Dating : I don’t want to love you anymore

h2>Dating : I don’t want to love you anymore

“Are we okay”

“Honestly, Char, We’re not”

I sucked in my breath and my body visibly stiffened. Cooper clearly noticed the hurt fall across my face and reached out to grab my hand but then thought better of it. I tried to get my words out but my voice shook as I spoke, “Did I do something?” Cooper couldn’t look at me and began picking at a broken piece of wood on his headboard. Finally, after what felt like hours, he broke the silence, “Do you have feelings for me?” My palms started to sweat and my heart pounded out of my chest. “I, um, I don’t really know anymore. I did last summer, but then again, I thought you did too. I never wanted to say anything because our friendship because our friendship is so important to me. I never wanted to lose you.” Cooper visibly tensed, and I knew that wasn’t the answer he wanted to hear. “Our friendship has changed though, you’re clingy and obsessive. We don’t even have fun anymore, you’re either super weird around me or super territorial. I just think maybe we should take a break from this friendship for a little bit.” Shaking, I knew if I spoke I would start crying so I stared ahead in silence, looking at his poster from our weekend at Coachella.

Cooper and I spent the whole weekend together at Coachella, and on the second night of the festival we went to our favorite DJ just the two of us. We had been kind of rocky leading up to the festival, so having the weekend to spend time together really helped. As we sat in the grass and watched Big Gigantic’s set, I looked at him and smiled, “I’m so glad we got away from the group, I wouldn’t have wanted to see this with anyone else. I know we haven’t seen a lot of each other lately, it’s been nice to catch up. I was worrying you were mad at me or something.” Cooper wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me into him, “We’re good I promise. You know I love you, I’ve just been in my head a lot lately and you know I’m bad about expressing my feelings. This weekend has reminded me how much fun we have together, I’m not going to let us go this long with talking again.”

Cooper touched my arm and pulled me out of my head, “Char, say something.” I breathed out shakily “what do you want me to say? Thank you? I’m sorry? You know how much I care about you and now you’re saying you don’t want me in your life anymore.” Cooper couldn’t look me in the eyes.

“I don’t want to love you anymore.”

“Then don’t. I never asked you to; I never wanted you to”

The tear I had been so desperately trying to keep from falling finally slipped down my cheek. I reached to grab his hand but he moved it just out of reach, playing it off I moved my hand up to wipe the tear streaming down my cheek.

“So that’s it then?”

My voice was met with more silence, Cooper’s green eyes glued to the floor unable to look at my tearstained cheeks. I hoisted myself off his bed, begging the sob held behind my lips to stay in place, and showed myself out. I took a final glance at his blonde locks, hoping he wouldn’t let me leave, not like this. Cooper’s resolve stayed firm, eyes never moving from the spot on his floor.

I choked out the sob I was holding and sat down on the curb outside of his house. I couldn’t imagine I was saying goodbye to my best friend and the house that had become a second home to me, and let my mind drift to the first time I had set foot in it.

It was an unusually warm summer night; the kind where you can sense trouble in the air. I pulled into my driveway after a long day at work to see my roommate Sadie and her boyfriend Jax playing some drinking games with some friends in our front yard. It was clear though that I was catching the tail end of the part; Jax and Sadie were walking out as I headed inside to grab a beer. Jax gave me a hug and winked at me, “Sadie’s a little tipsy so we’re going to head back to my place, we’ll see you in the morning Char.” Sadie drunkenly giggled as she stumbled down the driveway, “Bye Char, we love you.”

Perfect, another fun night I had missed thanks to my stupid job. I sat down on our porch steps, sad I had missed out on all the fun. Cooper walked out of the house, clearly drunk with a confused look on his face, “Where’s Jax?” I just laughed, “He and Sadie went back to his house if you know what I mean.” Cooper sat down next to me and let out a frustrated sigh. “I can’t believe he ditched me like that. I’m not ready to call it a night,” he paused and gave me a mischievous grin, “You’re not trying to go to bed, are you?” I smiled back at him, taking another swig of my beer, “What did you have in mind?”

