Don't Stay Close to Me

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CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE: HIS CONFESSION

Jadyn

It’s four in the afternoon but the skies are tainted with orange and yellow already, the surroundings reflecting on its color. The school garden is full of trees and bushes and surrounded by many roses, red and white. It is emptied as the students start to go home. But here I am standing waiting and looking around.

‘He should be here somewhere. He said he’ll be here. He wanted to meet me now.’

I waited more patiently, looking around.

Why am I here and waiting patiently? Let me tell you.

*FLASHBACK*

“You’re dismissed.”

Finally, the teacher said the magic words that released us from the spell of boredom and drowsiness. We excitedly went out of the room. Mike went out ahead of us. He sorts of taking distance from us since this morning, I guess he’s not in the mood today. But, truthfully, he’s acting weird today: quiet and lonesome.

“He’s bipolar today.” Shane whispered in a sing-song manner and Rich and I snickered.

“Sshh. Keep quiet. You don’t know what will happen if he hears you.” Rich joked and we chuckled.

When we reached our lockers, I am about to open my locker when I saw something—a note…a sticky-note on my locker door. I took it then looked around, thinking that I might still see who stuck the note on my locker door. Yet no luck, it’s nowhere to be found. I turned to the note again and read it. The message goes like this.

Meet me in the Garden at four, please.

-Admirer (No more secret)

My heart skipped a beat, my mouth almost dropped.

‘Finally, he wants to meet me now! This afternoon already.’

Rich squealed just on my ears that made me grimace and move away from her.

“You could’ve squealed a mile away from me!” I said sarcastically.

“Oh, c’mon, you’re used to it.”

“Whatever.” I said, rolling my eyes.

“What was the commotion all about?” Shane asked innocently as she approaches us.

Before I could even speak Rich gushed in.

“Her admirer wants to meet her today!” She said and Shane gaped then covered her mouth, both hands, as she giggles.

“OH MY!!!!” Shane said.

“Are you going?”

“I don’t know.” I said, shrugging. And moved towards my locker and opened it.

“What do you mean?” Rich asked as they gather around my back.

“I mean this is so sudden…I should think about it.”

“Why? You’ve been wondering about whom is your admirer and now that he wants to reveal himself…. Will you hesitate?”

‘Yes, that was true…but should I?’

“C’mon…don’t chicken out.”

“I am not.” I said as I close my locker and turn to them.

“So, go and meet him.”

“Okay!” I said feeling defeated.

*END OF FLASHBACK*

And that is the reason why I am here…waiting patiently.

“Hi.” Someone said behind me and so I twitch around to see who it was.

“Mike?” I asked confusingly.

“What are you doing here?” I continued and he was just silent then looked down.

“Wait! Let me guess Shane and Rich sent you here to see if I’m really coming or not. Well, tell them, I’m here.” I said.

“No, they didn’t send me here.” He said looking up to me now.

“So why are you here then?” I asked.

And then he suddenly became stern and it made feel strange. I hate it when he’s serious.

‘What the heck is happening?’

His brown eyes staring at me, his hair now reflected into brown because of the sunset color. He is still quiet.

“Hey.” I said breaking the silence.

“Uhm…Jadyn I want you to know….” He trailed off looking down again.

“Yeah?” I said encouraging him to continue.

“I am your admirer…” He whispered with a husky voice.

I vaguely heard him so I asked.

“Eh?”

“I said…. I am your admirer.” He said a bit louder and clearer now and just like on cue I laughed.

“C’mon Mike don’t be such a joker!” I said, after every laugh.

‘Mike? My admirer? No Way! This guy is really my friend that can make me laugh!’

“I am not joking.” He said adamantly and my laughter died. Seeing his eyes in dreadfully not-to-be-laughed-at look, the situation tenses.

“Hey, if the guy isn’t really coming you don’t have to cover up for him. It’s okay.”

“I’m not covering up for anyone.” He said his voice warm and true.

“Jadyn, I’m you admirer. I’m not joking.” He said and now, it struck me.

‘Mike? One of my best friends, was my admirer? How?’

“Okay…if you’re really my admirer how did you do all those love-letter-left-in-my-locker thingies? And when we’re together, to catch you—I mean the admirer—you, how did you put the letter? We were together! Always.” I asked continuously.

“As inquisitive as ever, Jadyn...” He said, giving a small smile.

“I excuse myself from our class; of course, you didn’t bother to notice that. I talked to Ryan to put that letter when we tried to catch myself.” He said truthfully.

And I gaped.

‘Yeah, he always excuses himself and truly, I don’t bother to mind it…it’s no big deal really.’

I closed my mouth and swallowed a lump in my throat as I let this sink in.

“Jadyn?” He called after a minute.

“Y-yeah?” I stuttered because my mouth was dry.

“There’s something more I need to tell you.” He said and I cocked my head on a side. He tucks his hands in his pockets.

“I…Jadyn, love you.” He said.

“…Since the day that we did that prank with Justin.” He continued. And I mentally laughed at the memory.

‘Yeah…the good times.’

“I love you. J.” He repeated and it removed me from my thoughts of that prank.

‘What now? What should I say? I love him too but not like how he loves me….and if I say yes…I’ll be lying…. if I say No. What will happen to our friendship? Is this the end of it? No, I don’t want Mike to avoid me and feel like before…ignored. What should I do?’

‘BE HONEST, HE’S YOUR FRIEND.’ My ego retorted.

“Jadyn?” He spoke and I snapped.

“Hm?” I mumbled…my thoughts are still scattered.

“Sorry to surprise you like this….and to make you feel confused.” He said with an apologetic face.

‘Oh, no Mike, please don’t be sad….’

“Hey, it’s okay…. I’m thankful you’re being honest and trusty on me.” I said finding my thoughts and rationalization again.

“I just didn’t expect this…” I said, my voice fell at the end.

He is just quiet, his brown eyes looking at me intently. I can hear thee leaves move as the wind blows.

‘I need to tell him…it’s for him.’

“Mike, I really appreciate that you love me….”

“…More than just a friend.” He cut in and I nodded.

“I love you too Mike…but just as my friend I’m sorry.” I said as gentle as I could. Still I can see the pain in his eyes. But I need to say this so I won’t hurt him more.

“It’s okay.” He said, giving me a weak smile.

“Really?”

“Yeah. I sort of prepared myself for this.” He said trying to cover his pain with his whimsy tone. He’s hurt. I know.

“Hey. Really, it’s okay.” He said and I smiled at him.

“Just promise me one thing. Nothing will change after this day, still friends.” He said and my smile widens and my spirit was lifted.

‘I won’t be losing a friend! Yes!’

I nodded perkily.

“Sure, I promise!” I said and I can see he was relieved. I think we both thought we’d lost each other this time. But no and I’m happy with that.

“So, what you want to do before your practice?” He asked.

‘Change of attitude, the Good ol’ Mike…. mercurial.’

“I want to eat.”

“I thought so.” He said and I grin.

“Let’s go to the canteen!” He exclaimed.

“Yeah!” I seconded.

Then we walked together, he held his arm up and put it around my shoulder. Then, he hesitates for a moment and removed it quickly.

“Hey, sorry.” He said holding his two hands up.

“Don’t be silly!” I said and playfully punched his shoulder then rolled my eyes. And his arm is back on my shoulder.

‘His confession was a surprise but it didn’t change a thing…. I still feel comfortable with him…not like….’

‘NO JADYN, DON’T THINK ABOUT THAT AGAIN!!!!!!’ I thought but my brain or mind failed me again.

‘Ugh…okay. It just replayed in my head…. again.’

‘I hate that kiss! Do I?’

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