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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/1032964-My-Best-Friend-chapters-4-5-6
by Pummi
Rated: E · Chapter · Romance/Love · #1032964
Our time together isn't just fun anymore, it's also starting to hurt.
My Best Friend
Chapter 4



Chelsea's POV

Isn't it strange that when somebody decides to pay you a visit they show up at your door right in the middle of the most interesting scene on Gilmore Girls? I mean no one should disturb me during Gilmore Girls. It took Luke and Lorelai forever to get together, but they did get there and I should be allowed to enjoy living my dreams through a TV show, don't you think?

Who could it be at the door anyway? A few weeks ago I would have put money on it being Colin, but not today. There's something wrong with us, we haven't seen each other for a while. I guess I've been avoiding him and he's been avoiding me. Or actually he's just been too busy for me. Maybe he finally realized that he doesn't need me in his life now that he has Jasmine.

"The best way to find out who's at the door is to open the door," somebody, who looks a lot like Colin, tells me once I open the door.

"What?" I ask him, I guess seeing him has made me a little speechless. And excited. Wow, it's good to see him.

"I know that's what you were thinking, because that's what you always think when it takes you this long to open the door," Colin, the know-it-all, tells me.

Would it be too much if I hugged him right now? I guess I could start with letting him come inside.

"No, that's not what I was thinking about, because I knew for sure that it's going to be Jude Law at the door, but I guess he's running a little late tonight," I tell him as I step away from the door to let him in. It's better than telling him I was thinking about him, right?

"So, how are you?" he asks me once we make it to my living room.

"Fine, I'm fine," and even better now that you're here.

No, Chelsea, stop that. This is your buddy Colin. Yes, your good buddy, remember? So only buddy-like thoughts are allowed.

Although I have no idea what exactly are buddy-like thoughts.

"It's good to see you, sorry I've been missing in action lately," Colin tells me as we both settle down on the couch.

"You too. Really. I'm so glad you came over, because my plans for tonight included dying of boredom," I say and grin, although I did mean the first part.

"Okay, so we need new plans," he states matter-of-factly.

"What if they included popcorn and a movie?"

He nods in agreement and I get up again. "I got some new DVD-s last week, so you pick a movie, I'll go get the popcorn."

I move to the kitchen to get the mentioned popcorn. I guess we could go out to see a movie, but I prefer to stay here. Maybe I'm feeling a little selfish, so I want to keep him all to myself today.

As I get back to the living room he has already made himself comfortable on the couch. I sit down at the other end and place the popcorn between us.

"So, what are we watching?"

"Kingdom of Heaven," he tells me and looks at me as if to see that I'm okay with his choice. I assure it to him with a smile before turning my eyes on the TV.

A few moments later I reach out my hand to get some popcorn, but as it turns out he has just done the same. So our hands touch and my first instinct is to pull away as his touch is burning me, but that would look suspicious, wouldn't it? So I pretend to pay no attention to our contact and let my hand linger against his for a little longer.

When did it come to this? An accidental brush of hands feels electrifying. How did I get myself into this?

But he doesn't know these thoughts I have. He probably felt nothing more than he would have felt when touching a piece of wood. But his obliviousness is good for me, isn't it? I can take advantage of it and so I do. I pick up the bowl with popcorn and pull my feet up on the couch. I rest them on his lap. Friends do that, right?

"Comfortable?" he asks me as I move around a little more to find the best position.

"Yeah," I tell him with a big grin.

He's smiling too. "But don't think I'm giving you a foot massage."

"We'll see about that," I tease him back. I don't think I'm ever getting up from this couch and I'm not letting him leave either.

Apparently he's familiar with this game too. He rests his hands on top of my legs and once again his touch is burning my skin, even through the jeans.

We stay like this for a while, then his hand suddenly moves forward and lands on my belly. He gropes around as if he was looking for something and I can't breathe any more. Is he aware of what he's doing to me?

He finally looks up from the screen and turns to me. "Oh," he mutters as he sees that the bowl with popcorn was a little higher from where he thought, he stretches a little, grabs a handful of popcorn and goes back to watching the movie.

So far I, for one, have absolutely no idea what the movie is about.

I should really start paying attention too, because what am I going to say if he asks me about some particular scene later? Sorry, I was too busy staring at you and trying to breathe? God, how pathetic is too pathetic? I thought I was over this. I thought I had finally got it through my thick skull that Colin is just being my friend. The guy on my couch has a girlfriend and he would never do anything to jeopardize that. Not that he even wanted to. This is all just in my head, I sometimes seem to forget that, but I really shouldn't.

And he shouldn't do what he's about to do. He has grabbed my left foot firmly into his hand and that mischievous grin on his face tells me that I'm not going to like this.

He uses his free hand to tickle me and he really shouldn't, because I'm awfully ticklish. Of course, he knows that. I can't believe I dug this hole to myself.

I squeal and whirl in his hands and he looks like he couldn't enjoy this more. I really don't know why I've been friends with him for so long, because I don't even like him right now. He's pure evil.

So I fight the evil and punch him with my free foot.

I think I punched him too hard, because he has let go of me and is now rubbing his shoulder.

"I am so sorry!" I tell him as I quickly get up from my comfortable position and go over to him.

"Even thought about playing soccer?" he asks me as he continues to rub his aching shoulder, but then smiles, "I guess I deserved that."

"You did," I tell him with a smile of my own. I'm just glad he's alright.

It suddenly occurs to me that we're sitting really close to each other now. I could just raise my hand and touch his cheek, or lean in a little and kiss the top of his head. However this is too much for me to handle, so I get up, mutter something about going to the bathroom and run away from him.

I wondered why today is different, now I know. His touch feels different, because while I've been avoiding dealing with this, it has become real. Too real.

Our time together isn't just fun anymore, it's also starting to hurt. Being around him while not actually being with him is starting to hurt. And it's the worst feeling in the world. So I'll just go back in there and ask him to leave. Then I can figure out what I'm going to do next.

He has moved from his position on the couch and is now standing next to it. "I hope you don't mind, I was thirsty," he says and points to the bottle of water in his hands.

"Of course I don't mind."

I have to come up with the best way for telling him to leave. I don't want to sound rude and I don't want to hurt his feelings.

