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THE HARDEST THING
Maverick sat in the corner chair of the library with his headphones in, somewhat blasting his music while his pen glided over the notebook paper as he started to write his paper. He had been so caught up doing his homework he didn't notice his long time best friend Leighton sneaking up behind him. She knew he wasn't paying attention to his surroundings so scaring him would totally be worth it but it was just too easy to not scare the living hell out of him. Leighton got close enough to Maverick and poked his side which made him yell and jump high enough out of the chair.
"What the-Leighton!" Maverick yelled, taking his headphones out and looked at her. "Jesus fuck, are you trying to kill me?"
Leighton laughed loudly, wiping tears away as she tried to breathe. "I'm sorry Mav, it was just too damn easy. You were so vulnerable, I couldn't waste the chance of scaring the shit out of you."
Maverick finally caught his breath, adjusting his snapback and glasses. "You little shit," he laughed.
"You know that gets you in trouble."
Leighton grinned at him as she moved his notebook off his lap and sat down, wrapping her arms around his shoulder. "Like you're gonna do something about it, you always say you will but in the end you chicken out. I know you too well Maverick James."
Maverick wrapped his athletic arm around her waist, looking up into her mischievous green eyes. "And it's scary on how well you know me baby girl but still you gave me a fucking heart attack."
"I know and I'm quite proud of myself," Leighton beamed as she stroked the side of his scruffy face, kissing his cheek.
Maverick rolled his eyes but held her protectively against his body, making them both feel safe and at home. Leighton leaned into him, resting her head on his shoulder as she inhaled his cologne. She knew she was safe in his arms, she felt at home, she was calm but at the same time her fast beating heart said other things. Leighton let out a soft sigh which made Maverick raise an eyebrow and look at her with concern.
"Leigh, everything okay?" Maverick asked as he lifted Leighton's head gently so he could look into her eyes.
Leighton nodded silently, kissing his forehead. "Yeah, I'm just in my safe space when I'm with you."
"Baby, I've been your safe space since high school," Maverick poked her side as he hugged her tightly.
"No duh," Leighton stuck her tongue out at him as she pulled out her phone from her front pocket. "Besides who else was gonna put up with your stupid ass."
Maverick feigned hurt as he put his hand to his chest. "Ouch Leigh, that cut me deep. Ya really know how to bring a guy down."
Leighton shoved him playfully. "Oh you're so full of it James, get over yourself."
Maverick cocked an eyebrow, thinking for a moment before sticking his tongue out at her. "Nah, never. Besides you love my stupid ass."
"Keep telling yourself that," Leighton teased as she kissed him gently on the lips before getting off his lap and walked out of the library.
Maverick watched her, shaking his head but had the biggest grin on his face. He knew she loved him and he loved her, nothing would ever change that between them. Except for maybe one thing...Maverick was very much in love with Leighton but of course he could never work up the courage to tell her. Every one of his friends told him to man up and just tell her already but he was afraid that one of two things would happen...one, things would change between them or two she wouldn't feel the same and he would end up losing her forever. It was a huge risk, a risk he was afraid of taking. How could he not be afraid to take that risk, being in love with his best friend was pretty scary but it never felt more right. They had been friends since high school and had gone through so much together over the years which had brought them closer. Leighton kept him grounded especially when he needed it and he was her anchor and her voice of reason when needed. Their relationship ran deep, soulmate deep so it just made sense.
But he still couldn't admit it to Leighton, even though he was sitting there kicking himself and mentally banging his head on the table screaming 'fuck I'm in love with her!' Why did it have to be so damn hard to just admit it? That question burned a hole in his mind as he tried to finish writing his paper but he couldn't focus on it, his thoughts kept running back to Leighton.
Later on in the day, Maverick was sitting with a few of his soccer teammates eating lunch. They were discussing the upcoming game but he paid no mind, his eyes were scanning for Leighton but she was nowhere to be found. Someone tapped his shoulder, snapping him back to reality.
"Hey Maverick, you still with us?" Skyler asked, his eyebrow raised curiously.
Maverick cleared his throat and flashed a smile. "Yeah, yeah I'm still with you guys. I was just...looking for someone."
