When you agreed to spend the day at the beach with Jo, you didn’t expect her to be so somber. She was acting nothing like her normal self. Usually she was pulling you left and right, not letting you sit and be still for more than a moment. Today, all she wanted to do was sit in silence and stare out at the ocean.
“Jo, I know I said this early today but if you have something weighing on your mind, I’m all ears.” you say, turning your head to look at her.
She stares out at the ocean, wind tousling her hair, “I’m just not sure I’m ready to talk about it. I know I’m probably being a downer, after all I was the one who invited you. We can leave if you’d like.”
You reach over and place your hand on top of hers, causing her to look over at you, “I truly don’t mind Jo. This is actually quite relaxing, listening to the water move. I enjoy sitting here with you as well. We don’t have to do anything exciting to have fun, just having your company is alright with me.”
She smiles at you squeezing your hand. You both turn back and stare at the water, watching the waves playfully crash against the sand. Sitting and basking in the sound of the ocean, you let Jo work out what was going on in her mind alone. She was a fiercely independent woman, and you didn’t want to push her to share something she wasn’t ready to tell. However, you did occasionally squeeze Jo’s hand just to remind her you’re still there and willing to listen when she’s ready.
After some time passes, Jo finally turns to face you, “Do you believe in love, y/n?”
A little taken back you reply, “Love? hmm... I do definitely believe in it. I feel like everyone has experienced love at some point in time, whether it be love for a family member, a significant other, or even an inanimate object. For example, I love these shoes you gifted me.” you laugh, wiggling your feet.
She gives a small smile, “I was talking more specifically about loving a significant other. I think that’s a different kind of love. Deeper, you know? Have you ever felt that way towards someone.”
You look away, “I’m not quite sure that I have, is that sad?” you laugh trying to ease the awkwardness building up in you, “I have had a few crushes before. I still have one, but I would never admit it to them.” you feel your face growing hot.
She looks at you sadly and let’s go of your hand, turning back towards the water. Silence falls over the both of you once more. Not wanting the conversation to die down, you speak up.
“Have you ever felt that kind of love?” you question, trying to pull her back out of her thoughts.
“I think I am experiencing it right now.” she voices, not taking her eyes off of the ocean.
“Oh. Are you having second thoughts about Laurie? I thought he wasn’t your type.”
She shakes your head and for the first time that day, she laughs, “No. No, not Laurie. I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life with him. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a lovely guy. Very sweet, you know? But I don’t see him as anything more than a lifelong friend.”
You give a little chuckle too, happy she found joy in your words, “Well than, who is this mystery person?”
Jo gently fiddles with the sand, letting it fall through her hands. She’s silent and doesn’t answer your question. You look at her for awhile, hoping she eventually snaps back and continues the conversation.
After a few minutes of silence you break the tension, “I didn’t want to make you feel uncomfortable. You really don’t have to answer that question, if you don’t like. It’s none of my busi...”
She cuts you off, “You.”
You lean back, confusion spreading over your face, “Me? What is that suppose to mean?”
“To answer your question. You. You’re the mystery person... you’re the one I’m in love with.”
You sit there frozen. Completely shocked, you don’t know what to say.
Jo tilts her head to look at you, tears fill her eyes and a dark shade of pink floods her face, “You don’t have to say anything. I’m sorry if this whole thing makes you uncomfortable and if you would like to end our friendship. I just had to tell you, I couldn’t have this weighing over my...”
You grab her freckle covered cheeks, stopping her mid-sentence. Shock slowly creeps throughout her body. You slowly lean in and press your lips against hers. Butterflies fill your stomach as she tangles her hand in your hair. You finally pull away, your eyes fixated on one another. Your chests rise and fall rapidly as you both try to catch your breath.
You place your hand under her chin and firmly grasp it, “Josephine March, don’t ever apologize to me for the way you’re feeling.”
She nods, her brain still trying to compute what just happened, “Does this mean you like me back?” she questions softly.
“Jo, I’ve loved you since the moment we met.”