A/N – What's this? An update! I'm so sorry I haven't been able to keep up with the Friday updates. I have been crazy crazy busy lately. I'm also thinking of finishing this up sooner rather than later. I could've dragged it out for twenty-odd chapters but I don't think it would've been any good. So there will probably two or three more chapters after this and then that'll be it. Thanks for reading thus far and please review! All comments, questions and ideas are welcomed.
Keep an eye on my profile page for news of when the next chapter will be up!
I pushed the door open and dragged my suitcase behind me. Anne had already laid out her clothes on her bed and was helping herself to a drink from the mini bar. "V, can I get you something?" she offered, holding up an empty glass.
"Thanks, but I'm okay. Just gonna unpack a few things and then go down to the gym I think. I don't have to be in til this afternoon and I don't just wanna hang around the hotel."
"You mean you don't want to hang around and bump into Jeff or Phil?" she asked.
Sighing, I sat down on the end of the bed, "My being busy for the past couple of days may have everything to do with me avoiding them..." I trailed off with a forced laugh. There had been a lot of that in the past few days, me forcing laughs and smiles and dropping in and out of conversations.
Things had been very awkward ever since the disaster that was the Team Blue night out. Jeff hadn't said anything after I told him I love him. He stood there and stayed completely silent as I waffled on. He walked me back to my room and we chatted for hours, without ever getting back to my confession. We just avoided the matter completely, not even Maria or Matt asked what had happened. We weren't just avoiding the subject, we were also avoiding each other altogether. Phil knew exactly what was going on. I had told him exactly what I was going to do when we left the bar that night. I had told him that although there had been something between us, and we got on really well, we were never going to be anything other than friends. And that I loved Jeff. Surprisingly, he was pretty okay about it. He just wanted me to be happy, and for us to be friends. Being friends with Phil was really hard when I wasn't even talking to Jeff. It just wouldn't look good. Jeff might think the worst, or even if he didn't, someone else would. And the rumours would start fast.
I was grateful for Anne being back, I brought her up to speed and she was doing very well covering for me anytime I needed to hide. For whatever reason, the rest of the team hadn't asked many questions either. They knew there was something wrong, I was never really good at hiding that, but luckily they just left me to it.
"You need to talk to Jeff," Anne said, "I know you think you've already said enough but maybe you just took him by surprise?"
She was right. It was sort of out of the blue. We had been sort of together and then I go and blurt out that I love him. But it couldn't have been that much of a shock to him. Phil didn't think it was, he said he'd always known that I was in love with Jeff and that I just hadn't realised it because we were such good friends. Apparently, everyone saw it, apart from us. It did make sense, we were always together, always laughing. Even when he was being a bit of a douche to me, there was still something I saw in him that made it okay that he was bugging me.
"Maybe you shouldn't go to the gym," Anne suggested, "Jeff's room is the one on the left of the elevator. Things can't be any worse, can they? You haven't spoken to him in days," she reminded me.
"So talk to him." She stood up and picked up her jacket, her phone rang and she smiled as she looked down at the screen. "I'm going for a walk, I'll meet you back here before work?"
"Sure. But what are you looking so happy about?"
She shook her head, "You'll see."
There was a knock at the door, she obviously wasn't going for a walk alone. No wonder she looked so happy. I lay back down on the bed as she walked to the door, "I'm just going out, but Nessy's here," she said to whoever was at the door. "Nessy, Jeff's here."
I did my best not to groan in fear. She was up to something. Just not for her, but for me. "Ness...hey."
I sat up and looked at him. He looked tired and kinda sad. "Hey." He stood awkwardly at the door, "Can I have a hug?" I asked.
Thankfully, he nodded and stepped forward. I stood up and let out a sigh of relief as he wrapped his arms closely around me. "I'm sorry Ness."
"Sorry for what?" I said, with a slight laugh, "You didn't do anything wrong."
"We don't avoid each other for nothing," he said, "It just wasn't what I was expecting," he admitted. I didn't know whether or not I wanted to ask him what he was expecting. He stepped back towards the door, "When you went to speak to Phil, I thought that was it. Everyone else can see it Vanessa. They all think we're going out anyway and we had a great time when it was just the two of us. But I knew that you still weren't sure." He stopped and I could tell he wasn't sure where he was going next with what he was saying and I didn't know what to say back.
I wasn't mad at him for not saying it back. I just didn't know where it left us. He was right, we'd had a great time when it was just the two of us. I was starting to get used to the idea of us being an us, and trying to make it work. The past few days without him had been weird. And I couldn't imagine there being more times like this, I didn't want it to be like the past few days all of the time. Which is precisely what would happen if we were to go out and broke up. I couldn't cope with that. I would miss him too much.
I had guessed that Anne was up to something. I wouldn't exactly be here first call if there was an emergency. But I was glad for her intervention. Matt had decided he was staying out of the current situation between myself and Vanessa. Whatever that was. Out of everyone, I should know. Ness has said her piece but I just couldn't get the words out. Her doubt had passed onto me. What if I lost my best friend if we didn't work out as a couple? We could try to make it work, but it could just as easily fail as it could work.
In my head, I knew I loved her. But saying those words out loud, to her. They made it real. They made everything change. But then it already has changed. There's this horrible cloud of awkwardness hanging over the both of us. I've never thought about anything so much. I can throw myself off a thirty foot ladder, and I just hope for the best. Something could go wrong, but if it does, I'll have gone done flying from the top. I don't want to have think back to the way things were before, and wish for them to be like that again. I want all days to be like they were before: effortless, comfortable, fun.
The past few days without her were hard. Harder than I thought they would be. And it made me think of what could be if things didn't work out between us. Matt would be the go-between, the look-out. Ness and I would do all that we could to avoid each other, to avoid the awkwardness. Which in the end would just make things even more awkward.
"When I saw you with Phil, I knew we couldn't fight over you. But I knew that having you as my best friend was better than losing you altogether," I admitted.
She swallowed hard, and opened her mouth to speak but I could see it in her eyes that she didn't know what to say. "I love you." There it was. Those three words that I wanted to say back to her more than anything, but couldn't. "You don't have to say it Jeff, I know. I spoke to Phil, because I wanted him to know that in another lifetime, on another planet that maybe me and him would've found each other. But, I've got you. And all those times we went out and you protected me from the creepy guy at the bar, or rescued me from the over-enthusiastic boy on the dancefloor...you were the best pretend boyfriend. You are the best guy I know Jeffrey Nero Hardy. And we both know I really am the reason you throw yourself off ladders into tables." She stuck her tongue out and winked at me.
I shook my head at her and smiled, "You got me Nessa."
She grinned at me, "I love being right."
I laughed at her and her stupid satisfied smile. It was endearing, cute but sexy...just very Ness. The Ness I fell in love with. "An' you know I love ya for that."
She took a step towards me, lessening the distance between us. "Pardon?"
"You know I love you for that."
She smiled again as she took another step forward, "And I love you for that."
"What? Ness that makes no sense. What are you talking about?" I asked,
"Everything Jeff. Just everything.."