~A one-shot original~ Carly Farr is in love with her best friend's boyfriend, and that's not even the worst of it. The only thing she hates more than being in love with someone unavailable is be...
Boy meets girl.
Girl meets boy.
Boy falls in love with girl.
Girl falls in love with boy.
...and that's when it starts getting complicated. For no one is with whom they're supposed to be with, and no one truly loves the one they are with, unfortunately.
This is not the fairytale of that boy and girl...
"Ugh." A dark, wavy head shot out from under the white duvet.
"It's Monday," the figure told no one in particular.
"I absolutely, positively abhor Mondays...and Tuesdays," this was said in a sleepy, slurred voice.
The same dark, wavy head of its owner banged itself against the white pillow and jumped out of bed like a rocket. And promptly fell onto the floor in a tangle of limbs and white sheets.
The figure lay there for a moment's pause and then proceeded to get up again.
Another minute passed before the figure ambled out of the room.
The girl walked across the floor from the bedroom door into the small kitchen with her eyes closed and failed to notice the body sitting straight on the sofa, which sported a makeshift bed with a pillow hanging precariously close to the edge. She reached up and opened a cupboard and took a small bowl from the bottom shelf, then bent down and opened the cabinet nearer to the floor and grabbed hold of a box.
Gingerly putting the stuff onto the round table beside her, she turned around, opened the refrigerator, and took out the milk. Turning around, she grabbed a handle, pulled out the drawer, and grabbed a spoon from the tray.
Sitting down on the brown chair and mixing the contents of her cereal, she proceeded to gulp down her breakfast as fast as she could without choking. Five minutes later, she was slurping the milk from the bottom. When there was nothing left, she stood up and turned around to put the bowl in the sink, but promptly froze.
"I thought you were asleep," she started slowly, grounding her teeth silently and praying that she didn't look silly or anything of that sort. That'd be...embarrassing and silly. This was her apartment and she could chug down her breakfast in five minutes tops if she wanted to. An almost naked hunk sitting on her sofa, staring at her, wasn't going to deter her in the slightest.
"I was," was the succinct reply. She nodded and let her eyes roam around the room, not letting her gaze rest on the aforementioned hunk.
"Right," her body somehow unfroze and she continued on the short trip to the sink. Pressing her forehead against the edge of the cool metal, she scrunched her countenance into several unreadable expressions and thanked whoever designed this apartment that they built a wall between the kitchen and the living room. She composed herself as the archway came into view. The hunk, his back to her, was wrestling with the task of wrapping a blanket back into neat folds.
She stood there awkwardly, crossing and uncrossing her arms. "Um, I don't want to sound rude, or anything- at all. But, um, how long will you stay here? Just a ballpark estimation will do. Really, a guess would be lovely."
"Trying to get rid of me all ready?"
"No, it's just…isn't this a bit weird, honestly?"
"Hmm, no, I don't think so. Why, do you think it's weird?"
"Well, considering…" she started and then stopped abruptly, before the light blush could explode further into her cheeks.
He smiled to himself, but the girl didn't see.
"Considering what?" He rounded on her.
"Um…well, you know…that thing that we discussed we'd never talk about again in a million years…right? And this includes talking about it…So I'll go and get ready because…I have to be somewhere today. Yes, very busy, indeed," she turned and almost fled the room.
She poked at the steak in front of her. She could hardly grasp the end of the silver fork; her hands were that sweaty. Surreptitiously, she guided her hands toward her napkin on her lap. Rubbing fiercely underneath the table, the crème-colored napkin quickly turned soggy.
Ugh. Stop sweating so much. Dammit
She turned her eyes toward her date and tried to look interested in what he was saying, but honestly how exciting could accounting be, really? Besides that, she couldn't stop being self-conscious. It wouldn't have been a problem if it weren't for a particular person sitting across from her in the booth.
