'Don't open your eyes...don't open your eyes' she kept telling herself. Her whole body was shaking and she couldn't make herself speak. All she could do was sit up and lift her feet. The strong hands she had memorized over the years touched her back and the tears silently rolled down her cheeks.
Neither of them spoke; just pushed and swung in awkward yet comfortable silence.
He had no idea how long he'd been pushing her on that swing and frankly, he didn't care. She was here with him; that's all that mattered. When she started to hum that ridiculous tune she used to hum when she was 'in her happy place' as she described it, he couldn't help but laugh out loud.
Brie dragged her feet on the ground to stop her swinging motion.
"What are you laughing at?" she asked without turning around.
There it was. The first words she spoke to him in a year.
"You Brielle. You still hum that silly tune," he replied softly. "I guess some things never change."
"And sometimes, everything changes," she replied.
"Kristopher don't. Just don't," Brie interrupted trying desperately to hide the quiver in her voice.
Inside, an internal battle raged between her head and her heart. Her heart was begging her to turn around and wrap her arms around him and never let go. Her head was telling her not to. Her head knew that if she looked at him it would be game over. All the feelings would come rushing back and it would only take one look into his dark chocolate eyes for her to melt into a puddle. Her head also knew that if she looked at him with all the love in her heart only to see the same rejection she had seen a year ago, that she wouldn't survive it. But her heart...
"Brie?" he said gingerly as he place his hand on her arm.
'Do it...turn around...NO! Don't...Do it...NO!...Deep breath girl...
"Kristopher," she said slowly as she turned around.
There. She did it. She was facing him; the love of her life. Her breath caught in her throat.
They stared at each other for an eternity; or so it felt like. Who was going to make the first move?
"Brielle," he said softly as he dared to take her hands in his. Tears rolled down her cheeks and began to feverishly shake her head no. Kris was beginning to panic. He had waited a year for this moment and it was about to blow up in his face. He was loosing her...again. He tightened his grip on her hands. He started to say her name again but was stopped when her body was suddenly against his.
Her heart won out.
She wrapped her arms around Kris' neck; twisting her fingers in his now almost shoulder length hair and waited.
His arms snaked tightly around her waist and across her mid-back as he buried his face in her chestnut curls inhaling the smell of sweet coconut that he had missed so much.
And there they stood; holding each other. Neither of them willing to let go; both afraid of what was to come if they did.
Reluctantly they separated, but only enough so they could run their hands over each other; as if to make sure each other was real.
"Brie, I have something i need to say to you," he started.
"No. Please don't apologize. I should be the one to apologize to you."
"No, Brie, I want to..."
"Kris, please let me do this. I'm sorry. I am so, so, so, so sorry. I treated you so badly. Last summer was such a mess. I didn't know how to deal with leaving for school and you going away and I panicked. I should have never done what I did at Michelle's and I should have never tried to blame you for everything. It was me, it was all my fault. And I am so so sorry for just springing that whole I'm in love with you thing so suddenly. It wasn't fair. I had time to come to terms with it, but expected you to just...well...feel the same way. I shut you out when you didn't because I was hurt. God Kris, it hurt so damn bad I wanted to die just so I would stop hurting. I thought if you were out of my life I'd be able to get over you and move on with my life; but I was wrong; so wrong. I can't move on with my life because you are my life; you always have been and you always will be. I can't exist without you. I went to every one of your games last season you know. I couldn't bear to miss you living your dream."
"Are you serious? You were there?"
"Every single game."
"Why didn't you tell me? Or come find me? Or..."
"I couldn't. I was in so much pain Kris. I thought if I watched you it would make me feel better; like I was still part of it, but it didn't. It made me feel worse. It reminded me that I wasn't part of it; I wasn't part of your life anymore and it was all my fault because I pushed you away."
"I don't know what to say Brie. I'm stunned here. You were there, at every game? I know you won't believe this, but I swear to God I could feel you. I thought it was my imagination playing tricks on me because I wanted you there so badly."
"I can't believe this."
"Kristopher," she began, "You were my best friend my whole life. I never wanted to find out what it was like not to have you in my life, but I have. I never meant to fall in love with you, I swear Kris; but I did. And I have to be honest with you; I still am. Now before you say anything let me finish."
"No, Brie let me say..."
"Please Kris, let me get this out because if I don't say it now I never will."
"I am still in love with you; I probably always will be. I know you don't feel the same way and that's okay. I'm not telling you this to pressure you or make you feel bad; I'm not. I get it. You can't spend your whole life feeling one way about someone and then change those feelings. I don't expect you to feel the same way. I'm dealing with the fact that I lost the love of my life, but what this past year has taught me is that I can't deal with losing my best friend. I need you Kristopher; I need my best friend. I know it will be hard for the both of us trying to navigate our relationship knowing that there are feelings there, but I want to try. I really want you to try too. I am nothing without you in my life coconut. I am begging you to forgive me and let me have my best friend back. Can we forget that I told you I'm in love with you and just..."
"Oh my god Brielle, just stop!" He had to put an end to this. He couldn't let it go on any longer.
"No Brie, I'm sorry, but I can't forget. And I can't forgive you."
The tears came and she nodded her head in agreement. "I understand," she managed to get out. "I'm sorry," she cried as she turned to run away.
His hand grabbed her arm, stopping her from going anywhere.
"I can't forget it because it's all I think about," he said.
'What did he just say?'
"And I can't forgive you because there's nothing to forgive."
"I don't understand Kristopher."
"I'm in love with you too Brielle LaRoche. I always have been." He smiled at the look of confusion on her face and before she had the chance to say anything his lips met hers.