Every night, without fail, there was a call from Lily. We talked a lot but we started to talk even more when she took a trip with her mother to Paris and would feel lonely at nights. Her voice was sweet and she made me laugh more than anybody could and she turned my dull dorm room into something more bearable. Even though she was thousands of miles away she was still my world. I always made sure I was able to receive her calls. On this particular night my roommates asked me to see a movie with them but I declined. I told them I was expecting a call from Lily and as usual they scoffed but at the same time they understood. They knew how I felt about her and they knew I was having trouble with her being away. It was probably around 8:30 when she called this night, a little later than usual but I thought nothing of it at the time and picked up the phone before it could finish its first ring.
“Hey stranger,” I heard from the other end of the phone along with her signature laugh.
“Hey Lil, what’s up? How was Paris today?” I said with a smile draped across my face.
“It was fine. I just walked around a lot and ate way too much French food.”
“Well hey, it’s a lot better than the stuff we have here so enjoy it while you can.” We laughed and through the phone I heard the booming voice of her mother telling us to keep it down, this made us laugh even more.
“Oh Lil, by the way, I loved that pic you posted on instagram today.”
“That one with me in front of the Eiffel Tower? It was okay I guess.”
“No Lily, it was beautiful,” I said quickly. I always got frustrated when she talked like that. As I looked at the picture I didn’t know how she could say that about herself, she was gorgeous. She had this beautiful, curly amber hair that sat perfectly on top of her head, a soft smile that gave me comfort with freckles perfectly scattered around her nose and cheeks. She was beautiful and also extremely talented. She was an amazing singer and an incredible musician. While she was in Paris she actually found a place to record some of her music. I didn’t know how she could call herself “okay”.
“Well thank you Kev. I don’t know who is paying you to say that but thank you.”
“Of course Lil,” I said with a chuckle.
“Hey did I tell you about that guy I met last week? At the studio?” I paused to try and remember if she told me anything about this guy.
“Hm, no I don’t think you did,” I said.
“Oh really? Well, this guy came into the studio because he is a friend of the producer I’m working with. He was just gonna stay for a little bit to record a drum track for my song but he ended up staying for a long time and we got to talk a lot.”
“Well, that’s good. I’m glad you are making some friends over there and not just having to hang out with your mom 24/7,” I said trying to hide my growing anxiousness. I didn’t know why I was getting so nervous. After all, Lily wasn’t even my girlfriend and she could talk to whoever she wanted to. I needed to just be happy for her and be happy that she had a friend there.
“Yeah, it’s been really nice. I got to go over to his place a few times and even meet some of his friends. They are all so funny.”
“Oh that’s awesome,” I muttered. There was a brief silence and I started to wonder if she was becoming suspicious of my unease but she said nothing about it.
“Do you want to know a secret?” When she said this I immediately tensed up.
“I think I have a crush on him.”
“Oh, really?” Suddenly I felt different. My heart started to race and I didn’t feel like myself at all.
“Yeah…I don’t know. He just seems different I guess,” I didn’t say a word and my thoughts began to race faster and faster. “There’s just something about him.” I stayed silent, but this time for longer and I didn’t know what to say.
“Well, he sounds really nice,” I said. Even to my own ears, I sounded like an entirely different person.
“Kevin? Is something wrong?” she asked me.
“No, sorry, I’m just working on this assignment for school right now so I guess I’m just a little distracted,” I said while faking a laugh. For the first time in forever, I just wanted this phone call to end. Now she became oddly silent.
“Well, it’s getting pretty late here so I can just let you go,” she said.
“Oh yeah it is, I don’t want to keep you up.” Usually, at this point of the night, we wouldn’t be close to ending our conversation.
“Okay, well, good luck with the schoolwork. Talk to you tomorrow?” I paused and closed my eyes.
“Sure,” I said. The call ended and I was relieved to be alone. I threw my phone across my bed and ran my head through my hair. I started to feel nauseous and I ran to the bathroom and splashed my face with cold water. I never thought a girl could have me rattled like this but she was different, she understood me, she cared about me, she felt like she was apart of me and now she is wanting something different with some random French dude. I did not understand.
