A/N: This is really just a short story broken down into smaller parts (:
Not the Only Exception
I was angry. Angrier than I had ever been in my entire life.
I was at a dangerously close level to going all out ballistic, and no one was there to help me.
Not anyone that knew how to help me, that was. No, there was only one person in the entire world that knew what to do when I was this angry; when even going down to my basement and kickboxing the crap out of a punching bag wouldn't.
But that one person, the one who knew how to help me deal with my major anger issues? Was the one that I was angry with.
For the first time in my life, the person I considered one of my closest- hell, my best friend, Arden Elons, was the one that I was mad at.
And, even though I didn't really want to admit it out loud, I knew that it was mostly my fault. After all, we were best friends, nothing more. We'd been that way for so long, and sure, our friendship had been based off the fact that she used to have a crush on me, but now, she's getting married, and that definitely means things are getting serious…
It shouldn't be a big deal, after all. She's just my best friend.
I'm not in love with my best friend, am I?
I laughed for what seemed like the thousandth time that day as Arden let out a frustrated sigh and stomped her feet on the carpeted ground.
"Dang it, Eli!" She complained, sending me a sour look. She tossed the wireless controller to the ground. "No fair, you had your arm wrapped around me- that's cheating!" She protested.
I laughed once again as I hoisted myself up from the padded blue saucer chair and bent down to turn off the Xbox.
Had I cheated by putting my arm around her shoulders and leaned in as if I was going to give her a little kiss on the forehead to distract her? Yes, I did. But did I care? Nope, not really. The girl was actually pretty good at COD (Call of Duty) and what would it do to my reputation if they found out a girl, who had only played Black Ops II once before beat me on her first try? No, that'd be unacceptable.
I gave a winning grin as I walked over to her and tried to give her an apologetic hug, but she just crossed her arms over her chest and scowled at me.
"Come on, Arie," I said, using her little pet name that her parents called her, "You love me; you can't stay mad at me." I said, meaning every single word and knowing that it was the exact truth.
She rolled her eyes at me but moved her arms back down to her side. "Whatever. Just hug it out or whatever, I have to leave soon," She said hurriedly.
I smiled into her neck as I embraced her into a hug, then tightened my arms around her waist and stiffened.
"What's wrong?" She asked, feeling me solidify around her.
"You said you were staying over her tonight," I pouted playfully, pulling away from her and staring her hard in the eyes. "Now you're gonna ditch me and leave me all alone?"
She rolled her eyes at me once again, a running gag between the two of us; like on SpongeBob Squarepants when that one fish always yells out, "my leg!" It's sort of an old inside joke between the two of us from the third grade or somewhere around that time.
"Stop being a big ass baby," She muttered, obviously now, I could tell that she wasn't upset at me thwarting her chances to win the game; it was something else, too, that she wasn't telling me.
"Why don't you just call up Delilah or something if you're so lonely…" I heard her softly mutter.
I let out a groan when she brought up Delilah. "Really, Arden? You just had to bring her up, didn't you? It was one time; get off my back." I said, getting angry now.
Of course she had to bring up Delilah: my on and off - currently off, for a long time and hopefully permanently - "friend with benefits". Normally, it wasn't something that would bother Arie, since we were only just best friends, despite what a lot of our other friends thought, but Delilah butted in and tried to push Arie away from me, ergo, almost ruining our friendship and majorly effing things up.
And like a decent sort of person, I broke it up with Delilah, I didn't need her "negative energy" crap or whatever Arie's mom used to say. But then, we hooked up, one more time, but only because at the winter dance a few months ago, she drugged my drink and convinced me to take her home, and things happened. That's why I woke up the next morning in Delilah's bed, naked, with her dad yelling his nuts off at me.
Which is exactly what Delilah is-
And I haven't talked to her since, but ever since then, Arie's been all weird around me. Just like she's doing now; suddenly getting up from our video game sessions, leaving me hanging at work so that I'll cover her shift, it's all happening out of nowhere. Usually, Arie tells me everything, especially since I know that she has depression problems, but now, she's more closed off than ever.
