I walked in the house and shut the door behind me. Almost like I was in a daze, I walked to the couch and sort of fell onto the cushions. I couldn't believe it. I had gotten my first kiss from the person I had least expected it from. My whole world was spinning, faster and faster. I had the weirdest feeling of sinking and floating at the same time. I closed my eyes and tried to sort out my thoughts.
Mike said he had felt this way about me for a long time. Were the signs there? Did I miss something? Oh, I wished for anything that Hayley and I could talk... I needed her so bad right then. I swallowed hard and decided that I didn't care about our argument anymore... I had to call. I went to the kitchen and grabbed the cordless phone, bringing it back with me so I could lay on the couch while I talked. I still felt shaky and I knew I didn't need to try to pace, like I normally did when I talked on the phone. I dialed Hayley's number and sure enough, after 3 rings, she answered.
"Hello?" Her voice was distant and I remembered about Caller ID. "Hayley.... It's me. I have to talk to you- please don't hang up." There was silence on the other end for a few seconds and then she said "Ok, I'm listening." "Ok," I began, taking a deep breath. "First of all, I'm sorry for getting mad the other night. You are entitled to your opinion and I think we should just leave it at that. But... I have some huge, huge news and I need my best friend right now. Please?" I heard Hayley let out a breath and she sounded relieved. "Ok... I'm sorry, too. What's going on? Are you ok?" I shook my head. I had a tendecy of doing that, knowing the person on the other end couldn't see me. "No, I'm not... Can you come over?" Hayley paused for a sec and then said "Sure... Give me 5 minutes, ok?" I nodded and replied "Ok, see you in a few. Bye!" I heard the phone click and turned my own handset off. I fell back into the couch and looked around the room dazedly.
I could stil feel Mike's kiss. It was really, really nice. Well, I mean, it's not like I had ever had anything to compare it to, but I thought it didn't suck. His lips were so soft and warm and the way he had held my face... I took a breath, feeling dizzy. The kiss was wonderful physically; that wasn't the issue. The real question was: Did I feel the same way about Mike, and if I didn't now, could I later?
A few minutes later, I saw headlights pass across the living room wall; it was getting late. I stood and went to the door to greet Hayley. She was half running to the door, her gray-green eyes filled with wonder and worry. I ushered her in, and she gasped a little when she saw me. "Wow, Mandy... You're white as a sheet! What in the world is going on, girl?" I walked into the living room and sank into my mom's oversized arm chair and threw my feet up onto the ottoman. Hayley sat on the edge of the loveseat facing me, worry written all over her face. I sighed and met her eyes. I wasn't even sure how to begin.
"Ok, so.... I went to play paintball with Mike today." She nodded and began playing with her fingers. "Yeah, I heard you guys talking about that in church Sunday. Did you guys have fun?" I nodded and smiled a little, sitting up and crossing my legs under me. "Yeah, it was a really great day. I haven't had that much fun in a long time." I remembered laughing with Mike as we shot at each other across the field, and then looked back at Hayley with a smile. "He's such a great friend, and he makes me laugh...." I noticed Hayley's face brighten a little and she smirked. "Whoa... Mandy... Are you about to tell me what I think you're telling me?" I tilted my head a little and gave her a questioning look. She went on, arching a brow. "You like Mike, don't you?" I laughed a little and put my hands to my cheeks. "I honestly don't know. That's why you're here, Hay... Mike kissed me today." Hayley's eyes flew open and she clapped a hand over her mouth. I heard a muffled "Oh my God" and went on. "We were having so much fun, and he sprung it on me in the truck when we got to his house. I... I don't know what to do, Hayley." I bit my lip and watched her. She had dropped her hand, but she was staring at me with a crazed, wild look on her face. finally she spoke. "Whoa... Oh my God. Mandy!!! Ok, so how was it?" I smiled and looked away. "It was great... Mike's a great kisser. His lips were really soft and the way he held my face..." I felt the kiss again and my body grew warm. Hayley was still staring at me, completely shocked. I laughed and threw a pillow at her. "Hayley! Stop looking at me like that!" She laughed and dodged the pillow. "Wow... Oh wow. So... What did he say?" I recounted the conversation to Hayley and finished with "I'm just not sure. I mean... The kiss itself was wonderful and it totally blew me out of the water. But... Mike's been my friend forever, and I don't want to ruin that, you know?" Hayley shook her head. "Well, it's kinda too late for that, Mandy... He went there, and once you cross that line you can't go back to how everything was before. So you either like him or you don't. Either way, you'll have to talk to him and tell him."
I felt my face flush. The thought of Michael and me as a couple was...So weird. Or was it? I started thinking back to all the times we'd gone to the mall together and how he always saved a seat for me at church functions, and how much fun we always had laughing together and being goofy. I had never thought of Mike as a guy before, 'cause I'd always been too wrapped up in my daydreams about Jake to notice anyone else. But I was starting to think about it and it wasn't grossing me out. That had to be a start, right?
I let out a breath and looked back to Hayley. "I guess it doesn't gross me out to think about Michael like that. I just never have. It's kinda like waking up and realizing you've been asleep for years. It's such a new concept to me." Hayley laughed. "Well... I have to say I'm kinda shocked that you never noticed him flirting with you before. Come on...You can't tell me that all this time you thought Mike was just being a friendly guy." I looked at her, shaking my head. "I did, though! I never thought he liked me like that... I thought he was just being a friend." Hayley shook her head. "No, girlfriend. Remember last year when Mark Sullivan asked you to Homecoming and Mike was so happy 'cause you said no?" I did remember and I gasped. I had apparently been missing a lot of signals. I closed my eyes and rubbed my temples. "Ugh! I am so confused right now. This is craziness!" I opened my eyes and Hayley was laughing softly. "I think it's cute. You and Mike. Mandy, that would be awesome. You guys would make a great couple! I can totally see it..." Hayley came over and sat next to me in the chair, hugging me gently. "I'm sure once you give it a little bit more thought, you'll see it too." Hayley grinned and I couldn't help but grin back. I was starting to see it, and I liked what I saw. Now I just needed to talk to Mike.