“Morning, Sunshine,” he said it while extending a hand with her vanilla cappuccino cup. “Ah, as always, dearest, right on time!” She took the coffee and inhaled the dazzling smell. She raised her eyes to him and smiled. Best friends they have been for more than four years. When she first joined this company, his was the only face that made her feel everything was going to be alright. From their first chat, she knew they’d make good friends. And ever since, they grew closer like skin and flesh. She cannot imagine her life without him in it. He was the first she ran to when she broke up with her ex-fiancé. She was the first he told about the crush he had on their colleague. They do not finish each other’s sentences; they say the same words at the same time. “I have some news,” he said, “you’ll be homesick for two weeks.” She frowned with a question mark in her eyes. “You know about my trip to Ireland for the new project there. I was discussing it with the boss a few minutes ago and we agreed I can use your help there. So, start packing!” She jumped off her chair and screamed in a low voice: “WHAT?! Me? Ireland? I cannot believe it!!! You are the BEST! I love you. Ireland?! NO! I think I’ll need a raincoat! I want to dance! Have I told you you’re the BEST?! I want to do something HUGE for you. Name your price, Mister.” She was still almost jumping with joy with her hands fluttering like a carefree bird – a movement she does unconsciously when she is extremely happy. “Come on,” he said with a theatrical movement, “you know I did not do it for any of that. But you can buy me lunch for a whole week.” He had this innocent look on his face that made her burst in laughter while saying: “I cannot believe you!” Her features grew tender when she looked at him before saying softly: “How can you be that wonderful?!” “It’s in my genes!” He teased her with a wink.
They arrived Saturday night which gave them all of Sunday to explore the place. Powerscourt waterfalls. She could not believe she was actually there. The fresh air was maddeningly… fresh! And that vein of water running down the mountains almost brought blissful tears to her eyes. “I love you, I love you, I love you!” she said it with a big smile with her back still facing him. “I love you, too.” They’re used to saying that simple phrase to each other. But this time there was something different in his voice, a tone she never heard before that made her turn around and face him. He was a few inches away. She still had that wide smile on her face. He was not smiling. He just looked at her, into her… inducing what he truly meant by these three words. Her eyes widened a bit and her smile froze before disappearing completely. She could not tear her eyes from his. She felt.. blank! Utter disbelief and slow-motion understanding were weighing upon her consciousness. What happened? What changed him? Or has he been feeling like this for quite some time and succeeded in hiding his feelings? Was he discrete about them for fear of losing her and she just did not open her eyes wide enough to see them? He stood there with his amiable face, not pressuring her for an answer yet disclosing all his affection in that look in his eyes.
Pacing her hotel room did not help her clear her thoughts. What should she do now? She could not pretend she did not know about his feelings. She was positive he would not open the subject with her unless she opens the door for him even with a small gesture. Should she go for it? But he is her best friend. What if they fit together as best friends but not as lovers? What if they venture into this new territory and one of them would let the other down? She knew for sure he wouldn’t let her down. His embracing presence throughout the past four years assured her he wouldn’t. What about her? She loved him most dearly but not in that romantic, passionate way. Well, she detested those silly believes of “love from first sight”, “sparks” and so on but she was not sure she could turn her love for him as a friend into that as a man… her man. If she took his hand, she would be throwing away all chances of finding that sweeping love for she would close her doors to all other men but him. Is she willing to take the sacrifice? She often heard people saying: “Marry a friend even if he is not your lover and not a lover who is not your friend.” Could she do that? She knew he’d make her happy and would never let her fall. But was this enough for her? She had no clue!
For the following five days, they have dealt with each others in a normal way. He did not hint to what had happened that day or to his hidden emotions, and she did not respond neither positively nor negatively. However, she could see this strange mix of hope and despair in his eyes. But it never left his eyes to any of his features; his lips were always smiling joyfully as ever and those playful dimples kept dancing on his cheeks as ever. On Saturday afternoon, she picked up her phone and dialed his room number. “Take me out,” she said quickly as if she was afraid she might take it back if she gave it some thought. “Okay,” she could hear his smiling voice that she loves so much, “be ready in thirty minutes”.
He took her to a very fine restaurant designed as an old castle overlooking a small lake. The place was breathtaking that she felt light at heart once she laid her eyes on it. Food was painfully delicious to the extent that she finished every single thing that was placed before her on the table – something she usually didn’t do. After dinner, they moved to the terrace and ordered some warm drinks there. She did not want to sit down. So they stood by the brick fence talking. He was the best company she could ever ask for, the best listener, the best talker… her best friend. There was some music sneaking to where they stood. “Would you dance with me?” she asked looking into his friendly black eyes. He took her hand and swayed gently with her. She kept staring at the buttons of his shirt. For the past five days she started looking at him in a different way. She did not intend to. She just found herself longing to hear his warm voice and see his welcoming features. Could it be that she had the same feelings for him as he for her but never recognized them but when he started stirring them? She was very scared that she might hurt him and hurt herself along the way. But isn’t life about chances? Could she miss on this one? Should she keep a safe great thing sacrificing a potential greater thing or should she take her chances and claim what life had to offer her?
“So pensive, young lady.” He said it while lovingly touching the tip of her nose with his finger. She smiled at him for a few moments before whispering softly: “No more, dearest.” She was learning to love him, in a different way. And she knew he would be patient and understanding enough to take her hand and lead her through the way. She rested her head on his chest and placed her hand on his heart. He understood, and held her closer.