Episode 4 – Run In With Love Con’t

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Now, don’t you all worry…this entire story is really about ‘the man I’m in love with’ so we’ll come back to him. But right now.

The Man who’s my ‘Man, Man’ A.K.A. Random Stranger

Don’t judge me, but random stranger really means random stranger. Stop it, I said not to judge. Anyway, so Nathan and I were going through some stuff *hint hint*. It had led to me being so pissed that I just wasn’t in my right mind. And where did that land me? On Facebook. I’d never done anything like it but I knew how I felt about Nathan and all I wanted to do was spite him, nothing too big of course, I still loved him. And where better to find a non-commitment asshole than on Facebook. There were always random guys saying hi to me in my inbox. So I decided to answer one of them. This boy though…This boy’s name was Adrian and he turned out to be a good one. And when I say good, I mean good lair.

He was attentive, he was excited to talk to me every night and it was all going great. We started Skyping and adding all of each other’s social networks. And for a while, he’d taken my mind off of Nathan and the drama we were going through. We were definitely on a break and we hadn’t spoken in a month. That was a lifetime to us. In the mean time I was being courted by Adrian. And where was my guilt…in the back of my mind. But I never forgot the reason why I was talking to Adrian so much. It was just for fun and he was childish enough, for his age, to remind me. He annoyed the hell out of me with his immaturity and that was exactly what I want. But all my fun and peace was going to be shattered as soon as I agreed to be exclusive with Adrian. Nathan always sensed when he messed up bad enough for the effects to become permanent and his spider senses probably went off the very second Adrian kissed me that night. And I could always sense when Nathan was going to pop back up. There were always signs from the universe. A sudden breeze would pass with his scent in it. I’m not even kidding. I’d just know that he was going to come back. With a fight as big as this one that we were having I was going to resist as hard as I could.

“What’s wrong baby?” Adrian asked me. We were at our favorite spot and I was staring into the darkness. It was late, maybe almost midnight. I kept getting the signs that Nathan was coming soon. I stayed away from Dustin’s place but truly I wanted to be there. The thing was that at the time Nathan wasn’t living there anymore. But I was so afraid of hurting Adrian. I had developed some unexpected feeling for the annoying and childish fool.  We were together for two months. I needed to pull myself together.

“Nothing honey, I was just thinking.”

“About what?”

“I don’t think I can tell you. You’re not going to want to hear it.”

“You don’t trust me?”

“I’ve already told you that I don’t” He always got angry when I remind him that I don’t trust him.  It wasn’t anything that I could explain. He was really sweet but I just didn’t. He folded his arms and said nothing. I looked at him feeling a little guilty for making him sad but I was more irritated that he was so soft.  “I’m ready to go home.”

“Okay dear.” He said like an old person. He was really irritated with me. I shook my head. He couldn’t handle me if he tried. I always tried to be nicer to him. He was too sensitive. Nathan could hold his own.

“Baby,” I pouted up at him. “I’m sorry. I just can’t trust anyone.” I said sincerely.

“But I’m your boyfriend. You can trust me.”

I sighed “Okay, I’ll try. That’s all I can do.” I kissed him on the cheek and entered a taxi.

As I opened my laptop a half hour later to text him on Facebook a small though occurred to me. I’d never added him on Instagram. And I really wanted to. Before I didn’t even care. I got on Instagram immediately and started searching. I couldn’t remember whether he’d even mentioned having an account. But as I was there searching for him I got something better. I got exactly what I wanted. Not only did I find him but I also found a reason to be okay with the fact that Nathan was coming back. Then why was I crying as I looked at the picture of Adrian and some bitch named Sabrina on a date in a restaurant. The picture was dated 4 weeks ago and labelled ‘my beautiful girlfriend’.

With tears streaming down my face I had reverted to a soft little girl. I was hurt. I texted him.

Hey baby.

No response.

Did you get home safe?

No response.

Um…who’s Sabrina?

*Adrian is typing…* Someone extremely close to me. With that said stay very far from her.

And that was when I pulled myself together…

 

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I’ll make it up to you guys.

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Sorry for the no post this week. But here’s a little something from another story I’ve written. I’ve tried my hand at vampire stories for no reason really. Maybe curiosity. So here it is. Episode four will be up next week. It’s just that it’s unfinished at the moment. School is about to start so I had some things to take care of this week. So here’s Nick Brown: Dead Inside and Out.

