FLAME

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Our very first moment.

My heart wants me to stay.

My mind pushes me away.

Which one shall I listen to?

This confusion overwhelms me.

To be by your side daily,

To retrieve my stolen heart,

Shall I trace your footstep or

Wane in sleeplessness?

I want to fill this gap.

If I come close, allow me.

All I need is half a second of proximity.

One side shyness nudges me,

One side desire urges me deeply,

This dilemma dices me anew.

How long should I be patient,

With this yearning so persistent?

A thousand dawns can come into our life.

But this is our very first moment.
.…........……………………..…….………….

I forgot to breathe for the first time in my life. My heart skipped a beat. Time stopped. Everything and everyone around us faded away. I was afraid to blink thinking that he would disappear right in front of my eyes. I didn't want to escape that limbo...ever. There was no way that it could be real. It must be a dream... that's what I thought.

I saw him walking towards me, and I felt my heart wanted to reach him jumping out of my cheat beating so fast making me so anxious and also excited. He was wearing his school uniform, nothing fancy, Just a white shirt with black pants and a black blazer with our school logo on the left side of his chest. He left the top two buttons of his shirt open showing his bare-toned chest. His walk was careless wearing his black sneakers carrying his shoulder bag. His dark black hair was disheveled due to the breeze and he combed it with his hand making it look messy. He must have eaten something when he was on that tour to get this... unearthly glow. It's that or something is wrong with me. It was like looking at him for the first time again.

There was this mischievous smile dangling on the corner of his lips when he saw us and I could see his Adam's apple bobbing up and down when he talked to Jay. He snaked his right arm around Jay's neck giving him a bro hug. I saw a new red bracelet on his hand along with the old silver one he was wearing all these years.

All the while, his grey eyes never left mine. He was looking at me even when he hugged Jay giving me chills all over my body. It was like he embraced me already even though he hasn't even come near me yet. They both came towards me with their hands on each other's shoulders.

"Hey Aves," Vian greeted me with his deep voice churning my insides. It took me a few seconds to realize that it was all real.

"Hey V," I greeted him back composing myself blinking my eyes a couple of times. I practically jumped at him hugging him so tight. I missed him so much, and I was so excited to see him. Back to best-friend mode.

We walked to the class side by side with Vian on my left and Jay on my right. It was always like this. They never changed sides. Jay's hand was hanging around my shoulder and Vian's hand was resting on my head as we headed to the class talking about our vacation. That's the downside of hanging with two boys when you are short, you become their hand-rest from time to time.

We were walking to my locker when we heard that voice which we never wanted to hear for the rest of our lives.

"Here come the freaks." Jackson sang while laughing along with his idiotic friends surrounding him. His girlfriend Naina was in his arms looking at us with a mocking look. He and his friends never changed. This bullying has been going as long as I can remember since I got transferred. It got worse when Jay and V stopped fighting for me because I asked them not to get in trouble with those morons. They were not just worth going to the Principal's office almost every day.

But it was the first day of school and I wasn't ready to take their crap already. "You have your entire life to be a jerk, so why not take today off Jackson," I said with a fake smile and tried to move past them pulling Vian and Jay with me.

"Whoa... someone is being sassy today." He said walking in front of us stopping me with his hand from moving farther.

I grabbed Vian and Jay's hands so hard trying to stop them from doing anything. As much as I wanted to see Jackson's nose broken I didn't want Vian and Jay to take the fall on the first day.

"You know what Jackson, You would be much more likable if it wasn't for that hole in your mouth that noise comes out of." Jay retorted. Jay loses his temper so easily, and Vian was never the one to stop him. He will join him in the blink of an eye because he could never tolerate someone hurting Jay or me especially a jerk like Jackson. It's going to be hard for me to get them out of here without a fight.

"Leave it, Jackson. After all, they are just freaks who aren't worth your time." Naina tried to pull Jackson away looking at him glaring at us with flaring nostrils. For the first time in her life, I guess she did something right once but I couldn't keep my mouth shut for the insult she made.

