I Hate Love

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Not my best writing, but I wanted to write something quick and see what this website is like..so here it goes.

This story is about Naznin, a young woman who has been in love with her childhood best friend Hakim for four years. She has never had the courage to tell him, but it gets progressively more difficult for her to be around him. Her behaviour around him has changed. And he's noticed.

Submitted: February 15, 2017

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Submitted: February 15, 2017

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My hands tighten on the steering wheel until my knuckles turn white. I glance up at the traffic light. Still red. I feel the butterflies fluttering around in my stomach. I swallow.

Green. I hit the gas.

As I turn into the car park, and find a spot, my eyes drift into the bar and my throat feels tight. He’s in there.

My hands shakily pull down the sun visor and I stare into the mirror. I smear on a fresh layer of tinted lip balm, fluff my hair and smooth my dress. My nerves are getting to me, but no one can help who they fall in love with. What’s even worse is he has no idea.

I show my I.D. to the bouncer, who smiles at me slowly, his yellow teeth biting down on his bottom lip as his eyes rake over me. I toss my hair in disgust and walk hurriedly inside.

I spot him immediately, and of course, he’s flirting with the beautiful barmaid.

Being in love with my best friend means I have to pretend his daily shenanigans don’t bother me, but every day it seems to get harder. I take a deep breath and go to sit next to him by the bar, and his laughing eyes turn to look at me, and they seemed to get brighter.

“Hey, Naznin, babe,” Hakim says as he envelops me in a hug. “Sorry I couldn’t pick you up. To make up for it I got you your usual.”

An extra minty and extra lemony mojito with more soda water than rum. Just what I need after a long day at work. I take a grateful sip and turn to look at him. His 6’3 frame is dressed wonderfully in a lovely grey suit, and he still had his tan from our holiday in Cancun. He looks gorgeous, as always.

I feel extra fidgety around him tonight. I think it’s because he went on a date with a mutual friend of ours last night, Katherina. She doesn’t know how I feel about him, so I can’t even be angry. I can only be mad at myself.

Hakim looks happy as he tells me how the date went, and I smile, nod, I ask the appropriate questions. Do you like her? Do you think you’ll ask her out again? All as I’m thinking, why not me?

Love is an erratic thing. It unbalances you, makes you vulnerable and exposed. And it hurts.

I hate love.

“You haven’t been on a date in ages. What’s going on?” Hakim asks, as he takes a sip of his beer. He always gets a Corona, no matter how much the guys tease him.

I laugh at the question, because he really has no idea, but I shouldn’t expect him to. “I haven’t come across anyone I like enough. You know me, Little Miss Picky.”

The problem with confessing is my fear gets in my way. What if he doesn’t feel the same way? What if he laughs at me? What if he stops speaking to me?

What if things will never be the same?

What if, what if, what if. It’s paralyzing.

After a couple of hours, we decide to head to my place, and he asks if he can stay over. Almost like a boyfriend, he has a draw of his things at my place for convenience because he stays over so much. We sleep in the same bed, cuddle, talk and laugh like a couple. But nothing ever actually happens, no matter how much I want it to.

As tomorrow is Saturday, we break out my stash of weed and soon enough, we get the snickers.

I giggle incessantly as he acts out how Katherina reacted to the restaurant he took her to. It’s a cute little seafood place on the high street, but apparently, she was not impressed. She has always been a bit of a snob.

I’m still giggling when his face suddenly turns serious, and I jump a little when I feel his hand gently tuck my dark hair behind my ear.

“I love you, you know that right?” He says quietly, his dark eyes staring intensely into mine as he strokes my cheek.

My heart rate goes up and I’m suddenly shaking. Does he mean…does he mean…?

“You’re the most important person in the world to me. You’re like my little sister and I want you to know I will always be here for you.”

Now my shaking is from me trying to hold my tears in.

“You’ve been acting so different recently. I’m not sure what’s going on but I want you to know I’m here for you.”

I give him a wobbly smile and reach up to squeeze his hand on my cheek. He’s still looking at me, a frown forming on his face. And as much as I try to keep them in, tears spill down my cheeks.

Hakim tenderly wipes them away, his face furrowed in concern. “I knew something was going on with you. Babe, what the hell is wrong?”

I shake my head and push his hands away, trying to come up with a story fast. I can’t tell him now, it’s not the right time.

“It’s just…the weed I guess, probably making me all emotional and you’re being really sweet so…let’s just go to sleep.”

He shakes his head, not buying it for one minute. He knows me too well, our 20-year friendship from primary school helps with that. He may not realise I have feelings for him, but he knows when I’m lying.

“No, you’re keeping something from me. Tell me.”

There’s my window. Fuck it. I’m high, I’m crying in his arms, this is my moment.

I look straight up into his face, take a deep breath and gently kiss his lips. They’re so soft and I don’t want to stop, but he stiffens and pulls his head away slightly.

“What are you doing?” he whispers.

“I don’t know how to say this, so I’m just going to say it. And obviously, you don’t have to agree or say it back the way I’m saying it and you don’t need to feel guilty and please don’t be angry with me-“

He squeezes my arm. I close my eyes for a few seconds and then open them.

“I love you.”

He looks stunned.

“As in, I’m in love with you. I have been for years. I’m not sure how it happened. I think it started when we went to Amsterdam together and you were being extra flirty… I mean, you’re always flirty so it’s normal but that time felt different and I thought something might happen but then it didn’t which would have been fine except I couldn’t stop thinking about what could have happened after that and then it just continued on and on in my head and-“

I fall silent when he puts a finger on my lips. I'm trembling, and I know he can feel it. He pulls me into a tight hug and we stay like that for what felt like hours. I don't pull away, too scared of what he is going to say.

