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MY BEST FRIEND ...AND MORE

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He is supposed to be my best friend—at least I have been seeing him as one—doing a lot of things with him together. We go to school together, share the same hobbies, and love the same sports. He is my day one, my buddy. Up until after the summer vacation when we started a new life in the same college as freshmen. That is when I discover that I have developed a soft spot for him, which accounts for the way I missed him during the summer vacation. I have never missed Liam like that. I mean, I do miss him but not compared to last summer. I wanted him around me; his image occupied my mind's eye, his scent was everywhere I go. Starting college with a crush on my best friend is not an ideal way to begin the academic year. No matter how I try to suppress it by going on dates and accepting relationship proposals from guys, instead of it going away, it doubles. Worse still, he sees me as his buddy. He has never looked at me the way he looks at other girls. I know I am a bit of a tomboy. My other friends tell me that my dress sense is a bit masculine. I try changing my fashion sense but to no avail. Sadly, all I am to Liam is his day one bestie and buddy. I do not want to tell him about the feelings I have because I do not want to put our friendship in jeopardy. I really love him, so if it means keeping my feelings in and retaining our friendship, I would gladly. Until the dare at one of my female friend's parties _ Evie. The dare to kiss Liam changes everything. The kiss opens another chapter; I would never have believed in my entire life to be possible—Liam actually likes me!

Chapter 1 Fluttering Heart.

​AUDREY

I barely stepped into the gigantic gate of UCLA when soft feminine hands covered my face. I smiled to myself. It could only be one person—Lislie. She loved taking me by surprise, but she had never succeeded because I had mastered her fingers and even her scent of cherry and lavender.

"Lis... What's up?" I asked.

"You know I will always know it's you."

She grunted, uncovered my face, sidestepping me to stand in front of me, giving me a quick over-glance.

"Damn! I really missed you," she said and hugged me firmly.

"And you have grown taller." She used her hand to show how taller I had gotten. Well, I had always been taller than Lis. But, this time, it was damn noticeable.

I smiled and pinched her cheeks playfully.

"I missed you too. I hope you had fun during the summer vacation?" I asked as we walked inside the great citadel, which would be my school from now on—our school rather.

"Yep, I went for a summer camp. Liam was there..."

Liam went summer camping? Wow! I thought he said he would be spending the holidays with his brother in Beverly Hills. That explained why I had to follow my mum for a summer conference/vacation in Malibu. I figured, since my best friend wouldn't be in Los Angeles, there was no need to stay here. Somebody's definitely going to hear from me. To think he hid his location from me for the rest of the summer?

Lislie's giggles snapped me out of my thoughts. I looked forward to see what she was giggling about, and my gaze fell on Liam. Gosh! Did he go for a physique reconstruction or something?

Liam wasn't this muscular, and he didn't have biceps before the summer. Yeah, we kind of stopped seeing less of each other during the last months of our senior year because of the art workshop I attended—as a boost to my college application.

Forgive my manners, my name is Audrey O'Connor, and I am a freshman in UCLA—we all are—me, Lislie, Liam, and two other of my female friends that you will get to meet soon.

Liam had been my best friend since middle school, and we had remained buddies from then until now. Our families became closer as a result of our friendship, and people usually referred to us as siblings. My dad and his dad worked in the same company, but it was our friendship that brought them closer. Same with my mum.

We usually took turns having dinner at each other's houses or went out for treats. They let us sleep over at each other's houses, go to school together, shopping, church; we did virtually everything together. And all those years, his physical features were the least things that crossed my mind. I mean, I had no time to be checking out my best friend. That's the job of those other girls who fall at his feet. Moreover, I hadn't taken a closer look at his features until now. Damn! He was looking astoundingly superb!

Seeing him right now, in that tight t-shirt and jeans trousers, with his glasses hanging loosely on his head, in his usual graceful stride, my heart did a thousand flip-flops. I had missed him throughout the summer vacation—unlike before, and I had attributed it to the fact that we weren't spending as much time as before during that period I went for an art workshop for a couple of months. But, on setting my eyes on him, I began doubting if it was only the inadequate time we spent or was there something else?

