Conflicted Affection

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4

I smell fresh air as it pierces my nose, hearing the lawn mower riding along, and feel the almost perfect tempature of air hit me and I think, Alexa must have opened the window again.

Of course, she always struggles to open the window, but ever since I taught her how she decides to open the window when mom will help her just to make sure I have a nice mood while waking up. Mom doesn't have the heart to tell her no and not help her, and I don't have the heart to tell her to stop it. I mean, she only wants us happy.

I get up and get dressed with little care, putting on the first clean shirt I can find along with some jeans and simply put my favorite black hoodie over me.

I step one foot off of the stairs and before I could greet my mom I hear her shout, "Dilla-!" Then she soon stops as she sees me. "Oh good afternoon!"

My eyes widen, "Did I sleep that long?"

"Well it is," Mom looks at the clock above the dining room table, "1:14 in the afternoon," I get a little shocked at that point but mom stops me from saying anything, "but that isn't the point, the point is, someone is here to see you."

I look around and see Ryland in the corner nearly hiding. "Hi Ryland, I didn't see you there." I laugh shortly and smile to him.

"It's ok." He says softly.

Mom looks back and forth between the both of us and sighs, "Well, I guess you two will be doing a project?"

"Correct." Ryland says in the most adorable way. In a puppy way, not in any other way. I try my best to hold in a grin, but I fail. I think Ryland notices for about a second but I quickly move my grin into a tiny smile once again.

Out of the corner of my eye I can see my sister smiling real big and hear her giggle. I turn my focus to her, "What?" I laugh.

"Nothing." She says but in clear mischief and giggles once again.

I guess mom had left because I see her no where in sight and soon turn to Ryland, "Ryland, this is Alexa, my little sister." I introduce them with a big smile.

"Hello," Ryland greets her, and in my whole time knowing him I had never seen him so outgoing. I guess my sisters vibe rubbed off on him, I joke to myself.

"You are honestly the most adorable person I have ever met!" He says.

I guess Alexa took a liking to him due to her blushing and giggling at his compliment. "Thank you." She respondes in a newly found shyness. Alexa ran to me and motions for me to kneel down and whispers to me, "He's cute, but don't tell him I said that." Alexa never knew how to whisper, which meant Ryland heard every word she said, hence his big smile and soft chuckle.

"Well, Alexa, I think you're really beautiful." Ryland smiles to her. Alexa blushes once again, hiding her face with her tiny little hands, and runs away giggling.

"I think she has a crush on you." I joke and laugh softly.

"That's a first," Ryland jokes, but it makes me wonder if there was some truth to it, but I highly doubt it.

There is a silent pause, and I quickly speak up to prevent anymore awkwardness, "So, I guess we should go and work on it upstairs?"

He pauses once again, most likely asking himself if it's even a good idea, "I'm cool with that." He finally says, but I'm sure he is a bit nervous about what will even happen.

We go up to my room and I get out everything we needed, but then a thought hits me, "Wait, how did you know where I lived?"

"I'm guessing you don't remember your parents knowing mine?"

"Oh, wow I completely forgot." I chuckle nervously.

"It's cool, at least now we can work together out of school besides in public." states Ryland, twiddling his fingers on the table before us. "I'll be back." he tells me, running out of my room. I wonder what he meant by that comment.

When he comes back he has his backpack, and what he pulls out is a posterboard along with a grocery bag.

"So I got started on the project, but it is only a rough draft because I didn't know what the whole plan was. Now, in this bag," he holds up the grocery bag in front of him, "is snacks to snack on and art supplies to art with." The way he words that makes me giggle impulsively.

"What?" Ryland stops everything he was doing and his face gets red.

"Nothing, I just loved the way you worded that." I smile at him.

"What do you mean?" His voice gets softer and softer with every word he says, and I instantly regret laughing at that sentence, regardless of the reason why.

"Well, it was just, you know adorable," it scares me to call him adorable, so I instantly--and as fast as possible--say, "Adorable as in little kid or baby animal. I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable I just thought it was really special the way you worded it."

"Oh," After that he seems to calm down and I can see a little tiny smile pop up on his face. "Thank you." He finishes.

"Of course," My voice is still a bit shaky due to the dreadful nervousness, but I manage to calm myself down. "Well, what snacks you got there?"

He opens up the bag, "the snacks to snack on are-" Well, that makes me smile, "gummy worms, tiny bags of doritos-"

I gasp and feel quite bad for interrupting him, but I need those doritos right away! "Oh my god! No way! Can I have some of those doritos?"

I guess I startled him a bit because he looks a bit tense, "Erm, yeah." He forces a tiny laugh before handing me two flavors of doritos, cool ranch and nacho cheese.

"Thanks, I'm sorry I just love doritos with such a passion that I would honestly eat them for the rest of my life and risk death."

Ryland cackles, "Well, I remembered you loved doritos but I didn't know it was that hardcore."

"Oh, it's very hardcore. By the way, I'm glad you returned the favor of me remembering your favorite food by you remembering mine! Coincidence? I think not!" By that point we both burst into giggles, and before you say its not that funny, I'm sure we all laugh like this at things that aren't that funny but we just can't control the happiness!

"You know Dillan,"

"What do I know?" I ask, still in the funny spirit, yet Ryland began to get more serious.

"You've changed... a lot. It's like you're a different person and it's not a bad thing, it's just weird to be able to get along with you like this, you know?"

"I understand. It is weird, and I would say the same thing about you but you haven't changed as much as I have, but I can tell you've become a better you." I beam a small smile to him and at that point my face begins to hurt from so much smiling.

"Dillan?"

"Hmm?"

Ryland's eyebrows scrunch together in wonder, "Why did you bully me? Please be honest."

I furrow my brows. I want to be honest, but we had finally gotten to be friends, or at least acquaintances, so I lie, "I don't know."

Ryland sighs, and I can tell he doesn't fully believe me, but instead of arguing about it, he puts up with it, "Okay."

"I'm sorry, Ryland, I'm sorry I was such a dickhead." I apologize, nearly whispering.

"Was it because you wanted to stay popular?"

That question makes me think, and I guess it was a part of it, "Yeah, it was." I want to add in, it was part of it, but I am afraid to blurt out I am a questioning homosexual.

"I forgive you."

"Really?"

"Of course." He slowly curves his lips into a small and genuine smile, earning my own face to get contagious with it.

Then I realize, maybe me and Ryland are actually friends now and maybe we could actually be close together.

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