Tangled Up In You.

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic
~Entry for Blushes Scarlett's Make Me Laugh Contest~

Best friends Steven and Glo are trying to go about their normal lives, what happens when one of them starts to develop some unwanted feelings? Things get complicated.

Submitted: March 03, 2012

A A A | A A A

Submitted: March 03, 2012

A A A

A A A


 

I round the corner and pull open the screen door to find Mr. Addison standing in front of the stove stirring something. “Hey Mr. A., whatever you’re making smells delicious!” I lean against the island; he turns to grin at me.

“Thanks, Steven, I’ve been on a Greek food kick lately; this is Pastitsio, meat and macaroni pie! Will you be joining us for dinner tonight?”

“Do you even have to ask?” I laugh, “I’ll take your cooking over takeout any day.” We chat for a couple minutes, catching up since the last time we saw each other the other day. We both hear stomping above us and share a look.

“Have fun.” Mr. A. grins again as I push myself away from the counter, my sandals smacking against the floor as I cross it. Glo called in a panic about eight minutes ago, and she knows it only takes four to get from my room to hers. I move up the flight of stairs leading to where Glo and her younger brother, Ryland, each have a bedroom and bathroom. Ryland’s room is closest to the stairs so I pop in to say hello before I go find out what the crisis of the moment is.

“Hey, Steven, wanna see my new model?” The eleven-year-old looks up excitedly. I agree and take a couple steps closer to where he sits at his desk with wooden pieces laid out in front of him. “It’s gonna be an octopus when it’s finished! I’m just starting on sea creatures, dad told me I had to many so now I only get one when I get an A+ on a test, which is going to be tough, but I think I can do it!”

I glance across the room at the raised bookshelf along the far wall full of small wooden animals. I’m about to say something when Glo beckons.

“Steven Thompson! What is taking you so long?!” I hear her stalk out of her room. She storms past us headed to the staircase.

“Glo, calm down I’m right here,” I call out before she makes it down the first step.

“Steven! I’ve been waiting for like fifteen minutes!”

“You have not.”

“Come on! I need your help!” She ignores me as she grabs onto my arm, pulling me with her.

“Later, Ry!” I chuckle. “I’m coming, you don’t have to scar me,” I tell her, yanking my arm away from her claws.

“Yeah yeah,” she tosses over her shoulder as she moves quickly into her room. “I need your help.”

“You said that already,” I say with a smirk as I kick off my shoes and drop down onto her neatly made bed. I cross my bare ankles and squirm around trying to get comfortable but stop when I hear her groan.

Steven, you’re getting my bed all wrinkly!” she whines. “Now please help me!”

“Always so demanding. What is it today?” I ask as she disappears into her closet.

I hear her stop moving before she slowly peers around the doorway, grinning as she tells me, “I’ve got a date.”

“Glory Addison, you’re going on a date? Really?” I ask playing up my astonishment.

“Shut up,” she rolls her eyes before vanishing back into her closet. “I need you to help me figure out what to wear.”

“You should wear clothes.”

“Steven,” she groans and I chuckle again. “Please try to be helpful.”

“So who’s the unlucky guy?”

“You don’t know him. Okay, ready for the first one?” Before I can answer she has stepped out of the shadow and back into her room. She has on a sundress with flowers on it and does a twirl.

“Where is this mystery man I don’t know taking you?”

“We’re going to dinner,” she tells me. “And his name is Conner.”

“Really? That pasti-thing your dad is creating downstairs smells incredible. I wouldn’t skip that.” Her hands are on her hips and she’s glaring at me. I sigh, realizing she really does want my help with this. “It’s a nice dress, but it might be too fancy for dinner. What else have you got?”

Four outfits later, we settle on a shirt and skirt combo. She glances at the clock on her dresser and starts to practically hyperventilate.

“Glo, breathe. You’ll be great; you’re the only person I know that knows so many useless facts and that kind of stuff is perfect for first dates.”

“Steven, this is like my first real date though. I’ve never done this. I don’t know what to do. Oh my gosh, what if I’m terrible at everything?” she panics. I stand with a sigh and move until I’m standing in front of her. I grab both of her shoulders and give her a slight shake.