I’ve been watching him for some time now. He went after his victims in a very unusual way. First he built relationships with them and sometimes it was just at random. But it was what he did to them that drew me to him. He skinned them all alive in his basement. He was all about the pain and suffering. Made me wonder what got him that way. But enough of the stalking, it was time for the change. I wanted him to join me. Wait, what was I saying? I just wanted to have some fun. It’s been an entire decade since my last bit. Let’s see what kind of monster I could create from this man.

As far as I could tell, I was the only vampire in this town. So this should be fun. In the beginning, he wouldn’t be able to sense me. And I bet you know that I was not going to help. I wanted to see how he would deal with the transformation alone. He and I had something in common you see. We both loved to see the pain and distress of people. My behavior was due to my becoming a vampire but him…he was bad.

Ah ha! There he was and right on time too. And there was his victim. He was being very risky this week because he suspected that the law was onto him. You would think that he’d lay low but he was a wealthy man. I guess he figured that if he’s going out, he was going out with a good one. But, yes, his victim. Watching him all this time, I know exactly who she was.  The woman that he was after, Melanie wasn’t only his co worker but she was also his ex girlfriend. He’s wanted to kill her for some time now. But of course there was the fear of this murder being too obvious. Now, all that fear was gone. He stalks her a good hundred meters away. She was on her way home to her apartment. But get this, it wasn’t dark out yet. I stood in the dark building across the street watching his genius unfold. He pleaded with Melanie to take him back and to come over to his mansion. She seemed reluctant but he had planned this well before. He couldn’t let his possible last crime fail. So he’s been buttering her up for weeks. The drunken phone calls late at night telling her he missed her, the sudden pang of sensitivity towards her at work, the tiny favors that human women liked to add up in their heads. And this was the finale…the ‘I can no longer live without you’ speech. And it worked, to no surprise of mine. So she was now scheduled to arrive at his mansion at six that night ‘for dinner’.

I couldn’t enter his house before but I had pretended to be lost last week and wanted to use his phone. He was surprisingly friendly for a serial killer. Maybe he was thinking of killing me though. Well now, isn’t the joke on him? So I snuck in and headed to the basement where the show would take place. He had already set up the equipment days ago, anxious and excited for the coming event. The scalpels were on the table. He was going to skin her alive. There was a gurney with straps all over it and the place was practically sound proof. But that didn’t really matter. His mansion was far away from the town. It was left for him. That and a boat load of cash. But he still chose to keep his accounting job in the center of town.

Ahhh! I could taste the delicious pain in the air. Or was it the many blood types that were shed here. I heard a car arrive at the gate and then the footsteps up to the door. I went upstairs to lurk in the barely lit hallways. Nick was still setting the table. The doorbell rung and he beamed with excitement.

“Come in, Melanie.” He said. “You don’t know how long I’ve been waiting for this day.” He continued but soon realized that it sounded as creepy as he really was inside. So he quickly rephrased. “I’ve wanted our getting back together for some time now.”

“No one said that we were getting back together, Nick.” She answered.

“Of course, I’m sorry to imply.” He apologized but as her back was to him he gave her a deadly scowl. “Please sit and enjoy the white wine I’ve poured for you. I hope you like it, it’s good.”

That was a lie. I saw him pour it from the box in the kitchen. The place smelled of food but there was none. He had just spiked her wine, nothing was actually planned. He didn’t need any extra time with her and he didn’t know how long she would stay. All he wanted was her death. Suddenly her head hit the table and he beamed again in anticipation. He had no trouble carrying her to the basement. He was a well built man. His eyes were dark, almost black in appearance. Though he was built he wasn’t very remarkable. Not on the ‘eye candy’ side of things. But I could smell the adrenaline in his blood as he walks right passed me in the shadows. I followed and watched closely. I was only waiting for the perfect time. The moment that I would turn him and watch the change happen. It only takes a few hours.

He laid Melanie on the gurney and strapped her in. He then waited a while for her to wake up. When she came to, she was befuddled and let out a timid moan of distress. Nick lolled his head back and soaked in the sound. He relished in it. And it was only the first. Bewilderment struck across her face when she realized that she was strapped down.

