Kennedy Threadgoode groaned and opened one eye, as the shrill ringing of her telephone disrupted her peaceful slumber. Wrestling a hand free from her blanket, she reached out and grabbed the annoyance. "Yeah?"
" Do you have to answer the phone so gruffly? "
Kennedy rubbed a hand over her face, trying to wake herself up properly. "You know, I actually heard you roll your eyes then," she teased. "And to answer your question, yeah, I do have to answer the phone gruffly. It scares off the time wasters and... I only crawled into bed..." she looked at her clock, "five hours ago and only fell asleep three hours ago."
" Don't need to hear about your bedroom antics, Kennedy! "
"Sleeping solo, buddy. Why are you calling? Are you all right?"
" I'm fine, " Carley Truelove told her fretting best friend. " How are you? All set for today? "
"Today?" Kennedy asked in confusion. "Uhh, yeah, I'm all set for today." She tried to recall what her friend was hinting at. "What's today?"
" Today, my lovable yet forgetful friend, is Valentine's Day. "
" You know, that made-up holiday where couples, lovers and those looking to get lucky, buy a shit load of novelty crap the usually mock, such as over-priced chocolate, cards and heart-holding teddy bears. "
"That's today?" Kennedy asked in a panic.
" Uhm, let's see, " Carley teased. " Ahh, yes, here it is. Fourteenth of February. Otherwise known as... "
"Valentine's Day!" Kennedy scrambled out of bed, finding herself tangled in her blanket. Her balance was off and she quickly found herself falling to the floor with a loud thump. "We have to go shopping!"
" Are you all right? What do you mean we have to go shopping? You mean you have to go shopping. "
Sitting on the floor in a tangled mess, Kennedy scowled as she kicked herself free of her blanket. "I'm fine, just got tangled up and lost my balance. And, we have to go shopping 'cause I need your help picking out a gift for Juliette."
Carley rolled her eyes. " You know I can't stand Jules, Ken. Why would I help you buy a present for a woman I can't stand? "
"You're my best friend, and as my best friend, you don't want me to get into trouble, even if you don't like who I'm dating." She listened to Carley sigh heavily down the line. "Come on, Carley. Deep down you knew I had forgotten it was Valentine's Day today, that's why you called me this early. Right?"
Carley gave a loud woe-is-me sigh. "All right. Fine. I'll come shopping with you and help you pick out the perfect gift. But, only because you're my best friend and I don't want to have to sit and listen to your whining and complaining if the she-bitch dumps you!"
"What a friend you are!" Kennedy said sarcastically. "Okay, I need to jump in the shower. Meet you in town in an hour?"
"I'll meet you outside HMV."
"All right, see you then." Hanging up, Kennedy threw the handset down on the bed and ran her hands through her short brunette locks. She was smiling, feeling light and optimistic. She frowned as a new concern came to her suddenly. "What's the right gift for Valentine's Day?" she pondered aloud, heading for the bathroom to get ready for the day.
* * * * *
Strolling along the high-street, Kennedy was aware of the fact that she was late. She was also aware of the fact that Carley knew her and knew her well, so she wasn't too bothered by her bad time keeping.
Through the crowd of moving people, she spotted her best friend lingering outside the music shop they had agreed to meet in front of and smiled. She'd be lost without Carley in her life. They complemented each other perfectly, like yin and yang.
The strawberry-blonde was the girly part she didn't seem to possess, teaching Kennedy that there was nothing wrong with liking chick flicks or expressing her emotions. Kennedy provided confidence, humour and security, and taught Carley to appreciate sport. Carley helped her with colour-coordination, polite conversation and the occasional healthy meal. Kennedy made her loosen up and find the fun.
Slipping an arm around Carley's shoulders, Kennedy turned the other woman towards her. "Been waiting long?"
Despite trying to be angry at her friend, Carley found her lips curling up into a warm smile. "Lucky for me, I know how bad your time keeping is!" She hooked her arm through her best friend's. "So, have you made any plans for today at all, or did you really completely forget?"