He's looking at me with concern in his eyes. He knows something is wrong. He can read me like a book, but then why can't he see how much I need him? How much I love him? He probably just doesn't want to see that.

"Look, Colin..." Not a very good start, especially since I still haven't figured out what I want to say. "...Could we call it a night? I'm really tired..."

He's not buying it.

"What happened Chelsea? Did I do something to upset you? Was it the tickling?" he tries to smile, but I think he's too scared. Does he really care as mush as it seems?

"No Colin, you did nothing wrong. You've been great, but..." He's waiting for me to finish my sentence, but I really don't know how. "I know you're looking for an explanation, but I just can't give you right now. And I know I'm acting weird, but could you please go? ...I'll call you tomorrow."

Instead of leaving he steps closer to me and I wish he didn't, because I'm not feeling like myself right now and I'm afraid I'll do something embarrassing. Something we'll both regret.

"Chelsea, I'm not going anywhere until I know you're alright."

"I am. I really am."

"I've known you too long to fall for that."

"Well then... I will be alright, is that better?"

And we've never been like this before. We're talking, but I'm hiding my thoughts from him. I wish I didn't have to, because he's that one person in my life I want to share everything with.

"Chelsea, this is not like you. You're scaring me a little. Tell me what I did wrong and I'll make it up to you."

He wants to be good to me, he always has been, but right now everything he says or does is suffocating me.

I really want him to go.

"C'mon," he says and takes my hand instead. He leads me away from the living room and takes me to my bedroom. "Here, you said you were tired, so just climb into bed. Let me take care of you," he says and squeezes my hand to emphasize his words.

I don't think I deserve someone like him in my life.

He pulls away the covers from the bed and turns his back to me so I could change into my night clothes. While I do that, he goes over to my CD-collection and picks out something smoothing to help me calm down, to make me feel better.

And I love him so much right now.

I crawl into my bed and switch on the lamp by my bed. He goes to switch off the ceiling light and the room is only dimly lit now. He then sits next to me and smiles. "Any better? Is there anything else I can do for you?"

No, you've done more than enough already. And I think he really should get going now, but I've come to realize that what I think and what I want are rarely the same things when it comes to Colin.

"Could you stay with me tonight?"

He seems surprised by my request, but he grants me my wish anyway. He takes away his jumper and his pants and crawls under the covers with me.

And he doesn't stay on his side, he moves to me and pulls me closer to him so my head is resting on his shoulder. He then reaches one of his arms over me and turns the light off.

I can't see anything, because my eyes aren't used to the darkness yet, but that's fine. I can feel. I can feel Colin right next to me, I can almost hear his heartbeats or maybe it's my own heart, ready to burst because of this amazing feeling that has completely taken over me.

And it feels like this single moment is what I've lived my whole life for.





* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Colin's POV.

"Are you sure you don't want to come with us?" Mickey asks me for the second time, although he sounds just as enthusiastic as he did the first time.

"Dude, what's wrong with you? This is your perfect opportunity to hang out with Leah alone and you want me to tag along?"

Mickey shrugs and smiles shyly. "You got me. I was just asking to cover my real intentions. If you had said yes I wouldn't have let you come after all."

I think he's blushing a little when he says that. Wow. He must really like that girl. If they get together I'll be really angry with Mickey. Why can't he be miserably pining for someone who doesn't want him like me?

I don't know, I'm not usually this mean.

"How come you don't have any plans with Jasmine tonight?"

"She has a girls' night out with her friends."

Actually I hope Mickey and Leah do get together, because then he could enjoy the advantages of a happy relationship like me. I don't know what I was talking about earlier. I guess I still slip sometimes.

"Oh. What about Chelsea? Where is Chelsea anyway?"

"What do you mean?"

Mickey sends me a questioning look. "What do you mean, what do I mean? It's not really a complicated question!"

"Well, she's taking a walk in the park. Oh look! A squirrel ran across the road right in front of her!"

Another questioning look, this time it's mixed with an annoying one.

"What? My X-ray vision is a bit blurry today, so maybe it was a cat."

"I didn't mean where she is at this exact moment, I meant in general. Did you guys have a fight? You did, didn't you? Of course you did, why else hasn't she been around. Okay, what did you do this time?"

Now it's my turn to look annoyed. "I didn't do anything. Chelsea and I are fine, we're not fighting."

"Okay, if you say so."

I just nod.

"Well, I better get going then. I'll see you tomorrow." With that Mickey leaves my dorm room to go charm his girl. Maybe I should try some of that. I could crash Jasmine's girls only night, seduce her a little and ask her to come home with me. Or I could respect her wishes and give her a little space tonight.

A few weeks ago I would have used this opportunity to go annoy Chelsea, but not any more. I'm giving her some space too. Or actually I'm giving myself some space from her. It's easier this way.

Except that it's not. I miss her. God how I miss her.

Am I crossing the line again?

Well, Mickey was right, Chelsea hasn't been around for a while, but not because we're fighting, I've just been avoiding her. Like I said, I need some space. And yet the plan is backfiring. The more I stay away from her, the more I think of her, dream of her.

Maybe I've got this down wrong. Maybe I should spend as much time as possible with her to get over her? Worth a try?

See how weak I am?

Sometimes I feel like I've had enough and then I think what would happen if I just told Chelsea. But what exactly is it that I want to tell her? What is it that I want? I know I want someone in my life to care for, to have someone who cares for me, and actually I want so much more than just caring. I want to be loved. I think Jasmine can offer me that so I know I've made the right choice. Yet there's this unexplainable force that drags my thoughts back to Chelsea, that makes me want to run to her. When I'm around her my world just goes upside down. I get a fever and my heart goes into flames. It sounds painful, but it isn't. It's the most amazing feeling ever.

Wow, I sound really mushy for a guy, don't I?

But the thing is that nothing could ever happen between us. We've been best friends for 9 years now, so us kissing would be really awkward, wouldn't it? It would be like kissing my sister. Except that it wouldn't. I've always been aware that Chelsea is a woman. I guess that sounded weird. What I mean is that when I look at her, I don't see just a friend. I steal glances of her body, her breasts, her flat stomach, her long legs and I believe it wouldn't be awkward at all, it would be mind blowing to feel her bare skin against mine, to be able to touch her, to have her all to myself.

