Of Confidence


"John did what!?" Melanie exclaimed into the phone, Kennedy chuckling on the other side of the line.

"You heard me," he replied.

"What happened, Kennedy?"

Kennedy couldn't help the soft grimace that came on his lips as he remembered the reason for the purple bruise on his eye.

As Kennedy slept on the plane all he could think of was Melanie's lips. The texture, the taste, everything. She was the only thing on his mind.

And, the reminder that she wasn't his came back to him as he exited the plane and saw John waiting for him at his gate. "How was the prom?" John asked, as Kennedy approached him.

He glared into his eyes, his mouth in a tight line. "Informational."

John slowly turned his gaze to meet Kennedy's, and he could see the worry and shame on John's face. Kennedy never changed his facial expression as he walked the entire way to the van in silence, trying to make John crawl out of his skin.

"She told you?" John asked as they walked to their van.

Kennedy opened his door and before slamming it shut gave him a blunt, "Yep."

John stood outside the door of the van for a few moments before jumping in the vehicle and driving to the hotel in silence. They continued to not talk in the elevator, and even in the hallway in the hotel they would be staying in for the night.

Kennedy opened the door to the room he and John were sharing and John collapsed on his bed as soon as they entered. Kennedy watched as he covered his eyes with the back of his hand.

"You're an idiot," Kennedy said.

"Oh, shut up, Kennedy!" John replied, bitterly.

"No, what you did to her was terrible, man!" He yelled. "You broke her heart! She was so in love with you and then you just left her!"

"She was what?" John asked suddenly.

Kennedy cringed as he realized what he had just told John, the one thing he promised Melanie he would never tell.

"I...I can't believe she told you," John sighed.

Kennedy sat down on his bed, across from John. "You knew?"

"Of course I know Kennedy! I've been her best friend for forever! I'm not oblivious," John exclaimed.

Kennedy had never seen John so worked up in his life. He watched as John began pacing back and forth in the room. "Then how could you knowingly break her heart?" He asked.

"Kennedy, do you really think I don't love her back?" John sighed. "I've been in love with her since eighth grade."

"Then why haven't you ever made a move? Why do you constantly show off girls in front of her? Why did you just leave her?"

"I'm not good enough for her, Kennedy. I would break her heart if we were together, I know it. I mean, hell, we're not even together and I broke her heart. I just, I can't ever take a chance at losing her. She means way too much to me."

Kennedy stayed quiet for a few moments, his new reality setting in: If John loved Melanie back then Kennedy's chances with her weren't good at all. "Why did you sleep with her?" he asked.

"I slipped up. It wasn't supposed to happen, but I wanted it bad. It was so amazing. She is amazing. It was... it was the best mistake I've ever made."

"Mistake!" Kennedy exclaimed. "You regret it then?"

"Of course I regret it! Kennedy, I tore her heart in half! I broke the girl I care about most in this entire world! I ruined every chance I'd ever had with her because I left," His voice died out at the end and he sat back down. John cradled his head in his hands. "I remember, after we finished...just pulling her into my arms and holding her small frame against my own. I could feel her pulse on my chest and the beat in my ears. I had never felt more complete in those six hours than in my entire life. Everything was just so right. If I would have talked to her before I left I would have tried to cancel the tour," John said.

"Why haven't you called her?" Kennedy asked.

"It'll make things too hard."

"So, you're just going to ignore her? You're not going to tell her what you've been doing since you left her!? You're going to keep her waiting."

"What else can I do?!" John raised his voice.

"Tell her how you feel! She deserves that!"

"No," John paused. "She deserves you."

Kennedy was quiet for a second. "You're right."

Kennedy started to walk to the door, but first he wanted to make John feel even more terrible than he already did. "Oh, and by the way, the lingerie was really sexy."

And, he wasn't surprised at all went he felt John's fist hit his eye.

He couldn't tell her the truth, Kennedy thought to himself. That needed to be John. "I beat him at air hockey," Melanie heard him chuckle. "I guess he's really competitive."

Melanie knew something was wrong, she knew he wasn't telling the truth but she didn't push the question any farther. "I see."

"Yeah," Kennedy said awkwardly. "So, how's school going?"

"Almost over," Melanie sighed. "One week left, isn't that crazy? I'm graduating Kennedy!"

"You sent your choosing to University of Washington, that's correct?"

"Yep," she sighed. "About twelve hours from home."

"Next year will suck, Melanie," Kennedy chuckled.

"You'll be fine," she said.

"I know, I meant you. You're going to miss me so much," he laughed.

Melanie laughed at his joke, and how he always seemed to make jokes about how much she was in love with him out of conversations that sounded so reversed.

It had been a week since the prom, and nothing had changed. Her and Kennedy ignored their encounter that night, never saying another word, and Melanie wasn't even sure why. They still flirted, but he never made a move past that, basically making what happened at prom obsolete.

