From past Ziggy's point of view:
I sit on my front porch eating ice cream with Zion.
He is my best friend. We've been best friends since we were little. We met in kindergarten.
Some kid wouldn't stop picking on me and Zion bit him. He got into a lot of trouble for that. The teacher even made him apologize.
The funny thing is that later we were playing in the castle on the play ground and he told me he wasn't sorry.
He gently held out his pinky and made me promise to let him protect me.
He has. I don't know if he remembers promising me that or if he just doesn't like it when people bully me.
I think that every time he's been in trouble it has been because he was protecting me.
He is just a few days older but those few days have been his bragging right for years.
There's so much about him that I like. But there's one big problem.
One thing that my parents would never be able to accept.
Zion is a lion and I'm a mouse.
In so many ways, we'd never work.
His golden hair hangs down in his eyes slightly.
He goes out into the grass and lays down in the sunshine. I scurry over and lay down beside him, close but so we aren't touching.
He points out cloud shapes, running his fingers through the grass.
After a while, he falls quiet.
Even at 16, he's already massive. I watch his chest rise and fall.
There's times like this where I really just want to lay my head on his chest. I want to listen to his heart beat or him talk about whatever as I trace small circles on his stomach; while I start to fall asleep.
I want to brush my lips over his and feel him wrap his arms around me.
I snap out of my day dreams. We are never going to be a couple.
He's never going to hold me like that.
He probably doesn't even think about me like that.
His voice cuts off my thoughts, "who you thinking about?"
I jump, realizing he's mind linked me.
I huff out loud, "that's not fair. You know it's against the rules to do that without permission."
He smiles, "who's going to tell?"
I poke him, "me. I'm going to tell your mom."
He raises an eyebrow, "which one?"
I smile, "both."
He smiles too, "so who doesn't think about you like that?"
I quickly throw out a name, "Fern."
He smiles, "oooooo. Ziggy's got a crush."
I pout, "stoppppp."
He picks on me about it all afternoon.
Just saying Fern randomly to annoy me.
Too bad I had to lie.
I wish I could have just told him that I like him. That my crush is him. That I'd do anything to lay on his chest for 5 minutes.
He stands up and holds out his hand, "come on. We can hang out at my house. I'm sure momma's got dinner ready."
I take his hand and he helps me up.
My dad's mean to him so we don't hang out at my house a lot. I mean we'll hang out outside. But he only comes inside once my dad goes to bed.
We have this little thing we do where we climb in each other windows. We both have a ladder. And it's kind of our thing.
During the school year, we claim it's to work on homework together but really we spend a lot of time sharing memes with each other. Or playing video games.
He opens his door and lets me in.
He puts a finger to his lips.
He slowly comes around the corner and grabs his mom's arm.
She jumps and yelps a little.
He laughs, "hey momma."
She growls a little, "you always do that."
He kisses her cheek, "I'm training to hunt momma."
She tries not to smile but she gives in easily, "you brought over Ziggy. Hi Ziggy."
I squeak softly, "hey Mrs. Alice."
She pats my back, "just Alice hun."
His other mother comes in, "Ziggy!"
I wave a little, "hey Mrs. Zoey."
She gives me a soft hug, "are you staying the night?"
I look over at Zion, who is snacking on some grapes, "am I staying?"
He looks at me with his mouth full, "what?"
I poke him, "am I staying?"
He swallows, "duh."
We go to his living room and he lays on the floor, watching tv.
He falls asleep there. I watch him, trying not to be in love.
I can't just be in love because of him doing common, regular, people things.
His mother, Alice, wakes him up gently, "it's time for dinner hunny."
We eat with his parents and then he helps with the dishes.
He kisses his mothers' cheeks and then we go to his room.
He lays on his bed and gets on his phone. He is scrolling through some memes.
I try to do the same but my mind wanders.
I bite my lip. I want him to kiss me. I want a lot of things with him. I mean I would really like to be with him for a long time. I want to provide for him. In every single way.
I am completely zoned out when he looks over and smiles at me, "hey Ziggy?"
I look at him, "yeah?"
His big brown eyes meet mine, "you know I hope we are mates."
I blush a little and squeak, "Zion!"
He moves a little closer, "yeah?"
My breath catches.
I slowly place my hand over his, "you can't want that. I'm a mouse."
He moves over me, "I can want it. I do want it."
I push on his chest, "get off Zion."
He moves off quickly, "I'm sorry. I thought you liked me like that too."
He sits in his chair and gets back on his phone.
I move over to the chair, "come on Zion... I don't want you to be upset. You're a great guy."
He shrugs, "it's fine. I'm sure you'd rather hang out with Fern from now on."
My heart drops. He's never said something like that before. It's always been me and him. Best friends.
I shake a little and start to tear up, "Zion, you are such an idiot sometimes. It's you. You're my crush. With your stupid golden hair. And the way you take care of me. You're my crush. You really think it's Fern? You aren't even willing to fight for me but you 'want me'?"
I storm out and down the stairs. I leave without hesitating.
I cry on the way home.
It's dumb. I don't get to be mad at him when I lied and stormed out before he could even talk to me.
It's probably inconsiderate. He's probably at a heightened emotional state for some reason.
I turn around and go back to his house.
I slowly climb in his window. He's laying face down on the bed.
I slowly climb up on the bed beside him, "Zion?"
He looks up at me, "Ziggy, you shouldn't be here."
I kiss him very softly, "I'm sorry."
He looks away.
I rub his cheek, "I'm your best friend Zion. I'm sorry for being mean."
He rolls over and looks at me.
I look at him shyly. He's so handsome.
He covers his face a little shyly, "Ziggy stop staring."
I ruffle his hair, "I love you Zion."
He peaks out between his fingers, "Ziggy, I love you. I will never let you go. I've loved you for so long. You're my best friend and I hope one day it's more than that."
I softly lay my head on his chest, "Zion, do you remember when you promised to protect me?"
He nods, "I really meant that."
He ruffles my hair, "you matter to me."
I pull the blanket over us, "just let me enjoy being close with you until I know you're not mine."
So we go on. We date but not date.
We try not to kiss often because that's a dating thing.
He lets me lay on his chest any time I want.
We hold hands sometimes when we are walking. Sometimes at school even.
He lets me sit with him and the basketball team, even though it pushes their lower class players from the table.
Everyone has already decided we're a power couple. We even got the "most likely to get married" in the year book junior year.
We're really doing our best not to get excited and super attached to each other.
But I love him.
He's such a good person. He's gorgeous.
And that's going to he a downfall for me.
I'm going to be devastated one day when he's not mine.