There was nothing she could do, however. She could excuse herself and hide in the bathroom, but that would've been extremely childish. No matter how much she acted like a child at heart, she wouldn't be childish around him.
"So, Jared, seen any good movies lately?" she turned to the guy whom she had previously been ready to throttle. Double date? What was he thinking?
She tried to send out her negative vibes, but her stomach was too fluttery for her eyes to retain their cold fury. It was just as well, for the guy who was the source of all her stress that day wasn't even looking in her general direction.
She sighed softly and went back to picking at her food restlessly. This was going to be a long evening…and they still weren't finished with their main course.
"I had a nice evening tonight." Jared leaned against the door, smiling at the girl in the black evening dress.
"Yeah, me as well."
"Really? It seemed like you were a bit out of it."
"I am terribly sorry if that's the impression I gave you. I honestly had a good time with you." Jared didn't seem to catch on the emphasized word. But she got the attention of the other man lounging on the opposite door. She smiled politely and, with every ounce of her concentration, focused on the man standing in front of her.
They all said goodbye then, and Jared went on his way alone, while the other three people piled through the doorway.
Carly walked across the living room toward her bedroom door on the other side, trying desperately not to listen to the two people behind her whispering. It was a sweet and touching moment, even the romantic in her couldn't deny that, but it wounded her heart more fiercely than any lance or sword could. She closed her door softly once she was inside, and plummeted onto her chilly bed.
She didn't shed a tear for something, which she never had…
That night, her dreams, like all those others for the past three weeks, consisted of sweet nothings whispered in her ear and candlelit dinners; only the face she remembered every morning.
Her thoughts were oddly empty that night, she realized quite surprised. Usually, she never stopped thinking or chanting to music tunes in her head. There was always something going on in there, which she didn't quite like. Why couldn't you have peace and quite in your own head sometimes?
She yawned and readjusted her arm over her eyes. She was freezing, but they had only allowed her to be covered in one thin blanket up to her kneecaps. She was suddenly grateful for that. She threw her left arm back at her side and kicked at the blankets. Why was it so hot? It was all ready fall. It shouldn't have been this humid.
Getting frustrated, she kicked at the bundled blanket at the foot of the couch some more.
"Hey- kicky, stop that." An all too familiar voice came hazily from the foot of the couch.
"Uuughhh…god, why are you here- of all places? Honestly, you'd think you had no life. No, you have to torture me...you have to sit there all smug-like-" she stopped and gasped. Something damp flew onto her forehead.
"You know, you're very chatty when you're sick. I must say, it's very endearing." The voice was closer to her head now and she resigned not to open her eyes until he left, or her cornea started burning; she had no hope that either was likely to happen at the moment.
"What day is it?" She vaguely remembered falling asleep sometime ago, but her mind couldn't differentiate time yet, so she was left with no clue.
"It's Sunday. You've been dozing on and off since Friday night. But I think it has helped: your fever has gone down a bit."
"Have you been here that whole, entire time then?" she asked cautiously. Not really knowing why she was afraid of the answer.
"No, of course not, I had to go and change clothes, you know." This was said flippantly of course, but it left her speechless. What did it mean? She wanted to say something, anything. But she didn't know what. Everything was all ready awkward between them and still got more awkward every day.
What did you say to the love of your life, which wasn't?
She stayed silent and wished that she was anywhere but here, but also wished that this moment could stretch on forever. She heard some rustling before the man settled back into his chair.
"There's some water, if you're thirsty."
She shook her head gently to indicate that she wasn't. A full minute passed before there was movement in the room again. Her heart started up a bit when she felt a larger and much cooler hand envelope her burning one.
She stayed positively still.
"We shouldn't be doing this." She didn't know what she was really referring to: the handholding that was currently going on, or the previous times in which passionate kisses happened. Either way she looked at it, she was screwed.
"What exactly are we doing that we shouldn't be doing?"
She turned onto her side and finally opened her tired eyes.
