I walked along the street silently, absorbing my surroundings, and watching the different people around me making their way to their diverse jobs.
I felt like I was raised on a cloud, floating along weightlessly, elated at the idea of seeing Daniel. I remember when he'd called earlier this morning, saying he'd wait for me at the gates. Seeing him after a week felt like a release, as if this whole time I'd only been acting normal, when inside I felt anything but .In my mind, it's as if the whole time he was gone, I was gone too.
As I arrived at school I looked around me, and that's when I saw him.
Excitement and sheer bubbliness turned into pain and disappointment, as the cloud I was floating on deflated, leaving me strangely depressed and hurt.
Daniel was standing by the gates, as promised. He was in the middle of what looked like a very intense conversation with Milena. From what it looked like, they were obscenely flirting with each other. Which. I'm not trying to be nasty or anything, but I know from past experience that Milena is by far the most snobby, cruel, stuck up bitch that the world has ever known. Only she's nice to HIM. But then he's Daniel and I don't think it ever occurred to anyone to be mean to him.
I think that may be because he's just one of them people who can't help spreading happiness and cheering everyone else up.
Even so, he knew about how she had been an absolute bitch to me, and why I hated her so much. He knew that I couldn't stand being in her presence for even a second, not when I could feel that she would be standing there in her smug superiority judging me with every word that I spoke. And yet there he was.
So naturally I walked past him and pretended I didn't know him. Which is the universal language for " I'll let you chat her up in peace". Well I thought it was anyway. Until he ran after me and asked what the hell was up with me and why I was being so moody. Twang twang. Someone's pulling at my heartstrings. Not that he knew that. I looked up into his deep emerald green eyes framed by the most beautiful long lashes and somehow, I managed to formulate an answer.
" I'm really sorry. I don't know what's been up with me lately. Maybe it's just stress because of, exams you know..."
I know, it's lame, but I couldn't think of anything else to say. Because looking into those eyes, I just couldn't tell him the truth. I was mentally stalling, my mind wavering between what I knew I had to say, and the urge to escape with no consequences. I couldn't risk destroying everything. Not when we're best friends. Not when I don't know how he feels. Not when I just saw him chatting up the most popular girl in our year who wouldn't even be seen talking to anyone she considered inappropriate for her reputation.
I settled myself down on a beanbag in the middle of the school library, sifting through my painful thoughts. Sitting there in the library surrounded by books, I found it so much easier to think clearly. Maybe after what happened earlier, I should have learned that best friends are off limits. And if I told him, it would make things so much more awkward between us. I don't want to feel like there's an invisible line between us that at is pushing us apart at every second .
Maybe I should just let it be, and if him and Milena do hit it off, at least I'll know...
Someone slid onto the beanbag beside me.
My heart skipped a beat. I looked up, and Daniel smiled at me. Usually, Daniel could see right through me, through all the ridiculous pretences. I felt a familiar panging sensation in my chest..
I pulled a face.
"How did you find me? I groaned, wrapping my hands around my knees and attempting to shield myself from his gaze. He sat there, looking at me, smiling slightly.
" Classical Laurianna style darling. When you're upset, you surround yourself by other people's wisdom to comfort you." he laughed. Daniel had the most beautiful laugh. I shrunk away from him and he pulled at a loose strand of my ebony hair. I smiled reluctantly.
"I brought you lunch ."
I removed my head from my hands and stared at Daniels face in astonishment. His lips were pulled up in a smile, and he nudged me with his elbow, gesturing towards a packet of my favourite chocolate treats that I only ever ate when I needed emergency cheering up. I tried incredibly hard to remain annoyed at my best friend despite the fact that he was such an angel.
I sat up and sighed.
"Go away Dan"
I turned away from him and prayed that he would just leave me in my misery, because everything he did to cheer me up only made it worse. He was so sweet.
"I'm not going until you tell me what's wrong."
I turned and glared at him. Of course he was serious. Should I tell him? Doubt flickered at the back of my mind. I contemplated his beautiful angel's face for a further 10 seconds before deciding that it wasn't worth it.
"Lee just tell me. What's wrong?" He used my nickname because he knew it would make me smile.
But this time, it wasn't a real smile that I flashed at him, begrudgingly. Whenever I thought I could just get past it, I ended up falling back in this never ending circle of misery. Not that he knew..
"Why don't you ask Milena!" I snapped before instantly regretting it. That wasn't fair.
"That's not fair Lee" I looked up at him and I knew I'd hurt him.