“Glory, you’re going to be great.” I catch her eye. I talk, pouring all the sincerity I can into my voice. “You’re the best person I know. This Conner fellow is one lucky guy to be going out on a date with you tonight, trust me, okay?”

I watch as she nods, her breathing finally under control. The ringing doorbell echoes through her house in the next moment and I watch as she takes one final, deep breath.

“Thank you, Steven.” She leans into me, arms wrapping around my waist. “You’re the best person I know, too,” she says as she pulls out of the hug. “Now get your smelly feet out of my room,” she says as she darts away.

I shake my head and push down the feeling bubbling up inside me as I follow her instructions and pull myself out of her bedroom. I make my way back to Ryland’s room, asking if he needs any help. I hang out with him until Mr. A. calls the two of us down for dinner. Later, when I feel like it’s time for me to go home; I make my way out the back door.

Instead of going around the corner that takes me back to my house, I go straight out to the far corner of the backyard. When we were six years old, Glo’s family had a rough year. So that summer I decided that we needed a fun place to hide whenever things on the ground got tough. I convinced Mr. A. to help us build a tree-house. Now at sixteen we don’t venture up here too often, but this used to be first place I would think to go whenever my mind needed a break.

I climb the ladder slowly even though I know the structure is sturdy enough to handle my teenage body. I push open the hatch at the top of the ladder and climb into the room. In the dark my hands locate the small lantern; I flip it on and look around the room. Everything in here screams “Glory and Steven” from the pile of green and orange pillows in the corner to the Spiderman and Ariel coloring book pages pinned to the wall. I step out of my sandals before moving around the room, pushing the wooden shudders away from the screened windows. Once I have them all open I flip the lantern off, letting the light of the moon wash over everything. I feel the cool summer breeze move through the structure as I make my way over to the pillows. It’s only nine o’clock, but exhaustion from not sleeping much last night and a day at work creeps over me. I let my eyes close as I snuggle comfortably into the makeshift bed.

I feel my foot shaking and try to pull my mind to consciousness. I blink a couple times, confused, before remembering I fell asleep in the tree-house. Glo is kneeling near me; her face illuminated by the moon. My gaze wanders from her face to her fitted t-shirt then down to the sleeper shorts she has on. That’s when I notice my foot in her hand. I wiggle it out of her grasp as I rub my eyes, forcing away my thoughts.

“Hey,” she whispers, crawling over until she is comfortably beside me on the bed of pillows.

“Hi, how was the date?”

“Amazing,” she breathes with a grin. “Conner is really sweet,” she says in a dreamy voice as she cuddles into my side, something she tends to do when she’s tired. “What are you doing out here? I was just about to get into bed when I saw that the windows were open.”

“I didn’t want to go home.” I shrug lightly. I hear her sigh. She’s coming out of the dream world she was just in. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Steven,” she sighs again. “We’re older now. You shouldn’t have to hide in your backyard anymore.”

“Technically it’s your backyard. I just like the quiet, okay?” When she says nothing for a few moments I speak again. “I forgot what it’s like out here. So peaceful.”

“It is.” I feel her nod against my shoulder, understanding my need of a subject change. “How was work? I forgot to ask earlier when you came over.”

“To busy needlessly freaking out,” I joke. “Work was work,” I tell her with a shrug. Every summer I worked for my uncle’s landscaping company.

She hums in reply, the telltale sign that she’s drifting to sleep.

“Glo, go home.”

“I am home.”

“You’re in the backyard,” I tell her, shaking the arm that she’s resting against.

“Just a couple more minutes,” she murmurs. I sigh and oblige, planning to wake her in a few minutes.

I can feel the sun shining on one side of my face in the morning, which is odd since I have a west facing bedroom. Why is there sunshine in my bedroom? And why does it feel like something is moving under my arm.

“You guys are in so much trouble!” I hear from above me. This confuses me even more.

“Ryland, what are you doing in my room?” a sleepy voice says from behind my head.

“Open your eyes, Glory, I’m not in your room. You guys fell asleep out here in the tree-house,” Ry tells us.

It takes us both a minute to fully comprehend what he has told us and then another full minute for us to realize just how tangled up together we are. This is new. This is uncharted territory. Sometime in the night I must’ve flipped over because I’m now on my stomach. Half of my body is pressing up against her. I’m glad my face is turned away from her; I can feel the blush spread across my cheeks.

