I refused to look into the eyes of my best friend, afraid that he’d see through me, like he always does.
He scoffed, “Bullshit.” I looked bluntly at him, and he had a comforting smile on his face, “Please, just stop trying to hide things from me. I care, yeah?”
I sighed and put my head on his chest, “But it’s not right. I shouldn’t feel like this.”
He squeezed my shoulders comfortingly, “Feel like what, sweetie?”
I just shook my head. I couldn’t tell him, I couldn’t tell anyone, it was just too difficult.
He took my chin in his fingers and made me look at him, speaking carefully, he said, “Come on. I’m here to help. Anything I could possibly do, I’ll do it... For you. But I can’t do anything until you tell me what’s wrong.”
My eyes watered as I thought of the depressing truth, “There’s nothing you can do, Chuck. Nothing.”
I could tell he was getting into protective-mode, as I felt his arms tighten around me, and he spoke in a stern tone, “Riley... Just tell me.”
He shook his head, “I don’t care.”
“It’s stupid.” I countered.
“It can be as stupid as you like, but I’m your best friend and I’m here to listen.” He kissed the top of my head and I sighed at the contact.
“It’s Pierre...” My voice cracked when I tried to say his name. I decided I wouldn’t attempt it again.
Chuck looked down at me, “You mean you..?” I nodded lightly, and he continued, “I knew it...”
My head snapped up, “You what? You knew?”
He chuckled softly, “Of course. I’d always kind of had an idea, Ri. It’s you.”
I groaned and thumped my head on his chest, “Fuck this. I don’t want this. Why can’t I just get over this already?” Chuck stroked my hair as I cursed to myself.
My best friend sighed, “It’s not like it’s your fault, Riley. You can’t help it.”
Tears threatened to spill from my eyes, “But I don’t want to feel this way. Not anymore. It’s only hurting me now.”
I looked up into Chuck’s eyes, which were full of sympathy. He paused for a moment, “You don’t deserve to be hurt so much by a guy, sweetie... And Pierre... Well he’s...”
“Engaged?” I said bluntly.
He frowned, speaking quietly, “Um... Actually, I was going to say that he;s not really an awful guy... Strictly speaking.”
I laughed dryly, “Well it’s not like he knows. Not like he’s doing it on purpose...”
Chuck interrupted my train of thought, “Why do you act like you hate him so much?”
I snorted, “Because I do.”
Chuck’s brow furrowed in confusion, “But-”
I cut him off, “Yeah, I love him. But I don’t half hate that prick.”
He sighed loudly, “Is it because he, well...”
“Because he fucked off? Because he stopped giving a shit about me? Because he left me when I needed you guys the most? Yeah, I’d say that’s just about why.” I spoke the words with pure hatred. I did hate him... But there would always be that part of me that would
drop all of that hatred in a split second if it meant that I could have him.
But I tended to ignore that part of me... Kept it locked away deep in the depths of my mind.
Chuck’s arms clamped around me, and the side of my face was pressed against his chest. “I just want you to be happy, Riley... That’s all any of us want...”
I sniffed and Chuck lifted my chin up so I was looking at him. I hadn’t realised I’d been crying until Chuck’s fingers came up to brush my cheek, wiping the tears away.
“Don’t cry... Please? I can’t bear it...” Chuck’s voice cracked slightly and I sighed, dragging my hands down my face.
“Sorry...” I spoke timidly.
He chuckled lightly, “No... You don’t have to apologise. I’m just annoyed that there’s nothing I can do to make you feel better. Makes me feel kinda, I don’t know... Useless.”
I slapped his arm lightly, “You’re far from useless, Chuck. You’ve done more for me than anyone else has ever done. Just because you can’t make me happy, doesn’t mean you’re not the best friend I could ever ask for. I’m not a happy person, Chuck... That’s not something to be taken personally.”
He sighed, smiling sadly, “I know... I just wish-”
I cut him off, “Please, Chuck. I just need you here... I’ll be alright...” I fiddled with my hands that were laying on his stomach.
“I know... I’m just worried...” He said, his voice soft.
“Me too...” I whispered to myself.