Loss to Love Ch. 04

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As the weeks passed, Nick kept to his word about wanting to be friends. He ate with me, or should I say, dragged me to his table every lunch and even invited me over to his house a couple times to play video games. I still had this feeling Nick was hiding something from me though, that he had ulterior motives to his sudden friendship to me. I wanted to talk to him a couple of times about it, get him to divulge his reason but I was never the persuasive type and would have probably ended up with nothing gained.

But whatever his intentions were, it was hard to decipher. Nothing he did seemed to point to any gain on his part, which just further baffled me. He was the one making the effort to get to know me, not the other way around. I hadn’t completely trusted him, but with each passing day I could feel my walls coming down.

Not just Nick too. I felt myself growing closer to his group of friends, Kate and Tray in particular. What with Kate’s similar personality to Dean, it just helped fill the void that Dean once occupied. Tray on the other hand was the laid back, chill kind of guy, so much like my own personality that it was no surprise we clicked. Nick was also a headache at times. Even after me telling him not to, on more than one occasion I might add, he still called me cute on a daily basis, which only added to my confusion.

Yeah on one hand I was suspicious about Nick, and on the other hand, I found myself growing attracted to him. Not to the point of wanting to kiss him or anything, hell not even to the point of wanting to hold his hand, but attraction there was no matter how little, and I hated that fact. In the past, Nick’s seemingly horrible personality cancelled out any physical attraction I had towards him, but since he became my ‘friend’, little flecks of attraction had started to form.

So here I was, at lunch as usual sitting with Nick and his friends, although I guess you could say that they’re my friends now too. Seeing that football season has started most of them talked football most of the time, something I didn’t mind being left out of. I wasn’t a sports person.

“Not really a sports person huh.” Nick said, turning to face me. I shook my head in acknowledgment. “Then what do you like to do?”

“Anything and everything.”

“That’s specific.”

“I go with the flow. I do whatever I feel like doing at the time.” I said.

“C’mon, surely you have hobbies.” He pressed.

“I guess video editing but you already knew that.”

“Oh right, you’re like the best editor in school. I forgot about that. You made that video once, for English class.” He said. I had to think back, recalling the stuff that I did for school. I finally recalled the video, one I did for English class back in sophomore year. I was surprise Nick even remembered it. “It was pretty good.”

I raised an eyebrow at him, “Don’t patronize me.” I deadpanned. That video was far from good and I wasn’t being critical on myself. What was supposed to be a short, funny skit became one of the most awkward teen videos the world had ever seen. I can’t even remember what it was about anymore, just that it was bad in retrospect. “That video sucked balls. In what way was it good?”

“Really? I thought it was kinda funny, in an awkward kind of way.” He said.

“Yeah you thought it was funny cause of how bad it was.”

“No, I don’t think so…Tray” He called to Tray who turned to him. “Remember that video we saw in English class sophomore year.”

Tray thought for a while but shrugged his shoulders, unable to recall.

“The ‘so bad it was funny’ video. The only video I made in sophomore year.” I said. His face brightened as he recalled, not before his brow furrowed.

“Wait, you made that vid? But…it was so bad…no offense.” Tray said.

“Non taken. It was a train wreck.” I looked to Nick and raised an eyebrow at him.

“Well at least it shows how much you’ve improved?” He tried, and I shook my head smiling. Kate came bouncing in, taking a seat across me. I noticed that for once she didn’t give Nick her routine lunch kiss on the cheek. I looked to her then to Nick, both of whom returned my glances. “What?” I asked.

“You’re the one that gave us that look first.” Kate retorted. I played dumb and watched as Kate looked to Nick, sharing a look. It was clear something was up, and I knew they knew I knew. I watched as Nick and Kate had a silent argument with their expression, something they did on a regular basis, a little trick they developed from years of friendship. Kate took a deep breath, I assumed after they came to a silent agreement on the matter, whatever it was.

“Okay guys.” She called, making everyone at the table turn to face her. “Yeah so uh…Nick and I have something to tell you guys…so…um Nick?” She said, chickening out and waiting for Nick to save her, to which he rolled his eyes.

