In Love

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It's not until later
in the evening, after I've
already gotten home from
the shopping trip with Nat,
that I allow myself to think
on what had happened.
Or what I had felt
in those moments, that is -
because that is the more
concerning part of the story,
what I'm still questioning
hours after the fact.
Why had it felt
so strange and nerve-racking,
but simultaneously right,
to be with Nat like that?
And why am I still
so flustered about it now?

Euni is out with
her friends tonight, so
I'm left alone as I
lie on my bed, staring
up at the ceiling
of our bedroom.
Everything around me
is about as silent as
my house could ever be,
but my mind is racing
in a deafening whirlwind
of thoughts, most of them
remaining incomprehensible.
I don't even know
what questions to ask
to determine how I'm feeling
right now, which only
serves to frustrate me more.
What am I
supposed to do?

A little late, I remember
when Addie had offered
to be there for me to
talk to whenever
I really needed it, back
at Christmas with that
awful conversation about
Seth and how Euni
had thought then that
we were dating.
That all seems like
so long ago, though I guess
only a couple months have
passed, in all reality.
Now, in March, Seth
and I really are dating,
and the issues brought
up in that conversation
are very real and very relevant.
As I dig out my phone
from under the covers
of my bed, I hope that
Addie’s offer still stands.

I have to text Euni first,
seeing as I don't
have Addie’s number.
She takes forever to respond,
and I spend the time
before she messages me back
swinging my legs and
drumming my fingers
against my legs.
Even if she is
with her friends, she normally
has her phone out
all the time.
It shouldn't take this long.

But she finally does
get back to me, and I
soon am typing my message
to Addie out on the screen
of my phone.
Or trying to, at least -
I don't know what to say,
not really, so I
sit and stare at the
keyboard for a long while,
willing the right words
to flow from my fingers
and into the message box.
What kind of question
do I really want to
ask my cousin
in this situation?
What am I even
wondering about?

I finally just settle
on a simple greeting, putting
off the inevitable issue
of whatever my line
of thought is tonight.
I type out,
it's Matty.
How's college going?

Her reply is
almost immediate.
Hey, cuz!
It's going well,
how are you doing?
And the conversation
goes like that for a bit,
casually exchanging niceties
while I brainstorm for
a way to introduce
my unworded issue.
So what's up?
she asks at last.
You haven't texted me
before now.
Is something wrong?

Well, she caught me.
Frowning at the screen,
I try to think, but
my mind is blank
for at least a couple minutes.
Addie knows Natalia,
sure, but do I
really want to bring
something to do with
an old friend of hers
into this conversation?
And what about Seth?
I'm pretty sure her offer
of help had really just
extended to relationship advice.

So I'm almost surprised
by what I end up typing.
How do you know
when you're in love?
the newest text bubble
reads in a few seconds.
You have a boyfriend,
don't you?
How did you know
that you loved him?

That's a pretty heavy
question, I realize at length,
but as always, Addie
doesn't seem too perturbed.
That's quite the question,
she comments,
mirroring my thought exactly;
I can almost imagine
her laughing as she types.
It's different for everyone,
from what I know.
For me, it just felt right,
like I was supposed to be
with this person, and
that was that.
Like something just clicked.

Did you ever get
nervous around him?
I quickly follow up.
Like, you couldn't control it,
you just couldn't think straight
around him or something?
Isn't that how they always
say you know you like someone?

I guess.
It wasn't really
like that for me, though.
I should have known that,
considering Addie is much more
outgoing than I am.
Of course she wouldn't
get as flustered as me
around other people.
What's this about?
she breaks in a second later.
Is it something to do
with that Seth guy?

I'm dating him now,
I type, again
without thinking first.
We've been together
for a couple months,
I think.

Why didn't you
tell me sooner?

I thought that
Euni would have told you
this long while...
Usually, Euni and Addie
are so close that whatever
my sister knows, my
cousin knows, too.
Considering her behavior
as of late, I guess it shouldn't
be so surprising that she's
slacking in her gossip,
but she and Addie
are as close as anything.
Normal rules don't apply
to their relationship.

It takes a bit longer
for her reply this time.
I can almost feel
her reluctance to say anything,
like a bad omen cast
over the network between
our two phones.
She hasn't been
talking to me
as much lately,
Addie finally admits.
So no, she hasn't.
But anyway, why
are you asking me this
if you already have a boyfriend?

That's a very good question,
one that I don't have
an answer for.
No reason,
I finally type,
balking from the hard
questions, like always.
I should get to bed,
so I'll talk to you later.

Love you, Matty.
Call me any time
if you ever need to
talk again, all right?
I don't even bother
to respond to that,
instead throwing my phone
across the bed as I
flop back against the blankets.
I guess I'm a little frustrated,
but more than that, I'm
just really confused.
Every time I try to
think about how I feel
about Seth, I can only
think of Natalia and how
she clung to me as she
cried in the mall today,
how everything seemed to
stop right there, how
it felt like only she
mattered, just us two there.
I can't help but try
to remember if I've
ever felt like that
around Seth, but can't
think of any instances of it.

Something feels a bit off,
I suddenly realize, like
I'm looking at the world
through a pair of
cracked glasses lenses.
I can't put a name to it,
but something seems to
have shifted from
one moment to the next.
A sense of wrongness pervades
all thoughts of my
boyfriend and best friend -
but before it can get
any worse, I groan
and roll over in my bed,
burying my head
in my pillow.
I'll deal with
whatever this is
tomorrow, I decide.
Tonight definitely
isn't the night for it.


Y'all had better get ready - shit's gonna be going down here in the near future. We're getting towards the end of the story and that means angst galore, lol. I'm so excited though, omf;;;

If you guys liked this chapter, I'd love if you would vote and leave me some feedback!! It'd be very much appreciated <3

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