The day after the party, hours after recovering from her hangover, Mercedes was back at Sam’s house eating lunch with him. As usual, she made his sandwich the way he liked it, and he made hers.
“I suddenly want some Turkey,” he said, eyeing her sandwich.
“Ew,” she said, turning her nose up. “You want the taste of meat mixed with your peanut butter and jelly?”
“Yes, my taste buds are out of wack,” he said, leaning forward so she would feed him. She rolled her eyes and held out her sandwich. He grinned and took a bite, her thumb brushing his bottom lip. She tried to ignore the spark she just felt, took a deep breath and set her sandwich back down. He swallowed and licked his lips.
Sam had always been attractive, and she didn’t deny it or even care when other girls would fall over him. But that’s all he was; her really attractive best friend. It didn’t matter to her because she’d known him all her life. Even when he started going through puberty, she didn’t seem to notice. He was like her brother. But lately for some reason, the feelings she was having when she looked at him were far from family oriented.
He, on the other hand, had become very aware of his feelings for Mercedes back when they started high school and they were far from platonic. It happened all of a sudden, it seemed. One day they were watching movies in his living room and he looked at her. She was laughing and going on about some inconsistency in the film playing, and he just felt…overwhelmed. She was perfect for him, and she was beautiful. He’d spent his whole life falling in love with her, and right then he’d had the epiphany. So four years later, he was still trying to keep it to himself.
“You have mayo on your mouth,” she said, shaking her head.
“I’m not even gonna embarrass myself by wagging my tongue around. You get it,” he told her. She rolled her eyes and swiped her thumb across his lip. Before he could stop himself, he kissed it. Her breath hitched, but she didn’t pull away. Sam looked at her and saw she had the same look in her eyes. Finally, she shook her head and pulled her hand away.
“I love you,” he blurted out. He wasn’t sure what made him do it, but now it was out.
“Um, I love you too?”
“No. I’m in love with you,” he said honestly. He decided he wasn’t going to back out of it this time like he always did. She needed to know, because the truth had begun to serve as a weight on his shoulders, especially after moments like the one they just shared.
“I’m in love with you. Everything about you. For a long ass time now, too. Like, so much I can see myself marrying you.” Later on, he’d chide himself for sharing that bit of info. She stared at him with her mouth open. Then he decided to be bold. “And you always try to act like there’s nothing between us when we both know there is, okay? I wanna kiss you all the time and I’m thinking maybe you want me to.” She was silent for about two minutes and Sam began tapping his foot nervously. Could he run out of his own house? But what she said next eliminated all doubts.
“I want you to.”