"I'll be a husky," Melanie chuckled.

"Do you like that so much better than a Sun Devil?" Kennedy asked, referring to Arizona State University, one of the schools she had turned away.

"I just need to get out of here. John really made me realize it while he was gone," she replied honestly.

"What do you mean?"

Melanie sighed, she knew in some ways this would hurt Kennedy, but they had become so close lately that she felt wrong being nothing but truthful towards the boy. "I've realized since you guys have been gone that I'm strong. I'm a strong girl and I don't need to depend on him, and frankly, he was the only reason I had to stay."

She heard silence on the other side of the line prior to Kennedy's simple, "Oh."

"Kennedy, I'm sorry...I don't mean that I don't want to stay because of you, but I know that wherever I may go, you'll be there for me. You'll never give up on our friendship, or whatever... You'll never let go of me, just like I'll never let go of you. Even if I wanted to I could never get you out of my life," Melanie chuckled. "I've just realized since you've been gone that when I'm not in sight, John forgets me," she admitted to herself sadly. "But, I can live without him. I'm learning to live without him."

She felt strong. She felt like she wasn't completely tied to him anymore. In one month and a half she had learned more about herself in her lifetime; she didn't have to depend on anyone but herself. She knew that once he was home, or if he ever decided to call her she would be a mess again, but knowing that she had the ability in her to be strong for herself gave her hope. Hope that she could leave Tempe and the love and memories that it held for her. Hope that she could get over John O'Callaghan.

"I'm proud of you, Melanie," Kennedy said, and even through the phone she could feel his sincerity. "And, you're right. I'd never ever let go of you, ever. You mean too much to me."

Melanie bit her lip softly, contemplating bringing up the events of the prom last weekend as she had thought hard on all week.

"You're biting your lip, aren't you?" He said, and she swore she could hear a smug grin.

She let her lip fall from beneath her bottom and upper tooth as she knew what she needed to do. "Kennedy, did last week mean as much to you as it did to me? "

He sighed, "Of course it did, Melanie."

"Then why haven't we talked about it?" She paused nervously, "Why aren't we together?"

"Melanie," he started, before she cut him off because of the tone in his voice.

"Please, Kennedy. Please tell me this isn't because of John," she pleaded.

She heard him groan, "What do you want me to do then, babe? Lie? Because I'm not going to do that."

She knew he could hear the frustration that was happening on her side of the line as she gave an angry growl. "Kennedy! Everyone has a past! You had Belinda, what, two years ago? I know you had sex with her. I know it. But, that's not stopping me from wanting you."

"It's different Melanie-,"

"How Kennedy, how? Because mine happened a month and a half ago?"

"Because when you told me you completely broke down!"

Melanie felt her anger getting the best of her and as she spoke her next words she realized where Kennedy was coming from. "Of course I did, Kennedy! The boy I love broke my heart!" She paused as she recognized the words she had spoken.

Kennedy exhaled into the receiver. "That's my point, dear. I could try to sweep you off your feet, and it wouldn't matter in the end. "

"Kennedy, you already swept me off my feet."

"And, the next step would be to get your heart, but I can't take it when you already gave it to someone years ago," he said softly.

"I'm not going to hurt you, Kennedy," she replied gently, and she knew it sounded as if she was begging for a shot, and frankly she was.

He was quiet before giving her the pure truth, "I'm protecting my own heart, Melanie. You can't blame me for doing that."

She knew he was right, in every aspect of their argument no matter how much she didn't desire to admit it. "You know, when you protect yourself for too long and don't take chances it all blows up in your face when you do try to take a leap of faith."

"Yeah, maybe if you fall in love with an imbecile," he replied hurtfully.

She knew that with each and every word they had spoken tonight she had hurt him, and she knew that her next statement would put the cherry on top of his metaphorical cake of damage. " I've done enough waiting. I'm not going to wait for you, Kennedy."

"I wouldn't want you to anyways, Melanie," he replied harshly.

She was scared at the way this conversation had gone; she couldn't lose Kennedy's friendship, that would hurt her more than anything. "Why not?"

"The look you gave me on prom night when I walked through those doors just made me feel so, unworthy...I hope I never have to experience that feeling again."

"Kennedy," she started.

"I can't be John O'Callaghan, Melanie. It'll never happen, and even though that night was amazing it'll never overpower the look you gave me; that look that reminded me that I'm not John, and through all my deepest hopes, I will still never be good enough for you."
♠ ♠ ♠
Oh no, if you're team Kennedy, you might hate me right now. But, tell me how you're feeling about what John admitted? Are you happy, or still pissed off at him?
Next two chapters, just wait (;
Oh, & all the feedback on the last chapter was amazing, I work so much harder on this story when I get comments like that; you guys amaze me! <3