A/n: So, for those of you who read the original I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello, this is kind of a revised, combined version. I Say Hello will be chapter two, coming soon! But even if you read the first one, you can still read this - it's actually significantly different from the original (especially chapter one/I don't know why you say goodbye). This one is much more interesting, in my opinion. Goodbye (take one) was kind of drab.
I Don't Know Why You Say Goodbye
First, I should probably explain my relationship with Owen Andrews. That's actually a bit hard to do. We're friends, sort of. He's not my best friend, but he's my oldest friend, I guess. In that I've known him the longest. But we haven't actually been friends the entire time we've known each other, so it doesn't really count. I don't think.
We moved to the Andrews' neighborhood when I was ten and Owen was eleven, and our parents have been close ever since, so Owen and I were forced to endure each other's company. I mean, we were in the fifth and sixth grades, which was entirely too old for our parents to arrange a play date for us. So, I disliked Owen back then purely because my parents forced me to hang out with him so that they could hang out with his parents. Lame.
So, Owen and I used to go at it, a lot. And when I hit middle school, I decided he was the anti-Christ because I was twelve and he was a boy who picked on me and therefore I hated him with a passion.
Now, it wasn't one of those love-hate relationships. I was merely being immature, and the feeling faded as I got older. When I started high school (and he was a sophomore), my group of friends started hanging out with his group of friends after two of them began dating. I think it was about a year afterwards that Owen and I actually became friends. He was never someone I would call to go to the movies or anything, especially since I knew he would make fun of me mercilessly if I implied that I actually enjoyed his company or anything, but we were okay. We were friends with the same people, and so we were bound to spend a lot of time together, so I guess we just got used to each other.
Our friends were slightly annoyed by the fact that Owen and I could never be in the same room for more than five minutes without being at each other's throats. It wasn't mean spirited or anything, we just bickered. Constantly. I guess there has always been an aspect of our personalities that just doesn't mesh. A few of my best female friends said that Owen and I fought like an old married couple, but I preferred to say that we argued like brother and sister.
Although I'd deny it if Owen mentioned it, I guess I've always liked arguing with him. I usually get along with everyone, but something about him just riles me up. And it's a good release, I guess. It almost never gets to the point where we're hurting each other's feelings, and we both usually know when to stop.
This is the part where I tell you how hot he is, right?
He's not, really. He's about average looking. He's got dark brown hair and gray eyes, about medium build. He's on the short side, maybe just an inch or two taller than my 5'6", which I actually appreciate. It's much easier to hold your own in an argument when your opponent isn't a head taller than you.
We're pretty evenly matched in most ways, actually. I make better grades than he does, but I'm pretty sure he's as smart as I am. He's just lazy. We both play soccer, and are reasonably good at it, neither of us are superstars, but we were both on varsity. We hang out with the same people, so our social statuses are about the same, too. So, from this it seems like he's the male equivalent of me, which isn't entirely true.
We're evenly matched, but that doesn't mean we agree on everything. I'm much more uptight than he is, and I'm actually extremely jealous of his laid-back persona. And the fact that he's much more comfortable around people than I am. I'm kind of shy and closed off, while he's friendly and open. I guess you could say that we balance each other out.
Looking back at this, it seems like I've given the impression that I have a thing for Owen. Which I don't.
Now, that was a total lie.
I don't know when it started, I really don't. I just remember one day in the fall of my junior (his senior) year, we were arguing about something stupid in the hallway after class. He was waving his hands around wildly, trying to make a point, but I had stopped listening, because I was suddenly overcome with this ridiculous urge to pin him up against the lockers and start kissing him. Gah. I know. Ew. I was so thrown off that I completely lost that argument. In fact, Owen was actually worried about me, because I never let him win that easily. He asked me what was wrong, but how was I supposed to explain it? Plus, now he was being all nice, which I so did not need right then.
I have a thing for nice guys. Always have. The whole bad boy attraction? It must have been left out of my DNA, because jerks are a total turn-off.
So, Owen being nice to me was really not helping things. And things only went downhill from there.
See, Owen really is a nice guy. And now that I was more inclined to see him in a positive light, I kept noticing it all the time. Like how he always took the time to help his little sister with her math homework, and that he would give me half of his sandwich if I forgot mine...
Disgusting. Really. I kept telling myself that, but it didn't work.
And we still argued. After that time, I was able to push back any random thoughts of jumping Owen and argue with him effectively.
I had it bad.
Really, really bad.