“En?” she asked with the pet name she had given him. “En what’s happening? What are you doing to me?”

He slowly walks to her side and picked up a scalpel. “I told you that I’ve been waiting for this for a long time.”

“What?”

He answered her question my slowly slicing off a piece of her skin from her arm. Her shrieks of agony gave him great pleasure and when he laughed out loud I saw the evil I’ve been waiting for and I sprang. I tore open his flesh at the throat and drank to my heart’s content. I loved the flavor of evil that I tasted – a little bitter but sweet never the less.  But I had to stop still before he died. I then tore my flesh at the wrist and fed him my stolen blood. I still didn’t understand the science of this. But it worked. Who cared what the science was…this was supernatural. Then the transformation started and so did his screams. But he was soon unconscious. I may have helped that with a blow to the head. And for extra fun I let the girl go. She didn’t thank me. Well that was rude. She just ran as fast as she could. Good, a hunt for when he woke up.

I waited there until I was sure that he was changed. I checked his teeth. They were nice and pointy. That was my cue to leave and watch from the shadows again.

His moan signified his awakening and he slowly sat up. He would be very thirsty but what would he do about that? His eyes had transformed too and were now jet black, cornea and all. But that would change back when he drank some blood. He looked at his hand and I suspected that it looked too close as it did to me after my transformation. A bird flew by over the third story of his mansion. But he heard it anyway. It startled him but then he saw the dried blood on his hand and sniffed it. This seemed to knock him back into reality.

“Melanie! No, no, no!” he sprang to his feet. But he didn’t anticipate the pace. He was already on his way in her direction but he hit the doorpost and stumbled backwards. The blow shook the house. He looked at his hands again and at the blood there. And this time he liked it. This was disgusting to me because even though it was blood, it had dried up hours ago. He then smiled really wide.  I could tell he loved the taste. Wait till it was fresh. Oh I was trembling with excitement. He became one with his new found speed very soon and was off to find Melanie. I followed a good way behind so he wouldn’t uncover me. He was practically flying towards the girl. She had been sitting in the police station for an hour now after telling them what had happened. But the police system was slow. It was ironic. They were busy trying to find the serial killer. But they never suspected that it was the man who just tried to kill her. Why? Because she started the story with “My ex-boyfriend just tried to kill me!” Her wound was still open from when Nick cut her.

He saw the police station and came to a halt. I thought that he was about to wait but it was as if he figured out exactly what he became on the one minute journey here. I think he really did. He flashed inside and was out in the next second with Melanie in his arms. And then they were headed back to the mansion. Pride flashed thought me. They really do grow up so fast.  I threw my head back in laughter and then followed again.

In the basement he had already strapped her in again. This time she screamed without a glitch. He laughed along with it.

“I don’t know what happened to me but I know that I’m going to enjoy this even more now. It seems that I have a taste for blood now so it’s time to do this slowly.”

“Nick, please don’t do this. “ Melanie struggled and her wound that had stopped bleeding, rubbed against the straps. New warm crimson liquid gushed again and he lost control. He sunk his fangs into her throat. He made it look so delicious that I almost joined him. Within the minute she was dry and he fell backwards into the wall. He was obviously dazed. The rush that he must feel now had to be overwhelming.  But then disappointment crossed his face. I understood. He was planning to enjoy the kill. All this watching was making me thirsty myself though. And the show was over so I decided to take a little break. I flitted to the door but had to come to an abrupt halt when something stood in front of me.

“You…! I remember you. You’re that lost man. What are you doing in my house?” He said. I froze. Then he took a deep breath. Oh, oh. “That scent, it’s been following me all day, it was you.”

“Hello, Nick, yes I have been.” I said. I wasn’t planning to talk to him. But I might as well since I’m here. “How do you like your new body?” I smiled.

“Y-Y-You did this?” he stuttered.

“Yes I am your sire.”

He composed himself and answered my question. “I like it. It’s better.”

“I know. All that time wasted killing without this strength and speed. But I’m afraid I have to go now. I must hunt.”

“Hunt…?”

“Yes,” I sighed. “Would you like to join me?”

“No thank you. I only need to know one thing.”

“And what’s that?”

“How did you do it? My…transformation…how was it possible? If I am correct, I must be a vampire right?”

