Two friends, one guy. Only, the guy is the least of their problems. (LGBTQ themes)
"He's just sooo cute Hol!" Another teenage girl tripping over herself to chase after the latest hottie of the month. Miranda was nothing special in that regard. This was a completely ordinary thing to do, done by most females throughout the ages.
"I bet. Show him to me if we see him." I took a big slurp of the frozen drink in my hand, biting down on the large red straw. I say "most" because there was the occasional girl like me. One who was abnormal, strange… wrong. One who was in love with her best friend. Her best, female, friend.
"I heard he works at the food court on weekends," she squealed, her freckled cheeks glowing. That would explain why I had been woken up at 9am on a Saturday (I like my sleep), told to drive down to the pathetic excuse for a mall my little town has and made to "promise to wear something that doesn't embarrass her."
"So, you don't even know if he's actually here," I grumbled, still gnawing on the straw. It was now around 10:30am, the oldies just starting to make their appearance around the shops. My eyes locked onto the game store as we passed, my heart full of longing. I had a friend who worked there, and he was saving me a copy of the latest Left For Dead video game. Miranda wouldn't be caught dead in that store however, so I had to wait until our mission was accomplished.
"I do too! Fate's gonna bring us together, I'm telling you." I pulled my eyes away from the store and smirked at her, shaking my head. I didn't bother to argue; once she got that look in those blue eyes of hers, there was no bringing her back. At this point the only thing I could do was break her fall when he pushed off her cloud. The cycle had repeated itself for countless times with nameless boys, but she never gave up. Maybe it was that determination that kept me from giving up too.
Once we had walked the short distance to the 'court, Miranda suddenly stopped just before the turn in. She spun around on her heels and stared at me with fire in her eyes.
"Okay, teeth check," she said, smiling at me. I gave her the thumbs up. "Face check?" She tilted her head from side to side as I carefully examined her. She was so tiny, like a little pixie. Freckles dotted her upper cheeks, the only reminder her hair used to be light. Now, it was cut to her jaw line and a darker shade of brown than mine. She had a scar just under her eye from when a cat scratched her when we were 10. She was so beautiful, and even her little flaws just made her look cuter to me. I wanted so badly to reach out and touch her cheek, to stop her from going after anyone else ever again. But that's not what best friends do. In fact, I felt horrible for even thinking of her like that while she was trusting me to do a friendly, between-girls check, completely unaware of my thoughts. So, instead of doing what every ounce of my heart was screaming to do, I tugged down on her earlobe.
"Ow!" she complained, her balance slightly shaken for a moment. "What was that for?"
I smiled a bit and replied, "Luck." Her face lit up in a smile. She smoothed out her hair to get the little frizzies that stuck out on top, then walked around the corner into the food court.
It was crowded, no surprise there. I was a little surprised at the influx of teenage activity though. I had never been to the mall this early on a Saturday before, but for some reason I expected a lot more of the elderly. I hadn't been disappointed on the walk here, but this area still seemed completely adolescent dominated. As I glanced around, I noticed a particularly large group on the left side, where a couple sandwich shops and an ice cream place were located. We had barely made it to the tables before Miranda was hissing at me, "Oh my God, there he is! Right over there!" She was looking over at the large group of teenagers I had noticed just a moment ago, and after a few seconds of closer inspection it didn't take me long to spot him. My first thought was that he screamed poser. Light shaggy hair, semi-tight jeans that hung too low, and a pair of Vans that looked way too expensive to fit his supposed image. He had a nice smile, decent build. But I couldn't really see the "swoon-factor" that Miranda saw. She obviously wasn't the only one who thought that way though. He was leaning against the wall of Subway, a group of girls gathered around him. His uniform matched the green and yellow letters of the sign. Flirting while on break I thought; what an excellent use of time.
Miranda glanced from the group to me, then finally grabbed my hand and started pulling me other there with her.
"Hey!" I cried. "I was gonna wait for you!"
"Please come Holly, I don't want to go up there by myself. Pleaaasseee?" she begged, turning those doe eyes on me. After a moment I sighed and let myself be dragged up the group. As we neared she called loudly, "Heya Jimmy!" Several pairs of irritated, drowned in make-up eyes turned towards us. I looked away sheepishly and shoved my hands into the pockets of my basketball shorts, wanting no part in their game.
"Oh hey Miranda," he replied cheerfully. She hadn't told me they were on a first name basis already. What did she need me for? I glanced over at him to check his expression, and noticed his gaze was right on me. I frowned a bit and didn't engage.
"Oh, this is my best friend Holly. Holly, this is Jimmy. We sit together in economics," she introduced cheerfully. I took one hand out of my pocket to wave at him vaguely before plunging it back in, trying to look as disinterested as possible. I really didn't need people talking to me.
"Nice to meet you." His eyes were still on me, a little bit too long for my taste. Maybe it was because I was the tallest girl here, maybe it was because I was the only one with my hair thrown up and no makeup on my face. Maybe I was like some spectacle to him because I wasn't trying to show off for him. Arrogant bastard. I already hated him.
"Are you in our grade?" he continued, now ignoring the other girls who were formally in the group. They all glared daggers at me, but how was it my fault?
"Yup," I simply responded. I glanced over at Miranda, who was looking from him to me now with a bit of concern. Crap, I thought. Stop paying attention to me and look at her already.
"Is that the Left For Dead hand on your shirt?" he asked, pointing towards the zombie four fingered logo. I glanced down out of habit, then nodded. "I love that game! I just got the third one a little while ago, it's awesome."
I perked up a bit at that, I couldn't help it. "Is it? I haven't had a chance to get it yet, but I hear it's the best one."
"I dunno about that. Originals are always hard to top." He shrugged.
"What are you talking about man?! Two totally blew the first one out of the water. It was crap compared to #2!" I argued. He laughed, and we went back and forth like that for the next several minutes. Throughout our conversation, a few girls muttered their goodbyes and took off. As we continued, I noted several comments that were definitely attempts at flirting with me. He asked for my number, but I compromised with my Xbox 360 gamer tag instead. Miranda was silent the entire time. We ended up talking through his break, and he said his goodbyes to the both of us as he headed back to Subway.
Miranda just looked at me for a moment. I knew I had screwed up the second I met her gaze. It wasn't as if I liked him or anything, but of course there was no way she could know that. There was no way she could know I would never love anyone but her. Her look turned into a glare and she suddenly turned around and started stomping away. I quickened my pace to catch up with her, which wasn't hard given her short legs. I didn't say anything, knowing it would do no good. I just followed her like a little puppy for a few stores down until we hit the end of the mall and had to turn around. When she finally had to admit she couldn't go any further, she wheeled on me.
"What the hell was that?!" she yelled, looking like she was about to cry. I felt terrible.
"I didn't mean to hog the conversation Mir, I'm sor-"
"You were totally flirting with him!" she cried. I blinked, confused.
"I definitely wasn't," I assured her. "He's not my type." He's not a girl named Miranda with beautiful eyes and memories to share with me.
"I shouldn't have asked you to come. It's so obvious he's interested in you," she said sadly. Her miserable expression made my heart break.
"No, Mir, it's not-" She put her hand up to stop me, glancing back behind me at the food court for just a moment before walking off, making it clear I wasn't to follow. I watched her back as I had hundreds of times walking away from me again. With nothing else to do but wait, I sighed and sat down on a nearby bench. She would get over it. She wasn't the type to let jealousy ruin a friendship. But, as I closed my eyes and pictured her betrayed face, I began to wonder which hurt worse: Loving someone who didn't care about you at all, or someone who loved you in the wrong way?