whats the line between friendship or something more?
She felt so radiant, so happy and head over heels but the fear, fear of losing this, losing him, made her choke. Choke on her words, on moving further forward, on defining what this was.
This. This weird friendship, that seemed to blur into something more. Drunken kisses, showing up to her lectures, wrapping her tight in his hoodies, commenting on what music she was listening to, inviting her over in the middle of the night to play wii and curl up together on the couch. To bring her cups of hot chocolate, talk underneath the stars, run hand in hand to McDonalds, carry her over fences and tear his shirt to stop her bleeding before kissing her cuts all better. Asking her how things really were when no one was around, tagging each other in silly memes, sliding into her Instagram dms and sending her silly photos to make her smile when he knew she had to get up for work at 4am. Making her a list of things she might like to do in his hometown, leaving her with his best friend so he knew she was looked after when he tried to go find their wasted mate at a party, and ditching the boys to hang out with her on a Saturday night.
And she. She would sneak up on him and make him laugh in the middle of the library. Run her hand along his leg teasingly in a room of crowded people. Bake him heart shaped cookies, spend all day inhaling the scent of his hoodie, curling her body into the crook of his. Asking his friends where he was when he was late to the party, dancing like it was just them in the room, singing at 2am in an empty parking lot and running her hand through the soft gold down of his hair.
From the moment they met, he felt like home not a stranger. But they were both so quiet, awkward but oh so alive with each other. He was one of her long-time friends flatmate and best friend since moving to university, and she was Max’s home friend that he met on Cornelia St. A couch burning lighting up the dark, and this stupidly drunk and silly girl running up to them that made his heart pound. And from there, they’d ran into each other. And each encounter made her realise that something pulled her to this boy. She wanted him and all the weird and worry that came with him. And 8 months later, they still hadn’t said a word on what this was.
Lockdown came and passed, along with sprained ankles and panic attacks. Time had gone still and talking had dulled. She didn’t want to put her problems onto him so became withdrawn. He’d come down to see her when she’d been at the flat with his friends a couple times since, but things seemed different. One of his flatmates figured it out. Figured that she was oh so pulled to him and he was too, even if he was oblivious to what that meant. Friends or something more. That flatmate encouraged her to tell him what she wanted and how she felt. The time didn’t seem right, she made excuses and pushed these feelings away from the fear of being hurt and turned away. Time was running out, before she left, graduated and might never see his face again. She had to say something. What they had, it wasn’t nothing.
She walked into his flat, and pulled the door shut.
“Hey!” She heard him yell from upstairs, “I’ll be down in a second.”
She sank into the corner of her favourite couch of theirs, and pulled her knees up to her chest, tucking her chin on top. She didn’t know what she was going to say or how, and nerves gnawed at the pit of her stomach. His footsteps thudded down the stairs as he came running around the corner, blonde locks of hair flopping as he moved.
“Hey sweetheart,” He smiled and plopped down beside her, kissing her cheek and trapping her in a hug.
“Hi,” She laughed, pinned by his arms, “What have you been doing?”
He smirked, “Study, but not really.”
She rolled her eyes and batted at his arm, “C’mon, yours exams in 2 days.”
“Ah but you are the perfect distraction,” He murmured, letting his arms go from around her.
“You need to study,” She tried to give him a serious look but failed as he stuck his tongue out and went cross eyed.
“I’m serious,” She laughed lightly, “Maybe I should come hang out another day.”
“A study break never hurt,” He winked, “Besides you said you needed to talk about something?”
She stiffened, a lump in her throat, “Oh yeah, I just…” She broke off, “We can talk about it later.”
“You sure?” He asked before getting to his feet and holding out his hand, to pull her to her feet, “Let’s go upstairs anyway.”
Her heart thumped, racing, as she tried to think how to start, what to say, ask as she followed him up the stairs and into his room.
He pulled her into the mess of blankets on his bed and slung his arm around her shoulder as he hit play on an episode of That 70s show. She leaned against him, her head in the nook of his neck, her eyes not really focusing on the screen, just blurrily looking at the splashes of bright colour. He laughed beside her, murmuring comments but her heart felt heavy.
He squeezed her hand, noticing her stillness and silence, “ Iz, hey. Whats up?”
She stumbled, the words falling out like a broken puzzle, "Nick, What..." She trailed off.
"What are we?”
He frowned, looking taken aback, “What, us?”
She bit her lip, shaking her head, “Forget what I said."
“I can’t now,” He sat up straighter, “We’re friends Iz, c’mon you know this.”
She swallowed hard, “Yeah, fine,” She said flippantly. She swung herself round, feet brushing the ground off the bed, “I need to go help the girls pack.”
“Iz,” He said, reaching out for her hand, “Whats wrong with that?”
She turned to look at him, eyes steely to stop them watering, “I just needed to know.”
“What, why?” He looked confused, “Is leaving here freaking you out? You know we’re still gonna be friends when we’re apart.”
“No, I’m fine. I just have to go.” She said shortly, getting up from the comfort and safety of his bed.
He moved quickly, sliding across the bed and blocking the door, “Will you just tell me what’s wrong?”
“Nothing’s wrong,” She said indignantly, crossing her arms at him, “Can you move?”
“Iz,” He said softly.
Her chest heaved, eyes began to water and she felt oh so stupid.
“If you don’t know, you obviously don’t feel the same,” She said tightly, “Please, move.”
“Feel the same?” His brow furrowed as he remained blocking the door, “What do you not think we’re friends?”
“How are you this thick?” Her voice rose, “Does none of this mean anything to you?”
“What, stop changing the question,” He sighed, “Iz, I don’t know whats wrong.”
“Nick, I can't-don't..." She tripped over her words. "I don’t want to be just friends, okay. I can't do this." The pain in her voice was profound as she wrung her hands tightly.
Nick looked like the breath had been knocked out of him as surprise coloured his face.
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