Kennedy looked at her in confusion. "Plans? Like what?"
Carley laughed at her hopeless friend. "Like... reservations for dinner. An evening curled up on the sofa with a girly chick flick. Tickets to a West End show. Any of this ringing a bell?"
"Is that what people do? Spend outrageous money on a bogus holiday?"
"Uh-huh. See what happens when you date a high-maintenance woman around this time of year?" Carley teased. "Usually, it's just you, me, a bottle wine, and a movie marathon. Bogus holiday be damned! So, what's it gonna be, stud?"
"I don't have a lot of options, seeing how today is Valentine's Day. Thanks for the heads up by the way!"
"Hey, don't blame me. I assumed darling Jules would have dropped more than a major hint at you."
Kennedy frowned. "Don't call her Jules, she doesn't like it."
Carley snorted and rolled her eyes. "Like I care!" she scoffed. "And besides, she's not here to witness me calling her Jules, is she?"
"I think the last time I went to the theatre, I was twelve," Kennedy said, getting back to the matter at hand. "And uhh... Juliette isn't the stay-on-the-sofa type. So, I guess that leaves dinner." She frowned. "Being Valentine's Day, my chances of booking a table somewhere nice..."
"About as likely as finding ice cream in hell." Carley pulled the brunette to a stop outside a flower shop. "Okay. First stop, the florist. You can't go wrong with a nice bunch of flowers." She pushed open the door and led the way inside, sighing when she saw how busy it was. "Seems like everyone has decided to buy flowers," she grumbled. She stopped and looked at Kennedy. "What are Juliette's favourite flowers?"
Kennedy shrugged, looking around at the vast array of flowers. "No idea. How about roses?"
Carley rolled her eyes. "Roses are such a cliché! It's Valentine's Day, let's buy roses! Don't put any thought into it! Don't try to be original!"
"They're cliché for a reason, best buddy. Every girl loves roses." Kennedy bent to smell the aroma of some zinnias. "Except you, of course. You prefer violets."
Carley blinked in surprise. "How do you know that?"
"I'm your best friend, I'm supposed to know little things like that." She frowned, dark green eyes landing on Carley. "Maybe you're right."
"I am? About what?"
"Maybe roses are too cliché. Where do we start then?"
"Uhh..." Carley looked around, trying to get her bearings. "How about some... geraniums?"
Kennedy looked at the showy pink flowers Carley was pointing to. "Ahh, pink. Every girly-girl's favourite colour."
"You don't want geraniums," an elderly gentleman spoke up. "They mean stupidity. I don't think that's the message you want to send on Valentine's Day!" he chuckled.
Kennedy looked at her best friend suspiciously. "Stupidity, huh?" She walked over to Carley's side. "You're supposed to be helping me, Carley."
"How was I supposed to know they meant stupidity?" Carley replied defensively.
"You dated that gardener for eight months. You learnt all about flowers to impress her!"
Kennedy rolled her eyes . "Yeah, gardener."
"Okay, I'm sorry. The meaning must have slipped my mind." Carley looked around. "How about some tiger lily's?"
"What do they mean? Untimely death?" Kennedy asked sarcastically.
"They mean wealth or pride, both of which Juliette has in abundance!"
Kennedy looked at Carley. "I want something that says I love..." she found herself lost in blue eyes, "you. Uhm..." she swallowed hard and frowned in confusion at the stirring of feelings she'd never felt before. "Maybe we should forget flowers. I mean, if I buy them now I'll have to carry them around and they'll get crushed and broken."
"Sure," Carley softly agreed. "We can always come back later." She watched her best friend flee the shop. Sighing, she turned to follow.
Standing outside the florists, Kennedy looked left, then right, not entirely sure which direction to take. Her mobile phone started ringing before a decision could be made. "It's Juliette," she told Carley, as she took the phone out of her pocket and glanced down at the screen. "Hey, sweetheart," she greeted cheerfully.
Carley sighed and moved away, not wanting to witness her best friend being mushy with someone she couldn't stand.
