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Chapter 6

Matt and I got along quite well, although Alex obviously disapproved with our friendship. He was bursting with an aura of annoyance that even I didn't really want to get near. I wondered why he was so pissed off when there was nothing wrong with Matt. Maybe he was a bit…cocky at times, but usually he was a great person to talk. For the next two days, Matt sat with Alex and me at lunch and walked to English with us too.

"Hey Matt…" I said drawing out my sentence. I wasn't sure how I wanted to phrase my next question.

"What is it Rye?" By the way, he already had a nickname for me.

"Don't you….have other friends you normally sit with?" I looked down nervously, hoping my question didn't come out the wrong way. "I mean, I love sitting with you, but you seem so gregarious and you definitely fit with the …'popular' clique. Why are you sitting with us?"

He looked at me ….adoringly? I can't tell.

Matt replied with a big smile, "Of course I have other friends, but I want to get to know you, Alex. I see my other friends all the time, and plus it's really fun to talk to you."

He poked my head teasingly.

Alex's face got uglier with revulsion; I recognized it to be revulsion at least. Around Matt, he talked considerably less and usually made subtle insults to him. Matt just ignored Alex and talked to me. It was difficult to try and have a discussion with both of them fully involved. I knew I had to settle their differences somehow.

But the problem was how?

It was Friday today and so there was a whole weekend ahead… I could hang out with Alex and bring up what his issue was with Matt.

I smiled at my idea.

Alex nudged me from the side. He looked at me curiously with his blue eyes.

"What is it?" he asked.

"Oh," I said, "Well, I was wondering if you wanted to hang out with me this weekend. Your house or mine; it doesn't matter."

I did a happy dance in my head. This was the first time in a long time that I had the courage or even the opportunity to ask someone to hang out with me. If I had friends, I should take advantage of the fact, right?

He cocked his head slightly, "Yeah sure why not? I'll put my number in your cellphone."

We exchanged cellphones and numbers, and I grinned like I've never grinned before. This was sort of exciting, I thought.

Matt's grey eyes were unreadable at that moment, but they certainly reminded me of a storm.

"So," Matt said abruptly, "I happen to be not busy next weekend. Maybe we could hang out then." He emphasized 'we', and I immediately left badly for making him feeling like a third wheel. I knew how it was like to be left out.

"Yeah of course, we can do something next week!" I smiled, hoping to smooth things out.

He looked down, his brown hair covering his eyes. I couldn't decipher what he was thinking. Not that I normally could with most people.

Sitting down on the big couch in front of the flat screen TV, I turned the TV on and surfed the channels for something interesting to watch. I felt a vibration in my pocket. It was a text message from Alex.

Hey, do you want to chill at my house tomorrow? My parents aren't home because of work.

I smiled in my small found happiness. It's been a long time since I got out of the house. I replied with:

Yeah sure! Can I come over at 2 pm? :)

I waited for his reply which came in less than 1 minute.

Course. See ya then.

So in less than 24 hours I will be at Alex's house, I thought. I wondered how his house would be like. How would his house smell like? Okay, I just really needed to stop my thoughts there.

The next day all my thoughts were directed to going to Alex's house. Okay, I'll admit all of yesterday was also basically thoughts about hanging out with Alex. I just didn't want to mess things up, and I was excited as hell. I even told my mom as nonchalantly as possible. I failed. Lame. I know.

I took a long steamy shower, and I had about 30 minutes until I would leave the house. I searched my closet for something decent to wear. This wasn't a date. I knew that. I had a mission behind this, and it was to find out what was bugging Alex. But I couldn't help being frantic. I chose a band shirt and grey skinny jeans. I even fixed my messy blond hair so that at least it would be presentable and not porcupine-y.

I repeated to myself again that all of this was platonic. But who was I kidding? It was only a few days ago that I admitted that I liked Alex. He obviously was straight and expressed he just wanted to be friends. I'm fine with that. I just had to somehow forget those butterfly feelings I usually get around him. Or how hot he was. Crap.

I covered my face with my hands and peeked through my fingers and looked at the bathroom mirror.

"You will act and think like a friend." I scowled at my reflection.

I took my keys and got in my mom's blue suburban. I was one of the few in my year that had my license.

Alex didn't live very far; it was only a 3 minute drive. When I arrived at his house, my immediate impression was that it wasn't very 'Alex'. The house was light tan, two stories, and almost identical to the other houses in the neighborhood. There was a red brick path that led to the house which had a warm family vibe to it. I would say the vibe came mostly from the green newly cut lawn and white flowered bushes that were surrounded by red and yellow tulips. Definitely un 'Alex'.

I rang the doorbell and my hands started to sweat. Chill out, I thought to myself.

Alex opened the wooden door and gave me a small smile before inviting me in. I noticed that the living room, the room that I first saw, was fully furbished. Plush sofas and couches surrounded a coffee table. There was piano with photos of his family I assumed on top. Not what I expected. Then I truly looked at Alex who was wearing a loose plain black shirt and fleece pajama pants. His hair was messy and it looked like he just woke up. I couldn't help it. I stared at him. Everything about him was gorgeous—from his porcelain complexion to his perfectly sculpted jaw. His sharp blue eyes drilled into mine and I looked down.

"Sorry, I slept in. I went to bed late last night," he explained, "Plus, pajamas are comfy to be in."

I thought about how much I fussed over my own appearance and felt just a bit stupid.

Alex studied me and decided, "Okay I'm giving you the grand tour of this place. Prepare to be dazzled."

I thought, Well honestly nothing in his house could dazzle me more than you.