Chapter 10: Confessions

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"What..." MJ breathes out, her voice fragile and terrified—just hoping she had heard him wrong. "What did you just say?"

They're looking at each other now, and Peter's trying to figure out how she's reacting to all of this, but he can't. And he's scared too, because he planned on keeping this all a secret until the day he died if it meant he could just be there for MJ, and help her, and show her that someone does care for her. And if that meant he had to silently love her through all of it, then so be it.

But he failed. Miserably.

"I love you, MJ," he professes again, this time in a shaky whisper. His voice is trembling, and he can feel the tears spilling down his cheeks, and he's trying to stay brave. Because even though he's crying and shaking through it, it's still the most courageous thing he's probably ever done in his life, because it's the most he's ever had at stake. "I...I think I have for a while now and I just didn't realize it."

They're both still and wordless, and Peter's heart is pounding, and he wishes she would just say something—even if it was in anger—because anything would make him feel better right now. He just can't take the silence, or the terrifying air of uncertainty and apprehension in the room.

"Say something," he pleads, standing still as he waits. He feels like there are hundred pound weights strapped to his ankles that are forcing him to stay in place, but he knows it's just the paralyzing fear that's surging through him. He can hardly even breathe. "Please, MJ. Say anything."

"I don't know what to say," she swallows, her voice low. She's in shock.

"I'm sorry," he utters out, his chest heavy. "I shouldn't have said anything. I wasn't going to, I just...I couldn't help it. It was stupid."

Silence again. And this time feels worse somehow, because it's awkward and terrible and it's everything he was petrified would happen if he told her about his feelings.

"Are you okay?" he asks, stepping forward. She flinches as he gets closer, and his heart breaks as he retreats back.

"I'm confused," she stands up, taking in a long breath and pushing her hair back as she looks out the window. "I'm really confused."

"Look, I didn't...I didn't plan on getting feelings for you, okay?" he bites the inside of his cheek, trying to come up with something to say to make this all better. He isn't sure that's possible right now, though. "I actually went on that trip with you thinking I was going to get back and hate you more, you know? But I didn't. I fell in love with you, even though I tried not to."

"Shut up, Peter," she breathes out, still turned around with her back facing him. But she's looking at the floor now, shaking her head. Then she turns around, and she's looking at him like she's about to freak out. He knows it's hard for her to hear that word—especially directed towards her. "Just...stop talking."

"I can't pretend anymore, MJ," he presses, swallowing thickly. "I'm tired of pretending, and I'm tired of holding in my feelings, and I'm tired of acting like having sex with you didn't mean anything to me. Or that kissing you or faking to be with you didn't, either. Because it did—all of it did. And even before I knew I was in love with you, kissing you and even faking to be with you felt so right."

She's looking at him, and he sees her take in a breath.

"And I know it's sudden, and I know I'm being selfish by telling you this, but it's gonna kill me to hold it in anymore," he gulps, trying to get out all the things he imagined he would tell her if this moment ever happened. "It's just that...this is the kind of love May and Uncle Ben used to have. The kind of love where they make you the happiest person alive just by seeing their face at the beginning and end of your day, and the kind of love that you thought was unrealistic until you actually experience it yourself, and the kind of love that makes everything—even the bad stuff—good. It's the kind of love I've always wanted—always dreamed about—but never really thought I'd get to experience because it's so rare. But I...I keep catching myself looking at you, and it's the way May and Ben used to look at each other. And I can't help but think that I'm finally getting to feel it, too."

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