She'd been in love with Kennedy for as long as she could remember, but had never spoken up out of fear of losing her best friend completely. She had always hoped they would find their way to each other in a romantic sense, but so far, she'd been overlooked time and time again.
Kennedy was grinning when she finally hung up. "Juliette's made dinner reservations."
"That's lucky. One less thing for you to worry about."
"So," Kennedy said, stuffing her hands into her pockets. "Where to next?"
Smiling, Carley hooked her arm through Kennedy's and started them walking, opting to head right and deeper into town. "Well... how about chocolates? Loads of people opt for chocolates."
Kennedy rolled her eyes. "I'm not giving Juliette a crummy box of garage-bought chocolates! It's our first Valentine's, what sort of message would that send?"
"I was thinking more along the lines of somewhere like Thorntons," Carley explained.
"Ahh, professional chocolate makers," Kennedy nodded. "I like the way you think."
"It's just an idea I thought I'd put out there. I mean, it's a bad idea if Juliette's allergic to chocolate. Is she allergic to chocolate?"
Kennedy frowned. "No, I don't think so. I've seen her eat chocolate things before, like that dessert. A chocolate dessert with gooey chocolate inside. You know the one? You break into it and the sauce is supposed to come oozing out, but sometimes people over-cook them so that doesn't happen. What's that called?"
"Uhh... chocolate fondant?"
"Yeah!" Kennedy exclaimed. "Yeah?"
Carley shrugged, not entirely sure. "The point is Jules can eat chocolate, right?"
"Right," Kennedy nodded. "And don't call her Jules." She smiled and bumped against the shorter woman. "You're impossible, you know that?"
"I try my best."
The chocolate shop smelt heavenly. Dark and light, vanilla, strawberry and hints of coffee, it was all there waiting to be inhaled.
"Mmm," Carley murmured in delight, eyes closed as she inhaled deeply. "God, I could happily live here!"
"Sure, until you grew sick of chocolate."
"Would never happen. There's too much choice to ever get sick of it." Blue eyes lit up as Carley spotted a taster station. "Ooh, look! Free samples!" Grabbing Kennedy's arm, Carley dragged her best friend over to the stand. "We'll try some of these and see if we can't find something Juliette will like." Picking up a delectable cube, she bit into the chocolate treat and hummed her approval.
"Good?" Kennedy asked in amusement.
Carley nodded and replied, "Yes," through a mouthful. "You have to try these!" she said once her mouth was empty. "It's like a little bite of heaven!" She picked up another cube, ready to try a new flavour, while Kennedy picked up her first. "Oh, it's the same flavour," she pouted in disappointment, reaching for a cube sitting at the back of the tray. "Maybe these ones are different?" She ate two more and found that they were the same flavour as well.
The two friends turned around and found a member of staff standing behind them. "Yes..." Kennedy looked at the woman's name tag, "Karen?"
"Those are just samplers," the woman told them. "You sample one or two, then move on, leaving the rest for other people to try."
Kennedy snorted in amusement. "Are you telling us off for trying your samples?"
"People usually only have one or two," Karen said huffily. "Not half a tray." Her eyes landed on Carley.
"I thought they were all different flavours," Carley defended herself. "You should've put up a sign telling people they're all one flavour!"
"She can't tell you off for eating more than two chocolates," Kennedy told her friend, shooting the shop assistant a dirty look. "They're free samples!"
"The key word there being samples," Karen retorted. "You sample, then decide whether you would like to buy a box or not."
"No! My answer is no!" Kennedy snapped. "I don't want to buy a box of overpriced, sickly chocolates! How much are they usually? I just know you've hiked the price up because it's Valentine's Day!"
The shop assistant folded her arms. "I'd like for you to leave."
"With pleasure!" Kennedy replied, grabbing handfuls of chocolate off the tray, then marching out of the shop.
"Hey! You can't take those!" the woman called out.
Carley turned back to face her, smiling saccharinely. "Yes, she can. They're free!" She turned and happily skipped after Kennedy. "You're my hero!" she gushed, taking her best friend's arm. "Did you see her face? It was priceless!"
