by Cheryl White


"I'm going with Stacey."

The statement sent a ripple of tension at the table, and I felt the cold, piercing pain as if someone stabbed my heart.

And someone did. Kent.

"Oh," I exclaimed softly, the first to break the silence.

Kent met my gaze.

For all these years that I've known him, I've seen a multitude of emotions pass his eyes, and I've always been the one to understand what he felt, even when his parents couldn't.

Right now, I couldn't read a single fleck of movement in them.

Shit, don't cry, I scolded myself when I felt a soft pressure against my eyes.

I never felt so grateful for the sound of the bell.

"Let's go, Leila," Lewis said, suddenly materializing at my side.

"R-Right," I replied softly, allowing myself to be pulled away from Kent's gaze.

For a split second, I thought he was about to reach out for me.

Of course not, I thought bitterly. He has Stacey.

"God, Leila!" Mark muttered, frustrated, in the middle of Gym. "I know you're feeling pretty fucked up, but couldn't you have at least put your shit aside while you were on the field? Dammit, you have a bruise!"

Lewis looked at Mark pointedly for his lack of censoring his words. They knew I didn't like cursing. "Mark's right, Leila," Lewis said softly. "You should have been more careful." He pulled me up effortlessly. "Can you stand on your own?"

"Yeah," I said, rubbing the side of my head where the ball made contact. "Is it discoloured?"

"It's just red," Lewis assured me.

"Scared the crap out of me," Mark muttered. "Kent would've killed us if you fainted, I'm sure."

The mention of his name seemed to shut something down within me.

"Mark," Lewis hissed before turning to me. "C'mon, let's get you an icepack."

"Don't give up on me here, Leila," Cam pleaded, Kim by her side.

We're at my place, bumming on this lovely Wednesday afternoon, eating and talking in my room.

"There's no point in it anymore," I snapped, already getting tired of this conversation.

Kim sighed, and I felt the conversation shift as Cam handed the metaphorical reins to Kim.

"You like Kent, dear," Kim said gently but straightforwardly. "And just giving up like this without even admitting it makes no sense because technically, there's nothing to give up if you never liked him in the first place."

My eyebrows were knitted upwards, my expression unyielding.

"Let's take a look at the checklist," Kim suggested, and when I opened my mouth to protest, she added sternly, "for closure."

I sighed in submission.

Checked. You have an urge to touch him at times.

Checked. You constantly think about him.

You like his presence.

You take note of little details about him, including every single thing he says.

You can't get enough of him.

"Checking the third one," Cam reported as she followed through with her actions. "I saw that exchange with Kim during lunch, you sly girl."

I laughed lightly, hollowly. That lunch period seemed like it happened ages ago when in fact, it was only a week ago.

We looked down at the list.

Checked. You have an urge to touch him at times.

Checked. You constantly think about him.

Checked. You like his presence.

You take note of little details about him, including every single thing he says.

You can't get enough of him.

"Two left," I said vacantly. "I guess it's really not so."

Kim smacked me at the back of my head. "If it wasn't, you wouldn't be moping around like this," she snapped. "Leila, we love you, and we're here for you. Just face this, please? If not for you, then for us. For the past week, two of our closest friends turned hollow because both of them are too goddamned smitten and have no idea what the sensible thing to do is."

I was about to question that when Cam and Kim pinned me down with their pointed glares.

I sighed and found myself checking the fourth one. That was a no-brainer actually. I really do know everything about him, even the most random details.

I've come to this awareness when I was thinking about him one night (it's become a habit I'm all too aware of now; I don't even remember whether I used to do this before). When it became too hard to deal with the feeling of betrayal and denial and sadness and fear and despair – the whole swirl of negativity, in short –, I found myself picturing that arrogant smirk of his that never truly got on my nerves no matter how much I pretended it did, that overwhelming confidence that enveloped me like a protective shield every time I stood next to him, the way his eyes would twinkle when he went on animatedly about little things like cars and frappuccinos and video games and ice cream , the softness of his hair, the way he'd mix and match food no matter how weird it was, his preference for coffee over chocolate (cue gasp), the way he liked his spoon and fork on either side of the plate and not on one side...

"Okay," Kim said, effectively cutting my train of thought. "Last one."

I shook my head.

I tried to ignore the way Kim and Cam glanced at each other.

"Lei – " Cam started, but I cut her off.

