I was napping when it happened. My best friend stormed into my bedroom, throwing the door open and dumping her stuff on the floor.
"What the…," I manage to mumble, turning over to stare at her with one eye half open and the other completely closed. The petite girl started pacing around at the foot of my bed, talking to herself. I say herself because the way she burst in here, it was as if she didn't even know I existed in this bedroom. Which is mine.
"Oh my gosh, Aiden, guess what happened!" she said loudly, throwing her hands in the air. I opened my mouth to answer but, as usual, she did that for me. "I met the cutest guy ever!"
I moved to lie on my back and rolled my eyes. How many times have I heard this? Counting this time… One hundred and twelve. Trust me–I've counted. I've been her best friend since high school. Where ever I am, she'll find me and start to go on this stupid rant about some great guy that she swears is in love with her.
"Oh, really?" I said sarcastically. "What's his name this time?" She caught my less than interested tone, and stopped pacing to shoot me a glare.
"What do you mean, 'this time?' You make it sound like I do this often!" she said to me, putting her hands on her hips. I sighed and propped myself up to lie against my head board. Crossing my arms, I shook my head.
"Never mind, Ava. Tell me about Mr. Wonderful."
She didn't hesitate.
One reason why I never tired of her babbling was the fact that–for lack of better words–she was beautiful. What can I say? I'm one of the poor saps who fell for his best friend. It's the worst. In more ways than one, she is the closest person to me. I can't break that trust for my own feelings. She might feel the same way, you may say. I don't think so. Unless she's been hiding that secret very well for the past few years. I have a very good feeling she hasn't.
"So anyways, I think I'm gonna go back to that library more often, since…you know. He works there now. Well, more like volunteers because he doesn't really need to work…"
I don't really need to listen to her, since his personality is more than likely to be one of three kinds.
Number one: the sensitive artist or musician with doe-like eyes who is always misunderstood. That's when she tries to be his empathetic princess in shining armor.
Number two: the stupid jock. That's the loud and obnoxious one. She'll try to calm him down from the party life. Never works for more than two days.
Number three: the notorious bad boy. He doesn't have to be big and buff, but he always has a dark personality. Of course, she tries to change his ways as well. She tries to discover the good in him.
"He's so smart, Aiden! You don't even know how smart he is!" she squealed happily. I chuckled to humor her. I wanted to gag, though. So it's a more rare "rich intellectual." If she wanted smart, she could just stay with me. There's no way I'm telling her that. So I keep quiet.
Until she gives me that look. The gaze that always melts my heart. I swear, she breaks my heart every time she looks at me like that. Still, I wouldn't have any qualms if she took that feeble part of my body and did the flamenco all over it. I decided a long time ago that my heart was hers to treat as she felt fit.
"What is it now?" I groaned, dreading the answer I knew would come. Man, why did I even bother to ask? It's a dumb habit of mine. I snapped back to reality to focus on Ava again, and almost died.
That slender woman was crawling towards me on the bed. Of course, she didn't mean it in a seductive way. In fact she was almost crawling like a baby. She plopped down next to me and hugged me around my middle, making it so that I had to control my damn breathing. I had to be careful. If I got too excited, it wouldn't be good for either of us. It's not like this was the first time she did this, quite the contrary. She always snuggles up to me when she wants something–-anything. That adorable pout on her lips didn't help me any, either.
"Aiden, you know you're my best friend…" she cooed, still pouting. I sighed and looked up at my stucco ceiling. A guy didn't need much to die. Maybe just the girl he loves and a few select words.
"You want me to help you," I stated flatly. I turned to her and saw her green eyes peering back at me. I let out a loud groan and turned away. "Fine."
"You're the greatest!" Ava squealed, immediately starting to jump on my bed. Honestly, there are times when I even doubt she's a twenty year old. Many times. But then she says something else that gives me a hernia.
"That's why I love you, you know that? You're always there for me."
Stab in the heart!
She stopped bouncing about and sat Indian style across from me. She smiled at me–the kind of smile that blinds me–and just stared at me. I waited for her to look away but she just sighed. "I'm so lucky to have you as my best friend." Then she hugged me.
Twist of the knife!
"Yeah, yeah," I muttered, not touching her. I moved away and made my way to the bathroom to get ready for the new day. Damn, there are times when I hate her. But there are way more times when I am head over heels in love with her.
As it went, a few days passed, and that turned into a week or two. Turns out this guy's a real charmer. He goes to some ivy league and he's only out here to visit his family for the summer. Ava showed me a picture of his house. Oh, excuse me–I meant to say mansion. That place has a freaking yard probably three times bigger than a normal house. Which, by the way, seems to have fake grass. That doesn't really matter, but I couldn't think of anything else degrading to say about where he lives.
Because it's freaking sweet!
He's apparently the third child of five, three boys and two girls. Seems like they're all normal enough. Except for maybe the youngest girl who keeps making eyes at me and freaking me out. I saw her once with the dude when I went to pick Ava up. I swear, that girl is sixteen and not so sweet.
So this guy's name is Todd. What kind of a stupid name is that? Okay, one of my close friends has the same name, but whatever. This guy makes it look stupid. And girly. The way he wears those Dockers and those damn polos… It makes my skin crawl.
What makes it worse is the fact that Ava seems to actually really like this guy. Now, normally, when it's just some other guy she freaks out at a mention of him. With Todd though, she gets all quiet and thoughtful. It doesn't help that whenever we see each other a river of good words about dumb Todd flow from her mouth. If we can't talk in person, then she'll call me and proclaim how great he is.