"You know that there is no way in hell," I enunciated, "No way in hell that I would call that crazy…attention whore after what she did. You don't come back from having someone drug you, Arden." I said, narrowing my eyes at her.
Her cheeks involuntarily flushed, and I could tell that I hit a nerve.
"Sorry," She mumbled, not meeting my eyes. "But…I still really do have to go." She said, bending down to pick up her jacket up from the ground and slung it on, clutching her tiny wallet-thingy in her hands.
"Where are you going?" I cried out in alarm, grabbing her by the wrist so she would stop walking up the stairs from the basement to the kitchen. "Aren't you at least going to tell me why you're leaving?"
I know, I sounded overly clingy and just really needy, but hell, Arie was my best friend, and I could tell that something was wrong.
And I knew that she sometimes just sped off in her car, worried that one day I'd just walk away like most people in her family and she'd be alone, once again. I couldn't let her get depressed like that; it just wasn't right.
"Elijah, please," She said, my hand still gripping her wrist, but she was still facing away from me, up the carpeted stairs. I even flinched as she said my whole name, Elijah, instead of Eli, like she usually did.
"I just don't wanna talk tonight, alright?" She said dejectedly before turning around, and there was mascara running down her cheeks as she was crying.
Really, if it weren't such a serious moment, I probably would have said something along the lines of, 'Good, I hate talking 'feelings' anyway', but I didn't really say anything; I didn't know what I actually should say. I'm not one for words.
She gently removed my fingers, one by one from her wrist, and then hurried up the stairs, pressing one hand to her eyes as if to the stop the flow of tears.
I looked confusedly at her retreating figure until she left and closed the door behind her, and then took a glance around the basement; our hangout place since around the sixth grade, after she had told me that she had a crush on me, and well, I just ignored that fact and invited her over to my house.
I didn't have a clue as to what the hell was going on with my best friend. But the worst part?
I knew it had something to do with me.
I didn't mean to be a heap of an emotional mess, and it didn't even help that I was on my "punctuation at the end of a sentence", or, what most normal girls call it: period.
But I couldn't just sit there and look at Eli's trusting face - even though he totally cheated during the game - and act like everything was fine. I couldn't keep up the façade any longer.
Reptar1122 says: Hey, did you tell him yet?
I looked up from my twiddling thumbs up to my computer as it chimed, alerting me with a new instant message. I slowly got up from my bed, throwing back the covers over my thighs and walked over to the computer, seeing that it was JD who IM'd me.
JD, as in, Eli's guy best friend. Who I was secretly dating so that Eli wouldn't freak out on us.
The chances of that happening was slim; I knew that, but when I saw the way Eli would send me that crooked smile of his, or even take the time to ignore the jocks' ridicule at school when I was depressed and give me a hug, I felt this deep, churning, nauseous feeling in my stomach. And just why did I have this weird feeling in my stomach about Eli?
You guessed it. I'm in love with him.
When we first met in the second grade, I had a major crush on him, bigger than what I think most second grader's experience is. Everyone knew, too, and it was even JD who tattled on me and told Eli. But, being the sort of stubborn type of guy that he is, Eli didn't care that a cute girl had a crush on him; he wasn't that type of guy-the type of guy to have steady relationships.
So even though the crush lasted - pathetically - all the way into the seventh grade, I ignored those sudden urges I got to awkwardly smash my lips against his and hope for the best, and instead, focused on being his best friend instead of his girlfriend.
We played video games together, skateboarded together, hell, even talked about girls together since I know how their minds worked (after all, I am one, despite some of my boyish tendencies) and was open to the fact that hey, maybe one day, a really nice lesbian girl would come onto me, and I would try and politely say no, but I have a hard time doing that, so I know that it's a possibility that might happen.
Then again, I could just be going crazy.
