So I was watching Drake and Josh on Netflix today and I was like, "What would happen if Drake actually liked someone? Like... His best friend! I was going to do something really complicated like just insert her into all the episodes and have the love story develop there, but then I realized this version was much easier and I could be way more fluffier. Way. More. But I'll still do it, if you guys want me to.
-I own nothing except for Lily... Please don't sue me!-
As kids, they were best friends. He would play guitar for her when she was sad to bring back the smile he loved so much. They let their imaginations run wild and he used to tell stories of a far-off kingdom where she was his princess. Because to him, that's what she was.
She was his princess.
The long brown hair he'd longed to run his hands through; the warm hazel eyes he'd gotten lost in many, many times; the way her eyes would brighten whenever she saw him. Every day after school they would play out in the driveway, chasing each other and racing on skateboards while their mothers looked on with smiles on their faces.
Knowing smiles on their faces.
He was a year older than her but that didn't matter. At school, where all the girls threw themselves at him, she was the only girl who was ever seen with him more than a few times. Even though he was a womanizer it made her love him even more- the fact he wanted her to stick around, the fact he liked her enough to want her to stick around.
As the years wore on, hormones kicked in and one day when Lily was at his house helping him study, Drake looked at her from under his bangs and suddenly saw her differently. Just like that. He wasn't quite sure how it happened. Her eyes were a little brighter, her cheeks were rosier, her lips, the lips he found himself wanting on his own, looked a little fuller. She caught him staring and asked what was wrong. He shook his head and murmured, "Nothing." His heart was pounding out of his chest.
He was fourteen years old.
He tried to shake off the feeling at first. He couldn't be in love with her- she was his best friend! He dated around for a while after it, but every girl he went out with disappointed him because they weren't Lily. Lily loved him for who he was, not because he was popular. He missed her. He loved her.
When Drake met Josh Drake was forever afraid that Lily would like Josh better than him. It was a stupid fear and he knew it, but every time Josh made her laugh Drake would feel his heart twinge with jealousy. He wanted her.
When they were in tenth grade they got paired for a chemistry project that would count for 50% of their final grade. Drake found himself sitting at the dining room table into the wee hours of the morning drawing up charts, forcing himself to remember pointless facts about osmosis, and chugging three cups of coffee in as many hours. But that was okay, because Lily was with him. They both collapsed on the couch together without a second thought. She curled up to his chest, the sound of his heartbeat lulling her to sleep. Her body fit perfectly in his arms, his arm draped over her waist. She was facing him.
Drake couldn't hold it in anymore. "Lily?"
"I really like you."
"I really like you too, Drake."
"No, like..." Drake stumbled over his words. "I think... I think I'm in love with you." And he did the thing he'd been wanting to do since he was fourteen. He kissed her.
"I've kind of wanted that kiss since the seventh grade," Lily told him. Drake only chuckled, relieved to hear it.
The next morning, as a study break, Drake was taking her to the Premiere. Josh was foraging for food in the kitchen. On his way to the door Drake poked his head in. "Hey man, I'm going to the Premiere with Lily."
"Okay, when will you be..." Josh caught sight of their intertwined hands and stopped short. His eyes darted up to Drake's face, then back to their hands.
Lily glanced at them and gave Josh a knowing smile.
A proud smile spread across Josh's face. "Okay. Have fun, you guys."
"Thanks, man." And they flew out the door.
"About time," Josh said to himself as he peeled an orange. "About time."
Months passed. A year. Then two. They were still together. One was never seen without the other. If one was absent, confused looks were thrown at the one remaining.
They didn't have a care in the world.
When Drake told her he was skipping out on college, that he wasn't going to USC, that he would try to chase his dreams in L.A., he never thought he saw how much hurt in her eyes as he did at that moment. Her voice, so soft yet so loud at the same time, asked if he would ever come to see her. And he replied truthfully; he knew he could never lie to her. So he told her he didn't know. Maybe one day he would, but there was always the chance that he wouldn't. He took her face in his hands and kissed her. Everything he had tried to say and everything he had ever wanted to say to her was in that kiss and she knew it.
All the way to Los Angeles, that kiss lingered on his lips. He felt alone and broken. She had been with him from the start, before Josh became his stepbrother, before everything changed. He felt an overwhelming urge to call her at every stoplight, to text her at every moment. He wanted to know what she was doing, at that very moment, and he wanted to be there with her.
He tried to call her at a rest stop on the way but he got her voicemail. "Hi, you've reached Lily Schell, but I've either lost my phone or I broke it. Please leave a message and I'll get back to you as soon as possible." Beep. Drake stood there, trying to find the words he wanted to say. There were none. He hung up and walked back to his car.
When Josh came to visit a few months later, he had so many questions about home. His main one was to ask if Lily was hurt in any way; if she was safe. How was she? What classes was she taking? Was she passing them? He wanted to know everything.
On the day before New Year's Eve Drake drove back to San Diego to see her at the New Year's Eve reunion his parents had put together. For once, music wasn't on. It was silent, save for the hum of the engine. Drake got annoyed at every stop sign, every red light. They were keeping him from getting to Lily.
When he entered his childhood home, he saw her for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime. She was standing by the table by herself, holding a plastic red cup. Drake ran up to her, ignoring his parents, Josh, Mindy, and Megan. The look on her face when she saw him almost made him laugh.
Because he saw her eyes. The very same eyes that had once caught him like a deer in the headlights. They had lost their spark, their fiery wit.
He talked to her. He tried to get her to open up the way she did when they were younger, but she wouldn't. She pretended everything was fine when clearly they weren't. He tried to tell her that his feelings for her hadn't changed even though he left. He still loved her. She looked at him with tears in her eyes and asked why he hadn't come to visit, like he had promised the day he left. He didn't know why he didn't. He knew he should have, but he didn't. So he gave her a weak apology and walked away from her. The way he did six months ago.
He looked back once and saw her eyes trained on him, tears staining her face.