When Alana came back to the class, he could tell she had been crying. Her eyes and nose were red. For some very weird reason, it felt like it was all his fault but how? How could it be his fault? What did he even do? When April asked Alana what happened, she said she had a headache. Bret couldn’t see her like this. He wanted her to smile. He wanted to say something stupid and make her laugh.
He kept looking at her even after April and Aliya turned back to face the board. He felt bad. He wanted to apologize for some reason. Finally, Alana smiled and said, “I’ll be okay Bret” and smiled. But that smile wasn’t the one that gave him the fluttery feeling in the stomach. The smile made him sad. She was in pain, he knew it. Every once in a while, he looked at her. He wanted to do something but he didn’t know what.
A few days passed. His feelings towards Alana didn’t change. No matter what he did, he couldn’t change how he felt about her. What made things worse was that Alana hardly talked to him now. She would curtly reply to everything. He couldn’t understand why.
Adding to all the other problems, Aliya kept asking him if he liked Alana. He would obviously always say no but if she was suspecting him, maybe it was pretty obvious. He couldn’t take the chance. He had to keep his distance from Alana.
One day, Aliya called him after he had reached home. She started reading out a poem to him. She said she wrote it for him but he had read the same poem somewhere online a few days ago. It was cute how she tried though.
“Did you like it, Bret?”, she asked nervously.
“Yes. Did you actually write it for me?”, he asked expecting her to lie.
“Well. Uh. Actually, I didn’t write it. I was surfing on the internet”, Bret laughed. She was cute. “But yes, it’s for you. If I could write poems, I’d write one for you every day!”
Aliya was funny in her own way. She would do these small things for him which made him like her more and more. They had started messaging each other a lot and their conversations over the phone had become longer. They would talk all the time after college and sometimes their conversations would go on till 2 AM. Finally one day, he felt like he had fallen for her.
One day, she called him and she sounded very nervous.
“Bret. I have to tell you something and please listen to me”
“Yeah, tell me! I’m listening”, he asked her.
“Do you love me?”, she asked.
“Yes, of course, I do”, he said and actually meant it now, “But why are you asking me that?”
“Because if you love me you’ll understand what I have to say”, she said. He was confused. “So I met this guy on Facebook today and he’s in our college and he’s very smart and fun to talk to. We were thinking of meeting tomorrow. Can I meet him? I swear we’re just friends and I don’t have any feelings for him”
“Uh. Of course, you can meet him. Why are you asking me all this? You’re so weird, Aliya. I trust you so chill”, he replied, still confused. “What the hell is up with her”
“Okay, I love you so much!”, she sounded excited, “Please don’t tell Alana about this. She’s a big pain in the ass. She will start thinking I’m crushing on him and all that. She’s too protective of you for some reason. It’s very annoying. Okay, I’ll call you later. Bye!”, and she disconnected. “Alana is protective about me? Damn, I miss her. I wish I could talk to her… No Bret. You need to control yourself”
Since Aliya wouldn’t be there in the breaks, he needed to make sure he’d have something to do. He started taking a book to college so that he could read it during the breaks. He told the rest of them that he won’t come out for a while. The truth was, he was afraid that he’d say something to Alana and mess everything up.
A month passed. Aliya went to meet her friend every day. Bret didn’t expect it to be an everyday thing. He thought she just wanted to meet him on that day but he didn’t ask her about it. A lot had changed between them. Aliya had stopped talking to him as much as before. She had stopped calling him as much as before. Even if she called him it was a short call. On Whatsapp, she would be online all day but she would take a lot of time to reply to any message he sent. Still, he didn’t ask her about it. Now he missed Alana more than ever. Then one day, the most surprising thing happened.
Aliya left as usual to meet her new friend. April hadn’t come to college. It was the break. Bret was reading his book. Alana came out of nowhere and gave him a friendly push. At first, he thought it was Aliya. When he turned and looked, it was Alana! “Whoa. What a surprise!”, he thought.
“What’s up, Alana? How come you didn’t go today?”, he asked her. He put the bookmark in the book and closed it.
“We haven’t talked in a while. We used to talk so much before. Aliya literally stole you from me, didn’t she?”, she laughed. “Wow. I’d missed that laugh so much. If only I could always watch her laugh like that”, the thought made him sad but the fact that she was here talking to him made him smile.
“Nah, I wouldn’t let anyone do that. You’re my main”, he said and winked still smiling. “If only you knew how much I mean that”, he thought to himself.
“Listen, Bret. How is everything going with Aliya?”, she asked him with a stern face. He couldn’t understand why she suddenly asked him that. He wanted to tell her it wasn’t going very great. He wanted to tell her about how everything was currently going downhill for him right now.
“You know..”, he paused. “Should I actually be telling her this?” he thought about it for a while, “I need to tell you something, Alana. When Aliya asked me out, I didn’t like her. I said yes because I couldn’t say no. Don’t tell her I told you this. But now, I think I’ve fallen for her. I really like her”, he said. There was so much more though. “I miss you, Alana. I wish it was you. Ever since we’ve stopped talking, I’ve been so sad. It’s like someone took what mattered to me most”, he added in his mind.
“I know you love her. You can’t love her more than you love me though, can you?”, she laughed again. It was so cute when she flirted. His chest hurt. It felt like he was stuck in a limbo. “I wish I could tell you how much I loved you”
“No. No, I can’t”, he said hoping she’d take the message and help him out of the mess he was in right now. She didn’t react though so he fake laughed. She laughed too.
They talked for a while longer. He felt much better than he had the past few weeks. It felt like some sort of a load had been taken off his shoulders. He knew no matter how much he tried, he couldn’t keep away from Alana. The universe wouldn’t let it happen so he might as well enjoy it. “Talking can’t do any harm. With her around, I’m sure there are only going to be good times”, he assured himself.
To be continued…
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