My heart skipped a beat when I unexpectedly saw him. And I knew by experience that, even when we were supposed to meet and I was actually waiting for him to appear, it did the same thing. My body just reacted the same way whenever he was around, no matter what. The same giddiness, the same nerves, the same stupid grin appearing on my face.
“Hey, Pete!” I waved at him, causing him to look up at me.
“Oh” It seemed like he had been in deep thought. “Hi, Y/N!!”
“Where you headed?” I tried to make conversation, even if we were friends and we had a lot of possible subjects to talk about, but that was the best I could do at the moment.
“The um… academic club” He pointed a thumb over his shoulder as he walked backwards to be facing me still.
“I see. With Ned and… Liz” I tried to appear nonchalant, even if deep down I was heartbroken. It was great bumping into him and chatting, until I remembered my crush was crushing on someone else.
“Yeah, amongst others” He chuckled awkwardly, still walking.
“Okay, bye then” I shrugged, not looking at him to hide my sad expression.
“See you at lunch, right?”
“Sure! If I don’t remain invisible, that is…”
“What was that?”
“Nothing! I have to go!”
I refused to look back and instead kept on walking. My day was pretty much ruined already. I wanted to hate Liz but she was too nice to, it wasn’t even her fault. I just wished I was her, that Peter Parker focused his attention on me for once.
I blinked repeatedly when someone snapped their fingers in front of my eyes.
“What?” I got back to reality, noticing I hadn’t even touched my food yet.
“You okay, Y/N?” Ned asked me, squinting his eyes as he analyzed my expression.
“Because you’ve been staring at Peter for five minutes”
“No I wasn’t”
“Yeah you were…”
“I might have been looking at him, but not seeing him”
Peter, who sat right next to Ned and hence in front of me, was staring at me as well. His tender brown eyes focused on me were flustering me, so my brain worked quickly looking for an excuse. Because I was definitely staring at him, enamored with him and how perfect and cute he was in my eyes.
“Because my mind was far away from here, I didn’t even notice I was looking at him” I lied, biting on my lip and hoping I wasn’t blushing. “So no, I wasn’t staring at Peter”
“What were you thinking about?” Came his soft voice, accompanied by an adorable head tilt.
“Um… Spider-Man…” I blurted out, literally saying the first thing that came to mind.
“Spider-Man?” Ned repeated in shock.
“Yeah, I met him the other day and we kind of became friends” Well, now I was trapped in a spiral of lies. Like Spider-Man even knew I existed.
“You did?” Peter had a strange expression on his face, like he didn’t believe me.
“You can say I’m…” I set up a little joke to relief the tension. “Spider-Pal”
There was complete silence in our table, only filled by the distant chatter of the other people in the cafeteria and the clinking of their cutlery.
“Get it?” I insisted, grinning at my own stupid joke. “Because it sounds like Spider-Man?”
They still didn’t laugh, and even if Peter was smiling a little, Ned looked utterly unamused and unimpressed by my pun.
“Whatever, you guys don’t get me” I stood up from the table, taking my tray with me.
This crush I had on Peter was getting out of hand, I was getting tired of embarrassing myself and having to run away. Even if he didn’t show any signs of being bothered by it, but what if he was deep down? He was always so nice and polite, maybe he did it not to embarrass me further! Ugh, why did he have to be so nice?
Feeling the fresh air was freeing. Out in my terrace, I felt like all my worries and pessimistic thoughts vanished as the breeze gently blew around me.
But there was this little thing that still bothered me, that almost caused a pang of pain to erupt in my heart. And I couldn’t get him out of my head.
This had to end, my relationship with Peter was going nowhere. Sure, we were friends, but because of my huge crush on him I wanted more. And I couldn’t get it. I wished he paid more attention to me and stopped focusing on Liz, but even as a friend sometimes he failed me. He stood me up, was late, and wasn’t always around when I needed him. Or at least, as much as I wanted him to.
I needed to forget about him, it was too painful, it was only hurting myself.
“Hey there” A voice unexpectedly said, startling me as I was abruptly brought out of my thoughts.
I turned to see who it was, and I had to put my hands on my mouth not to loudly squeak at the sight. Spider-Man was hanging upside down behind me, tilting his head and observing me with curiosity.
“Spidey?” I asked in awe, staring almost trying to make sure he was actually there, that he was real.
“Hi” He waved at me, just to gently jump down to the floor and stand upright. “You’re Y/N, right?”
I tried not to freak out with the realization the he knew me. Spider-Man knew my name, and he was talking to me. Me!
“Y-Yeah… Were you looking for me?” I managed to splutter out in shock.
“I was… I was just passing by” He shrugged a little and paused, probably allowing me to recover from the surprise.
“What… How do you know me?”
“A friend told me about you, that you claim to know me and-“
“Oh, about that… Sorry, I just…”
“No, it’s okay! I don’t mind”
“Who’s that friend, by the way?”
“Um… Peter. Peter Parker?”
“Pete?!” I rolled my eyes, being reminded of him even when meeting the amazing Spider-Man, letting out an annoyed grunt.
“Yeah… You don’t like him? I thought you were friends” Spider-Man crossed his arms and stared at me, confused about my demeanor.
“And we were… We-we are!” I sighed in exasperation, wishing my relationship with Peter was simpler. Easier. Closer. “It’s just… Never mind, Spidey, I don’t want to bother you with it”
“No, it’s fine, I’m curious” He insisted, nodding to encourage me. “Peter talks a lot about you, I wanted to see why”
I stared blankly at him, finding everything hard to believe. That he was friends with Peter and that he told Spidey about me, given that he was always too busy to be with me or too distracted with a crush of his own.
