Sylvie(8)

By: K. Langston


My addiction.

He hasn’t always had this effect on me. Which makes me realize just how much my feelings have grown over the years.

I have to fight every day to keep it from him.

I have no idea how to tell my best friend that all I can think about is what his lips taste like. How I dream about his touch, and not just his friendly, polite hands when they find the small of my back or tuck a piece of my hair behind my ear, but what it would feel like to have them roam my body and explore the places I only want him to discover.

So, tonight, I am putting it all on the line.

I hope and pray he feels the same way. When he looks at me like this, like I am the only girl in the world, like he can’t see anyone else but me, I think for sure he feels the same way.

But I’m also scared to death.

Terrified of what will happen if he doesn’t feel the same way. A rejection from Linc will definitely change our relationship.

We would never be the same.

I take the first few steps down and he shuffles on his feet. He seems nervous but he’s not going to let me see it. Linc has a way of making me feel calm even when he’s wound up. His strong confidence is just one of the many things I love about him.

“You look beautiful, Sylvie,” my mother says, standing next to my father, who has a pained look on his face.

When I reach the bottom of the steps, Linc gifts me with one of his breathtaking smiles, eyes flashing with something I hope is real and not just something I’ve imagined.

“Hey you,” he says, and my insides melt.

“Hey.”

He takes a step forward, reaching for my fidgeting hand. He can sense when I’m nervous. He knows me better than anyone. “You look…wow.”

My heart slams against my chest as he bends down to retrieve a clear plastic box from the bottom step.

“Hold on, you two, I need to grab my camera,” my mother says, scurrying to the other room.

“I should not let you out of here in that dress. You do not look seventeen, you look twenty-three.” My father runs a hand through his hair. He’s frustrated with me, and I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with the dress anymore.

He wants me to make a decision about my future.

But I’m just not ready to decide yet. He has no idea about my plans to move to Nashville with Linc after graduation. Because even I’m not sure if that is still going to happen. We talk about it more and more the closer we inch toward grad, but my decision will be based on tonight and how this all plays out.

“I won’t let anything happen to her, Mr. Dawson.”

The conviction in Linc’s voice satisfies my father, and he finally smiles, landing a hand to Linc’s shoulder. “I know you won’t, son. You better behave yourself, too,”

“You don’t have to worry about that.”

I press my lips together, trying to suppress my disappointment. This is why I keep holding back. Each time I get the nerve to tell him, he always says something that makes me believe he doesn’t feel the same, or wouldn’t acknowledge it if he did.

Our friendship is too precious.

Will love destroy it?

Is he afraid to express his true feelings because deep down he knows it could end up ruining everything? That’s another reason holding me back for so long, but with graduation slowly creeping upon us, I can’t hold back any longer. There are too many what-ifs, mainly being what-if I let the love of my life get away?

When my mother returns, we are bombarded with her need to document every single second. She continuously snaps shot after shot as Linc slips the corsage on my wrist, a small smirk tugging the corner of his lips as I pin the boutonniere to his lapel. Standing in front of the fireplace, he wraps his arms around my waist as I press my back to his front, the warmth and safety I feel inside of these arms cannot be described.

I belong here.

It is as simple and complicated as that.

After thirty minutes of photos, and a small lecture from my father about drugs and alcohol, and how they can have dire consequences on a night like tonight, Linc leads me out front.

“Linc, you didn’t!”

He squeezes my hand. “Told you I would.”

The driver opens the door with the tip of his hat as we climb inside the long, black limousine. “This is so cool, but you didn’t have to do this. I would have been more than happy to ride in your truck or your mom’s car. How much did this cost?”