tagRomanceNever Just Friends

Never Just Friends

byromanticredhead©

Sorry for the long delay if anyone actually cares... my computer decided to muck me around, and so I've been unable to access my files until a few days ago. Also, I'll be uploading the next part of "Washing Up" soon, but I haven't had the chance to finish it yet. There's not really any sex in this one, but I'll be doing that sometime in the next week.

Anyway, I hope this is worth the wait.

Yours, as ever,

romanticredhead

A redhead with a passion .


*

"I don't know, why don't you ask her?" I said into the phone, holding it to my ear with my shoulder as I tried to hang on to the assortment of vegetables I was trying to get over to the sideboard.

"Well, I would, you know, but... I don't want to call her up one day after a date, do I?"

I tried to look at the phone, feeling immensely irritated at the stupid comment Henry had just made. "And why is that?" I enquired, aware of the frosty tone my voice was injecting into the conversation.

He clearly took note of it, as he hastily tried to backtrack, I could almost feel him shaking his head at the other end of the line, his thick brown hair flying all around his head as he tried to make good his mistake.

"Well -- um, you know... it's just, like -- well..." as his voice trailed off, I finally reached the sideboard and dumped the vegetables on the surface.

"Well, you were joking, weren't you?" I sighed, giving him a way out of the corner he'd walked into.

There was an audible sigh of relief at the other end of the line, as he quickly agreed. "Of course, Fran, I'd never -- well, that's to say I wouldn't... say something -- something like... well, that.'

Once again, the end of the sentence had somehow slipped away from him. "That's good. So, what did you want to know again?"

His voice brightened.

"Well, do you think she was into me? I mean, you were there for a while, what do you think?"

I stifled a sigh. 'I honestly don't know, Henry, I had better things to do that take note of the romantic feelings your current conquest went through during the course of the evening."

He somehow, yet again, managed to convey a feeling of disappointment down the line.

"Anyway, Henry, I have to go." I ended with, wandering over to the phone hook so I could put it back on to charge when I hung up.

"Okay. Love you," he replied, before hanging up.

"Love you too," I said to the empty line. I hung up, and wandering into my bedroom, flung myself on the bed and blew through my teeth.

I'd known Henry for eight years, ever since we were eleven year olds going into senior school for the first time. I'd lost my bag on the first day, and was rushing around, almost in tears when he came up and helped me look for it, calming me down and being unbelievably generous with his smarties. Ever since then, we'd been inseparable. We'd do homework together, discover new bands, muck around with makeup -- when we were about 13 he had had an annoying habit of wandering around my room and trying on my eyeliner when he was over. He was my best friend.

Somehow, along those years, I'd fallen head over heels for him, but had never told him. I think it might have been the first moment I looked up and saw his smiling face through a haze of tears, holding out a red smartie to me. And then, shortly after he turned 15, other girls started to notice him -- and, well, he became a typical "ladies man".

I don't think those girls ever saw his real self, they only saw the empty compliments, the meaningless flowers he'd give them on the first or second date and watch them swoon -- they never saw who he really was, the sweet, sensitive man who could always make you laugh, no matter how sad you were. His friendly, romantic manner, the way that he would look at you and it felt like you were the only one in the world who mattered at that moment, the only one who could stop this nagging ache in the pit of your stomach stop. Actually, they probably did feel that, it would be stupid and naïve to assume it was just me -- he didn't even like me in that way.

I opened my eyes, staring at the clean white ceiling, noticing for the hundredth time the small brown mark; God knows where it even came from. After a moment, my eyes didn't see it anymore -- they saw Henry. He smiled down at me, and bent down, taking my face in his cool hands, kissing me, his warm mouth joining with mine, slowly opening to delve deep inside. He let his hand run down my cheek, stroking my collarbone until he slowly cupped my breast, feeling my nipple harden under his gentle fingers.

He cooed softly against my mouth, my hands rising to cup his face, as his hand slipped inside my loose shirt, caressing my skin as he felt the thin, silky material of my bra.

He moved his lips from mine, kissing gently across my jawbone, down my neck as his touch moved inside my bra, touching my hard nipple as I --

'Fran? FRAN, are you THERE?" I snapped back to reality quickly, my eye blurring for a second as I remembered where I was.

"Just coming!" I called, sitting up, and taking a deep breath in before rising from the bed and going to answer the door, my mind still swimming with images of Henry. As I opened the door, I almost had a heart attack, the man I'd been thinking of was right in front of me.

"Henry!" I gasped, looking down at my feet to compose myself, acutely conscious of what I had been thinking of mere moments before.

"Happy to see me?" he asked, laughing, as he brushed past me, kissing the top of my head as he went. "I brought some peanut butter."

"Great," I answered, closing the door, before reality came crashing in again, and my forehead creased in confusion. "Peanut butter?"

"I thought we could have dinner together, we haven't done that in a while, hmm? And you said you weren't doing anything tonight, so..." he spread his arms in a exaggerated way. "Here I am!"