"I just don't feel like having anything to do with him anymore," I said, defeated. "Can't I just stop caring?"

It was rhetorical, but I have here two best friends trying to get me to come around.

"No, you can't," Kim answered. "And you don't mean that, Leila. You're hurting simply because you do care, because you want him in your life, because you can't seem to get enough of him."

"So what?" I snapped at them, knowing that they don't deserve it. But I needed to get it out. I couldn't keep it in anymore. It hurt. I'm tired. I just want things to get better. "So what if I do like him? So what if I can't think of him as just a best friend anymore? So what if I'm freakishly jealous and want to rip Stacey's head off? It doesn't matter because Kent already made his pick, and he chose Stacey!" I spat her name as if it were a curse, unable to help myself. It took me less than a second to realize how bitter that just sounded.

Unable to look at my friends in the eye, I slumped over at my bed, hugging a pillow to my chest and allowing the frustrated tears to fall from my eyes, the strong emotions making them sting.

They didn't say anything, however, and the only sound in the room was that of my crying. After a moment, I found it in myself to face them, feeling an odd gush of strength rise from within me. "I-I think I like him." Realizing how ridiculous that just sounded, I scoffed at myself, already starting to feel the pressure behind my eyes and obstruction in my throat. "Aw, heck. Who am I kidding? I'm totally in like with the guy!" I found myself sniffling, grabbing a box of tissue from the side to tame my nose as my eyes began to blur.

"No shit," Kim said softly, teasingly, with a faint quirk of her lips. Cam let out a half-smile as well, the expression on her face saying "Finally, you stubborn idiot."

I couldn't help the smile that crept onto my face until a tidal wave of emotions hit me. Relief that I finally admitted that long-felt sensation in my heart. Regret that I denied it for so long. Mourning for the lost time I had – now it's too late. Now I lost what little chance I had. Now I'm the one who's going to have to deal with various forms of the "what if" and the "maybe".

Now I'm the one who'll suffocate. I'll learn to hide this feeling. I'll learn to live behind a mask. I'll learn to suck it up every time Kent goes to me about Stacey. I'll learn to lock away the part of me that'd die every time I see him look at her. I'll learn to fake a smile so well that even my best friend since kindergarten won't notice.

I'll learn to live.

Damn, I can be so melodramatic. But once the emotions get rolling, there's no stopping.

Next thing I know, my breathing is hitching uncontrollably, my shoulders shaking violently, my chest heaving hysterically, and my hiccups escaping. I must sound like a pig, but what did I care?

I'm here with my two best friends, and they do much more than lend a shoulder to cry on.

By the time I've calmed myself down, Cam patting my back gently and Kim hosting the tissue box, I croaked out, "I'm s-s-s-sorry, you guys," my hiccups preventing me from speaking straight. Gosh, I hate it when this happens. I feel so pathetic and... vulnerable. "I-I-It's just t-that..."

"Yeah, we know, dear," Cam murmured consolingly, her hand moving in circular motions on my back.

"T-This is p-pathetic, I know," I said. "I-It's n-n-n-no use n-now, anyways." I let out a heavy sigh and bunched up my used tissues. Standing up to relieve myself from the confining hunched-over position I've been crying in the past hour, I went over to the trash can situated at the corner of the room and dunked my tears in the bin. I hastily tried to fix my hair and quickly went back to my two best friends, letting myself fall back onto the bed. Catching sight of the all-too familiar piece of paper, I grabbed the checklist. For a moment, I stared at the bold lettering: Affection. I sighed, and with finality, I picked up a pen and checked the last criteria.

You can't get enough of him.

Because even though he's pretty much making me feel like shit right now (it's not his fault though), I don't want to get separated from him.

Not because he's practically been there all my life. Not because he's a convenient friend to have. Not because he's a petty crush.

But because deep down, no matter what happens, he's still my friend. Even though I have just acknowledged more-than-friends feelings stirring within me towards him, it doesn't change the fact that I'll always care deeply for him. He may not be the man of my dreams (heck, I'm not even sure if it's possible – we're still pretty young), but he'll always have a special place in my heart and in my life.

I turned back to my friends, a sensation of closure and acceptance rippling through me. "W-W-What now?" I asked them, my breathing still uneven, not really sure what I meant myself. What do they want to do now that I'm done crying? Maybe watch a movie? Or what do I do now that I've realized how stupid I've been?

