You wonder why people refer someone they like as a crush. Initially, you thought it was a cruel thing to call someone that one is attracted to.
Maybe, your friend started. Maybe it’s because they crush you heart into a mush, crush your lungs that it’s hard to breathe around them, crush your brain that it’s difficult for you to think logically anymore, he finished with dreamy eyes and crooked grin.
That’s drastic, you remember saying. That sounds terrible and cruel, you said again with incredulity, ignoring the sudden and slight breathlessness as you look at him.
Love’s cruel like that, he replied. But you learn to accept its cruelty because love is also a wonderful thing to have and feel, he continued.
You wanted to ask more, to listen more (the genuineness and descriptiveness of your friend’s words makes you like hearing him talking, you reasoned with yourself afterwards), but the bell’s shrill ringing tore through the air.
You two parted ways, but it’s okay. It's Wednesday, and Wednesday means club meetings.
The club consisting of you, him and his crush; amongst other people.
You arrive on time (you always do) and much to your chagrin, his crush also has a tendency to be punctual. Three other people are also here, but somehow the presence of this very person who somehow has the heart of your friend in their palms irks you more.
They smile at you and says hi, which you reply with a weak half-hearted smile.
Why does it bother you?
You don’t answer you own question, no. Instead you find yourself scanning them, recalling the traits that you’ve noted whenever you see this being in action.
Friendly, excitable, and passionate. No wonder this person is able to capture his heart. But you know even they have flaws, but having a crush on someone more often than not means ignoring the crush’s flaws, and-
You frown when you realise what you’re doing, and chastise yourself. Why does this ugly feeling surface now, and why is it making you like this?
As if on cue, your friend walks towards you with a grin so big and lovely that you momentarily forget how to breathe.
He always does that to you, doesn’t he?
You don’t mind the slightest, though.
He sits next to you in the meeting.
You know it’s only because you sit behind his crush, and not because you would’ve been his first choice to sit next to. He has other friends in the club; people much closer to him than you are.
But he keeps leaning his head towards you to crack jokes or whisper his thoughts as the club’s chairman speaks, and sometimes he gets too close that the tips of his hair kisses your cheek.
You find yourself falling into a dwam at hearing his voice.
Then you’re rudely interrupted back into the land of reality by the man himself. He smiles cheekily as you glare at him. When he tilts his head towards other people changing seats do you realise what’s happening. “We’ve got to research some stuff. 3 persons each team, wanna join?”
You acquiesce as everyone settles into their teams, except one. You heave a deep sigh. “Yo!”
The person in front of you turns around with questioning brows and hesitant smile.
Hopeless. Utterly, astoundingly hopeless.
“Join our team.” You say. Not a request, not an invitation, not nothing.
In your peripheral vision, you see your friend staring at you bug-eyed, but you’re staring at the face that’s lighting up at your words. They pull up a chair and sits next to your side, and you can feel the smile that’s forming on his lips. He looks at you with giddy eyes, though you know it’s not for you.
After the meeting ends; but before parting ways, all three of you promise to meet at the local library this late afternoon.
You still feel his strands of hair against your skin, and a lingering sense of regret sits at the back of your mind.
Of what, you're not sure.
Yet again, you and his crush shares one thing in common: punctuality (which you find to be commendable). You meet them on your way to the library, and you’ve been walking together since.
There was a few minutes of utter silence between you two. It was far from uncomfortable, though. Perhaps they’re good at reading people, because at first they seem like they want to break the ice, but never does. You’re taciturn, so not much of a talker anyways. Better be in silence rather than having the air of discomfiture hanging around and suffocating you two.
He arrives with that big grin of his again. You notice that he falters slightly when he lays eyes upon his crush, but he braves on nonetheless.
Everyone make a beeline to the bookshelves after everything’s settled. Journals, articles and books of all kinds are stacked on top of each other. He’s more than enthusiastic to help out his crush; so for the most part, you left them be.
