Another year passed and we entered high school. As little freshmen we were shoved around. Fortunately for Dex and I, we weren't as much as our fellow classmates. Those who knew his sisters knew who we were. His sisters were popular and nice to everyone so it only figured they would be nice to us. Especially Dex.
He was getting better looking as we grew up. It really impressed me. A lot of girls always wanted me to tell them stuff about him, but I always told them the same thing; Dex was never interested in girls who couldn't talk to him face to face. Of course this was always taken as I liked him, which was completely wrong. Liam was always by my side. We flirted a lot and I wondered when he was going to ask me out. He assured me he would, but that he wanted me to be sure I was okay first. Dex, however, told me that it was just a bad idea. He was concerned about me. I understood, but I was also concerned about him. He was always going on dates now, but never actually dating anyone. Whenever I asked him about it, he would always shrug and say he was waiting for a genuine girl. Either I was missing something or he was hiding something from me.
Things were changing with me as well. People were nice to me and actually liked me. I was told I was pretty, which shocked me and made me happy at the same time. While Dex grew and got a deeper voice, I became beautiful somehow. But that wasn't the only thing. I found that whenever I was around Dex, I got butterflies. It was strange and I wasn't used to it. Whenever he leaned in to hug me and my cheek brushed his, I could feel my heart rush. It was weird. I never thought about liking Dex. It never occured to me before. I mean, people always said we'd make a cute couple, but I never took it to heart. It just wasn't something that seemed possible. Not until now though.
"Avery I've got important news for you! I have a girlfriend," stated Dex, smiling proudly.
My heart felt like it was sinking. "Oh, really? Who?"
"Jennifer from Spanish class. She's really sweet," he sighed, smiling happily.
As the rest of the year went on like nothing had ever happened, I watched them flirt. It hurt to see them liking each other so much. I wanted Dex to myself and now he wasn't single anymore. I felt bad because I did like Liam too, but it felt like I wanted Dex more.
One day at Dex's house, he was upset with Jennifer. He called me over to talk about her.
"She's just so clingy. She found out that she wasn't my first kiss and now she won't let me do anything anymore," he complained, playing with my hair.
I sighed and stretched my back. "Maybe she's just paranoid. Does she know who your first kiss was with?"
"Yeah. That's why she's super annoying right now." He braided my hair.
I frowned "Who was your first kiss with? Tamera?"
He shook his head. "It was with you, Avery."
My jaw dropped. "What?"
"That night when Liam was being mean to you. When I kissed you on the road by the lake. That was my first kiss too. I wanted it to be with someone special, so I figured you're my bestfriend. You're special to me. That's why I kissed you."
I didn't even know what to say. I thought he had already had his first kiss.
"Are you okay?" He stared at me.
"Why would she be paranoid about me?" I exclaimed, getting up. "I'm nothing! I'm just some girl who happens to be your bestfriend! That's it!"
He pulled me back on the bed. "She's just super clingy and jealous. She said she feels threatened because of how beautiful you are."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh please."
"Well...I can't exactly say she's lying. You are very beautiful, Avery. And you have a lot more going for you." He looked me up and down.
I blushed. "You make things awkward."
"I know." He smiled and hugged me. "But you are more beautiful than any girl at our school, Avery."
"You think so?" I whispered, hugging him back despite the rush of my heart pounding.
"I know so."
Weeks went by and Dex had fixed things with Jennifer. She still didn't like me very much, so I tried to stay away from Dex as much as possible. I hung out with Liam even more and tried to flirt with him instead of thinking about Dex. People heard how I was Dex's first kiss and many of them thought it was sweet. Liam found out and was a little annoyed, but once I explained that we weren't like that, he calmed down. Inside my mind, though, I wished we were.
Although Jennifer seemed extremely happy with Dex, Dex didn't seem to be returning the same happiness. He would text me or sneak over late at night to be with me. This always made it worse for me. I wanted him and I couldn't have him. It hurt. He would tell me how much he missed hanging out with me and how Jennifer got mad at him for everything. It never mattered what it was, it was always his fault.
"I'm sorry she hates you," he apologized, patting my head.
"It's okay. We'll get to hang out eventually. You'll see," I replied trying to ignore my feelings.
"So, we got your mom's wedding invitation in the mail. Are you ready for that?"
"I don't have any other choice. I think Mark has stopped cheating, but it doesn't make up for what he's done. He ruined my relationship with my mom. There's no way he will ever make it up to me."
He nodded. "Well, is Liam gonna be your date?"
