Admission on the Dock

“Mom, are you there? I need to talk.”

Brooklyn lowered herself, taking a seat on the edge of the dock. The wood was rough against the back of her legs as they hung over the edge, the tips of her toes kissing the water. The sun warmed her skin, but the breeze took away any bite it may carry. 

“I know it’s been a long time, but I need your help. The last few weeks have been so hard, especially with you gone. You see, Liam and I have been fighting. Well…that’s not entirely true. H-he…Well, let’s just say I wish you were here and I wasn’t just talking to myself.”

A goose honked bringing Brooklyn’s attention to the reeds which lined the right bank. They were tall and danced gracefully in the wind. A few larger birds stood in the shallow water splashing. Some would disappear underwater only to pop back up a few feet away and shake happily. 

Her gaze meandered across the lake before her. It was so peaceful here. The gentle lapping of the water as it brushed the dock mixed with the rustle of the reeds, the chatter of the bugs, and the far-off laughter of children. She could barely see them as they played in the water, but the joy was clear as day. Just like it had been for her once.

Memories flooded her. The green eyes and light brown hair of her mother filling her mind flipped to the image of them laughing as they splashed and swam in the water along the bank. 

“So I came to our place, where I always feel closest to you hoping, praying, that you’ll hear me and tell me what to do. The moon’s out already,” Brooklyn said, glancing first to where the sun was taking its leave behind the mountain, then to the moon who smiled brilliantly from above. “Tonight is so clear. It’s going to be one of those nights where the moon reflects off the water like a mirror of the sky. This is the only place in the world I’ve seen that happen. Yeah, yeah, I know I haven’t been to many places, but still.”

The breeze blew her hair into her face. She giggled.

“Fine. Yes, I’m stalling. I’m just afraid of what you’re going to think. I didn’t handle this the best.” With a long exhale she began, “Liam found out about my feelings. You know, that I’ve been in love with him since the third grade? Well, Carissa told him. I don’t know how she found out, but he didn’t believe her. At first. I guess she kept pushing it saying it was a creepy type of obsession. I didn’t know she was doing this until he started acting weird at school. Apparently, she said a lot. Then last week he confronted me. I was so embarrassed, but I figured, hey this is my best friend he won’t hate me for my feelings.”

Brooklyn collapsed back onto the dock, her knees bent, feet planted on the old planks. She shoved her hands into the hair. The stars above glittered steadily as if listening, proving the support she needed so vehemently.

“Boy, I was wrong. He freaked out. Like big time. He stopped coming over to hang out. He stopped talking to me at school. Then he started dating Carissa. She’s spent the last week rubbing it in my face – of course. She makes sure they’re always in the hall outside my classes kissing. It sucks.” Brooklyn pushed up to her elbows, again taking in the water as it rippled in the wind. “I was so mad. Even if he doesn’t return my feelings, how could he treat me like that? Anyway, I bet you can guess where this is going, huh? Well, I made it worse. Shocking right?”

She felt the heaviness in her chest just as she had earlier. The embarrassment and pity in the eyes of her peers. Tears pricked at her eyes and her throat became thick. 

“We were at a party. The whole school was there. I was so frustrated that he hadn’t talked to me all week and that Carissa and her posse have been spreading more rumors about me. Cruel ones. To answer your question, yes, she still hates me. Mostly because she also wants him. So tonight, when she was getting a drink, I confronted him on the dance floor. I just wanted him to listen, to understand that my feelings didn’t change our friendship and that I was more than willing to be just friends if that’s what he wanted. I just need him in my life. Hell, we’ve been friends forever.”

One tear escaped, then another. Brooklyn covered her face with her arm. She didn’t want to admit what happened next.

“He said knowing already ruined it. That my feelings tainted our relationship. Can you guess what happened next?” A bitter chuckle filled the air. “Well, I got mad. Truly and completely angry at him. I don’t know what took over me. I think I just wanted to show him that he was wrong. So, I kissed him right there in front of everyone. When I pulled away and said, ‘See, it doesn’t change anything for you so it doesn’t change anything for me.’ He just stood there. At least until Carissa jumped on my back and tried to pull out my hair. I won by the way.”