If Chelsea had any idea this is the way I think of her she would freak out completely. She'd never speak to me again and I can't bare to lose her. She's just an amazing person and I can't function without having her in my world. So I choose our friendship and I choose a comfortable relationship with Jasmine.

However, me avoiding Chelsea isn't exactly the best thing for our friendship either. I mean I've made my choices so I can stop hiding from the world, right?

So I get my car keys, my jacket and get out of my dorm room. I should go and try that whole charming thing with Jasmine, but I know that's not where I'm going. I have a friendship to save instead.

***

It takes Chelsea ages to open the door. I wonder what she was doing? Or maybe she wasn't dressed? Now there's a thought...

"The best way to find out who's at the door is to open the door," I tell her when she finally gets there.

She seems surprised. And a little speechless. She manages to mumble a "What?" and then continues to stare at me. It hasn't been that long, has it?

"I know that's what you were thinking, because that's what you always think when it takes you this long to open the door," I reply and a tiny small appears on her face.

"No, that's not what I was thinking about, because I knew for sure that it's going to be Jude Law at the door, but I guess he's running a little late tonight," she says with a mischievous grin and finally lets me into the hall.

"So, how are you?"

"Fine, I'm fine," she says, although her answer seems a little hesitant. That makes me happy, because in my mind it has something to do with me not being around. She must have missed me, right?

"It's good to see you, sorry I've been missing in action lately," I tell her just to see her reaction. It's a dangerous game, though. What if she says I didn't even notice!

Luckily she doesn't. Instead she says that it's good to see me too. And adds: "I'm so glad you came over, because my plans for tonight included dying of boredom."

"Okay, so we need new plans," I announce as I try not to think of Chelsea and the word dying in one sentence.

Actually I feel relieved. She's glad I came over. What a fool I've been all this time...

"What if they included popcorn and a movie?"

I like the idea of spending the evening here so I agree eagerly. She goes to get the popcorn and leaves me to choose the movie. I'm just glad that things are back to normal again... except they're really not. For the first time, I feel nervous being here in Chelsea's living room. That's not normal, that's something new. I feel nervous because I'm scared I'll screw something up. As if this was something else than just an ordinary evening between friends.

How is it possible that this girl has such an effect on me?

"So, what are we watching?" she asks as she returns to the living room.

It hits me that I paid no attention to the DVDs and put on the first disk that I found. I quickly glance at the cover - Kingdom of Heaven - and announce it as if I had carefully chosen it. She seems to be fine with my selection and assures it to me with a smile.

Great. Now I can't focus on the movie anymore.

I do my best to keep her away from my thoughts and glue my eyes to the TV. Apparently that's not a good idea, because as I reach out my hand to get some popcorn, it bumps into hers. I want to pull away, but I can't move. I need her touch too much.

For my surprise, she makes it even easier for me as she gets comfortable on the couch and puts her feet on my lap. If only she knew what images go through my mind because of all this touching and physical contact. She'd probably beat the crap out of me.

"Comfortable?" I ask her and she says she is.

Of course she is. Because she's here spending time with her best friend. She's not the one feeling nervous as hell.

I try to hide it with a smile. "But don't think I'm giving you a foot massage."

"We'll see about that," she replies teasingly.

OK, I'm persuaded.

After a moment of gathering some courage, I put my hands on top of her feet.

This feels... real.

I try to turn my attention back to the movie, because I haven't been able to focus so far.

And I step into the same hole again. With my eyes glued to the TV, I once again, pay no attention to the popcorn bowl and reach out my hand. This time it lands on her belly instead of the bowl.

My hand is on her belly and I feel that my cheeks are burning up. This is about to get very embarrassing. I try to act as carefree as possible, mutter an "Oh", stretch a little to reach the bowl and get back to watching the movie. What movie was it again?

Oh screw the movie. I can't focus on the damn movie, I'm too busy focusing on Chelsea's belly and legs. A sudden urge to touch them results in me grabbing her left foot and behaving like five-year-old. I start tickling her.

I know how much she hates it, but I can't help myself. Seeing her squealing and twisting makes me surprisingly happy.

However, she punching my shoulder with her free foot, makes me a little less happy. Whoa, she's got a good kick!

"I am so sorry!" she says as I grab my shoulder.

"Even thought about playing soccer?"

She moves closer to me and seems genuinely worried. So I smile and say I deserved that kick.

She eagerly agrees. She looks at me for a moment, then her smile disappears and she gets up. She says she has to go to the bathroom.

I instantly miss her touch as she leaves.

I think I need a cold shower.

Cold water will do too, so I get up and go to the kitchen. Once I return to the couch, she joins me again.

"I hope you don't mind, I was thirsty," I tell her and point to the water bottle I grabbed from her fridge.

"Of course I don't mind."

Yet it seems to me that she does. Maybe it's not about the water, but there is something that's suddenly troubling her. I really wish there wasn't, because we were having so much fun earlier.

"Look, Colin..."

That can't be good.

"Could we call it a night? I'm really tired..."

OK, so apparently I was the only one having fun tonight.

"What happened Chelsea? Did I do something to upset you? Was it the tickling?" I try to turn it into a joke, but I don't think she's in the mood.

I wonder if she's acting like this, because she finally figured it out. Did she finally realize that I have these feelings... ? And now she's freaking out.

Yes. This must be it. She's freaking out, because she can see the truth now. And she doesn't like what she's seeing. Of course she doesn't, I've know this all along.

"No Colin, you did nothing wrong. You've been great, but..."

So it's not me? Somehow I don't believe her.

"I know you're looking for an explanation, but I just can't give you one right now. And I know I'm acting weird, but could you please go? ...I'll call you tomorrow."

No, it's definitely me.

She hates me now, doesn't she? I did it. I ruined our friendship. I ruined the best thing in my life.

And I'm gonna do anything I can to make it right again. I don't care about myself - I can deal with my stupid feelings later, but I need to know that she's Okay. So I step closer to her - although I probably shouldn't - and tell her I'm not leaving until I know that she's going to be alright.

