Me and Nathaniel were at our “spot” down by the lake, sitting in the sand as we admired the sunset and listened to the peaceful sound of the waves crash against the rocks. It’s where he had asked me out three months ago. Thinking about that day had a smile tugging at my lips. I was so happy, and it was all because of him. I hoped it would never end, but I knew it would. It always did, and never well.
Every day I did my best to ignore the thoughts in my heart trying to convince me that he was different, but there was something about him that had always left me feeling so hopeful.
He wrapped his arm around my shoulders, and pulled me closer. I melted in to him and soaked in the warmth of his chest. His lips pressed against my forehead, and somehow, I felt safe.
“I love you, Lila,” he whispered, and my heart began to pound in my chest. He’d never said that before.
“What?” I asked in weak voice, even though I had heard him. He couldn’t love me. I wasn’t the kind of girl that guys loved.
I was like my mother. The type of girl that guys loved to have fun with, but never truly loved. I wasn’t special. My mother had told me so when I had gotten my first boyfriend, Derrick, at 15.
“Look, Lila. Boys want one thing, and it’s sex so don’t go trying to give them your heart. They don’t want it, and they don’t want you,” she had said.
I didn’t listen to her at first because she had always said stuff like that to me, feeling like she constantly needed to remind that I wasn’t very pretty, or very smart, and I definitely wasn’t worth it, but soon enough, Derrick had proven her right when he broke up with after I wouldn’t give him my virginity.
I dated another boy after that once I was 16. Evan. I didn’t want to give my virginity to him either, but he stole it.
Then I met Michael. He’d been perfect for a long time, until the day he started coming over drunk. His fists hurt almost as much as my mother’s words had all those years. I shivered at the memories.
Bringing me back to reality, Nathaniel wrapped his slender fingers around my chin, and gently turned my face to meet his. His crystal blue eyes were boring in to mine, and the dimple on his right cheek that had always made my heart flutter, was showing. “Hey, I love you,” he said again.
“Why?” He was going to say it was because I was beautiful. It’s what every other man had said, and it’s how I would know he was just like them.
His eyes squinted in confusion, and for a moment all he did was stare. “Because you’re my best friend.”
His words took me by surprise and I mulled them over in my head. Best friend. Was I?
We had fun together. He made me laugh so hard my stomach ached, and I made him laugh so hard that one time milk had burst out of his nose.
He’d never pressured me to do anything that I didn’t want to do, and he always gave me his jacket when I was cold.
He listened to me when I spoke, and held me while I cried. He let me talk about my mother, and he’d told me that she was wrong.
He hadn’t been scared off when I told him about Evan, or Michael. He’d only been concerned and gotten me tissue to wipe my tears.
He’d told me his secrets too, along with his aspirations and goals. He’d introduced me to his family, and to his friends. He’d made me feel safe, and he never let me feel alone.
“Your my best friend too,” I said softly, because he was.
“Does that mean you love me too?”
“I think I really do.” And maybe this time he really did too.
“One day you’ll know that I really love you too.”
Did he just read my mind?