When you see your friend stuttering and stumbling over his words, his nervous tic of drawing circles on the back of his palm coming to life every time he speaks with his crush; you can’t help the jealousy that slowly brews in your heart. It is an ugly feeling to have, but it is an emotion nonetheless.
He speaks to them with a softer voice than he does with you. Maybe it’s just because they’re in a library right now, but you’re here with him too. He speaks in his normal tone with you.
The ugly feeling grows.
“Must be nice to have a crush.” You two walk home together (you talked him into it, of course. He could’ve easily taken a taxi, but you’re adept at persuasion). Bitterness was discernible in your tone, and he catches on.
“It depends.” He says simply. He knows what buttons to push when it comes to you (that happens when you befriend an observant guy), but never does so.
“Well... depends on who you’re crushing on, and how you deal with it. Because as you can see, I was a train wreck with mine.”
Mine, he says.
“That’s better than nothing. If I have one, I don’t know how I would’ve acted.” I try my best to assure him.
“You don’t?” He asks, incredulous.
I stare at him, searching his features before replying.
“No. Never have.”
The research sessions continue at the same time every day.
The three of you gets closer and closer, and this only serves to make you feel at odds against yourself.
You gradually warms up to his crush, for they are somehow magnetic, in a sense. No matter how much you try to resist, you eventually take a liking to them.
You and his crush are affable at best, but the thought of referring to them as your friend bothers you, so you decided to stick with calling them as 'his crush'. Only in your mind, of course.
That also means he's getting chummy with them, and the ugly feeling would scream for you to intervene- that he's gonna forget you soon enough if you let them become closer and closer.
It takes all of your willpower to not do exactly that. Because you are aware of your weaknesses (possessiveness, jealousy, you name it; there's a high chance that you do indeed possess such traits) and the damage it can cause once you choose to act upon it, because your old friends were damaged by these very things that make up who you are.
It is innate, which is why you distance yourself from everyone.
But life's cruel, as always. One day, out of the blue: he sat next to you during recess, and has never changed place ever since. He was tenacious, and you were reticent. Of course you yield, for his efforts touched at your heart and mind more than you were willing to let show.
The days of the research sessions are numbered, and because everyone will have no time to meet outside school, your friend decided to spend a day together where everyone goes out to play, and not work. All that's left to do for your research is proofreading, so you and his crush agreed to his plans.
As you gradually come closer to the day, your heart hammers in your chest. You're not sure why, but you're not able to sleep the night before the day.
After countless tries of drifting off into deep slumber does your body acknowledges the exhaustion that's coursing through your body.
You dream, but it's not a good one; for the thoughts of him leaving you haunts your dream.
The sun proudly shines amongst the blue skies fleeced with clouds as the skies turn to a tint of yellowy orange.
By the time you arrive at the promised meetup place (which is the library, for convenience's sake), your friend and his crush chatters away. Your friend waves at you as soon as he notices you walking towards them, and that trademark grinning signature of his presents itself.
He then tells their plans for the day: "A movie, food and then the funfair to wrap things off before we head back to school tomorrow and probably never see each other again." He finishes with a titter.
Even though you're well aware that he's joking, his last words has its lasting effects on you. To never see each other again would be the worst.
"Don't say that." you say in a downhearted tone.
He suddenly looks troubled, and his crush's reaction (two brows raised, mouth thinning with a look of amusement, which in itself is humorous) at his facial expressions lightens your mood a bit.
"Come on now! We haven't got all the time in the world." His crush exclaims before walking ahead, not even waiting for you two.
You raises your brows at your friend, to which he replies with a simper.
He throws one arm around your shoulder. "Let's run past and boo them. How's that sound?"
Your lips forms into a mischievous smirk as you look into his glimmering eyes.
You two run, hand in hand past his crush and turns to face them as you two blow raspberries at them, only to trip on each other's legs a moment later and fall with a thud and a cry.
It's not until you see his crush wiggling their brows at you as he worriedly checks for any injuries on you, do you finally realise the very thing that you've been refusing to acknowledge all this time.
You weren't envy of him having a crush, no.
You were envious of his crush.