"This." She gestured around the space in between them.
"What do you mean? Friends take care of each other. We are friends, aren't we?"
She wanted to scream ‘no,' but she didn't want to hurt him even worse than she was about to.
"I- I just don't think I can be around you and pretend that everything is fine when in reality it's not. I can't just push my feelings down, and it's just getting to be too hard." She stopped and attended to the coughing fit that seized her voraciously at that moment.
After her throat settled down, she gazed back at the young man, whose face was impassive now. She breathed deeply, and looked pleadingly toward him. She didn't want to do this, but it was clearly her only choice. Except for the soft patter of rain outside, all was quiet.
The door opened then, quite suddenly, and Carly found herself grateful. Until she realized who it was.
"Hi, Carly, good to see you up. Hi, honey." She leaned across the chair to give its occupant a chaste kiss on the cheek. The newcomer, Jean Landon, was of a medium height with long light-brownish hair. She was beautiful with olive-toned skin and a thin, straight-angular face.
Carly flopped back down onto the couch, and looked miserably up at the ceiling.
She heard the front door open and close. She fell into a fitful sleep again, and when she woke up five hours later, she was alone and in complete darkness.
"So, is everything okay between you and Gavin?" Her roommate, and best friend since her freshmen year of college, inquired one bright morning.
"What do you mean?" Carly scooped up the runny eggs, and drowned the orange juice all in one gulp. She was running late, and still nowhere finished with breakfast.
"Well, um, it's probably nothing, but Gavin hasn't been around here that much lately and I was just wondering what was up- with you two because you haven't exactly been on good speaking terms the few seconds you see each other nowadays. Actually, you two barely say anything to each other, now that I think on it."
Carly shrugged then rose, dumping her half-eaten breakfast in the sink.
"I have to go. I'll probably be back around five tonight." Grabbing her coat, and her car keys, she raced out of the apartment and into the chilly November morning.
"Hello? Anybody home? Carly shouted to the empty room. It was deathly silent. The apartment had been empty for a while. The screen of never-ending black sitting comfortably within the hole of the mahogany television set.
She closed the door and threw her satchel onto the sofa.
"Hi, Hanky-Panky, how are you, Kitty?" she asked sweetly, scratching the grey furry cat curled up on the La-Z-Boy recliner. The cat opened its eyes and yawned, seemingly bored. Carly scratched the cat gently behind the ears, and his eyes closed again. What appeared to be a smile graced Hankie's whiskered face.
She made herself comfortable on the floor, and kept petting Hankie, the cute stray she had found only six months before and couldn't help but take in.
She spent a few minutes stroking the cat, and then went into her bedroom. Plopping down onto her computer chair and turning on the hard-drive, she stared into space while the computer came to life. Opening up the internet browser, she checked her e-mails to find that she had a message from Jean, surprisingly.
By the time you read this, I'll be on a plane to Seattle, I've decided to move out there and finish college. I've made up my mind to be closer to my family and my mother…before…well, my brother called me yesterday to say that she has developed breast cancer. I am sorry that I didn't tell you about this sooner. The truth is I only found out myself not too long ago and I had to pack quickly to make the flight -- you were in class, so I just wanted to leave you a note. I feel horrible about leaving you roommate-less. I hope you can manage somehow with paying the rent by yourself or replace me with another roommate soon.
I have so much I wanted to say -- just had no idea where to start! I guess I should start off by saying thank you for giving me a place to live for the past three years. It has been fun. We've had a lot of good times together.
I have to go soon so I should wrap this up. I'll call you as soon as I get settled into my apartment.
Take care and I'll talk to you soon.
Gratefully your friend,
She got to the end and was shocked. Jean was gone!
"Oh." She got up and went into the kitchen, milling around, preparing dinner.
She was surprised to find that she didn't really know how she felt about this. On the one hand, she was sad. She and Jean were good friends. But, on the other hand, she was in love with Jean's boyfriend…so obviously she couldn't have been the best friend to Jean.