"Let me guess, Leighton?" he asked with a teasing smile. "Dude are you ever gonna tell her or you just gonna be a chicken shit? Cause if you don't, some other guy is gonna steal her away."
Maverick gave him a death glare, his hand balling up into a fist under the table and his knuckles cracked softly. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Skyler merely shrugged. "I'm just saying man, you better make a move before it's too late."
"Right," Maverick muttered softly as he turned his attention to his food, attempting to eat but he felt his stomach go in knots.
The rest of their lunchtime was quiet and most of his team mates had finished their lunch, leaving Maverick alone. He pulled out his phone, seeing he had a new message from Leighton which made his heart skip a beat. He quickly replied before throwing away the rest of his food and sprinted to the practice room where she told him to meet her.
In the practice room, Leighton couldn't stop pacing around the room nervously as she waited for Maverick to show up. She was beginning to think that it was a mistake but she needed to tell him how she felt about him. Finally there was a soft knock on the window which made Leighton jump but she saw that it was Maverick, she took a deep breath and slowly opened the door.
Maverick had an eyebrow raised, his arms crossed and a smirk on his face. "Hey good lookin, come here often?"
Leighton blushed, rolling her eyes at his cheesy pick up line. "You're really gonna use that line on me James? Jesus I thought you outgrew that."
Maverick chuckled lightly as he walked into the room, shutting the door behind him as he adjusted his snapback. "Hey, that line has worked on numerous girls back in high school."
"But I'm not like the rest of those airheaded girls you used to date, so nice try," Leighton teased him as she sat in front of the piano.
Maverick merely shrugged, sitting next to her. "Eh I thought it was a nice attempt, see if it still worked. Guess I'm just a little rusty."
Leighton eyed him, giving him a death glare. "Rusty? Really, didn't you just sleep with Emma yesterday?"
"Actually that was like two months ago...I haven't slept with anyone or asked anyone out since," he admitted in a soft tone.
That made Leighton's heart hurt, she looked at her best friend sadly as she gently touched his shoulder. "Damn Mav, I had no idea. I thought you had since you come home late."
"Nah I just mostly sit at the coffee shop, wallowing in self pity. Plus I was too ashamed and I didn't want you to see that," Maverick let out a heavy sigh, his eyes avoiding to look at Leighton.
They sat in silence, neither one of them saying anything for a few minutes. Leighton didn't know what to say, she had never seen Maverick this upset at least in a while. She couldn't imagine how badly that messed him up and she wished there was something she could do. Finally after those few minutes of somewhat tense silence, Maverick slowly wrapped his arm around Leighton's waist and held her closely to him.
"So uh, you wanted to tell me something?" he raised the question first, his eyes finally meeting hers.
Leighton's cheeks turned bright red and she tried to cover her face with her long blonde hair from embarrassment. She stumbled over her words awkwardly, "um yeah there is but I'm kinda nervous to say it."
"Come on Leigh, it's me. You know you can tell me anything, you know I'm not gonna judge you or feel any differently about you. And it's not like it's going to ruin our friendship," Maverick comforted her, giving her waist a light squeeze.
Leighton waved her hand, lightly brushing his statement off because she knew it was the truth. "I know but this is the hardest thing I've had to admit to you in all the years we've been friends."
Her statement made Maverick raise his eyebrow curiously and with confusion. He adjusted himself so he could look at her better, still keeping his arm around her waist. "Hey, you can tell me and I promise it's not going to ruin us."
Taking a deep breath, Leighton's gaze met his as she bit her lower lip. "I'm in love with you Maverick...I've been in love with you for years."
Maverick didn't say anything for a minute, his heart started to beat like crazy as if it were about to beat right out of his chest. His eyes filled with happy tears as he leaned his head down and kissed Leighton."I've been in love with you for years too. I've just been waiting to tell you, been too scared to say it cause I didn't want to risk losing you," he admitted softly.
Leighton punched him lightly in the arm, "took you long enough you big doof."
"You love me," Maverick teased as he poked her back before kissing her again.
"That I do and I always will," Leighton promised.
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