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Complicate Me(11)

By:M. Robinson

Her face really lit up when she saw the fireplace, they were a rare find around here.

“Wow. Whose house is this?” she asked, her voice echoing on the vaulted ceilings.

“No ones.”

She glanced over at me, baffled. “No ones? The house is almost done. Why would someone leave it like this?”

“My dad said something about it being a new construction property and they ran out of money so they abandoned it.”

“Oh.” I could see her mind spinning, and I knew it had nothing to do with the house.

“You look beautiful,” I stated, taking her away from her thoughts, hoping that it would work. I didn’t want to have it out with her, not here. I wanted this to be our safe place, where we were away from the world and everything that went along with it.

“I know I didn’t say it earlier, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true.”

She lowered her head, all of a sudden shy. “Thanks, Bo.”

“I’m really sorry, Half-Pint.”

She immediately raised her staggered eyes to me. “What are you apologizing for?”

“What am I not apologizing for?” It came out as a question but it wasn’t.

“Do you like her?”

“No,” I replied, shaking my head, silently hoping she would believe me.

“You don’t have to lie to me. You’re allowed to like girls, Bo. I mean she’s pretty and stuff.”

“You’re pretty.”

I could tell I caught her off guard. We didn’t have this type of friendship, where I would call her pretty, and apologize for things I may have done that could have caused her pain. She was one of the boys, once we argued it was done and over with. The dynamic of our friendship geared into new territory that we were both unfamiliar with, and as soon as I saw her wearing that dress, I knew it. After spending the day by myself, and having to be alone with nothing but my thoughts, I realized that’s what bothered me the most about seeing her look so different.

We were all growing up and that included Alex, which was the hardest pill to swallow.

For a while we just stood there, neither one of us talking, trying to appreciate the silence when we could. The voices in our minds sedated, perhaps comforted by one another’s presence.

She would tell me later in life that nothing calmed her more than my arms around her, and if I had known that then, I would have held her every time she looked at me with sadness or disappointment. And maybe it could have helped heal the wounds that I cut along the way.

The broken heart I shattered piece by piece, bit by bit, with nothing but my actions and at times my words.

When she finally walked out onto the deck that overlooked the water, I followed close behind, taking the comfortable silence with us. There were so many things I wanted to say but couldn’t, it would be a never-ending pattern between us. What could either of us say that would even make sense? We were both still so young, we barely understood what the hell flourished between us. There was no one we could discuss it with but each other, and that was easier said than done.

“Why were you so upset today, Bo?” Her stare remained toward the waves of the ocean, making it easier for her to open up to me.

I opened my mouth to say something, anything, but I quickly shut it. The words just not forming fast enough for me to answer.

“It’s hard to realize that things are changing, huh?” she stated as a question, appearing much older than she actually was.

“Yeah,” I weakly muttered.

“I never thought…” She shook her head, gathering her thoughts. “I don’t know what I thought, all I know is that I don’t want to lose you, Bo, I don’t want to lose any of you.” Her eyes locked with mine. “Especially you,” she added in a softer tone.

“Me too,” I whispered, tucking a piece of her hair behind her ear. “One day—”

“I know,” she interrupted. At the time I didn’t think she did, but that’s another thing I grasped later. Alex was aware of it all. It was me who wasn’t.

“I asked her out on a date because Jacob, I mean the boys, it’s just…” I mumbled, the words still not forming the way I wanted them to.

She smiled, breaking the intensity of our stares. “My dress is really soft. I don’t think I’ve ever felt material this soft before. I like it. I mean I don’t fill the dress out like those girls—”

“You’re perfect.”

Her eyes lowered, but her face didn’t. “I’m still one of the boys, Bo. I don’t want you worrying yourself over nothing. I haven’t changed. I promise.”

“It doesn’t feel that way to me.”

Peering back up at me with the most sincere, warm, welcoming eyes. “I’ll always be your brown eyed girl, Bo.”

She put her arms around me, her tiny frame hugging mine. She fit perfectly, melting against my chest. Our hearts placed beside each other, and for the first time that day everything felt right.

“I know,” I whispered into the side of her face, kissing her cheek. Breathing in the scent of her vanilla shampoo and sunscreen, they quickly became my new favorite smell. “They’re just girls, Half-Pint.”

Having her in my arms made it easy for me to find the words to express the truth.

It made no sense to me, nothing did.

When did things get so confusing?

I wanted to cry…

Why did I want to cry? I hated crying.

I bit my lip to keep from crying.

When did I turn into this girl?

The one who wears dresses and cries, and has all these emotions that are hard to comprehend and follow.

I pulled away first, needing to secure the bit of control I still had over myself. I didn’t want to cry in front of him, I would always do it by myself. The hold he had on me when he was around, and the lock that was in place when he wasn’t, was enough to have me weak in the knees and heavy in the heart.

I reassuringly smiled, gazing all around the back of the house. “I really love this house,” I said, trying to lessen the intensity boiling between us.

His stare followed mine. “I’m glad you like it because my dad says it’s probably going to be one of those properties that just gets looked over and sit here empty for years.”

“That’s a shame.”

“I don’t think so. I thought it could be ours.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Ours?”

“Yeah, I mean maybe this could be our place. You know, where we get away from everyone.”

“What about the boys?” I asked, uncertain.

“What about them?” he replied, with certainty. “Ours, Half-Pint. As in yours and mine.”



I chuckled, leaning my back against the railing. “Umm yeah. I really like that idea.”

He was all grins and mischievous eyes. “Good because I’m full of them.”

And just like that…

We were Bo and Half-Pint again, spending the rest of the evening the way we always had, pretending that nothing changed, and knowing in our hearts.

That it had.


School was back in session and tomorrow was my first day of middle school. Words couldn’t express how nervous I felt about finally being back together with my boys. All of us under the same roof, although they were in eighth grade and Austin was in seventh. We spent the rest of the summer together and for the most part things remained somewhat the same. Except there were girls around, many more than there had been in the past. Even though the boys didn’t take any of them seriously, I knew there would come a day where they would, and it got closer with each passing week.

I became a really good liar.

I smiled when I was supposed to.

I laughed when I needed to.

And I played nice with all the girls because I had to.

Even with the girls that hung around Lucas.

It was easy to hide my feelings. To hide the way I felt inside. To hide my emotions from the truth I thought would be spilling out of me, but no one ever called me out on it.

Including Lucas.

So I just listened.

And watched

And kept pretending…

Lucas and I spent a lot of time alone in our abandoned house. It was easy to get lost in each other when there was no one else around. Not having to worry about those who didn’t understand our closeness, our connection.

He turned fourteen, and I swear he grew overnight. He started to look like a man. Okay, maybe not a man but definitely not like the boy he used to be. His appearance might have changed on the outside, but on the inside, he was still my Bo.

He was still mine.

“Are you ready for school tomorrow?” Dylan asked, sitting beside me on the beach in front of my parents’ restaurant.

“I guess as ready as I’ll ever be.”

His shoulder bumped mine, teasingly. “Have you decided what you’re wearing?”

“Just because I dress like a girl doesn’t mean I act like one.”

“No shit,” he laughed. “You’re going to be twelve in a few weeks. Our Half-Pint’s almost a teenager.”

I sighed, pushing my feet into the sand.

“What’s with the sighing?”

“I don’t know.”

“Yes, you do.”

I shook my head, bringing my knees up and hugging them to my body. It was then that he followed my stare, which was intently placed on Lucas and Stacey. They were walking next to each other on the shoreline and every so often she would casually touch his chest, flirting.