We walked into Cooper’s house and he lead me into his bedroom. “We aren’t going to chill in the living room?” I asked, hesitant about being alone with Cooper in his bedroom. He had a girlfriend, and not that either of us would do anything, I didn’t want her to get the wrong idea if it got back to her. “Nah, I want to put on this record,” he said as he put Jimmy Hendrix on his record player. Sitting back on his bed, Cooper lit up a joint. Uncomfortable, I sat on his desk but as he let out a puff of smoke he shook his head and laughed, “You can sit on the bed you weirdo.” I settled into his bed sitting next to him, gratefully accepting the joint.

We sat like that for hours, laughing and talking about music. I told him about how I was nervous about having to make new friends with Sadie leaving for Florence next week, and he talked to me about drama he was having with his girlfriend. Eventually, I noticed Cooper nodding off and I stood up to leave. “Char,” he said half asleep and clearly stoned, “I had a lot of fun tonight, I didn’t realize how cool you were before. Don’t be a stranger, okay?” I gave him a soft smile and nodded, “See ya later, Coop.” I walked out of the house that night knowing I had gained a lifelong friendship.

Now, sitting on the curb outside his house, I just felt stupid and naive. I couldn’t believe how much had changed over the last two years, how far we were from those two carefree kids on that warm summer night. We had obliterated our friendship and I was to blame for a lot of the collateral. How could I have been so stupid as to fall in love with my best friend?

I forced myself off the curb, tears now silently flowing down my cheeks, and started the walk back to my house. About halfway home, I spotted a bench cooper had fallen off one drunken night a few months ago.

It was his housemate’s Natasha’s birthday, and we had all gone to the local bar in town to celebrate. Cooper had been at the bar long before us and was already hammered by the time I got there. As we all sat around drinking, Cooper got the brilliant idea to stand on our table and sing Natasha happy birthday. Unfortunately, he only made through half the song before he hiccupped and the table wobbled. I reached out to stead him and everyone shot each other concerned glances knowing he had had too much to drink. I took one for the team and decided to take him home using the excuse that I had an early class.

On our walk home, Cooper rambled on about how he was so happy I was back from my semester abroad in France and how much he had miss me. I knew he meant it, but it frustrated me that he only ever told me how much he cared about me when he had been drinking. Halfway through our walk, Cooper was really struggling and asked to take a break on a bench on the corner of his street. However, he misjudged the distance and fell on the sidewalk, banging his head on the fence behind him. Thinking back, maybe I should have credited his next actions more to his head injury and less to his feelings. He stood up and looked at me with that stupid smirk he always gave me when he was about to push the boundaries of our friendship. Usually, it was a flirty comment or a cheeky hand grab, but what followed was unexpected. He stood up and tucked a hair that had fallen out of my ponytail, staring at me eyes slightly glazed over from one too many drinks. Then out of nowhere, he leaned in and kissed me — sure it was just a peck, and he wouldn’t remember it in the morning, but my heart still did a small flip. I had wanted this since he and his girlfriend broke up over a year ago. He got a second wind and started drunkenly running down the street, looking at back at me he yelled, “hurry up loser! There’s a pizza at home with our names on it.” And just like that, the moment was gone.

It was nights like that which always left me so confused about both my feelings and his. Tonight, however, I gained some painful clarity. We were only ever friends, however, over the last few weeks we weren’t anything. We’d changed too much, well I’d changed too much for him.

The thing is, I wasn’t mad that Cooper wasn’t in love with me. I was mad that he hadn’t been honest with me. He had spent the last 6 months sending me mixed signals and leading me on. I had gone over to Cooper’s tonight in hopes of gaining some reassurance in our friendship and instead I lost my best friend.

I walked through my room and into the bathroom, stripping my clothes from the night off. I hopped in the shower and washed off all the pain from tonight. As I let the warm water run over my body, I let the memories of Cooper follow the water down the drain. It was going to take more than just tonight to get over the hurt he had caused me but it was a start.

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