Hello! My name is Cess. I've written many stories in the past but this is going to be the first time i'm publishing my work here in fictionpress. Maybe because i'm kind of confident now about my works (HAHA). Anyway, i hope you give this story a chance because i put a really great effort in writing this. It's kind of about friends falling in love with each other and for me that's the most beautiful kind of falling in love. Enjoy and please leave me a review so i would know what you think. Thank you. :)

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The night she walked into our apartment door while I was watching TV and sat next to me on the sofa and hugged me tight, I know it was the beginning of something I had anticipated for very long. I didn't say anything to her at first, not even a small 'hello' or what. I didn't even look up when she arrived. It was like I was pretending she wasn't even there but I was glad of her presence beside me. I just sat there and let her hug me tight. I know something was wrong but I didn't ask. She will talk when she's ready to talk.

"He's not the one." She told me a little sadly, after what felt like eternity. I didn't mind an eternity of silence because she was holding me.

I smiled, secretly glad it didn't work out between him and that guy and I know it should make me feel guilty thinking about this but I'm not guilty. "I told you." I mumbled, pretending to be interested with Doctor Who on TV. Before she walked into that door Doctor Who was interesting, but now nothing else is as interesting as this girl beside me, about to pour her heart out for what is probably the hundredth time this week.

"How come you always know if a guy is wrong for me?" she asked, frowning at me. She looks so cute when she frowns, like I could just grab her face and kiss her hard. But of course I couldn't. I have no right to do that. "Do you have like, a jerk-radar or something that you could just detect if your fellow guy is a total asshole?"

I laughed. She's a smart girl, but not that smart when it comes to guys. I wanted to say I'm the right guy for you, you just have to look at me, but of course I couldn't say that. I can endure another couple of years of pining over her, I guess. One day she would learn the truth. I don't know when would that be but it would happen. I've been praying on that.

"Tell me about your date." I said, instead.

She looked up from my shoulder and stared at me, her arms still wrapped around me like a blanket, her head resting on my shoulder. She must find it weird that I have taken a sudden interest with how one of her dates turned out. I don't normally ask. She just pours out everything to me until I feel like my ears' are going to burst or my heart's going to shatter into a million pieces. But I don't complain. I just listen and when she asks about my opinion I just shrug and say "I have no opinion". It annoys her sometimes that I usually have nothing to say but most of the time I think she continues telling me every date story she has because she knows I would just listen and wouldn't judge. I often give her the bored look when she's talking about her dates to let her know that I am not interested to hear it although I am. She ignores it, though. She knows behind this uninterested façade that I've perfected over the years of hearing stories about her love life, I'm actually hearing her out and understanding her. It's been years of this madness, you know. Since freshman college when we became the closest. She knows me well and I her.

And besides, if she really wants an opinion we have girl friends for that. There's Kara, aka the voice of reason. There's Jennika, the hopeless romantic who's NBSB but hopefully not for much longer. And then there's Jess the timid one, Lea the traditionalist and the loudmouth of the group, Max the queen of third parties, and Summer the one with all the shoes- which compose the rest of our female friends. If she wants an honest male opinion there's Daniel, Jay and Manny. Yes, we belong in the same circle of friends since high school and we all remained tight eight years after. But here we are now, just Helen and me in a big city an hour of plane ride away from the city we grew up in. We have jobs here now and we've been living in the same apartment for 6 months. None of our other friends braved Manila. They all remained in Tacloban City and some- Lea and Jennika- are in Cebu City, at least closer to home. But whether it was just out of impulse that brought us to Manila (we just texted each other about moving here one night and before we knew it we were moving into this apartment) or that existential crisis that we all feel at this certain age where we must find ourselves in a brand new city and start a life there- we don't know. We kind of like it here now, though. She likes it here because she likes big cities. She's not much of a social butterfly. Most of the time she likes to be alone but she likes observing people and walking around different places, despite the smell of pollution and very high crime rate. I simply like it here because I love my job as a freelance artist and a web designer at some big company and she's here with me. What more could I want? But she's always been ignorant about my feelings. If she suspects or notices anything about it, she doesn't say anything about it to me. It must have shown in some ways, though. I know she's not that dense. I hope so.