“Kate and I are no longer a couple. We broke up yesterday on mutual terms.” He said, without so much as a blink. Everyone was silent, unsure of what to say. Even I, who suspected something was up didn’t çıtır escort expect that they would have broken up. “It’s really no big deal and don’t worry, we’re still friends if that’s what you’re wondering. We talked yesterday and we just decided that our relationship was going nowhere past friendship. So we broke up.”

“But…you guys were together for two years. Why the sudden decision?” A cheerleader from the end of the table asked.

“We just…I guess figured we weren’t for each other.” Kate said.

“And what brought about this? You guys like someone else or something. We all know you can read each other like that and all.” Tray asked. Kate visibly blushed at the comment, but it seemed only I noticed. So it was Kate who has feelings for someone else. I looked to Nick, whose expression was indifferent.

“Look it doesn’t matter what the reasons are, we just wanted to tell you guys that we are no longer dating. End of story.” Nick said.

“So you’re both cool about it? No hard feelings?” Tray asked, although cautiously.

“Geez man, didn’t I already say that it was mutual?” Nick rebuked. Contrary to what he said, I got the vibe that something was bothering Nick, whether it was because of the breakup or not, I did not know. It could very well be, but then again, he was fine until he got berated with questions. Perhaps he just didn’t like his choices questioned?

Lunch became pretty quiet after that; the only people who really talked were Nick and Kate. Curiously enough, they spoke like nothing had transpired between them, which only made it sink in that they really were still friends, regardless of their breakup. The thought of them being those ‘still friends but fucking awkward friends’ thing must have crossed everyone’s mind, but that wasn’t the case, they were still really close. I guess it wasn’t so easy to destroy years of friendship over a breakup, well at least that was the case for Nick and Kate. Nick did still seemed a little irritable though.

No one asked Nick anything else about the breakup due to his mood but I wasn’t one to shy away from the truth. That day I had gym class with Nick and I figured it would have been the perfect time to weasel some information out of him. As if luck was on my side, coach asked us to run some laps around the field, which was perfect for me to talk to Nick. He ran at a comfortable pace, lucky for me as I could keep up with him.

“So everything okay?” I asked.

“Why does everyone think I’m not okay?” He asked, exasperation in his tone. Okay so he was a more than a little irritable. In fact his mood seemed to have gotten worse since lunch.

“Just asking because you seem a little on edge.”

“I am not.” He said defensively. I gave him a blank stare. “Okay so maybe I am, a little, but it’s not cause of the breakup.”

“Then what is it about?”

“Nothing. It’s nothing, I’m just a little out of whack today.”

“Is it the person Kate likes?” I probed further. I was walking on thin ice with my questions but I was curious.

“No.”

“I already know Kate likes Tray.” I lied, not actually knowing anything except a gut feeling. Nick stopped in his tracks, making me run a couple feet ahead of him before I stopped and turned too.

“She told you already? When?” His look conveyed something akin to betrayal. Maybe they made a pact not to say anything about it.

“She didn’t. You just did.” Nick gave me the finger and continued his run, me falling in step beside him again. “So that’s the problem?”

“I told you it’s not. Just…forget about it okay. I’m seriously fine over this breakup. You may not believe me but we really did mutually separate. We were both thinking it for some time now and we decided to finally act upon it. No biggie.”

“I believe that part. It’s the part that you say nothing is bothering you I don’t believe.”

“You’re entitled to your opinion.” He said.

“So if Kate likes Tray, then perhaps you like someone else too?” I said, taking a side-glance at Nick but he didn’t say anything. Just then a small blush crept up on his cheeks, barely noticeable seeing that he was already slightly flushed from the run, but the deepened tint of crimson was unmistakable. I shook my head chuckling. “You are such a bad liar. So, who’s the lucky lady?”

“It’s not…I’m…It’s none of your business.” He stuttered, his cheeks growing a shade darker as he spoke. Trying to get away from my apparently embarrassing questions, he took off sprinting the last lap. I tried catching up with him, but I was in no way as fit as Nick.

He managed to avoid me the rest of the day, that is, until last period, which was biology. Before the bell rang, I peeked my head in the class. A few students were already seated but Nick wasn’t there yet. I waited outside the class, knowing that if I were to take a seat, Nick would have chosen a seat far away from me. By waiting outside, I eliminated that variable. True enough I saw Nick a minute later, his backpack slung over his right shoulder. He stopped outside the escort demetevler classroom, looking at me. He raised his hand, motioning for me to enter but I knew what he was playing at.

