Lily sat back down again. Good, good. He could hopefully relax now, for a bit. The cafe would close soon and she would have to leave anyway but if she stayed for now he could be okay. The cafe was silent, and the night reigned outside, but that didnt effect the moment. He was sitting with Lily alone for a bit and that was fine with him. Even if she hated him, even if all of his worst fears were true, he was still happy, at least for a bit. Even if Alejandro came back, he might still be able to look back on this moment with a fond tone to it.
And then Lily said that he was acting oddly.
His hand started shaking. Everything went from okay to a nightmare scenario in a heartbeat. He was right. She thought that he was weird. She thought that he was weird and she hated him and only pretended to bear him because he was the kid whose family owned a cafe. She hated him, just like everyone else did too. he grabbed his hand. No, she wasnt. She was friends with him. People liked him. They came to the cafe and talked to him and no no no they were lying. He was weird. Lily said it herself. He was the weird kid who came from the other country who couldnt speak English at all. Nobody liked him. They came to the cafe and talked to him but behind their backs they laughed at his inability. His difference.
He had to say something, anything. He had to fix this. He loved her, and even if she only pretended to be friends with him he still liked being with her. He had to say something. Protect his friendship with her. He had to say something. Anything. Anything that could mask the fact that he liked her and that his love overpowered him.
But nothing came out. He couldnt think of anything to say. He lied to her before about his crush and he hated it but now he was against the wall. Nothing was coming to his mind and he was up against the wall and he had to just
Tell the truth.
There was no other option. He had to tell the truth. He had to fess up and say that he loved her and that she made him happy every time she came to the cafe and that he wanted to stay with her, at least for a bit. He had never entertained the possibility before. Every time it came though to his mind, he bat it down. Shed never accept. Thats what he always thought. Shed just laugh at him and then shed be creeped out by him and shed never want to see him again. That was the excuse he used, every time the opportunity came up.
But now she hated him. Said that he was weird. He had acted oddly one too many times and now he was paying the price for it. He panicked in the cafe. He had failed to listen in the cafeteria. He had made all of these mistakes and now he had to fess up to them. Explain. It was his only hope. If it was good enough maybe shed like him back. Maybe shed requite him.
And if it wasnt good enough, well, it wasnt like it was going to change her opinion on him.
He had to do it. It was the only option. Breathe in. He could do it. He could. Breathe out.
But the words failed to come out again. No. No. No. He had to do this. He was the leader. Soccer team, library, Isaac, Min-jae, captain, failure. The stories that he had heard a thousand times by now. He had to be strong. He had to be a leader. He had to do this.
I like you.
The words came out. Silence reigned in the cafe.
I mean, like like you. I think youre amazing and beautiful and every time you walk through the cafe door ready to order something it makes me happie-
He couldnt continue. He couldnt. He looked down, away from Lily. He looked stupid. Nobody else could see him but he looked stupid. His arm was still shaking. He just hoped that shed leave at this point. He was just asking for it at this point.