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Just Friends

By:Billy Taylor

ve and a bit years ago. I met the prettiest girl I had ever seen in my entire life. She was so shy and sweet, her eyes captivated me and her smile, her smile was perfect. She was perfect, even when she spat blackcurrant juice all over me. And every day since, I contemplated. Do I tell her? How do I tell her? That I’m so madly in love with her. To ask her to be mine. When I was in hospital and I found out you were seeing somebody else, it broke my heart because I thought I was too late. Too late to tell you that you’re the first thing I think about in the morning, and the last thing I think about at night, and all the spaces in between. You were always meant to be with me, always were, always will. I’ll never want to be with anyone else, never ever, ever. Before I ask my next question can I ask you something?”

I tried to compose myself, I tried, but tears kept flooding out of my eyes.

“Hey, hey, come here.” He shuffled me forward and wiped my eyes.

“Can you remember when I gave you that clock?”

I flicked my eyes over to it. “My thirteenth birthday.”

“Can you remember when exactly?” He asked.

I frowned, what did this have to do with him proposing?

“Well you gave it me like a month late, so September?”

He nodded, “Correct, do you know how long ago that was?”

My frowned increased. “Six years. Ethan, is this relevant right now? Can’t I just say yes?” My tears stopped momentarily as I changed focus to his irrelevance.

“Last question, don’t worry. How many months ago was that?”

I rolled my eyes at him and wiped my eyes while genuinely thinking of the answer. “Seventy three… or seventy four months ago?” As soon as I answered my eyes lit up. “No!” I shouted at him, placing my hands over my mouth and restarting my tears.

“Check your shoe.” He replied smugly.

“No.” I blubbered, wafting my hands over my eyes.

He rolled his eyes at me and slipped off my shoe, since I wasn’t capable of doing so myself, and pulled out a card.

And there it was. The seventy-three of hearts. Well, the seven of hearts with his pathetic number three drawn beside the seven, signed by my six-year-old self with the smiley face. It still had the smudge from my chocolatey fingers. I could barely see the card through my flowing eyes.

“You kept it?” I asked, carefully taking it from him.

“Of course I kept it!… There it is, August. There’s the best magic trick you will ever see. No buildings being collapsed on top of anybody, and no switching seats in cars. To complete my magic trick, I need to ask you one final question.”

Why couldn’t I be stronger emotionally? Ethan constantly has me crying, it’s not natural. I exhaled, “Ok.”

He signalled down at his tie and wafted it. “August Victoria Bishop. Will you marry me?”

I’ve never cried and laughed and smiled and sulked and winced in such a short time. All these emotions were combining and I couldn’t help but cry. I can’t believe he kept that card. I can’t.

I wiped my eyes, and smiled, nodding my head, “Yes.”

He quickly leant forward and kissed me. He had the biggest grin on his face. I’d never seen him so happy as he placed the ring onto my finger.

“It was my Mum’s. My Dad bought it as soon as he won his first big payout. Growing up my Dad didn’t give me much advice. But one day he crouched down in front of me and handed me the ring, telling me to give it to you when we were old enough. He said my Mum would want me to have it.”

I held his head next to mine and caressed the back of his neck. I held my hand up over his shoulder and admired the ring I possessed on my finger.

When he mentioned his Mum though it made me think of the letter, maybe now I should give it to him, now is the right time. Leaving it any longer could only make things worse.

“Ethan I need to show you something.”

“Ok.” He replied.

I rose from the sofa, seating him on it, and walked over to the cabinet I had kept it hidden in. I regret keeping it from him for as long as I had. Still, I passed the box to him. The moment I gave it to him I think he knew who it was from. I sat quietly, allowing him to examine it in peace. Ethan removed the envelope containing the letter from his box and began to read it. I watched his eyes as they flicked along each line. Tears spilled down his cheeks as he folded the letter into the envelope and returned it to its box. I shuffled behind him and put my arms around his waist, resting my head against his back.

“I just wish she was still here, you know. To see how well I’m doing. To see you. It’s not fair.”

“I know it’s not.” I replied. “She’ll be watching over you, and I’m sure she is so proud of you, Ethan.”

We sat silently as he wiped his eyes.

“I’m such a baby! I don’t cry my entire life and I’ve cried twice this year!”

We both giggled. I kissed the back of his neck and gave him a squeeze.

“Will you be ok?”

“I’ll be fine Mrs. August Bishop-Knight.” He replied.

“Did you notice we kinda sound like the beginning of a chess set?” I asked with my cheek squished against him.

“Oh yeah.” He replied with amusement.