“After you.” I said. He stayed there for a while before finally realizing that I wasn’t giving in. He walked in and I followed behind, sitting myself down into the seat next to him. I got him right where I wanted.

“You’re pretty annoying today you know that?” He said.

“And you’re annoying every other day so I guess it’s fair.” I shot back.

“If you think I’m gonna tell you anything then you’re sorely mistaken.”

“So you do have something that’s worth telling then.” I pushed. He sighed and put his head on the table, not saying anything after that. I would have to admit, I wasn’t actually very curious anymore. He didn’t need to tell me if he didn’t want to. I just liked teasing him, seeing him squirm. Hmm wasn’t that why he said he teased me back then too?

Just then Ms. Han came in. Ms. Han was Korean but she migrated to the U.S. ever since she was a little girl. Just under her thirties, she was one of the youngest teachers in school, and one of the hottest too. I may be gay but I can identify a hot girl when I see one. Ms. Han was the eye candy of most boys in school, making biology one of the few classes very little people slept in. She was also a fun teacher in many aspects. Unlike the other teachers in our school, Ms. Han made it a point to make lesson as enjoyable as possible. She gave us lots of projects but they were mostly pretty easy and quite honestly, fun to do.

“Okay class, you don’t need your textbooks today because, surprise surprise, I have another project for you guys.” There were a couple ‘ughs’ but mostly were just playing. “Yes, yes I know, not another one but I think you guys would like this one. Okay so as you all know, the new botanical garden just opened last weekend, so I thought maybe we could do something along those lines.”

Yeah, the new botanical garden was all over the news. Apparently it boasts plant species from all over the world, with large domes of controlled environment to simulate conditions that you could not normally experience in Seattle.

“So seeing that we were going to start the topic on evolution. I thought what better way than to do a project of adaptation, the evolution of different species to adapt to their various climates. You will be paired up and each group would get a region to focus on. Choose a couple plant species you want to work on and document their adaptations to the environment. Of course you can research all these online, but I strongly encourage you to head down to the garden and check it out yourself, bonus points for photos taken at the garden.

“You will then present your project to the class in two weeks time. The presentation should last between five to ten minutes. You can choose any format, a simple poster, slideshow or even a video. You can even perform a skit if that’s how you want. Let wild with your imagination.” Ms. Han finished her explanation of the project and I was pretty excited about this. It seemed fun and I myself wanted to head to the botanical garden so see what all the hype was about.

“So I will be pairing you guys up and giving you the region you would be focusing on.” Ms. Han said, taking a clipboard off her table. She read off groups and gave them their topics, while I just waited for her to call my name. “Drew Langston.” She called and I perked up, waiting to hear who my partner was. “You’re partner is…Nick Preston. You’re topic is deserts.”

I looked over to Nick who had a look that just screamed ‘seriously?’. “Ms. Han no fair.” Christy whined from the front of the class. I never really liked Christy; she complained too much. “Drew’s a genius at video editing and Nick has that awesome DSLR camera. They’re so gonna get the highest marks.” I rolled my eyes. You got that right.

“Now, marks will not be awarded to entertainment value but project content. Entertainment value is just to keep you guys awake while doing it, and to keep the class awake during your presentation. A little something I thought up so you guys don’t fall asleep. ” Ms. Han laughed. I couldn’t disagree with that logic. Christy shrugged but said nothing. I guess she agreed too.

Ms. Han gave us the rest of the lesson to plan what we wanted to do for the project. Normally there wouldn’t be much of a problem but seeing that Nick was particularly irritable today, it wasn’t very productive. Well at least we agreed to head over to the botanical gardens that weekend to get some shots and get a head start of the species of plants we were going to work on.

By the end of the day, Nick was still irritable for some reason. I already stopped teasing or pushing him for information but his sour mood stuck. Nick had football practice while I was going to head home and it was merely coincidence that I was tailing behind him as I made my way over to my car. Apparently though, Nick had other thoughts about the matter.

“Will escort dikmen you stop following me? I told you already, I’m not telling you anything.” He turned, making me stop in my tracks in confusion.

“I wasn’t…” I was cut off before I could finish.

