And when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while
I look at the mirror and sigh, pulling the hair tie from my head. Whatever I do, I can't hide the blue streak. It's there because my younger sister bought some hair dye and spilled some on my pillow. I didn't see and lay down and now. . .
Luckily it's temporary dye, and washes out in a week, which means I have to hide it somehow for school.
If I pull my hair to the right and twist the ends of it to the left it looks like strange space buns but covers up the streak. I'll have to deal with it looking like this. It'll be alright - I know Adrian and Peter won't laugh at me. They won't care.
They're my best friends. Ever. I actually met them through my ex-boyfriend, Scott. When he cheated on me we became close and I dumped him. Since then we've been inseparable.
And I've never dated anyone since.
Peter has had two girlfriends. Adrian has never had one. I've just had Scott.
Setting the hairbrush down, I tilt my head from side to side to look at the hairdo. Not the best, but it'll do. At least you can't see the streak.
My phone buzzes and Shawn Mendes starts playing. I look at the caller id. Adrian.
I answer it. "Hey," I say, leaning against the door.
"You ready yet?"
I don't know why Adrian has never had a girlfriend. He's really sweet and gentle. Nice, too. He doesn't judge, and he's a total sweetheart.
"Don't mean to rush you," He says, and I smile.
"I'm ready; give me a second," I say, and pop an Icebreaker into my mouth. As I demolish it I pull up my socks and grab my schoolbag. My mother's sipping tea at the breakfast table, my dad's showering - I shout goodbye to both, but neither respond, so instead I call for my brother, who gives me a thumbs up. If my parents ask where I am later, he'll tell them I've left.
Adrian has pulled his car up the drive, as usual. When he sees me, he waves and flips open the door to the passenger seat. I get in, and flash him a smile. He hands me a coffee, which I taste. Peppermint for sure. "Interesting," I tell Adrian, "Peppermint latte?"
He turns the cup around where the answer's written - peppermint mocha latte. It's from The Coffee Club. Adrian loves surprising people, so he gets Peter and I a new type of coffee every day to try. Then, at the end of the month, he gives us our three favorites for the month. You'd be amazed at how many different types of coffee there are out there.
At my direction, Adrian turns on the music. In My Feelings plays. We laugh - it's not Peter's favorite song, let's put it that way, and we're drawing up at his house.
Peter appears, and immediately covers his ears. Even though he doesn't like the song, Peter will still duet with me on it. I look at him with a hopeful look in my eye as he closes the door behind him. "Fine," he groans.
Do you love me
Peter shakes his head, but he's grinning, and he joins in.
Are you riding?
We continue until the end of the chorus and with the final line (and I'm done for you always) we both fall apart with laughter and Peter accepts his coffee from Adrian. He glances at me drinking mine. "Is it good, Astrid?"
I stick my tongue out at him. "Try it."
"Well, you obviously love it by the way you're downing it like a drunk hippo." He raises his eyebrows at me.
I burst into laughter. "Have you ever even seen a drunk hippo?"
"Well, no. . . but I can imagine," He said, and then we're all laughing. The song changes and Peter coughs, nearly spitting his coffee all over the upholstery of Adrian's car. "What the bloody hell is this?" He said, looking at the cup.
He looks at the name and scoffs. "What the heck is mocha?"
Adrian hands him his phone, which is opened up to a dictionary app. Peter taps in mocha, and cocks an eyebrow at the answer. Adrian takes back the phone, while still driving. I talk to Peter for a couple more minutes, then a cough breaks the silence. Adrian.
"I need to tell you guys something." We both look at him.
Adrian changes lanes. "I can't drive you guys tomorrow."
Peter sighs and clutches his heart, mock offended. "Why not?" I ask.
"Car's being fixed. . . Peter can take you, Astrid." He doesn't say anything about himself, then he pipes up, "Martha's taking me; we have a project anyway,"
Peter locks eyes with me. "Guess you're stuck with me then Astrid."
"I don't mind," I say, and he smiles, not tearing his eyes from mine. We stay like that for a couple more seconds, then Adrian makes a wild swerve and I nearly fall into Peter's lap.
Adrian makes a couple more turns and then we're at the school. A group of teenage girls litter the front grounds, chatting and looking at their phones. One takes a selfie. A girl and a boy hand in hand walk right past our car, and I find myself staring after them.
The doors open and Peter and Adrian are getting out. I swiftly follow suit, and Peter grabs his coffee and hands it to me. "You like it more than me," He grins, his brown eyes sparkling. They're like a tawny sunset. Just beautiful.
