"I love you" I say casually.
Last time I'd made a big deal out of it, to confirm that the expression was not like... that. But, this time it is. I figure if I say it now, it'll lessen the blow. That's my theory anyway. Only now, it IS meant to be in a romantic context. And this is how I do it, confessing to her amidst watching TV. Ain't I a charmer? What a memory that'd be for her. In any case, I've told her, but the burden isn't totally abandoned yet.
"Mmm" she hums in response, with a nod. I don't know if she didn't hear it or just pretended not to.
I turn on my side on the bed to look at her properly and her eyes lock with mine this time.
"I love you" I repeat, a little softer, just above a whisper.
The glow from the television blankets us on the bed, wavering. Right now, all I'm doing is observing her usual nonchalant expression. Any indication for disgust, panic, hate? It seems clear for now. Maybe she's not sure if she heard me right. It's not like the way I've said it can be interpreted as a joke and I hadn't said it in an over the top way either. It was deadpan. To the point.
Okay, it's confirmed now, I think. My best friend has been struggling with her sexuality and a romantic attachment to me. For once, I don't even know if I can reply to that. She seems serious. Is she? Is she really in love with me? It's not a possibility I've even considered. It's never occurred to me. For the time we've known each other, we've both only had interest in guys. So, is she bi? Is this a one off? Where did this come from? Were the guys she was with a cover up of her identity or even a way to get my attention? What do I say to this?
Good job, brain. Don't forget to breathe in and out, sleep, eat...
My directness and bluntness obviously catches her off guard. It's a neutral response, a question, I find.
"Well, I feel we have a good connection. There's something that clicks with us, it feels... right"
I guess now that I look at it, it makes sense. The past week, all of this art has revolved around us,... me specifically. That's why she wasn't acting like herself. That's why she was asking my opinion so much instead of giving me her own. She just didn't wanna come out and say it. I feel bad for pushing her, but I didn't wanna see her hurt herself or shut herself away.
"We share the same sense of humor, similar views on the world and society, you... make me feel not so alone"
When she showed me that painting the other day and held me, I thought of it more of a platonic thing. Nothing like 'Sisterly Love', cus honestly, if I know anything about having a sibling, those words do not go together for clear reasons. When she told me she loved me, I was taken aback, 'cus for one thing, I'd never heard anybody directly say that to me outside my family. I had essentially no friends growing up, I haven't even had a crush who's said that to me. So to have Jane say that outta the blue was like a static shock. I wasn't scared, confused or put off, I just didn't know what to think. Maybe my reaction scared her. Yeah. I think looking back on it, it's starting to make a bit of sense.
"Saying your smart is an understatement; you're enlightening, analytical, observant, logical. Even when we mess about and take the piss, our remarks bounce off one another, and build up, like we're telling some twisted story of our own lives. Like some silly documentary of ourselves in every day suburban Lawndale High experience, survival of the fittest among the thickest. It's fun. It's hard to find anyone like that that can actually even understand that"
There are times when I'm with Jane and, I wouldn't say it's like I'm talking to a mirror, 'cus we're not THAT identical according to our traits, but, it almost feels like the kinda person I've been wanting to be with for so long. There's life and a spark in our bond unlike anything either of us have with anybody else. The question is do I really consider her to be THAT person? I don't even know how I would be dating another girl.
I've now been gazing at Daria for so long, I think I can see the cogs and other pieces of mechanics functioning in that head of hers. She's processing. Don't panic. Just shut up and give her room and time. You've told her. You've told her why you like her. Don't over do it. I roll onto my back again and look to the TV. There's a lightness I feel deep inside me. There's that burden thrown off the donkey's back. It feels good, but I don't know whether that's a false sense of security. I've yet to hear her response from her.
'Meet the cannibal with a heart... quick, before he eats it! Next on Sick, Sad World!'
"I'm pretty sure we've seen this one before" I mumble. Damn repeats.
"How long have you felt this way about me?" I finally hear. Her voice is a little shaky. Uh-oh.