"Andrew was great, don't get me wrong, but it's just that I think we are in two different places in this relationship." She stopped, thinking about what she just said. She sighed and continued babbling, "Okay, so we're not in a relationship yet, I know. We're just on our fourth date but I can already foretell our inevitable heart-breaking end if we continue this. He told me on our first date he's just looking for a hook up and then there's the things written in the bathroom walls, if you know what I mean. But I'm such a stupid bitch that I ignored the signs, hoping he would change his mind after a couple of dates. I was wrong. I could never use classical conditioning into making him want a stable committed relationship. I should have known, right? Where did I get all this optimism from, anyway? It's so not me. And your role as a friend and roommate is to tell me when I'm being stupid."

I nodded slowly, my eyes fixed on the TV, watching the doctor and Amy Pond run from prisoner zero.

"I thought I made it clear to you years ago that I'm not meddling with your personal affairs regarding relationships and stuff. It's tedious." I said. She pulled out from her hug, damn. Now I feel incomplete without her arms around me.

I managed to shift my gaze from the TV to her face, trying my best to look as uninterested as possible. The pout she was giving me didn't help. I wanted to make her smile and forget her troubles like I always do. "And about your optimism, you should stop listening to Kara's relationship advice. You're different from her. And you're becoming too enthusiastic the past few weeks. It doesn't suit you. I want the old you back, the one with zero self-confidence. She's always easy to talk to and she would surely go with me to watch Man of Steel next week."

She sighed and put up her feet on the coffee table. She knows I hate that but I let her. She can have tonight.

"I'm 23." She said, looking up at the ceiling. "These are the kind of things I should worry about now, not our old geeky stuff. I've had enough of that growing up with you. You know I'm not very much into what is considered conventional but I just want to have this life, you know? If I reach 25 and still single, I might as well marry you."

I know she was kidding but I sat up straight, the idea making my stomach churn with what felt like excitement.

I tried to sound offended. "Yeah, because I'm always your last resort." I said. "But that could work."

She laughed and suddenly fell silent I'm pretty sure she's thinking deeply right now. I figured it would take long before she says anything again so I went back to watching TV, anticipating what she has to say next. I pray it has something to do with marrying me in the near future.

Dear god, please kill all my rival men. Make me the alpha-male for once.

She sat up straight and faced me. "What if…" she began slowly, eyes shining bright with excitement. I recognize that look. That's the kind of look she has when she's got a great story idea to write. "What if we never saw each other again after high school? What if we never went to the same university? What if we're just two strangers now bumping into each other on the street on a busy day and then we wanted to catch up on each other's lives so we exchanged numbers and went on a date?"

I looked at her suspiciously and then snorted, the idea funny but I wanted to hear where's she's getting at with this what if story.

"Are you saying you want to go on a pretend date with me?" I asked, quizzically, my heart pounding I hope she couldn't hear it.

Her face lit up, indicating I guessed right or she liked the idea of that. "It'll be fun." She said, moving so close her face was inches away from mine I couldn't breathe.

"They're right, you're crazier than me." I said. Our friends always think I'm the weird one. The asexual one. The superhero geek. The artist. The one with the OCD personality. The one with a zombie apocalypse playlist. But with her, we're an even weirder combo. She's just full of crazy ideas and i hate that it gets me all excited every time, like we were meant to do crazy shits together.

I frowned at her. "You're crazy." I said. "And I'm judging you." I am not.

"Okay." She said, slowly, puppy-eyed and all. "If you'd rather I spend the weekend pining over Andrew and making you listen to Taylor Swift until your ears bleed and you die."

I rolled my eyes. Not Taylor Swift again! It's bad enough i found myself belting out We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together unconsciously during work this morning. Good thing none of my officemates heard me!

"Fine!" I said, at last. "But you better sound convincing tomorrow so practice your lousy acting."

She laughed.

"And please don't make me laugh so much. I'm having pain on my side after falling off the stairs last night." I continued. I just didn't remind her it was because she made me carry all the groceries up the stairs and that's why I slipped and fell.

She looked happy. "What time would you pick me up then?" she asked, the acting starting now, I guess.

"I have to go to the bank tomorrow morning and I have lunch meeting with my boss while you sleep until 2pm on weekends so yeah, I'll pick you up dinner time." I answered, casually.

"Okay." She said, excitedly. "Better have my beauty rest now. I need to be pretty tomorrow. We're just friends but I haven't seen you in a really long time and you've gotten really cute over the years how could that be?" She laughed. "Good night, Ben."

I laughed. That girl's crazy. After I heard her bedroom door close, I turned off the TV even though Doctor Who is still on and went straight to my room to raid my closet. I'm sorry, doctor, I need the most perfect outfit for my date tomorrow.