If I chose one over the other, it would ruin their friendship. To make matters worse, I felt the same about both of them. They were fun, silly, and made me happy. They also did everything together—Gavin and Xander were a pair. Even though they said they wanted me to choose, I became sick at the thought of it.
I crossed my arms as Gavin started laughing, still wrapped up in my own uncertainty.
“You really need to get that chord right.” Gavin shook his head.
“Oh, and strumming one note over and over again is so challenging.” Xander arched his eyebrow.
“Guys?” I interjected. Lately, these little fights had been getting worse. Each wanted to look like the better option; I was going to ruin them. “It’s been cool watching you play, but maybe I should get going.” If I left now, they’d make up, get over whatever spat this was, and go back to practicing.
“No, we’re fine, Beth.” Xander took off his guitar and leaned it against his amp. “I need a break anyway before Peter gets here.”
“The ever-elusive drummer?” I teased, standing up from the couch and stretching.
“Yeah,” Gavin said, clearly annoyed. “He’s too busy with…” He shrugged. “Actually, I don’t know what Peter does. We should get something to drink at least.” Gavin yawned and started towards the stairs just as a brown haired, tall, slender guy descended.
“Don’t know what I do?” he asked, cocking an eyebrow. Peter, I assumed. “Get you guys drinks, obviously.” He held three bottles of soda, and his eyes landed on me. “Though, I didn’t realize I’d need a forth one.”
“This is Beth,” Xander introduced me.
I smiled up at Peter. “It’s fine. I’m just about to—”
Peter shoved the bottles into Gavin’s hands so fast that Gavin almost dropped one. “I’ll get you a bottle. Any preference to flavor?”
Gavin and Xander exchanged a long glance with each other.
“Orange?” I shrugged, trying to play it cool.
“Cool.” Peter turned and headed back upstairs.
Gavin rolled his eyes. “Late, as always.” He handed Xander a cherry cola and put the lemon lime one on the coffee table. The basement room was cozy, perfect for their practice. The worn couch provided the perfect spot for me to do homework in the afternoon, and a nice break from being in my own house.
“Sometimes I don’t think he takes this as seriously as we do.” Xander let out a long breath as he twisted the top off his soda. “I mean, he’s late every single time. He doesn’t practice much outside of here. But I don’t know another drummer that could replace him.”
“Yeah,” Gavin agreed just as Peter came back downstairs.
Peter held the orange soda out, a wide grin on his face. Our fingers brushed as I took it from him. Green and blue seemed to swirl in his eyes as ours locked together. I swallowed, shocked at the shivers running through my spine. Now I knew why I couldn’t choose between Gavin and Xander; neither of them felt like this.
“Sorry it took so long,” he said in a low voice.
“No, I think you’re just in time,” I said back, smiling. With those words, I had made my decision.
I love YA books, as a reader and a writer. Still, there are some tropes that deserve to become real. While these stories are still fiction, they provide an alternative, possibly more realistic, version of scenes from stories we love.