I tried to get some sleep that night but it was pointless. I couldn’t stop thinking about the previous night and about who this guy was. I kept picturing him and her together, holding hands, kissing, laughing like we laughed and it started to drive me crazy. I got dressed slowly and still felt like I had to throw up. I walked out of my room into the kitchen of my dorm and I was relieved to see it was empty, I knew I couldn’t hide my anxiety from my roommates and I didn’t want to let them know what was happening. I would always tell them that I liked her and she liked me and once she got back to Georgia we would finally start dating but I guess I was wrong.
I went to class that day and she never got off my mind, but I did my best to appear like myself. It felt ironic to me that this girl who I wasn’t even dating made me feel like I was being dumped. Later that day I went to the dining hall with my friend Kyle, who seemed to be suspicious of my behavior.
“Yo Kev,” he tried to speak to me but I just looked straight ahead, “Kev!” When he yelled my name I quickly turned to him.
“What?” I said while looking like a deer in headlights.
“What’s wrong with you man? It’s fried chicken day and by this time you would have usually gone back for your third helping. You sick or something?”
“Yeah I guess.”
“You guess?” He said with a laugh.
“I don’t know man, it’s just, well, you know I like Lily right?”
“Yeah I think everyone knows that”
“Well I thought she liked me too but I talked to her on the phone last night and she just kept going on and on about some stupid French guy that she met there.”
“Whoa…that sucks dude.”
“It does,” I said while shaking my head and looking down at the table.
“Kev, have you even told her that you like her?”
“Well, yeah. I mean I did a long time ago but she told me she just wanted to be friends. Which I am totally cool with but over the past couple of months things have felt different, we have really connected and it doesn’t feel like we are just friends. Friends don’t just talk on the phone every single night.”
“I’m not gonna sugarcoat it buddy, you have to tell her how you feel.”
“I know I know. I’m just scared that that is going to push her away you know? I like talking to her and I don’t want that to stop.”
“I get that but if you don’t tell her then you’ll never really know if she likes you too. Trust me, it’s worth the risk.”
I went home that night and had a lot on my mind. I kept thinking about what Kyle said and about Lily our phone call and as my mind continued to swarm with thoughts she called me.
“Hey stranger,” she said.
“Hey Lil,” I responded with a wobbly voice. “How was your day?”
“It was great! I saw my friend again.”
“Oh cool. What did you two do?”
“Nothing really, just hung out.”
“Just hung out?” I said with a challenging tone.
“Yeah we watched a movie and chilled. And guess what?”
“We even made out,” she said while giggling.
“Okay cool, but to be honest I don’t really want to talk about that.”
“About what? Hey you asked Kev,” and as she finished her sentence she let out a quick but loud yell.
“What the hell is going on Lil?” I asked with concern.
“Nothing. Sorry, Roy just texted me that’s all.” I grew silent. “Kev? Is something wrong?” I stayed silent. “C’mon you have to tell me, we tell each other everything.”
“Fine,” I took a deep breath, “Lily, you know I still like you right? I have for a long time and it’s okay if you don’t like me back but I cant sit here on the phone with you and listen to you talk about some other guy. That just isn’t fair to me. I’m sorry if that makes you feel weird.”
“No it doesn’t make me feel weird. I’m sorry Kev, I had a feeling you liked me but I just didn’t know exactly how to deal with that because you mean so much to me and I didn’t want to do anything to harm our friendship. You’re such a great guy and you’re going to make some girl really happy one day. Seriously.”
“I don’t want to be just friends with you Lil, I want more than that.”
“I know I’m sorry. I just don’t know if I can get into a serious relationship with everything I have going on. You’d be the best boyfriend and I just know one day I’d hurt you somehow.”
“You don’t know that.”
“Maybe I don’t but I can’t risk hurting you like that and losing you. You are so important to me.”
“Well, you’re really important to me too Lil.”
“Are we okay?”
“Yeah we’re okay, just please don’t talk about Roy in front of me anymore.”
That night, I knew there was more I could have said. There must have been something I could have done to convince her more but I was too scared to push her away. I guess now I’ll never know what could have been between us.