It was not a hard feat for Georgia to follow through on her promise to Amy and hang out with Luke to gage information as it turned out he had the same lunch slot as her – fifth period!
“Hey,” he said the day after the big meet at the Diner. “Georgia right,” he asked sliding his tray next to hers and sitting himself down next to her. “Mind if I sit down?”
“Sure go ahead.” Georgia did not know what to say. She knew something really intense was happening but she just wasn’t sure what it was! Her gay friend Pete had been sitting having lunch with her and sensing a tension rose out of his seat. “I had better get going,” he said to Georgia. “I’ll call you after school.”
“Yeah, cool.” Georgia replied trying to sound breezy when inside she was screaming at him not to leave her alone.
“So Amy’s really great,” Georgia blurted out not knowing what else to say.
“She’s fun,” Luke replied shoveling food into his mouth.
Georgia waited for him to talk more about Amy but no more came. “We’ve been best friends for a long time,” she continued feeling like she needed to keep talking about her. “And we’re cousins. Her mums my mums sister.”
“Yeah she told me,” Luke replied looking right at her. There was a silence that was surprisingly not uncomfortable.
“So don’t you normally sit over there,” Georgia indicated to the table where all the cool kids sat. The Golden Group she called them as they all shone with wealth.
“Yeah over with the dorks and losers,” Luke chuckled.
“Yeah right – you’re the total opposite,” Georgia remarked knowing that Luke fitted into the Golden Group perfectly.
“How do you know,” he said, “we only met yesterday!”
“I can tell.”
“You can tell?”
“Absolutely, I’m a great judge of character. Bet you didn’t know that about me.”
“How could I possibly,” Luke replied his eyes twinkling at her. “We just officially met….” “
“….yesterday I remember,” she said finishing his sentence. Was he toying with her or flirting?
“So where did that guy go to that was just here,” Luke asked taking his eyes from hers and turning them back to his food. “Pete’s his name right?”
“Oh he had to pop into town to pick something up,” Georgia replied.
Luke did this contemplative nodding thing Georgia had noticed before. “What,” she asked. “Nothing I just think its cool how you’re not one of those couples that has to do everything together.”
“Pete’s not my boyfriend,” Georgia scoffed.
“No!” She wanted to explain that he’s gay but she knew she couldn’t, that was still a secret.
“Oh.” Luke smiled a little eating more food to try to hide it.
Georgia could usually tell when a boy liked her. There have been a few. But the reason she had never had a boyfriend was because they all seemed really immature. She had gone out with a few different boys, but she had always kept it casual. She had just never felt the kind of connection she’d always wanted to feel. Until now! “I better get to class,” Georgia said scooping up her tray and heading for her classroom.
This was so messed up and she knew it! There’s no way Luke likes me, she thought breaking into a run. Even if he did, I could never like him back. What kind of person would do something like that to their best friend?
The following week, Georgia and Amy headed into town one day after school. It was a ritual they had had since forever. The things they liked to do was: See if Eye’s Gallery had any new jewelry to try on, get waffle cups at Ben & Jerry’s, check out what’s new at the cinema and attack the used book shops.
But on this afternoon Amy suggested something different. “Let’s go back to yours,” she said turning to Georgia. “Its so freaking hot outside and you’re the only one I know with a pool.”
“Sounds great, how about we call Jessica and ask her round too,” Georgia replied getting excited, she hadn’t used the pool hardly all summer!
“Great idea and I’ll invite Luke too; we can have our own little pool party!” Georgia looked at Amy in horror. But before she had a chance to open her mouth and stop her, Amy was already on the phone to Luke giving him directions to Georgia’s house.
The girls raced home and had just changed into their bikinis when the doorbell rang. “I’ll get it,” Amy shrieked wearing one of Georgia’s latest creations and racing Emse to the door.
Much to Georgia’s relief it was just Jessica. “I’m so glad you’re here,” Georgia said wrapping her arms around her friend.
“Wow that was some welcome,” Jessica giggled.
“Yeah how come I never get one of those when I come round,” Amy joked.
“Come on girls, get outside and enjoy the last of the sunshine. Ill bring some burgers out for you later,” Esme said. She loved hosting people for food.
“Yay,” the girls squealed dashing out the back door and belly flopping into the pool.
An hour later, Georgia was having so much fun she had completely forgotten all about Luke until she heard her mother call her name. “Georgia, you have another visitor.” There he was standing there in all his glory – at her house!
“Lukey,” Amy squeaked pulling herself out of the water and leaping into Luke’s arms.
“Hey you’re all wet,” he jeered pushing her from him and flicking his green eyes in Georgia’s direction.
“Oh well,” Amy replied. “It’s too late.” She dragged him by the arm towards the pool pushing him in before he had a chance to think and fully submerging him, fully clothed! Georgia and Jessica laughed so hard they both thought they might wet themselves!
After two burgers each and a hysterical water fight later, Georgia found herself in the hot tub with Luke alone while Jessica and Amy were swimming lengths, trying to outdo each other. Georgia did not really know how she managed to be on her own with him. She had been laughing so hard playing in the pool that she almost hacked up a lung. So she said she was going to take a break and Luke said he would go with her and then Amy challenged Jessica to a race.
“I like it out here,” Luke said leaning his head back on the board of the hot tub.
“Me too,” Georgia replied. She had never really noticed how amazing her home was especially with the spectacular view. But at that moment she was able to bask in all its glory!
“I love being outside,” Luke murmured. “It really sorts my head out – clears everything away.”
“I used to have a journal,” Georgia answered. “The same thing would happen with me. As soon as I wrote about my problems, it was like they weren’t so bad anymore.”
“Exactly. Once you put it all out there, you’re free.”
