After the 1st Kiss - Part 4

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Pri was sweet and it was clear she liked me. She had long blonde hair that smelled fruity, skinny long legs, and a cute face. There was absolutely nothing to dislike about her. So we started dating. Kissing her felt good, but we never escalated to groping and after every kiss, I felt guilty.

I knew that I didn't like Pri as much as she liked me. But I wanted to be normal. To go back to laughing with my friends and to have someone of my own. Alex had moved on, why couldn't I? I wondered this one night as Pri leaned her head against my shoulder on her parents' porch swing.

"Liam," she whispered, placing her hand on my thigh. Her parents were out. I knew what coming here had meant. My body was willing. As her hand inched further inward, I could tell―my body had no qualms doing anything with her. It wanted to. But when I looked into Pri's blue eyes, I knew I shouldn't. She kissed me and I pulled away.

"Sorry, Pri," I said. "I want to, I really do but... I'm just... I'm not ready."

She was quiet. I don't know what expression she made because I didn't want to look at her face. "Oh... It's okay."

Even after our awkward parting that night, her words seemed genuine. She didn't invite me to her house when her parents weren't home again. I walked her to class by the hand, over in the grade 11 wing and kissed her cheek when we parted. She was smart like Alex.

"Do you want to hang out this weekend?" she asked as we stood outside her classroom door one day.

I heard a bunch of guffaws and looked over to see Reed's friends. One was thrusting his hips obscenely. "He was on Clara within 5 minutes!"

"Liam?"

I looked at Pri and turned her so she couldn't see the boys. "Yeah. That sounds―"

Someone's laughter trailed into a question that put all my focus on the group. "But isn't Reed still dating that grade 10 kid? They fucked again not too long ago."

"What he doesn't know won't hurt him."

"Hey, guys." My eyes widened to see Reed strut up behind them, motorcycle helmet under his arm. He hooked his other arm around a friend's neck in a tight grip and said through his teeth, "You fuckers gossipin' about me, eh?" He let go. "Just so you know, I'm serious about Alex."

"And Clara?"

"Not serious about her." He shrugged.

"Liam." Pri was calling me, but I didn't care. If he said anything demeaning about Alex― "Li―!" Reed turned his head towards us and Pri yanked my arm and pulled me into the classroom.

"What―" I nearly snapped, asking her what she was doing.

"Liam, don't. You can't get suspended again."

I wondered why she was talking about something like suspension, confused until I looked down and saw that at the end of the arm she was holding, my hand was balled into a tight fist. "He's cheating on Alex," I blurted.

"I know. But you can't hit him." Pri sighed. "Talk to Alex, instead. Or tell Alex's gay friend. Get him to tell Alex."

I let out a frustrated sigh. I really didn't want to entrust it to someone else. And if I was the one to tell him, maybe, just maybe we could reconcile. Even if Alex couldn't be my friend, he could at least stop hating me. I really wanted to knock Reed's teeth out first, but from Alex's cold reaction to me punching Dameon, I knew me hurting his boyfriend would just make him hate me more.

So I fought hard with myself and kept my hands deep in my pockets.

"Why is Liam so grumpy?" Jeremy asked at lunch.

Pri glanced over at me. "We―"

"Pri," I stopped her.

"Alex's boyfriend is cheating on him."

"Pri!"

She frowned and lifted her hands as she shrugged. "Maybe they can help!"

"Help? What are they going to do? Jeremy doesn't even fucking care."

Jeremy leaned back with wide eyes. "Whoa. Why do you care? We aren't. Friends. With Alex. Anymore."

"So we just don't give a shit about him then?" I said with a laugh of disbelief.

"Yes, Liam," Jeremy replied, leaning forward and looking me straight in the eyes. "Yes."

I glanced over at Kareem for some input. Noticing my eyes, he shifted his nervously. "Liam... Alex has his own life. He can make his own decisions and figure things out for himself. He doesn't need you to protect him." Kareem gazed at me with eyes that were worried. Worried he'd said too much. Worried that I cared. Worried about how I'd react.

I stared back at him blankly. "So everyone thinks that it's none of my business. I shouldn't do anything."

Jeremy and Kareem nodded as well as one of Danielle's other friends.

Danielle looked at me with pity from Jeremy's lap. "Alex has moved on from your friendship, Liam. I think you should too."

Everyone was watching me as I processed their words. I glanced at Pri, thinking maybe she felt differently. After all, she'd told them thinking they could help. But when our eyes met, she looked away.

"You're basically stranger―"Jeremy began to say until Kareem slapped his arm and shook his head, then gestured to me. My eyes were down, but I could see it all. "It's just fucking weird, man," Jeremy said. Kareem shifted uncomfortably, clearly wishing Jeremy had kept his mouth shut.

"It's weird," I repeated without thinking. I felt a lump form in my throat again. And I stood from the table. "Pri, I'll text you later."

"Where are you going?" Pri asked.

Jeremy was looking at me with a sneer and eyes full of distaste.

I didn't answer Pri and just left the cafeteria. I went to the nurse's office, complaining that I felt sick. It was lunch, so the nurse didn't press me for details and just let me lie down. I stared at the fabric of the curtain and traced the light geometric pattern with my eyes.

They were right. I knew Alex had moved on. I knew we were strangers now. I knew it. But I didn't like it.

A/N: What are your thoughts on Liam's perspective so far? Is it what you expected? Does it change your opinion on anything from Alex's side?

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A/N: What are your thoughts on Liam's perspective so far? Is it what you expected? Does it change your opinion on anything from Alex's side?

Next chapter, we'll be switching back to the present timeline again where Liam is visiting Alex. Let me tell you, the drama is just getting started.

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