I take a sip, aware that Peter's lips had touched this very spot on the cup. It sends a shiver through me and I smile. Adrian leans into the car and turns off the music then rejoins us as I finish sipping.
"You've got foam -" Peter reaches his hand out, then it falters and he hesitates. I look at him questioningly, then he touches above his own upper lip and I wipe my own off.
We enter the school block, laughing. I can't stop thinking about Peter, and then he rests a hand on my arm. "Gotta go - football practice," He says before running off.
I touch the spot where his hand was. Adrian smirks at me and rests a note on my arm. "I have to go too," He says, then gestures to the note. I read it.
You should ask him out, you know. . . before someone else takes him first.
I look after him, but he's gone. Shaking my head, I push the note deeper into my pocket. Me, ask out Peter? Yeah, no. . . but Adrian thinks he likes me? Adrian's a good judge of character. He would know.
I need to talk to Adrian. And if he thinks I should ask out Peter. . . I will.
I've wanted to for too long.
And who knows, maybe he likes me back. . .
At lunch, we have a new person sitting with us - Martha. The new girl. Real nice. Smart, too. Adrian is telling her all about the lunch line etiquette when Peter sits beside me with his lunch tray in hand. He cocks an eyebrow at Martha but says nothing, just watches Adrian talk to her for a second before dropping his gaze to me.
He points a thumb at Adrian and mutters, crush? I shrug. Peter looks back and smiles. He taps his ears and cheeks. I look back at Adrian - the tips of his ears are red and his cheeks are scarlet. I look back at Peter and nod. See, I'm always right, Peter mouths, pretending to flip his hair. I grin back at him, letting a laugh escape my lips. We meet eyes. Now would be the most perfect time to just. . . kiss him.
He brings his hand to my cheek and I jump at his touch. "You had something. . . on your cheek," He said, and his hand brushes my cheek gently. I lean closer, and he comes even closer. We're close, so close. . .
I purse my lips.
We jump apart. A girl with black hair coiled into a bun has yelled his name. She walks over to our table and rests a hand on the table. "You free tomorrow?"
I look at Peter. Who is this girl?
"For what?" He asks, after a quick glance at me.
She rolls her eyes, then laughs. "You're so funny, Peter. . . the English project!"
He exhales then nods. She laughs again and watches as Peter turns back to me and laughs. I glance back at her, and she shoots me the deadliest glare I've ever had shot at me. She raises her eyebrow, then sticks her tongue out at me. Peter says something and I pretend to listen, aware that the girl has just swiveled on her heel and exited.
"Who was that?" I ask. He smiles, and puts an arm around my shoulders.
"Monica. English partner."
Adrian calls us and we turn. Peter drops his arm from around my shoulders and strolls over with me at his heels. "Guys. . . I'd like you to meet Martha." Adrian says. Peter nods at her, a faint smirk on his face. I grin at her - we're friends. She's really nice, and she and Adrian will make a great match if they date. She beams right back at us, and Peter mouths to me She's soooooo into Adrian before turning back to her and giving her a not too subtle once-over and giving Adrian a thumbs up. Adrian flushes, and Martha giggles. She turns her gaze back to Adrian and I give Peter a slight nod. Definitely into him.
Called it, Peter says. I roll my eyes. Sureeeee. He raises his eyebrows. I raise mine back. He draws closer. I let my hopes rise as he is so close. . . he could just. . . just kiss me. Instead, his face dips to my ear and he whispers, "If Adrian gets a girlfriend, are we allowed baes too?"
"Baes? Who even says that?" I say, and his signature smirk is back.
"Fine. Are we allowed significant others?"
"Are we not allowed?" I respond, watching his face closely.
He shrugs, and it occurs to me he might be trying to see how I respond to his words. "I'd say we're allowed," I say, trying to be flirtatious. I attempt to twirl my hair around my finger but give up. I honestly can't flirt. I'm useless at it.
Peter didn't seem to notice. He was staring at me, had been for a while. I stepped closer, just an inch, and he didn't step back. He blinked and his eyes shot straight to mine.
His hands cupped my elbows and he pulled me close. He swayed to the side, then the other side and threw his head back, laughing.
"Peter?" I said, and he let go.
"Sorry," He scratched the back of his head, looking over mine. Then his gaze turned to me and he grinned, once, his smile stretching wide, then he turned and raced across the field and disappeared.
That night I got a text from Adrian.
Did you ask Peter out?
I sighed as I replied, Nope. . .
He seems really happy
Should I ask him?
It took Adrian a few minutes to respond. You like him, he probably likes you. Go on, ask him. Just try.
I sent an emoji.
Hang on, he's texting me, Adrian says.
For the rest of the evening, he does not reply.
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