"Here," Kennedy said, handing over her pilfered sweets, making Carley laugh.
"You know, these aren't all that bad," Carley said, before popping a chocolate into her mouth. "Too bad we're probably banned from going back!"
Laughing, Kennedy led them over to a bench and sat down. She hated shopping and this was just stressing her out. She sighed and people-watched, while Carley finished off her chocolate.
She thought about her girlfriend and what she liked, trying to think past the gimmicks. Juliette Valerious was a daddy's girl, used to getting everything she wanted. Their paths had crossed when they were both out with friends one evening, the two groups merging as people got talking. By the end of the evening, Kennedy had realised Juliette was well out of her league, but asked the blonde out anyway. No one had been more surprised than Kennedy when she got a yes in reply.
"What are you thinking about?" Carley asked, seeing the far away look in her friend's eyes.
Carley rolled her eyes. She'd taken a disliking to the woman soon after meeting her. She hadn't liked how Juliette spoke to Kennedy, hadn't liked how the woman treated Kennedy like a skivvy, hadn't liked how she herself had been sneered at. "What about her?" You've seen sense and you're going to dump her? Or, she's a bitch and not worth all this effort, so instead, we're going to the pub for a drink?
"She collects crystal figurines," Kennedy answered.
"Crystal figurines? I'm guessing those aren't cheap."
"It's not about the money, Carley. It's about getting a great gift."
"And where do we go to get this great gift?"
"I think that newly built department store has a crystal and glass section."
"All right," Carley said, getting to her feet. "Let's go take a look."
* * * * *
Standing outside the shop, Kennedy peered inside nervously. "You go in and I'll wait out here."
"What? How's that gonna work?"
"I'll stand here at the window and you can bring the figurines to me. I'll give you a thumbs up or down in judgement."
Carley laughed out loud, taking it as a joke. "You're not serious? Kennedy, they'll think I'm trying to steal stuff!"
"No they won't," Kennedy assured her friend. "It'll be fine."
"Kenny, this is insane!"
"It's not. You know I can't go in there. I'm clumsy! Not just a little clumsy, a lot clumsy! If I go in there, things will get broken, displays will be destroyed, my bank book will suddenly look bleak!"
"You're being a little dramatic, aren't you?"
"Do you remember the bottle incident at Christmas?" Kennedy asked, an eyebrow lifted in question, her face serious.
"Oh, yeah. Good point," Carley conceded. "All right, let's get this over with," she sighed. Puffing out her cheeks, she pushed open the door and headed inside. The things I do for her! Soft music filtered out of hidden speakers, the shop peaceful and calm. The strawberry-blonde was a little unnerved by the fact she seemed to be the only customer.
She looked at the nearest displays, not entirely sure what she should be looking for. The crystal vases and ashtrays she assumed she could ignore, as Kennedy had mentioned figurines. She wandered, letting her eyes drift over the numerous displays. Spotting a leaping dolphin figurine, she picked it up and walked back to the front of the shop to show Kennedy.
Smiling at her best friend, Carley held up the dolphin for her to see, turning it around so she could see it from different angles. "What do you think?" Carley asked slowly, miming out her question.
Kennedy rubbed her thumb against her forefinger and middle finger. "How much?"
Looking down at the price tag, Carley signalled 300, and laughed as Kennedy clutched the spot above her heart and pretended to faint. "No then?"
Kennedy shook her head firmly.
Following the path she'd taken before, Carley put the dolphin back and looked around for something else, something less expensive. Heading back to the front of the shop with a figurine of a dancing lady, she was stopped in her tracks by a shop assistant stepping in front of her. Carley gasped and clutched the figurine tighter to her. "You startled me!"
"Can I help you, Madam?"
"No, I'm all right, thank you."
"Are you sure? I noticed you walking back and forth."
"Oh. I'm not stealing anything," Carley blurted out. "It's because my friend is standing at the front window," she explained. "She's the one who wants to buy some crystal today, but she's scared of coming inside because she's really clumsy."