"I am. I really am," she tries to assure me, but it's not enough.


"I've known you too long to fall for that."

Maybe I should apologize? I'm not sure for what exactly, but I hate this. I hate that she's mad at me like this.

"Well then... I will be alright, is that better?"

She doesn't sound mad, though. She sounds tired and small. Why is everything so different all of a sudden?

"Chelsea, this is not like you. You're scaring me a little. Tell me what I did wrong and I'll make it up to you."

I wish I could. At least I can try, so I take her hand and we go to her bedroom. I just want to take care of her.

I pull off the covers from her bed, let her change her clothes and turn off the light.

"Any better? Is there anything else I can do for you?" I ask as I sit down next to her on her bed.

She looks at me with a look that I can't exactly read. Is this a 'I want you to go' look or a...

"Could you stay with me tonight?"

I can't believe she said that. She wants me to stay with her? For the night?

This proves that my earlier thoughts were wrong. She hasn't figured my feelings out. She's still in the dark and it's something else that has upset her. I feel relieved, to be honest. And it was her, who asked me to stay, right? So I can stay, because she wants me to, not because I want to.

I take off my clothes and climb into her bed.

I feel like it's not enough, so I do something I've never done before - I pull her to me and put my arm around her.

She doesn't push me away, instead she rests her head on my shoulder.

And so I get to hold her tonight. I'll worry about the consequences tomorrow. Tonight I just want to hold her.












My Best Friend
Chapter 5



Colin's POV

I wake up around 11AM, although I'm not sure I actually am awake, because I have someone who looks awfully similar to Chelsea sleeping next to me and that is something that only happens in my dreams. Right?

I look at her sleeping frame and I can't help but grin. As if something else happened here last night than just sleeping.

But something else did happen. This whole thing, it's too intimate even for us. I think that last night both of us admitted that we're a little more than just friends. This is a huge step. I'm not sure if it will actually take us forward, but it's huge.

Maybe I'm thinking too loud, because I seem to have waken Chelsea too. She turns to face me and she looks so pure right now. She gives me a sleepy smile and closes her eyes for another minute. I'll never forget that smile – the smile I would love to wake up to every morning. Then suddenly she sits up, looks at the clock and then looks at me.

My arm is around her legs now, because it used to be around her waist, but she pulled herself up.

"Oh God," she mutters as she keeps looking at me.

"What?" She's freaking out again. What's going on with her? She asked me to stay, I didn't imagine that, did I?

"This is not... I'm so sorry," she says and gets up from the bed. "God, if Jasmine could see us right now..."

Now it's my turn to sit up. "What are you talking about? We didn't do anything wrong. We're friends, friends sometimes have sleep-overs." Damn it. Now I'm using the friendship card again when just a moment ago I was so glad that we had moved beyond it.

Chelsea seems even worse than she was last night. I really should have gone home when she asked me to. I just can't figure her out anymore and it's scaring me.

"I need to take a shower," she tells me, ignoring my previous comment.

"Okay, I have to get going too," I reply as I get up and try to find my clothes.

She nods, but doesn't really look at me, then she disappears into the bathroom.

Okay, how did this happen? I was smiling just a few minutes ago, feeling genuinely good about today and now I feel like crap. Damn it. I have no idea what I did wrong.

Girls. Never ever will I try to figure them out again.

* * *

I went back to my dorm room, but Jason had some friends over and it was a little too crowded for me. So I decided to go for a walk instead.

I didn't come out here to think about Chelsea, I just needed some fresh air. However my mind keeps going back to this morning.

I'm starting to get annoyed with Chelsea. Why is it that girls always have to complicate things? I don't want my life to be complicated. Well, it already is, I suppose, but why complicate things even more? And Chelsea seems like a new person – someone I don't know and I don't like it.

Or maybe it's good, maybe this way I will finally be able to let go of her.

I wonder where do we stand now? Chelsea looked like she was angry with me last night and again this morning. Or maybe not angry – disappointed. I don't think she'll want to talk to me for a while and you know what, that's fine, because I don't want to talk to her either until she becomes herself again.

So it's not completely true, I do want to talk to her, but right now it's best to give us some space.

Again.



My feet take me to Jasmine's this time. I have to admit that I do feel guilty, even though nothing really happened last night. But it happened in my mind. In my mind we were together last night and that's why I feel guilty.

I know I'm seeking out Jasmine just to have her confirm me that everything is alright. I want to get rid of the guilt. I want her to make things easier, only she has the ability to do that and that's why I need her. See? I am finally admitting that I need her. Wow, this is huge.

Just like I thought last night was huge. But it was all in my head, like always.



I'm startled out of my thoughts by the ringing of my cell-phone. It's Chelsea's name that's blinking on the display.

I put the phone back into my pocket and wait until it finishes ringing. I don't want to get into this right now.

Instead I go to Jasmine's. She greets me with a kiss and a hug. She tells me to get in and I go sit down on her bed.

From one bedroom to another. I really don't like the person I have become.

"So, how was your night out with your girlfriends?" I ask her as she settles down next to me.

"It was great! We went clubbing and had so much fun, but I missed you," she tells me and emphasizes her words with a kiss.

"I missed you too," I tell her and at this moment I believe it myself.

"What did you do last night? You hung out with Mickey?"

"No, I was with Chelsea," I tell her the truth.

"Oh cool, I thought you guys were fighting or something," Jasmine smiles, "because I haven't seen her around for a while. It's great that you made up."

"Why does everybody think we're fighting? We're not." Or maybe we are now? It's confusing. I bet Chelsea's mad at me for not answering the phone and I'm a little mad at her for being so weird.

Jasmine shrugs. "Okay. So, what do you want to do today?"

"I don't know, we could go out. To the café at the beach?" I offer and Jasmine happily agrees.



So we spend the day at the beach and the evening at the café just talking about nothing and enjoying ourselves. Except that I'm not really enjoying myself. I feel restless. Jasmine has picked up on that and she keeps asking me if I want to get going in every ten minutes.

I finish another beer and am finally starting to relax a bit. Maybe I should drink some more, maybe that's what I need tonight.

Jasmine hates it when I get too drunk, so to prevent it from happening she finally announces that she's too tired to stay for another minute and we get up to leave.

