“Not the way you’re thinking,” I replied, rubbing my temples. “I went to hit him on the arm, you know, just being stupid, and he caught my wrist. The next thing I knew, I was in his lap and we were...just staring at one another.”
“And that’s when you kissed him?” Abbi crossed her legs. “Just one kiss?”
Covering my face with my hands, I nodded. “It was just a quick kiss on the lips. I’m not sure you could even consider it a kiss, really.”
“Quick or not, a kiss is a kiss,” Abbi said.
“I don’t know about that.” Megan dug out an Oreo from the package beside her. “There are different levels of kissing. There’s a quick peck on the lips, and then there’s a longer closed-mouth one, and then there’s—Wait, why am I explaining different kisses to you two? No one in this room is a member of the hymen parade. You know the different types of kissing.”
“Oh my God,” I groaned, dropping my arms.
Abbi rolled her eyes as she shook her head. “I can’t even with you most of the time, but hymen parade? That’s... There are no words.”
After popping the entire cookie in her mouth, Megan talked around it. “So you kissed him briefly, no tongue, and then freaked out?”
I started pacing again. “Yes. That’s about it.”
She picked up her napkin and wiped the little black crumbs off her lips. “Did he kiss you back?”
“No,” I whispered. “I thought he was going to, but he didn’t.”
Abbi raised her eyebrows. “What did he do? Just lie there? While you were in his lap?”
Cringing, I nodded again. “Pretty much.”
The girls exchanged looks, and Megan went for another cookie. “I’m not exactly surprised you kissed him. Not when you’ve been lusting after him since you realized boys had a pe—”
“I know when I started liking him more than just a friend,” I cut in. “I don’t even know what happened exactly.”
“Probably because you were cataloging every second instead of actually experiencing it.” Abbi leaned back in my chair. “That’s what you usually do. Overthinking and obsessing while something amazing is happening.”
I wanted to deny that, too, but she was right. I did that. A lot. “Maybe that happened, but seriously, can we pick another time to point out my character flaws?”
Abbi flashed a brief grin. “Sure.”
“Maybe you just caught him off guard,” Megan said. “That could be why he freaked out.”
“You think that’s the reason?”
“Maybe. I mean, you guys have been just friends forever. Even if he’s into you, it probably caught him off guard.” She brushed her hair over her shoulder. “Did you say anything to him afterward? Wait, don’t even answer that. I already know. You said nothing.”
My lips pursed.
She lifted her hands. “I’m not trying to be ignorant. I’m just pointing out if you didn’t do anything or say anything, there’s a chance he thinks that you think you made a mistake.” She glanced over at Abbi. “Right?”
“Well...” Abbi leaned into the arm of the computer chair. “Okay. You know I love you, right?”
Oh, this was going someplace I wasn’t going to like. “Yeah?”
“I’m just going to throw something out there. Just something to consider,” she said, clearly choosing her words very carefully. “You kissed Sebastian. Let’s assume it wasn’t just a friendly kiss. Like, let’s leave kissing on the mouth to people interested in being more than friends.”
“Agreed,” Megan chimed in. “Because that would just be super confusing.”
“So you kissed him and he knows it’s not because you like him as a friend. There are two possibilities. One being what Megan said—he was caught off guard and just reacted weird and is now hiding in a corner somewhere.”
I couldn’t picture Sebastian hiding in a corner over anything.
“Second option is that you kissed him and he didn’t think that felt right. And when it got awkward, he got away as quickly as possible. Now he’s hoping you forget about it.”
I walked over to the balcony doors. “Like he wished I hadn’t done it?”
“Well, okay...” She bit down on her lower lip. “He’s not with anyone. Neither are you.” Abbi’s voice was soft as she continued. “You both have a ton in common. You’re both attractive—”
“I’d do you,” commented Megan.
“Thanks,” I said, laughing hoarsely.
“And you both know so much about each other. I just have to think that if you kissed him and he realized he really liked that and wanted that, he would’ve kissed you back. Or he would’ve said something other than that it shouldn’t have happened.”
Chest squeezing, I pulled the curtain back and peered outside. A breeze stirred the limbs on the ancient maple.
Abbi had a point. Sebastian had said it shouldn’t have happened.
“Because there really isn’t a reason for you two to not be together,” she added. “And I have to think that if he was into you...he wouldn’t have said it shouldn’t have happened.”
Acids churned in my stomach and the hurt spread inside. How could it feel so real, like my chest was being cracked open? I drew in a shaky breath. “What should I do?” I let the curtain fall back in place and faced them.
Megan’s fair brows rose. “I would’ve already texted him and asked him what the hell was up.”
Trepidation exploded in my gut as I considered doing that. “I might be too much of a coward for that technique.”
“You’re not a coward, Lena,” Abbi reassured me. “I get why you haven’t. He’s one of your closest friends. This is super tricky.”
Tricky didn’t even cover it.
“I think it’s probably smart if you do say something,” Abbi continued. “Maybe just text him and ask if everything is okay. That is pretty low-key.”
Even thinking about doing that made me want to hurl. “I feel like an idiot.”
Megan frowned. “Why?”
“Because...because I shouldn’t even be focused on this stuff.” I walked over to the bed and plopped down next to Megan. I fished out another cookie, but my throat thickened with that burn again. “I mean, there are more important things I could be stressed over.”
“Like what?” Megan challenged. “World peace? Politics? The nation’s debt? I don’t know. I’m sure there is more stuff. You watch the news. I don’t even know what channel the news comes on.”
Smiling faintly, I shook my head. “I should be thinking about my senior year. I have almost all AP classes this year and our volleyball schedule is going to be brutal. I need to get scholarships—”
“You know what, that’s all bullshit.” Megan twisted toward me, her cheeks flushing red. “So what? You’re thinking about a guy and talking to us about a guy. I know you think about other things. Abbi knows that. You don’t need to walk around all day long talking about all the serious important things to prove you’re not boy crazy. And screw the whole ‘oh my God, she’s boy crazy’ thing, because we can’t win. Us girls. We can’t.”
“Oh no.” Abbi grinned. “Someone’s about to rant.”
“Damn straight I am. See, if we think about guys, other people—usually other girls, because let’s be real, girls can be bitches—say we’re shallow. We’re not well-rounded, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. And if we say we don’t worry about a guy that we like, then we’re accused of lying. Or being weird. And if we focus on other things, then we’re pretentious. We literally cannot win. It’s like we’re not allowed to have feelings or think about our feelings. It’s bullshit.”
“I don’t say this often,” Abbi said seriously, “but she has a point.”
“Of course I do!” She threw up her hands. “And all that could still be said about girls who like girls. Just flip boy crazy with girl crazy. It’s messed up. You think about what’s going on with Sebastian because he’s important to you, but so is school and volleyball, so is work and, yeah, even the nation’s debt.”