"I see," the woman's smile slipped slightly. "Unfortunately, we can't allow you to continue... shopping like that. Surely your friend could come in and stand in the aisle, while you browse and pick up the crystal?"
"I suppose," Carley conceded. "But if she breaks anything and has to fork out a couple of hundred quid, she won't be happy with any of us!" She thrust the figurine at the woman and marched off to get Kennedy.
"What are you doing?" Kennedy asked, as Carley stepped outside the shop.
"We're not allowed to do what you had me doing. Little-Miss-Helpful said you should come in and stand in the aisle, whilst I pick up figurines for you to inspect."
"Bit like a personal shopper," Kennedy smirked.
"Watch it, wise guy. I could decide to leave you to it, you know?"
"Nah, watching me get into trouble is more funnier than leaving me to my own devices." Taking Carley's hand, Kennedy led the way inside the shop. "If it looks like I'm gonna knock something flying, feel free to stop me."
"Ahh, but watching you get into trouble is so funny!" Carley teased.
"Hello there," the overly cheerful shop assistant greeted the pair. "Decided to chance coming in I see."
"Uhh... yeah," Kennedy replied nervously, sure she was just seconds from disaster.
"Your friend here told me you're in the market for some crystal today. My name is Christine and I'd be more than happy to help you find the perfect piece," she smiled brightly.
"Great. Thanks. Do you work on commission?" Kennedy winced as Carley jabbed her in the ribs with her elbow.
Christine ignored the question. "What sort of piece are you looking for? We just got in some lovely vases..."
Kennedy shook her head. "No, she collects figurines. The woman I'm buying for, I mean."
"Okay. Well, we just got some new Disney figurines in. Would you like to see them?"
"Sure," Kennedy nodded. "Disney's cute stuff, could be the perfect gift." The two friends followed Christine over to a brightly lit display case, seeing an array of much-loved Disney characters within. "Wow!" Kennedy gaped. "I didn't know so many were available."
Opening the cabinet, Christine pulled out a little Dumbo figurine. "This is a limited edition piece, celebrating the anniversary of the film," she told them. "He shines in clear crystal, with light sapphire eyes and his recognisable yellow hat. An absolute must have for a collector."
"And uhh... the price?" Kennedy asked.
"He's all yours for just £190."
"Uh-huh. Well, seeing how the woman I'm buying for is a collector, it would surprise me if she didn't already have this," Kennedy replied. "Do you have any that aren't limited edition? And uhh... slightly cheaper?"
Christine smiled politely. "Of course," she said, as she turned to put Dumbo back in the cabinet. She took out Pumbaa from the Lion King. "Pumbaa, the lovable warthog from..."
"It's hardly the lion though, is it?" Carley interrupted.
"He has a more reasonable price of just £140," Christine argued. "And, he was one of the main characters in the film."
Carley turned blue eyes to Kennedy. "I don't think you want to be giving Juliette a pig as a Valentine's gift."
Kennedy nodded in agreement. "She's right," she said to Christine. "Pumbaa doesn't scream romance."
Putting the figurine back in the cabinet, Christine took out Lady and smiled confidently, sure that this was the perfect piece. "Lady from Lady and the Tramp. She shines in Golden Shadow crystal, with smoked Topaz crystal ears. Yours for £128."
Kennedy was smiling as she reached out to take the figurine. "Lady," she repeated. "Can't get more romantic than that." She looked at Carley. "Pretty romantic, right? Posh dog falling for a dog from the wrong side of the tracks, that's classic love story plot."
Carley cleared her throat and smiled weakly. "It's... perfect."
Kennedy's smile widened. "I'll take it," she told Christine. "I don't suppose you have a pretty little box to put it in, do you?"
"I'm sure I'll be able to find something to please you," the shop assistant smiled.
* * * * *
Standing outside the flower shop waiting for Kennedy, Carley debated whether or not to confess her feelings. It was probably wrong of her to want to do it today of all days, when Kennedy wasn't single and was excited about her upcoming date.
