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You’re sitting on the bathroom floor of a super mall listening to the boy in the next stall talk about the girl he likes

You know he’s talking about you, even if he’s describing you in ways no one ever has before
And if you were any other girl, this would be the part where you would be swooning
But all you feel is a ball of misery forming in your chest, in your stomach

Because the pretty boy, the silly boy, the everything-goes-my-way boy,
He’s not as obnoxious as you thought, not as put together, not as perfect
You’ve seen him strut around in a sailor’s uniform, seen him strike out with a dozen girls, seen him bend to the whims of a small group of kids that he’s taken under his wing, seen him be fifteen shades of ridiculous only you would find endearing
You’ve seen him struggle
And any other girl would be lucky to be you, right now

But you’re not any other girl

You’ve never told anyone, never planned on telling anyone, never wanted to tell anyone
There is no place in this world for people like you;
You do not belong here, in this picket fence, two point five world

But

Just two days ago, you were a regular employee in a regular mall
Now there are secret codes, and evil Russians, and mysterious chemicals, and underground labs and strange machines and even stranger drugs and nothing makes any sense anymore and you don’t know what to make of any of this

What you do know is that he deserves an answer, and it is so, so tiring holding onto a secret for so long

So you tell him, because he’s the first boy who’s ever confessed to you and he’s the first friend you wanted to keep
You tell him because you only have two things to lose, your life and your friend, and if the first is already at risk you might as well chance the second
You tell him because he needs to know that you like him, you do, not in the same way as him but still in a way that matters
You tell him because the two of you have spent the past few hours trading secrets that were never supposed to be locked away in the first place, so what’s one more?

You’re terrified, in the aftermath, in the bombed out remains of your honesty
You want to take it back, want to magically produce some girl who will return his feelings, want the world to be fair for just one goddamn second—

You want, you want, you want

You’re sitting on the bathroom floor of a super mall listening to the boy in the same stall as you joke with you about your crush

He isn’t saying it, but you can hear it all the same:
Its okay
I accept you
I still like you, but I will not turn it into a and wield it against you
We can talk about the girls we like, can tease each other like friends do
We can still be friends, I care enough about you to want that no matter who you are

Your laughter is teetering on the edge of hysterical, and it’s definitely holding a sob in it, but it is still joyful
Still relieved
The day is nowhere near over, and there are still people trying to kill you, but this, right here, is a victory
This is a prize you never expected to win, and you’ll be damned before anyone tries to take it from you

This is you and a boy sitting together on the bathroom floor of a super mall listening to each other laugh like best friends do