“Yes, but I don’t believe that you are ready for such knowledge, Nick. There are enough vampires here now. Two was enough for me.”

“That’s where you mistake me, Sire. I do not have one or even a half of care to what is enough for you.”

I gave him a dark look. “Do not forget your place newborn. I may have to undo you.”

“Is that right? Don’t you worry, I will find out. After all, I have an eternity now. And then I will have an army.”

“Why do you need an army?”

“Isn’t life about sharing? Why not share the joys of murder with others. In the mean time, I do have a target that I’ve been setting up. Please leave my home.”

Oh yes…The next target. “Well, I best leave you to it then. But trust that I will not be the one to teach you the way.”

“And you should trust that I was a monster long before you made it official. I will find out one way or another.”

And with that comment I left. I was so thirsty. But man he was more evil than I had anticipated. Oh well. But something pained me. You see, before I was a monster I was only an average human. But I just took pure evil and made him stronger. What have I done? My human side still called to me sometimes. But his human side was never there was it? I should have known by the way he adjusted to the transformation so quickly. I’ve turned murderers before but I hadn’t anticipated the magnitude in which this one was evil. But I haven’t seen everything yet since I was changed only less than a century ago. My daughter was still alive. It was weird that I still looked thirty and she was now ninety and in and old folks home. My wife had died long ago. After I had my fill of blood I went to the roof top that I used to watch over my daughter. She was asleep. She usually was. Oh, Cynthia, if only I could have died before you.

I had stayed on the rooftop until the break of dawn and then I had to retire to the abandoned building that I stayed in the daytime. Daylight didn’t burn but it did weaken me. I then started to wonder where Nick was. Had he already made the kill of his next victim? I listened closely. It sounded as if he was right in the middle of it. I darted out the door and straight out of town to the mansion to watch. I walk into the basement slowly now because it would be no use to hide. He already knew how to sense me.

“Hmmm, you came back. Are you here to tell me the secret?”

“No, but I do enjoy your murders.”

“Well won’t you take a seat then?” I walked into the light and saw the body already half stripped of its skin. Each time he pealed back a piece of skin he lapped up the blood from the wound. He was obviously planning to take his time here. “I find that when I’m full I can maintain a steady speed with this instead of sucking him dry before the fun.”

“I see. Your eyes are back to normal.” I said.

He speculated that for a moment. “Is that right? I didn’t realize that they had changed. I’m not one for appearances. Though I would imagine that I have no reflection now?”

I laughed out loud. “That damn, Dracula and his games. No, that is not true my friend.”

He laughed too “Well, either way, I haven’t seen them.”

“I can see that you are going to take a while with this. I must return to my place in the town.”

“Do not think that I have forgotten though. I will get that secret.”

I sighed. “Not from me, my friend, not from me.” I left and went to lounge in my abandoned building again. Now that I was finished stalking Nick I only had my daughter to watch over. I would go as soon as the sun set.

I sat on the roof top again when it was twilight and the shadows had covered most of the town. My daughter was just taking her pills but she was coughing violently. I sprang to my feet and went to her window in one flash. How sad it made me feel that she was dying.

“Oh, Cynthia, if only I could have died before you. My dear, dear daughter I love you so.” I said to myself.

“Cynthia…Well I do believe that I have found my solution.” Nick said from behind me. I started. It’s been a long time since anyone’s startled me. But how did he follow me here. I didn’t even sense him.

“You shouldn’t be here, Nick.”

“Oh, but I think I should. Because if I wasn’t, I would have never known that you still have a loved one. Someone who I would love to kill for a certain secret you’re keeping.”

“Fine, I’ll tell you. I’m not going to risk my daughter’s life for a dumb secret. All you have to do is make the person drink your blood right before they die.”

“You’re no fun. But how do I know you’re telling the truth?”

“Test it.”

“I think I will.” He said with a diabolical smile. Then realization crossed my face.

“Ni…” I started to say but he was gone. I ran after him straight into the nursing home and into my daughter’s room. But he got a good millisecond head start and they were gone. I immediately headed to his mansion.  And there he was.

“What took you so long?” he said as he took up his scalpel. Cynthia was already strapped onto his gurney and by the looks of it, she was unconscious.

