Just a Joke

Daily Prompt: Joke

The timing was perfect. She had finally got some time alone with him, and that too under a rather exquisite tree. Birds were chattering excitedly over their very heads. The tiny flowers around their seated bodies blushed red with an intensity that was surpassed only by her rosy cheeks.

The whole setting reeked of romance.

He was her best friend. The one person who understood her best of all. It felt like fate was pushing her towards him.

They sat together, reveling in the shared silence. She wondered if he could hear her erratic heartbeat. To her it seemed too loud to ignore.

I love you.

They’d never once said those words to each other, but their gestures spoke volumes. She was as sure of his love as the fact that the sun was a star. Hence she did not feel any of the nervousness or tension one might entertain before confessing. All she felt was joy. It was finally time.

She remembered everything. Meeting him during a rainy day and sharing the single umbrella. Watching him walk back after dropping her off at her house, and thus realizing that he’d gone out of his way to make sure she didn’t get wet. Him giving her the best pieces of cake, him helping her with last minute home work… the pride in his eyes when she sang in public for the first time…

It was finally time.

“Hey” Her voice was little more than a whisper. He turned to face her, his deep brown orbs hypnotic.

It is finally time.

“I’m in love with you.”

The moment she uttered those words, she felt like she’d been set free. Like a once-caged bird, she readied her wings for the eventual flight. Shyly, she brought her gaze back to level with his.

His expression was not what she’d expected.

“Oh um. Romantically?” His voice was panicked. “I’m sorry I- I never thought- you’re like- my best friend and I never- God I never saw you like-like that and-”

She stretched her lips into a mocking grin. “Oh you should see yourself right now! Scared little boy!” She said, in a voice that was hopefully lively and teasing. “Obviously, I was joking. Ew! You’re like my brother!”

The sudden relief on his face was a strong punch to her stomach.

“Oh. Oh that scared me.” He laughed. And then they resumed their usual playful banter.

Friends.

So she was the only one who fell in love. It was the loneliest she’d ever felt.

But she bit her lips, swallowed her sobs and played it off as ‘just a joke’.

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