"That's not what I meant-"
"Well what DID you mean?" Dan was one of them classical nice guys who would definitely get offended if someone was nasty to him. It's what made him such a good friend. If anyone ever was a bitch to me, he would get insulted because he believes in people being nice to each other. Well until now that is.
"I- nothing. I'm not thinking straight that's all."
He eyed me sceptically.
"No, go on tell me what you meant by that..."
I knew that if I did he would immediately get offended, because it really isn't like me to be so snappy and rude. And yet I felt like something inside me had just broken and I couldn't just leave it. I felt like my heart was going to rip out of my chest at any second.
I had felt like this for too long, and I know it wasn't his fault that he was so irresistibly hot and that so many girls were interested in him but it really sparked my anger so much that I found it hard to act normal.
And I couldn't just tell him.
I picked up my bag, and walked out of the library without a backward glance. I knew he wouldn't follow me. Not because he didn't want to, but because he would most probably want to give me time to cool off. That's if he wasn't mad at me.
After school, I sat on a bench outside, waiting for my thoughts to clear, thinking of what lay ahead. I could hear voices talking in the background and a cold breeze lifted my hair and blew it in front of my eyes. Rain began to fall and I made no move to leave, letting it drench me completely until I was soaking wet all over.
School had ended a while ago, and as soon as the bell had rung, I'd rushed out here for some peace an quiet. Not that I had got any. I got to my feet, and began to walk vaguely in the direction of my home.
The rain was getting worse.
I crossed street after street before finding a place where there was a shelter I could stand under. Across the street, people from my school were walking along the pavement.
I recognised Daniel and Milena, walking more slowly behind the other group, seemingly in deep conversation.
I felt another pang of pain, and yet this time I felt so angry at myself for ever believing that there a chance he would feel the same.
I could feel myself helplessly falling into a new circle of everlasting misery,depression, and desperation. Anything to get out of the last one.
Daniel looked up, and our eyes met. Gulping back tears, I turned around and walked in the other direction of where they were going. He wouldn't....
"Laurianna!!" I quickened my pace and crossed over to another street. I was heading nowhere near home, but that was definitely not my main concern.
I had moved three streets away, when I relaxed my pace. I didn't have the strength to go on any longer, and I couldn't hold it in. I sat on the curb and collapsed in tears.
I couldn't look up, my vision blinded by my pain. Someone sat down on the curb beside me.
"Laurianna sweetie look at me." I don't know what it was that made me look up. Maybe the fact that I just needed to tell him, my mind lost it's desperation for an answer. Maybe it was because his voice sounded strained, with a new edge to it.
I looked up, and we stared at each other for so long that it was as if everything else had stopped in the world and that there was only us two. For one indefinable moment it was as if it didn't matter what had happened, because he would always be there. But then I came back down to planet Earth.
I looked away, coming to terms with the reality of the situation. My hand were shaking, and I felt so cold that I was shivering.
He pulled off his jacket and placed it gently around my shoulders. It was warm and dry, and smelled of him. Milena must have had an umbrella.
"Laurianna you need to tell me what's the matter. Just tell me. I don't care what it is but if you're getting this upset about it then I need to know..."
He pushed a strand of damp ebony hair out of my face. Here goes...
I looked away from him.
"Danny I love you."
Words that sounded so right coming out of my mouth that it was as if they had always been there, waiting to be spoken.
And yet, I was dreading his reaction so much that I could feel the nerves boiling up in the pit of my stomach, half choking me in my attempt to stay calm and distant from him. He still hadn't spoken a word.
I looked up.
His face was severed with some unreadable emotion, too complicated for me to understand. I wondered what I had ever been hoping for. If there had ever been a chance... Well, I guess I'd got my answer. I got up slowly.
I turned around and he pulled me towards him.
The rain was showering on top of us and wind was blowing in our faces, and yet I felt so warm.
I looked down and his hand pulled my chin up gently so that we were looking at each other.
My heart was hammering against my chest and I felt like I was lost within myself, that this was all a dream, and yet I knew deep inside me that he was there.
He smoothed my wet hair away from my face.
When I looked at him this time, it was like there was something different about him. As if something had changed , but I wasn't sure of what.
He took my face in his hands, and pressed his lips gently but hesitantly against mine. And. So we stood there kissing in the rain, and it was as if my entire heart had expanded, and my whole body was burning as he traced my lips with his.
It was the sweetest kiss anyone ever had, and when he pulled away, he took me into his arms, and..
"I love you" he whispered softly in my ear, and right then, I felt like I could explode of satisfaction and happiness.