He was my best friend.


3. Six Years Later - Part Two

"Why'd you do that for?" Dask asked, after I'd hung the phone up on his sad attempt at trying to talk to Clara.

I really didn't know. "I was saving you from yourself! Who knows what else you would've said! You're not exactly great at speaking on the phone, Dask."

"Thanks," he huffed to himself.

"Well, it's true!" I laughed.

A small smile tugged at the corners of his mouth, his eyes met mine and he laughed. "Well, you were no help!"

"What'd you want me to do? I hung the phone up before you sounded like an even bigger dork. That's helping!" I said and Dask smiled.

I still had Dask in a bear hug on top of me. I reluctantly released my arms from around him and he shifted his weight off me, then rolled to my side and rested his head on my shoulder. We both looked up at my bedroom ceiling, lost in our own thoughts. I was absent-mindedly drawing circles with the pad of my thumb on his soft flesh on the inside of his elbow. He leaned in to me and hugged my side closer.

"Do you think Clara thinks you like her?" he asked quietly.

I turned my head to look at him. "What? Why?" I asked, surprised by his question.

"Well, now that I think about what I said, I think I made it sound like you liked her," Dask said.

I grinned. "Nah, but I think she now knows how inadequate you are on the phone," I joked. Then, to reassure him, "I don't think she thinks that I like her." I was getting kind of confused. "I hope," I added as an afterthought.

Dask smiled at me.

I grinned back at him and then turned to look back up at the ceiling. "What does it matter anyway? You two are together now," I reminded him.

"Yeah, but I screwed that call up a bit," he said.

"A bit? A bit!" I teased him.

"Yeah." He laughed.

"I'm pretty sure she realised it was you who liked her when I shouted down the phone that you wanted to go out with her." I laughed.

Then, I grew quiet as I remembered something. "I'm sorry I elbowed you," I told him, feeling a little guilty. 'It looked like it hurt when you fell..."

"...on my butt?" he finished, grinning at me.

"Yeah," I said, a little sheepishly.

"I'm fine Jo," he replied and turned to look back up at the ceiling.

"I know. Just, sorry, yeah." I said quietly, casting him a sideways glance.

He met my eyes with his soft blue ones. His dark, gold lashes lowered, casting shadows across the top of his cheeks. They fluttered a little, then lifted, and revealed the soft blue, dewy depths underneath that were always so ready to forgive me . "Okay Jo," he breathed softly.

I didn't deserve him. He's always forgiving me too easily. "Let me see." I said gently, and lightly tugged on the bottom edge of his shirt.

Dask lifted the bottom of his shirt up a little and I saw a small, faint red mark on one side of his lower stomach. I hoped it wouldn't bruise. What's wrong with me? I always get so worked up and impulsive when we're messing about. Though I never truly wanted to ever hurt him.

I gently circled my fingers around the pink blemish on his skin.

"Does it hurt at all?" I asked quietly.

"Its fine, Jo," he replied in a soft, husky voice.

Our eyes met. I hoped he saw in mine how much I never really wanted to hurt him. How I'd always do everything I could to protect him. "I'm sorry." I repeated.

His fingers covered mine. "We were messing about, Jo." He said softly.

"I know but..."

"But nothing." He propped himself up on his side to look at me, letting my hand go in the process. "But nothing," he repeated.

I couldn't help but look at his lips. They're so soft looking. Light pink. His eyes watched me as I gently ran the back of my fingers near the reddened skin on his stomach again.

Dask smiled at me.

"What?" I asked.

"You're such a big teddy bear," he replied.

"I am not big."

He laughed. "You're the sweetest guy, Jo."

"Yeah, right," I said.

Still smiling, he shook his head, then laid down by my shoulder once again and tugged the edge of his shirt back down. "What about you?" he asked me.

"What about me?" I responded.

"Aren't you going to ask someone to the dance?" he inquired.

"I wasn't planning on it," I replied.

His brows crinkled. "There's usually always someone you like. So who is it this time and why aren't you telling me?" Then he gasped. "It's not Clara is it?"

My eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Clara? Not again!" I laughed. "No, she's not my type."

"What do you mean? She's pretty and she's nice," Dask said.

"Yeah, but she's too chirpy for me," I replied.

"She's not a bird," he said.

I laughed and Dask joined in too.

"I know. I'm just not interested in anyone at the moment," I informed him.

"Well, that's a first," he said.

I shrugged my shoulders. "It's not a big deal. There's always the dance next month." Dask nodded his head in agreement.

Dask likes me drawing on his back. He let me gently push him over to face away from me, and I drew pictures over the shirt on his back.

I started thinking about how I'd been out with a few girls this year and I hadn't had much of a break between them. I get on fairly well with girls and there always seemed to be a few who liked me.

Now, I felt like being by myself for a while, have a break from trying to live up to their expectations or impress them. I felt like I needed a breather.

"Guess what I'm drawing?" I asked Dask.

He was quiet as he concentrated on the swirly patterns my fingers were making. "Is it my name?" he asked in surprise.

I laughed. "Yeah."

He turned to face me. "It's meant to be a picture. Why would you write my name, Jo?" he questioned.

I shrugged my shoulders and turned around. "Now do me," I said.

"Fine," Dask replied.

I felt content as Dask's fingers lightly drew on my back."Did you just draw a bell?" I laughed.

"How did you get that?" he asked me, smiling.

"It was easy," I answered.

"At least I didn't write your name," Dask said.

"No, you drew a big bloody bell instead!" I laughed. Dask laughed too. "Why'd you even think of drawing a bell?" I asked, after we'd calmed down a bit.

He shrugged his shoulders. "Well, there's the church bell. You know, it goes off every hour," he replied.

"No, it doesn't. Not anymore," I said.

"It use to," he responded.

I looked at him fondly, then stood up and stretched.

"You wanna go to the lake?" I asked.

"Sure," he said.

We changed our clothes, grabbed some towels, then headed for the small lake on my parent's property.

After a while, we were hungry, so we headed back to the house. We took a shower, then had dinner, before heading back to my room.

"Ready to see Clara tomorrow?"  I asked Dask.

"Sure," he shrugged, like he didn't care.

"Yeah, right." I grinned.

"What?" he asked.

"Nothing," I said.

He picked up a pillow and threw it at me.

"Ow! What was that for?" I asked, exaggerating the pain for effect.

"You're annoying," he said. I laughed.

We settled down on my bed together. "Do you think it's weird we sleep next to each other and don't top and tail?" Dask asked.

"Nope," I said, my back to him.

"You want me to draw on your back?" he asked me.

I turned to face him. "No."

"Okay," he said softly, looking into my eyes.

My stomach clenched. I wanted to touch him. Dask has been my best friend for so long, sometimes it felt like he'd become a part of everything that was important in my life, and now things were changing. He was going to be spending more time with Clara now that they were together.

"If we topped and tailed we wouldn't be able to do this, would we?" I said and reached my hand out towards him. I ran the tips of my fingers along the skin near the neckline of his shirt, then gently dragged them down his chest, over his stomach to the bottom of his shirt and slowly lifted the edge up a little, exposing the creamy skin there. I ran the pad of my thumb lightly over his belly button and Dask gasped. I smirked, then trailed my fingers down to the top of his jeans and flicked open the top button. I maintained eye contact with him while I slowly inched his zipper down.

"Do you want me to stop?" My voice was low and husky.

Dask took in a sharp intake of breath and gently shook his head, no.

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