He's beautiful. And not in that stupid, corny, fairytale prince way. He's not afraid to be himself, not afraid to let people in. That's something I truly admire about him.
Who is he? Jason. He's been my best friend for 8 years, since fourth grade. I remember him walking up to me as I sat alone on a swing. He started pushing me and talking to me, something no one else had done before; I had always been an outcast. That was when our friendship began. He was my first true friend.
He knows that he's my everything, in the "best friend" way. But he doesn't know that I've been in love with him since we were in seventh grade. I realized that when I felt insanely jealous and angry as he told me about his first kiss with the popular girl, Christy. It was the worst moment of my life. But of course, I kept that hidden.
He doesn't know I love him as more than a friend, and I'd rather keep it hidden from him. What he doesn't know won't hurt him, and I definitely do not want to destroy our friendship and creep him out with my ridiculous feelings for him. I'm happy being friends.
A husky, deep, raspy voice pulls me out of my daydreaming: "What are you thinking about?"
Shit. How do I respond to that?
Cuddled under Jason's arm on the couch, I look up at him under my eyelashes. He's staring at the TV; he seems so interested in what's playing. I, on the other hand, have no idea what we've been watching for the past couple of hours. I've been thinking about him too deeply.
"Oh, just about my art project due next week. I'm completely stressed about it," I respond. Which is partially true; if I want to get into my dream art school, I have to do well in my classes now. But I haven't been thinking about that at all since he got to my house.
"Babe," he says.
My heart melts and butterflies swarm my stomach. Just a friendly gesture, I remind myself. It means nothing more than that.
"You know," he continues, looking down into my eyes. "I can tell when you're lying to me. I've known you for what, almost nine years now?"
I roll my eyes. "I'm not lying to you, Jason. I really am stressed about my project." More like completely, head over heels in love with you and wishing you felt the same about me.
Now he's the one rolling his eyes. "Whatever you say, Addie. Anyway, you shouldn't be stressed about that project. You know you're the best painter in this town. You'll be fine, and you know that," he says before kissing my cheek.
I feel my cheeks grow hot after he does that. Pull it together, Adalynn. He does that all the time, you know he means it in a friendly way.
"Thanks, Jason," I respond. "I really appreciate how much you support me."
"Of course, Adalynn. What are best friends for?" He smiles down at me.
He continues: "Look, it's getting late. I gotta go. I'll see you at school tomorrow?" he asks as he stands from the couch, raising his eyebrows.
"Obviously," I reply, disappointed that he has to go. "I'll see you bright and early." I smile at him.
We walk to my front door and he pulls me into a tight, warm hug. He gives the best hugs ever; I never want to let him go.
"See you then, Adalynn," he whispers in my ear. Pulling away, he kisses my cheek again and winks down at me.
I stand at my door as he walks down my driveway to his car. Before getting in, he looks up at me and yells, "Love you, Addie!"
"Love you, too, Reed," I shout back at him before he hops into his car and drove off, waving to me before he disappears around the corner.
Sighing, I close the front door and trudge up the stairs to my bedroom.
If only he knew what I really mean when I say those words to him.