"The pilot has turned on the seatbelt sign. Everyone please return to their seats in preparation for landing."
My eyes slowly blinked open after hearing the flight attendant's announcement and I stared out the window. Downtown Boston's magnificent lights illuminated the night sky. I remembered when I first moved here for college and how hard it was to leave Minnesota. But now, Boston had become a city very close to my heart.
The moment I stepped into the airport, a wave of emotions flooded over me as I realized where I was. American Airlines Gate B7. Nearly three years ago, I met Tyler Seguin for the very first time at this same exact gate. I looked towards my right at the seats we had sat in while waiting for our flight that winter day. It's crazy how much has happened since then.
As soon as I got downstairs, I recognized Damon in the crowd of people standing at the baggage claim area. A huge smile formed on his face the second our eyes made contact. He immediately weaved his way through everyone and headed towards me.
"Damon!", I said happily, throwing my arms around his neck.
"Wow, you sure seem happy to see me," he remarked with a bemused expression, returning my embrace.
"Why wouldn't I be? I mean, it's been three months since I last saw my best friend," I replied with a smile.
"You have no idea how much I missed you, Christine."
"I know, I have that effect on guys," I joked.
Damon laughed and offered to carry my suitcase as we strolled out to his car. It was a beautiful, starry night, with the sounds of the beach waves crashing in the distance. I asked Damon if he had anything to eat yet and he said no, so we decided to drive downtown for dinner.
During the course of our meal, we mostly talked about our summer. Damon told me that he spent a month in New York with his father and another with his mother in Pennsylvania. They had been separated ever since he was twelve. It sure must've been rough for him and his brother. Lucky for me, my parents were living happily together.
"My dad let me help out with his business while I was there. It was pretty cool," Damon shared.
"I bet. Is your brother going to manage it with you once he graduates also?"
"No, Ryan wants to be a heart surgeon. He says that anything related to finance gives him headaches. Anyways, enough about me. Did anything interesting happen to you this summer?", he asked, sitting back in his chair.
"Now that you mention it, yes. I ran into my high school ex back in June," I replied.
"Did you guys hang out?"
"Not really. He just said I deserved a good guy, one that wouldn't hurt me like he did. I swear, he could easily make all of his exes crawl back to him just by flashing them a smile or something."
"That's probably why you dated him in the first place."
"Yeah. So, did you hook up with any girls in New York?", I asked with a mischievous look on my face.
Damon was totally caught off guard by my question and choked on his drink, coughing uncontrollably. I had no idea he'd react like this.
"Oh my god, are you ok?", I panicked, immediately rushing to his side.
"I'm fine. I just wasn't expecting you to ask me that," he said, struggling to catch his breath. "And no, I didn't hook up with anyone."
"Why not? Isn't that what all college guys do?"
Damon's eyes met mine and I swear I saw a hint of sadness in them. But then he became angry all of a sudden.
"So you think that I'm just some guy that goes around having one-night stands for the thrill of it?"
"That's not what I meant," I objected.
"Forget it," Damon dismissed, standing up. The waitress came over to hand him his credit card back then he walked out of the restaurant.
"Damon, wait!", I called, following him. What was going on? Why was he acting like this? I caught up to him at his car, expecting answers.
"Why the hell did you leave me in there?", I demanded.
"Leave you?! Christine, that's the last thing I would ever do," he replied in frustration.
"I thought that you were going to drive away without me. Listen, I'm sorry about what I said in the restaurant. I didn't mean to offend you or anything. Just please don't be angry at me."
Damon let out a deep sigh and leaned his back against the car. He was figuring out what to say when my mind suddenly drifted to the party Andrew threw that one night two years ago.
"Could you do me a huge favor?", I asked Damon.
"Sure," he replied with a grin.
"It's about Savannah. I feel really bad for her after what happened at that party with Andrew, so I was wondering if you could maybe ask her out on a date sometime. Just to get her mind off of him, you know?", I said.
"Listen, I think Savannah's a really great person, but I can't do that," he lightly objected.
"Why? I'm not trying to be pushy or anything. I just thought that you liked her."
"I do, but only as a friend. Besides, I like someone else," he admitted.
"Really? Who?", I asked anxiously.
"Never mind. She probably doesn't even like me back," Damon said.
"Ok then. Well, I'm gonna head inside now. Thanks for the ride," I replied.
"No problem. Good night."
*End of Flashback*
"Christine, are you even listening to what I'm saying?", Damon asked, interrupting my thoughts.
"Huh? Oh, sorry. I was just thinking about something else," I replied.
"Do you have any idea how hard it is to be in love with someone knowing that you'll never even have a chance to be with them?", Damon spoke with a look of hurt on his face.
"You could just forget about that person and move on. I mean, why would you ever fall for them in the first place then?", I said, curious to see where this conversation was headed.
