Conflicted Affection

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10

Ryland's POV:

I walk home, the poster board being a burden to my comfort.

I can't stop thinking about what happened and my heart can't stop beating like mad.

A part of me didn't want to leave his house, but I knew I had to go. I made my plan, and I am going to stick to it.

Dillan's POV:

It's been many days since I last talked to Ryland. Each day, the kiss pops into my mind, and each hour I feel more pain, physically and mentally.

I don't know what it is--probably the fact that he hasn't even talked to me since--but I haven't been thinking about that. I understand that it can be awkward, of course, but it just feels like I needed him more than ever.

The kiss keep replaying in my mind. My heart jumps with each replay, but also breaks.

But today, he came to school. My heart kept jumping every time I saw him. I can't keep a smile off my face and I just want to grab his face and fucking kiss him!

Of course, that would be weird and kind of creepy to do. I mean, they're supposed to consent, you can't just go around kissing people you want to randomly.

I just know I need to talk to him--do something to just have him. Even as just a classmate, a not very close friend, a study buddy--anything! I need him.

"Hey Ryland!" I speak, and he jumps at my voice, "I see you finished the project." I gesture toward the poster board.

"Yeah." He says simply and quietly.

"Good job." I smile at him.

He soon returns the smile with a shy one, "Thank you. I worked really hard to actually get it done. I can't believe I procrastinated that much." He chuckles.

He seems to quickly lighten up, which I find odd since he is pretty shy and just introverted overall and our situation is pretty awkward.

I hold in my smile for a long time and just look at him. I don't mean to stare, but I just missed him so much. I missed his eyes, his smile, his everything.

He soon speaks up, looking at my arms, "Are they healing?"

"I suppose, I sure hope." I chuckle.

The art teacher soon walks in. The schedule was switched and he seems to be kinder after lunch.

"So, class, I hope you have your projects today because if not.. you get nothing." He emphasizes.

Kate and Matthew, the guy she wished to do the project with, have grown quite a bond. I'm very happy for them actually, and their happiness lightens my mood in this class--other than Ryland.

We all show our projects, with Kate and Matthew being the most awkward since they were both pretty quiet and no one really talks to them. The most confident being Jessica and Brianna, the kindest and most outgoing girls ever. They are quite smart as well and I wouldn't be surprised if they completely ace this project.

Then came me and Ryland. We are similar to Kate and Matthew except I can speak more than Ryland could. Yet, I still have no idea what to say and Ryland's choice of words is way too intelligent for me.

I stutter, stumble, and try to chuckle my way out of embarrassment. But as everyone knows, it never works, it just keeps the awkwardness neutral--or maybe even worse.

Then, Ryland speaks, with the most perfect speaking voice ever, but he is quite nervous--as I can tell--which ruins the effect. We practiced together before and both of us did it better than we had in the classroom. Trust me, though, we tried our best to make sure it would be perfect.

The teacher sighs, out of irritability and exhaustion. I understand him this time, though. I am actually thankful he cut us off a bit early.

Everyone can probably tell who wrote what. Most people know how I talk, and the fact that Ryland spoke so smart is probably a shock. People suspect he is a nerd but they don't suspect some sophisticated language speaker. I certainly didn't.

During the other presentations, I pass Ryland a note.

Are we still gonna be friends after this? Regardless of past experiences?

Write back when you decide.

-Dillan

Ryland just sits there, then turns to me in confusion. Then, he picks up his pen, opening the note I gave him once more, writes, then passes it back.

Dillan,

I would love to be your friend! I'm just nervous. It's still confusing, everything is, but I wouldn't mind trying.

- Ryland :)

I smile at his response and whisper, "Cool."

The whole thing is confusing in itself since I don't know exactly what he is talking about.

The fact that I wanted to be his friend? The kiss? Our friendship? Why I bullied him? I don't know, but I do know I don't want to scare him off.

Soon after the presentations, we left for our last class of the day. I am glad Ryland is there as well.

"Dillan!" He shouts at me through the crowds of people in the hall.

I turn around and see him run up to me, panting when he stops, "Yeah?" I ask.

"I'm still keeping.. the promise, I'm... coming over.... if you... wish." Ryland struggles to make out every word.

"Of course! Alexa would be so happy to see you." I grin at him.

"Great." He says panting a little less and he begins walking with me to our next class.

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