I had to laugh, the whole situation was so typically Henry I couldn't help it. No-one else could come over unannounced, armed with merely a pot of peanut butter which looked like it had been happily dug into already, and act like everything was normal.

"Great," I smiled, eyeing the peanut butter. "You want to get some toast going?"

"We aren't going to try something new?" Henry mock pouted.

Toast and peanut butter was a kind of tradition with us, every time he came over for dinner we never had anything remotely substantial, preferring to stick with peanut butter and toast.

"Feel free to cook up anything you want, I'm going to have a shower. I'll be about fifteen minutes, 'kay?" I ruffled his hair as I walked past, to which he said in a deadpan voice, not looking up from the label on the peanut butter;

"Don't touch the hair, honey."

I shook my head, grinning, and was about to go into the shower, when he called me back. I looked down into his worried face, and my heart ached slightly, wondering what was wrong.

"Henry?"

"Can I ask you something?" he asked quietly.

"Any time. What is it?" I crouched down by the chair he sat on, next to the kitchen table, and looked into his dark eyes, my hand on the back on the chair. When he spoke, it was low-pitched and deadly serious --

"Do you know how many calories are in peanut butter?"

•••••

I stood in the shower, soaping my body, as I thought about Henry. He'd started laughing the second after he asked about the peanut butter, and patted my shoulder, practically in hysterics at how seriously I'd taken his joke.

Okay, I know that it might seem that Henry had problems, but he didn't -- he just had an odd sense of humour -- often amusing, just as often ridiculous.

As I leant against the wall, I slipped on the soapy froth, and fell, letting out a scream.

I fought to get my balance back, clinging on to the side, while the spray battered my face, as the door banged open and Henry sprinted in, his face scared. 'What the -- fuck -- " he quickly caught hold of my body in his arms as I fell towards the stone floor.

"Damn -- what happened?" his voice trailed off as his gaze dropped downwards, and he stood still, staring wordlessly at my bare body. He let out a soft noise, as I couldn't move, I was physically incapable of moving away at that moment.

He closed his eyes, and breathed in deeply, his fingers tight on my arms, as I felt something hard stir underneath me.

There was a loud ping from the kitchen, seeming totally misplaced in the current atmosphere.

Henry's eyes flicked open, glancing towards the kitchen before he looked at me again, and I stumbled from his arms to my feet, reaching with numb fingers for a long towel. He stood watching me, until I met his eyes and we looked at each other for immeasurable seconds before he bent his head, his thick, dark hair swinging in his face, and left the room.

•••••

I stabbed my fork into a piece of toast smothered in peanut butter, before lifting it to my mouth. Henry sat watching me, a smile dawning on his face.

"Rather a extravagant way to eat toast, isn't it? Is the fork really necessary?"

I threw him a look, hunching over the table as I chewed on the toast. After I swallowed my mouthful, I replied, "true. But it's still kind of fun."

He chuckled. "Fair enough. I used to do that with my cornflakes. Funnily enough, it never worked." I smiled; his words brought back a memory of the same little boy sitting on my bed with a bowl of cereal in his lap and a fork in his hand, explaining matter-of-factly how to eat the cereal with a fork.

"Good times," I murmured, looking up and meeting his eyes for a second.

He smiled at me, slightly tentatively I thought, before stuffing his toast in his mouth and chewing it whole.

"Now, that's elegant," I commented ironically, shaking my head under the look he threw at me, his cheeks bulging like an oversized hamster.

About ten minutes later, during which we reminisced, anything to keep from talking about the earlier incident, he glanced at his watch and made a face.

"Got to get going, I'm afraid," he said apologetically, "nice seeing you."

As I rose from my seat and passed him his coat, he glanced at me and his face brightened.

"By the way," he started, "there's a party thing at that place down the road tomorrow night, if you come I'll probably see you there."

I considered it for a second, reasoning that it would be worthwhile to simply get out of the house, and I didn't have anything to do anyway.

"Okay," I said after a second, "I'll be there. Around nine?"

"Sounds good," he agreed, kissing me on my forehead as he left the flat. "See you."

I closed the door after him, and closed my eyes, leaning my head against it.

Oh, God, how could this have happened? It's not like I ran around showing my naked body to the world, so why on Earth had some evil psychopath who'd replaced God made this happen? It was terrible, he'd never think of me the same way again, how could I face him, how could I look at that face, how could I look at those eyes that had been staring at me so intensely ever again?

"Fuck," I said out loud, the ugly word seeming to reverberate around me, causing some relief. I said it again, louder, banging my head against the door, before I propelled myself off it, and went to clean the plates and then brush my teeth and wash before going to bed.

Lying awake, I sighed, unable to close my eyes without them somehow opening before five minutes had passed.

Henry.

His name just kept running through my head. He had been my first kiss, years ago when we were experimenting, wanting to see what all the fuss was about. I remember he'd held on to my waist, and closed his eyes, but afterwards he'd said it wasn't anything like he'd imagined. I agreed with him out loud, but secretly thought to myself that it was exactly how I'd imagined, only a million times better -- but how could I have said that to him?