Brooklyn jumped as a fish catapulted out of the water a few feet away, disappearing back within so fast it was as if it were never there. Shaking her head, she sat up so her legs could once again swing. Her face dropped into her hands.

“The look he gave me. I’ve only seen that much hatred on his face twice. I…”

“It doesn’t change the truth.” 

Brooklyn squeaked, spinning to find the source of the voice. She nearly slid off the dock Liam had startled her so much, but she managed to right herself. A rush of fury had her clenching her fists. 

“Thanks for the clarification.” She faced the water again,  wiping her cheeks clean of residual tears.

Holy crap, he was here and she hadn’t heard him approach. How much had he heard? Brooklyn ground her teeth, worry and confusion filling her. It doesn’t change the truth.

“Who are you talking to? Your Mom?” Liam asked as he took the spot next to her. His legs quickly picking up her rhythm.

“Shouldn’t you be with Carissa?” Brooklyn snapped. From the corner of her eye, she examined him. 

His dirty blond hair was messy as if he’d been running his hands through it. It was a habit that worsened when he was upset. Dark circles lined his eyes and his lips were tight. His shoulders dropped ever so slightly when he spoke.

“Camille…” Liam started.

Wait, he was going to talk to her mother? Brooklyn watched him, she couldn’t help it. 

His head was down, eyes locked on his hands as he continued, “Can you believe what a mess I made? I can hear you now muttering under your breath about how dense teenage boys are. Just so you know, I do remember the last conversation we had before you died. You were like a Mom to me, you know that right?”

His gaze lifted to the sky and Brooklyn couldn’t help but trail her eyes over the line of his jaw then down to where he leaned back on his arms. The muscles there were tense, sculpted from long days of swimming.

“Anyway, I remember what you said. You told me how much you appreciated Brook’s and my friendship. You thanked me, warned me not to screw it up, and then said I should make it the most important relationship I had. You begged me not to ruin it.” Brooklyn sat straighter as his words sunk in. Liam exhaled hard, then said, “Well, I did screw it up. But, I bet you’re  the only one to understand why.”

“Liam, what are you talking about?”

He ignored me, continuing to speak to her mom, “You knew about my feelings didn’t you?”

Brooklyn froze. Her body tightened and she had to force the breath from her lungs. 

Liam turned, shifting one leg up so that he could look at her directly. His knee brushed the side of her thigh and a shock of electricity rushed through her. He nervously rubbed his hands down his thighs as their eyes locked.

“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…” He trailed off.

“You shouldn’t have found out that way and I shouldn’t have kissed you. Especially in front of everyone. I hope it didn’t cause too much trouble with Carissa.” The words were just a bit too quick. Brooklyn looked away, suddenly very interested in the far bank. She could feel his eyes on her.

Liam reached out and brushed loose hair behind her ear. When she didn’t look at him, he pinched her chin between two fingers and turned her to face him. Liam cursed himself at the tears in her eyes. She was so beautiful.

“You don’t get it.” His thumb brushed her cheek. “Brook, I’m not mad that you kissed me. In fact, I’m glad you did.”

“I don’t understand,” Brooklyn whispered.

“I was scared and stupid. I was afraid I’d lose you if you knew the truth. Which makes no sense now considering I pushed you away, but…” He took a long breath. The fingers tracing her jaw slipped to the nape of her neck. “I’ve been in love with you since the day we moved in and I saw you climbing the tree next door. That feeling has only gotten stronger every day we spend together.”

“Then why?” The light circles he drew on her neck were driving her mad. Tingles spread down her spine, spreading out until the tips of her fingers itched to touch him back.

“I didn’t want to risk losing you. I need you, Brooklyn, more than anything and I couldn’t risk this not working out. If being only your friend means that I can guarantee that then…”

He was so close to her, their lips only inches apart. She had no idea who had leaned in, but she could feel his breath on her skin. She took in his features, now so strong, and marveled at the emotion she could see in every line.