Apparently, they assumed the latter.

"We're not yet done, actually," Kim said softly. She slowly – almost cautiously – handed me a piece of paper.

The third checklist. Attentions.

I sighed and lifelessly held it out to Kim, returning it. But she didn't take it.

"C'mon, Lei, you need to at least finish it," Cam pleaded.

"There's nothing to finish," I replied simply, feeling the bitterness slowly take over.

"Just read it," Kim said commandingly but gently.

We stared each other down for a moment, and with a submissive sigh, I acquiesced.

I skimmed through the list.

He casually touches you.

He constantly thinks about you.

He likes your presence.

He takes note of little details about you, including every single thing you say.

He can't get enough of you.

It's just like the first checklist! And heck, how in the world am I supposed to know this?

How am I supposed to know whether he thinks of me? How am I supposed whether he actually likes my presence? How am I supposed to know whether he even bothers to pay attention to me?

How the heck am I supposed to know whether or not he can get enough of me?

"This is ridiculous," I muttered, forcefully thrusting the checklist back to Kim.

"Leila," she said pointedly. "It's not hard."

"Kim, how am I supposed to know these things without cracking open Kent's head?"

"Stop being so cynical," Cam suggested. "You know the signs." She lightly pushed the piece of paper back to me.

Running a hand through my hair in exasperation, I realized that the small action was another small habit I picked up from Kent.

Dammit, why is he everywhere now?

Without even thinking, I checked the first line. He casually touches you. Really, how many times has he slung his arm over my shoulder without my scowling response? How many times has his shoulder brushed against mine so casually that I don't even realize the warmth I get from that small deed? How many times has he dragged me off somewhere by grabbing my arm or my hand – no matter how ungraciously?

Next. He constantly thinks about you. Skip.

He likes your presence. Hmmm.

I suppose so?

I mean, he's my best friend and all. We can talk for hours and hours without getting bored. And I'd be damned if he didn't actually enjoy it.


Next. He takes note of little details about you, including every single thing you say. Uhhh. No? Skip.

He can't get enough of you.

Most definitely out of the question now.

Sigh. This isn't getting me anywhere.

What's with all the false hope, anyway?

"Nooooooo," I moaned in resistance. "I refuuu – oomph!"

I practically growled at Mark, who was standing over me triumphantly. Glaring, I turned to the other three culprits.

It's Friday afternoon. The day of the party. The one I'm supposedly not attending because it's supposedly the movie night I usually had with my supposed bestfriend.

However, things change.

And I have just been carried here like a sack of potatoes by my so-called friends who have every intention of bringing me to that wretched party.

The party that everyone is attending.

Everyone including Kent.

And Stacey.


And Stacey.


And Stacey.


Yeah, totally not bitter here.

"Leila," Mark began in his I'm-so-menacing voice. "We can do this either the easy way or the hard way. Take your pick."

"I bet you've always wanted to say that." I rolled my eyes.

"I've always wanted to kidnap someone, too, hun. You're making my dreams come true tonight!" He clapped giddily with overly exaggerated enthusiasm.

"Har har." I crossed my arms and felt a sharp pressure at the back of my head.

I reflexively turned to Kim. "Did you just – ?" She smacked me!

She rolled her eyes. "Stop being so stubborn and listen to us."

"This'll be good for you, dear," Cam said endearingly before her expression turned sly. "Besides, we get to pretty you up!" she half-squealed.

I groaned. "You guys – "

"Mark and I have absolutely no qualms with restraining you for the purpose of getting you to that party," Lewis said sternly, crossing his arms.

"Yeah," Mark immediately agreed. "We'll tie you to that chair if we have to – "

" – and muffle your screams – "

" – or even help you with your clothes – "

"You guys!" I shrieked.

"Okay boys, out," Kim ordered, waving them out the door.

"If you need any help, don't hesitate to call."

Cam and I rolled our eyes at Mark's suggestive tone.

"Okay." Kim turned to me, a determined look in her eyes. "Let's get started."

"I'm not so sure about this," I said, hoping that I'm simply imagining the feeling of throwing up.

"It'll be fine," Cam assured me with a gentle pat on my arm.

I honestly don't know what they're thinking. I mean, they're practically dragging me to my destruction. Isn't bad enough without the confrontation?

Isn't it bad enough without having to witness the actual Kent-likes-some-other-girl fraternization?

Gosh, this is terrible.

