The weekend after Jeannette and Viviana’s conversation, they went shopping just like Viviana said they would. It was a bit of a tug of war as Viviana was looking for chic while Jeannette was looking for comfortable. However, they were able to find some outfits in the middle that they were both happy with. The next item on their list for the aspiring Mrs. Pruett was for Jeannette to come over to finally talk to Julian about how she felt. Jeannette waited a few days to check that item off the list as she had to psyche herself up to do it. But, that day finally came, and she nervously mounted those same steps she mounted many times before and knocked on the door.
Julian was working out, but Viviana told him that he should answer the door. He wasn’t expecting her, and certainly wasn’t expecting her to look how she was looking.
“Jeannette? H-h-hi! You look…amazing!”
“Thank you,” she blushed.
“Wow! Really amazing. What’s going on? Do you have a hot date or something,” he joked.
Ugh! He disappoints me in so many ways! But, still…I care for him.
“No…I’m just trying something new.”
“It works! I like it.”
“I’m glad,” she smiled. “Can we go somewhere and talk?”
“Uhhh, yeah. Let’s go across the street. Is everything ok?”
“I don’t know.”
“Oh. Well, let’s go then.”
They walked across the street to a bench with a good view of the bay. Julian kept stealing glances at her. It had been a while since he had seen her with her hair down and makeup on. When they arrived across the street, they just stood there smiling at each other.
“Sorry…I’m staring,” Julian said and sat down. “You’re, like, extra beautiful tonight!”
“Do you really think so?”
“Of course I do! I mean, you’re beautiful all the time, but…freezer bunnies! You’re incredible tonight!”
“That means a lot, Julian. Thank you.”
She was nervous about coming over because they hadn’t really hung out or talked much since the hot tub incident. She thought things might be weird between them, but thankfully her new appearance made him forget all about the awkwardness.
“Come sit,” he said.
“I think I’d prefer to stand.”
“Why? I don’t bite. And, I promise not to tickle you,” he said with a smile.
“Heh. No, thanks.”
“Ok, fine. I see this is going to be a serious conversation.”
“Yes. I’m afraid it is,” she said and watched him sink back on the bench. “I need to know how you feel about me.”
“What? You know how I feel about you.”
“No, I really don’t. You tell me I’m your best friend, but what does that mean? What makes me the best? Or, is it because I’m your only friend?”
“Jeannette! Where is this coming from? What do you want from me?”
“I want to understand my place in your life! Is that so wrong?”
“No,” he groaned. “Freezer bunnies! Why do you girls have to complicate every plumming thing?”
She stood there with her arms crossed and waited for him to answer her. When he saw that she wasn’t going to let him escape, he let out a loud sigh and took his time getting his thoughts together.
“Ok. Jeannette…you are my best friend. I think…I think that you are…you’re the most awesome person I know. I feel…safe with you. I’ve never felt like my family’s status mattered to you. I always felt like you just wanted to know me…and that’s important. I appreciate that you don’t complain when we hang out, and you always enjoy yourself no matter what we do. Heh, Callie says I have a ‘strange addiction to cloud gazing.’ I know I always shy away from these conversations, but I feel like whenever I need to talk, you’ll be there for me. Always….Are you crying?”
She laughed and said yes.
“Because I’m happy!”
“I never knew how you felt, Julian. I know you assumed I did, but I really didn’t!”
“Oh. I’m sorry. I thought we had an understanding.”
“Heh. Yeah, well…there’s a lot you don’t understand, Julian,” she said sarcastically.
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
She pressed her lips together and looked to the sky with her hands on her hips as if she were asking for help to hold something in. But, this was not the time to withhold anything. After all, she came to release.
“Julian…for a smart guy, you act really dumb!”
“Are you blind? Or, are you just not willing to see?”
“I LOVE YOU!”
She shocked even herself with that one as she looked in Julian’s surprised face.
“I want Juliette,” she continued. “I want Juliette and Jonathan and Janessa…the gray hairs! I want all of it! I don’t want it to be hypothetical anymore!”
Julian didn’t know what to think or even how to respond to that.
“You’re in love with me?”
“Yes, Julian! I’ve been in love with you!”
“I mean, I knew you had a crush on me, but…freezer bunnies, Jeannette! How was I supposed to know?”
“Are you serious? EVERYBODY knows! Everybody except you!”
“I…I don’t know what to say. What am I supposed to say? What are you expecting me to say?”
“I don’t know, Julian! I’m just tired of doing this.”
“THIS! Hanging out and being together, feeling how I feel. You confuse me! You say that we’re just friends, but you spend ALL of your time with me. And you’re always flirting!”
“Yes, you do, Julian. And, in the hot tub–
“I’m not talking about the hot tub!”
“I’m not talking about the hot tub!”
“You felt something…didn’t you!”
He couldn’t even look at her.
“Ok,” she said. “Fine. Don’t talk about it. I’ve told you how I feel. You clearly need time to figure out how you feel. So, I’m gonna give you some time to figure it out.”
And with that, she turned around and started walking.
“Where are you going?”
“Will I see you tomorrow?”
“This weekend then?”
She stopped and turned around.
“You still don’t get it? I’m not doing this anymore! How do you expect us to just go back to the way things were now? They can’t! I’m done!”
She turned on her heels and started walking again. Julian jolted up and started after her.
“Jeannette, wait! What are you saying? We’re not friends anymore??”
“Of course we’re friends, Julian! But, I don’t want to be your friend. Call me when you’ve realized that you don’t want to be mine.”