Our legs are all twisted together, and her body is curving in under me. I can feel bare skin underneath my right arm. I brush my fingers back and forth lightly, feeling goose bumps rise on her skin. Her fingers tighten around the fabric on my shoulder. I feel toes move against my ankle and can’t help the shudder that passes over me.

“…and then I came out here to check.” I realize slowly that Ryland has been talking this whole time. Then I realize that this whole assessment actually only took a few moments. I steady my breathing and school my features before I cautiously lift and turn my head so I can face her. There is only a hint of alarm in her eyes as she looks back at me.

“Hey,” I whisper at our close proximity.

“Hi,” she laughs, breaking the small bit of tension there was. “We fell asleep.”

“Yeah, I had planned on letting you sleep for a couple minutes before insisting you get up. Obviously my exhausted limbs had plans of trapping you here instead.” I glance down at where my arm is holding onto her waist where her shirt has ridden up.

“Dad will probably be coming out here soon if we don’t climb down,” Ryland’s insistent voice chimes in again.

“We’re coming, go tell him he can call off the search party,” Glory looks up at her little brother, giving him an eye roll. I hear him huff and then clamber down the ladder. When we hear him hit the ground we lock eyes again.

“We should probably get up,” she says after another minute. I swallow and nod. It takes a couple more minutes before we successfully disengage. My muscles are screaming at me as I move to stand up, I don’t even attempt to hide the groan as I stretch.

“Sleeping on a pile of pillows after moving stones for hours was the worst idea I have ever had. Next time it happens force me back into my house, okay? Even if you have to drag me kicking and screaming,” I say once my muscles gradually start to loosen.

“You ready to talk about it yet?” she raises an eyebrow at me.

“What is there to talk about, Glo? You know all about how crappy they are.”

“I know, but I also know something happened. I haven’t found you up here since we were thirteen.” I feel my face contort at the memory of my dad spending an hour listing all the ways I was a failure and disappointment. I push those thoughts away and focus on today.

“It was just a lot of yelling, angry slamming and then silence. You called shortly after I got home, so I don’t know what was said. Work was long yesterday and I just didn’t feel like going back into that house.” Once more shove down the feeling that is starting to creep up again when I see her worried expression. A feeling that would just complicated my life so much more if I were to let it develop.

“Fine,” she concedes, holding up her hands. “You know you’re always welcome over when things get bad.”

“Thank you, Glo. Now let’s go, before your dad decides to revoke that welcome.” I push her lightly toward the opening in the floor.

 

A few days later, I’m sitting on a stool in the kitchen chatting with Mr. A. when we hear the doorbell ring. He asks me to get it, claiming he can’t leave his sauce for even a second. I shake my head with a laugh and move through the house.

I pull open the door and see a really tall guy standing there waiting. Instantly I know who he is. I can’t fight the feeling in my gut when I see him.

“Hi, are you Ryan?” he asks cocking his head to the side.

“No, I’m Steven. Ryland is upstairs in his room.” I force a smile, my eyes hard as I ask, “Conner, right?”

“Yeah.” I watch as he tenses under my stare. “Is Glory almost ready?”

“No idea, I never made it past the kitchen. I’ll go check, you can have a seat.” I don’t listen for a response as I turn on my heel, jogging back through the house and up the stairs.

“Glo, you have a visitor,” I yell out when I reach the landing.

“I’m coming, go entertain him!” she calls out from her room.

“Sorry, can’t. I told Ry that I’d help him with this dolphin he’s working on,” I answer back, careening into Ryland’s bedroom.

“No you didn’t. Besides, this is a humpback whale, not a dolphin,” Ry tells me seriously.

“It’s a whale, actually, which makes it that much more complex,” I explain as Glo makes her way past the open doorway.

“Have fun,” she laughs, going down the stairs.

I try to help Ry after she leaves, but I’m jittery. He asks me to leave after I drop three too many pieces, almost breaking one. I sigh and stand up. I don’t know if I should just go home or if I should go back to hanging out with Mr. A. This has never been a problem for me before. I don’t like it. I don’t like that guy. I really don’t like this feeling.

