I turned to see my best friend, Linh Tu, walking towards me. I waved, and she opened her locker, right next to my own.
"Did you finish the English assignment?"she asked. I nodded in response. My mind was a bit muddled, and I didn't feel like answering, but she didn't take it unkindly.
"I'll wait for you by the car.", I told her quietly. She nodded. I headed to my noticeably purple VW Beetle in the school parking lot. Linh was going to my house today, as usual, but this time she was staying for three days; my parents were on a business trip. Linh had been my best friend since second grade, when we'd both been sent to the nurse's offices for "monkey bar injuries". Now, in eleventh grade, Linh and I were basically inseparable. I was always grateful for her company.
I easily spotted her exiting the school grounds. My best friend was very foreign-looking: she was Vietnamese-American, but looked very Chinese. Especially with all the red she wore. She had straight, shoulder-length, black hair with bangs, and very pale skin. She had the typical "Asian" eyes, and was very cute in a sense. Linh was 15 - one year younger than myself, but she'd skipped kinder, so she was a junior like myself.
She hopped into my car, and soon we were on the way to my house. I glanced at myself in the mirror. I felt average, but I was considerably pretty, according to a good amount of people. I looked a bit Hispanic, but really I was Filipino. My skin was a light tan, common in America, uncommon in the Philippines. I had light, curly, brown hair, and hazel eyes. In both countries, I was a bit foreign-looking.
When we arrived at my house, I heard my phone buzz. I ignored it, and Linh and I went inside. Linh was already comfortable, going through my fridge for "edible" food, and I went to change into sweats.
My phone fell out of my pocket while I changed, and I remembered the text I'd gotten. It was my current BF, Dante. I didn't want to look at it. I wasn't angry with him, I just didn't want to feel totally guilty. Explanation: recently, I'd had a fight (again) with my best guy friend, Ryan. We'd been friends for 11 years, even longer than Linh, but I'd felt for him for six years. By felt, that meant I cared about him. In a more than friends way. I didn't love him; that was too much, I'm only a junior. "Love" is a word that is used much more than it should be. So, Linh and I used the word felt.
Anyway, I very much felt for Ryan, and he's never shown any sign that he felt something back. Besides, y'know, friendliness. Because of this, friendliness and uncertainty, I was very reckless. Careless. Stupid. Most people think it's sluttish, what I do, but I think I'm rightly justified in not wanting to feel completely alone and unfelt for. Explanation: I have had many relationships, and sadly, most of them end within a week. I don't know how many people I've hurt by doing this, but I really don't know how to, y'know, stop.
But, Dante, the boyfriend of the week, had turned into boyfriend of the month, then two months. He was very sweet, and admittedly amazing. He was also a rumor, like myself, for being a total player. But, not with me. He was different with me than the others. Anyway, Today, Dante had made a very chivalrous gesture at lunch, involving a dropped lunch tray, and a bruised apple. Naturally, I'd been impressed, and a bit flattered- ok, VERY flattered- and had given him a small peck on the mouth, in front of my friends, including Ryan.
After Dante had gone to soccer practice, I'd already gushed about him for at least 10 minutes, when suddenly, Ryan kinda blew up on me about it; something about how some people didn't like hearing about their friend's significant other. I'd retaliated by saying how he needed to stop being bitter that he hadn't been able to snag a girlfriend since 5th grade (on a dare), and that maybe this V-Day (which was a week away) he should stop being such a prick, and ask someone out. (I was not implying myself, but really, if I was, could you blame me?) I'd stomped away with Linh to my Drama teacher's class (how appropriate), and we hadn't talked since then, even though we have 5 classes with each other, in which we are both sitting next to each other.
We always had fights, so Linh wasn't really worried, but we were both really pissed off at each other. I don't really know why he was, maybe my girlfriend comment had stung, but I knew that he had no right to complain. He COULD have a significant other, but apparently that wasn't an open option.
I went to my room, where Linh had the TV on, her math homework out, and she was texting with leftover pizza in her mouth. She was easily distracted, but she was very intelligent and ambitious. I just didn't know how she did it. I shook my head at her, and noticed she was watching some show on Nickelodeon. My phone buzzed again, and I ignored it again. She noticed, and swallowing her bit of pizza. I think I was the only thing/person that Linh actually learned to focus on, which was really huge for her, so I was very flattered that I was that special to her.
"Ryan texted me.", she said. I tried not to show too much interest, but I knew that when Ryan was mad at me, he'd text Linh to relay messages to me. "He said to remind you about the ASB meeting tomorrow." Oh, yeah. That. Ryan and I were in ASB council. I was the vice president, and he was the secretary.
