Typical Aggy and Ned sat by the fire exit as they spent their free time having a chat. They discussed about everyday classroom issues such as one of their teachers torturing them with quadratic equations that hardly anyone manages to solve correctly. And there was the other one in which one of Aggy’s classmates happened to have brought a red rose with him to give to some girl in the class. Aggy told these stories so vividly that even how she ate her corn chips showed her utter enthusiasm. Ned being the best friend seemed out of the system staring at the open as if not listening to Aggy. Except he was. Of course, he was.
“Jenny?” uttered the distressed Aggy. She chewed and talked like she always did: seemingly disgraceful. “I mean, come on! It could have been someone else. Why her? Why would Kyle give that blasted flower to her?”
Aggy could have sworn she sensed the smirk in Ned’s face. “Why her and why not you, Agatha?”
“I told you to not call me that name.”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“Well, just because you got a simpler and cooler name, does not mean you can pick on victims of names like me,” said Aggy. “And no, perhaps it is clear that I have a huge crush on Kyle but again, NO. I would not drag myself in the question. He would never like me.”
Again with Aggy’s litany of why guys would never like her. That five foot tall of simple and boyish yet charming can win hearts like any other girl. Granted, maybe her hair isn’t as long or as nice as those of the pretty women in their school but she does top them with her intellect and personality. Maybe she just does not know that. Maybe it is because Ned never got the chance to tell her exactly that.
“Oh, come on. Aggy, please. Cut it out. For sure, God created someone to sweep you off your feet and make you fall in love and he’d absolutely positively…” Ned paused for that moment hoping that Aggy knew how to complete that statement to feign some self-confidence.
“What?” asked Aggy. “He’d what?” Except not. She really lacked confidence in herself.
“Love you back.”
For a moment there, Aggy caught Ned looking in her eyes. Being the hopeless romantic that Aggy was beneath her tough facade, she did not mean looking at Ned’s eyes back. For her, it was plainly looking back at him like trusting him back as her best friend. Of course, it was clear to them both: they were only best friends. They already made it a point to pacify any circulating issue of them dating. But Ned meant to look at her eyes when he uttered those last three words because he wanted to give her a clue. And no, Aggy did not get the hint.
“Write me a love story.”
“Seriously, no. That’s not my thing!”
If there’s one concept that Ned did not necessarily despise but hardly understood, that would be love stories. Perhaps it is only fair. If you came from a broken home, you might find it hard to understand the concept of romantic love; merely because it was one thing that did not succeed in its purpose. Maybe it did because he existed but it did not last for too long. It did not last long enough for him to understand and believe in it.
“Alright. I know you like horror stuff and most especially gore. But if you really want to challenge your craft as a writer, you have to take risks!” said the enthused Aggy. She knew how Ned was an avid reader of creepy tales and a writer of the same specification. But she also knew how Ned had the talent for storytelling as she is her best friend’s common reader. “Just try it. Come on. Just one.”
Ned rubbed the back of his neck and then gave his head a scratch before he finally nodded. As expected, Aggy jumped in glee as she knew she had something great and exciting to look forward to.
It was not long before free time was over. It was not long before that school day was over. But Ned could not figure out how he’d write a love story for his best friend. He answered seatworks, mingled with his own classmates and did classroom chores but none of these activities got his mind off his struggle to write one romantic piece.
Moreover, Ned could not get over how he could not get off his mind the last smile Aggy gave him as they said goodbye by the end of that school day. Knowing nothing much about love, Ned never found himself in love with anyone. He knows what it is like to be attracted but never to love. Of course, he knew how to love perse but Ned never knew what it’s like to be romantically attached to any girl. So much that he did not mind liking Aggy for her enthusiasm for a lot of things. He did not mind liking Aggy for believing in his talent in writing. He did not mind her being there with him when he needed someone to cheer him up. He did not mind much of the things she shared to him even the things he shared that she cherished. He was only grateful. Very grateful.
That night, he found the inspiration to write. He started typing. He knew he was on the right track. Everything, every word and punctuation mark fell into place until… he stopped. He smiled. God knows why he could still smile for an unfinished love story. Knowing Aggy, she would probably bombard Ned with complaints after reading this unfinished piece. But as said, God knows why he could still smile that kind of smile. A smile of contentment.
The next day’s free time started off with Ned handing a couple sheets of paper to Aggy. Aggy widened her eyes upon seeing such a short piece of writing from Ned. But of course, she remembered that this was Ned’s first love story. She should not be hard on him. Besides, romance is not his thing so if the love story comes off poorly written, it is justified. It is justified and it could be fixed.
A few minutes later, Ned caught the shock in Aggy’s eyes. He knew that something like this might happen. He knew Aggy enough to tell how she would react.
“Ned, I have two questions,” Aggy said this and swallowed. “First, why is this unfinished? And second…”
The pause right there came out as expected. Ned wrote a story about him and Aggy. He told a story about how one girl became a source of strength for a boy who knew nothing other than the misery that he felt in his life. The girl helped opening new horizons for that boy so much that it brought him hope. Of course, Aggy was the inspiration so Ned only looked back at their friendship for the past three years. And that came out in the story but was unfinished.
“It’s not like you like me, right?” Aggy finally asked.
He was relieved that it was not as bad as he thought it be. But he didn’t prepare his own response to any of the possible reactions of his best friend.
“I guess it’s fair that I tell you the truth because…yes,” said Ned nervously. “I do like you.” Then he bit his lips together, shrugged and sighed feeling a little awkward.
“And the story being unfinished? What of it?”
He scratched his head. And then he cleared his throat. He looked like he would not last that moment trying to make unnecessary movements and gestures.
“Well, I hoped that you liking me back might be a shot for a proper ending for that story.”
No more words. Aggy gave Ned the very same smile that he could not get off his head. And then she hugged him. It was the warmest embrace that Aggy gave Ned. For that one quiet moment, Ned felt more content than he ever felt before. This was one intance in his life that he wished would last for eternity. Aggy kissed Ned’s left cheek and smiled again.
Ned could not even tell just yet what love was; not even whether or not that moment he shared with Aggy could be called love already. Not even after that blissful experience with Aggy. But he knew, that moment there was a chance knocking at his door. And he sure knew well enough not to let that chance slide.