“Why are you doing this? I told you what you wanted to know.” Listen to me begging this newborn. I was the one that created this monster. I’m going to have to kill him now. There were wooden things all over this room. I walked closer to him slowly with my hands up in surrender. “Please, she’s my only daughter.”

“She’s old! She was going to die anyway you idiot. She passed out on her own you know. I didn’t even have to hit her. But I’m going to make her live forever.”

“Don’t make her into a monster…”

“Why not…? You did it to me! I didn’t have a choice.”

“You were already a monster. Now you just have strength and speed. Why do you want an old lady vampire?”

“I don’t… this is just a test. Remember, you told me to test it. But I do want to have some fun first.” He said, turning the scalpel around in his hand.

I dove at him and we fell to the floor. He was strong and fast but so was I. To any human watching we would be a blur. He kicked me in the chest and sent me flying into the wall. Dust fell from the ceiling. He came at me with the scalpel and stabbed it into my heart. Shit!  That hurt like hell.

“That won’t kill me you fool.” I said as I yanked it out of my chest. I threw it at him. It hit him in the shoulder. He groaned and got angry. I punched him in the face and sent him reeling into a wooden chair. It broke into pieces.

“Enough of this!” we both shouted together. I grabbed a stake but he was faster. He plunged the stake into my heart and…

THE END

Episode 3 – Run In With Love Con’t

Episode three

The Man I’m In love With aka My Best Friend’s Cousin

Winn and I were friends again. We had eventually gotten over our differences. But it had still driven me crazy for months that I loved him. I kept it to myself of course, just in case it was some kind of phase. But I hung out with him almost every day and the feelings never faded, even when he was away for a while. Despite the feelings that I knew Dustin had for me I told him how I felt about Winn. I just couldn’t keep it inside anymore. Finally he suggested that I tell Winn how I felt.

What?! Are you crazy? I texted back to him.

Just tell him. What do you have to lose? He’d convinced me. But at the time I had no idea what I had to lose. It turned out to be a lot of sleep and tears. I’d told Winn how I felt and all I got was a laugh and the friendship speech. You know, the one that goes “It’s not you, it’s me. I don’t want to ruin our friendship”. But I knew the real reason. He had just discovered girls as his new physique came in. He was doing puberty well. Every day he worked out before Parkour and Dance lessons. I had taught him some dance moves so he could keep up with the new friends he was making elsewhere.

Needless to say, life was never the same. I had dedicated myself to being the best best friend ever for him. I gave him advice on how to pick up the chicks he wanted most. I also encouraged any whimsical idea he had in hopes it would be awesome. And then four years later his new friends are all he has time for as they shoot for their dreams. Don’t get me wrong, dreams are great, but…he just left us here. I’m lucky to see him twice for the year now. But age eighteen was around the corner and I was on the brink of getting over it. I was about to meet someone who would change the image of love that I’d had for four years. Someone who I loved even more than my first love.

That man was someone I knew…but only in theory. See I’ve heard a lot about him from my mother and my older brother. He was even Dustin’s older cousin. And from all the descriptions I’ve heard about who they thought he was I didn’t think anything big of this man. I’d never seen him before though he lived in my street for some time. And when I raked my memories for something, just any small glimpse or image of him I came up blank. Who was he? I only had a blurry memory from very far away. I watched him prank Dustin by pulling his pants down on his roof for everyone to see. But that was years ago and I was too busy laughing at Dustin’s bare butt to see the person doing it. He had gone away though…abroad.

Dustin and my other friends were all boys. I was somewhat of a tomboy. But I had started developing a taste for reading, lip gloss, nail polish and anything shiny and new. But all they wanted to do was play video games all day. One day I just decided that I was done with them, I just couldn’t spend another day watching FIFA be played. We had a perfectly good real football outside. So I went home and stayed there for days. I got my own basketball and played in my yard and practices my dance routines. I had vowed to never go to Dustin’s house again. Until, my little brother came home one day. He would usually update me on what the guys were doing, which was always the same thing. But then he said,

“Dustin’s cousin Nathan just came back from abroad and he’s staying there now.”

I was suddenly convincing myself maybe just one more time I though. In the next second I found myself in Dustin’s living room. I just has to see who this Nathan guy was. How had everyone in the world seen him and I hadn’t. Then, from one of the bedroom emerged an olive skinned Hercules shaped body with a laptop in his hand. I stifled a gasp and then a sigh. My eyes traced up his body over his strong arms and sexy shoulders and then his eyes. He spoke and his accent from abroad doubled with his seductive voice send a shiver up my spine.

