The Best Friend’s Contract

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Chapter 22

Aidan

I can’t help myself. I can’t help it when I feel the need or more likely the urge to look at her. Yet, with every turn and every glance . . . she would never fail to surprise me with her natural beauty. Even though she used to tell me about how insecure she is, I can’t seem to find the flaws she once mentioned.

“You can’t stop, huh?” Alain asks, trying to make sure the tents stay up all night than falling apart.

“You’re not mad at me, anymore?” I ask him back, changing the subject before he has a chance to ask because I know . . . it’s always about Kenna. He notices almost everything when it comes to Kenna and I, probably because he’s the older brother or he’s just more caring than me but that’s just the way he is.

Especially when it comes to Mia. It’s as if he couldn’t stop asking or wondering about her. I mean, I care about Mia, too . . . she’s my one and only sister, for god’s sake, why wouldn’t I care for her? It’s just that, Alain cares for her much more than I can even imagine; he’d help her with almost anything.

A few months ago, Mia had a bad fever. He was worried sick that he decided to stay home to take care of her than going to work; until mother convinced that she can take his place.

“About the whole accounting thing? Nah, I don’t have time to be mad at you for a long time.” He slowly replies, “But, you can’t simply change the subject, Aidan . . . you can’t hide it, either. The whole newly-wed thing going on with you two, it’s crystal clear.” He adds, turning to look at me.

“What about Kenna? What about the whole newly-wed thing? I don’t understand,” I answer.

Alain laughs, “Dude. Seriously? You’ve got to stop lying when it comes to something you can’t hide. More precisely . . . when it comes to Kenna. Do you think I won’t find out about it?”

My heart starts to beat uncontrollably fast, only waiting for him to continue the conversation. There’s a slight chance that he might tell me he has found out the truth about this whole marriage but there’s also a high chance of him never finding out. Then again, what’s going on his mind? What’s he going to say?

I turn to look at Kenna, seeing her laughing with Ava as she sits on her lap. They are both pointing up at the sky, probably looking at the trees or even the clouds . . . but what attracts me most is the way she looks with Ava on her lap, it’s as if that’s our future.

Wait . . . did I say our? I meant, hers.

“Found out about what?” I raise an eyebrow, paying attention to Alain, again.

“About you and Kenna,” He replies. Both of his eyebrows are furrowed as he takes a few steps towards me, leaving me confused and somehow worried.

“What do you mean?” I clear my throat, avoiding any further eye contact; wanting for someone to just barge in and interrupt the conversation than letting him say.

“That she was your first crush. She was the one you told me about, right? You told me that you liked someone but you said you can’t have her; now, it’s all clear . . . you couldn’t confess and you couldn’t have Kenna because you didn’t want to ruin the ′thing′ you two had, called friendship.” He pats onto my shoulder before smiling, “Well . . . congratulations,” He adds.

“Obviously!” I reply with a loud laugh, almost sounding fake but believable enough for my big brother, Alain.

Truth be told, my first crush was one of the cheerleaders at school; not Kenna. I’ve never had feelings for Kenna . . . not until now, I suppose? Her name was Carly, she had straight dirty blonde hair with piercing green eyes and damn, she was a charm. When I had feelings for her, she was with one of the football players, they were the it couple.

So, when they broke up, I thought it was my chance to make her my girlfriend but unfortunately, things got out of control and we hooked up on our first encounter which was bizarre. Not going to lie, things got pretty exciting from there . . . I enjoyed our hook-ups more than actually spending time with her, so . . . I never did make us official. I never even say I once liked her because I left things unsaid.

My feelings for her disappeared faster than I can even say ABC. Guess we were never meant to be?

Kenna and I were friends from the very beginning, unlike those movies where different genders can never remain friends because one of the opposite sex will start falling for the other. We were really different, Kenna and I have different tastes when it comes to men or women; she would prefer someone with a lighter hair with dirty shades and lighter eye colour. Easy to say, she doesn’t prefer herself to end up with any Italian guy which is quite strange if you ask me . . . I mean, I’m 1/8 Italian and I’m almost everyone’s type but not for Kenna.

While I prefer someone with lighter eyes and darker hair which matches perfectly with Kenna. Wait a minute . . . I never notice how much she is quite the dream girl; her height, her body shape, her eyes and even her personality, she’s my kind of girl.

Get your head straight, Aidan.′ I thought in my mind, not wanting to start thinking about something impossible for Kenna and I; we both can’t end up being more than friends, right? It’s impossible.

