The Shape of Oliver Wright: Part 6
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She was waiting for him when he flipped on the lights.
“God! Natalie!” The man’s hand flew to his heart. “You scared the hell out of me.”
Natalie stood from the couch and approached the imposter. He was taller than Oliver, with darker hair curled softly on top of his head. His skin was a deep tan, and his eyes hovered somewhere between brown and green. Natalie poked him in the chest with a single finger.
“Who the hell are you? And what have you done with my best friend?”
The man sighed, tossing his keys into the dish by the door. He toed off his sneakers—sneakers that were far too large for Oliver’s feet—and walked off to the kitchen, Natalie trailing behind.
“Nat, I really don’t need another lecture right now.” He reached into the fridge and pulled out a beer for each of them.
Natalie snatched the drink from his hand and took several satisfying gulps. “What are you even calling this guy?” she asked, gesturing to Oliver’s unsettling new form.
“Theo.” He leaned against the counter, slouching a bit at the shoulders.
The move was so quintessential to Oliver… a small shiver ran up Natalie’s spine. Her best friend was in there, but she didn’t know him in this body. It was unnerving.
“How long can you keep this up?”
Oliver-Theo shrugged. “I’m not sure. I’ve never stayed in a different body for longer than a few hours.”
He put his beer on the counter and crossed his arms over his chest… another Oliver move.
“I shift back in between dates.”
Natalie nodded, wanting so badly to tell him how terrible this whole idea was but not wanting to get shut out again.
“It’s going really well, Nat. We have the best time when we’re together.”
“You mean she and Theo have the best time.”
Oliver frowned with Theo’s mouth. “I’m totally myself around her now.”
“Except your face and body and the teensy fact that you’ve been lying to her for weeks!” Natalie clapped a hand over her mouth. She hadn’t meant to say all that, but she couldn’t help herself. She had been looking out for Oliver since they were five. It was a hard habit to break. Especially when this was by far the dumbest thing he had ever done.
Oliver turned away from her and marched out to the living room, beer in hand. By the time Natalie took a deep breath and followed him out, the best friend she knew and loved was sitting on the couch.
She sat next to him and cupped his face in her hands. “Why can’t you give her a chance to love you with this face. It’s a good face, Ollie.”
He shook his head, and she dropped her hands into her lap.
“It’s not about my face anymore. I don’t know. It’s too late. This is how she knows me.” He took another deep sigh. “She will hate me when I tell her, and I guess I’ve been putting it off as long as possible.”
There wasn’t anything else for Natalie to say. She couldn’t force Oliver to do the right thing, but she also couldn’t stop herself from loving him. So she leaned against his side and rested her head on his shoulder. He relaxed into her. And they finished their beers in silence.
“Did I mention he passed the mini-golf test?” Emma hung her head over the edge of her bed, her feet in Liv’s lap.
“You mentioned it several times actually,” Liv said with mock-suffering. Emma tickled her side with her toe, and Liv squeaked in protest. “Don’t do that!”
Emma stilled her feet. “I’m just saying; he’s kinda perfect.”
“And the sex?”
“What about it?”
“Is it perfect too?”
Emma cleared her throat, which was hard to do upside down, but she managed. “We haven’t actually had it yet.”
Liv huffed. “Well, then I would hold off on calling him perfect.”
“If his kissing is any indication of what’s to come, then I think it will be amazing.” Emma’s cheeks warmed at the memories of each delicious kiss.
“You never know, Em. Maybe he keeps his socks on.” She ran a finger up the sole of Emma’s foot, and Emma let out a shriek.
“Or maybe he hums.”
“Yeah, maybe he hums to keep himself from finishing too soon.”
“God, Liv! That’s weirdly specific. I’m sure he doesn’t do that.” Emma lifted her head back up. She caught the teasing look on Liv’s face. “I am positive he won’t do any weird sex things.”
Liv shrugged. “We’ll see. I’m just saying, hold your judgment until after.” She waggled her eyebrows and started humming Yankee Doodle.
Emma collapsed into a fit of giggles.
Featured image by Fares Hamouche via Unsplash.
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