He grinned on getting closer to where Lislie and I stood.

"My day one buddy!" He screamed and wrapped his hands around me.

Oh my, did my body just respond to his touch? I shook my head as if trying to shake off the sparks that his touch ignited. That had never happened before.

"Why are you shaking your head vigorously like that? Shocked to see me?"

I forced out a smile. "Like hell, I am."

He chuckled and shoved my shoulders. "I have missed you, bud."

I was still having this weird sensation as a result of his touch. Series of sparks were ignited, and I wondered if it was just from the fact that I missed him, or was there something more?

However, I schooled my appearance and turned to face him. I would deal with that later.

"How was summer camp?" I looked him over.

"Someone didn't tell me he's going for a summer camp." I appraised him with a hard stare, trying to pass the message across that I was angry. I guess it worked. His expression softened, and he held my hand.

"I'm sorry, Drey. I felt it was needless telling you since you had already left Los Angeles; you had no idea how guilty I was feeling. I'm sorry, bud."

Even though he hadn't apologized, just seeing this expression on his face, coupled with how hella cute and gorgeous he had become, my heart couldn't resist melting. It wasn't as though I was really angry in the first place.

"Just don't hide your location from me again, and we are good." I replied, parting my lips in a smile and nudging him so we could keep moving.

From my peripheral vision, I could see him giving me a sweeping glance.

"But seriously, bestie, you have grown really taller and way prettier. This summer really did you good."

My heart fluttered at the compliment. Whoa, what's wrong with me? This wasn't the first time Liam was giving me compliments. What's the difference now, and why was it affecting my heartbeat?

"Well, the difference is that you are beginning to see him in a new light. Recognizing his striking features..." I shut out the voice inside my head, forcing a chuckle as we strode forward.

"Oh really? Prettier and taller than those girlfriends of yours?"

Exactly why did I say that? I had no idea. Since when did I start comparing myself to his girlfriends?

Liam was a player—a handsome one at that. Back then, in high school, all the girls were struggling to have at least a one-night stand. But, as expected, he was highly selective. All of them were falling at his feet, writing him love letters and proclaiming their love for him. I was the only one that never worshipped him or fell at his feet. I saw him as a brother, not really giving a fuck if his arms were sprouting out muscles, his chest became hardened as a result of endless hours at the gym, or his tummy becoming damn flat and having six packs. But now...

Things were no longer the same. He looked astonishingly attractive to me now, and his touches sent cold shivers through my spine. Oh my freaking goodness!

Liam chuckled, snapping me out of my thoughts.

"They can't be compared to you. You are special—way special." My heartbeat quickened its pace as I stopped in my tracks. 'They can't be compared to you. You are special, way special.' What does that suppose to mean? And why was my heart reacting to those words?

I looked up at him. He was grinning, and then I noticed that our hands were still entangled, contributing to my fluttering heart.

God! What's wrong with me?"

"Look who's here!!!" Lislie's loud voice interrupted my thoughts. I glanced at her; she was pointing towards the hallway. "It's Evie!!" She exclaimed again, dragging Liam and me along towards the direction.

Evie was my other best friend. It felt really good to see her, and for a while, I forgot about my fluttering heart.

Chapter 2 Weird Feelings

AUDREY

It felt good to finally be a part and parcel of the University of California, Los Angeles. It had been our dreams — the five of us. It was a blissful transition into the world of high school to the college of our dreams. I came back with high hopes of meeting my friends again and starting the new semester as a freshman. Instead of everything going as planned, I found out that I was developing a soft spot for my best friend. What a weird way of starting a semester.

His words were still echoing in my head. "You are way more special..."

The statement was endearing, but come to think of it, this wasn't the first time he said endearing words to me. But, this was the first time I was taking it to heart. Because, sadly, everything had changed. During the summer holidays, I thought my missing him and craving for his presence were because we didn't see each other much during our last days in high school. Now, it all made sense. The distance made me real

Heroes

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