“You weren’t kidding. You really do have a lot of makeup……. like, a LOT.”
They’d known each other for years but they’d spent most of the time at his house or in the car to some random city a few hours away, to spend the day exploring together. And oh, what adventures they’d had!!
It was funny really, considering the extravagant shenanigans they'd had elsewhere, that this was the first time she’d taken him over to her own home. He’d wanted to come over but, as with most things, he’d always been too shy to bring it up.
Her room was nothing like he’d expected, but that made him smile. It matched her perfectly, being so spontaneous and random, an organized sort of chaos, spilling glitter everywhere.
It made him feel safe, not in a quaint, cozy way like his own home did, but in an exciting and liberating way. An almost un-selfconscious sort of a way.
She laughed. “Yep! That’s the lip glosses, those are the eyeshadows, the highlighters, the contour sticks, the foundation, the mascara, the……..”
“Oh, I know what all of it is.”
She quirked an eyebrow. “Do you know how to use it?”
He shot back a look that clearly said “girl, I have 6 older sisters, of course I know how to use it” or maybe something like “I’ve watched every James Charles tutorial there is; the gods themselves have prepared me for this moment” or something like that, it doesn’t really matter because she seemed satisfied with their wordless conversation, plopping down on the bed and gesturing to all of the tubes and creams and polishes and powders.
“Go ahead then.”
“What?” He laughed, suddenly even more nervous, though she couldn’t imagine why.
She bounced up and down, more and more excited the more she thought about it.
“C’mon, make me pretty! It’ll be fun!”
He took a shaky breath. “O-ok.”
He examined all the bottles, occasionally reaching out as if to grab one, only to pull away at the last second. Perfect analogy for their relationship so far, he thought bitterly.
Well, lack of relationship.
“Too many choices?” She teased.
“Oh. Yes. Well, actually no. I know what I want to do I’m just afraid I’ll……” he hesitated, trying to form his thoughts into words. “I don’t want to mess this up.”
She shrugged, rolling her eyes in a self deprecating way. “It’s not like you can make me look any worse than I already do. Go for it!”
“Ok,” he whispered. “Close your eyes.”
She did as instructed, waiting for the brush to glide across her eyelids.
He took a deep breath…….
And then, ever so gently, he kissed her.
Her eyes flew open and she pulled back in surprise.
“You’re already pretty,” he explained. “I don’t think I’ve ever told you before..... and I’m starting to realize, well, maybe I should have.”
“Did you just…..” she breathed, her heart suddenly pounding almost as loud as his.
“Yeah. I did. I shouldn’t have, should I? I’m sorry I…… I’m not good with words, well, you know that. I thought the best way to tell you, well, wasn’t exactly telling but maybe more of showing but I…...”
“You think I’m pretty?”
“Well, you are…….”
She made a skeptical face, before grudgingly nodding and kissing him lightly on the nose. “You’re pretty too.”
“..... thanks. I guess.”
“What?” She laughed at his forlorn expression. “You don’t like that compliment?”
“I just….. expected something different, I guess.”
Her expression softened. “Like what?”
He shrugged, regretting all of his life choices. “I don’t know. It doesn’t really matter. I should go home.”
She watched him leave, waiting for the last possible second.
“When I say you’re pretty….. I mean it how I say it about the sunsets and sunflowers and stars.”
He hesitated, stopping, but refusing to turn around.
“I mean that I wish I could have you with me all the time. Because you make me happy and you make my day so much better. I mean…….”
For once she was the one struggling with her words and he could hear the vulnerability, the flicker of hope in her voice.
Hope that maybe this wasn’t as one sided as they’d both thought.
That he could love her and all of her quirks and crazy ideas.
That she could love him and his awkwardness.
“I mean it as so so much more than the arbitrary compliment but…… well, I don’t know if you’re just being nice or if you like me too.”
“You like me?”
“Only for like the past 3 years, but yeah, thanks for noticing.”
He shook his head, laughing, and turned back around.
She was right there, throwing her arms around him. He kissed the top of her head again and again, breathing in her familiar scent, treasuring the familiar warmth of her body, butterflies swirling round his stomach, thoughts swirling round his head coming out in a rush, finally free.
“I like you too. Every. single. thing. about you. Every detail. You’re pretty in all that you are and all that you do. The way your nose scrunches up when you giggle. The way your eyes sparkle when you get excited. The way your hair blows when you roll down the windows, even if it’s snowing……”
“Oh my gosh, that was one time!” She laughed, obviously pleased, even a tad embarrassed that he had been noticing her just as long as she’d been noticing him. He just hadn’t known how to say it.
“The way you sing. The way you take care of your grandma. The way you’re friends with all of the teachers. The way you can’t shoot a basketball to save your life. The way you fall asleep during movies. The way you freak out whenever you see a baby or a dog or a cool rock. The way you talk, the way you look, the way you breathe……”
She laughed. “You’re such a dork.”
“I didn’t mean that as a bad thing.”
"I love you."
He smiled, but didn't answer with words.
He didn't need to.
She already knew.
But he kissed her again anyway, just in case.