"I feel like I'm gonna throw up," I announced faintly.

"Woah there, honey," Mark spoke up in alarm, keeping his eyes on the road. "I think there's a bag somewhere at the back you can throw up in."

Men and cars.

"Nah. I'll manage..."

I hope.

It was a usual high school party. I was never the type of girl who'd constantly go to parties and drink and dance and get laid (heck, that has never happened to me before, and I'm keeping it that way), but that doesn't mean I'd avoid parties.

I mean, I'd go when I felt like it. With Cam and Kim, of course. But not all the time.

Yet to this particular party...

I have no idea why I'm here. Or why I'm dressed like this. Or why I'm even carrying this wretched checklist!

Enjoying the sound of crunching paper in my fist, I leaned against a pillar, observing my surroundings.

Though it's packed and cramped, Jessica's house is really big – heck, the whole high school population must be in here!

Kim and Mike are having some couply alone time outside in the garden. I just hope they won't get thrown into the pool in the middle of one of their moments. Yes, Jessica actually has a pool.

Mark and Lewis were nowhere to be found.

Cam's right next to me.

Hence, the end of my-closest-friends-search.

Okay, I didn't mean that.

Kent wasn't anywhere to be seen either.

I sighed.

Cam picked up on my mood and quickly offered a remedy. "I heard they have crack at the back."

Her face was so serious, I couldn't help but laugh. "Camy!" She joined in, obviously happy to have lightened up my mood.

"C'mon, you're supposed to be having fun!" she yelled over the music, pulling me to the dance floor.

I shook my head. "Drinks first?"

"Whatever floats your boat." She nodded, and we made our way to the kitchen.

Where we found Mark and Lewis.

"Hey!" Cam greeted them. "Where'd you guys go?"

I looked at them questioningly. They disappeared the moment we arrived.

"Mark thought he saw his sophomore soul mate," Lewis explained.

Mark hit him before turning to us. "Psh. I wasn't as desperate as he made me out to be." And then he downed the remains of the bottle of beer he was holding.

I scrunched my nose. I never liked beer.

Lewis put down his own half-finished bottle. "I guess I'll be driving tonight."

"Hey, you guys," a familiar voice said, obviously relieved from escaping the blasting music from the living room.

We all turned to see Kent.

"Hey," I greeted weakly, but I know I couldn't have been heard with Mark's booming "Yo mahn!" and Cam's chirp of "Hi, Kent," and Lewis' smooth "Hey."

But it was as if he zoomed onto my voice – he smiled at me. "Hey."

"There she is!" Mark exclaimed, grabbing two bottles of beer from a counter and leaving the kitchen.

Answering Kent's unspoken question, Lewis explained, "He must've seen his sophomore soul mate." He sighed. "I better make sure he doesn't do anything stupid and scare her off."

And with that, he left the scene as well.

"I need a drink," Cam chirped, helping herself to a cooler at the corner of the kitchen.

Eyeing the empty bottle of beer on the table, Kent raised an eyebrow at me. "I thought you didn't like beer."

I blinked. The only time I ever disclosed that detail was during a party in freshmen year. Three years ago. "I don't," I confirmed, frowning.

What was that criterion on the checklist...? I knitted my eyebrows as I lapsed into thought.

"Damn, there's only beer," Cam said, snapping me out of my thoughts. "Sorry, Lei."

The scent of beer hit me, and I scrunched my nose in response. I waved Cam away, noting the opened bottle of beer in her hands. "It's okay, Cam."

She laughed – more of a giggle; she was never that good with alcohol – and must have noticed someone behind me because she waved, and with a quick "see you guys later," she ran off.

I sighed.

"Lei?" It was Kent.


"Hm?" I murmured distractedly. I distinctly remember something in the checklist...

"What's occupying your mind?" He almost sound worried.


"You're obviously distracted." He rolled his eyes.

And it was the way I roll my eyes. I'd know; I have this distinct way of doing it where my pupils go –

Okay, never mind. But really, that was my eye roll.

Le gasp. Could he have picked up some of my habits, too...?

Checklist, checklist...

What was written on that checklist?

"Lei!" he snapped, effectively grabbing my attention.

"Wha – "

He ran a hand through his hair, evidently frustrated. "Geez, what's with you? I've been talking to you for the past minute, and you're going all blank on me."

I scrunched my face apologetically. His face softened. "Sorry. I was just... thinking."






