June shakes my shoulder softly. “Wake up, Rosie! The sun’s rising!” I rise up slowly, and look around. I am in the Fuji Mountains, where one of the most beautiful sunrises takes place. The sun glows fiercely, the sky a shade of purple. But the sky isn't the only beautiful thing I’m looking at. I turn to June. She’s grinning at the mountains, her black-purple hair blowing in the wind. Her hazel eyes are staring at every detail, probably memorizing the sight. That’s what I love so much about her. She can never get enough of beautiful sights. I grab her hand, and we stare at the sky.
“June. Um… ah- never-mind” I stutter. I want to tell her how I really feel, but it’s so much harder than what I’ve read in webcomics and books. She tilts her head, confusion filling her face.
“Is there something you wanted to tell me? You can tell me, Rose! I am your best friend after all,” she says, grinning again. I clench my teeth as I hear the word friend. It hurts to be friend-zoned. I take a deep breath and try again.
“Do you want to-” I stop. Do I really want to do this? Ruin our friendship? June raises an eyebrow as she waits for me to continue. I kick a rock.
“Do you want to get some gelato after this? Is that what you were trying to say?” she asks quizzically. I nod, putting on a smile. June giggles and hugs me. “You read my mind, Rosie!!! I was hoping you would offer to treat me to some gelato after this!” I laugh too.
“Who said I was treating you? You’re going to pay!” I exclaim, giving her a friendly punch. She laughs again and jumps out of the way, running to our car. I sit like that for a moment, and get up to join her. Our friendship… is the only thing I have left. Ever since Ma died, Rose has been by my side, when no one else was. I want to be more than just friends, but this special thing we have, I don’t want to lose it. If June rejects me, then no one will be by my side, and I'll be alone again. That can’t happen. I plop onto the car seat, and drive down the hill we were sitting on. “So… what gelato shop do you want to go to?” I ask June.
She thinks for a moment, then answers “How ‘bout we go to my mom’s shop? I don’t think we’ve sold out yet…” I tell her that’s a good idea and start driving to the small shop owned by Ms. Mcarthy, June’s mom. I fidget with my hands and look at June. She’s playing a game on her phone, and rapidly chewing on gum.
“Um… June. If someone asked out their best friend, what would you do if you were in that situation?” I ask nervously. She pops a bubble and turns her head to me. She appears to be thinking, and I pinch my thighs as I wait for an answer.
“Ok, Rosie. I have like 2 things to say: 1. Answering your question, it depends on who’s asking me. 2. Rosie, that was a very random question, and you’ve been acting weird this entire trip. Are you alright? Wait.. are you-” asking me out? I finish in my head. “Are you trying to ask out one of your friends?” she finishes. “‘Cuz no matter who you ask out, they’d be begging to be your girlfriend/boyfriend. You’re super pretty, you’re smart, Rosie, you shouldn’t even be asking me this!”
Does that mean that June would be ok dating me? “Oh. I see. Thanks for telling me that, June. You have no idea how happy I am to hear that.” She nods and goes back on her phone. I turn up the music and try to calm my heartbeat. June taps along with the beat, and I join her. Soon, we’re singing together and dancing in our seats. By the time we get to the shop, we’re both laughing and out of breath. We walk into the store and I say hello to Ms. Mcarthy.
She looks at us, both of us giggling, and says under her breath, “Why aren’t these two dating yet?” I flush fully, and when I look at June, she is too.
“Mom! Me and Rosie are just friends! Right, Rosie?” she asks. I look down at my toes and look back up at Ms. Mcarthy. She seems to read my mind and smiles as she walks away. June sighs. “Rose. Why didn’t you back me up? My mom asked if we were dating, and you couldn’t say no?”
I bit my lip. “I’m sorry June, I was just… embarrassed.” She looks at me, then shrugs and walks away. I follow her, and we run up to the kitchen. June opens a jar of gelato and grabs two spoons for us. We eat slowly, savoring the raspberry flavor. We finish jar of gelato after jar of gelato, until we’re lying on the floor, rubbing our stomachs. Ms. Mcarthy looks at us and scolds us for eating all the gelato. I apologize to Ms. Mcarthy and June and I walk out the door. We go in the car, just sitting there, doing nothing. I finally sit up and start the engine. Even after I turn up the music, it’s quiet. I clear my throat. I really should tell June how I feel. And I want to, but I don’t know if I have the courage.
But June says something before I can start. “Rose, you seem to have something on your mind. You can tell me. Look, I know you have a crush on me, ok? You didn’t exactly keep it a secret. And I’m not going to lie, I like you too. But I don’t know, Rosie… I like how we are right now. I really want to stay friends. This might be selfish of me, but I don’t want to date you Rosie.” I clench my hands and nod, trying to smile through my tears.
“You’re right, June. I do love our friendship… Um… Ah shoot I’m crying. I’m sorry, June. I love you.” I run out of the car, pushing away my tears. I run and I run, trying to run away from the person I love, though I know we won’t stay away forever.