Authors: Hazel Kelly
my Best Friend
2015 Hazel Kelly
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characters in this story are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons is
“And this time I know
it's for real
The feelings that I feel
I know if I put my mind to it
I know that I really can do it”
-Got My Mind Set On
You, George Harrison
I wasn’t upset that he looked down my shirt.
I pretended I was, of course, but that wasn’t what I was upset
about. The thing that was really bothering me was that I didn’t know what he
was thinking after he did it.
Or what he thought of what he saw.
Not that it mattered.
It wouldn’t change anything regardless.
Or would it?
I took a deep breath and leaned against the wall outside my
The truth was, Aiden wasn’t the only person that had some
explaining to do. I had totally lost the run of myself when I was washing his
hair. I had actually felt- what? Attracted to him? Aroused?
Any idiot could see that he was a handsome guy, and I’d probably
had an on again off again crush on him all through high school. But I’d never
felt that thing in my stomach before. Not for him. Not for anyone.
It was an adult feeling, a sexual feeling, a buzzing in my
nether regions kind of feeling. And there was no mistaking it. I mean, I’d felt
sort of numb ever since my Mom died, so the fact that the feeling even
registered made it impossible to ignore.
And sure, I was never happier than I was when I was in his
company, but I’d never been that kind of happy before.
Giddy happy. Hot for him happy. Like shampooing his head wasn’t
Which was so not okay.
And I was kind of pissed about it. I mean, why couldn’t I feel a
twinge in my panties for someone else? Anyone else?! Why did I have to feel
something for the one person that I could never be with?!
After all, nothing could ever happen, not like that. If anything
did, I would lose my best friend in the whole world, and sex wasn’t worth
jeopardizing my oldest friendship.
Besides, I doubted that sleeping with me had ever even crossed
his mind. He wasn’t into me like that.
And he had a girlfriend for crying out loud, a girlfriend who
was a model and could actually wear midriff tops without looking offensive. A
girlfriend who was cheating on him.
I had to tell him. It was my duty as a friend. But now it would
just look like I was telling him because I wanted to be with him instead.
Which I didn’t. Or rather, I couldn’t.
Plus, after he looked down my shirt, he basically teased me
about it. It was no different than the way he teased me when he first found out
I had to wear a bra in grade school.
I remember lifting my shirt and showing him my panda patterned
sports bra and hoping for some sympathy. Instead, he said, “I’m so glad those
aren’t my problem.” I’d bet anything that he felt exactly the same way when he
saw my bra this time around.
And he was right. My boobs weren’t his problem, and I needed to
stop obsessing about it before I made myself crazy, or worse, acted weird in
front of him when nothing even happened.
I covered my forehead with my hand.
But what if he felt it, too? What if he felt his stomach drop
like I had? What if he’d wondered how things might be different if we met now?
No, I was being ridiculous. Just cause I felt something didn’t
mean he did. It was like high school all over again. Once a year, I’d catch him
on a flirtatious day or think I saw something in his eye that wasn’t there, and
then I’d stress myself silly wondering if something might come of it.
And every time, my pathetic period of teenage lust would end in
devastation. Either he’d ask someone else to the dance, or he’d tell me he had
a crush on someone else, or I’d hear a rumor that he got caught kissing Jenny
Trimble under the bleachers… or Kaitlin Steger… or Emma Wilkins… or Megan
I never got mad though. I couldn’t. Because we were just
friends. And after a while I learned it was stupid to even humor those feelings
because they would never be reciprocated. I knew I couldn’t compete with any of
the other girls, girls who were prettier and more popular than I was, girls
with moms that could do their hair, buy them cute clothes, teach them how to
act around boys, and show them how to apply makeup.
But I still won in the end because all those girls were
temporary. There wasn’t a single girl from high school that Aiden dated or
fooled around with that he still talked to. All this time later and I was still
his number one girl.
Because we’d never crossed that line. It never got physical so
it never got awkward, and since it never got awkward, we stayed friends.
Which is why he shouldn’t have looked down my shirt. And even if
he got another concussion- god forbid- and thought he wanted to take things
with me to another level, I would say no.
Because I was in it for the long haul with him, and letting
things get physical would make me instantly dispensable. So I promised myself I
would never forget how much it hurt to be that crushed teenager and decided not
to waste another minute humoring romantic feelings for him.
