Just FriendsMature

Nessie

'What was that for?'  Luke asked, looking down at me confused.

'I- I don't know,' I replied, feeling the sharp pain of rejection stabbing straight through my chest.  'I just felt- I don't know- It felt right.'

'But we're friends Nessie,' Luke said, standing up and walking away from me.  'Friends don't do that.'

'I'm sorry,' I said, nearly on the verge of tears but not wanting Luke to see me cry.  I needn't have worried about him seeing me cry, he was refusing to look at me, his head leaning against the wall, his hands either side of his head.

I didn't know what to say.  I'd always been able to be myself with Luke, but now...

My mobile rang, breaking the silence.  I reached into my bag for it, pulling the phone out and pressing it against my ear.

'Nessie!'

I recognised the panicked, scared voice of Alex and immediately felt cold.

'Alex?  What's wrong?  What's happened to you?'  There was a thud and then no reply.  All I could hear was shouting in the background and the roar of cars.  'Alex, speak to me' I said loudly down the phone, fear now gripping me as well.  Why wasn't Alex saying anything.

'Is everything OK?'  Luke asked, still standing on the other side of the room but now facing me.

'I don't know.  She sounded so scared but now I'm not getting anything.  Alex?  Pippa?  Is anyone there?'

'Hello?'  A stranger's voice on the other end of the line almost made me drop my mobile. 

'Who is this?'  I asked.

'It's Eric,' the voice said.  'You know, from school.'

'What are you doing there?'

'Nessie, there's been an accident.  Alex and Pippa have been hit by a lorry and I don't think Alex is in a good way.  She's unconscious.'

'And Pippa?'

'She's still awake.  I've called an ambulance and they said they'd be here as soon as they could.  Pippa wants you to be there at the hospital when they arrive and I think Alex would appreciate that too.'

'I'm leaving now,' I said.  'Thanks for telling me Eric.  Look after them until I can get there will you.'

'I promise I will.'

'Thank you.'  I hung up the phone and was on my feet in seconds.  'Did you bring your car Luke?'

'Yes, why?  What's going on?'

'There's been an accident.  Alex and Pippa were hit by a lorry on their way home and Alex is now unconscious.  I need to go to the hospital.  Will you drive me?'

'I'll get my keys.'

***

The atmosphere in Luke's car was very tense as we drove towards the hospital.  Luke wasn't speaking and I knew it was because I had kissed him.  Why was it such a bad thing?  I thought he felt the same way.

'Where are we Luke?'  I asked.  'Are we just friends?'

'We've never been anything different,' Luke replied, keeping his eyes on the road.  'Why?'

'Because I feel like we're at a crossroads and we can either go one way or the other and I don't know which route to take.'

'Why can't we just stay friends,' Luke asked, a funny tone to his voice that I couldn't place.  'That's what we've always been so why change now?'

'Because I don't want to be just friends,' I said, shocked at how easily the words were coming out of my mouth.  'Luke you have been the best friend anyone could have asked for but I can't go on pretending that's all you are to me.'

'What do you want me to be then?  Because I'm sick of having to wait around for you to make the decisions about when you're ready to see me.'  Luke's voice was filled with hurt and I was horrified to see a tear rolling down his cheek.  'You want to know the truth?  I've loved you for years Nessie.  You're all I've thought about, day in, day out.  I've dreamed up hundreds of scenarios where I've told you how much I love you.

'When you kissed me, you have no idea how happy that made me feel.  But I don't know if that's enough.'

'Of course it's enough.  I love you Luke.  I've wanted to tell you for ages but I've never been able to find the right words to say it.'

'But what about Alex?'  Bitterness was starting to creep into Luke's voice.  'I mean look at us.  Something happens to Alex and you jump to her rescue, dragging me along with you.  Your life seems to revolve around her so you have no time for anyone or anything else.  I don't want to be second on your list of priorities anymore Nessie.'

'I don't know what you want me to do Luke.'  I was crying too now, my vision blurring.  'I can't just leave Alex when she needs me, I wouldn't be the friend you know I am if I did.'

'It might make you the best friend in the world, but it doesn't make you a good girlfriend.'

We'd arrived at the hospital now, Luke had parked the car and we were sitting in the darkness.  I wanted to get out and see Alex and Pippa but I knew if I did that I would be proving Luke right.

'I don't want to lose you Luke,' I breathed.  'But I'm worried that if we stay just friends then this is going to drive us apart.'

'Who says that won't happen if we say we'll date and then we break up.  There's no going back from that.'

'Luke, I'm scared.'

'Me too.'  He tentatively reached across the gap between us, his fingers brushing my forehead, pushing my tousled hair out of my face, his fingertips tracing the curve of my face down towards my jawline.  I could barely breathe.

'Go in and find Alex,' he whispered, his hand dropping to his side.  'I'll join you soon.'

I got out of the car reluctantly and walked towards the hospital.  Inside, chaos reigned and I fought my way to the reception desk to ask where Pippa and Alex had been taken.

'Miss Bramley is on the normal ward, bed six, I can take you to her.'

'What about Alex Kenley?'

'I'm sorry I can't let you see her.  She's up in ITU and isn't allowed visitors.'

'Will she be OK?'  I asked as the receptionist began to lead me onto the ward.  'She will recover.'

'I'm not a doctor,' she replied.  'I can't tell you anything.'

I caught sight of Pippa lying in a hospital bed covered in bandages and almost ran towards her.

'I'm so glad you're OK,' I said, putting my arms around her without thinking.

'Ow, that hurts.'

'I'm sorry.'

'Don't worry,'  Pippa said, still smiling.  'Have they told you anything about Alex?  It's driving me crazy not knowing.  The doctors keep telling me I should concentrate on getting better which must mean she's pretty bad.'

'I don't know, they haven't told me anything either.  But she has to get better.  She has to.'

The End

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