But then I heard the words he said and my entire slowmo scene fell apart.

“Yeah baby, I miss you too.” he said into his laptop.

Urghhhhhhh! Of course…a girlfriend.

Episode 2 – Run In With Love Con’t

Episode two

There was a knock on my door and my eyes flew open. I was so deep in thought that I almost hadn’t heard it. “Come in.” I answered and watched as my mother entered my room.

“Hey sweetie, I bought some snack earlier and I was wondering if you wanted any.”

“Yeah mom, I’m always up for some snacks.”

“Then I’d better go get them before the boys eat them all.” She said as she left again.

I laid back down, gently this time on my pillow. I let myself drift back into my memories.

My First Love A.K.A My Other Best Friend

We had met just a few years before. Winn was always a little chubby with a big head. He had a crush on me but I was never into him. Not until we turned fourteen. He had become interested in Parkour and dancing and it was shaping his body well. One weekend we were at his house playing video games and eating pizza. The entire gang of us. There were at least ten of us cramped into Winn’s room hanging out. We seldom hung out at Winn’s because he lived the furthest so whenever we did we made an event of it with refreshments and activities. His mom would chaperone.

So there we were playing Hale 3 on his Xbox when I looked over at him and caught his eye. He was staring right at me and when I looked into his eyes I felt my heart jump for the first time. It was a little scary and so confusing because just one second before I wasn’t interested in him. Then all of a sudden, bam, in love. I started to smile, then I started giggling, then – hot damn! – I started blushing.

“What?” I asked as I turned my face and tried to focus on the game at hand.

He didn’t answer but our other friend had seen and he wasn’t one to keep his mouth shut. “Did I just see what I think I just saw?” said James.

“Shut up…no you didn’t…shut up…” I said incoherently.

And that was only the first instant. But it took three instances for me to give in to what I felt. The second was a few weeks after. There was a small black out in my neighborhood and the usual gang was outside. We all had decided to have an extreme game of hide and seek. Now, come on, don’t look at the words like you read that wrong. Yes extreme hide and seek at fourteen. Anyway, we start hiding and it was all fun and games until Winn and I bumped into each other. And it happened again, the starring. And yet again James was there to see us. I stood still for a moment hoping that he wouldn’t tell anyone but he was about to open his mouth.

“Shut up.” I said to him as I held up my index finger to look as serious as possible. It worked because he didn’t say a word. Then I walked away as fast as I could.

In those two instances I was able to ignore what I felt but in the third…

We were on Dustin’s balcony just sitting watching a rain storm form in the sky. Dustin was on his laptop and Winn and I were sitting side by side looking out. Then there was suddenly a tiny twister forming in the clouds.

“Are you seeing that?” Winn asked.

“Yes I am.”

“Wow.”

“That is so cool!”

We watched as it got longer and longer headed for the ground. Then we got worried. If it touched down it would proceed to tear things apart. We were at the edge of our seats and then we were holding hands and crossing our fingers. The small twister got interrupt by some invisible force and recoiled into the clouds again. We both let out a huge breath and started laughing. Dustin heard the commotion and took his headphones out.

“What are you guys doing?” he asked.

“Didn’t you see that twister? It just came from the sky and almost touched the ground.”

“What are you guys talking about?”

Winn and I looked at each other and continued to laugh.  I think that’s when we bother decided that we could share something together. A decision that only lasted for five minutes before we started fighting. We argued about just about everything from then on. It was weird because we still hung out every day. But it was as if everything he said to me was wrong and everything I said to him was wrong. We had become frenemies by the end of the week. And then all together we stopped hanging out. He would only hang out with Dustin if I weren’t there and vice versa for me.

I’m still trying to figure out what happened…

Episode 1 – Run In With Love

Episode one

“How did this happen?” Sofia asked herself as she lay on her bed. “How did my first love, first lover, man I’m the most comfortable with and man who’s my ‘man man’ become four different people?” She put herself in a seated position to throw her hands up in frustration. Then she plopped back down on her pillow. “Ouch!” she had forgotten her bed was so hard. As she start to dose off. The darkness of her room allowed her to get pulled into her memories.

