Chapter Fourteen

(Haylee’s Point of View)

I couldn't believe his guts. He had kissed me! He literally full-on made out with me. And what was even more surprising? I had kissed him back. I am positive that that's not what just friends do. I wasn't sure if I was more angry at him for making out with me, or with myself for kissing him back. Sure, that was two days ago, but still. I can definitely hold a grudge; I'm know for that. But with Dan, it's so much more difficult. He seems so innocent! Will I always have feelings for him, no matter what he puts me through?

My phone went off, jerking me out of my ranting thoughts. I recognized the ringtone at once; Dan was calling. I pushed my anger deep down inside me and answered.

"Hello?"

"Hi Haylee. It's Dan. Umm.. I just wanted to apologize." I could practically see him rubbing the back of his neck.  

He continued. "This is going to sound really bad, but I completely forgot that we were just friends. It was the way the moon was, the scenery, I just kinda... Got caught up in it all."

He stopped, waiting for my answer. Sighing, I gave him one. "You're really pushing it, you know that, right? How many chances do you think you get? I'm usually not this forgiving."

"Yeah, and I'm sorry about that. I think my brain has caught up with me now, so..."

I didn't show him that his humor was funny. "You didn't just call to apologize."

"No, I didn't."

"Well?"

He hesitated. "I think that it would be better to tell you in person."

It took a long time for me to answer. "Is it good news or bad?"

"It's really not news at all.."

"Then what is it?"

"...I'd have to tell you in person." There was a hint of satisfaction in his voice.

He was really starting to get on my nerves. "Meet me at the clearing." Without waiting for an answer, I hung up. I didn't even check to make sure I looked okay. At this point, it really didn't matter to me; he was in love with my personality, not my looks. Hopefully.

 

I sat in the tree, watching the pink petals float down to the ground. I was waiting there for about five minutes before Dan emerged into the clearing.

"I was beginning to think you wouldn't show up." I snorted.

He didn't take hint of my snottiness, but if he did, he wasn't showing it. "Well... I did." He replied with a shrug. I could see through the blossoms that he was starting to climb the tree, but before he could, I stopped him.

"No need for that." Swiftly, I hopped from branch to branch until I was on the lowest one, where I sat and looked down at Dan. He smiled, but I didn't return it.

"You okay?" He asked gently.

Stop trying to pull me into your arms! You know I'll give in. "Yeah, Dan, I'm great. Apart from the fact that my ex made out with me the other night, I'm just super." I don't think I've ever been this sarcastic before.

To my surprise, he turned it around and threw it right back in my face. "It's funny. Because I distinctly remember her kissing him back. Or was that just my imagination?"

No one's ever outmatched me in sarcastic arguments. Ever. What could I say?

I quieted my voice and dropped the sarcasm. "Yes, she did. She did kiss him back. She's just mad because she's letting herself fall for the same guy. Over and over again. Her heart says yes, but her mind says no. She doesn't want her heart broken again, but yet, she doesn't want to be the one breaking the heart. That's why she's upset." It seemed as if I was saying this for myself more than Dan.

Understanding crept into his eyes. "So she's unsure about him."

"He would be hard to trust after what he put her through."

Dan nodded. "The act that felt real to all of the people involved. But all he wants to do is protect the one he truly loves. No matter what it takes. He won't let anyone harm her, even if it means putting his own life in harm's way. He feels the need to protect her because he knows that she's not safe. People are looking for her, trying to find a way to take away from him what he loves most. And he's afraid of them succeeding."

I felt a single tear stain my cheek. "Well, if those are his true feelings, then why doesn't she get back with him?"

"She's afraid of the act."

There was a long silence, where I just stared into his eyes. Every bone and nerve in my body was screaming that he wasn't lying, and that never wanting to see him again would crush his heart.

Dan spoke again. "How about... Friends. Just friends." He held out his hand, offering to help me down. I took it without making a self-conscious decision. I smiled, suddenly warmed by the feeling of having Dan as a friend, and not as an ex-boyfriend or enemy. No. Being friends sounded a lot better.

Suddenly, I decided to give him a hug. Not a hug the way we used to embrace as a couple, but a friend hug. The one that comforts you when you're emotionally unstable. Sure, Dan would help me through that when we were a thing, but this felt just as good.

"Thanks, Dan." I said, suddenly feeling as if he were like an older brother to me.

"Anytime." He hesitated, and started again. "Haylee, Chris has invited me and you on a road trip to the Grand Canyon. I know you have a tight schedule, but it just gives you something to think about. We don't have a set date yet, so you should have a couple of days to figure it out."

I was a bit flustered when he dumped this on me, but shook it off. "Okay. I'll think about it. Thanks."

"Yep."

As I started to walk back into the woods, I realized that Dan wasn't following.

"You coming?"

"Nah. I think I'll stay here for a while." He replied.

"Mmk." I said, then left the clearing behind.

The End

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