Accidentally in Love
Christian wasn't sure how it had happened, but somehow he and Adrian Ivashkov had become close. In the midst of Strigoi attacks, spirit users, and love triangles, they had gone from acquaintances to best friends.
Around each other, they could escape the "girl drama" surrounding them and simply hang out. Sure, Adrian could be unstable at times –very unstable– but not as much as Lissa, for instance.
That particular memory still replayed in Christian's head, and it was painful. Really, "painful" was an understatement. A piece of his heart seemed to have been left with her, and its void remained empty.
"What do you want?" Christian asked, his voice harsher than he'd planned.
"What do you mean what do I want?" Lissa retorted, "I haven't been able to find you."
"I've just been…" His face darkened. "I don't know. Thinking. Besides, from what I hear, you haven't been too bored."
"It was nothing."
Christian's voice rose. "That's the thing," he said angrily. "Everything's nothing lately. All your partying. Making out with other guys. Lying." Lissa tried to deny it, but Christian continued, "I just can't handle this. I can't be a part of you going back to your days of being a royal girl doing crazy stunts with your other royal friends."
The rest of the conversation went by in a haze, but he could see that the reality of the situation was starting to process in Lissa's mind. Before Christian knew it, he found himself snapping, "I'm sorry. I just don't see any evidence of that."
Then he walked away.
Since then, he hadn't spoken to Lissa once, Sure, Rose had tried to convince him to mend their relationship, but he couldn't go back. He had meant every word that he'd said.
That was part of the beginning of Christian's major bonding with Adrian.
Christian had vented, swore, and gone as far as punching the wall in Adrian's room (something he never planned on doing again –it hurt.) Rather than judge him or try to convince him what to do, Adrian had simply listened.
It had been a nice change, as opposed to Lissa's sometimes overwhelming sympathy or Rose's hot-headed, strong emotions.
So, Christian had kept his sanity after the breakup. In fact, he had gained a best friend even when he had lost the girl who he had thought was his soul mate (which he was now reconsidering).
Adrian had his share of problems as well. Most of them had to do with Rose Hathaway. It was ironic how both boys had issues with girls from the same pair of best friends and spirit bondmates; they had laughed many times at this fact.
Their friendship wasn't some sappy sleepovers-and-rainbows relationship, of course. Christian's sarcasm and cynicism meshed with Adrian's humor and slightly-unhinged moments to create a joking, if somewhat bitter, pair. Those occasional moments of kindness and honesty popped up ever once and a while, though, ensuring something long-lasting. It seemed ideal.
Until everything started to change.
The change began one night in Adrian's room. The two of them had hung out for no reason in particular, talking about the whole "moroi fighting with magic" issue.
Christian was sprawled out on the couch, his head propped up and nearly falling asleep. He hadn't had any alcohol for a while, and spirit was clearly taking its toll on him. His words would occasionally make little sense, or that strange poetic quality would creep into his voice.
Christian was unfazed by this, and their conversation continued on. Not much later, however, the topic shifted to Rose again, and suddenly Adrian was mid-rant.
"I don't understand why she had to be so difficult!" he said, full-on yelling. "In fact, I don't understand why all girls have to be difficult! They go from smiling to bitching at you in seconds, they're always sending you mixed signals, and they even have the nerve to play on your feelings to get what they want!"
Raising an eyebrow, Christian finally turned to him and asked, "Adrian, are you feeling okay?"
Still, Adrian continued like he hadn't even heard the question. "I am sick and tired of putting up with their…her…crap!"
"So, what? Are you only into guys now?" Christian said with a snort.
Only a second later, spirit-crazed Adrian was leaning over Christian with his lips pressed firmly against the other boy's.
For a few moments, Christian sat there frozen in shock, his eyes as wide as saucers. Then, he shoved Adrian away and bolted from the room. A million thoughts ran through his mind, but he tried to stay focused on getting back to his room.
He tried to ignore the warm, tingling feeling in his lips.
Christian kept to himself the next few days. Adrian was the one that he would normally talk about things with, but in this situation…to say it would be awkward would be an understatement.
The thing that bothered him the most wasn't that the kiss had actually happened –Adrian wasn't himself, after all. What got under his skin was the fact that Christian had felt something. He had felt traces of an "I'm-kissing-someone-I-really-care-about-and-damn- it-feels-good" feeling that he had previously only had when he was with Lissa.
It scared him.
After three days of brooding and generally unsocial behavior, Christian was taking a walk around the campus. Most of the students were in their dorms or at the Sunday service, so the grounds were nearly barren. He turned the corner, and ran into someone walking the opposite way. A muttered apology began to form on his tongue, but then he realized who it was.
"The one and only," came the smirking reply.
Rolling his eyes, Christian began to walk away, but Adrian held out a hand to stop him.
Adrian's face grew more serious as he said, "Look, Christian, about what happened the other day…I'm sorry. Bad things happen when I don't' drink enough, apparently."
"It's okay," Christian replied with a shrug, not sure what else to say. "I just…wasn't expecting that. I panicked, but I know it was a mistake."
Tentative smiles broke out on both of their faces. Christian breathed an internal sigh of relief. He had hated these awkward few days.
"Just don't think you have a free pass to do that again," Christian added with a teasing grin, to which Adrian laughed and shook his head good-naturedly.
They exchanged goodbyes, and Adrian squeezed Christian's shoulder as he left. Christian figured he was reading too much into the gesture when it lasted a few seconds longer than normal. He also ignored the warmth that had blossomed at the brief.
Because Christian Ozera was most certainly not falling for Adrian Ivashkov.
So why did that sound like denial?