"Because you keep on clinging to the hope that one day, they might love you back."
"Damon, who are you talking about? Do I know her?", I asked him worriedly. As his best friend, I had the right to know who was causing him all of this pain.
"It's you," he responded in a barely audible tone.
"Christine, you're the girl I'm hopelessly in love with," he said, looking straight into my eyes.
To say that I was stunned would've been an absolute understatement, but then I realized how everything made perfect sense. When I was with Tyler, I had been totally unaware of any other guy. I had thought that Damon was talking about someone else the night he drove Savannah and I home from Andrew's. But I was wrong. All along, I should've known that he liked me, his best friend.
Damon was the first person by my side the night of Tyler's press conference and comforted me when I cried my heart out. In fact, he had always been there for me when I needed a shoulder to lean on.
How could I have been so blind? Now I understood why Damon got all hot-tempered back in the restaurant. I had brought up the subject of hook-ups without a clue that I, the girl sitting across from him, was the only one that held his heart this entire time.
"I-I didn't know. Damon, I'm so sorry if I hurt you," I said gently, looking for any signs of anger in his eyes. But all I saw were blue pools of sorrow.
"No, I'm sorry. I never should've brought this up." Damon was about to walk over to the driver's side of the car when I touched his shoulder.
"Damon, talk to me. Please," I pleaded.
He turned around to look at me and without any hesitation, I leaned in and pressed my lips against his. It was then that I processed what was happening and we both quickly pulled apart, ending what probably would've been a more passionate kiss. Damon looked just as shocked as I was. Who ever thought that I'd kiss my best friend?
"Christine, don't do this just because you feel bad for me," Damon spoke.
"I'm not. What if I do want to be with you?"
"But I thought that you still loved Tyler," he replied.
"I don't. Damon, I would be a fool for not seeing how much you care about me. Maybe it's time we take our friendship a step further."
"This isn't just some dumb joke. I'm not going to force you to be my girlfriend if you don't even feel the same way about me as I do for you.
"Christine, it hurt me to see you crying because of how Tyler cheated that night. On the other hand, I couldn't help but feel hopeful that I'd maybe have a chance to finally be with you.
"I know that we're good friends, but I sometimes wished that we'd become more than that. But you were already with Tyler. It sucked because I knew that he could never love you as much as I do.
"In fact, I wasn't the least bit sorry about your break-up with Tyler. I know it's really selfish of me to say that, but it's the damn truth," Damon finished, waiting to see my reaction.
"I can't believe that you kept this to yourself all these years," I said quietly, looking up to meet his gaze.
"Me neither. But now you know," he replied with a small smile.
"So...we should probably head to the campus now. It's getting late," I suggested, trying to make things less awkward and tense.
"Yeah, I bet you're really sleepy," Damon replied, tousling my hair playfully and I laughed as we both got in his car.
An hour later, Damon parked in front of my dorm. He went to grab my suitcase from the trunk and then I unlocked the door, stepping inside. Savannah wouldn't be back until tomorrow so it was just me for now.
Damon went to use the bathroom and I changed out of my clothes into a Notre Dame tshirt and shorts, not bothering to brush my teeth since my eyes could barely even stay opened. As I was climbing into bed, Damon came back out and sat down next to me.
"I'll see you in the morning, alright? Sleep tight," he said. He was about to get up when I lightly grabbed his arm.
"Damon, can you spend the night? I don't want you to leave."
I mean for god's sake, the boy had confessed his love for me earlier. I couldn't just let him go back to his dorm all alone like that. Besides, I wanted his company.
"Then I'll stay," he replied with a warm smile.
Damon stood up and took his tshirt off, leaving it on top of the dresser.My eyes were instantly glued onto his toned abs. He had definitely gotten tanner over the summer, too. His back muscles flexed as he walked to the other side of my bed, lying down next to me.
I had never thought of Damon as being hot because he was my best friend. But in reality, hot was an understatement to describe his features.
When I first met him, I never would've guessed that he was a student here. Savannah and I had even thought that he was some movie star coming to visit our campus. We then assumed that he must've been a football player, and indeed he was.
"Should I turn the light off now?", the sound of Damon's voice asked, bringing me back to the present.
"Oh, go ahead," I said. The room turned pitch black.
"What is up with you? I don't even know how many times I've had to repeat myself today."
"I was just thinking," I replied.
"You," I admitted, thankful that he couldn't see my cheeks blushing because of the dark.
"Were you now? How cute. Now come on, let's try to get some sleep," he said, pulling the covers over us. I smiled to myself as I felt Damon's arm drape around me, scooting my body closer to his.
"I love you," I whispered, the words coming out of my mouth without a hint of doubt.
"I love you too, Christine. I always have."
I kissed him on the cheek and then rested my head on his chest as we both fell into a deep sleep.