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Not That Girl
Sun Nov 5, 2006 20:09
74.131.212.172 (XFF: 192.168.1.3)

Three Years Ago…



“Why did it have to be her?”

Orlan looked down, no longer to meet her eyes. They had filled with tears. In their years of friendship he had only seen her cry once or twice before. Never had the tears been of pain or sadness. He knew that he was the cause of all that, and suddenly he felt that he was carrying her burden.

“I’m sorry, Wiley. We don’t choose who we— ”

“Don’t say love, because I know you don’t love her. You just met. You cannot love someone who you just met.”

“I wasn’t going to say love. I was going to say like. I like her, Wiley. I like you too, but you’ve never acted like you were interested before. In all the time I’ve known you, you’ve kept it clear to me that we’re to be friends and nothing more. You don’t have room for that in your life, or so you said. I didn’t understand it then, and I still don’t. But you can’t mad now, Wiley. Please don’t be angry with me. You know I can’t stand it.”

Her back was now turned to him and her arms were crossed. He felt like he should be angry with her, that he had tried to earn this sort of passion from her for years, and now she had decided to react to him when he wanted it the least. Orlan sighed and ran one hand through his dark brown curls. How could she do this to him? This was his life now that she was toying with, not one of the games that they played when they were children. They were adults now, and he was a man. Despite all the thoughts floating around in his head, he didn’t feel angry. Just sorry.

“What do you want me to do? Do you want me to take it back? It was just once. One kiss. That’s all.” The last came out in a whisper, but he went to her anyway. Even as he touched her shoulders he could feel the tension in her body and the way it hardened when his hands rested on her. “Don’t be angry with me,” he asked again as his hands slipped around her waist and he pulled her to him in a hug. She did not move, she felt like stone instead of a woman cradled against him. “I’ll take it back if you want. If you can say that you feel the same for me, I’ll take it back and forget about that other girl. But you have to say how you feel, Wiley. I cannot play pretend anymore, and neither should you.”

It took several moments, but finally she answered. “I don’t pretend.”

“You do. You pretend to be tough; you pretend to be unstoppable and untouchable. You pretend you don’t need anyone else in your life. But I know the truth. You’re just like the rest of us, Wiley. Sometimes we mess up, and sometimes we need a second chance. I’m giving you one.”

She was frowning now, he could see her jaw clench. He hoped she was not crying anymore. His words were meant to be a joke, at least to some degree, even though they weren’t funny. Dealing with her was also walking a fine line. He cared for his friend, but he did not feel the need to coddle her. It would be a reaction that was very foreign to her.

“You know I care for you,” she finally pulled out of his arms and turned around to face him. “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have let you follow me around for so long.” The tears were gone from her eyes now, though there were still a few tiny remnants of them on her cheeks. “You know that was a joke, right?”

“Funny,” He gave her a smile though it was sarcastic. “And now?”

“Now?” She sighed and looked down at her feet. She wasn’t used to being honest or sincere. Her façade was all that she had. “Now is when I say, ‘Dearest Orlan, you know that I care for, and maybe even love you—if I knew what that meant, that is. But yes, I care for you, and I prefer you choose me over that flip skirt any day.’ How is that?”

“Better, but do you know what comes after that?”

“I can’t imagine what more you could want from me tonight, Orlan. I’ve refrained from being cynical for several moments now, and I even cried a little. I’m pretty sure I haven’t accomplished both of those at the same time in years, if ever.”

“Now is when we kiss.”

“Kiss? Why? I mean its not that I don’t want—”

“I kissed her, and now I will kiss you. A man always keeps his options open. Now be quiet.” He leaned forward and pulled her to him again. “Close your eyes, its better that way.” Their lips pressed together in that embrace, and Orlan felt…disappointed. Kissing Wiley felt like kissing his sister, or an unresponsive vegetable. When they separated they both colored in embarrassment.

“I, ah…” He began, again brushing his hand through his hair as he let go of her waist. “I’m sorry.”

Wiley wiped her lips with the back of her hand and backed up a few steps. “It’s fine. I just…I’m going to go now. Bye, Orlan.”

“Wiley, wait. Don’t go. I’m sorry!” He called after her as she turned down the street. “I’m sorry that it wasn’t perfect,” he mumbled to himself when he saw her disappear around the corner.

She leaned against the brick wall of the building, clenching her fists together until her nails dug into her palms. She didn’t want to cry again. Only weaklings cried. Its not your fault. she thought to herself as she took a deep breath and prepared to keep walking. But I’m not that girl.

Wiley Darwish



Author’s note: Title of the post and theme were taken from the song “Not That Girl” from the musical Wicked.

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