Lovers and Friends

“I like funnel cakes. Sprinkled in powdered sugar. Warm. The smell of them just reminds me of the happy times of my childhood. Like…the smell of tacos on Thursdays.”

“Tuesdays,” he corrected.

“Huh?” His interjection had me dumbfounded.

“Tuesdays,” he repeated. “You were talking about smelling tacos on Thursdays. It was supposed to be on Tuesdays.”

“Maybe that was your family, but mine had them on Thursdays.” I smiled watching expressions flicker across his face. Confusion, confidence, amusement. He liked me, but I wasn’t sure how to tell him the truth. It became even harder when he placed a hand on my calf. The slight caress of his thumb caused me to pull my legs closer to me.

“What?” he probed. “I wanted to…”

“No, Kyle. We…wouldn’t work.”

“Why?” He sat back covering his face. Frustrated, he took a deep breath and tried to start again, but my outstretched hand stopped him.

“We wouldn’t work,” I told him. “I need to go.”

Standing up, I smoothed my shirt down my torso before looking back at him. Confusion, hurt. Expressions I didn’t want to read on his face, but did. He didn’t know that my heart already belonged to another. How could he? We hadn’t told anyone because we were afraid of what they might say.

The door opened and I quickly looked up to see who it was, James. He smiled, but I couldn’t be comforted.

“I’ll see you later, Kyle,” I mumbled. Walking past the one at the door, he stepped to the side to let me by. Nothing touched, nothing said, just a look that no one seemed to catch. 

James loved me and for months I tried to deny I felt the same way. After all, James and Kyle were like brothers to me. So…how do you tell your best friend that you fell in love with his other best friend? Sounds easy, I know, but I have a feeling when I tell Kyle, I’m going to lose them both.

I’ve been pushing off Kyles’s advances, but never telling him why. I can tell his feelings for me have only increased and every time I think I’ve convinced him to let it go, he comes back harder.

He followed me to the car. “Dee, you know I like you.”

I turned around and nodded. “I know and I wish you’d let it go. We’re friends.”

“But I don’t want to be just friends,” he said cupping my face. I pulled away, but he held my hands. “I love you.”

“And I love you. Just not like that.” I could see James behind him in the doorway. A glance and then I returned my focus to the one in front of me, but he saw it. I could tell he saw it when he pulled back and looked between the two of us.

“No,” he denied what he saw, but I could tell the thought started to take root. I just wasn’t sure what it would grow up to be. Would it blossom into acceptance or take root in anger? “No, Dee. Not you and…”

“I told you, we wouldn’t work.”

We wouldn’t work, but you…and HIM?!”

“Kyle…” I started, but I could read his expressions. Confusion became denial, followed by temporary acceptance, and then something I didn’t want to see – anger. If only it had stopped there.

“No, no, no,” he repeated to himself. James couldn’t see the transformation I witnessed. He couldn’t see his friend morph into someone unrecognizable. Only when he approached us, did he begin to see the changes. “Don’t call me when he breaks your heart.”

“Kyle…”

“No, Dee. You and I both know how he is.” He walked back toward the home he shared with James and turned back for a moment. “When were you going to tell me?”

“Huh?”

“When were you going to tell me about the two of you?”

I didn’t have an answer for him. It hurt to watch him walk away like that, but it was only the beginning. I could tell by the look in his eye, I was going to lose Kyle. It was only a matter of time before I would lose them both.

by Angelique Grey

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