Letting In and Friendships
Turns out, I couldn’t visit Axel the next day.
When I got home after Axel dropped me off, I was immediately tackled by a crying Tracy and the whole night was spent in me consoling her while we watched sad romantic movies and finished three tubs of ice cream. Before I could get her to talk, she was already dozing off.
We woke up late the next morning, the result of us sleeping late and after a long hot shower and lunch that I cooked, we were back in my room and I was determined to get to know what had made her cry.
“Trace, what happened? You were a mess last night.” I said joining her on my bed. She didn’t meet my eyes when she mumbled ‘nothing’.
“Sure.” I rolled my eyes when I looked around, my gaze landed on the window opposite to mine. For as long as I had known the boy, which is forever, he had never closed his curtains until last night and I had a feeling I knew the reason behind it. “Is it Kevin?” I asked Tracy directly and he eyes widened in surprise as they met mine.
“How did you - No, it’s not him.” She mumbled.
I sighed. “Trace, talk to me.” She gave me a look that clearly said what a hypocrite and I cringed. “Okay here’s a deal. You talk, I talk. What do you say?”
She looked hesitant. “Will you really talk?”
I took a deep breath and nodded. “I’ll answer your question, yes. Because you know everything already.”
Tracy sighed. “I do, I just want you to talk about your feelings. Rant, scream, cry and get over with it.”
I swallowed hard. “It’s not that easy.” I whispered.
She looked at me smiled sadly. “Don’t I know that?” Then she looked up at me and smiled tight. “You don’t have to make any deal here, Leah. I’d have told you if you had insisted a little more anyway but just know I’ll be one call away when you wanna talk, okay?”
I smiled. “I know.”
Tracy smiled a slightly real smile. “Great. I’ll call Maggie over and have a girl’s day. You don’t have to be at the cafe, do you?”
I thought for a while and my promise to Axel came to mind but I shook it away. “It’s not important, not more than you.” My words made her smile and she immediately brightened.
Maggie came over an hour later with her overnight bag and freshly baked cookies. “So?” She started once we settled down at the foot of my bed with three cups of hot chocolate and a plate of cookies Maggie had brought.
Tracy sighed, taking a bite of a cookie. “Do you guys remember what I said my plans were for Christmas holidays?” She asked and I knew that was where it can ever start.
Maggie and I nodded, concentrated on the story even though we pretended the nonchalance. “And do you guys remember how I dared Kevin to join me?” We nodded again, like clowns.
Tracy met our eyes before looking away and resting her head on the bed behind her. “Well, basically, my plan was to drag Kevin with me to every party or clubs in those two weeks or anywhere where my chances of having a chance encounter with a cute boy seemed possible. I was hoping he’d step in to protect me when things got out of hand meanwhile finding himself a girl too.”
She blinked away the tears and let out a breath. “Things were going as planned until he found a girl. Barely a week had passed and he had already got himself a date lined up while I was still looking. He had been bragging to me about how he won the bet and I had been furious, and maybe, a little jealous. At first I thought that I was jealous of him because he got a girl first and he didn’t even want it but later, I realized I wasn’t jealous of him but that girl.”
“There first date was at a club her family friends owned and Kevin told me it would be a good idea for me to come along. While he would enjoy with his date, I could flirt with guys or whatever.” Tracy met our eyes again. “Let’s just say, things went a little out of hand when a guy tried to grope me and drag me into the secluded hallway. Thankfully, Kevin came to rescue and punched the creepy asshole saying that he shouldn’t have messed with ‘my girl’."
She sighed, running a hand through her hair. “He had me so confused at that moment. But before I could point out the mini slip up he had made, his date appeared out of nowhere and dumped him without any explanation.”
“That night, we fought. He blamed me for losing that girl and so I said he shouldn’t have interfered with my matters. Things got heated between us and the next thing I know, I’m waking up together in his bed, naked.”
My mouth dropped open and I heard Maggie gasp. Kevin had not told me about this little detail. “You what?”
Tracy looked sheepish and guilty. “I kind of slept with him.”
“Kind of?” Maggie scoffed.
Tracy rolled her eyes. “Whatever. I don’t know, I was scared and I didn’t know what to think about what happened between us and I didn’t want to talk about it either. I think I just felt that ignoring it would keep me from getting hurt. The very next day, I brought over a boy and told Kevin that I don’t need to go on with the plan anymore as I have found my person. He got angry and told my date about us sleeping together.”
I shook my head. Kevin had been cryptic about this incident, not telling me exactly what he had done to scare off Tracy’s date.
“I ignored him after that until the New Year’s eve party. That night, we talked,”
“You mean fought.” I cut her off.
She ignored me passing me a glare, “Still not touching the one night stand part, we decided that we would continue on the path of friendship. That is, until he decided that it would be a good idea to kiss me at midnight.”
She groaned and picked up another cookie. “My feelings were all over the place and my thoughts were jumbled. I didn’t know what to think or feel. All I knew was that whenever that idiot was around, I would get flustered and all bothered and everything. Ignoring him seemed like the best idea. We all got busy with school and I always had an excuse to not see him. And then one day, that stupid idiota showed up at my place. He couldn’t even take the hint.”