Luke gets me. He even gets stuff I didn’t know I was trying to say, Georgia thought to herself!
“Do you still have a journal?” Luke asked.
“No. I thought about starting a blog, but that’s not really my thing.”
“So what’s your thing?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean how do you deal with your problems now you don’t have a journal anymore?”
“Oh.” Georgia took a mental inventory of the things she did to feel better. Sketch a new design, make over a friend. Somehow, none of her usual techniques had been all that effective lately. “I guess I don’t, really. Deal with them, I mean.”
“Everyone has their coping tricks,” Luke said. “Let’s see. Do you… get mad at the world and punch holes in the wall?”
“No? Do you… eat ice cream and watch chick flicks?”
“No,” Georgia giggled. She had never been that sort of girl!
“Are you sure?”
“Are you ticklish?”
“No!” she yelled because she was so ticklish it’s was not even funny.
“Let’s make sure.” Luke said tickling her sides.
“Stop,” she laughed-scream. “Stop it!”
His hands slowed down and rested on her sides. The light of the hot tube hit Luke’s eyes in a way that made it hard to not to look at him. Georgia had not noticed how amazingly green his eyes were before! Must stop looking, she said to herself.
“Hey,” Amy said standing over them. Luke pulled away. Georgia stopped looking.
“Oh, hey,” Luke said leaning back. “We were just… talking.”
Georgia could not really remember what they were talking about. Something about journals and problems and… How did that all turn into tickling? Amy looked at her. “Um just you know …random stuff.”
“It’s getting late,” Amy said to Luke. “I should go.” She snuck a quick look at Georgia. The sparkle in her eye said, Fill me in on what he said later? Georgia gave her a little nod and Amy winked back.
I wish I had something good to tell her, Georgia thought
“Yeah, okay.” Luke said getting out of the hot tub and stepping over Georgia purposely. She was surprised how much she didn’t want him to leave!
“So,” Luke said running his fingers through his hair. Thanks for having us over, it was fun.”
“Of course anytime,” Georgia replied trying her best to sound breezy.
Jessica joined Georgia in the hot tub as Amy and Luke left round the side of the house. Georgia was in a total daze – she could not even get up! “How’s it going,” Jessica asked.
“I wish I knew,” Georgia sighed.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” Was she?
“What happened in here,” Jessica asked.
“Nothing.” Georgia was sure that’s exactly how it felt to Luke. Nothing happened – she just wished that to her it didn’t feel like anything.
From that day on Georgia and Luke ended up spending lunch together every Monday, Wednesday and Friday when they had fifth period lunch. Amy encouraged it – she thought it was great that her boyfriend and best friend got on. And Georgia did not think she was doing anything wrong. They were just hanging out and so what if she had a crush on him – it’s not like he would ever feel the same way about her!
But everything she did always seemed to lead back to Luke. They just connected in a way Georgia had always hoped could be real. She had been wishing for someone like him to come into her life for so long. Now was her chance to know what that kind of love felt like. How could she keep fighting it? She could spend an eternity wondering if Luke was thinking the same thing. But there’s only one way to know for sure.
It took Georgia over a week to get the courage together. She couldn’t concentrate on anything else for most of that time, thinking about what she should say, totally afraid of what might happen. Avoiding Amy was hard, but there was no way she could be hanging out with her while she was thinking about confronting Luke. She told her that she thought she was getting sick and she didn’t feel like doing anything. Then she reminded herself that there’s no way she could do this to her and decided not to say anything to Luke after all.
But then on Monday her horoscope said that if she took a risk when she would normally play it safe, the payback would be immense. Magic 8 Ball agreed. So she decided to do it. To ask Luke if he liked her. She had no idea what she’ll do if he did but she just had to know!
“Can I talk to you,” Georgia said appearing at Luke’s apartment door that evening.
“Yeah but not here,” Luke said pulling her through his house and into his bedroom. Georgia’s nerves were clanging around, aware that they were all alone. His room smelt like him, and Georgia could not help but notice that he had the same poster as her on his wall of her favorite band. The funny thing was that there were hundreds of posters of this band but he had the exact same one as her! If that’s not fate then what is, she thought.
“Um…” Luke started before she has the chance. “I’m glad you’re here as I have been meaning to talk to you too.” He hesitated and Georgia wondered whether it was to be good news or bad news. “So… I like you,” he finally blurted out!
“Okay…” Georgia was stunned into silence.
“No, I mean… I like you like you,” he said again.
Oh my god. Georgia couldn’t believe he had just told her he liked her right before she was going to ask him the same thing!
“Do you… feel the same way,” he asked shyly.
“Yeah,” Georgia replied. “I like you, too.”
“You do?” Luke had the biggest smile ever.
“You couldn’t tell?”
“Not really. Well, I thought maybe you did, but I wasn’t sure if it was all in my head. Like how much of it was really there instead of just what I wanted to see, you know?”
Georgia found she wanted to tell him everything about how she had been thinking and feeling, but she couldn’t. It sucked how she and Amy were both falling in love with the same person, but he was only falling in love with one of them. Luke stood so close to her it was obvious he’s going to kiss her. And all she wanted to do was kiss him back!
Both their heads flopped together and Georgia did not know what was happening to her, she just guessed you got to a point where you could not fight it anymore, because it had taken control of you and was never going to let you go.
“We can’t do this,” Georgia whispered pulling back.
“Amy’s my best friend.”
“So, she wants you to be happy, right?”
“Georgia,” Luke whispered taking her hands in his. “We belong together.”
And then he kissed her. There was no time to think about it. There was no way to take it back.
He picked her up and carried her to her bed wiping off his t-shirt and pulling at the straps of her vest. This was it, she thought. No turning back. It was the first time for both of them. Georgia knew she would never be the same again, but she didn’t want it to be!