He'd been afraid to say anything, but he was also afraid of not figuring out what this all was. They had known each other for years and there'd always been this energy in the air, something he didn't have with any of his other friends, boys or girls. It was new to him, and it sometimes made it difficult for him to think. Over the past few months, that feeling had only gotten worse.
It wasn't always, mostly it was just regular ol' Andy, Elouise and others hanging out. Playing games, watching movies or just talking about random stuff.
And then there were moments like these, where it had gotten awkward enough for them to stop talking for a bit. Not the bad kind of awkward where someone's said something wrong, but more like someone said something embarrassing.
Only that the embarrassing thing hadn't been said out loud yet.
They were sitting in her parents' basement, where they usually hung out. Today it was just the two of them, as Bob and Healy couldn't make it. They were sitting on the couch, both looking at a television with a paused game on it. They both had controllers, but neither was holding one.
He looked at her and saw she'd been looking at him. She looked away as quickly as she could, messing around with a bag of candy at her side.
He gathered up his courage and cleared his throat.
"So, Elouise," he started with half a stammer.
She looked up and half-raised an eyebrow, "Yes?"
"I, uh, I've been thinking," he continued, looking intermittently at her and the wall to his left, "and I, you know, I, so, what I'm trying to say..."
He could kick himself. She raised her eyebrow a little further and a cheeky smile was starting to show.
"I like you," he pushed out before he could think about it too much.
"I know," she said, her cheeky smile now an almost evil grin.
"It's been pretty obvious for a while now," she said, sitting back and relaxing.
He rubbed the back of his head with his hand and chuckled. Then it set in. Having said it, he didn't feel any better yet. In fact, he felt significantly worse. She knew, and he didn't. She had the power in this situation and he'd just handed it to her. At least before he'd said anything, neither of them knew anything for sure.
"So, uh, do you like me?" he tried.
"I like you just fine!" she said, grin still there.
That took him by surprise. He shook his head a little and looked at her with a confused and potentially sad look all over his face.
She chuckled, then broke and laughed loudly.
"Sorry, sorry! I'm just being mean," she said in between laughs and snorts, "I like you too."
"I think so, but I don't really know how any of this works," she said, now slightly less certain of herself.
"Yeah, me neither. Something about hand holding and kissing, I've heard."
"You know, I've heard that too," she said, smiling again, but now without the meanness.
He smiled back and grabbed his controller.
"Another round? Make things less awkward?" he asked, holding the controller up.
She nodded and grabbed her controller.
Stuffing a piece of candy in her mouth, she said "Let's get it on."
Author's note: It's only fair to admit that this story is based on a true story, but the roles were reversed. That was mean of me, but it was funny.