I'd held on to that memory, but it had faded with time, to be replaced by images of him kissing other girls, his hands buried in their hair as he cooed against their mouths. I remembered one moment of our kiss; the first electric spark running through my body as his lips first touched mine. The rest had faded away.

I rolled over on to my stomach, grabbing my pillow and holding it over my head. My thoughts briefly turned to Amie; she should have been home by now.

As though she was reading my mind, the front door banged open, and I heard the clatter of her keys being flung on the table and her shoes thumping on the wooden floor as she took them off. I groaned into my mattress as she closed the door to her bedroom, knowing by the rumble of voices that she had brought a guy home. She was a typical man-eater, with long, glossy, dark brown hair that framed a creamy pale face with the brightest green eyes you've ever seen. Some people thought she was a slut, but I knew she was just looking for the one -- but not going about it in the best way.

As my fingers started to wander below my waist, I closed my eyes and stretched out, letting out a soft moan that somehow turned into "Henry..."

•••••

The next evening, I wandered into the place at about 9:30, breathing in the familiar smell of beer and fake pine scent, which was a trademark of this place.

As the music was cranked up, the heavy, regular beat a deep imprint in my mind, my eye was drawn to a tall man with dark hair; Henry.

I took a deep breath, and closed my eyes for a second, when I was startled by a light touch on my shoulder.

I turned around quickly, seeing a man who I'd never seen around here before. He smiled at me, looking me up and down quickly before focusing on my face.

"Hi," he said, his white teeth glinting in the subdued lights. "I'm Joel."

"Fran." I answered, my mind a million miles away from this conversation, as I was acutely aware of Henry, knowing he was close to me.

Joel nodded, and glanced around to the middle of the floor, where several couples were dancing. He held out a hand, and gestured with his head. "Dance with me?" he asked.

I considered for a second, reasoning that I came here to have fun, so I might as well dance with him and try to forget about the unfortunate incident of the previous night. "Okay," I smiled at him; taking his hand, feeling his soft skin, cool around mine.

He grinned, and we walked out on to the floor, his arms sliding around my waist as we turned to face each other. I let my eyes drift over his face. I couldn't deny that he was good looking, but he wasn't really my type. I'd never been the kind of girl to go for guys who looked like they spent half their day on a rugby pitch, the other half preening themselves in front of the mirror -- and Joel looked just like that. Then again, maybe I was wrong.

I snapped out of my reverie, as I felt him move in closer to me, his breath caressing my neck as he whispered to me.

"You're beautiful,"

Warning bells suddenly started to peal frantically inside my head, the last guy who'd told me that ten seconds after I met him had tried to make me have sex with him four weeks into the relationship, and almost succeeded until I found out that he was seeing two other girls behind my back. I mentally shook my head, telling myself that was in the past, why should it be the same now.

He moved his hand from my waist to my neck, playing with the red strands of curly hair that had escaped from my ponytail. His soft lips kissed my neck, and I subconsciously tensed my arms around his waist as he moved his mouth from my neck up to my collarbone, his hand leaving my hair and stroking my face, cupping my chin in his palm.

As his lips touched mine gently, I got a terrible feeling that this was wrong, so wrong, and I pulled away, to see Henry watching from the other side of the room with a dreadful expression on his face, like he was torn in two.

Joel tried to pull me to him again, but I stepped back, eluding his advances as his face creased in confusion.

"What's wrong, baby?' he asked,

"I don't think I want to dance with you anymore," I muttered, looking at the floor, my eyes itching to look on Henry.

'What? Why not?"

I opened my mouth to tell him -- although I didn't know what words were going to come out, when a beautifully familiar voice cut across.

"Because she's coming home with me." Henry said from beside me, I could tell from his tone that he was deadly serious.

Joel looked at him, and his face twisted into an exasperated expression.

"You could have told me your boyfriend was over there," he hissed at me, and walked off.

I turned to face Henry, and the expression on his face was heart-rending, and oh, so confusing to me.

"Why are you looking at me like that?" I whispered, unable to tear my eyes away from his face.

He was silent for a second, his brown eyes intensely fixed on my face as he took hold of my hands, holding them gently in his own.

"Because I don't think I ever saw how beautiful you are better than I do now," he murmured, his body totally still, except for his hands, which stroked mine gently. "I don't know how I could have missed it."

My chest was hurting, my mind a whirl as I felt ready to cry, so unable to believe what he was telling me. 'But -- "

"There aren't any buts, not any more," he whispered to me, his hands moving to cup my face. "Please, just let this happen."

The explosion of feeling as his lips touched mine was beautiful, my body moving close to his as we moved together, caught in out own secret world. Opening his mouth gently, he explored, the amazing sensation so unbelievably intense. My hand rose to touch his hair, the soft feeling underneath my fingertips making me moan softly into his mouth.

We slowly parted, his eyes tenderly watching me, as his hand still held my chin, a moment absolutely perfect between us.

"Let me make love to you," he said softly, and as I nodded, he took my hand and we left, hand in hand.

*

I will remember to finish this one soon, I promise.

romanticredhead

A redhead with a passion.

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