This is crazy! I'm madly in love with her and yet she's never once considered me datable! Pain blossomed anew in her heart, her eyes stinging from building tears. It's always someone else, never me. Why though? Why does she never pick me?
"Oi, oi!" Kennedy greeted, as she walked out of the shop. She frowned when she got a look at Carley's face. "Hey, what's wrong?"
Embarrassed, the strawberry-blonde swiped her eyes and shook her head with a laugh. "Nothing. I'm fine."
"You look upset. Who upset you?"
"A kamikaze bug flew into my eye."
Kennedy accepted the excuse. Grinning, she presented Carley with a bunch of violets. "For you, my long suffering, single friend."
Carley took the flowers and inhaled their scent. "What are these for?"
"It's Valentine's Day and usually we sit in and watch movies together, but this year I'm abandoning you. So, to rub it in, I bought you flowers so you can sit on your sofa and curse my name at them."
Carley laughed, despite the vice-like grip of pain on her heart. "Thank you."
"I should uhm... let you go," Carley exhaled, more than one meaning to her words. "You've gotta get ready for tonight. Call me tomorrow, let me know how it went." She turned and started hurrying away before Kennedy could respond. Her heart told her to stop, so she did and turned back to face her best friend, who was still standing in place, looking miffed and a little worried.
Her mouth opened, ready to speak of all the things she was feeling, ready to confess her love. Her shoulders sagged. Not like this. Not in the middle of the high-street. "Have a good time tonight."
Kennedy frowned as she watched her best friend hurry away, wondering what had caused Carley to rush off so suddenly.
* * * * *
Sitting at a table in the fanciest restaurant she'd ever set foot in, Kennedy felt horribly out of place. She kept fidgeting nervously, sure that everyone was staring at her.
The evening had gotten off to an awkward start when she'd gone to pick up Juliette. She'd had to wait in the living room with Juliette's parents, who had made it quite clear they didn't approve of her. Then, when Juliette had appeared, she hadn't liked the outfit Kennedy was wearing.
"Why are there no prices?" Kennedy asked, looking down at her leather-bound menu.
"This isn't some fast-food restaurant, darling. They're far too classy to vulgarly put prices on the menu." Juliette looked across at her suspiciously. "Why? Have you forgotten your wallet?"
Kennedy scowled at her girlfriend. "No, I haven't forgotten my wallet. I just don't think my wallet can afford anything on this menu!"
"You haven't brought enough money to cover dinner? Do you have a credit card?"
"No, I don't. It prevents me from spending money I don't have," Kennedy grumbled, very aware of the glances they were now getting. "And, to be fair, I did go out and buy you roses and a gift. And, it was you who invited me out to dinner."
Juliette rolled her eyes. "That's because if I'd left it to you, we'd probably be eating at your local take-away!" The blonde picked up her water glass, taking time to compose herself. "I'm sorry, darling," she said finally, setting her glass back down. "I sometimes forget that you're... less fortunate than me. I'm just... so used to my partner's paying for my every whim without batting an eyelid. I tell you what, dinner's on me," she smiled and reached across the table to cover Kennedy's hand with her own. "You're right, you bought me flowers and a gift."
"I don't mind going Dutch," Kennedy offered.
"Don't be silly," Juliette smiled. "I did invite you out to dinner after all."
"I'll pay next time," Kennedy suggested, but even as she said the words, she wasn't sure there would be a next time.
"Deal," Juliette laughed, sitting back in her seat.
"Are you ready to order, or would you like a little more time?" their waiter asked, suddenly appearing beside their table.
"So," Juliette started, after they had given their orders and the waiter had left. "Do I get to see this gift that keeps getting mentioned?"
"You... want it now? Here?"
"Why not" Juliette smiled.
Suddenly nervous about her choice in gift, Kennedy reluctantly handed the small box over. She watched Juliette untie the ribbon and open the box, licked her lips nervously as Juliette took out the small crystal figurine, and held her breath as she waited for the blonde to say something. The look on Juliette's face wasn't encouraging. "You don't like it?"
"What is it? A dog?"