Sometimes I just wanna scream: "I don't want you to like him, I want you to love me!"
But because I care about her, her happiness is what matters.
Damn my caring sensitivity.
Okay, there is one thing I am not so proud of doing. On one of their many dates they just happened to be in the same places I was going. I thought it was really weird, but I wasn't about to say anything to disturb their date. So I just let them be and watched what they did. Many may call that stalking, but I prefer to call it observing.
So I was watching the two of them have "the best time ever"–as Ava sometimes squeals–and getting more depressed by the minute. He was as awesome as she made him out to be. He held doors for her, pulled out her chair, carried her stuff. He even walked on the traffic side of the side walk! This guy was taught well.
When I went home, I realized that I was fighting a losing battle while climbing uphill. Who was I kidding? He's rich, I'm all right. We're both smart, I guess, but in the looks department he's the stereotypical hunk. Tall, blond hair, hazel eyes, physically fit. Here I am, not exactly six feet tall with jet black, choppy hair. I'm a little pale and black-rimmed glasses shield my blue eyes from the world. I sighed. Why would Ava choose a donkey over a pure pred stallion?
A month passed and she was as happy as she's ever been with a guy. I'm glad for her and all I can do is smile and hold my feelings in.
At a get-together in her apartment, I went out to the balcony to get some fresh air. Ava's radiant face and Todd's disturbing one in the same room was so much to handle that it was suffocating. I leaned on the railing and sighed, looking out at the city lights. The stupid boyfriend slithered up to me and lit a cigarette.
"Great night, huh?" Todd asked me, nudging my arm a bit. I grunted a reply in return. I didn't want to waste anymore breath on the guy.
"I'm really glad I met Ava," he continued, waving his stick of death around. I glared at him through the corner of my eyes, willing him to disappear. "If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have met all her friends. Or gotten their numbers."
I choked on my drink. "What?"
"Yeah, not only is she hot but she has hot friends, too."
I don't know what came over me, but I think I punched him. Or kicked. Either way, I inflicted pain on him–which surprised me–because he stumbled into the wall. I was furious.
"Hey man, what's wrong?" he slurred at me.
"Get out, now. I don't want you talking to Ava at all or even coming within a hundred feet of her. If you ever come around her again, or I hear you're trying to get at her, I swear I will kick your ass."
I guess dumb Todd looked tougher than he really was because soon after that, he bolted out. It was strange. All in a few minutes, the whole situation was over. I was finally free of ugly Todd! I wanted to rejoice and jump around like the nerd I was, but a thought came over me.
What was I going to tell Ava?
I started to freak out. I didn't want her to cry! I hated when she did that almost as much as I did Todd! She had to believe me though, right? I'm her best friend and I would never lie to her. I love her. But I couldn't exactly tell her that.
I ran into the apartment and was surprised to see Ava sitting on the couch, which has its back facing the open sliding door. I froze in my tracks, at a loss as to what I should do. It seemed that she was in a quiet reverie. She was just staring at the floor, silent. I gulped.
"Ava?" I called, placing a hand on her shoulder. She sighed when I did so, her straight posture deflating slightly. The two of us were alone in our own world, away from the noises of everyone else in the vicinity.
"I think I knew," she quietly said, still staring at the same spot. My heart broke again. "I guess I liked him so much that I just wanted to overlook it."
"Ava," I started, moving to sit next to her. "You can't just settle for a guy like that. You're so much better." I held her chin in my hand and gently made her face me, though her eyes were still downcast.
"Never think you're not good enough because there's nothing about you that you should change. Just remember that you should never give your heart to someone who won't give you theirs. You should never hurt yourself for someone who won't sacrifice as much as you're willing to either. If you go with some guy that's undeserving, you'll end up miserable and wondering why."
It was hard to say, but it's true. At this time, Ava's brilliant eyes were brimming with tears and when those emeralds moved to meet my own, the droplets cascaded down her cheeks.
"Aiden, heaven only knows what I'd be without you," she managed to get out, grabbing me into a hug. As she cried into my shoulder, she spoke. "Why can't I find a guy like you to love me?"
I closed my eyes and wrapped my arms around her to bring her close. Yes, why couldn't she find a guy like me? I lightly stroked her dark locks.
"There's only one guy like me, Ava," I said to her, mind set. She adjusted herself slightly to look up at me through bleary, but still beautiful, eyes.
"What do you mean?" she asked me, obviously confused. A part of me wanted to chuckle. There were times when I forget that she's a biochemical engineer in training. All that book smarts doesn't come in handy all the time.
"I mean, me."
There was a pause between us but after a long while, a look of realization crossed Ava's face. In her surprise, she was speechless. In truth, there's nothing more I wanted than to tell her that I've loved her for a long time and would do anything to make her happy. It had to wait though. Things are better in moderation.
"Aiden, I–." I placed a finger over her lips, a light smile on mine. I could tell she was freaking out by the look in her eyes. Honestly, her emotions were always displayed in them.
"You don't have to say anything right now, Ava." I said, chuckling slightly. She pursed her lips and I moved to get up. "How about I just get you a dri–?"
"Wait," Ava suddenly interjected, holding on to me so I couldn't leave. I blinked as she surprisingly looked shy. "Do you think you could just stay for a little while?"
I was a little taken aback, but it was certainly welcomed. It was a pleasant little feeling.
"Sure," I quietly said, taking my place on the slightly worn in couch. My heart swelled when Ava took her's safely in my arms. Maybe with us, the nice guy would win.