Alfred F. Jones was five when he first got jealous. His best friend was being approached by a young Chinese boy and when he handed ______ a clumsily cut paper heart, he swore that if his eyes weren’t already red, they would be. _______ was his best friend, not that guy!
She walked back over with a sweet smile on her childish face, which soon fell as she witnessed his scowl. “What’s wrong Al?” she asked, running over and skidding to a stop next to him. Alfred crossed his arms and sat down, and ______ followed.
“He shouldn’t have given you that card! You’re my best friend, not his!” At this point, he sounded more like a little toddler trying to get his favorite treat from a relative rather than a protective best friend. _____ giggled and elbowed him gently in the side.
“That’s okay silly! He was just being nice! You’ll always be my best friend!” Alfred couldn’t help it. He smiled back at his best friend, his anger over the card soon forgotten as most children seem to forget such things rather easily.
Alfred F. Jones first realized that he had a crush at the age of fifteen. A sophomore in high school, he was forced to endure the horror of the mushy-gushy all-around nasty holiday they called Valentine’s Day. At least he could make fun of it with his best friend, although they had been growing apart as of late. ______ was goal-oriented and focused on the future, and was a bit of a teacher’s pet, whereas he was a hard-core rebel, scarily close to flunking out, and picking fights every other day. They were an odd pair to just about everyone in the school, but nothing ever seemed out of the ordinary to them.
Until the little Italian wimp approached ______ while he had gone to get his lunch and presented her with a single pink carnation when he thought that Alfred wasn’t watching. But he was. He watched ______ gratefully accept the flower with a sweet smile that made his blood boil. That smile was supposed to be for him and no other boy.
He stomped over and slammed his tray down next to ______, and glared at the other boy, causing him to scamper off after stammering a quick apology to ______. She turned to look at him, eyes tinted with hurt and a look of extreme annoyance on her face.
“What was that for?!” she growled half-heartedly, her fingers skimming over the smooth petals.
Alfred glared at the slop on his Styrofoam tray, jabbing the suspicious substance with a fork for a few minutes before replying, “I don’t like the way he looked at you. You aren’t just someone who’s going to fall at his feet because he gave you some attention, you’re better than that.”
______’s scowl smoothed over after a few moments as she stared off into space, looking thoughtful. “You’re right, but you don’t have to worry about me! You’ll always be my best friend!” she said with that sweet smile that she knew Alfred could never resist, and he couldn’t.
He smiled too.
Alfred f. Jones didn’t know the meaning up fury until he was 21. He had been seeing less and less of ______ as the months went on, and he would be lying if he said that didn’t worry him. It had started when he dropped out of school to become an apprentice mechanic. At first it was school that took up most of her time, but then got a boyfriend. The time that she would normally spend hanging out and goofing off with him was slowly diminishing, and as of late she would flinch whenever he got close to her.
Whenever he asked about it, she would deny it, and her boyfriend would call or text and she would be gone before he knew what had happened. But then it happened.
There was a knock on his apartment door, and when he opened the door, there she was. His ______, with a blackened eye and a broken smile.
“C-can I come in please?” she murmured meekly, and he quietly stepped aside, letting the broken shell of his best friend entered his small apartment. Fury boiled inside of him as he watched her move, as if she set one toe outside of line would earn her a beating.
Liquid fire ran through his veins as he set her down on the couch with a frozen bag of peas covering her swollen eye, and after he was certain that ______ was comfortable, he grabbed his baseball bat and made his way to the apartment ______ and her boyfriend had shared.
He entered the room with a swift kick to the weak spot on the door, causing the lock to pop and the door to swing open with a crash. The boyfriend stood up, angrily demanding what he was doing in his home, but the protests were quickly silenced with the swing of a bat. He carefully went through the apartment and gathered up anything that looked like it could belong to ______ before returning to his home and to his poor, broken ______.
She was awake and sitting on the couch when he got home. She jumped and flinched when she heard the door close, and Alfred wished he had killed that bastard then and there.
“Hey,” he asked softly, placing the bags on the floor and going to sit next to her. “You doin’ okay, doll?’
“I thought I told you not to call me that…” she whispered, staring at her hands in her lap despite his best attempt to get her to face him.
“Well, you’re my doll, so why shouldn’t I call you that?” he joked, but the smile he was hoping to get remained unseen, and the jest faded.
“Thank you…” ______ said, a bit louder than before. Alfred looked at her, confused.
“Thanks for what, doll?”
“For being my best friend…” she replied in a far-away voice. Alfred gently wrapped his arms around her and replied.
“Anything for you doll, anything for you.”
Alfred f. Jones didn’t know true joy until he was about thirty. He finally married the girl of his dreams a few years back, and he frantically rushed into the hospital room where she was being kept. He burst into the room, eyes wide as he frantically searched for his wife, and every muscle in his body relaxed at the sight.
______ was sitting up in the bed, cradling a whimpering little bundle that Alfred could only assume was their first child. Walking closer, he sat down on the edge of the bed, gazing at the tiny miracle in her arms.
“What’s the gender, doll?” he quietly asked, careful not to disturb the baby.
“Girl,” ______ replied, voice choked on emotion. “And Al?”
“What is it, doll?”
“Thanks for being my best friend.”