21 - Honesty Is The Best Policy

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I would not say I was usually a nervous person, maybe an anxious person sometimes but definitely not someone who grew nervous with that strange flutter of movement that sits in the pit of your stomach. It was a feeling I was coming somewhat accustomed to without even knowing it, all because of a boy. Peter Parker made me nervous now, something that I would have never imagined happening.

We had bailed on dinner plans and it was not shocking to our small group of friends. I caught the eye of Gwen, trying to keep a straight face while Mary Jane gave a little giggle. I swear that girl looked like she was about to reach out and hug me. It was Harry that made a comment, typically in character. "Well, keep it children friendly you two. Florence has only kissed one boy."

I stood on that corner, the busy street full of noise. Harry was smirking, rather proudly too. I sent him a quick glare, wanting to actually hurl myself in his direction and make sure he never grinned again. "Stop boosting, Osborn. It lasted a second and you nearly squealed like a little girl when it was over."

That took the stupid grin off his face. Peter snickered beside me and that little sound coming from him made me smile too. "Alright, alright. Get out of here before you ruin my whole reputation, Parsons." Harry jolted back with.

We started walking away, letting the others head in the direction of the burger place. We weren't even a few meters down the street when a hand touched my wrist, twisting me around. Mary Jane gave me a sweet smile, her voice soft in my ear. "Remember, Flo. Honestly is always the best policy in a relationship." Her hand squeezed mine lightly, her eyes swinging over to Peter. "Have fun you two." She added in before bouncing away, her red hair dancing behind her in the wind. We watched her go back to Harry and Gwen without giving us a second glance.

"Walk me home?" I suggested over towards Peter, not really knowing what to say. I knew this conversation was going to be somewhat difficult. I didn't even like talking about Colton with my parents, let alone Peter Parker. I wasn't too sure how the words were going to form from my mouth to even tell him about making a promise to my brother to stay away from him. 

The two of us walked in a nice silence, my stomach floating around uncomfortably. The city life was loud around us but it didn't stop my mind from racing. We sat next to each other on the subway, jolting around like dominos which each bump in the tracks. I couldn't stop wondering how people saw us to be honest. Two kids sitting side by side on the busy subway, knees touching lightly, trying to hide the blush in my cheeks. I couldn't stop thinking about what Colton would have said if he saw me now. 

When we reached my dark porch, we waited outside my front door. Nervously and out of habit, I curled some hair behind my ear as Peter shifted on his feet. "I know you heard what I told Mary Jane on Halloween." I blurted out. 

Peter's eyes snapped up, glancing across at me. 

"I don't want you to think little of my brother, or me." I went on slowly. "But I promised him a long time ago I wouldn't let a boy take anything from me and at the time, you were the boy. It was a silly promise but when he died, it was the only thing I could do to keep him alive."

He didn't say a word and I was thankful for that. 

"I realise now, I built up so many walls to keep you out and I can't change that, not after all these years..." I paused, letting my head fall back for a second, trying to stop the tears. "I am sorry for how I've treated you for a long time, Peter. You never deserved that."

He inched forward, maybe sensing I needed someone to hold me but with a slight shake of my head, he stopped. "I don't know how you don't hate me, frankly. I kind of hate myself, for a lot of things...but how I treated you wasn't fair and I regret it."

Peter tilted his head to side, his teeth grazing against his bottom lip. "To be honest with you, I was so stupid by pushing you away." I went on softly. 

"Why?" He asked quietly. 

I gave a pathetic little laugh, shrugging my shoulders hopelessly. "I'm not happy a lot of time, especially around this time of year. I think sometimes I focus too much on school, on beating you that I push aside that unhappiness..." I paused, my eyes dragging up to watch his expression. "But when I'm with you, the feeling in my chest doesn't seem so tight."

A tear leaked down my cheek, hot on my cold skin. Peter didn't hesitate to move closer, his fingertips brushing away the tear. My breath halted in my lungs, feeling his soft touch. "I never hated you. I could never hate you."

My lips stretched into a little smile. "Really?" 

Peter nodded. "Your promise to your brother wasn't silly either. I made a promise to my uncle too and I'm going to honour it the only way I know how to." 

I didn't ask what that promise was because of the glassy look in his eyes. I knew deep down I didn't want to know what that promise was, something like that was personal. I had only just come to terms with my own promise now and Colton had been gone for two years. Peter stepped forward again, the space between us decreasing rapidly. I felt the flutter in my stomach, the warmth of his skin coming off him. I wanted to curl into his arms and rest my head against his chest to hear his beating heart and wonder if it matched my own. "About that kiss that didn't happen--" I started, feeling rather silly bringing it up right now. 

Peter gave me a grin. "Don't mention it."

It was my turn to question him. "Really?" I wasn't sure whether to be glad he had brushed over it like it was nothing or to be offended. I had been thinking about the almost kiss for days now, playing the scene out in my head on a continuous loop. 

He leaned in, his hand brushing away some hair that had fallen in my face. "I think when the timing is right, we'll have our moment."

The pit in my stomach flared again with movement and I almost felt lightheaded but only in the best way possible. I wanted to hear him say it again, our moment. There was a heat in my cheeks and my eyes dropped to the wooden panels below me, trying to hide the blush. Peter gave a little awkward laugh and stepped away. A blare of police sirens filtered through the quiet street and our heads snapped up to watch the lights dance off the dark houses across the street. I noticed the way Peter's body tensed, something that I had never noticed before.

"I should go--" He started randomly.

A little dumbfounded by his sudden words I just nodded, tugging at my jacket and fishing my keys from my bag. The moment had passed, the reality of things setting back in. We weren't two kids in love, we were just two kids who didn't hate each other with the possibility of moving forward on a positive note. "Okay, yeah. I'll see you at school, we should probably try and work on our assignment."

Peter was already down the front porch steps, already in a hurry. "Uh yeah, sounds good." I watched from my spot as he threw a wave in goodbye over his shoulder before taking off down the street, blending into the dark shadows. When I couldn't see him any longer, I unlocked my front door and stepped into my cold house. The door shut behind me and I rested up against it, a little flutter in my chest. 

Our moment. Those words made me smile again and I lamely shook my head at myself. 

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