"What's gotten into you these days?" he asks me, the expression on his face darkening. I don't respond- I just look at him quietly.
We're sitting by the pond in the forest- one of our favorite spots to waste time, and he's taken off his shoes so he can dangle his legs in the water.
He stares right back at me and when I still don't speak he shakes his head and turns the other way. I decide to go for the ignorant method.
"I have no idea what you're talking about," I say with a sigh. Of course I know he's not going to buy this- he knows me too well.
He turns on me with a glare and I throw my hands up in surrender- yeah, I've never heard of going down with a fight- I just don't like fighting with him.
"Okay, fine, I like someone," I admit.
Immediately he's smiling- a mischievous grin which brings a glint to his eyes, I must have imagined the crestfallen expression.
"Who is it?" he asks me and I consider saying that I'm not ready to tell him yet but I trash that idea almost instantly, he's not going to let me get away with that.
I sigh, thinking, knowing that he's watching me all the while. Maybe I could tell him that it's Richard, but I know that that won't work either and I dismiss it with a shake of my head.
He's beginning to get impatient now and I give up- I know I have to tell him, I've known ever since Rosaline suggested to me that I liked him.
Maybe I should explain how it all started- I'm already thinking back to when we first became friends…
It was junior year, and I had just gotten out of a long relationship. Needless to say, I was in bad shape, emotionally of course, not physically, because everyone agreed that I was even more gorgeous than ever.
Yeah, so I broke up with Gary, just as I broke up with Kieran before him but I was still pretty cut up. So, I built up the walls, told myself I would not get into another relationship before thinking about it etc.
And when I was in that state I met him- Logan Michael Erickson. Logan when I'm feeling normal and Logan Michael when I'm in a raging temper, which happens sometimes.
We've been going to the same school since forever but I had never really noticed him before- we hit it off, oh so well. In no time, he was my best friend, the first person I tell my secrets, the first person I go to when I'm down, or when I'm incandescently happy- let's just say that my world began to revolve around him.
He rose higher than even Rosaline and Ashley and so when Rosaline told me I liked him, I tried to pass it off as subconscious jealousy on her part but I knew even then that I was wrong- Hell, Rose never got jealous, she just wasn't made of that stuff.
It took me some time to realize just how much Logan meant to me- okay that's an understatement, it took me till senior year when I saw him with Miranda at prom- I was so jealous. I was crazily possessive about Logan.
It took me some time to realize why…to get past the "we're just best friends" stage.
I truly realized the depth of my love for him when we went to different universities- he was still back home in Minnesota, though he did shift to Minneapolis. I went to the University of Pennsylvania where I had gotten a huge scholarship- my dream since tenth grade which somehow became hollow because he didn't share it.
I called him every single day for the whole of the first semester and I was nearly insane with jealousy and missing him by the time I got back home for Thanksgiving break.
"Lee-ya." He's dragging my nickname out in a familiar way, and snapping his fingers in front of my face, trying to get my attention.
Immediately I snap back to reality, to the present but who can blame me for dwelling on memories when I'm sure I'm going to shatter it all with three words.
Several phrases consisting of three words- "I love you." "I want you" "I need you" "You are mine"- are running through my mind and I know that any of them will convey what I want to say just as well but suddenly it seems important to choose one, and choose wisely at that.
I go with "I like you," and I watch as he doesn't display any emotions whatsoever. Suddenly I'm overcome with anger, irritation, hatred- directed more at myself than at him.
"Deal with it!" I spit out as I get to my feet, preparing to stalk away.
He grabs hold of my wrist, looks up at me, his midnight blue eyes triumphant.
"Are you done?" He's smiling now, that familiar twinkle dancing in his eyes- I am so shocked by this seemingly inappropriate reaction that I stop moving, staring at him wide-eyed.
"What?" I ask him, confusion clear in my voice. I can see no way for this to end happily- unless…
He gets to his feet, using his grip on my hand to pull me closer to him so I'm looking him in the eyes, simply unable to look away.
"This is me dealing with it," he whispered and for an instant I was even more lost than before. I only began to understand when he placed his free hand on my cheek and brought his lips down to mine.
My eyes slid shut slowly and I was lost- I made a mental note to myself to tell Rosaline that I had felt the sparks- hell, I was feeling entire bonfires.
I start smiling against his lips and when he pulls away a little, resting his forehead on mine and letting his drop to my waist, I giggle "Cheesy much?"
"Well, you started it," he shoots right back at me, his face mirroring my smile, before kissing me again.
"I was going to tell you if you hadn't told me," he says in the next interval and I make sure that he sees the disbelief on my face.
"Yeah right," I mutter, my voice dripping sarcasm- which would have been lost on anyone who didn't know me as well as he did.
"Hey, I would have," he protests, pouting. I find this so irresistible that I go to kiss him again but this one doesn't last too long before he pulls away.
"I have something to tell you," he says, his smile turning excited as he sits down by the lake and pulls me down with him, wrapping his arm around my shoulder and tucking me into his side.
"Oh, pray tell, I'm all ears," I smile up at him, my head tilted upwards- I just can't resist baiting him.
"Now I'm not telling," he huffs, the pout returning as he turns away from me.
"Aw, don't sulk. I promise I'll be good." I place one hand on his shoulder, using the other to turn his face back towards me.
He tries to keep up the hurt look but he doesn't succeed at it for long; a smile breaks out on his face and he takes my hands in his.
"Okay, but you have to guess."
"Hmm, let me think. You've realized that Miranda is ugly?" My smile grows a teensy bit bigger as I say this.
"Leya, be serious." One hand shoots up to my face again, his thumb gently stroking my cheek.
"Okay, okay." I compose myself, erasing the smile from my face and pressing my lips shut tightly, drawing my fingers across them.
"I'm transferring to Penn, silly," he says softly.
I hardly realize what I'm doing in my euphoria as I throw my arms around his neck, the force of the impact throwing him off balance so that he's lying on the forest floor, with me on top of him.
I'm laughing as he reaches up to tuck a stray bit of hair behind my ear, my entire vocabulary reduced to the phrase "Oh. My. God." whispered repeatedly as he laughs with me.
"I can't believe you didn't tell me that you were applying," I exclaim when I finally calm down a little, "you moron!" I punch him.
"But I love you," he says in protest and I find myself lost in his eyes as he kisses me again.