She slammed the refrigerator door and grabbed her jean jacket by the coat rack by the door.
She ran down the stairs, praying she wouldn't trip, and whizzed out the door. She ran through the urban town, panting and dragging her feet along the pavement. The chilly air and the exertion she was feeling made her cheeks heat up, but the rest of her was feeling cold.
Five minutes later, she was running into another apartment building. Her shoes felt tight, she felt sweaty, and like she could drop and never get back up. She finally got to the third floor, wheezing and exhausted; only later would she have realized that she could've taken the elevator, but at the time her brain didn't think of it.
She came to the apartment at the end of the hall and froze in front of it. What was she doing? She was being a horrible, horrible person!
Here she was, trying to move in on her friend's boyfriend! All right, so that said friend was miles away across the country, but that wasn't the point right then.
She started pacing then. She should go in and just tell him how she felt. But if they were still together, then she'd be making a huge fool of herself. She'd get rejected and feel stupid…but if she didn't at least see where Gavin and Jean were in their relationship, she'd regret it.
She turned toward the door with a determined look on her face and raised her hand to knock on apartment 6B.
She didn't know what was wrong. She had been standing out in the hall, knocking endlessly on the door, but there hadn't been so much as a slight hint of movement coming from the other side. Carly sighed and looked up to see Mrs. Presley coming down the corridor toward her.
"Hello, Sweetie," she greeted Carly, fishing her keys from the over-sized, white tote bag on her shoulder. Mrs. Presley was Gavin's next door neighbor, although she acted more like his mother; not the overbearing kind though, but the kind that asked you how your day was and that made sure you were eating well and getting enough sleep.
"Mrs. Presley, do you know where Gavin is?"
The lady with tennis shoes and the brown skirt looked up with surprise written on her face. "Oh dear, you mean you don't know? I naturally assumed you'd have gotten the news. I know Gavin spends a whole lot of time over there at your place."
"Yes, well, Gavin and I haven't been on good speaking terms lately."
"What happened? Oh, well never mind me. I don't need to know; I've always hated busybodies. All that matters now is that you get to the hospital right away."
"The hospital? Why the hospital?" she asked, shocked.
"Gavin had been in a car accident yesterday. He's in ICU at the Rosemary General Hospital. He's in a coma, but he's doing fine. I just came from visiting him. The poor boy doesn't have many relatives here and his family was only paged yesterday. I don't think they'll get here until tomorrow at the latest."
"Car accident, really?" she whispered to herself and started walking away, not waiting for an answer.
The trip to the hospital was filled with a sort of haziness and surrealism. Her feet stopped at the entrance before she even realized what she was doing there in the first place.
She took a deep breath and went in, taking the stairs to the ICU unit and coming out of the stairway door, she gasped. Gavin was there, lying in the railed bed across the room behind the glass wall. She moved slowly toward the room, in slow motion. She stopped though when she noticed that there was someone else in the room.
The nurse was flittering around the unit turning on the air conditioner, and smoothing out Gavin's bed sheets. She was young looking with cropped red hair. Carly felt weird, just standing there in the middle of the hall, so she turned on her heel and went home. She could come back later, she reasoned. She had seen him and that was all that mattered.
A week had passed. Carly was busy with college and in the evenings she was so exhausted she just napped. On the fourth day of the second week, she decided to go back to the hospital. She had gotten to the floor of the ICU, and was going to go into his room when she was stopped in her tracks once again. The colorful red roses she was holding hung limply by her side now, and she stood there transfixed.
She turned around and fled down the stairs once again.
Okay, she didn't know what she had really seen, but that couldn't have been innocent…at all! The nurse and Gavin looked like they were kissing! They were both leaning in toward each other. All right, so it was evening and dark in the room, but she knew what she had seen. They were kissing! Positively, absolutely kissing. She believed. Probably. Mostly likely. Well, at least that's what it looked like.
