Chapter 67: Very Loud - Shout Out Louds
I found the courage to vocalize the need for a boundary with Bex shortly after I learned I had enough of it to stand up to my mom. We shared a moment that meant far more to me than it did to her. She felt guilty when she realized the full extent of it. A sincere apology was the most she could give. I accepted it. I wanted to be her friend. I valued her as a person and enjoyed her company. I was able to stomach the fact that she did not want to explore a relationship with me when she agreed to leave me in the dark when it came to who she spent time with, whether it be a fling or something more serious. We thought it would be best to leave all talk of romanticism out of our friendship. We typically talked about music. It was what we both understood best; it allowed us to explain all that we needed.
I had grown a lot better at expressing myself since winter break. I was terrified each time I ran the risk of hurting someone’s feelings, but mine mattered too.
I studied sheet music as I strummed the notes on my base guitar. The practice room provided unparalleled acoustics that allowed me to truly hear if I was hitting the notes properly. A cringe worthy reverb occurred when the door suddenly opened. I pinned my fingers to the strings to make it stop. I almost tripped over my aux cord as I turned around to see my visitor.
“Sorry to interrupt.” Elle rested her back on the door to close it.
“It’s okay. What are you doing here?” I shook the cord off my foot.
“I need to ask a favor.” She leaned against the wall with her hands behind her back.
“A major one.”
“Do you want to sit?”
She went to the nearest chair and sat down, crossing her legs and folding her hands in her lap.
I sat down in the chair in front of my music stand. “Ask away.”
“Will you go to prom with me?”
“Not that I never would or anything, but why? You had a nice time with Ryan last year.”
“This is a very delicate situation. It is best that I tread lightly.”
I thought of the best way to pose the question that popped to mind. “Are you asking me because no one could possibly think you’d be interested in me?”
“No, I’d never – Nicky, you know me better than that. You have to.”
Her desperate plea stung my heart.
“I know you really care about me, but – but everyone will think it because of Art and the way that Ryan--- he’s Ryan.”
“We have a few weeks. I don’t care what any of those people think about me. This is about my relationship with Ry.”
“I don’t understand.”
She pursed her lips together and looked at her hands. “We were far more than friendly once. I need to sharpen the lines between us before we leave to ensure our relationship is strong enough to want to come back together. I can’t lose him.”
“I would love to take you, Elle.”
“Really?” She smiled at me with hopeful eyes.
I nodded. “You can even dress me.”
“You’re definitely my favorite.” She rushed up to me and managed to hug me, as I remained seated.
I patted her back, unsure of what else to do.
I wasn’t people pleasing or being manipulated. I helped of my own free will, no guilt trip, and it felt good.