I rub the back of my neck anxiously, my face is starting to heat up a bit "I can't be certain. I can't pin point an exact moment, but looking back, I guess there were... vibes I got that may indicate my growing fondness of you"
"Fondness? Vibes?" she echoes strangely, looking at me. I can't make eye contact.
"I don't know. Look, I'm doing my hardest not to creep you out or scare you off" I say nervously.
"You aren't doing either of those things. This is just news to me and I'm trying to understand it"
"Err, I guess implying by your detached stance you... don't reciprocate these feelings?"
I laugh sheepishly. "Okay, that's grand. Let's forget I said a thing and carry on as normal, 'cus that suits me down to the ground"
She looks down for a second, as if contemplating something. "You know how I said the other day that spontaneous speech and acts of raw emotion may cause one to be questioned?"
"Well,... don't question me on this"
Before I can respond, I feel the warmth of her hand on my cheek, as she leans in and kisses me. It's a quick peck, but feeling the unreal sensation of her soft lips on mine is all it takes to send a bolt of electricity through me. When she pulls away, the velvety touch of her hand remains on my cheek, sliding off to mere fingertips and then gone. My face is on fire and her own cheeks are tainted a rich crimson red.
An act on a whim seemed appropriate to demonstrate my own uncertainty of my feelings in the situation. Or at least assured her that even I can be an awkward doofus when it comes to displaying such feelings. Looking at her now, she seems absolutely stupefied. Oh god. What have I done? I haven't killed off any brain cells, have I? Please don't go into a vegetative state, Jane.
"D-Daria..." she finally responds, in a delicate whisper. Hearing my own name from her like that makes my stomach tie itself in a knot.
"I just... wanted you to know... I'm not opposed to the idea of... giving us a chance" I manage. Very smooth, Morgendorffer. "And the last thing I want is for there to be any kinda tension or break with us. You're the only friend I've ever had, Jane, and I sure as heck wouldn't have been able to get through High school without you"
Her dumbfoundedness is thankfully temporary and I'm relieved to see my friend mirror my own interpretation of the Mona Lisa smile. "Well, private Morgendorffer, it's been an honor to stick along side you on this treacherous, mind-numbing journey" she says, her voice laced with feign conceit. That's enough to soften the whole mood. The atmosphere of hanging dread was killing me.
"Now, on a more serious note, Private Benjamin, what shall we do with this information?"
"Daria, It's up to you. If you're straight, or just not into me and not wanting for things to change, I completely understand. This is just something I felt I had to say in order to placate my mentality. I'm just sorry that you ended up being the core subject during my experiment" Jane draws out, plainly.
"It's not your fault. You didn't even realize it beforehand" I console.
She nods. I shuffle myself up to lay beside her more closely as we watch TV. "Besides, I'm not in a position to clarify to you that your feelings for me are non-reciprocated"
Her eyes widen a little and she turns her head to look at me. I can see hope dancing in those eyes.
"I mean, I've often wondered why I'd get jealous at the drop of a hat, the moment another living, thinking, breathing creature interacts with you. During your running on the track team, I dunno what came over me. I used to just think that 'Of course I'd get mad, you're my only friend, so it's understandable that I'd get sensitive when another person interferes with our routine'. I treated everybody and everyTHING as a threat to the stability of our relationship. It was because just wanted you for myself. I was being selfish"
"Yeah, you do suck at hiding your jealousy" she smirks, blushing lightly at her admittance to a possessive nature.
"Thanks, Elaine Thompson. Next time I want to address my errors, I can just scratch it onto a canvas, like a feral animal"
She chuckles softly and sighs in contentment, as do I. Things finally feel as they should again. Carefree.
As our eyeballs hook onto the projected subliminal messaging on the noise box, I feel a wave of heat consume my face as I feel Jane's fingers entwine with mine. I squeeze her hand lightly in return.
It seems as if I've exorcised a rancid spirit from my cranium and Jane Lane is free once again to live as the cynical artist she once was. I can literally feel that 'aura' radiating from me again. I feel bold and adventurous, but I know sure as heck to go easy on Daria. If things don't work out, we'll be alright. We'll still be freakin' friends. Dammit, I can't take this a second longer!
