Ever since they were children, there was something about Juno that had always left him spellbound. Even when she was the awkward little girl in the baggy overalls, always covered in muck, he thought she was something magical – like the way the air feels after a storm has passed.  The best day of his life was when she had moved into the house next to his; he wanted to be nice to the new girl, he knocked on her door to invite her out to play and they had been the closest of friends ever since. They did everything together: when Juno had broken her wrist while they were climbing trees in elementary school, he’d gotten a cast with her so she wouldn’t feel alone. In junior high, when he didn’t have a date for the dance, she had gone with him – even though she had two left feet and hated to dance. When she had nightmares, he was the first person she’d call and he’d talk to her all night if that’s what it took for her to fall asleep again. And somewhere along the way, he’d fallen in love with her.

            He fell in love with her optimism and the way she could find the good in everything. He fell in love with the sound of her laugh and the way she often cried from doing it so much. He fell in love with her mind and the beautiful Wonderland it encompassed. He wanted to know all of her thoughts, to have a map to her Wonderland. He fell in love with her heart and the way she gave herself wholly to anything and everything she’d ever loved. He’d helped her to pick up the pieces many times in the past, but she never failed to put herself back together and love again. He admired Juno’s courage and hoped he could find his own – and quick because she was on her way to join him.

 

            This is my moment, he thought, it’s now or never. He had tried to wait for the perfect moment and now he’d run out of time. He fought to suck in a breath as panic sought him out. However, he would not change his mind, because even if she didn’t return his feelings, he felt he was doing the right thing by telling her.

            He could hear her as she climbed up the old trellis. She was quick about it, the movement practically instinctual after all the times they’d met up there. He finally let out a sigh of relief when she graced him with her crooked smile. The look on her face was all he needed to put his doubts to rest. He knew their friendship would survive his confession – of that much he was now sure because he could not imagine a life without Juno. With his lips parted to return her smile, he sent his last prayers out into the universe and hoped for the best.

            “I’ve been waiting for the right time to tell you this, Juno, but I realized that there is no such thing and I’ve been hiding behind that excuse for years.”

            She was confused, but she held off on interrupting.

            “I’m in love with you and I’ve felt this way for as long as I can remember. I’ve loved you since before I knew what that even meant. I love everything about you and I always have. And even if you don’t feel the same way, I still love you. I will always love you. I don’t know anything different.”

            He waited on baited breath as Juno seemed to mull over his words. He’d finally done it. His words had burst forth like water held behind a dam but he had finally done it and whatever the outcome, he knew they’d be okay.

Edited by: Renee Luna

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