Chapter 3: Blushes And Butterflies

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The group met up at the gym club after school. Ari and Mikolas immediately locked eyes when they waited outside, both feeling awkward since yesterday's events. They entered the school gym, meeting with the familiar club members: Justs Sirmais, Robin Bengtsson, Måns Zelmerlöw, Donny Montell and Eduard Romanyuta. Robin connected his phone to the big speaker in the corner of the room, pressing play on his Spotify playlist. The guys hit the machines for half an hour before Mikolas tapped Ari on the shoulder. He turned around, jumping slightly when he noticed it was him. He blushed, looking down at the floor.
"Hey, Ari..." He began, starting to feel embarrassed, "Could I... talk to you for a second? Outside?" Ari froze, feeling his entire face turning bright red.
"Uhh sure." He muttered, unsure about what was about to happen.

They walked out of the gym and into the boys locker room. Mikolas sat down on a bench. Realising Ari was still stood, he patted the bench next to him, gesturing for him to sit down; in which Ari did so.
"Look," Mikolas said, "I'm sorry. I'm sorry for overreacting about the... notebook. I didn't know what to do, how to react and I just... god I don't know what to say!" Ari could feel tears picking his eyes once again. "I know that I hurt you when I confronted you yesterday. I feel so bad because..." Miki began struggling for words, his mouth and hands trembling. "It's not your fault obviously I don't kn-" Mikolas stopped. Tears were rushing down Ari's face.

"Oh my God, Ari, I'm so sorry." He suddenly wrapped his arms around him. Ari almost choked, feeling his crush embracing him so tightly, he couldn't help but to smile through his tears.
"It's okay Miki, I'm fine, i-it's just a s-stupid crush." His voice was shaking, trying to stop himself from crying in front of the guy of his dreams- so ashamed that this guy was his life-long best friend. This only made him sob harder.
"I'm disgusting, I'm so disgusting!" He cried into Mikolas' shoulder.
"No you're not! Who cares if you like me? I should have took it better. It's so brave to face the facts about liking your best friend, I wish I could be like you, you're so amazing, Ari. Amazing."

They held eachother for a short while longer before Ari let go, picking up his backpack and laying it over one shoulder.
"I think I'm just gonna go home, it's... been a long day." He sighed, wiping away any stray tears from his face. Mikolas smiled at him.
"I guess I'll see you later then."
"Bye dude."
Mikolas shook off the butterflies in his stomach, completely stunned by the way he felt in Ari's arms. It felt... strange. Like a feeling he'd never before experienced. He quickly stood up and made his way back to the gym. Everyone was staring as he walked back in, being confused by this, he raised his eyebrow at Niki and Kostya; desperately trying to get the attention away from him- something which he didn't usually want.

As the eyes around the room soon lost attention of Miki, he walked over to his friends- taking a swig from his water bottle in attempt to look casual and noncholant.
"Are you okay?" Kostya whispered, stepping off of the treadmill discretely. "You disappear for 10 minutes, Ari goes home without another word and you come back in looking like- uh- like-"
"YOU'RE BLUSHING PERFUSELY!" Niki squealed, a little too loud. Okay, very, very loud. Everyone's eyes were back on the three, especially Mikolas. He was so embarrassed; was he really... blushing?
"You okay Josef?" Robin approached them, whipping his white towel over his shoulder and raising a chisled eyebrow at the three boys. Robin Bengtsson was teen royalty at Euro High, a good friend of Benji's because of his past in the group of popular kids. Known for being absolutely irresistible.

"He's fine, bro." Benji cut in, luckily saving his back."He gets real hot after gym."
"So, where's Blondie?" Robin asked, catching on that something was happening behind the scenes.
"The blond kid you stick around with. Ari right? Why'd he go home?" He crossed his arm and bit his lip. Mikolas gulped, he glanced around the room- desperate for an excuse to come to his head.
"He... got a call from his mom. Some family event he had to go to."
"And you had to go with him to take that call? What WERE you guys up to in there huh?"
Mikolas' breathing began to quicken, his heart racing. He wasn't about to blurt out their secret. He dashed out of the room, taking off outside and around the corner. "U-u-uh gotta go!" Benji called to Robin as he ran out of the door with Nikita and Kostya.

"Okay, man, somethings going on here and you need to tell us!" Kostya said, staring into Mikolas' wide eyes.
"I-I can't. I don't know if Ari would want you to know. I found out on accident and he probably doesn't want anyone else to figure it out too." Mikolas bit his thumb nail, praying they wouldn't persist any further.
"Please Miki." Nikita begged."We're all friends here. We tell each other everything, there isn't anything to be afraid of. I swear I won't say a word."
"Me neither!" Benji intervened
"Neither will I!" Kostya joined, "Lips are sealed."

"Okay, okay... It started that night at Ari's house..."
"That notebook right?" Kostya asked, suddenly starting to put the clues together."
"Yes, the notebook. Well... diary." Their eyes widened, eager to know more but determined to keep the secret safe. "I flicked to the last page he'd written in, I read it. It had me in it."
"Well, what did it say?" Said Niki, trying hard to sound less interested.
"He- he- he..." The tension was immense, the pressure in Miki's head pouring out in every word he tried to say before he let all loose and blurted out:
"HE HAS A CRUSH ON ME." The three boys' were hushed in pure shock. It couldn't be, could it?
"And I think I like him back."

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