E

"Fuck," he cursed, shoving me towards the passenger seat. "Get off me."

Startled, I gave him a look of utter horror. Lately he had been doing extremely well with his bipolar mood swings, but that clean slate had been swept away by a kiss he initiated.

"Don't," I murmured on the verge of tears.

This is what we had been avoiding: a complicated friendship. Friends didn't kiss each other, but we had. In the pit of my stomach I knew we made the worst mistake we ever could. We admitted that we had feelings for each other, feelings that extended beyond platonic. It was just going to make Jonah leaving even harder on me—well, the both of us.

Deep down, I knew the kiss wouldn't change anything. It couldn't. And because of that, I didn't want to hear anything that my best friend had to say, but when The Beatles soft melodies stopped filling up the background noise, I knew that I had no choice but to hear him out.

"No, no, no!" he shouted, his hands pounding down onto the steering wheel. "You need to forget about this," he all but demanded. "For the sake of us having any kind of friendship, you need to forget all about this, Addie. Understand?"

I nodded. My throat felt dry. It hurt to hold back every, little feeling inside me. But what was the point in confessing anything? Jonah was damaged and leaving. I was broken and staying. There was no point in creating even more pain. We had to move on. We had to get beyond our feelings because it was absolutely impossible for us to get a happy ending.

"I…I need to go," he blurted, running a hand through his rain-soaked hair. "Sorry." He winced at his own pathetic apology. "I need time. I, I'll call you sometime. Is that okay?"

"Yes," I whispered. "Of course it's okay."

"Take care of Sydney and make sure you get that job. Jackson and Meredith will get you inside."

"I called Jackson earlier," I blurted, needing to admit the truth. "I kind of have an appointment, but I didn't want to bring it up before."

"This'll be good for you," he continued, ignoring me. "Take care of yourself, Addison Miller. Please take care of yourself."

"I will." I reached across for a hug but Jonah held out his hands.

"No, boundaries are important right now. Goodbye."

My body trembled. Was this it? Had our summer led us to this very moment? Was our friendship doomed from the start? And were we always going to dance around the truth like stupid, idiotic teenagers? We were adults. We could handle the truth, so why were we avoiding it?

The tears refused to stay at bay. Through a blurry, tearful smile, I opened the door and jumped out. "Goodbye."

The second the door closed, Jonah sped away, leaving a trail of fumes and dust in his wake.

We were like a string, stretched and pulled to our limit. And in the end, we were frayed tragically until the string snapped in two. The puppeteer no longer held our strings. We were finally free, but why did feeling free hurt so much?

Shaking, I fell to my knees, not caring as the rain pounded down onto my body.

"I love you," I whimpered, as I forced my eyes closed. "I always have."

Well, all good things come to an end eventually. I hate uploading such a sad, depressing chapter after Christmas. Originally, this story had a few more chapters in store for it, but I felt that this one ended good enough to help set up for the sequel. The rewrite of this will be quite a bit longer and better, but I hope that you've all enjoyed this. The rewrite will have more sexual tension, and it will focus more on Addie and Jonah's unconventional friendship. There will be more back story, more regular characters, and even longer chapters with an array of scenes. I'm thinking the rewrite will be at least 25 chapters, so it will definitely make up for everything lacking in this chapter.

And as I finish chapters to the rewrite, I will upload them here…so if you want to save this story to compare and contrast or just to read it again, now would be the best time to save it. I won't upload any new content over the old until February, so get your fill of this version while it's still preserved.

Thank you to all of my magnificent readers and reviewers. I wouldn't have finished this if it hadn't been for you. And I mean that. I have the worst, permanent case of writing ADHD on the face of the planet. So, until next time.

Faded Soulfire