And the worst thing was that I had no idea what to do about it. Other than the obvious, which was to do nothing, and wait for these weird feelings to go away, which they didn't.
But I had never dated before. Heck, I had never had any sort of romantic relationship or hint thereof, ever. Plus, it was Owen. How was I supposed to tell Owen that I liked him? I could never seem to verbally express any affection towards that boy whatsoever. I could imagine how such a conversation would go:
"Oh, please. We could beat you in a scrimmage any day."
"Owen, I like you."
"Could n—wait, what did you just say?"
Yeah, that would go over well.
Seriously, I have the emotional maturity of an eight-year-old sometimes. And when I'm around Owen, we both tend to act like we're about eight years old. So a relationship? Bad idea.
Not that this stopped me from liking him. Nope. It's been almost a year, and I'm still head-over-heels for the poor guy and he doesn't even know it.
And he's leaving to go to college on the other side of the country in two days. I'm determined to forget him, which means I don't want us to e-mail, write, call, or anything. So, basically, over the past week, I've been attempting to push him out of my life, and I think I've finally done it.
He'd put up with everything I had thrown at him, up until yesterday, when I think he finally got the message. I tried avoiding him, ignoring him, and just plain being a bitch – snapping at him for things that weren't his fault, pushing him in ways that I knew would hurt him (and that I had avoided in the past for that reason), and yet he always came back. And he was worried about me. He wouldn't get mad at me; he was always trying to make sure that I was alright. This just annoyed me more, because he was making it so much harder.
And then yesterday, we had a huge blowout. I'm pretty sure our entire friendship is over. I doubt we'll ever speak again.
"Fuck off, Owen." I spat.
"Grey, you've got to tell me what's wrong, whether I can help or not. Because this is not you, Grey." He was looking at me concernedly
"Maybe it is. How would you know?"
"Grey, I've known you since you were ten. I know who your best friends are; I know your favorite type of ice cream, and which kind you eat only after you've had a really bad day. I know that the thing that pisses you off the most is when people lie to you. I know you, Grey MacKenzie. And I know when something's not right."
I almost broke down right then. But luckily, I'm stubborn as hell, and when I've decided to do something, there's no going back.
"You want to know what's wrong? You're wrong, Andrews. My life is none of your damn business. So, for once in your life, could you just do me a favor and leave me the hell alone?"
"Grey, you don't mean that," he pleaded.
Oh, God, I wanted to cry. I've never been this mean before in my life. "Yes, Andrews, I do. Now kindly get the fuck out of my house, and the fuck out of my life."
"Fine." Owen sounded defeated, his expression downcast. He looked about as un-Owen-like as I'd ever seen him. He turned around and walked out the front door, never looking back.
After I heard the door close, I broke into sobs. I leaned back against the kitchen wall, and then slid down until I was sitting on the ground and buried my face in my hands. I don't think I've ever been so miserable in my life.
It still hurt. I felt like an awful person. I never meant to hurt Owen like that. But he'd be off to college in a couple days, and he'd meet new friends and forget about me. And then we'd move on, and everything would be for the best.
I heard a loud knock on the door, shaking me out of my thoughts. I glanced at the clock. 8 p.m. Who would be coming to my door at 8 o'clock at night? To top things off, it was pouring down rain outside.
While I was pondering this, whoever it was that was waiting at my front door must have become impatient, because I heard another, louder series of knocks.
"I'm coming, I'm coming," I grumbled. I hoped it was just some dumb kid selling wrapping paper (but who does that in a storm), because I was a wreck. I was wearing navy sweats and a giant, green sweatshirt, and it was very obvious that I had been crying. I was just going to open the door, scare the kid off, and head back to the living room to mope some more.
I turned the knob, not bothering to look through the peep hole, and was met with -
"Owen?" I hadn't had time to prepare myself, so my voice was soft, rather than angry.
"Hello, Grey," he said, the corners of his lips quirking up into a tentative smile.
I couldn't believe this boy. After the way I had treated him yesterday, there was no way he should be smiling at me.
"Can I come in?"
Still too shocked to think straight, I simply nodded, and stepped back to let him out of the rain.
"We need to talk, Grey." He said, solemnly (not a tone I usually associate with him).
By this time, I had (mostly) come to my senses, and arranged an appropriate scowl on my face. "What are you doing here, Andrews? I thought I told you to get lost."
"You did," he said.
"So then what are you doing here? You're dripping on the carpet." I demanded.
"Since when have I ever listened to you, Grey?" he said, with a hint of humor to his voice.
