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Chris and Emily
“How are you?” he asked.
Like clockwork, he never faltered, every night he would ask her the same question. Something about tonight was different though, and he knew it.
“I’m fine” She replied.
He would never know that every night when he asked her, her heart would jump, and her mind would spin, second guessing everything she thought she knew about herself and how she was feeling. Tonight was different though, and she knew it.
“That’s good.” He said.
He didn’t believe her, but he was afraid if he called her out on it, and got her to tell him what was bothering her, that he wouldn’t be able to sleep that night. He would never tell her that when something was upsetting her he would stay up all night wracking his brain for a way to fix it.
“Yep!! And how are you?”
She wished she didn’t have to ask him that. She couldn’t stand to hear more about him and his girlfriend, about how wonderful his life is. She was already on the brink of tears.
“I’m really good!”
He really wished he didn’t have to say that, but he was, and its not like he wanted to lie to her…
At first she didn’t even realize she was crying, she’s so used to the feeling by now. But she could feel a single tear slink down her cheek as she pressed send, then fall lightly onto her leg. She’s never felt so heartbroken in her entire life; she hates being in love with him, her best friend.
“Can I ask you something?” He said.
There it was again…like a tickle in his throat, he knew something was wrong. He’s not sure how he knows when she’s upset, but somehow he’s always right.
“Sure” She answered warily.
She had a creeping suspicion that he knew, but how? How could he know she’s upset? She hasn’t said anything that would tip him off…She knows there’s a chance he just has another question about her. Her, with her blonde hair, and “sunny smile”, that girl would never be good enough for him.
“What’s wrong Em? I just have this feeling… something’s not right with you tonight.”
He hoped she wouldn’t lie to him again; he really hates it when she does that. Sometimes he feels like she doesn’t trust him, like she’s hiding some big secret.
“I still don’t know how you do that” was all she said.
That’s when she started sobbing. Through her tears she typed a simple response, trying to avoid the subject.
“Emily, please.” He pleaded
He knew something was wrong now. She always tried to avoid the subject when something was wrong.
“It’s just a headache, that’s all” She countered
She could tell she was in trouble when he used her first name, he only does that we he’s serious about something.
“Whatever it is, we can fix it. Please, let me help you. Don’t push me away.”
Now there’s no doubt in his mind that there’s something wrong. He knows she only says she has a headache when she cries.
“Chris, you cant help me, okay?”
She’s shaking now, trying to keep her breath steady and her voice low; she doesn’t want to wake anyone. She can’t tell him, she just cant. She knows he won’t be able to say what she wants him to say…
“Come on, I wont think of you any differently. I can help, I promise. Please.”
He needs to know, if she doesn’t tell him it’ll bother him for days. He hopes he can convince her to trust him. She’s his best friend; he doesn’t understand why she doesn’t trust him. Why can’t she just tell him?
“Chris don’t make promises you cant keep.”
She can’t stand this anymore; she hates keeping things from him. She’s just so afraid he’ll stop talking to her, he’s her best friend, she can’t imagine a life without him.
“Em, what’s wrong?” He asked again.
He’s pacing now, he can only hope that she might answer him.
“…I’m in love with you. That’s what’s wrong.”
There, she said it. She finally told him how she felt.
“I have to go…I’m so sorry”
She clicked her phone off, and fell asleep crying.
His head started to spin, he sat down. She’s what? He couldn’t help but think it all made sense. He never understood why she got so upset when he told her about his relationship, or how she always seemed a little sad when she saw him with his girlfriend, even the time he caught her looking at him. He couldn’t help but feel bad for not seeing it before. His heart was beating fast, he felt dazed. He lied back on his bed and stared up at the ceiling “well,” he thought, “I was right about one thing, I knew I wasn’t going to sleep tonight.”
A week passed in silence, but he couldn’t stop thinking about her. Her eyes, her laugh, her smile, everything he’d never noticed until now. Even her name sounded foreign to him; yet another thing he’d never really acknowledged.
Every night he would look at his phone, willing himself to talk to her. He knew he hurt her, but what was he supposed to say? He’s in love with someone else…right?
“I’m sorry...” He said.
“Because…I’m sorry I just think we’re better off as friends.”
He looked at the ground and kicked around a pebble with his foot; he couldn’t look her in the eyes.
“I’m sorry.” He repeated softly
“Goodbye Chris” Her voice cracked when she said his name, and a tear fell down her cheek.
“EMILY!” He shouted, hoping she would hear him across the crowded hallway.
Her head turned, surprised. But when she saw whom it was she turned back and started to walk away. He chased after her, swerving through the crowd of people.
“Emily please, wait,” He pleaded.
Something about the way he said this made her stop. She turned to face him.
“Can we please talk? How about outside?” He asked.
She nodded and slowly, made her way to the door, avoiding eye contact with him. He motioned to a bench a few feet away, and they sat silently for a moment before he began to talk.
“So Em, how ya been?”
“Chris, please. What do you want?”
She sounded pained, sad, and tired, it made his breath catch in his throat. He stood up, and reached his hand out. She eyes him warily but clasped her fingers in his. He pulled her up swiftly; they were only inches apart now. Their eyes met, and she saw a flicker of something she’d never seen before go across his face. Before she knew it, he was kissing her. He wrapped his arms around her waist and closed the space between them. When she pulled away, he was confused.
“Chris…your girlfriend.” She whispered.
“Is not my girlfriend anymore”
He lifted her chin, and kissed her softly.
“What? Why?” She sputtered, flustered.
“Because, I’m completely, and totally, in love with my best friend.”
She looked up, and saw his big goofy smile. She pulled him close, and kissed him.