P.S. I Like You(3)By: Kasie West
Lucas Dunham. He was in the middle of a group of other senior guys on a bench, his hoodie zipped up, his earbuds in, staring into space. Like he was present and not present. A feeling I could relate to.
Isabel followed my gaze and sighed. “You should talk to him, you know.”
I laughed, feeling my cheeks warm up. “You remember what happened last time I tried that.”
“You got nervous, that’s what happened.”
“I couldn’t say anything. Nothing at all. He and his cool hair and his hipster clothes scared me,” I finished in a whisper.
Isabel tilted her head while she looked at him as if disagreeing with my assessment of his appearance. “You just need practice. Let’s start with someone you haven’t been pining over for the last two years.”
“I have not been pining over Lucas … ”
I trailed off when she leveled me with her knowing stare. She was right. I had been pining. Lucas was probably the coolest guy I knew … Well, I didn’t really know him, but that probably made him more cool. He was a year older than us. He wore his dark hair long and his clothes consisted of band tees or old-school polo shirts, a contrast that made me unable to put him in a category.
“Double with me and Gabriel next Friday!” Isabel announced suddenly. “I’ll find you a date.”
“Come on. It’s been a while since you’ve been on a date.”
“That’s because I’m awkward and weird and it’s not fun at all for me or the poor soul who agrees to go out with me.”
“That’s not true.”
I crossed my arms.
“You just need to go out more than once … or twice … with someone so they see how fun you are,” Isabel argued, adjusting her backpack straps. “You’re not awkward with me.”
“I’m totally awkward with you but you’re not under pressure to eventually kiss me, so you put up with it.”
Isabel laughed and shook her head. “That’s not why I put up with it. I put up with it because I like you. We just have to find a guy who you can be yourself around.”
I put my hand over my heart. “And on that hot fall day, Isabel started on the impossible quest of finding a suitor for her best friend. It would be a lifelong quest. One that would test both her determination and her faith. It would lead her to the brink of insanity, and—”
“Stop,” Isabel interrupted, bumping my shoulder with hers. “It’s that kind of attitude that will make this impossible.”
“That’s exactly what I’ve been trying to say.”
“No, I’m not going to accept that. You’ll see. The right guy for you is out there.”
I sighed, my gaze drifting over to Lucas again. “Iz, seriously, I’m fine. No more setups.”
“Fine, no more setups. But be open or you might miss something right in front of you.”
I flung my arms out to the sides. “Is there anyone more open than me?”
Isabel gave me a skeptical look. She started to answer when a loud voice called out from across the grass. “There she is! Happy anniversary!”
Isabel’s cheeks brightened and she turned toward Gabriel. He jogged the rest of the distance separating them, and lifted her into a hug. They looked gorgeous together—both dark-haired, dark-eyed, and olive-skinned. It was weird seeing Gabriel at our school. He went to the high school across town and I associated him with after-school and weekend events.
“Hey, Lily,” he said to me as he put Isabel down. “Are you coming with us?” His invitation seemed sincere. He really was a nice guy.
“Yeah, is that cool? I heard you were paying and I said, I’m in.”
“Great,” Gabriel said.
“It was a joke, Gabe,” Isabel said.
“Yes, I’m not a charity case.” I was beginning to think they thought I was.
“No, of course not. I just feel bad for not letting you know earlier,” Isabel said.
Gabriel nodded. “It was a surprise.”
“You guys are going to run out of time to actually eat if you keep coddling me. Go. Have fun. And … uh … congratulations. I recently read a book about how two-month anniversaries are the start of forever.”