More importantly, she couldn't believe her luck. What were the odds of that happening? First his girlfriend moves away, and when she finally thinks they can be together, the nurse moves in!
Oh, karma was definitely getting back at her.
The winter season came and went. Spring arrived and the air grew warmer. The ground melted back into its grey, mundane color and the empty streets filled up with people.
Carly's life now consisted of eating, sleeping, working, and studying -- not necessarily in that order though. One spring day in April, an ordinary day, however, she came upon something hidden behind the couch cushions. She had forced herself to clean the apartment up a bit that day because she was interviewing some prospective roommates. She didn't want them to find out she was a slob the first day they met her…they had time later on to figure that out for themselves. She was flipping the cushions and vacuuming up all the grime that had gathered there when she came upon a medium sized dark, rectangular box.
She slowly ran her fingers over the soft velvet and opened it to find a sterling silver black and white CZ butterfly pendant embedded in the soft cotton. She gasped.
"Oh, this is beautiful." Right on the heel of that thought, she frantically thought about to whom it could belong. Jean was the obvious choice; in all the rush to go back to Seattle, she must've forgotten it.
She closed the jewelry box and went on cleaning. She did, briefly, consider the possibility that it might've belonged to Gavin, when he was looking for an apartment and happened to crash on her couch all those months ago; it was hidden under the cushions that he had often occupied. There was a good chance the jewelry box belonged to him, which brought her to the question of why he had hidden it under her couch in the first place and forgotten about it.
Cleaning everything fiercely, she was done long after the sun went down. Eating her nuked dinner, she dialed Jean's cell phone number, and was surprised to find that Jean had no idea what Carly was talking about, which left her to conclude that it could belong to only one other person-Gavin. She sighed and banged her head against the edge of the table. The rest of dinner was spent with the voices in her head whining and arguing.
On her way to bed, Carly put the box on the edge of the table and resolved to deal with it the next day.
The next day found her standing in front of a door, looking scared and indecisive. She had been there for five minutes all ready; the jewelry box was carefully cocooned in the bottom of her purse on her shoulder. It felt as though she were carrying rocks instead of a necklace. She truly didn't want to do this…but she obviously couldn't keep it either.
She made up her mind then and knocked steadily.
There was nothing after several more knocks. Puzzled, Carly went back home. He was probably out somewhere.
She got to the top of the stairs before she saw him leaning on the door with his back to her. She wanted to run in the opposite direction, but willed her feet to move her forward.
"Hi," she grunted out softly, coming up behind him.
"Hi," he turned to face her, not really surprised. "I came to get something. That's all." He jammed his hands in his pockets, and rocked on his heels.
She nodded. "I think I found it. Actually, I just came from your place, but you were obviously here." She gave a mirthless laugh.
The awkward silence fell on them like a ton of bricks -- except much quieter and more subtle.
"Right," she finally uttered and reached into her bag. She carefully took hold of the rectangular box by the edge of her fingertips, and handed it to Gavin.
"Well, if that's all?" she asked, looking at him expectantly.
He only looked at the box as though it were some cursed artifact, which he didn't want to hold in his possession any longer. He then slowly shook his head, and started walking away.
She rammed the key into her keyhole and struggled a bit with opening the door.
"Actually-" She looked up to see Gavin coming back towards her with a determined look on his face. "This is yours." He held out the box toward her.
Carly only looked at him confused. "No, it's not mine," she stated slowly as though she were speaking to a child.
"Yes, it is."
"No, it isn't."
"I think I'd know if it was mine."
"What I mean is that it's yours now."
"I want you to have it."
She glanced at the proffered gift, but couldn't make her arm move to take the box. The hesitation just confused her even more; didn't she dream against all hope that he'd offer her this? Just like, he was doing now. Somehow, though, the reality seemed less romantic than the fantasy. She knew it wasn't originally intended for her. How could she accept something that was meant for her best friend?