"Stuff." I nodded.



"Lei," he scolded gently.

I shrugged, suddenly unsure of what to say. "Y'know," I said vaguely.

What was written on that piece of paper?

He ran a hand through his hair again. Frustration level increased. "You're being difficult."

"Don't tell me you're surprised," I deadpanned.

"Reminds me of the time you wouldn't tell Luis – " my brother " – who threw your shoes in the sand box in kindergarten."

Startled, I didn't say anything.

He continued to reminisce. "Or the time you refused to tell anyone what was bothering you the one time you failed a quiz in math." He rolled his eyes – my way. I can't believe he remembers those tidbits of my life. Heck, I don't even remember that bully in kindergarten or even the subject that quiz was on.

"Ah!" I exclaimed suddenly, making him flinch. How could I have been so stupid?

I looked at the scrunched up piece of paper in my hand and smacked my forehead.

Without further ado, I flattened out the checklist, ironing it with my hand, and skimmed through the oh-so-familiar words. Grabbing a random pen from a drawer, I ticked the fourth.

Check. He casually touches you.

He constantly thinks about you.

Check. He likes your presence.

Check. He takes note of little details about you, including every single thing you say.

He can't get enough of you.

When Kent realized what I was doing, he scowled. "Are you ever going to get over that?" he snapped, uncharacteristically... snappy.

Which, of course, rose an unpleasant fire within me. Especially since it's coming from him. I'm the one emotionally frustrated here! It's his fault, and so what if he doesn't know?

He doesn't have to be so damn inconsiderate about it!

"No," I replied heavily, biting down my tongue.

"Well, it's ridiculous!" He snatched the paper out of my hands.

"Hey!" I lunged for it. I wasn't surprised when he pulled it out of my reach in time.

"Do you honestly think these checklists could entice epiphanies in you? It's unrealistic."

"It's none of your business, Kent! If you hate it so much, then don't mind it!" I made another jump for it. No avail.

"It's kind of hard to do that when I'm trying to talk to you, but you stay hung up in this shit."

My jaw dropped. I had the urge to slap him. "Geez, Kent!" I threw my hands up in frustration. "I don't get why you're so affected by this; it's my love life!"

Then again, there was the time he bullied a guy in elementary for telling me he liked me. The poor guy cried, and I didn't talk to Kent for a week. That was until I found out that the guy only told me that so that he could get my crayons. And I wouldn't blame him – I had that box of ninety-six colours.

Plus the time someone asked me out in middle school. This time, he was just desperate for a girlfriend.

I know; my love life is sad.

And whoever the hell said the third time's the charm must be seriously deluded.

Look where it's getting me now.

"You're such an idiot; why don't you give it a moment's thought!"

"What?" I shrieked.

"Think!" he practically yelled at me. "Why the fuck do you think I give a shit about your love life? Worrying is a bitch, and I sure as hell wouldn't go through it if I could help it!"

I blinked.

"And don't you dare give me any of that 'best friend' crap."

Unusually, my voice came out soft. "Kent, you know I don't like it when people curse and tower over – "

He laughed sardonically. He drew himself to his maximum height and went on. "Dammit, Lei, of course I know that. I also happen to know that you don't like nuts and coffee and jelly beans and beer! But hell, if that's what it takes to get you to listen to me instead of brooding over some mystery guy who couldn't even match up to these standards – " he waved the checklist at me " – then I will fucking use them!" To emphasize his point, he grabbed a bottle of beer and downed half of it.

My jaw dropped. "Kent, I don't think that's very healt – "

"And I also happen to know that you're a health freak! You're crazy about chocolate! You read stories everyday and hate opening bags of organic chips in any other way aside from pulling at the sides! I know every little thing about you! I always think about you! I can't go throughout the day without at least talking to you, and I constantly look for an excuse to touch you! Fuck, I can'tget enough of you!" Once again, he waved the checklist in my face. "I fit all the criteria, but you don't give a shit!"

At this point, I'm paralyzed. Frozen. In shock.

My jaw was hanging, my eyes wide.

I must've looked like an idiot.

"B-B-But Stacey..." I said weakly.

He laughed humourlessly. "Stacey? Are you kidding me?"

I blinked. Then, I felt a tinge of irritation at Kent. "You're the one who said you're going with her! On our movie night, too!"

"Movie night? Movie night is next Friday, Lei!"