I was silent for a moment. I didn't know what to say. I hadn't even asked about it yet. "I'm not sure...why?"
"Just curious. He should be your date if he's still waiting for you."
"What if he doesn't want to be my date? Or can't even make it?"
He thought a moment. "Then I'll be your date. Okay?"
I smiled to myself. "Okay, that sounds good."
Wedding bells chimed as my mother's wedding was about to start. I was dressed in my bridesmaid dress wearing the heels my mother had chosen for all of us. The maid of honor barked orders at us all as we all got ready. I was nervous about messing up the dance at the reception, but other than that I was completely fine. Liam was in the audience somewhere with Dex. My mom had been nice enough to let me sit at the table in front of her main one with the two of them. Some other grown up kids would be sitting there too from what I'd heard. The maid of honor was glad I wasn't sitting at the same table as them. My mom knew her from work. She was a waitress just like my mom. She hated me though. Her name was Levern. She was bitter about something, but I never knew what it was.
"Mom? Are you sure you're ready to do this?" I asked, watching her get her make up done.
"Why would you ask her that? Do you want her to be unhappy?" snapped Lavern, setting my mom's veil on my mom's head.
"Back off, dragon-lady. Jeez. This is an A and B conversation. Why don't you see your way out of it?" I retorted, glaring at her.
"Stop fighting. Yes, Avery. I'm positive. Can you hand me my flowers and see if the guys are ready? We're about to go on," she stated, taking deep breaths.
I handed her the boquet and headed off down the hall to see if the guys were ready. I peaked into the room and saw that they were all in nice suits and clean shaven. It was nice to see all Mark's nice friends. They were always really friendly to me and treated me better than Mark did.
"Avery!" exclaimed Jack, Mark's best man. "How's my girl?"
"I'm good," I replied smiling. "Mom wants to know if you're all ready."
He looked around and nodded. "Tell her we're all set."
I nodded and turned to leave.
"Oh and, Avery?"
"Yeah?" I turned back to face him.
"You look extra beautiful today."
I blushed and thanked him. Then I headed back to the bridal party's room. As I informed my mom of the answer, she got excited and stood up.
"Let's go then. Lavern, go get the guys ready!" she exclaimed.
As the wedding proceeded, I just went through ther motions, barely paying attention to the actual ceremony. Jack made a face behind Lavern's back when he was getting ready to walk with her down the aisle. He told me at the rehearsal that he was really annoyed by her. It made me laugh. He was more like a dad to me than Mark would ever be. He was funny, smart and very understanding. It made me feel loved.
During the rehearsal, mom and Mark had their first dance all planned out while Lavern took care of planning the group dance. It made me feel like a clown. Unfortunately I had no say in it whatsoever. As we preformed the actual dance, I could hear Dex and Liam snickering. Then it was my mom's turn to dance with Mark. The rest of the night felt like it was going by all too slowly. There was a father daughter dance, due to my mom's persistance. It hurt me that she would do that to me. We'd talked about the dance, but she didn't care how I felt.
"Avery, I know that I'm not your real father, but can I dance with you?" asked Mark, holding out his hand.
I hesitated and then nodded.
We stepped onto the dancefloor and danced along with my mom and grandpa. It was sort of nice. I appreciated that he was trying. Then Jack stepped in to dance with me. He made jokes and laughed with me. He asked about Liam and I to which I told him I wasn't sure what was going on. He convinced me that it would just take a little time. He would come around eventually. I silently hoped so, because I was tired of listening to Dex and getting jealous.
"May I cut in?" asked Liam, tapping Jack's arm.
Jack nodded and stepped away.
I smiled and wrapped my arms around his neck. "Hey. How do you like the party so far?"
"It's fun. That dance though...what was that?" he asked, leading me around the dancefloor.
I laughed and continued dancing to the slow beautiful music. As a new song stared, Dex appeared.
"Mind if I cut in? I wouldn't be complete if I couldn't dance with my bestfriend," he said smiling.
Liam stepped aside and watched as Dex danced with me on the dancefloor.
"So, still unhappy about them getting married?" Dex asked quietly, leading me towards the center of the floor.
"Yeah, but they're happy. I'm not going to ruin it," I replied sighing. "Are you enjoying a Jennifer-free weekend?"
He chuckled. "Yeah. It's nice. You look great by the way. Very beautiful."
I blushed. "You, Dex Mitchell Dellosa, are such a flirt."
He smirked and whispered in my ear. "I know I am, but so are you."