“Uncle Gabby,” I look down to find Ava standing near my feet, both of her eyes are looking up at me. “I want to ask you something.” She continues to speak.

Slowly, I crouch down to match her height, a smile plastered on my face. “What is it, princess? Are you still curious how uncle Gabby got better looking than daddy?” I ask, jokingly which causes her to laugh, her cute little giggles cheer me up to an extent.

“No, Uncle Gabby. When are you going to give a present to Aunt Kenna?” She asks, her eyes wide and filled with curiosity while I frown, somehow confused by her question; what kind of present?

Is it her birthday? No, not until June.

“Harley has her own way on telling Ava about where babies come from,” Alain says from beside me which causes me to understand immediately; instead of the explanation I’ve been getting from adults about the dirty, it appears to be a present for Ava.

“It depends, really . . . I haven’t thought about it, yet.” I reply after glancing up at Alain who has a smile plastered on his face as he watches his daughter’s cute little curiosity appearing. ”Why did you ask, Ava?”

“I want a friend to play with,” She replies.

I immediately chuckle before pulling her in for a hug, “You have me to play around with and you even have Uncle Dim to play dolls with. You don’t need to wait for Uncle Gabby to give Aunt Kenna a present, it might take awhile.” I respond back, earning another laugh from Alain; knowing that this is just something adults would understand, completely.

“But you and Uncle Dim are always busy.” She furrow her eyebrows, “Even daddy is always busy,” Then, to my surprise, she starts to pout; looking at her father who has a worried look plastered on his face at the sight of his daughter’s change of expression.

Within seconds, Alain has cupped onto her face, wiping away the fallen tears. “Daddy is always here for you . . . I’m never busy for my little girl,” He says as she wraps her small arms around his neck.

“Can you finish up? I’m taking her inside,” Alain turns towards me in which I nod as an answer as he walks away, meeting up with Harley halfway before saying something, worried shows on Harley’s face.

Boo!” A shout appears from behind me as someone covers up both of my eyes, causing me to scream; which appears more girly than manly.

Kenna bursts out into laughters as she holds onto her stomach, completely enjoying the moment. “Very funny, Kenna. You caught me off guard,” I say, clearing my throat and try my best to hide the sudden embarrassment.

“Can you stop laughing?” I ask, realising that she won’t stop laughing; not even when it’s no longer funny; not to me.

“Okay, okay, okay. I’ll stop,” She answers. “Calm down . . . grumpy pants. I was just fooling around,” She adds with a smile slowly creeping up her face, trying her best to cheer me up.

Our eyes meet for a longer duration than usual, in which I begin to realise that my eyes are staring deeply into her; not just carelessly glancing but the way she is looking back at me, shows anything but love. Probably a friend-kind-of-love but nothing more than that; instantly causing me to clear my throat and look away, glancing down at my wrist watch.

“I think I’m not feeling well. I’m going inside,” I say before making my way towards the house but I’m stopped by her grabbing onto my hand.

“Are you sick? What’s wrong?” She asks and to my surprise, she starts to stand on her tiptoes before placing her hand on my forehead; trying to check my body temperature before quickly grabbing onto my hand in order to check my pulse. “Why is your heart beating so fast?” She raises an eyebrow.

“Probably just hot out here,” I reply after quickly pulling my hand away from her grip.

“But, it’s pretty windy.” She frowns, not expecting me to pull my hand away so harshly and truth be told, I didn’t expect myself to react the way I did, either but there’s just some sort of nervousness spreading all over my body, something I’ve never felt before . . . not even when I saw my first crush in high school.

Ignoring her, I quickly walk away as I keep on chanting in my mind to stay calm and be cool; not to overreact or be foolish in front of her. I don’t want her to notice anything different going on with me and it’s best if we just remain friends as we always have been; not carelessly or foolishly stutter.

“For fuck’s sake, Aidan. Calm the fuck down,” I say to myself, repeatedly.

I look up at my reflection in the mirror, seeing how my hair’s a mess and my lips are somehow slightly trembling but other than that, I’m good. Quickly running my fingers through my hair, I manage to make myself look presentable.

Walking out of the bathroom, my eyes meet with a concerned Kenna; standing in front of the bathroom door which surprises me more than a ghost can. Our eyes meet as she crosses her arms, “What’s up with you, huh?” She asks, eyes squinting.

“Nothing, Kenna. I’m going back outside,” I reply without paying another second looking in her eyes.

“Avoiding eye contact, short replies, in need of going away. These are the signs of silent treatment. Are you having problems at work? Did I say or do something wrong? Am I the cause of this?” She continues to ask multiple questions, stopping me.