He sags in relief when he's certain that you're okay, and rises up. He offers a hand, to which you grab on without any hesitation.
His crush smiles knowingly at you, but you resolutely refuses to look at them in the eyes.
At theatre, you were expecting for all of you to sit next to each other; with you being the third wheel.
As luck will have it, though, you're forced to sit in different seats and rows.
This of course brings down everyone's mood, but you're able to convince them that it's not bad because now they can focus on the film and ramble and theorise about it later. They buy into your argument, and then your friend decides to buy some light snacks for the movie.
As you watch him walk away from the seat, his crush starts. "So... it's kinda obvious you like the guy."
You feel like a deer caught in the headlights. You stare at them, bug-eyed.
They simper triumphantly. "I take that you do, then."
You gulp, feeling the saliva cascading down your throat. A nod. "But I can't."
"Why, because he likes me?"
Your head jerks towards them in bewilderment. "You knew?"
"Of course! The man's as transparent as it gets. You, on the other hand... I've never truly weigh the possibility, not until I saw the way you look at him when you two were gamboling just now."
You ruminate momentarily. "But do you... reciprocate?" Your tone tentative, unsure; but most importantly: fearful. Your head spins, and you hold your breath. For what, you don't know.
They shrug, and then you're suddenly able to breathe again. You heave a sigh of relief, finally hearing your heart palpitating.
"It's said that eyes are the window to the soul. His was not unlike yours just now, but it was different." They mull over something for a moment. "Though, his gaze gradually changes as we spend more time together. It's too innocent to say that it's romantic love that's shimmering in those eyes."
You look at your friend who has finally gotten all of his orders. "Do all of us a favour and tell him how you feel." They continue as your friend pays and heads back towards the two of you.
"What're you guys talking about?" He asks as he sits between you and his crush, putting the snacks on any remaining space on the seat.
"About your butt."
The insouciance in which his crush says it nearly kills your friend from choking, and you from embarrassment.
This is going to be a long day.
Food's wonderful. Whoever wins a game of rock–paper–scissors gets to decide where to eat. Your friend wins, and he brings you two to a restaurant with Southeast Asian dishes as the menu.
The chatter comes more easily now, especially now that you know that your friend won't be leaving anytime soon. Not to mention now that you're not in a library, but that's besides the point.
You ponder whether you should continue referring to your friend's crush as 'his crush', still. Eh, nothing to lose anyways. Might as well stick to it.
Your friend accidentally orders a dish that's spicier than what he can handles, and titters and chortles turns into sympathetic frowns.
Other than that misfortune of his, though, all three of you have had a blast.
Next destination: funfair.
It's not hard to locate, with all the spotlights dancing across the night sky to guide you to its locale.
To your shock, it's not crowded as you would've expect from a Sunday night. Perhaps everyone's just tired and decided not to go out this night? Who knows, you're not going to complain. This lessens the queue and wait time, anyway.
All three of you play the rides together- from the coasters to the carousel. Except for the Ferris wheel, of course. The one in this funfair is utter shite anyways, so you won't be losing out on anything much.
As everyone head towards the games to end the night on a lighter tone (really depends on the games you'll be playing, really), your friend's crush quickly grabs your arm and pulls you to a more discreet place.
You furrow your brows at them, and they dismiss it with a wave and a hiss. "He'll be okay! The dude's shirt stands out, so we can find him. He's likely to stay in one place if we're gone, anyway."
You blink several times, a bit taken aback by how they could deduce such things from mere observations alone.
"Look." They grab your shoulder, fiery eyes staring into yours. "If you don't confess now, I swear to the damn gods above that I'll be the one to profess my feelings for him."
Your gaze turns into a glare, and they sigh in relief. "Good. Go tell him. I'll watch from afar, so make up some excuse or something." They pat your shoulder before going off... somewhere. It's dark here, though, so you're not even sure where they're gone to.
You walk away from the darkness, the funfair lights greeting you as soon as you reenters its compound once again. You look around, and sure as hell, your friend stands out like a sore thumb.