"Oh sorry, you can see us? I thought people who don't have brain can't see properly." My snide comment made their friend Ryan who was standing beside Jackson snicker. But Jackson's glare made him quiet.

"Don't talk to me you whore. I am not the one who is sleeping with two boys with the façade of friendship." She sneered.

Oh no, she did not say that. She just pushed the wrong button. I was so tired of them dissing and accusing me of sleeping with my best friends. It was not the first time but it hurts, nonetheless. I used to get angry and react which made them do it more but this time I want to try something different.

I stopped Vian and Jay with my look who was about to get into a fight with laughing Jackson and his friends. They looked surprised but they got the message.

"Oh yeah, Are you jealous Naina? You are welcome to join us." I said with a sly smile taking Jay's hand winding it with mine all the while leaning my whole body against Vian's seductively.

It didn't take for Vian and Jay to realize what I was doing and when they did they came closer than before sandwiching my body between them. Vian wrapped his hand around my hip and pulled me closer which shouldn't have affected me since it was all an act but it kind of did. It was like he was pulling me away from Jay protecting his possession. Maybe it was all in my head.

I wanted to laugh noticing the looks on their face. They didn't expect this from me that made me very satisfied. We walked past them ignoring them in the same manner.

"Bitch," I heard Naina cursing at me.

"You say that like it's a bad thing," I said winking at her turning around.

Finally, we reached my locker. Jay moved away the minute we were out of their sight but Vian's hand was still on my hip and it was very distracting.

"Wow Aves, I didn't expect that." I laughed at Jay's awed face.

"Well done, Babe," Vian said in my ears pulling me towards him with a proud smile. Somehow it was more gratifying to hear him say that.

"Remind me never to piss you off," Hazel whispered in my ear from the back startling me.

"Hello to you too Haze," I said laughing while greeting her with a hug.

"I missed you, Ava." She returned the hug.

"Missed you too Haze." She was the only friend I had other than Vian and Jay. She has been with us since middle school but Vian and Jay don't treat her like me. They talked to her because she was with me. I don't know they didn't get along with her.

Vian and Jay greeted her and left me with her to walk in front and we headed to the class together.

"So what was that all about? I have never seen you taking a stand before like today." She asked me about the encounter with Jackson and Naina.

"I don't know. I just don't want to start my first day of school upset. I would have done that earlier if I knew how much it felt so good."

"Good for you. I like this Ava more anyway." She said winking. We reached the class giggling at each other.

The last class of the day for me was Art class. Since V, Jay, and Hazel decided to choose music over this I was alone without them. It felt weird, but there was also another reason for me feeling weird.

Jackson's friend Ryan, number one flirt, handsome but also a jerk, like his friend. He was in the Art class, and he was giving me these weird looks the whole time. I tried to ignore him but he kept turning back to look at me which was slightly distracting. I was finally able to breathe when the final bell rang.

I forgot about everything once I saw my best friends waiting for me outside. We decided to just roam around the streets before going home since it was our first day together after the vacation.

We went to an ice cream parlor first due to my unbearable whining to get one. I got strawberry flavor and Vian got chocolate and we exchanged. I hated strawberry flavor likewise V hated chocolate but it became a habit to get each other's ice cream and exchange. Jay liked Vanilla, and I always stole half of it whenever he gets one and he lets me.

We roamed until we got tired and then we went back to my home. My grandma welcomed them since she was also meeting them after a long time and provided us with some snacks to eat.

We finished our homework and watched TV in the living room. On the couch, Vian was on one corner and Jay was on another. I watched the movie lying on Vian's lap while he casually played with my hair and my legs were on Jay's lap which he used as a popcorn stand.

I wasn't concentrating on the movie. My mind was thinking about everything that happened at school. I felt proud of myself for standing up against Jackson and his friends. I don't care what they think of me anymore. I need to quit thinking of what others might think of me and put myself first. Part of me knew why I let them talk about me like this for so long. Because I felt guilty for having feelings for Vian while saying I am his best friend. I know I have to erase it or accept it, but I couldn't do both.