It's chilly outside. Jasmine leans into me as we walk down the beach. I put my arms around her and she snuggles even closer to get some warmth. She tells me I smell good, even though I'm pretty sure I smell of beer, and I know she's just saying and doing all these things to hint me that I'd spend the night at her place, but I don't think it's a good idea.

I walk her to her home, we say goodbye with a long kiss at her front door, you know, like in the movies, and I start to walk back to my dorm.

I don't mind the chilly weather, it makes me feel fresh. It gives me new strength.

But being alone on these streets makes me think about her again. Usually I'd say that she's the strongest woman I know, but right now it seems to me that she's weak and defenseless. She's in her apartment, all alone, with no one to protect her. I don't know what exactly it is that she needs to be protected from, but that's the image that keeps returning to my head.

Maybe it's me she has to be protected from.

Maybe I feel this way because I've been unfair to her today. I've been angry with her, but I can never stay that way for long. It's always like this – I get angry for a while and then regret it, even though it has all been inside my head. And being angry exhausts me, I feel drained. I just want to love her again.

I take a deep breath and keep walking for a while. Then I pick up my phone and dial her number.





* * *

Chelsea's POV

So he finally calls me back. It only took him 12 hours. Maybe I shouldn't answer this time.

I shake my head and answer anyway.

"Hello?"

"Okay, so I need you to tell me what the hell is going on, because it just makes no sense anymore. You have to tell me what's going on with you."

Was that a hello to you too? I guess he has never been one to beat around the bush.

"You're right, I haven't been myself lately," I tell him with a long sigh. "I don't know why, exactly, but... everybody gets there sometimes, you know? And it's over, I promise. I'm back to my old self again."

I don't know if he believes me, but I think I believe it myself, so I must sound at least a little convincing.

"That's not good enough, I want to know what happened. What went through your mind last night? This morning?" he keeps pushing it. I have to admit I wasn't expecting this.

"Nothing... I don't know, I told you, I wasn't being myself."

"And I get that, but Chelsea, I'm supposed to be your best friend. What I don't understand is why you couldn't be yourself with me? Don't you trust me any more?"

"Of course I trust you, Colin. It had nothing to do with you," so I choose the easier way to end this conversation – I lie, "you just happened to be there. I've been feeling a little depressed for a while and I guess I finally broke down last night. It could have been anyone there with me, it just happened to be you and this morning I realized that I took advantage of you. I let you hold me like you should only hold Jasmine and I was well aware of it, I encouraged it, because I was being selfish and I felt bad about it when I woke up this morning." So I guess there's some truth into it as well. To be honest I don't even know what truth is any more.

Colin stays silent for a while. I wonder if he's still listening. Maybe he had enough and threw away his phone.

"Colin?"

No, I think he's still there, I can hear him breathing.

"Then I have to apologize too," he finally breaks the silence. "I held you tonight because it's the only way I know how to comfort anyone, but I realize now it was wrong. It was the easy way out, but it wasn't fair to you. I stopped being your best friend and treated you as if you were just one of my acquaintances."

Okay this is getting even more confusing. He comforts his acquaintances by holding them? And when did that become the center of our conversation? I do admit, that it's all I've thought about today, but I didn't think it meant that much to him too.

"Did you understand any of that? I guess what I'm trying to say is that I should have known better, I should have found a way to comfort you without making you feel bad about it."

"Are you crazy, Colin?" I tell him and smile despite the fact that he can't see it. "Here I am, acting like a nut case and you are apologizing to me?"

It hurts a little that he's apologizing for holding me. He is trying to rationalize it, because he's feeling guilty.

"Okay, enough with the apologizing then, but there are still things I want to ask you," he says.

I don't think I can deal with this today so I try to postpone it. "Maybe this is not the best time, you know... on the phone."

"Well, I am standing in front of your house, so..."

"What? Why didn't you say so earlier?"

"I just got here. I didn't mean to come, but... I'm here now, so, can I come in?"

The last time he was here it all became a mess, so I should just send him away, but it also feels tempting to see him. I've missed him so much all day. And we do need to work this thing out once and for all.

So I tell him to come upstairs and he does. We move to my living room and sit down on the couch. Just like yesterday, except that today there's this wide brick wall between us. We were so close to each other last night and now we're so far.

I still can't believe that I slept in his arms tonight. It may seem like a stupid thing, but for me it was everything. I have never ever felt so safe and I felt safe for him too. I would have taken on the whole world to protect his peaceful sleep and I let myself believe he'd do the same for me. We were real in that moment. Us. When he had fallen asleep I snuggled even closer to him. I smelled him, I listened to his breathing, to his heartbeats and I believed that his heart was beating for me. He slipped his arm further around my waist to keep me from turning away again and my own heart skipped a few beats.

Wow, I really should stop thinking about that right now.

"You said there were questions you wanted to ask me?" I start the conversation even though I'm scared to death of it.

"Yes, I just don't know how to word them yet," he tells me and it makes me relax a little. Maybe we can just sit here and...

"Chelsea," he cuts my thoughts off. I think he's a little angry with me. "I don't know, maybe this is all in my head. I need you to tell me if it is."

"What is?"

"That something has changed, maybe it only changed yesterday, but something is different. Between us. We're not like we used to be. Am I just imagining this?"

He's making this so easy for me. All I have to do is tell him that yes, he's imagining this and laugh about it. I could tell him he's being ridiculous and that everything is just fine. Then we could both just move on.

But I can't help myself. I shake my head to answer his question. "I don't think you're imagining it." Even though I'm avoiding the whole truth while we're having this conversation, I feel like it's more real than it has ever been and it doesn't hurt to be with him right now. We're talking about us and it makes me feel hopeful.

"So it's not true what you said? About me just happening to be here last night? It wouldn't have been the same with someone else?"

His voice still sounds angry. I don't know what he's asking from me, but he has turned to me and moved a little closer. Maybe I should just turn this all into a joke, because I can't stand it when he's mad at me.

"What do you mean?" I ask instead.

"Tell me Chelsea, why did you break down yesterday? It had something to do with me, I know it had and I need you to tell me."