I grumble as I descend the stairs. Mr. A. looks at me curiously as I slump back onto the stool.

“You don’t like him either, huh?”

I look up and shake my head. He knows. I can see it in his eyes. I hang my head, not able to hold his gaze any longer.

“I think I’m going to head home.” I sigh and stand. I leave then and barricade myself in my bedroom. I know I should try and sort through my feelings, but I don’t. Instead I spend the next few hours playing mind-numbing videos games. I fall into bed after I’ve lost seven times in a row.

 

“I wasn’t sure if you’d show up,” Glo states as soon as I open their back door. “What with how elusive you’ve been lately.”

“I’ve been working,” I answer with a frown.

“I haven’t seen you for the past four days, Steven,” she huffs at me.

“My life doesn’t revolve around you.”

She takes a step back, looking hurt. “I didn’t say it did.”

“I’m sorry. Work just has me worn out.” I tell her, forcing most of the hostility from my tone. “Have I ever not come over on a Saturday night before?” 

“No,” she frowns. “I’m sorry too. I just missed you, that’s all.” She turns away from me and walks around the kitchen island, “So, macaroni and cheese or pizza?”

“I’ve had pizza a lot in the past few days,” I admit falling onto the bar stool. “Where’s your dad?”

“He took Ry camping,” she tells me. “Father-son bonding time or something. Thank goodness my hours at the library picked up otherwise I probably would’ve been roped into going too.”

I ask her if there have been any funny patrons lately, which keeps her talking while making our dinner. When she’s seated she asks me about landscaping; so I tell her about the cranky man who hired me to cut his lawn yesterday. We’re laughing and basically back to normal by the end of the meal.

Without question we move into the living room to start our first movie. She asks if I’d be up for watching a scary movie since Ryland isn’t here.

“You know he can handle movies like these, right?” I laugh as we settle into the couch and I select a movie from their on-demand list. “One night we stayed up after you two fell asleep and watched one. He was fine; I think he even found it funny.”

“That doesn’t surprise me at all actually,” she chuckles. “I don’t remember the last time I watched a horror movie.”

Halfway through the movie I remember the last time we did this. We were eleven and it was about a haunted basement. Glo had hidden under my arm for the entire thing, much like she is right now. She jumps closer every time anything frightening happens on screen.

“Steven!” she squeals and buries her face into my chest. I can’t help the rumbling laughter that comes out; her reactions are just too funny. She doesn’t notice though, her attention already back on the screen.

At some point during the movie she was so startled that she dove into my chest, effectively pushing us in to lying down positions. By the end of the film we’re as tangled up as we were that morning over a week ago. I stifle a groan. All that staying away for nothing. I don’t say anything as she lifts off me a bit to grab the remote to find something fluffier for us to watch. After she chooses one she settles back down on my chest.

“Glo, we should probably get up.”

“Why?” She stops the movie and shifts until her arm is under her chin and she’s gazing up at me.

“I don’t think your boyfriend would appreciate this,” I tell her, resisting the urge to roll my eyes.

“Boyfriend?” she asks a laugh.

“Conner.”

She rolls her eyes with another laugh. “Conner isn’t my boyfriend. We’ve been on three dates, Steven.”

“But I thought he was all amazing and dreamy and stuff.” I grumble.

“He is. That doesn’t mean he’s my boyfriend.”

“Still you’re dating him. If I was dating someone I wouldn’t want them to cozy up to some guy on the weekends.”

“You’re not some guy, you’re my best friend.” She looks down to where her fingers are playing with my shirt. “We’re close.”

“Glo, we have don’t do this.” I can’t help the frustration that creeps into my tone.

“What? We used to cuddle like this all the time.” I can hear the annoyance in her voice now.

“Past tense, Glo. We haven’t been like this in years and you know it.” Both of our bodies are tense now.

“I always lean on you during our movie nights,” she insists, glancing up, “and when I’m sleepy.”

“Yeah lean, not lay on. Plus that’s always innocent because your dad and brother are right here next to us.”

She shifts, sitting up, legs pulled up in front of her. I follow her lead until we’re pressed into opposite sides of the couch. Finally she speaks again. Her voice small and eyes glued to her knees. “Innocent? Steven, is this about that morning in the tree-house? You look a little freaked then, but then you seemed fine. Then all of a sudden you became distant. What’s going on with you?” Her voice rises the more she says she’s now in her borderline crisis voice. She still won’t look at me.