His hand on my hip, I could still feel that. My heart pounded like crazy when he pulled me closer with a proud smile on his face. If only graphics were present in real life, he would have seen my eyes twinkling. I shook my head thinking that I need to stop thinking like that about him. He is my best friend and what I am doing is not right. Suddenly I got an idea.

"Why don't we date?" I blurted it out all of a sudden. They both looked surprised. They looked at me like I said something unbelievable.

"I mean... why don't we date different people?" This time I said it clearly to avoid any misunderstanding. The first time it even felt weird for me since I was looking at Vian when I said that because my head was on his lap. I should really work on my words and timing.

"Why? Aren't we happy now? I mean that's the whole point of dating right?" Jay said with a shrug while munching his popcorn. But Vian was staring at me so deeply like he was trying to understand me.

I couldn't bear the intensity of his look. I stood up and switched off the TV. "I am serious," I said with a serious look standing in front of the TV.

"Do you want to date someone?" Vian asked me with a curious look.

"Yes... No... I mean not now. Maybe one day, if I find the right person." I blabbered without knowing what to answer to that avoiding eye contact. He makes me nervous. How could I say I will find the right person looking at that exact person in the eye? He seemed satisfied with my answer I guess. He relaxed his body and lay back on the couch smiling.

"Why are we talking about this now? Switch on the TV, Aves." Jay said annoyed.

"Well, people think that we are dating, so why not show them that we are just friends?" I said with anticipation. If he says yes then I have a perfect person for him to date, Hazel. She likes Jay since middle school and I know it even though she never told me. She can be obvious sometimes. She even chose music class for him.

"So you want us to date just to prove the point to some jerks in school?" Vian asked me. Well, now I feel stupid for even taking this topic.

"No... I mean yes but don't you guys want to date? How long do you think you are going to hand around with just me? Honestly, I am the only girl you guys spend time with. Aren't you guys bored? Don't you want to date, explore, fall in love, and..." I tried to convince them.

"Nope... And I need to go home. So bye." Jay stood up kissed my forehead and tried to leave. He is not taking this seriously. Maybe I will ask Haze to give it a try.

"But, why? I thought we were going to spend the night here." Vian asked Jay. He was like a child who is sad to let go of her teddy before sleep.

"I just want to pick up something from home. I will see you at school." He said without looking at us. I knew something was wrong.

"Then let me come with you." Vian offered before I could say anything and I thought it was a good idea. Vian stood up getting ready to leave with him.

"No... No... You stay with Ava. I will see you guys tomorrow." He left hurriedly without looking back. Vian sighed and slouched back on the couch. We both know we couldn't get anything out of Jay if he doesn't want us to so I guess it's better to wait for now.

"So you want to date huh?" He asked me when I sat beside him leaning my head against his shoulder. I knew what he meant but still, I felt butterflies on my stomach when he asked that to me. It wasn't directed to me although it was. I should be crazy right?

"I was just suggesting that... Never mind, I know it's stupid." I gave up. He threw his hand over my shoulder pulling me closer. I made myself comfortable leaning my head against his chest.

"I know." That was all he said. It could mean so many things, but I am not going to think about it ruining my sleep because I am tired because of all that roaming around.

Honestly, I thought that if we date different people my feeling for him might miraculously go away and I could be just his best friend without feeling guilty. Think of this like you are pulled to the North and South Pole at the same time. One day you need to choose otherwise you will be torn apart and suffer. I need to choose to be honest or find a way to make it go away before I ruin our friendship.

But I don't want to think about any of those things. I just want to enjoy the warmth of his body at this moment. Who knows? I might get cold in the future. Enjoy it while you can, right?

Kindly leave your comments about the chapter and vote if you like the story. Your thoughts about my story mean a lot to me and will help me improve. Thank you.

Enjoy reading -T

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