"Good point." I stared down at my feet, unable to summon up the will power to yell at him again.
"What's going on, Grey?" he asked, and I could feel his eyes burning holes in me. "Have you been crying?"
"God, no. Why would I be crying? Nothing's going on, so you can just leave now." I gestured towards the door.
"Why are you pushing me away?" Owen asked, a hint of desperation in his voice. "I need to know, Grey." He leaned forward, grabbing me by the arms. "We can fix this."
"No, Owen, we can't." I said, bitterly. "It doesn't matter. You'll be off to college, and you can forget about me and all this, and it won't fucking matter."
He loosened his grip on my arms, but we were still standing only inches apart. "Yes, it does matter, Grey!" he sounded angry now, maybe for the first time since this whole thing had started. "How could you even think that? That I could just forget about you? Never."
I didn't know what to say to that, so I was silent. Seeing that I wasn't going to respond to this, Owen continued, "So, I need to know what your problem is. Why the heck have you been pushing me away? You better have a good reason, MacKenzie. A damn good rea-"
He wanted a reason? I'd give him a reason. I cut Owen off mid-sentence, shoving him roughly against the wall and pressing my lips against his forcefully.
Suddenly, my hands were in his hair and I was kissing him hard, and just when I was about to pull back, having made my point, he started to kiss me back with just as much force as I was putting into it. His arms wrapped themselves tightly around my waist, and he pulled me flush against him. I gasped, and he took the opportunity to slide his tongue into my mouth.
Oh God, oh God, oh God. I had never even kissed anybody before.
But it felt damn good, which was enough to drown out my panic, so I followed his lead and allowed my tongue to explore his mouth. By this time, he had let go of my waist and was gripping my hips, his fingers digging into my back in a way that should have hurt but only made me press myself against him tighter, if that was even possible.
When we finally broke apart, breathing heavily, faces flushed, we could only stare at each other.
After a few moments, Owen broke the silence. "Shit, Grey. Where did that come from?"
Where did that come from? I felt my cheeks warm even further, and suddenly I was back to my normal, reserved self. "I don't know," I mumbled.
He ran a hand through his already tousled (thanks to yours truly) hair and let out a deep breath. "Wow."
"Yeah." I was staring at the ground, afraid to meet his eyes.
"Wow." Owen repeated, looking dumbstruck. He walked over to the sofa and sat down, his face in his hands. After a few minutes, I walked over down next to him. He felt the couch sink down, and glanced up at me. He stared at me for a few seconds with a strange look in his eye before speaking. "Grey?" he asked, hesitantly.
"Do you think you could go sit over there?" he questioned, pointing to an armchair on the opposite side of the room. I raised an eyebrow, but obligingly stood up and moved to the aforementioned chair.
I looked back up at Owen, who was blushing slightly. "Sorry," he mumbled. "I don't think we're going to be able to have a conversation if you sit next to me."
Owen blushed further, until he was about the color of a tomato. "Uh, I can't really focus on...talking...to you right now if you're that close to me."
I started giggling. And then, when the entire weight of what had just happened hit me, I could only laugh harder, and Owen joined in. Soon, we had both collapsed into peals of laughter.
Once I had collected myself, I looked back at Owen, and said, "Sorry...It's just that this whole situation is so ridiculous!"
Owen quirked an eyebrow. "How so?"
"It's just that it's you...and me...and I was supposed to be pushing you away, not making out with you in my living room!" When I heard those words aloud, it seemed to make the entire situation so much more real. "Oh my God. We made out? Did that actually just happen?" I buried my face in my hands. "I've never even kissed anybody before, Owen!" I can't even say the word kissed without blushing! What is wrong with me?
"Don't worry, you did fine," Owen said, grinning at me.
My cheeks warmed. "I just...I was yelling, and telling you to leave, and then all of the sudden I attacked you!" I groaned. "Some sort of evil spirit must have taken over my body, because I, Grey MacKenzie, do not do things like that. I do not push boys up against the wall and…and…" I trailed off.
"Maul them?" Owen suggested, a hint of humor in his voice.
I made some sort of strangled noise into my hands. "Oh, God. I'm so sorry, Owen."
"Sorry for what?" I couldn't see Owen's face, but I knew from his tone that he was raising an eyebrow at me. Owen has always had very expressive eyebrows.
"For, you know, mauling you."
"Oh, please. I was an entirely willing participant," Owen said, reassuringly.
"Quit lying to make me feel better."
"I'm not lying, Grey. When have I ever lied to you? And think about it. Do you remember me putting up any resistance at all?"
