"I'm going solo for a while."
Why? A month had passed since she'd said those words. Why? Why had she said them? Why had she decided to suddenly just drop the dating thing once I'd plucked up the courage to tell her how I felt? Why was I still so bothered? Well, duh.
I lov-liked Ava. Linh said "love" was not an appropriate word for my feelings. She apparently used the word "felt". I didn't want to adopt the habit.
March 8th. It was my 17th birthday today, and I was looking forward to a traditional birthday with Aves- just me and her somewhere, doing something, just enjoying each other's company. Happy Birthday. Which it always turned out to be. I never bothered to question why she hung out with me on my own birthday. I'd never requested it, but I always preferred it over anything else. Maybe it was because we considered each other best friends. Yay. Friends.
This year, however, Linh was tagging along with us. I didn't know why; something about needing the extra company during the "boy movie" we were watching. Or just an excuse. Ever since that Declaration of Independence, she didn't seem to be able to hang out with me alone anymore. Before, when she would, she'd have a boyfriend, so it would be hard for me to sneak any hints in. Linh accompanied her everywhere now, and even though Linh knew how frustrating this all was for me, she never refused to come or hesitated. No excuses. Just questions as to what we were doing and where we were going.
Someone knocked on my car window, and I saw Ava. Her hair was braided to the side. The second time I'd ever seen her hair fixed up. She was wearing this really nice blue tank top, and skinny jeans. Guys tell you they don't really care what you wear; it's true. But sometimes if it makes you look absolutely gorgeous, like Ava right now, we care a bit too much. And stare. I rolled the window down, swallowing my shock.
"Hey.", I greeted.
"Happy Birthday!", she exclaimed. I smiled, and she handed me a small box. I held it gingerly, and said,"You look nice." She waved me away, flushing a bit, and said,"Open the present!"
I smirked, and she flushed some more. I opened the box, and I saw a Yang from a Yin and Yang charm. Attached to it was a black cord. I looked at her, and she was holding out the other half, but attached to it was a delicate, silver chain.
"This one's mine. I put different necklaces on it, because,well, mines a bit girlish, and you're a boy, so-", she rattled in explanation. I grinned, and said,"Thanks." She smiled back, and my heartbeat accelerated. We stared at each other for a while, and then she said,"Linh said she'd meet us at the movie theater. At 1'o clock, she's gotta head out for orchestra, though." She hopped in the passenger's seat. I nodded.
I started my engine, and the radio began to play as I rolled out. "You've got a fast car, is it fast enough so we can fly away?" She caught my eye in the mirror, and I sighed.
I'd regret it later, but I put my arm around her shoulder as I drove. She looked at me, surprised, but just smiled, and it seemed a bit sad. And tired.
I smiled back.
And we drove.