“Then why are you here?” She asked, her voice deeper than normal.

“Because the moment you kissed me I realized your mom wasn’t saying I should stay away. She was telling me not to be scared. Not to miss the chance when I finally got it.”

Brooklyn began to say something, but it was cut off as Liam pressed his lips to hers. She gasped. They were so soft, the feeling of them causing a new, stronger wave of tingles to spread through her entire being. She threaded her hand in his shirt and pulled him closer. Her other hand grasped at his shoulder then snaked around his neck. The kiss deepened, her lips parting as a groan rumbled his chest.

Liam didn’t hesitate. He shifted forward, his other hand wrapping her waist then sliding up her back. They explored each other’s mouths, each touch a brand to their souls.  When he finally pulled away, he rested his forehead against hers. He couldn’t help but find satisfaction in the pinkness of her cheeks or the glaze in her eyes. Their panting breaths mingled.

“Can you forgive me for being such an ass the last few weeks?” Liam asked.

Brooklyn bit her lip. She shivered as Liam’s eyes tracked the motion, his gaze becoming hotter. She wanted to kiss him again, but she needed to say this before they could move forward.

“Do you remember the day I fell through the ice and you got me out?” she asked. He nodded. “It was our first year together. We were playing too close to the water. You told me not to go out there, but I did anyway. When I fell in you stayed so calm. You got me out, gave me your jacket, and then helped me to the house. You stayed over that night to make sure I was okay.”

“I remember.”

“You’ve always been there for me. You’ve been my best friend, my confidant, and my protector. I was too young to understand then, but I think that’s the day I fell in love with you. ” 

He blinked slowly, the awe written across his face. A slow grin lifted the corner of his mouth.  It was crooked, the smile she cherished more than any other as it was only ever for her.

Brooklyn shook as she thought over her next words. When she spoke, she had to look away from his knowing gaze. “Liam, what does this mean?”

He took her hand and lifted it to his lips. His brown eyes shone in the moonlight, the emotions there both familiar and foreign. “Would you go on a date with me? Dinner, a movie, a hike, whatever you want. I don’t care. I want to try, and if it works out, I want you to be my girlfriend. Not just my best friend.”


“I never should have dated her. I’m sorry. I told her the truth and we broke up.”

“And you really want to do this?” Brooklyn asked, uncertainty making her voice tremble.

“Yes. I really want to, but we have to promise something to each other.”

“That is?”

“Our friendship comes first. If this isn’t working then we take a step back before we hurt one another.”

Brooklyn ran a hand through his hair, the strands soft against her skin. “I can agree to that, but I don’t think that will be an issue. You know me better than anyone.”

He leaned closer. “I don’t either.”

Just before his lips touched hers, a blast of wind swept across the lake. It rippled the water and made the trees shift violently. Then, as if caught by the wind, a bird swept down nearly hitting Liam in the head. He ducked. 

“Woah!” Another blast came for him, and then a fish dove out of the water slamming Liam in the chest. “Okay, okay! I get it, Camille. I’ll be good. I’ve learned my lesson.” 

Liam held his hands up and scooted back from Brooklyn.

“Mom,” Brooklyn whined. She laughed at the look on Liam’s face. “I think she’s warning you to take better care of me.”

“She threw a fish at me! She’s even more terrifying than she was when she was alive.”

Brooklyn snorted and pushed to her feet. Holding out a hand, Liam took it, rising to tower over her. She wrapped her arms around him and rested her head on his chest. Liam hugged her to him, kissing the crown of her head.

“Don’t worry. She always liked you.”

“I think you’re right though,” Liam said. He spoke to the lake next. “And don’t worry, Camille, I figured it out. I won’t ruin it again.”

Brooklyn smiled up at him then grasped his hand and led them off the dock. Before she stepped from the wooden path, she said, “Bye Mom. Thank you. I’ll come talk soon.”

  Published on OBW Blog March 12, 2021 © Tracey Canole  

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