the edge of her bed so she could hug her brother back. Tears streamed down her eyes, but without any noise; still, Zach felt the tears on his pyjama shirt and there didn't seem to come an end to it.
His sisters belly moving up and down more slowly told him she was trying to regain her breath. He eventually unwrapped himself of her hug and un-hugged her, after which she lied down in her bed again, now on top of the sheets. Her eyes were still wet from the crying and it hadn't stopped completely.
"So..." he asked in all his male-like simplicity, "what are you going to do now?" Sophies expression changed as if she was in physical pain; she slammed her eyes shut and shook her head.
"I... I don't know... I just don't know if... if..."
"If what?" Zach was still too impatient, even with his best of intentions.
"If... if I have feelings for her as well... I'm just... I'm... I don't even know what I'm feeling."
"What do you mean?" Zach asked calmly.
"I'm... we've always been close and... and I can't deny that I've... I've been confused by that close-ness a... a lot of times. We do... everything to... together and I've sometimes... sometimes thought I... I wanted more. E... even when she sat there, emba... barrassed and caught, someth... thing I could only think of was that I... I was glad to be her friend." The last word ended up in another sob and the tears started streaming down again. Zach this time stayed calm and going straight against his character, he patiently waited until she was done crying this time.
"All right. Now, just regain your breath. Breathe slowly, through your nose, and try to breathe regularly and deeply. Close your eyes. All right? Count your heartbeats." Zach had taught Sophie that last trick in person. Sophie employed all the advice Zach gave her and found herself calming down very soon.
After what felt like half an hour of calming down, Zach asked if she could talk normally now, still in his most patient of tones. Sophie took a deep breath.
"Yes, I think I... can now." Zach nodded, although that was invisible to Sophie, as the light was still off.
"What do you mean with that you were glad to be her friend? Glad that you had those years of friendship with her anyway or glad that it happened to you and not to other people?"
"Both, I guess." Sophie replied after a short silence.
"When was the last time you had those weird doubts?" Sophie wrinkled her nose and didn't reply.
"Hey, sis, I'm trying to help you."
"I know, impatient brother, just let me think for a while." Zach apologized and it was silent shortly again.
"I guess... I guess three days ago. Craig had broken up with me, Sanne came to me once again to lend me support, and somehow, all her friendliness somehow... confused me. The next day, I felt completely fine, until she touched my shoulder, making me all confused again. I've been... oh god I'm in love with her, aren't I?" Zach licked his lips hesitantly and swallowed before replying.
"I'm afraid I can't deny it."
If anyone would've walked on the street separating Sanne and Sophie, he or she would've heard a constant mantra of loud footsteps, shortly following each other, indicating the one footstepping and panting was running.
Sophie, with her blonde hair, in all her embarrassing glory, was running in her nightgown from the first house to the other with a smile on her lips.
She was sorry. Oh god, she was so sorry. But she knew that Craig was going to be sorrier. Sorrier because he had dumped her, this gorgeous girl, and now she was going steady on his bandmate.
She had a smile on her lips when she realized she had come to terms with her feelings for Sanne long ago. She and Craig hadn't drifted apart, and jealousy wasn't the case either, it was just that she had had feelings for someone else for a while now, without ever realizing it until now. Craig probably had seen it and refused to give a reason because he didn't want to hurt her. She found it all out. And all thanks to Zach.
That smile became a grin when she realized how Sanne would probably react. Or Craig.
But nothing of that mattered right now.
She had ended up at the house; she saw the light was still on so she had to be fast before Sanne was falling asleep again.
With all her might, she pressed the doorbell twice and after a while, she heard the soft footsteps of Sanne, going down the stairs.
She closed her eyes as she tried to imagine a life together with her.
Author's Note: I hope you liked the story! It was written as a request for Romantic Volcanolight, hope you liked it too ;) If you're interested in a request for yourself, I say click on the link in my profile page and complete one of the challenges that haven't been completed yet. Until the next one-shot!