He is looking right into my eyes and he has taken my hand into his. There's that physical thing again. He can't continue to use it against me. I melt against his touch, but I have to stay strong. He doesn't want to hear what I really have to say, what I really feel. It would turn everything in his life upside down. His stupid best friend with a crush would just complicate his life, so I have to protect him. He's only asking this to fix our friendship.

"You're wrong. It could have been anyone," I tell him, but my voice sounds small and I'm not sure he even heard me.

He seems to think it all over and I think he's a little disappointed. I don't understand what he wants any more. I thought he just wanted to fix this so we could be friends again, but he's digging this hole even deeper. Or am I imagining things now? Is he really so angry that he wants to hurt me before he can feel better about himself again?

"Why are you pushing this Colin? Why don't you want to let it go?"

"I don't know," he sighs and finally turns his eyes away from me. "Maybe because I don't want to go back to where we were. Maybe it's because I want to hold you again tonight."














Chapter 6.

Chelsea's POV

What is this noise? It's really starting to annoy me.

I look down and see that the noise is coming from me tapping my fingers against the desk. I stop for a moment, but only for a short moment, because the silence is even worse. So I start tapping again.

The big red numbers on the clock show that it's almost 10 pm. It's been about 24 hours since he left. 24 hours of torture. I am so mad at myself right now - just because I can't leave this body. I'm just so sick of being me, because this me has spent those 24 hours going over the same thing again and again and my head really hurts. I can't really eat, or sleep, or just sit and watch TV. I can't do any of these things, because I'm busy tapping my fingers and thinking about last night. Again. And again.

I keep thinking about what he said. I keep thinking about how he apologized for it just a second later. I keep thinking about how he rushed out of my apartment right after that.

And I know I should let it go, but I can't. He said he wanted to hold me again. And even thousand 'sorry, I didn't mean that'-s, can't take it away from me.

Every time I say that sentence in my head, my head starts spinning. I want to grin like an idiot and sometimes I do, but then the reality hits me and I feel unbelievably sad again.

Why did he run away? Why did he say he didn't mean it? Why did he say it in the first place - I mean, wasn't it all supposed to be only in my head?

And then there's that grin again.

It wasn't only in my head.

So I pick up my keys and leave my apartment behind. I have to find him, I have to tell him how I really feel about him. I just can't hold it inside any longer. I want the whole world to know. Well, actually I don't, but everything feels so big right now. So grand. And it feels like I should include the phrase 'the whole world' in my sentences.

But every step I take lessens my confidence. What if I'll just make a complete fool of myself? What if he'll tell me to leave? What am I doing running after him in the first place? I should wait until he comes to me.

But I don't want to wait. And suddenly I know something that I've never realized before - I know that I could never make a fool of myself in front of him. He's my best friend in the whole world - he wouldn't laugh at me, he wouldn't be mad. He would be supportive, even if he doesn't feel the same way about me.

We'll get through this.

And I quicken my step with that thought fallowing me.

* * *

I knock on Colin's door and my heart beats faster than ever before. A part of me is hoping that he's not home. Another part...

"Oh hey, Chelsea," Jason greets me as he opens the door. "Are you looking for Colin?"

Never ever have I been so disappointed to see Jason. It's not that I have anything against him, but it's the 'him not being Colin' part that bothers me.

"Yes. Is he here?"

"No, sorry. He's at Charlie's - Peter's band is performing today. I'm on my way there right now. Wanna join me?"

It sounds like a question, but he doesn't really wait for an answer. He closes the door behind him and starts walking towards the stairs. After short hesitation, I fallow him.

Charlie's bar isn't the best place for having this conversation and I should really just go home, but there's an invisible force that's pushing me to go with Jason.

I'm very quiet in the car and I miss everything that Jason is telling me. I'm too deep in my thoughts. The anticipation has been replaced by disappointment. I mean - he's out there having fun with his friends? Has he already forgotten about last night? Why isn't he home thinking things through like I was? He's... he doesn't care about any of this, does he?

He's out there, having fun.

I get angrier with every minute. Or maybe I'm not angry, I'm sad. Disappointed and sad.

And suddenly, I tell Jason to stop the car and let me out. I need to go back home. I need to go home and be sad. Alone. Alone with all my thoughts and with all my sadness.

Jason asks me what's wrong and I tell him I'm feeling sick. It's not far from truth.

He offers to drive me home, but I refuse his offer, say goodbye and get out of the car. It starts to rain a little as I start walking. That's good, because then no one can tell that those are tears falling on my cheeks, not raindrops.

It takes me about 20 minutes to get home. 20 minutes of feeling sorry for myself, feeling angry with myself, feeling angry with Colin and missing Colin. Missing him and hating him even more because of that.

By the time I get home I'm exhausted, which makes me even more miserable.

I really can't win tonight, can I?

I climb the stairs to my floor and start looking for my keys in the dark. I'm too miserable to turn on the lights in the hallway. Darkness suits my mood.

But suddenly I hear something that almost gives me a heart attack. I hear a voice in the darkness, calling my name.

He's here. He's standing in my hallway. He has been waiting for me.

"Chelsea?"

I'm afraid of what my voice might sound like, so I won't answer.

"Chelsea?"

I manage to find the right key and open my apartment door. "Come in," I whisper.

I go straight to the living room and throw my jacket on one of the chairs. He fallows me. Neither of us turn on the light.

"What are you doing here?" I ask, still whispering.

"Can we sit down?" he asks and goes to the couch.

I fallow his lead.

"Did you know that every time I'm here, I sit at the left corner of the couch? Do you know why? Because this is your favorite spot. And because everything you do or think or say is so important to me. I don't know if I can explain this, but there is this... this force, this... Well, the thing is that for some reason, everything you do or say has a much bigger meaning for me than anything that comes from anyone else."

He takes my hands into his and stays silent for a moment. His touch is warm and calming. I try my best to stop my hands from shivering, but it's not an easy task.

"I didn't know why, at first. I didn't understand why you had such power over me, why your words always made me happy, or why your words hurt the most."

He squeezes my hands. Now I'm sure they're shivering. His words make me shiver, I can't help it.