"It's Lady from Lady and the Tramp," Kennedy explained. "I remembered that you collect crystal and the woman in the shop said that the Disney figurines were new, so..."
"So you bought me a dog?"
"Coulda been worse, coulda been a pig," Kennedy smirked. That slipped as a perfect blonde eyebrow lifted. "I dragged poor Carley..." she frowned, seeing another look. One that looked suspiciously like distaste. "What was that look?"
"What look?" Juliette asked innocently.
"The look you just gave when I mentioned Carley."
"Darling, I just... I don't understand why you keep her around."
"She's my best friend. I've known her since play-school, Juliette!"
Juliette rolled her eyes. "But you're dating me now, Kennedy. You could get yourself a better class of friend."
"A better class..." Kennedy gaped at the woman. "You have Carley to thank for your roses and your gift. It was her who rang me early this morning to remind me it was Valentine's Day, 'cause she knows me well enough to know I forgot all about it." She shook her head in disbelief. "What am I doing here? You know, usually we have a movie marathon. Snacks, cheap bottle of plonk, and each other's company. What am I doing sitting in this posh, over-priced, poncy restaurant with high-maintenance you?"
"Do you know how lucky you are to be here?" Juliette snapped. "I had to call in favours to get us a reservation!"
Laughing, Kennedy stood up and threw down her napkin. "I'm sure your uhh... class of people would enjoy this place. Me? I prefer a night in on the sofa." She reached across the table for the figurine.
"What are you doing? You can't take that back! It was a gift!"
"What do you care? You don't like it anyway," Kennedy shrugged. "Goodbye, Juliette." With a bright smile curling her lips, a bounce to her step, she headed for the doors, leaving behind an outraged Juliette.
* * * * *
"The love inside... you take it with you," Carley mouthed along to the line of the movie. She frowned as her doorbell rang, not expecting anyone and wondering who it could. Putting down her small carton of ice cream, she reluctantly got up and left the living room to see who it was.
Opening the door, she was confronted with a copy of "Beaches". Frowning in confusion, blue eyes looked past the DVD to Kennedy. "What are you doing here?"
"It's movie marathon night, isn't it? Judging from the way you look, you opted for a chick-flick first. I hope you haven't eaten a whole carton of ice cream." Kennedy grinned.
"No, I haven't!" Carley muttered, hating that Kennedy knew her so well. "There's still some left."
"Oh, yeah? A spoonful?"
"So, what film has made you all red-eyed and snotty?"
Laughing, Carley slapped at her best friend, deliberately missing her. "Shut up!" She rolled her eyes as Kennedy wiggled her eyebrows at her, waiting for an answer. "Ghost," Carley sighed. "And no, I haven't eaten a whole carton of ice cream. I'm pacing myself."
"Makes a change! You usually go through at least two and a half cartons."
"Oh, my God!" Carley slapped Kennedy this time. "Have you come here just to tease me horribly? You should be on a date. Did she cancel? Did the restaurant burn down?" Blue eyes widened. "Did that bitch break up with you? It's Valentine's Day! Ooh, I'm going to hunt her down and scratch her bloody eyes out!"
"Easy, champ!" Kennedy laughed. "I kinda broke up with her and I like my eyes where they are, so lay off."
"You... you broke up with Juliette? Why? What happened?" Carley stepped out of the way, inviting Kennedy in. She led the way through to the living room and got herself comfortable on the sofa.
Kennedy sat down with a sigh. "She pulled a face when I mentioned you, then suggested I get rid of you and get a better class of friend."
"And she didn't like my gift," Kennedy pouted. "So, I took it off her as I left." She pulled the figurine out of her inside pocket. "How do you feel about starting a collection?"
Carley laughed and reached out to take the figurine. "It's beautiful. And cute. How could she not like it?"
"Jules was incredibly high-maintenance. I don't know what I saw in her!"
"I can think of..."
"Yeah, let's leave it, shall we," Kennedy grinned. "So, what are we watching? Seeing how you've already watched a chick-flick, how about... something with loads of explosions?"