Eventually, he pulls back to look at me.

“I love you, Naznin. But I’m not in love with you.”

More tears, this time though, he's crying too.

“Naznin, you and me…we’re like brother and sister. You mean so much to me, and I don’t want to lose you. But I must be truthful. Do you hate me?”

I wipe my wet cheeks with my sleeve as I shake my head, my voice coming out small. “No.”

“I don’t want you to think that I don’t love you, because I do. I adore you. You’re my favourite person. This is just…so sudden. I didn’t expect-”

I get up abruptly, and he stops speaking. The tension in the room is unmistakeable as we both stay silent, him still sitting on the sofa and me standing. Aimless. Lost. Hurt.

“Urm,” my voice shakes. “I think, I think we should just sleep for now. Probably best if you sleep on the sofa.”

“I can leave if you want.”

“No,” I say immediately. “You’ve been smoking, it would be dangerous. I’ll bring you a pillow and a blanket.”

He stares at me as I walk unsteadily to the built-in closet close to the kitchen, and I pull out two pillows, knowing he can’t sleep with one, and a thick blanket. It’s cold.

He stays silent as I drop them on the sofa and then I pad over quietly to my bedroom door. I force out a croaky goodnight, my throat thick with tears. I shut the door behind me.

As I crawl into bed, I let my tears overwhelm me. I bury my face in my pillow to muffle the sound of my sobs, but I can’t hold them in. The pain is so acute, so severe, that I feel like I’m breaking.

I wish so badly I hadn’t said anything, then I wouldn’t feel so shattered.

Like I said, I hate love.

--------------------------------------------------------

We haven’t spoken in weeks. That’s my fault, he did try, but I just couldn’t do it. The next morning had been excruciatingly painful and I didn’t want to deal with facing him again. I’m not good at dealing with my feelings, if you haven’t noticed.

It’s difficult not talking to him every day. I’m used to getting funny texts from him while I’m at work that make me giggle during meetings, seeing him waiting outside at the end of the day without me asking and him calling me in the mornings to wake me up. He’s the reason I never need an alarm.

I miss his deep belly laughs, flirty eyes and dirty jokes. I miss his sarcasm, his sexy smirks, and his hugs.

I miss him.

I’m rifling through my handbag for my keys and arguing with myself in my head about whether I should just speed up the process and become a crazy cat lady when I sense someone behind me. I turn around. It’s Hakim.

“Hey,” he says uncertainly. He steps forward until he’s right in front of me.

I clear my throat. “Hey.”

“I thought we should… We need to talk.”

“Urm... I…”

He gently takes a hold of my arm and leads me over to a grassy area next to my apartment building.

“Let’s sit here. It’s sunny out.” He sits.

I squat to sit and then stop, unsure. He starts to chuckle.

“You look like you’re about to go to the toilet.”

That breaks the ice a bit, and we both laugh. I sit down, facing him.

He peeks at me from under his eyelashes, his hands absently ripping up some grass as he thinks of what to say.

I decide I should start. “I’m sorry.”

He looks at me sharply, “What the hell for?”

“For all this. I screwed us up. You’re my family and I ruined it,” I say, angry with myself.

Hakim reaches forward and takes my cold hand, his rough and warm one encircling mine.

“No. You didn’t.”

I look at him doubtfully, “I didn’t?”

He shakes his head, smiling at me. “I did. As soon as you told me how you feel, you wouldn’t believe how many somersaults my heart did.”

“What are you saying?”

He takes a hold of my chin with his hand, forcing me to look at him when I desperately want to avoid his gaze.

“You’re in love with me?”

I jerk my chin out of his hand angrily. “You want me to humiliate myself all over again?”

He looks into my eyes, his dark brown ones glittering in the sunlight, and holds my gaze.

“You wouldn’t be.”

My breath caught. I’m not sure what he means but I’m hoping, yearning…

“Because I love you too. As in, I’m in love with you too.”

I don't know if I can believe him. It could be the guilt of hurting me, even though it's not his fault.

I look down at the grass. "What made you...?"

His warm hand strokes my cheek, gently tilting my head up until I'm looking at him again.

"I thought back to all those shitty times we had to go through together. Remember back when we were like 11 or 12, when I was screamed at by that guy, he told me to go back to wherever I came from, called me a towel head?"

I nod meekly, picturing the hurt on Hakim's face when he heard those words.

"You stood up for me. You were so fierce, so strong. I couldn't believe it, you, a teeny little thing, standing up for me! I was in awe of you. Remembering that, I've realised I've always been in awe of you Naznin. And that grew into love, admittedly, it was brotherly at first. But it changed gradually, I just refused to acknowledge it. I didn't want to fuck what we had up."

What’s been holding me back all of this time can’t anymore. I’ve been waiting to hear those words for the past four years. I leap into his lap and kiss him. I feel one of his hands lovingly hold my face while the other is buried in my hair. His soft lips move with mine and my body feels like it’s floating. I cannot stop kissing him, holding him. I’m drinking him in, wanting this moment to last forever.

Finally, his lips move away from mine, and I’m already aching to kiss him again.

He gives me his trademark smirk and says, “Let’s go up to your place, beautiful.”


© Copyright 2017 Saina Behnejad. All rights reserved.

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I Hate Love

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