He was a friend and nothing more, albeit a hot, funny, smart
friend with great hair and lickable arms, but I would keep my hands to myself
and not let my heart rule my head because that was a recipe for disaster.
And I’d had enough of that in my life.
What I needed was to keep putting myself out there and going on
dates with an open mind, and eventually, I would find someone that gave me that
sinking stomach feeling that wasn’t completely off limits.
And then I would live happily ever after with him and Aiden in
I could still have everything. Time was on my side, and I could
afford to spend it looking for someone, someone that made me feel as good as he
did, someone I wouldn’t be so afraid of losing if things didn’t work out.
Cause god knows I’d lost enough.
I turned around and slipped the key in the lock. As soon as I
walked in the apartment, the smell of gooey cheese and fresh dough hit me in
the face. I inhaled deeply as I closed the door, wandering through my sitting
area to the kitchen.
My eyes zoomed in on the pizza box like a hawk on a mouse and I
went straight for it, lifting the lid slowly. I felt weak in the knees when I
saw the gorgeous pie and opened the silverware drawer in front of me so I could
drag a knife along the perforated edges.
I was surprised Fiona hadn’t already helped herself to a slice.
Then again, she often preferred it cold and might’ve treated herself to a
calzone or something.
I lifted the pizza to my mouth and took a big bite, closing my
eyes while the salt exploded on my tongue, convinced that the rumors about
pizza being addictive must be true. Then I grabbed a plate from the cupboard
and slid my slice carefully onto it before closing the box tightly to seal in
I knew I should sit down, but I figured it might look better
when Fiona came out if I was pretending I’d just gotten home as opposed to
having my feet up before I even thanked her. So I stayed put, leaning against
the counter as I picked up the slice and took another big bite.
It was so good I wasn’t surprised when I heard myself moan.
Until I realized it wasn’t me.
It was coming from down the hall.
I braced myself as I climbed the stairs, doing my best to put
Lucy’s head massage out of my mind. The last thing I needed to be thinking
about while I confronted Chelsea about her black bra was the image of Lucy’s.
I wasn’t exactly sure how I was going to broach the subject of
Chelsea’s suspected infidelity, but it had to be done. Our relationship was
becoming hard work, and I wasn’t keen to keep working so hard on something that
was a dead end.
When I unlocked the door and pushed it open, Chelsea was scrolling
through her iPod next to the speaker on the table.
“Aiden!” she said, picking some upbeat music and walking over to
“Hey,” I said, chucking my keys in the bowl. “Am I dreaming or
does it smell like pizza in here?”
“You’re not dreaming,” she said, throwing her arms around me and
kissing me on the lips. “We’re celebrating!”
“Hence your good mood.”
“I’m celebrating with a salad, of course, but I thought you
would be excited to sink your teeth into some deep dish.”
“You know me so well,” I said, thinking I was going to need a
“Can I get you a beer? I picked up those crafty ones you like.”
“Sure, yeah. Thanks.”
“Did you get a haircut?” she asked, running her fingers through
“It looks fab,” she said.
“Lucy did it,” I said, perhaps because Chelsea’s manic happiness
was too much for me.
“Well, she did a great job.”
“I’m glad you approve.”
“And how is she?” she asked, heading towards the fridge.
“Good. Fine. Same old Lucy,” I lied.
Chelsea pulled a beer out of the fridge and looked around the
kitchen for the bottle opener.
“So what are we celebrating,” I asked, following her over to the
kitchen past the peppy music and the pre-set table.
“I got a job!” she said, lighting up in a way I recognized from
the early days of our relationship.
“That’s great, babe.”
“So you know how Bianca and I had that casting this morning?”
“Yeah,” I said, relieved that she had genuinely been with Bianca
last night. “I got your note.”
“Well, they gave me the job on the spot!”
I leaned an arm on the counter top. “No kidding? That’s
She reached over the counter and set the beer down in front of
me. “Which just proves that I was right.”
“About what?” I asked, taking a sip of the cold beer.
“About me not being too skinny at all. The problem is that I’m
too high fashion for those other jobs.”
I pursed my lips, unsure of what to say.