“Nothing is going on with me.” I reach up and run my hand over my face. “Glo, I don’t know. It just doesn’t feel as innocent to me.”

“Well it does to me,” her tone petulant now. “You’ve been my best friend for as long as I can remember and I don’t want that to change. We snuggle. If Conner has a problem with that, then he can get over it.”

“I don’t think it should be something he needs to get over.”

“Well I do,” she snaps defiantly, her eyes on me again.

“Glo.”

“Shut up, Steven.” She snatches up the remote. “Let’s just watch this movie.”

So we do. We sit at opposite ends of the couch and stare at the screen. It’s awkward as all get out. I hear and feel when she moves, but I refuse to give in and look at her.

When the movie comes to a close she heaves a giant sigh and I finally turn. Her eyes are trained on her fingers which are resting on her Indian style crossed legs.

Her voice is soft when she says, “I hate fighting with you, Steven.”

“The feeling is mutual,” I mutter back. “I’m sorry. I didn’t want to make it into a big thing, it just. I don’t know. Feels weird to me, I guess.”

“Our friendship should never have to feel weird,” she looks up under her lashes at me.

“I know,” I sigh. “I should probably get home; I have work in the morning.”

“Since when do you work on Sunday?”

“Since tomorrow apparently. A family wants an intricate stone walkway done and tomorrow is the only day they’re not going to be around.” I explain this as I stand up and stretch, stiff from the two hours of being frozen in place.

“We’re good, right?” She sounds worried. I feel my face fall as I hold out my hand to her. She clasps it and pulls herself up. I give her a long hug.

“I’m sorry, Glo.” I whisper into her hair. I pull away and we move to the back door. “I’ll see you later, okay?” She nods and I leave.

 

“Oh thank God you’re here!” I chuckle at Mr. A. as I step through the door. “She’s been stomping around up there for thirty minutes. She won’t tell me what’s going on. Go subdue her.”

“Yes, Sir,” I salute as I move past him. I jog up the steps, calling out a hello to Ryland as I pass his room. I stop at her door, watching as she paces back and forth. “Glo, you’re going to fall through to the kitchen soon.”

“Shut up and help me.”

“What’s up, cranky?” I fall onto her bed.

“I am not cranky,” she scowls at me.

“Could’ve fooled me.” I duck easily when I see a shoe come flying at my head. “Calm down, Glo. Tell me what’s going on.”

“Stop telling me to calm down. It’s not helpful.”

“Glory.”

“Steven.”

“You’re the one freaking out here, not me. I’m relaxed as a cucumber.”

She gives me a look. “It’s cool as a cucumber, moron.”

“I can just leave, you know?” I start getting up. She quickly crosses the room and shoves me down. “Okay, okay,” I raise my hands in surrender. “What is going on?”

“My mom called.”

I freeze. “Your mom… called… you?” I can feel my forehead wrinkle with my drawn out question.

“I know.”

“What did she want?”

“Money Dad apparently owes her or something. I was in the shower when she called so there’s a message. If you want to listen to it.” She gestures to where her cell phone is resting face down on the floor next to us.

I swoop down to retrieve it. “Has she ever come at you directly before? How did she even get your number?”

“No. She always talked to the lawyers after Dad quit answering her calls.” She’s started pacing again. “Does it matter how she got it? She has it now. I haven’t talked to her in three years.”

“And that was through your lawyer, right? They set up the call-time.”

She nods, silent as I listen to the voicemail. It’s a familiar voice, one I remember from childhood, all sweet and charming. She goes on for a bit about how much she misses her Glory-bear and Ry-ry--it’s a bit nauseating and complete bull. Finally she gets to the point of why she’s calling, she needs four hundred dollars and Mr. A. has owed her for awhile and it’s only fair for him to give it to. After all she’s in need.

I roll my eyes over a dozen times during the six minute long message. Once it’s finished I lock her phone and place it next to me on the bed. Glo has stopped pacing and is now staring at me anxiously.

“She’s just using you.” I state sharply.