"But now I've known for a while. It's because you're my world, Chelsea. You are the only one that matters. You. And I know you're probably freaking out right now and want me to just shut up, but there's just one more thing I want to say. I want you to know how important you are to me. I want you to know that for someone, you're the most important thing in the world."

I'm so glad for the darkness, because my face is a mess. I have been such a fool and have cried the whole time he has been speaking.

And I want to speak now, but I can't find my voice so I pull him into my arms, I pull him as close as possible without suffocating him and I hold him. I dry my face into his shoulder and I know that he won't mind, because I'm his everything.

I'm his everything?

Here come the tears again.

"Chelsea, are you crying?"

I just nod against his shoulder. He pushes me away a little and strokes my cheek with his thumb. "Why are you crying?"

"Because I'm a fool. And because what you said was beautiful. And because you are beautiful."

I can tell that he's smiling. I wish I could say something just as beautiful to him, but I can't, because he has made me speechless.

"So you're not freaking out?"

It's my turn to smile. "No, I am," I tell him, "but it's a good kind of freaking out."

"There's a good kind of freaking out?"

I nod, despite the fact that he can't see it. "I'm just... I don't know what I am. A moment ago I was so angry with you and now there's this..."

"Why were you angry with me?" he cuts me off. His thumb is still on my cheek.

"It doesn't matter anymore... I was just upset because you weren't home being miserable like I had been the whole day," I say with a smile. It all feels so stupid now.

"Oh trust me, I was miserable. I didn't want to go out at all, but today is the tenth. It's Jasmine's birthday."

And just like that, I feel like I've been ripped into pieces. Jasmine. Jasmine's birthday. Jasmine - his girlfriend, Jasmine. And I start to get up from the couch, but he doesn't let me.

"After I left yesterday, I decided that I won't tell you how I really feel about you, because from your reaction I gathered that you weren't ready to hear it. But I also decided that I had to end my relationship with Jasmine, because I was just making her and myself miserable. But then I remembered that today is her birthday and I didn't want to ruin her day. So I went to Charlie's with her. I planned to get drunk and be quiet today, but then Jason showed up and told me you had been looking for me. And that just... made me forget about all my plans, so I told him to drive me here. And when I saw you tonight, I knew that I had to tell you after all."

I stay silent for a while as I process what he has said. And a part of me feels like a horrible person, because I really think that this right here is more important that Jasmine's feelings. I know it's an awful thing to say, but I can't help it. I feel so much right now - more than I've ever felt before and I need to be selfish. I need to continue this, because it's making my heart beat so fast. It's making my head spin. And it feels really really good.

"I'm glad you did, Colin," I whisper. "Because I, on the other hand, decided to tell you how I feel today, but I chickened out. Just like I have chickened out so many times before. I've been so afraid that I'd ruin our friendship and lose you, Colin. So I've been telling myself that it's just a crush and it'll pass with time, but it's not just a crush, Colin. I love you. And I want you to know how much, but I have no idea how to tell you, because words just aren't enough."

And I know that my words sound corny, but I don't care right now. Because he doesn't seem to mind. He gently pulls me into his lap and it finally happens. With this kiss, our first kiss, we become something more than just friends. We're still best friends and right now it feels like nothing can ever ruin that, but we're also so much more.

I'm his world and he is mine.





* * * * * * * * * *

Colin's POV

I can't believe I just left. I left her standing there, looking... well, shocked.

She was shocked.

Of course she was. What did I expect? Her best friend suddenly announces he'd like to hold her at night? Why couldn't I just keep my mouth shut?

I kept pressuring her, I kept pressuring this whole thing because I was tired of wondering, ...tired of waiting. And now I would give everything to take it back, to make things normal again.

She will probably never speak to me again.

But I can't let that happen. I need to make this okay again and I know what I have to do. As much as I want to tell her the whole truth - I can't. I've seen her reaction and I can't take it any further.

I will never mention it again and everything will be back to normal, right? Right?

It's sad, actually, to think that she'll never know how much she means to me. But it's for the best. I'll let her know through little things - I'll let her know by being there for her, by supporting her when ever she needs me.

If she'll let me, that is.

But there's one thing I know for sure. I have to stop lying to Jasmine. I have to let her go, because she deserves so much better than this.

Jasmine! I have completely forgot that it's Jasmine's birthday tomorrow. I mean I haven't forgot - I have her present wrapped and ready, but it slipped my mind because of all that has happened tonight.

This is awful! Here I am, thinking of breaking up with Jasmine and it's her birthday? The timing couldn't be any worse, could it? I can't tell her tomorrow, I can't ruin her special day, but what am I going to do? Am I going to pretend for one more day? It doesn't feel right and I know it's not, but is there another option?

Just...

What have I done?

* * *

I leave my dorm room with Mickey the next day. We go straight to Charlie's. I've been avoiding Jasmine so far. I told her I felt sick, but would meet her later tonight. She was worried, of course, but I think it's for the best.

And here I am, sitting in Mickey's car, hiding from the world. I have made two very difficult choices. Two right choices. And yet I feel like hell. In a few days Jasmine will know that I don't love her. And Chelsea will know I don't love her. So, only one of them is true, but this has nothing to do with the truth. This is about doing the right thing.

Mickey looks at me every now and then and he seems to be feeling sorry for me. I think he really believes that I've been sick the whole day. That's good. That's good.

We go inside and I notice a cheerful crowd sitting at one of the booths. I manage to smile and go up there. Jasmine emerges from the crowd and throws her arms around me. I hold her as tightly as possible, because I want her to know she's amazing. She's amazing, but she's not meant for me.

I sit down with her and her friends, listen to them chatting and giggling, except that I'm not really listening. I'm sitting there and doing my best not to think of Chelsea again. But the more I try the worse it gets. So I take a big zip of beer and swallow my thoughts down with it.

It's going okay. It's going good. Jasmine seems to be having fun. She has noticed that I'm a little quiet today, but she thinks it's because I'm still ill.

And then Jason arrives. He congratulates Jasmine and then takes a seat next to me. He orders himself a beer, talks to Mickey about some computer program and then turns to me.

"You don't look so good," he says.

"Thanks," I reply with a small grin.

"I mean you look like you're sick or something. Funny, I just saw Chelsea and she told me she was sick too."

