I Don't Like Pink

I've known him all my life, and he tries to cheer me up with a bunch of balloons in my least favourite colour? Nice try.

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1. I Don't Like Pink

 

"Surprise!" he said.

Surprise? It was more like a nightmare. Don't get me wrong, I was crazy about Danny, but this was his best effort? He stood before me, his smile wide, his perfect teeth showing, with a bunch of pink balloons clasped in his hand. Pink. My least favourite colour. I think I gave off a vibe that I wasn't really a girly-girl, with my leather jacket and messy hair and black nail varnish, and yet my best friend hadn't realised?!

His jeans were new, his shirt ironed, and I could smell the peppermint on his breath. He had experimented with his hair, tousling it slightly with some gel to hold it into place. Irresistable. But he'd got it all wrong.

 

He'd told me to meet him in the woods just behind his house. Setting - check. It was peaceful and romantic, the late afternoon sun dappling the leaves of the towering trees. But my heels were already coated with mud (sure, it added to my badass persona, but these were brand new!) and I could feel my nose pricking already. Damn hayfever!

"Do you think I'm ready?" he asked, spinning round so I could fully check out his outfit. I laughed.

"Yeah, I am too," I grinned. He raised an eyebrow slightly, but I thought nothing of it. He had always been flirtacious.

I reached for his hand but he misread me, handing me the looming bunch of balloons.

"Whaddya think?" he asked.

"I don't like pink!" I groaned, flicking the curled ribbon that contained the cluster of balloons in girly shades that bobbed around my head.

"No, but Rachel does. She's going to love them!" he exclaimed.

Huh?

I had known Danny all my life. Everyone always said we would make the perfect couple. And yet here he is, on our first date, talking about another girl?!

"Rachel?" I questioned, not trying to hide the acidity in my tone.

"Yeah. Do you think she likes Italian? We were going to go to that place down the road." He mused, rubbing his jaw.

"I love that place!" I squealed, and he laughed.

"Aw c'mon, you're not tagging along for my date!" He flicked my hair out of my face gently.

"Your date?" I asked.

"Yeah." He studied me carefully. "You said you'd meet me here to see how I looked on my date, remember?"

No! I screamed inwardly.

Oh...

Last week he had asked me where my favourite place to eat was. He asked how I liked guys to act on dates.

He asked all of this for his date with Rachel.

Not me.

Obviously he had sensed my weird reaction, so he punched my arm playfully. "You like Rach, right?"

"Yeah, sure. Rach is great," I muttered, thrusting the balloons back at him and taking a seat on a falling log.

 

I was gutted. I had got my sister to do my make-up. I splashed out on brand new shoes to impress. I pulled on my best dress and put breath spray in my purse to meet the guy I had liked for ages - and I had misread the situation, completely, utterly and embarrassingly. He took a seat beside me, rearranging the balloons.

Danny had always been my best friend. Ever since kindergarten, we would walk around together, laugh together, and talk about absolutely everything. In middle school, we went to the prom together. Everyone said how adorable we were, and that's when I realised how right they were. All through high school I liked him, and tried to make it as obvious as possible without coming across as a stalker, and yet he always seemed oblivious to it.

Yesterday I had stayed at his house until gone eleven. We played video games, ate macaroni and cheese and watched movies. The day before he had been round mine to study and steal a practice on my new electric guitar. Just last week we went ice-skating. My boots clattered helplessly across the ice but he held my hand in mine, pulling me along (although my dignity was left behind after face-planting several times). When a particularly nasty fall wrecked my ankle, he helped me off the rink and bought me a mocha with marshmallows, my favourite. I tried to pay him back, but he was having none of it.

"My treat," he told me, grabbing an extra chair to help me prop my ankle up.

My rule with the truth was this - tell it, as long as it's not hurting someone you love. Rachel was pretty darn lovely, I had to admit, and he seemed genuinely excited. Would I ruin his happiness by spilling my hideous crush on him?

That was a definite no.

He knew me better than I knew myself, and he'd never understand what I felt right then.

"Errrm, you alright?" Danny asked, fiddling with his phone and adamant not to make eye contact.

"Yeah," I said.

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