"Did you guys make up yet?", she asked, unnecessarily. As if she didn't know. I shook my head. Linh wasn't too invested with Ryan, like I was, friends or more, but she was invested in me, and knowing how important he was to me, she was always concerned when we had fights.
"Maybe you should break up with Dante.", she suggested. This was always the thing that led the way to reconciliation. We always had fights when I was in a relationship, and a lot of the time, it was never actually about the guy I was dating. No, it was always something stupid. But, if I broke up with that person, we'd be back to normal. Because it was normal. I'd date people to fill that Ryan void, as I'd taken to calling it, and then dissatisfied, I'd move so fast through it, the relationship was never really a relationship. But, I didn't want it to be normal this time. Things needed to change. And it was already a bit different. The fact that it's been two months since dating Dante with no hitches was different.
I don't know when he'd started taking interest in me, but the day we got back to school from winter break, it was all "God, Ava, why do you have to be so cute?". Little things that'd make me blush a bit. And then soon, it was texts, and daily visits to my locker. Then, he asked me out. I figured it would be short, and I said yes. But it wasn't short. And it was better. I liked the way he made me feel. It was the other way around. Linh always said I made Ryan feel 'special', but it wasn't like he really ever returned the favor. Dante made me feel like I was worth it, and so I'd stayed with him longer than I expected. And I told Linh that.
"Well, what about Ryan?"
"What about Ryan? It's not like he even pays enough attention to differentiate his feelings for me. If he even likes me, he's never made it clear, so why do I have to worry whether he's a coward or not?" Of course, I didn't mean it, and Linh knew that. I was just frustrated, and Linh was used to it. She shrugged, and quickly looked at her phone, while changing the channel. She was perfectly content, having had a steady boyfriend for 3 years. They were never overly mushy, nor were they falling out of their feelings for each other. Like I said, steady. Linh never had doubts about Chris (her BF), and they'd made a promise to stay together until graduation, and if there was still chemistry, maybe longer. He always met the requirements she had for him, and she always complied to being herself, which was exactly what he liked about her. Cute. Too bad not everyone could be like them.
"Would it hurt to tell Ryan how you feel?" Linh suggested, for the 98th time this year. It was useless to mention it to me, because she was there, when I'd tried to tell him in sixth grade. She was there when it happened, and how badly it went. Long story short, results were several hasty lies when he'd stopped talking to me for a whole day, a long, unending friendship in which there was much uncertainty and second-guessing, and death.
I didn't even bother to answer her, but then she asked me," Could Dante be your new Ryan?" I shook my head. Absolutely not. Dante might be caring, thoughtful, and considerate, but he was no Ryan. I just didn't want to get rid of that level Dante held me up to, while Ryan had none for me. "At least talk to him", she reasoned, and I really could, seeing as he lived right across the street from me. But he was at basketball practice, and I just didn't know what to say.
At 3 in the afternoon, Linh got picked up to go to orchestra practice, and I was left alone for two hours. I went to my front porch, and began to draw. I was a fairly good artist, and I liked to sketch. With my thoughts trying to find a way out of my head, I began to sketch a picture of a girl in a garden, to all the world, looking as if she was trying to pull two beautiful flowers from one bush. But to me, she was trying to choose: which one would she display in a vase, and which one would she leave there to eventually die? Either way, both flowers were going to wilt.
"Boo!" I looked up, not at all startled, and gazed up into the face of Ryan. I didn't even notice his red Mustang pull up; I was too busy drawing. He sat down next to me. "Drawing?" I nodded. He studied it, and then said,"Hey, I'm sorry. 'Kay?"
I didn't respond. Just stared. He was very handsome, but it was really hard to describe, and not at all attractive in words. I could try. He was 6'2, with an athletic body. His black hair was shorn, and his skin was light. He had brown eyes that crinkled in the corners when he smiled, and I really loved that smile. He was Filipino like me, but he looked very American.
"Aw, c'mon, Aves. Nothing? At least nod if you forgive me.", he said when I stared. I looked at my drawing for a while. He didn't get frustrated, unlike everyone else who'd endured my silence when they wanted me to speak. He knew I was thinking, and that if I hadn't wanted to say anything or forgive him, I'd have walked away already.
"Why?" I finally said.
"Um, well, you're, like, my best friend, and apologies are meant to be accepted, and I really do miss-", he rattled.
"No, why?" I repeated. He stared at his feet for a while. And then...
"I got annoyed. I expected Dante to be gone by January, rather than having been here since then. I guess, I just...I'm used to the date-and-dump Ava, not this. I mean, I just get a bit frustrated when I'm not your number one guy anymore, y'know?" he said, trying to pull off a half-smirk that was saved for just me. I didn't know how to respond, so I grabbed my sketch pad, and walked inside quietly.