It's happened before.
I'm sort of a worry wart, that's why I try to think out different outcomes for different types of situations. Ergo, I think what would happen if one of my best girl friends turned out to be a lesbian and asked me out.
I'm not lesbian, or bisexual, but I don't think I would have the heart to say no, so I know that I would have to go along with it for a while before breaking the news that I'm straight to this potential lesbian best friend.
I know, again,- I'm crazy.
But still, even though that little "crush" from the second grade turned into full-fledged head-over-heels love, I knew that Eli would never change. He is who he is, and I know that he'll probably never want to date a girl seriously. Until the day his mom demands him for a grandchild when he's 27 and he'll finally buckle down and marry a girl just so his mom will stop yelling at him.
I know that I'll never be with Eli, and even though it hurts enough sometimes to the fact that I get depressed - which is why sometimes Eli has to get me out of my funk; he doesn't even know that he's the one that caused it in the first place - I just press those feelings down and fuel them into our best friendship camaraderie.
Until, that is, that I finally noticed JD. The poor guy told me that he'd had a crush on me since the second grade, and he was hoping that once he saw that Eli didn't want anything to do with girls back then, that I would turn and fall for the best friend. But not until two months ago, he caught me off guard.
There was a party at Eli's house since his mom and dad had taken a trip to England (where he dad was originally from) for some charity event at the same hospital branch as them. Of course, it had been a little wild, and for once, Eli diminished his "chill" demeanor and drank and did a bunch of crazy stuff.
Being the shy people that we were, JD and I had found ourselves being social outcasts on Eli's gazebo outside in the summer night. We talked, and I found out that JD was pretty funny; I didn't know much about him since it was usually just me and Eli that hung out together.
He then continued to joke about how he used to have this huge crush on me during elementary school and junior high, and I felt really bad and we talked some more. We had a lot of common, just like I did with Eli. But unlike Eli, JD had an actual sensitive side, and he didn't only talk to girls - outside of me - for the occasional hook-up.
It was then that he leaned in and kissed me, right in front of the perfect full moon, that it could have been the beginning to an almost perfect relationship.
After all, I thought he was good-looking, nice, and humorous, but ever since that night, I still get that same tightening feeling in my stomach whenever I see Eli's trusting face, not even knowing that I'm dating his best friend behind his back.
My fingers were sluggish as I typed back.
ArdenBlueSkyes says: I didn't have the heart 2 tell him. I ended up crying and sprinting out of his house.
I felt the tears build up in my eyes again as I recalled the memory; remembered the invisible tug that seemed to pull itself between me, JD, and Eli. Never once in my life did I think that I would be stuck in something as dramatic as a 'love triangle'.
Reptar1122 says: Arie, you gotta say somethin' sooner or later. I don't want to keep us a secret, I want everyone to know about us
A smile crossed over my face and I brushed the tears away. JD was so sweet, sweeter than candy, and some of the stuff he said just made my day, even as overly girly and cliché as it seemed for me.
ArdenBlueSkyes says: I know. And it's not that I don't love you, you know that, but it's still hard to tell Eli. We've been friends for so long; it feels weird.
I was lying through my teeth to my own boyfriend. The real reason I didn't want to say anything to Eli?
I was afraid that he would finally accept it, finally accept that I was moving on away from him, and my chances with him really were dashed and done for. I didn't want to believe that there was no chance in hell that I'd ever be with Eli, even though I was in love with JD.
Reptar1122 says: I know. I have to go now; promised I'd help Riley do his A.P. English Lit homework
I smiled to myself involuntarily. I knew that "helping with A.P. English Lit homework" really meant play Halo and pull an all-nighter.
ArdenBlueSkyes says: Okay then. I'll try to tell him soon. Love you.
Reptar1122 says: Take your time. I love you too.
I shut down the computer and leaned back in my desk chair.
How in the hell was I ever going to bring myself to let Eli and the idea of getting together go?