“No you listen to me Langston. Kate and I both wanted to end it. I’m totally fine with Kate liking Tray, doesn’t bother me and I am fucking fine. Whether or not I like someone else is my damn problem, so just butt off,” He shouted. It was weird hearing Nick call me by my last name seeing that he hadn’t done it since he offered his hand in friendship.

I stared at Nick as he breathed deeply, trying to calm himself down. Finally, his tense shoulders relaxed and he calm down, giving me the cue to start talking. “Calmed down already?” I asked, to which he nodded. “Well in case you haven’t noticed, no one was insinuating that you were broken up about it. Everyone just took it in stride. I guess I did push you a little this morning but I know something is up, whether it’s the break up or whatever I don’t know but I respect that you want to keep it to yourself. Just don’t go acting like it’s everyone else’s fault for your damn problems.”

Nick walked over to me and glared me down. He stood inches away from me, making me need to look up to return my glare. Yeah I don’t care whatever period he was having I wasn’t losing this fight. This was new. Never have we had a fight like this. In the past, most of the fight was me putting up a struggle while he smirked. This time it looked like we were about to go head to head.

He continued his stare, trying to intimidate me but two could play at that game. I sensed myself winning when his glare faulted as he thought about stuff, losing concentration. Eventually he sighed and closed his eyes, breaking eye contact. “I’m sorry.” He muttered.

“Forgiven. When you said you wanted to be friends, it means you can tell me things you know. If it’s bothering you.” I said. He muttered thanks but said nothing else.

“So we still on for this Saturday?” He changed the subject. No longer did he have that irritable tone in his voice. Gone was that Nick, replaced by the Nick that offered me friendship when I was alone; The Nick that was there for me when I felt alone. I nodded my head at his question before he turned and headed for the locker rooms for his football practice.

Saturday came around pretty quick, the daily monotony that was school made the days fly by. So here I was on a Saturday morning getting ready for my…date? No, study date…um research meeting. Yeah I like that better. Of course on a day like this, my hair had to be stubborn as a mule, sticking out in odd places and impossible to control. I sighed and grabbed a snapback cap and put it on backwards, exposing my fringe. A little tempering here and there and I finally got it in presentable condition.

I glanced at my watch, seeing that it was five past eleven. I grabbed my blue hoodie off my bed and wore it over my t-shirt. The October Seattle weather was getting a little chilly but not too much.

Bounding down the stairs, I could hear the TV from the living room the smell of coffee wafting through the house. I peeked in, seeing my dad reading the papers in his recliner, a steaming cup of coffee sitting on the table in front of him.

“Dad, I’m going out. Project.” I said, proceeding to the door and opening it. I paused to hear for a reply, but none came. Can’t say I’m surprise though. I closed the door behind me and crossed the yard to Nick’s house next-door, hands in my pocket. I came up to the house identical to mine, pressing the doorbell.

“I got it.” The petite voice of Nick’s 12-year-old sister rang from the other side of the door. A second later the door opened, revealing a little girl, no taller than 4′. Her expression brightened upon seeing me, her shoulder length blonde hair blowing in the slight autumn wind. “Drew!” She screamed, wrapping her arms around my waist.

“Hey Stephanie. Long time no see.” I said, ruffling her hair.

“I just saw you a few days ago.” She stated looking up at me.

“Really? I think you’ve grown taller since I last saw you.” I played, which she laughed. I babysat Stephanie once when I was younger, before Nick decided to taunt me night and day. Apparently she really liked me, for some reason. It didn’t bother me though; she was a sweet kid. Since befriending Nick, I’ve gone over to his place a few times and I guess Stephanie just treated me like a long lost brother or something. It was endearing to say the least. “Your brother ready?”

“Should be about done. You wanna come in?” She asked, but before I could answer, a burly man walked to the door, staring at me.

“Morning Mr. Preston.” I greeted, to which he simply gave a small nod, walking away, out of my sight. Mr. Preston was a little intimidating. A man of little words, he gave off this strict parental aura, but he mostly left Nick and Steph to their own devices. I don’t mean he is a bad father; next to mine, he’s a model male figure. I know Nick has some bad blood towards his dad though. Mr. Preston has quite an active nightlife apparently, going out almost every night. Nick assumes he goes and gets wasted, due to the fact that he had, on a couple occasions, came back home dead drunk a few days. That was of course, before his divorce.

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