I throw my arm over her shoulder, bring up her chin with my other hand and press my lips to hers. That spark I felt from before is addictive and from the minor jolt of surprise from her, I know she can feel it too. Our lips brush together softly, tenderly and my stomach does back-flips, feeling her fingers run through my raven locks with ease. Both hands clasp behind my head softly, keeping me close and, jestingly, I lick along her smooth lips.
This results in her withdrawing from me in shock. She's not wiping her mouth in disgust, rather covering it with a fist in surprise, her face a stark, peachy glow. She frowns at me and I return her a roguish grin, cocking a brow and my head playfully. For a moment, she looks to the side, the cogs in her brain at work, until she scoots back over, nuzzling into me. My arm drapes around her in a loose embrace and I chuckle to myself.
"This impish behavior isn't going to be a THING, is it?" she mumbles un-enthusiastically.
"Only NOW you've noticed? Boy, you must've been asleep throughout half our friendship, Daria"
"As opposed to you LITERALLY being asleep for an estimated half?" she verbally prodded.
"Hey, an artist is made easily weary by a 24/7 highly stimulated, imaginative mindset"
"By highly stimulated, you mean the pizzas, candy packs and ultra cola you stack up on in your daily diet?"
"Daria, we're teenagers. We need junk food to process and live through this dreary existence during school hours"
"...Jane?" I sigh.
"You're standing on my neck"
I'd learned from last time I stayed over at Jane's to come prepared with clothing. I'd be caught dead wearing her grandmothers nightie... again. Stuffed up on pepperoni pizza, the rich cheesy stench sure to turn sickly and stale by the morning, I turned off the light. This time, I share the bed with Jane. Figures I go to turn off the light. Now I can't see a thing.
"Marco" the wonder woman calls to me, no doubt a stupid smirk on her face. I wonder aimlessly.
"Polo" I reply
"Po- *WHACK!* Ooow!"
My face contorts with annoyance, as I can hear her snickering. I get on the bed, tugging the duvet over myself, facing away from her.
"Good job, Sherlock. Hope there's no serious damage"
"I stubbed my toe on your damn easel" I retort, grumpy, my big toe throbbing.
Her arms wrap around me from behind, pulling me into a tight hug, resulting in my face cooking for the dozenth time this evening.
"I'm pretty sure my easel didn't appreciate you kicking it"
"Well, screw you" I bite, still blushing.
Once her self-amusement packs in, the serenity of the night starts to lull me into relaxation, accompanied by the rhythmic clock ticking. How she doesn't hear that thing is beyond me, not that it bothers me.
"I love you" she whispers in my ear. It's so quiet I can feel my heart thumping in my chest.
"...I love you too"
I find myself in bed somehow with a Boa constrictor. Her arms tighten around me, snugly and she pronounces an affectionate squeak as she buries her face into my shoulder. My hands rest upon hers, clapped around my belly and I feel myself drift off to sleep.
I feel my back collide with an icy, fluid surface. I break through and feel myself captive, sealed. It's thin, yet thick. I'm strong, yet weak. Eventually, I feel the air escape my lungs and I feel myself falling slowly. I can see numerous protrusions of light blinking and glaring at me from above, with pellets of rain causing a series of ripples to disrupt the stillness its trying to regain. I'm sinking more and more and I can feel the cold sear right through my being and the darkness swarm about me. I'm not afraid of it. I like it. I'd rather be down here. It's quiet, calm and no one can find me here. My eyes close as I find myself falling into a deep sleep.
As I descend, I feel motion among the water and suddenly, my eyes open to find Jane's. She pulls me into an embrace and I can feel what's left of her personal warmth. She caresses my cheek then captures my lips with hers. We'll fall, down into the dark... together.
(Welp, all done. Hope you enjoyed this and if you'd like me to write more stuff, I'd be happy too. Bye bye!)