“Hey Ross!” Lizbeth greeted her best friend, outside of Belinda of course, at the door. She was really excited to see him.
Ross was excited to, since he had been on vacation for the past two weeks and had missed Julius’s birthday. But if we’re being honest, the birthday party was not all that he had missed. He had been missing Lizbeth the entire time.
He smiled at her.
“Hi Beth,” he said, allowing his lips to form the shape of what she wanted to be called now. “I’ve missed you!” It was unfamiliar and more grown-up, tricky to get used to, but it also felt right. “That feels good to say,” Ross added. “Beth.”
“You’ve been gone a whole two weeks and you’re getting all tongue-tied over a simple change in nickname preference?” She faux scolded him.
He laughed, “I have a new meme I want to show you!”
Ross pulled out his phone and showed her the latest meme he had found on Simblr. She tried her hardest not to laugh, but ultimately the meme got the best of her and she was holding her stomach to keep from falling backwards.
Ross felt himself surge with warmth and joy at the sight of her smile. He looked at her as if she were a gift unto the world, which as far as he was concerned, she was.
“I knew you would like it!”
She was still laughing. “I do! OH MY GOD!”
“What is it?” Ross asked, curiosity getting the best of him before she could keep talking.
“Benson would totally love this too!” She exclaimed, settling back into another fit of giggles. When she opened her eyes again Ross wasn’t laughing with her anymore. He looked a bit sullen, and his shoulders were hunched forward.
“What is it, Ross?” She asked him, sadness creeping onto her face too.
“I just don’t understand what you see in that guy,” Ross grumbled, rolling his eyes.
Beth frowned. “He’s really cute, and he and his family have been friends with our family since we were just kids. Plus, I think he might think I’m cute too, and he might ask me out!”
“But he’s such a jerk!” Ross cut in, redness in his cheeks and tension in his shoulers.
Beth felt herself getting heated, so she grounded herself into the floor. “Look, Ross, you’re my best friend. I love you! I do. But I don’t know why you get so bent out of shape every time I bring up Benson, especially if he comes around. I don’t know if I can keep spending time with you if you can’t support me.”
Ross deflated, feeling rejected. “I’ll just never understand it, Beth,” he sighed, looking at her with fading hope. “He doesn’t appreciate you. Not really.”
“That’s for me to decide, Ross.” She said this matter-of-factly, without much gusto.
Ross simply nodded. “You’re right. I’m sorry.”
But neither of them were laughing anymore.