Hurdles

Our relationship. It wasn't sonnet inspiring, the story of it won't make thousands want to listen. But it was complicated and it was special to us. It was certainly more than I bargained for from just seeing a boy with a football helmet across the room.

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13. Thirteen

Things have shifted in my mind when it comes to Harry. I always had a thing for him but after the other night with him, it's just escalated. I just feel like we're kind of closer now, I feel like he isn't looking straight over my head anymore. We talk a lot more in school, we talk over messages in the evenings. Just out of nowhere we're like proper friends and I like that. 

One lunch the boys are all at practice so I'm sat by myself outside on the phone to my friends.

"We like Harry by the way." Nicole says so I prepare for an interrogation. "Is he your best friend over there?" 

"I don't know, Dan and I are kind of closer as friends." I say. 

"So what are you and Harry?" Jaclyn asks sounding excited. "Are you together?" 

"No, we're not." I say. 

"But it just seems like you're close." Kylie objects. 

"You could say that about the other ten of them." I argue. 

"But you're different with him." she says. "More giggly and stuff."

"I am not more giggly." I object.

"I'm just saying, you're going to end up together." she says and even though I'm happy she thinks that I don't want to admit to them that I like him because then it becomes a thing and I just feel like it will mess up after that. 

"We're just friends." I repeat.

"Who's just friends?" Harry's suddenly next to me, grinning. 

"Jesus Christ, you made me jump." I sigh and then all the girls are the giggly ones on the other side of the phone. 

"Who are you talking about?" he asks again.

"Just me and some guy back over there." I lie. There is not even one guy who I could be talking about back home but somehow I sound convincing. "I'm still talking to him and they're convinced there's something going on."

"Oh yeah?" he grins, stealing the phone from me and putting them on speaker phone. "Hey guys!"

"Hey!" they all chorus. 

"So Alice has a boyfriend back home, hey?" he says. "Who would have thought it!"

"I know!" Kylie says, pretending to be surprised. I'm shocked and very relieved that they're even playing along. "Seriously though, she's like 'we were just kind of friends' but she cuts off communication with all of her other kind of friends."

"Oh really!" Harry says, raising an eyebrow at me and smirking like he's going to use this as something to tease me about. 

"He isn't my boyfriend." I protest, not wanting to keep this going for much longer. "We've gotta head to class soon."

"No we haven't, don't lie." Harry says and I kick him. 

"Stop!" I whisper. "Why are you even out of practice anyway?" 

"So, shall we fly this guy over or not?" he says to them and I kick him again. 

"No because I barely ever speak to him anyway." I say again. I 

"Look through her texts, I'm telling you there are going to be sexts on there." Jaclyn says.

"Jaclyn!" I shout down the phone, my cheeks heating up. At first I thought they were being nice playing along but clearly it's just an excuse to embarrass me. I do wonder when I'm going to get the chance to embarrass them back. 

The bell really does go then and we really do have to go to class so I hurry a goodbye and hang up on them. I just get up, putting my bag over my shoulder and start walking without looking at him but I know he's walking alongside me with a stupid smirk on his face.

"Don't say a thing." I say and he laughs. 

"You don't have to act this way."

"Act what way?" I say, still not looking at him. 

"Angry. I know the long distance is tough but you don't have to take out your frustration on everybody else, it's not our fault."

"Shut up!" I say but I'm laughing now. "I don't get why you're making fun of me for this. Even if I did have a boyfriend back home, why is that something to mock?" 

"Because I know he's not your boyfriend and it annoys you to talk about it." he says. "I'll stop making it a thing now."

"Thank you."

Of course as soon as we get into English and the rest of the boys are already sat down and nobody else is in class yet, Harry shouts out "She has a boyfriend!"

"Is it you?" Luke shouts back.

"No!" Harry shouts back, just as enthused. "It's some English guy!"

"She can't have a boyfriend!" Dan says. "She's too little."

"Too little?" Mr Jackson speaks up. "You're only a year older than her."

"Yeah but she seems little to us." he says. "Little English Alice, finding her way through Austin."

"I don't have a boyfriend!" I say, punching Harry's arm as I walk past him and go sit on the other side of the classroom like I do whenever I'm annoyed with any of them. They all chorus a low 'Oooooh' and I roll my eyes, getting my books out. 

"She's in the pissed off seat." Jesse says.

"I'm going to be in the pissed off seat in a minute." Mr Jackson says. "Everyone shut up. Seeing you as you insist on being early to class, catch up on your reading boys."

"What about her?" Luke protests.

"I've done it." I say, all smug. 

"Because she's smart. And you all choose to waste your time making fun of her." Sir says and I smile at him.

"Thank you!" I say and they finally shut up. I know I get annoyed with them but at the same time that's kind of the great thing about being friends with them, the constant atmosphere between us. How they make fun of me but also how they're protective of me at the same time and how they look after me but I look after them too. I just love this friendship but I'm not going to be admitting that to them any time soon.

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