"You saw Chelsea?"

Jason nods absentmindedly. "Yup, she came over. She was looking for you and I told her to come to Charlie's with me, but she said she wasn't feeling well."

Chelsea was looking for me? For some reason it makes me feel very uneasy to hear that. It makes me nervous. I had planned to avoid her for a couple of days, but now I'm dying to know why she was looking for me.

I take Jasmine's hand and take her to the counter so we could have some privacy. I don't know what to say to her, but being as amazing as she is, she makes it very simple for me.

"You look like you could use some sleep. I know you've had a bad day and it means a lot to me that you came here despite that."

"Jasmine..."

"So, go home, get some sleep. I'll stay here for a little longer, but I'll come by later tonight?"

"No, you stay here and have fun. It's your night, Jasmine."

She kisses my forehead and smiles. I squeeze her hand for a moment and then we go back to the booth. I ask Jason to drive me back home and so we leave the bar.

Except that I don't want to go home. There's someplace else where I need to be, so I tell Jason to drive to Chelsea's instead. I tell him I just want to check on her before I go home.

I take the elevator to Chelsea's floor and ring the doorbell. There's no answer. I wait for a couple of minutes, then ring again.

Still no answer.

Suddenly I hear steps coming from the stairs. Her steps.

She comes to the door, but she can't see me, because it's so dark in the hallway.

I don't need to see her. I can feel her. I can smell her perfume.

"Chelsea?" I finally break the silence.

Maybe I frightened her, because she doesn't answer me.

"Chelsea?" I say again so she would know it's me.

With still no answer she opens her apartment's door and tells me to come inside.

We go to her living room. She doesn't turn the lights on and I'm glad. I feel braver like this. Maybe if she can't see me it'll be easier. On both of us.

"What are you doing here?" she asks me.

What am I doing here? I'm not sure, but it doesn't seem like a good answer, so I try to stall a little bit.

"Can we sit down?" I go to the couch and wait until she fallows my lead.

Funny thing with darkness. The less I can see, the more I feel. And I'm feeling so much right now. I can't even explain exactly what it is that I'm feeling, but it has something to do with the girl sitting next to me. Actually it has everything to do with the girl sitting next to me.

And I can't hold it back anymore.

"Did you know that every time I'm here, I sit at the left corner of the couch? Do you know why? Because this is your favorite spot. And because everything you do or think or say is so important to me. I don't know if I can explain this, but there is this... this force, this... Well, the thing is that for some reason, everything you do or say has a much bigger meaning for me than anything that comes from anyone else."

I wait for a response, but she stays quiet. Since I can't see her face I take her hand into mine to "see" what she's thinking. She doesn't pull it back, so that's a good sign, right?

"I didn't know why, at first. I didn't understand why you had such power over me, why your words always made me happy, or why your words hurt the most."

I squeeze her hand to illustrate my words.

"But now I've known for a while. It's because you're my world, Chelsea. You are the only one that matters. You. And I know you're probably freaking out right now and want me to just shut up, but there's just one more thing I want to say. I want you to know how important you are to me. I want you to know that for someone, you're the most important thing in the world."

And I've said it. I've said everything I decided never to tell her. And I feel... I can't even explain how I feel. I think I feel scared, because it's all up to her now. The next words coming from her mouth can destroy me completely.

But she doesn't speak. She does something even better. She pulls me into a hug - a hug like we've never shared before. I press myself tightly against her and tell her everything I just said again with my body.

Maybe we could stay like this forever? Maybe we could spend the rest of our lives here on this couch?

But something's wrong.

She's... she's sobbing against my shoulder.

"Chelsea, are you crying?"

I push her away a little and my body misses her instantly. But she's crying and I can't keep pressuring her. "Why are you crying?"

I stroke her cheek with my thumb. It's wet from her tears and it's warm. She's so warm.

"Because I'm a fool. And because what you said was beautiful. And because you are beautiful," she says.

Okay. Oookay.

No it's not okay. It's so much better than Okay. It's...

I can't help but smile.

"So you're not freaking out?"

"No, I am," she says, "but it's a good kind of freaking out."

She's not freaking out.

She's...

"There's a good kind of freaking out?"

"I'm just... I don't know what I am. A moment ago I was so angry with you and now there's this..."

"Why were you angry with me?" Why was she angry with me?

"It doesn't matter anymore... I was just upset because you weren't home being miserable like I had been the whole day,"

Oh. If only she knew. And I smile as I realize that I can tell her. I can tell her everything from now on.

"Trust me, I was miserable. I didn't want to go out at all, but today is the tenth. It's Jasmine's birthday."

She tenses as I say Jasmine's name. And I think I do too. I'm still dating Jasmine and here I am, pouring my heart out to another girl.

And I can't help it, but once again, it isn't the thought of hurting Jasmine that bothers me so much, it's the thought of hurting Chelsea. So I try to explain.

"After I left yesterday, I decided that I won't tell you how I really feel about you, because from your reaction I gathered that you weren't ready to hear it. But I also decided that I had to end my relationship with Jasmine, because I was just making her and myself miserable. But then I remembered that today is her birthday and I didn't want to ruin her day. So I went to Charlie's with her. I planned to get drunk and be quiet today, but then Jason showed up and told me you had been looking for me. And that just... made me forget about all my plans, so I told him to drive me here. And when I saw you tonight, I knew that I had to tell you after all."

She seems to think about it for a moment. My eyes are used to the dark by now, so I can almost see her face.

She's beautiful.

"I'm glad you did, Colin," she finally says. "Because I, on the other hand, decided to tell you how I feel today, but I chickened out. Just like I have chickened out so many times before. I've been so afraid that I'd ruin our friendship and lose you, Colin. So I've been telling myself that it's just a crush and it'll pass with time, but it's not just a crush, Colin."

She squeezes my hand this time. "I love you. And I want you to know how much, but I have no idea how to tell you, because words just aren't enough."

This isn't real, is it? I need to make sure it's real, so I pull her closer. I pull her into my lap and I kiss her.

For the first time in my life I get to kiss her. I get to taste her, I get to see a whole new side of her.

I get to love her. And I get to be loved by her. It's the most amazing feeling in the whole world.

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