My Only Friend

by Evelyn Floyd

"You're my only friend." He said, snuggling closer against me, his head on my shoulder, his arms clinging tightly to my ribs. I said nothing, simply holding him for the moment. That was a heavy weight to bear for me, I thought, being his only friend. It felt like too much; as if it was more of a burden than I could handle. He needed someone, though, and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. He felt so frail, so weak, so helpless in my arms, and as much as he needed me to hold him, I found that I too, needed to feel someone's arms around me.

He needed someone to love him, and I was there. He needed someone to care about him, and I did so, gladly. I needed someone too, although I had tried to tell myself that I could survive on my own. I was lonely, too. While he wouldn't really be my first choice, I accepted the role that I had been thrust into, at least for now. We were a lot alike, he and I. Realizing this, it made me a little bit uncomfortable.

He stirred a little, and I shushed him, telling him that everything was going to be okay, that I would protect him. He settled down, and I felt his lips brush my neck, a soft gentle kiss of affection. Something stirred in me, but I fought against it. Not now, not yet. It was too soon.

My back ached from the position I was in and I straightened up, to take the strain off the muscles that were screaming for relief. He felt me move, and he clung tighter, as if I might pull away from him forever.

"It's okay," I whispered, "I won't leave you, it's just… my back is hurting, I need to move, okay?" He grunted in assent, and his grip around my ribs loosened a bit. I was able to straighten up, noticing that he moved with me, as if he and I were conjoined twins. I smiled at the image, for it was almost true, except that our joining was voluntary.

As I found a more comfortable position, he settled back against my chest, and I felt another tentative kiss on my neck. I shook my head, not rejecting him, but letting him know that it wasn't the time or place. He seemed to understand, and accepted my decision. I felt bad for the rejection; but I wasn't ready for what he was asking. Not yet.

Finally he sat back and looked up at me. Our eyes met and I was amazed, again, by how blue they were. They were like deep sapphires, and the soul behind them, the person I held in my arms, was somehow something more than he'd appeared to be at first. I felt a stirring again, but it wasn't carnal. No, this stirring was something else. This was love, and while I wasn't completely comfortable with it, I soon accepted that there was no fighting it. There was no denying it, I was falling in love with him, and I was helpless in love's unyielding current.

"I love you," he whispered. I nodded but said nothing. He smiled shyly and his face lit up like the northern lights. I felt the corners of my mouth move and a gladness filled my heart like water bubbling up from a spring in a parched desert. While he wouldn't have been my first choice, I knew that I was helpless before the love he gave to me willingly. I might not have chosen him as my first, I knew it didn't matter now. He had chosen me, and I was comfortable with it. I was willing to be his only friend, because I found I needed him as much as he needed me.

"I love you too, buddy." I said, and found that it was true. I did love him, and I was glad for it and for us. He pulled me tightly against him and I met his lips with mine. Now was as good a time as any, and I knew that if any two people were meant to be together, it was he and I.

Voting

This story is part of the 2018 story challenge "Inspired by a Picture: Waiting". The other stories may be found at the challenge home page. Please read them, too. The voting period of 22 June to 12 July 2018 is when the voting is open. This story may be rated, below, against a set of criteria, and may be rated against other stories on the challenge home page.

The challenge was to write a story inspired by this picture:

2018 Inspired by a Picture Challenge - Waiting

My Only Friend

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If there were further stories about this I'd read them
It grabbed my attention early on
I had to know what happened
I identified with at least one of the cast
Gritty - it had an edge to it
Realistic - it could have happened that way
I found it hard to follow
Good characterisation
I feel better for having read it
It was romantic
It was erotic
Too much explicit sex
It had the right amount of sex, if there was any
Not enough explicit sex
I have read and enjoyed other work by this author
It was true to the picture


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