"Oh, please," I sighed, feeling the rush of his lips tickeling my ear. "You are way more of a flirt."
"Hm. Sure." He leaned his head against mine.
I closed my eyes and rested my head against his. Being with Dex made me feel so safe. It was so wrong though. He was with Jennifer. I couldn't get between them. I started to pull away from Dex, but he held on to me.
"Don't leave me hanging. It's only halfway through the song," he whispered, holding me tighter.
"This isn't good, Dex," I replied, feeling empty. "If Jennifer finds out about this she'll have a fit."
He chuckled. "She won't. And if she does, so what? You are my bestfriend. I have every right to dance with you."
My heart ached. He didn't know how much I wanted to be more than just bestfriends. "Dex, if you aren't happy with Jennifer, why are you with her?"
For a moment he was silent. "I don't really know. I guess she's there for the purpose of me having a girlfriend...which isn't right, I know. I feel awful, but she really likes me. I'm not sure what's worse...breaking her heart or leading her on while making her happy."
I frowned. "But...what's morally right?"
"Breaking her heart...I guess I can't hurt her more than just dumping her."
I nodded. "I suppose."
As we continued dancing, Dex rested his head against mine. We didn't talk and laugh or anything. We just danced slowly and when the music ended we headed back to our seats to eat and enjoy the rest of the night. Liam questioned me about Dex, but I told him it was nothing. I didn't need him getting jealous. My heart was torn though. My relationship with Dex was great enough already, I couldn't ruin it by telling him my feelings...but I had to know if he would date me. I needed closure.
When the night had come to an end, Dex and his father gave me a ride home. I struggled with my dress and into my house with Dex trailing behind. I made my way to my room, navigating the stairs slowly. Dex laughed at me while undoing his tie. Whenever I struggled with things he laughed at me. Not in a mean way. More like a teasing sort of amused way.
"This dress is really frustrating now," I grunted, trying to reach for my door handle.
Dex pushed open the door for me and smiled. "This is awesome."
"Shut up." I waddled over to my bed and struggled to reach the zipper on my dress. Frustrated, I grabbed a bra from my drawer and tried again angrily to unzip my dress.
"Need help?" laughed Dex, stepping up behind me.
"Fine, but close your eyes until I tell you to open them!" I readied myself to pull on some pajamas.
As he unzipped my dress, I got nervous. What if he didn't close his eyes? I pushed the thought out of my head and quickly changed.
"Okay, I'm dressed now," I turned around as he opened his eyes. "This house is going to be really lonely. Even more so than it already was."
He plopped down on my bed. "It's alright. They'll be back eventually. It's just their honeymoon."
Jumping onto the bed beside him, I sighed. "I know, I know."
We lay there staring at the ceiling for a while. It was dead silent except for the sound of dogs barking in the distance. I wanted to ask him what he thought of me, if I was dateable, but I didn't want to put him in an awkward position. It wasn't that important to know. Not now anyway. We were relaxing and enjoying spending time with each other.
"Hey. I have something to ask you," commented Dex softly, rolling onto his side to face me. "It's kinda awkward, but I'm curious. I've been curious."
"Okay. What is it?"
"Have you ever thought about us? Dating?"
My heart leaped into my throat. "I...suppose I have. Why?"
He was quiet a moment. He played with a strand of my hair and looked down at his hand as he did so. "I've just been curious if you have. I have too, you know."
"Oh." My voice was nearly quiet. "It would be wrong. You're with Jennifer."
"I'm breaking up with her."
"Don't do that for me. We're bestfriends, Dex...we should leave it that way..." I felt tears coming to my eyes.
He looked at me. "I'm still going to break up with her. I guess you're right though. Can I ask you for a favor?"
"Can I kiss you? Like when we had our first kiss?"
My head screamed that it was a bad idea, but I couldn't deny him. I felt bad, but I also felt like it was wrong. I silently nodded and watched him.
He pressed a hand to my cheek and kissed me. At first I didn't want to kiss him back, but I gave in. I felt like I'd hurt him for telling him no when I really wanted him. I followed his movements as his hand as his hand ran down to my hip. A tear rolled down my cheek as I kissed him. I wanted him to be my boyfriend...but it just wasn't going to happen. When he pulled away, he noticed I was crying. He silently wiped away my tear and pressed his lips to my cheek.
"I'm not that bad a kisser am I?" He smiled.
I laughed a little. "No, you're a good kisser."
"I'm sorry, Avery."
"Not realizing what I felt when I did."
Not knowing what to say, I stayed quiet and fell asleep beside my best friend.