You walk up to him, forming some kind of plan that'll result in you being pressured to confess. Because you know you'll never admit it to the man himself. You'll stutter, stumble and embarrass yourself. Your pride hinders your ability to be honest in general, but a person of pride keeps one's words.
So damn it, you'll tell him even if it means by compulsion.
His expressions brightens at the sight of you, though it falters when he notices the absence of someone else.
"They wanna try to win the other games at those side." You point towards the other end of the funfair, where more stalls for games resides.
"Look, uh- bro. Buddy, pal." You try, though you wince at the failure of your attempt. "Let's make the games more fun. If I win, you tell me something. If you win, I tell you something."
His brows raises at this proposal. "You can tell anything you want?"
You smile, a hint of nervousness creeping into it. "Anything you want."
"The other person can't comment whatsoever after the loser tells them whatever they're gonna say, though." You added belatedly as you two walks toward the ring tosser game.
A sly smirk creeps onto his face. "Okay."
You eye him in your peripheral vision with a healthy dose of curiosity mixed with confusion, but you let it go.
You two each pay the man who handles the game, and the game begins.
Both of you are stacking up against each other quite well, and now he knows you as well as you know him.
Of his families, his past, his problems and random facts he reads from the Internet that he somehow manages to recall out of nowhere.
He learns of your passions, your flaws and your hope for the future.
Somehow, you feel like both of you are avoiding from asking a delicate question. You're not quite sure if the suspicion is mutual, but you've been beating around the bush long enough now that it's starting to frustrate you.
So when you find yourself winning the High Striker against him, as he readies himself to tell you another thing about himself- you decide to take control of the situation and say what you've been dying to say: I think I like you.
He stares at you- he stares long enough that you worry whether you've broken his thoughts or something. Maybe he's figuring out how to escape this without making it awkward? You won't blame him at all.
A grin slowly spreads, as he locks eyes with yours. I like you too, he says between smiling teeth. I've always like you, he says again.
You try to suppress the big grin that's threatening to form on your lips, but it decides to break loose anyway. I think I love you.
I love you too, he replies with such sincerity that the damn dam in your eyes feels like combusting into pieces and the tears trying to break out.
You basically tackle him into a hug, and he kisses your cheek. The funfair's lights kisses both of your beings, rejoicing alongside you two.
"Well, well." His (ex)crush stands beside your sprawled bodies on the dirt, looking down at you two with amusement and care. "Guess the secret's out, huh?"
You suddenly realises something, and you quickly sits up. "Wait, so are they your crush or not?"
He follows suit, then gives you a sheepish smile. "More like a friend-crush, really. Both of you are cool in my eyes, but all I want to do with them is hang out and just be best buddies." He takes your hands in his. "With you though, you crush my heart into a mush, crush my lungs that it’s hard to breathe around you, crush my brain that it’s difficult for me to think logically anymore."
He echoes the same words he used to explain the definition of crush to you a while back. You're glad that it's currently night time and the funfair's lights aren't blindingly bright, for you can feel your skin flushing.
"Yeah, that nervousness of his is normal. He gets intimidated by people he likes, but he gradually acts as usual once he gets comfortable. You didn't notice him doing the same to you back then?" You now-friend (who was his friend-crush) looks at you questioningly.
Now it's your turn for a sheepish smile, followed by a titter. "I was too busy being miserable and being lonely to really notice."
He wraps his arms around your midriff as you continue to sit on the ground. "Wanna go home now? I'm sure everyone's exhausted."
You turn your head towards him and pecks him on the cheek before smirking. "Nah, let's ride the terrible Ferris wheel before we go."
The other two looks at you with bewilderment, but for some reason, they follow along with your atrocious idea anyways.
"That ride was dreadful." you deadpan, and your friend rolls their eyes.
Your (boy)friend chuckles, then proceeds to kiss your temple.
Perhaps the ride isn't as dreadful as you make it out to be.
You throw an arm around both of your friend and boyfriend's shoulders.
I love you.ns 188.8.131.52da2