Once the tree-house was built all those years ago, the two of us spent many hours up there forgetting. We loved it up there in our pretend world where nothing was wrong. Parents didn’t fight or yell. And up there, parents definitely didn’t run off claiming they need to ‘find themselves’ with tax auditors.

But we always had to come down eventually. We tried to be strong, but there were some nights when it was just too terribly loud at home. I would run across the lawn, sneak in the back door and climb the stairs. I would always find Glo crying. I’d snuggle up behind her, whispering that I would never leave her. She was good enough. She was the best person I knew.

After the first year of silence she contacted them. The auditor had left her alone and penniless. Mr. A. refused to give her anything. For awhile she called every couple weeks. Then every few months, Glory’s sadness turned to anger. Eventually as the years passed the calls became fewer and the anger turned to resentment.

When we were fourteen she claimed to have dealt with all her feelings. Saying it was her mother’s loss. She hadn’t heard from her in over a year and was fine with that.

My resentment toward the woman never lessened. Mr. A., Glo and Ry were my favorite people; I wished many times throughout my life that they were my family. I hated that woman for leaving them.

Glory’s jaw is set when she looks at me and answers. “I know she is. I never even considered returning her call.”

“Then why were you so worked up?” I ask confused.

Her face softens. “Dad should know, right?” She’s pacing once again. “I wasn’t going to tell him, but then I started thinking about it and I think I should tell him. Then again, we haven’t heard from her in ages and telling him would just drag up all the emotions he has when he hears about her. He tries to hide it, but you can tell when the food tastes a little off. But he’s my dad, he deserves to know. Especially since it’s about him. Well, his money really. It’s not like we even have hundreds of dollars just lying, and if we did why would we ever give it to her? I mean, honestly.”

I stand and grab her before she can march back to the other end of her room. “Glo,” I whisper her name as my arms wrap about her back. She sags against me, relaxing. “We should tell him.”

She nods and takes a couple deep breaths. She mumbles thanks into my neck after taking a few seconds to calm down. I squeeze her tightly before letting go, not even bothering to stop the longing that’s brewing inside me.

“Will you stay tonight, like you did when we were kids?” Glo asks after a slightly burnt dinner. I know I should refuse. I open my mouth to say no. It comes out a yes.

“Dad caught me earlier and said we had to talk tonight. I’ll come back once he’s through shouting.”

“Just remember that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. You are amazing.”

“Thank you, Glo. I’ll be fine; you know how thick my skin is.” I back out of her house. “And when it starts to wear I’ve got you to help build me back up.”

“Always.”

 

She’s sleeping when I finally make it back. I crawl into her bed next to her. She stirs with the movement. Her eyes flashing open, zeroing in on my face. Checking for post-daddy-talk stress signs. Thankfully, tonight there are none. He really just wanted to talk. Occasionally he acts like a respectable father.

“We reviewed my plans for the future. He was civil and let me make my case. I know to expect comments about how inexplicably wrong I am to surface over the next few days.” I whisper all of this to my groggy best friend. Her emotions passing over her face as I talk.

“At least there was no yelling.”

“And no crying, I see.” I inspect her face.

She rolls her eyes at me. “I ran out of tears for that woman a long time ago.”
“Just checking.”

“Go to sleep, Steven.” Her eyes roll and she turns away from me.

 

When I wake up I’m not at all surprised to find us tangled together. I am amazed at how much we move in our sleep though. I started out the night on my side facing away, now we’re spooning. I have an arm underneath her body leading to where I find our fingers are intertwined. I allow the grin to spread over my face at this. My other arm is around her torso and our legs are all twisted together. I lie still, feeling the contentment of just being here with her fill me.

I’ve given up trying to deny my feelings. Now I have to come to terms with the fact that I have fallen in love with my best friend. That has a boyfriend. I remind myself this as I lean up to look at her sleeping face. All I want to do is kiss her awake. I sigh, resigned to the fact that I can’t, that I have to hide these feelings that I’ve finally accepted. It shouldn’t be too difficult. I can do this.

I swallow hard as her eyes flutter open.

 

A/N: Don't hate me! =) I'm planning to write one or two more installments making this into a mini series! So bother me occasionally if you're dying for more! Thank you for reading! Wish me luck on the contest! 


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