Chapter 26- Dylan

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      I collapse face down on Kelsey's bed.

       "My brain is fried," I mumble, the words muffled by the dark blue bedspread. She laughs lightly, a gentle, girlish giggle that tickles my ears and warms my heart.

       "Yeah same. If I have to solve one more equation, I'm gonna pass out," she says, flopping down beside me. I turn on my side and look at her.

       Kelsey is gorgeous.

       She's not the in-your-face, out there, typical California girl kind of pretty that Lilah is. Her beauty is more subtle, with light brown hair, delicate features, and dark brown eyes framed with long lashes. I eagerly drink in her features, finding that I like her quiet allure even more than Lilah's undeniable sex appeal.

     There is a shift, a tension between us that suddenly appears. I had looked too long, only to see that she was studying me in a similar way to how I was ogling her.

       "Hey, Dylan?" she asks, her voice suddenly quiet.

       "Yeah?" I respond my tone matching hers, and my heart racing.

     "I'm nerdy. I spend too much time studying. I talk too much. Boys don't tend to see me as an object of romantic or sexual attention." She states matter-of-factly.

       "Well I'm assuming the boys you're referring to are those who attend our school, and more often than not have underdeveloped brains and overdeveloped libidos?" I ask, realizing too late that I was using the kind of words that my other "friends" wouldn't understand.

        But then I realized that it didn't matter. That Kelsey would understand. That she might even be a kindred spirit, one of my ilk.  That she would understand the struggle of hiding who I was, repressing my words. Because I had just the slightest inkling that maybe sometimes she did the same thing.

        "Hey Kelsey?" I ask slowly, cautiously.

         "Yeah?" She says.

           "Would you maybe want to go on a date with me?" I hold my breath. A smile slowly spreads across her face.

         "Finally! I thought you were too chicken to ask me. Thanks for proving me wrong," she responds.

         "Heey!" I exclaim, acting offended, but I can't hide my wide grin.

         She laughs and snuggles closer. She is smart and funny and amazing and warm and real and perfectly imperfect and I am happy.

AN: When I first started this book, I intended for it to be not so much a romance as a social commentary, but as I was writing, something shifted, and this is how the book ended up. I have decided that this will be the last chapter, other than an epilogue, because I can't really further the plot from here, and this is the note I want to end on. It's almost like the characters spoke to me and told me to stop messing with their lives and let them be happy. If you aren't satisfied with this ending, I apologize, but just suck it up and deal. This book is the first that I have ever written, and it's been a real journey for me as a writer. I may or may not decide to write another one, but what's important is that I saw this book through and finished it and I want to thank all of you beautiful readers because without you and your support I could never have done this. I love you all so much. Thank you, thank you, thank you. As I said earlier, there will be an epilogue, coming soon, so don't abandon me just yet. I LOVE YOU ALL 💋

❤- Maia

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