No. No and yes. If only I can say what I feel inside, the sudden burst of emotions in my body and just get this over or probably just cup onto her face and meet her lips in a passionate and meaningful kiss but I can’t; there are certain things that I can’t do and one of it is being passionate with my own wife.

“I have a slight headache. That’s it,” I reply with a small smile on my face before running the back of my hand at the side of her face, feeling the softness of her skin against mine.

Just like that, I start to walk away from her. This time, she doesn’t bother to follow after me and ask more questions which is a relief because I feel as if I need to be away from her for awhile; not because of anything else but because I need to reassure my own feelings for Kenna, I can’t simply confirm it without further inspections.

--

That night, I’ve been trying my best to keep myself away from Kenna; just for a little while. I want to make sure that these feelings will go away in a short amount of time than letting them linger for much longer.

Still, I can’t keep my eyes away from her. I would be looking at her for a few times in a minute and I would even search for her when she’s not around, which means that my plan is just plain bullshit. Maybe, I just have to start accepting how these feelings wont simply go away.

I only have to admit that they come with reasons. Unsettled reasons.

My eyes wander to Kenna and see her walking further towards the trees, causing me to follow her. Her hair tied up into a ponytail, bouncing side to side as she continues to walk; watching her step. Just as she walks on her own, I help her by making sure to catch her if she falls by taking a wrong step.

“I know you’re there, Aidan.” She says, not sparing a single glance towards my direction.

“Intuition?” I ask, taking a few steps closer towards her. “Or just a blunt guess?” My questions seem to have a little hint of humour as she shakes her head, turning her head sideways to look at me.

“Call it a lucky guess,” She replies. Then, she continues to eye my face; not wasting a single second. For some reason, I can’t seem to look away and break the eye contact . . . there’s something in me, wanting to just look into her eyes and continue to experience the way her eyes gaze into mine. It’s not everyday that I get to feel this way.

“I thought you were giving me the silent treatment but you followed me here,” She looks up to the sky; counting the stars.

How am I supposed to reply that? I simply can’t say a word because I wasn’t giving her the silent treatment . . . I was just making sure of my feelings. Maybe one day, I’ll be able to sort it out and be confident of how I’ll be feeling in the future but right now, I can never be so sure.

“We used to come here when we were little,” She changes the subject. “It’s kind of funny to think about the places we used to go. Everywhere reminds me of us, Aidan; is that a good thing?” Her voice lower than before but the smile plastered on her face is never fading away.

“Well, we’ve been close ever since we were kids. It’s not weird or funny to have most of these places remind you of us.” I mutter under my breath, crossing my arms; only looking down at her.

She chuckles, “True.”

“Aidan, I think I miss us. We used to run along and hide behind one of these trees but now, we’re far away from behind able to relive that. I don’t mean it that we should travel through time and go through it all over again but it’s weird how time flies,” She tucks a strand of hair behind her ear.

Our eyes meet again but this time, she seems to glance down at my lips for a few times. I’ve been with different women to understand the meaning when they glance or stare at my lips but I’m not so sure with Kenna. What if I’m just confused? What if there’s just ketchup on my lips and she’s somehow grossed out about but silently dreading?

Being with different women has given me experience in certain things but how can I not think of anything when it comes to Kenna? Even when she’s flipping her hair or bite her lower lip, I can’t help but to feel mesmerised than turned on. Is that normal?

I glance down at her lips before realising that I’m currently leaning closer and closer towards her before brushing my nose against hers.

That’s it. I begin to hesitate as I feel her soft lips meet mine before slowly moving my lips in sync, leading the kiss. One of my hands run up to the side of her face, trying to make sure that I’d be able to feel how real this is than thinking of it as a dream.

We’ve kissed before. Mostly, in front of others but I can’t feel the ecstasy in my veins before until now. The way she leans her body forward towards mine as she remains still at her spot while I cup onto her face . . . it feels like the first for us.

Slowly, I begin to pull away; trying to see the look on her face.

“I was just testing my kissing skill,” She says in a hurry before clearing her throat. “Thanks for that,” She adds, looking up at the night sky while I stare and furrow my eyebrows, dumbfounded by her sudden reaction but a smile creeps up on my face.

“No problem,” I clear my throat. “Always here to help a friend,” At the end, I bump my arm against her shoulder before shoving both of my hands into my jeans’ pockets, turning around as I gesture for her to follow up.

Just as I’m not facing her anymore, I mentally slap myself at the word ‘friend’ after what we did.

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