"Can we talk about something else now, please?" I said, finally lifting my head out of my hands to look at him. Or rather, at his shoes.
"We're going to have to talk about this eventually, you know," Owen said, "but not now," he added quickly, after seeing the look on my face. I let out a deep breath. Owen patted the couch next to him. "C'mere, Monochrome."
I eyed the spot skeptically. "Aren't you afraid I'm going to attack you again?"
Owen chuckled. "Babe, it's a chance I'm willing to take."
"Don't call me babe."
"So, you're allowed to maul me, but I'm not allowed to call you babe? It seems like a comparatively minor offense, don't you agree?"
I buried my face in my hands again. "I said I was sorry! Can we please not talk about this right now?"
"I was just messing with you, Monochrome," Owen said, glancing at me, then quickly added, "but clearly you're not in the mood to be messed with. Messed around with, maybe, but-"
I chucked a pillow at him. "Andrews, shut up!"
He grinned sheepishly. "Sorry, couldn't help myself. But it's out of my system now."
"Mmm-hmm," I murmured, unconvinced.
"I promise, I promise! Now will you come sit with me?" he looked up at me beseechingly.
"Fine," I grumbled, removing myself from the armchair and plopping on the other end of the couch, about as far away from Owen as I could get without falling off.
He chuckled. "You just have to make everything difficult, don't you?" I rolled my eyes. "Come on, sit next to me. I'm sure your invisible friends will move over for you." Reluctantly, I scooted over a few feet. Apparently, this didn't satisfy Owen, who wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me into him. "Relax, Grey," he said, slightly loosening his grip on my waist. Too tired to resist, I complied, and rested my head on his shoulder. "Better," he said, smiling softly at me.
There was a moment of silence, before Owen said, "We're friends, right?"
I gave him a puzzled look. "Of course we're friends, Owen. Why would you even ask that?"
"Just checking. And, you know, you've been acting kind of weird around me. Pushing me away. And from what you said earlier, it seems like it was because you thought I'd just forget you when I went off to college anyway?"
"Then you should know that would never happen." Owen looked at me seriously. "Okay?" I nodded, and he pressed a soft kiss to my temple, which was a bit surprising because Owen and I weren't normally touchy-feely people. Well, I wasn't, and he usually respected that. But I guess we'd already crossed that line today, in a much bigger way. "And really, Grey, you don't make a very good mean person," he added, grinning this time.
"What are you talking about? I was very mean! I even cussed. Do you remember the cussing?" I replied, indignantly.
"Yes, I remember. But the whole time you had this look on your face like every word you were saying hurt you more than it hurt me."
"It probably did." I buried my head in his shoulder and wrapped my arms around him. (Again with the touching!) "I'm sorry, Owen. That was dumb of me. It just seemed like the best solution."
"Don't worry about it. You think too much, Grey."
I sighed, dropping my arms to my sides. "I know. It's exhausting."
"Maybe a bit," I said, yawning.
"You should go to bed, then," Owen said, looking as if he was preparing to stand up.
I frowned. "Don't leave! I probably won't see you until Thanksgiving. Plus, your shoulder makes a good pillow."
"Well, only since it's obvious you're going to miss me terribly," Owen said, giving me a small, half smile and kissing the top of my head.
"Maybe a little," I said, yawning again. "So, tell me about your classes for this semester."
"Well, I'm taking Calculus…and I'm going to have to actually pay attention in class this time, because I won't have you to explain everything to me." I smiled sleepily. "And then I'm taking this stupid economics course for my Gen-Ed requirements…"
The next morning I woke up to light streaming through the living room blinds. I found myself lying on the couch, a blanket draped over me and a pillow underneath my head.
I kicked the blanket off, got to my feet, and stumbled into the kitchen, where my mom appeared to be making pancakes.
"Morning," I said, groggily.
"Hey there, sleepyhead," she said, with entirely too much enthusiasm for nine o'clock in the morning. "I was wondering when you'd get up. You've been sleeping for almost twelve hours, you know. Owen said you conked out on him at about nine last night. You must have been exhausted."
"Owen? When did you see Owen?"
"He was still here last night when we got back, sitting on the sofa with your head on his shoulder. It was almost ten. The poor boy's arm must have been numb."
"He asked me to tell you goodbye. He had to leave early this morning to go to California, and he didn't want to wake you up."
"He could have woken me!"
"That's what I said, but he said you were pretty tired." She paused for a moment. "He's a sweet boy, that Owen Andrews."
"That he is, mom. That he is."