Carly shook her head after what seemed a lifetime of uncertainty, and started for the door again. But Gavin's hand suddenly caught her wrist. Her breath and heart stopped for a fraction of a second at his unexpected proximity and touch, but suddenly lurched back to life tenfold once the softness and warmness of his hand seeped into and intermingled with her own skin. If she were prone to inane girly screaming, she'd let out a squeal, but she wasn't a teenage girl (at least not outside of her mind). So, her face maintained its perfect composure while her mind went into frenzy mode.
She stared back at him blankly; he took that for confusion and started to explain.
"Well, you see, um, this wasn't originally for who you thought it was."
Did he sound nervous or was it her imagination? Must've been her imagination because Gavin was never nervous; he was the epitome of suaveness.
"You mean it wasn't for Jean?" she asked, trying not to get lost in the conversation.
Gavin smiled softly to himself and shook his head. Carly felt hope float into her heart - even after she specifically had forbidden it to manifest- and mingle with it in a dance that made her breath stop and brain bug out because dear goodness, this wasn't happening. He couldn't mean what she thought he meant.
She couldn't afford to get her hopes up. But…but she knew that he felt the same way, or at least at one time during their acquaintance, he felt the same way about her. Could those feelings have changed? She took a deep breath and prepared to ask the clearly perilous question- at least to her.
"Who was it originally for?" the question came out slowly, with Carly dreading the answer.
Gavin looked as though he was wrestling with the answer and the silence stretched out in a moment of slow torture.
Before the word was even out of his mouth, Carly gaped at him.
"What do you mean?" she asked, breathless, and completely feeling as though she was hit by a 250-pound linebacker.
"I mean I brought you this before you, oh so cunningly, decided to kick me out of your life. And well, I tried to give it to you that one morning when you asked me for how long I'd be staying, but then I chickened out, and one thing after another happened. Then I left and forgot I had hidden it in your sofa."
"Hey, I didn't kick you out of my life! I just figured it'd be easier than having to be around you all the time," she tried to defend herself. She was so confused and hopelessly in love.
"I know. I understand," he replied softly, a secret smile gracing his lips.
"I still don't get it though." She did get it though, kind of. But she wanted him to say it. If she ended up thinking that he got her the striking pendant because he loved her, and she was wrong in that respect…she'd be crushed, and not to mention, wholly embarrassed.
He broke eye contact with her, and walked past her, looking out the small window in the hallway. It was a grey sort of day, with the sun peeking out weakly from the thin, almost colorless clouds.
"It means that I love you," he said softly, staring intently out the window.
Carly smiled immensely to herself; of course, Gavin still had his back to her, and didn't see. If he had noticed, however, his heart might have been lifted a little from its heaviness.
He turned back to face her, taking the jewelry box from her lax fingers, and opening it up, he leaned in closer to her, and clasped the necklace around her neck.
She knew she had to say something – anything - but she couldn't make her mouth work. Gavin fingered the black and white stones implanted together.
"It looks beautiful on you," he said, taking his hand away abruptly.
She looked down at the necklace set against the plain, white t-shirt she had on, covered by the blue jean jacket. "It really is stunning."
He gave her a small smile, and started to walk past her. Carly whirled around and grabbed his hand. He looked down at their linked hands with a confused expression playing on his features. She gave him a brilliant smirk, and leaned up on tiptoes to give him a thoroughly deep and passionate kiss.
"I love you, too," Carly replied, breaking the kiss for a second.
Hi, all. This is a first, finished original story of mine. Many wonderful thanks to Loki- who edited this and made it more perfect than it was. All remaining errors are mine.
Feedback is more than appreciated. ^^
(P.S. The butterfly pendant that is mentioned in the story does really exist. To see the striking necklace, visit http://www.jcpenney.com/products/C013085.jsp" rel="nofollow">JC Penney.)