I've never kissed a girl before. Well, not until now. It's squishy, but good. I think it's good, but it's hard to be sure. Dani appears to be frozen.

Am I doing it wrong? Is she doing it wrong?

I realise that I am frozen too, our faces pressed against each other with an awkward lack of movement.

I pull away. Dani stares at me with her mouth open in bewilderment.

My heart thumps in my chest. "Did I just make it weird?"

She is silent.

I gulp. "I made it weird, didn't I?"

More silence.

I fiddle with my hands. "Uh, anyway. Lunch. Gotta go. Bye."

I pat her on the shoulder stiffly and speed-walk down the pier to my car.

What have I done?


I drift through lunch only semi-present in conversation with my family. Fortunately, they believe me when I feign tiredness from schoolwork.'

Soon enough I'm upstairs in my room, sprawled on my back like a starfish across my periodic table bedspread. I'm not sure whether to savour the strange tingling feeling on my lips, or rinse my mouth out and try to forget what happened.

I should have just left when I first intended to, and then none of this would have happened. I don't have room in my head for anymore emotions, I'm already full to the brim. I knew I had to leave. I should have followed my gut when I had the chance.

It was extremely surprising to receive a message from Dani last night, saying that she wanted to hang out this morning. Our short history is certainly colourful, but it's been far from smooth sailing. And as much as I hate to admit it, most of the mistakes were mine.

My visions of Dani have been highly unstable throughout the short time I've known her, but seeing her sitting on the end of the pier, smiling as she imagined her dead best friend back to her side, made me see everything differently.

When Dani came up behind me on the pier after Lola's funeral, all I felt was the strongest sense of loathing that I had felt in a long time. I had lost one of my closest friends who meant the world to me, and here was a girl who stood by and watched as she was tormented by Caitlyn acting as though she was the victim.

Dani's euology was full of glossy stories about treasured memories, goofy antics and strong connections between herself, Lola and Caitlyn. At the time, I found it insulting to Lola's memory. I knew better than anyone that Caitlyn wasn't the type for laughing and skipping in the sunshine and talking about feelings.

But what I didn't pay attention to was the unease on Dani's face as she spoke, and the nervousness in her eyes. Her voice was quivering, which would be expected at a funeral, but it was tinted with regret, guilt and disbelief as well as sadness. Dani didn't believe what she was saying, but she was doing it to keep the peace.

Dani didn't come to the pier to bother me, she came for the same reason I did. I just happened to be there too. We were both still cowering in the face of tragedy, and neither of us had the emotional capacity to extend the hand of friendship to the other. I can be socially inept at the best of times, let alone when I'm fixated on sadness and loss. I let my grief manifest itself as anger, and Dani bore the brunt of it. She also suffered through the consequences of my paranoia, mistrust, bossiness and even downright selfishness. I blamed her for the death of her best friend. I guilt-tripped her into helping me uncover the details of her death when she most likely just wanted to forget about it. I jumped to the conclusion that she had betrayed me multiple times with no evidence, and yelled at her for keeping in contact with her only remaining friend.

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