"Wha – no! It's this Friday! Don't tell me you've even forgotten when we have movie nights!" Oh gosh. I can't believe this.

"Lei," he said lowly. "Movie night is next Friday. Every last Friday of the month, right?"

Uhhh. I gave it a moment's thought. "Okay, fine, but that doesn't change the fact that you went to this party with Stacey! Where is she, by the way? You know – "

"I didn't go with Stacey," he grumbled so softly I wasn't sure I was meant to hear.

"What?" I whispered disbelievingly, my eyebrows knitted upwards.

"I didn't go with Stacey," he repeated, louder this time. He was scratching the back of his neck nervously. The few times I've seen him do that usually involved his giving his mom a present. "I just said it on whim. I got a bit bitter, you see..." Again, that last bit was spoken so softly, I wasn't sure whether he was mumbling it to himself or not.

"Oh," I exclaimed, suddenly at a loss of words.

Then it got awkward.

Which, in case you don't realize, never happens between me and Kent.


"Uhm..." I said just to fill in the silence. "Ke – "

"How about you?" he asked softly, the all-too-familiar unreadable emotion in his tone.

"What about me?"

"Aren't you supposed to be looking for your mystery guy or something? You have two more things to check here." He held out the checklist to me.

I couldn't look at him; I stared at the checklist instead. "Actually... I'm already done with it."

There was a shift in atmosphere – Kent was exuding really bad vibes. After a heartbeat, he decided he couldn't take it.

He thrust the paper into my hands and made to turn on his heel. But reflexively, I held onto his hand.

"Lei – " he began, his tone that of controlled emotion.

"He admitted to everything on this list just now," I blurted out before I let my cowardly instincts take over.

He visibly froze. Turning to me slowly, he gazed at me with wonder on his face. I immediately looked down but his fingers caught my chin and tipped it upwards. "What does that mean?" he asked, his eyes holding a number of different emotions – controlled joy, uncertainty, excitement, worry...

"Uhm." My eyes automatically averted from his gaze. I could already feel the heat rising up to my cheeks.

"Lei, look at me," he said, his tone turning teasing. Without even looking at him, I could already imagine the smirk starting to form on his face.

"Kent." Oh gosh, this is so embarrassing. I slowly took his hand (the one that was tilting my face upwards) and pulled it away. For a second, I was astonished that he allowed the movement, but then he retaliated, placing his hands on the counter, one on either side of me, effectively trapping me there with his muscle.


"Lei, you're blushing." He was all-out teasing now.

I still refused to look him in the eyes.

"You're turning into a tomato."

What a way to ruin the moment. But I was too embarrassed to even think of rolling my eyes.

"A cute tomato, of course."

Don't look up. Don't look up.

And then his voice was suddenly closer – I could feel his breath on my ear. "Lei."

"Alright, alright, already!" I exclaimed exasperatedly, trying to push him away. Really, he's invading my personal space! "I like you, okay! Now, move it, or I'm going to start hyperventilating!"

"Sweetheart, I know I have that effect on you, but you'll just have to get used to – "


"It doesn't count if you don't say it while you look lovingly into my eyes." He pouted.

"Oh, gosh, Kent – " I buried my face in my hands, and I could practically feel the heat. "I'm shy," I mumbled.

He laughed – as in, really laughed, like throw-my-head-back-in-laughter laugh.


"C'mon, Lei, you're not shy."

"I am when it comes to these things!"

"'These things'?" he mused.

"Shut it, Kent. It's taken me a while to come to terms with this; you're not making it any easier."

"Hey, do you think the prolonged waiting you put me through made it any easier for me?"

Wow, he's got a point. "You're not the only who went through the stage of uncertainty. Besides, I'm not the one who invited someone else to a party!"

"Hey! You made me think those checklists were for some other guy!"

I scrunched my nose at him.

And then he kissed it. Yeah, my nose.

"Ken – "

And then my cheek.

Gosh, I'm blushing like crazy tonight.

And then... he stopped a centimetre away from my lips. It was as if time froze, and our gazes met.

I worried my bottom lip unconsciously, and I saw his eyes zero in on the movement.

My face must be terribly red now, and I'm not even wasted!

Drunk, maybe. On Kent.

Oh, my gosh. I did not just think that.

"I like you," I whispered.

He smiled. "I like you, too."

And then the space between our lips disappeared.

The End