Wish for You

By: Marquita Valentine

Because it hurts to be around you. “It’s late.”

“It’s New Year’s Eve,” he points out. As if I need reminding of that. It’s a whole new year that I’ll have to spend without my best friend talking to me. My newest friend will be gone too, on a big music tour.

“I know,” I whisper miserably.

His lips thin. “Are you afraid that I might try to kiss you when the ball drops?”

If only he would kiss me. If only I could kiss him. Instead of telling the truth or lying, I say nothing.

He lets go of me, holding up his hands. “Oh yeah, I forgot. We’re just friends. Again. For some weak-ass reason you won’t even explain.”

Pain radiates out from my heart, and my chest tightens. I love that he’s speaking to me again, but I hate the words he’s using to wound me. “I’ll always be your friend, Wyatt.”


I look away. I have to. Who knew the ramifications of letting him go would hurt this much? It feels as though someone on an opposing team has clotheslined me, just as I was about to pass them.

“God.” He lets out a thick sigh. “I’m sorry.”

I blink up at him, my lips parting in shock. “You are?”

He gives me a lopsided grin. “Yeah. It’s not easy to hear that your kisses don’t measure up.”

I frown. “I never said that.”

“It’s okay. Seriously.” He hooks a finger under my chin, and I want to lean into him. I want his arms around me, and I want to wrap mine around him. But I don’t. Everything is a don’t with him. “Let’s start the new year off right and go back to the way things were, ‘kay?”

“Oh… okay.” But it’s not. I’m not. Still, I can be strong. I love Wyatt enough to let him go. “I have a charity bout in a few weeks. It’s us versus the Rambo-Bright team.”

His hand falls away, and his grin turns apologetic. “Sorry I missed your last game of the season.”

I scuff my shoe against the gravel of the parking lot. “I missed you being there. It reminded me of before, when you were gone for so long, and I didn’t know if you would ever come back.” Smashing my lips together, I tug at a thick lock of my hair for a few second, calming myself. “I was really happy when you came home, which is why I thought it would be a good idea to kiss you, but it wasn’t.”

Wincing, I brace for the worst. I hadn’t meant for the rest of that to come out. I hadn’t meant to remind him of the conversation we had less than a month ago.

“Seriously, Lace. It’s fine.”

The tightness in my chest starts to ease. “Are you sure?”

He takes my hand, carefully unwinding my hair from around my finger. “Very. In fact, to unequivocally prove to you that I’m completely okay with us going back to being just friends, I’ve decided to play matchmaker and hook you up with a cool guy. Already have one in mind.”

My eyes grow big—I can feel them. It’s strange how I want him to go back to glaring Wyatt. I want him to want me, not this… whatever it is. But maybe this is how I repair my broken heart. Maybe this is how… Then, the most awful thought flashes in my brain. I could do the same for him.

I know I’m not good enough, but I know girls who are.

“Then you have to let me do the same for you.” A black brow arches, and I blush. “Not a guy. A girl. You like girls, not guys.”

Wyatt holds up his fist, waiting for me to bump it with mine. “Awesome.”

Awesome? I stare at him in disbelief. He takes my hand, the one that he’s still holding, and curls the fingers inward, then gently touches it to his.

The door to the bar opens, and people spill out.

“Party’s moving to Beau’s,” Parker yells. “Bring Lacey and some of her roller derby girls.”

“You coming, buddy?” Wyatt asks cheerfully, like we didn’t just commit to helping each other find dates.

Forcing the rising lump back down with a quick swallow, I manage to shake my head. “Like I said, it’s late.”

He backs away, winking at me while he calls out for Beau to wait for him. At the last minute, Wyatt gives me this look.

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