This story was written in response to the one-word prompt, “clip.”
“Did you see Marina’s YouTube clip?”
Trevor noticed how Ayana’s cheeks flushed a rosy red at the mention of Marina. She’d obviously seen the clip. He wondered if she would ever tell her how she felt. It’s not like Marina would be terrible to her if she didn’t feel the same way. Marina was one of the nicest people he’d ever met. She never intentionally hurt anyone. She knew how it felt to hurt. But Ayana didn’t know her as well as Trevor, so he decided to give her the nudge she needed.
“Well, what did you think? Her song was dope, right?”
He noticed Ayana’s mouth twist into a slight smile and he knew now was the time to push. Not too much, but just enough.
“Her lyrics were really good, don’t you think?”
“Yeah, they were good. She was great. She’ll probably be a star.”
Maybe she wasn’t telling Marina that she’d practically been in love with her for a year not because she was too shy, but because she didn’t want to hold Marina back or get in her way. Maybe she was worried that if they did start dating and Marina became famous, she’d only end up being cheated on. Her ex had done a number on her.
Maybe he should stop pushing. He loved them both; they were his closest friends. He wanted to see them both happy, but now he didn’t know if that meant having anything to do with getting them together. He wouldn’t want either of them to end up hurting the other.
“Yeah, probably. She’s got real talent. She’s better than most of the so-called-artists today.” Trevor paused, fighting the urge to flat out ask why Ayana just didn’t put her feelings out there.
“People change when they get famous.”
“Yeah, but do you honestly believe Marina will? I mean, she’s not like most people. Marina’s Marina. Our Marina. She might make more money, but she’s still our sweet, wouldn’t-hurt-a-fly Marina. Don’t you think?”
He saw Ayana thinking about what he’d said. Her face was doing that scrunchy-concentration thing she always did when contemplating.
“I guess not. She’s pretty down to earth. It would probably take a lot for her to change too much.”
“Then why aren’t you telling her how you feel?” The words slipped out before Trevor could stop them. Well, they were out there now.
“I …” Ayana began to say something but thought better and closed her mouth. She looked down at the floor as if she were studying the fabric. He noticed her shoulders droop and she was chewing her bottom lip. “I just can’t. I don’t think she feels the same way and I don’t know if I can take that kind of rejection right now. If she doesn’t feel the same or even want to try dating, that changes the whole dynamic of our relationship and I want her in my life, even if friendship is all it’ll ever be between us.”
So, there it was. She didn’t want to ruin their friendship. Something was better than nothing.
“But, what if she does feel the same and you both just never say anything? How is that fair to either one of you?”
“She doesn’t. I just know. Just like you knew Jessica wasn’t into you, remember? How did that go for you? You knew she probably didn’t like you as more than friends and you told her anyway. You two aren’t even on speaking terms anymore.” Trevor knew she had a point, but it hurt to hear her talk about him like that. At least he’d been adult enough to say how he’d felt. It was only because he did so that he found out Jessica wasn’t the one for him. He was glad to know that … now.
“You’re right. But, you can’t use the Jessica experience as a scapegoat. You and Marina are not me and Jessica. You don’t know what you can be if you don’t find out.”
Trevor heard Ayana sigh, letting her hang-ups dissipate into thin air. He’d gotten to her. And he was glad for it. Maybe their relationship will change. But what is life without change? They may end up head over heels in love, or they could end up not talking anymore because things become awkward when feelings aren’t reciprocated. Either way, Ayana will know, and he’d be there no matter what.
“She comes home from Asheville tonight?”
“Okay. But if I tell her and she doesn’t want anything to do with me afterwards, I’m going to need you to be close by. With a couple bottles of wine.”
“Of course … Hey, I’m proud of you.”
Ayana’s nerves were already wreaking havoc and he knew her mind was going a mile a minute. He walked the couple of feet between them and put his arms around her and kissed the top of her head. He may not be able to calm her nerves, but he could try. He wished he could tell her that everything would be okay, that he knew Marina felt the same about her, but he couldn’t. All he knew is Ayana deserved to know one way or another.