The Man I’m The Most Comfortable With A.K.A My Best Friend

We ran upstairs together laughing. We were about to hang out on the roof as we usually did. It was a flat surface with tables and chairs and plants and only the sky over head. This may sound romantic to you, but to me, it was just another place. Everyone else had gone home for the night. Dustin and I usually hung out late though. We were best friends since we were little. But what was unusual was what was going to happen next.

I sat on the rocking chair under the Chenet tree and allowed Dustin to throw himself on my lap. He put his arm around my shoulder. We liked to switch roles sometimes for no reason.  Tonight was different. He was stuttering a lot and I started to notice the weird way he looked at me. And then out of nowhere, bam, a kiss. His lips were always soft, but I’d never felt them with my lips before. I was seventeen. I hadn’t actually felt that many lips. But he had caught me off guard and suddenly everything changed. I kissed him back. For the sake of our friendship I did it. Inside, I was being ripped to shreds. My heart hurt because he kissed me as if he loved me and I knew to God that I didn’t feel the same. And this was my best friend people! Someone I didn’t want to lose. Someone I didn’t want to hurt. Someone I thought I would lose now. The kiss finished and then came the words.

He chuckled, maybe to himself, I was trying not to lose focus. I put my hand over my mouth so I wouldn’t say anything stupid.

“Wow that was like…wow.” He said.

“Really?” I asked then clasped my hand back over my mouth. Stick to nodding. I told myself.

“Yeah, you don’t know how long I’ve wanted to do that.” He answered.

But I had. I’d always known. Around age nine, when I had started to develop my lady lumps my older brother had come to me in disgust. He had told me that his, then best friend, had told him that he ‘like liked’ me. I laughed. It was ridiculous. Then at age thirteen, we had started texting each other and we started pitching around the idea of being interested in each other. I wasn’t serious though. At the time I was interested in three other guys. I was pubescent. Almost every guy was ‘interesting’. Besides my brother would never allow it. But now I was seventeen and my brother wasn’t living with us anymore.

Dustin stood up from my lap and I was back to reality. He was babbling about something that I wasn’t listening to as he ran down the steps. You’d think that he would be more mature for a nineteen year old. That was one of the reasons why I kept him in the friend zone. He didn’t want the same things I wanted from life. I stood up too and took a deep breathe. Slowly I made my way downstairs where Dustin had gone. He was in his bedroom now and his cousin, Leo, was there too. And now they were staring at me.

“Sofia, can I speak to you for a moment?” Leo asked as he pulled me out of the room. He was excited. Maybe it was because there was never anything going on around here and that this was some sort of scandal for him. “How was it?”

Knowing the he would relay everything I said to Dustin later I lied some more. “It was…..alright. His lips are…soft.”

“Are you guys going to be together?”

“No!” I said quickly. Then I lowered my voice to a whisper “I don’t want to be with him.”

“Why not?”

“Because he’s my best friend and I don’t want to mess that up. I just don’t like him that way.”

“But you guys should give it a shot.” He assessed my expression then receded. “Come on, best friends end up together all the time.”

I sighed. “No Leo. I don’t want to.”

“Okay, just hear me out. We’re going to the mall on Saturday. Come with us.”

“I was already going to go with you guys. Now, I’m not so sure.”

“Please.”

“Why do you want this so much?” I asked. “I thought you had a crush on me.”

“You know about that?” he was taken aback. “It doesn’t matter he’s my cousin.”

“Wait a minute! Did you encourage this none sense? It was you wasn’t it?”

He didn’t answer. And he didn’t have to. “I can’t believe you! Urg! I could just…” I entwined my fingers and pretended to choke him.

“Don’t blame me. You knew how he felt about you before.”

“Yes, which is why I’ve never done anything to push that.”

“Oh come on. You come here in your little outfits hopping and skipping around him. What did you expect?”

“First of all…” I put my hand on my hip, held up my index finger gave my neck a little roll. “I don’t hop and skip. And second…I expected that you wouldn’t encourage this. And I still expect that you don’t.”

“I just want to bring you guys together…” he insisted.

“But I’m telling you that this is going to tear us apart. Just mind your own business.” I countered before I stormed off. I knew what was going to happen next and I sighed for the friendship I was about to lose…