“Mom didn’t leave us alone until we were done with dinner and when I walked him out as insisted by Mommy dearest, he told me that he likes me and that he wouldn’t give up until I look him in the eye and tell him I don’t feel the same.”
Maggie frowned. “Okay.” She drawled. “I don’t see the problem here. The boy told you he likes you, you obviously like him - don’t deny it, it’s crystal clear - so what am I missing?”
“I don’t think I’m ready for a serious relationship.” Tracy mumbled in a small voice.
I gaped at her. “You’re saying that?” I paused and let out a sarcastic laugh. “You don’t want a serious relationship? Come on, Trace, don’t fool us. Among the three of us, it has always been you who has dreamed of Prince Charming’s and forever’s.”
Tracy sighed. “Forever is a myth.”
Maggie raised a brow. “And what made you come to that conclusion?”
Tracy stiffened before looking at me, not quiet meeting my eyes. I felt myself freeze too. I saw it in her eyes before she even spoke. “I’m sorry.” She said looking at me.
“What?” Maggie asked, confused.
I gave Tracy a tight lipped smile. “It’s okay, Trace.” But was it really? I got up from my sitting position and went so sit on my window sill, letting the fresh, cold air sooth me. “Go on.” I said softly, leaning my head back and sighing softly.
I heard her sniff before sound of her shifting was heard. She was closer, yet at a good distance. “Ever since I transferred to this school, I have admired you, Leah. I had always wanted to be your friend, to get to know you. And seeing you and him together was like having my own real life fairy tale I could look at and dream of having something similar one day.” Tracy let out a sob. “I always thought that you guys were gonna be together forever. You were what I pictured when I thought about love. And then everything happened. I saw how it broke you, Lee. How it almost wrecked you and I almost lost you. Everyone did.”
I opened my eyes to look at her and gave her a smile, assuring her I wasn’t mad at her, neither did she hurt me. The memories her words brought did.
“I don’t want to sound rude or mean or anything, but Lee, I don’t want to go through what you did. I don’t think I’m strong enough to go through hell and back like you if a guy breaks my heart. You have to know that I love you, Leah. I just can’t let that happen to me.” Tracy sobbed, hiding her face in her hands.
I got up from my seat and wrapped my arms around her, whispering soothing things. “You are my friend, Trace. And I’m not mad or anything by what you said. Hell, I wouldn’t wish what I went through upon anyone, let alone you - my go to person. I know what you mean.”
I looked up and motioned Maggie, who was still sitting at her previous spot, feeling out of place, to come closer. She gave me a bright smile and wrapped her arms around me and Trace. “You and Maggie have always been there by my side - you even after knowing everything good and bad about me and Maggie even after she didn’t know me any better but chose to trust in me. I can never thank you guys enough.”
Maggie smiled. “I may not have known you as a person, but I always knew you weren’t the bad person. A person’s eyes sometimes says it all.”
She pulled us both away from Tracy and wiped her cheeks. “Just like your eyes are saying how much you like Kevin.”
I nodded. “Look Trace, I know you don’t want to get hurt but what about if you hurt someone?”
Tracy looked up at me with vulnerable eyes. “What?”
I sighed. “Have you ever thought that by running away from everything, you’re hurting Kevin? I’ve known guy for my whole life, we’ve been neighbors forever, for Heaven’s sake. And maybe I had a talk with him.” I added sheepishly causing both the girls to gape at me.
“You knew!” Tracy accused.
I raised my hands up in defense. “I swear he didn’t tell me everything except how he lost a girl because of you and then scared your guy away. And he also told me that he likes you but you’re ignoring him.”
“He likes me?” Tracy asked
Maggie rolled her eyes. “You said he came to your place to tell you that specifically and you’re still asking that?”
Tracy shrugged. “I thought he was just saying.” She then looked up at me. “But I know he wouldn’t lie to Leah, he talks of her as if she’s his younger sister.”
I chuckled. “I’m a month older than him. But yeah, he used to play big brother when we were kids.” I reminisced.
“So what should I do? Should I go talk to him?” Tracy asked eagerly.
“Is that even a question?” Maggie sighed.
Tracy wiped away her tears and looked hesitant at first before nodding confidently. “Okay. I’ll go talk to him tomorrow.”
I raised a brow at her. “And why not today?”
“Because it’s late?” She made it sound like a statement.
The three of us turned to look at my alarm clock together. It was barely six. “Is it?”
She huffed before reluctantly standing up and straightening her clothes. “Fine.”
When she left, Maggie and I ranted about how we’re friends with such a stupid brain but we knew we loved her. After whatever confusions and problems the new couple had were solved, we had dinner and retired to sleep. While Tracy and Maggie gushed about the date the former was about to go on, I walked to my window sill for a breath of fresh air.
The curtains opposite me opened and I looked up to see a grinning Kevin. “Thank you.” He mouthed and I nodded at him before he vanished back inside and the lights in his room turned off. I looked back to see other two of my friends getting lost in sleep too.
Silently, I thanked the higher power for these friends too and pray they get their happiness as I search for mine.