Carley pouted. "But you brought Beaches with you!" she protested. "We may as well watch it, seeing how you brought it all this way. Where did you get it from anyway?"
Kennedy looked at Carley in confusion. "You mean it's not yours?" She watched Carley shake her head. "Oh. I don't know. Found it in my collection and just assumed it belonged to you."
"So, can we watch it?" Carley asked excitedly.
"But you already watched a..."
"It's Valentine's Day!" Carley interrupted. "It's a day for mushy films. And, it's about two best friends, who are in and out of each other's lives. Like us."
"You're never out of my life. Been trying to ditch you since junior school and yet still you follow me around," Kennedy teased.
"Liar," Carley stuck out her tongue. "You wouldn't know what to do without me, Kennedy Threadgoode."
"Yeah, well, don't go telling everyone." They shared a smile, both knowing just how important they were to the other's life. "All right, get me a glass of wine and a tub of chocolate chip ice cream and we'll watch your stupid girly movie!"
With a squeal of delight, the strawberry-blonde lunged across the sofa and hugged Kennedy briefly, before jumping up and scampering out of the room to get them both drinks and snacks.
* * * * *
As the film came to an end, the two best friends were curled up together, Carley nestled against Kennedy's side. They had finished off a whole bottle of wine and had started another, two cartons of ice cream were gone, and a bag of Malteasers sat open on the coffee table.
"How long have you had feelings for me?" Kennedy asked quietly, the wine making her finally confront the white elephant between them.
"The moment I saw you, I just knew I had to know you." Carley let out a laugh. "But, it was too late. You had already clapped eyes on Craig Bethune!"
Kennedy laughed in remembrance. "Craig Bethune! He had that cool Transformer toy. The big robot who turned into a truck. Wow, talk about memory lane!"
"Thrown over for a toy!" Carley sighed dramatically.
Kennedy frowned. "That was play-school! You've... had feelings for me since... since we were four?"
"I wanted to know you when we were four," Carley corrected. "I was in lust with you by the time we were fourteen, and head over heels by eighteen."
"Why didn't you ever say anything?"
"And risk losing you as my best friend? I didn't want to take the chance. You never gave any indication that you felt something for me." She looked at Kennedy, eyes studying the brunette's face. "Do you... feel something for me?"
Kennedy swirled the wine in her glass, eyes on the liquid. "You're my best friend, of course I feel something for you."
"I mean something more than friendly feelings."
Kennedy shifted nervously. "I... I think so. I mean... I was out on a date with my girlfriend, sitting at a table in the fanciest restaurant I've ever set foot inside and I realised I shouldn't be there. I realised I wanted to be here with you, sitting on your sofa, watching a movie marathon. That's gotta mean something, right?"
Being bold, Carley leaned in and kissed Kennedy with all the love she could muster. Her eyes slid closed as Kennedy kissed her back. "I don't want to ruin our friendship," she said softly, sitting back a brief time later. "But, I think if I don't give this a shot, if we don't give this a shot, we'll regret it for the rest of our lives, always wondering what could have been." She nibbled on her bottom lip nervously. "We won't let this ruin our friendship, will we? If... if things don't work out, we'll still be friends."
"There are no guarantees in the game of love, Carley. But, we'll do our best to make it work. We've made our friendship work since play-school, so I think we're capable of anything. Besides, it's Valentine's Day. Our anniversary will be on the day of love, surely things can't go wrong?"
"It's a made-up day," Carley protested, a ghost of a smile gracing her lips.
"Yeah, but thanks to this made up day, I realised where I'd rather be. Who I'd rather be with," Kennedy smiled. She reached out and took one of Carley's hands. "So... are we gonna try? Or, are we going to pass off this whole conversation as the wines fault?"
Overcome with emotion, Carley closed the gap between them and kissed Kennedy soundly on the lips. "Yes," she whispered against Kennedy's lips. "Yes, we'll try."
If you wanna let me know what you think, drop me a line ~ Loves_to_write_fice@yahoo.co.uk
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