He just stood there, staring at me in silence, waiting for a reply. I was frozen. My mind raced as I tried to process what had just happened. Tom, my best (and really only) friend for the last several months just kissed me and told me he loves me. It felt like a dream come true that he actually seemed to feel the same way for me as I felt for him, but what was I supposed to say to him? Before I could formulate a response, a look of embarrassment and defeat crossed Tom's face. "I understand," he said, and started to turn away from me. My body moved without my command, reaching my arm out to him. I grabbed his collar, and turned him around. He looked sad and confused. I didn't say anything, but rather moved my hands from his collar to his neck and pulled his face toward mine. Our lips connected and I could feel his surprise melt into joy. His hands wrapped around my waist and pulled me closer. I loved the taste of him on my lips. Before I knew it, Tom had deepened the kiss and our tongues danced. All time stopped. No thoughts ran through my head. It felt like we were alone in complete silence, cut off from the rest of the world.
I did not know how long it was before we broke the kiss. It could have been minutes or hours for all that time meant in those moments. We stood there, foreheads resting against each other, catching our breath. "I love you too," I told him. The words burned satisfyingly coming out of my mouth. I had wanted to tell him for so long (had it only been a few days?) that, when the weight lifted from my shoulders, I felt better than I had in a long time. Tom started laughing and I joined in, the ecstasy of this impossible moment bubbling over. Our giggles floated through the air like wind chimes and there was nothing outside of those woods.