“My look is totally wasted on high street catalogs. I’m runway
through and through.”
“So next time I have a meltdown about not getting some crappy
billboard, just remind me that I’m better than that, yeah?”
“That I can do.”
“If everything goes well, this could really open a lot of doors
for me. Like I’ll never have to beg for another job again.” She opened the
fridge and pulled out a Diet Coke. “Cause people will be begging
“I’m so happy you’re in such a good place,” I said, thinking it
would be much easier for me to leave her this way.
“And I have even more good news,” she said, popping the tab on
I sighed. “I don’t know if I can handle any more.”
She laughed. “I know, right?”
“What is it?”
“Have a seat first, and then I’ll tell you,” she said, gesturing
across the room.
I took another glug of my beer and headed over to the table.
She followed with a pizza box in one hand and a take away salad
container in the other.
“So?” I asked, lifting the lid on the pizza box. “The suspense
is killing me.”
“Well, you know that email your Mom sent today?”
“No, I haven’t seen it yet.”
“No worries. It was basically just to let us know that your
sister went ahead and put her registry together.”
I cocked my head at her.
“You know, like when the bride tells people what she wants for
her wedding presents.”
“So I jumped right on it and got her the very best thing before
anyone else could.”
“Yep.” She glanced at the greasy pizza on my plate before turning
her attention back to her salad and opening the lid. “So now it’s one less
thing for you to worry about.”
“Dare I ask what the very best thing was?”
“Tiffany’s flatware, of course.”
“You know, like, forks and knives and stuff.” She took the
sealed packets of dressing off the top of her salad and threw them into the
I decided not to mention the irony that Chelsea would buy eating
implements of all things for my sister. “And how much did you spend on the
forks and knives and stuff?” I asked, taking a bite of my pizza.
“I used the Visa.”
“Right.” Of course you did. “So how much did
forks and knives and stuff?”
She laughed. “You sound like your Dad.”
“And everyone else who likes to know the balance on their credit
She squinted like she couldn’t quite remember. “Around forty
five hundred I think.”
I almost choked on my pizza. “Sorry.” I took a sip of my beer to
clear my throat. “I thought you said forty five hundred.”
She looked at me blankly.
“Please tell me you’re joking.”
“When have you ever known me to joke about Tiffany’s?”
I clenched my jaw and exhaled through my nose.
“Why are you making that face? I didn’t exceed the limit or
“That’s not the point.”
“Should I have used a payment plan?”
I put my hands on my head. “You should’ve waited until I got
home and then fucking discussed it with me is what you should’ve done.”
“Sorry.” She stabbed some lettuce with her fork. “I thought it
would be a nice gift because it would make her think of you every day.”
“What?! She’s my sister! She thinks about me every day anyway!”
Chelsea kept her eyes down on her food.
“You’ve met Claire. Do you really think she would want me to
spend that kind of money on her wedding present?”
“I figured that, because she’s your sister, you wouldn’t think
the money was important.”
“Well, you thought wrong.”
“It’s not like you can’t return it and get her something
“Like a gravy boat or some stupid crap she’ll only use once a
I rested my elbows on the table and put my head in my hands.
“I’m sorry, babe. I was only trying to help.”
I sat up and looked at her. “By what? Bankrupting me?”
She rolled her eyes.
“You know what it sounds like to me?” I asked.
She put a bite in her mouth and closed her lips.
“It sounds like you were so excited about getting that job this
morning that you wanted to celebrate with a little bit of retail therapy, but
you weren’t in the mood to spend your own money so you came up with an excuse
to spend mine.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
“Yeah, me too.”
Her face was so sullen it made me sick. How she could even
pretend that she was the one that had been wronged in this situation?
“Too bad you spent that money on my sister. I was kind of saving
up so I could get you something really expensive for your birthday,” I lied.
“But hopefully now you’ll understand when I can’t do something more extravagant
than take you to dinner.”
“You don’t have to worry about that,” she said. “You already got
“No I didn’t.”
“Yes you did. Because the cost of the silverware was so great,
they gave me a discount on any piece of jewelry in the store.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing any more than I could
“So I got myself one of those “T” bracelets everyone’s wearing
“You did, huh?”
“Well, happy birthday, honey.” Consider it a souvenir.