“It’s strange that you seem so upset with him even if you’re friends” He tried again, hoping this time I spoke up.
“I think I just need to distance myself from him for a while, you know?”
“You won’t tell him, right?”
“I’ll keep it a secret, Scout’s Honor”
“Well, I… I like him and… it’s just messing with me a lot”
“And… you see, he doesn’t feel the same way so…”
“How do you know?”
“I just know. And… that’s too painful, to know it can never happen. So sometimes I need my space from him”
“I get it” Spidey nodded, and it seemed like he was about to talk when suddenly the distant sound of sirens echoing around the city interrupted us.
I stared at him, imagining that was his cue to leave. It had been nice to know Spiderman, but he surely had more important things to do than to chat with me. I felt lucky enough that he even stopped to meet me and knew my name.
“I gotta…” He muttered, pointing to where the police sirens came from.
“Sure” I nodded, letting him know that it was okay. “See you around, Spidey!”
He seemed to hesitate as he walked closer to the edge of the building. Spiderman looked at me one last time and sighed.
“This is just some advice from your friendly neighborhood Spiderman but…” He clicked his tongue. “Don’t give up on Peter yet, okay?”
“I’ll try but… I can’t promise anything” I flailed my arms around when I remembered something that I wanted to tell him. “And please don’t tell Peter any of this”
“My lips are sealed!” With that and a little wave, he jumped off the building and began swinging around New York.
It was strange and surreal, but the more time it passed, the more normal it seemed: I was friends with Spiderman. He would pass by and say hello, sometimes even staying to hang out with me, so often that I waited for him every day. It got to a point where I would worry if he was a little late, but Spiderman always came without fault even if late. And he always had an excuse prepared, telling me how he had to stop a robbery from happening or save a baby from a burning building.
I didn’t mind him being late, I just worried about him. He wasn’t my hero anymore, he was my friend now too. In fact, the more time I spent with Spidey the more distant I become with Peter, nearly erasing him from my life.
It was starting to bug me and get in the way of my life because even Spiderman’s voice reminded me of Peter’s. And it just made me think about those puppy eyes that stared at me in the distance when I walked around school. Peter hated that we were becoming apart but didn’t want to overwhelm me either.
I just felt guilty that, while he was heartbroken because our friendship was ending, I was here having fun with Spiderman. That New York’s hero somehow found me interesting enough to be with me every day and… I just couldn’t keep Peter out of my thoughts even if I knew the closer I got to him again, the more it would hurt.
“You okay, Y/N?” Spidey asked me one evening, noticing I was absent.
“Yeah, I just…” I looked into his eyes, or at least where they should be behind the mask. “Why me?”
“Sorry?” He tilted his head to the side in confusion.
“Why did you chose me? Why do you drop by every day to be with me?” I averted my gaze in shame, even if I could feel him staring.
“And why not?”
“Well, I’m not special… Surely there’s someone out there who’s far more interesting than me”
“Don’t say that…”
“It’s true…” I knew I was projecting, but I couldn’t help but to feel insecure, especially remembering how Peter preferred Liz to me.
“You are special, Y/N” His soft voice reminded me of Peter again, this was getting ridiculous.
“No, Spidey” I sighed, frustrated that I was complicating things. But love was so complex that bottling it up was messing me up. “You are special. You’re a hero, you’re amazing”
“I’m just a kid from Queens” He shook his head and shrugged, taking importance out of it.
There was something about the way he said it that stuck with me. The humbleness, the softness, the simplicity of it. I gasped when something suddenly clicked within me, which also explained everything. It all made sense now, finally!
“Peter?” I uttered in awe, staring at him wondering if that was it or if I was imagining things.
Spiderman froze for a moment, staring at me without moving a muscle. I wished I could see his expression. My wish was granted, however, when he sighed and slowly rolled his mask up to reveal his face.
“Hi, Y/N” It was Peter, Peter Parker! They were the same person!
“All this time it was you!”
“Why… Why did you stick around? Why did you suddenly need to be around me every day? Why…?”
I didn’t even know where to begin. I thought I wasn’t that interesting to him having Liz around. I thought he didn’t want to have me around seeing as I was acting cold and distancing myself from him. So why would he meet with me everyday as Spiderman then?!
“Because the less we talked, the more I realized I missed you. And I noticed how you are so smart, funny, adorable, sweet, kind… And how much I actually like you and-“
“What about Liz?” I interrupted him, knowing that was the main problem.
“She’s great, but… It’s you I really like, Y/N!” His soft voice sounded tiny and innocent as he was too shy to hold my glance. “And you’re right here! You’ve… always been here”
I smiled, moved by his words. We had been friends for a long long time after all, I knew that was what he meant. We were together through the good and bad times, we were always there for each other no matter what.
It was only my jealousy rising up when he got a crush on Liz that complicated things. But then again, he realized he liked me too just when he began spending more time with me as Spiderman.
“What a mess” I chuckled, still relieved that things were working out.
To my surprise, Peter nervously reached out to hold my hand. His was sweaty and shook a little, but his grip was very tender and delicate.
“Maybe a little” He cutely shrugged. “But that’s fine”
Only one thought occupied my mind now. His lips, my eyes kept drifting down to his mouth. My heart was racing the more I thought about it. Even if his kind eyes did fall on my lips every now and then too.
I didn’t think, I acted on an instinct and let myself go as I quickly learned forward until my lips smashed against his. Peter yelped, but didn’t pull away. In fact, his grip over my hand tightened a little as he reciprocated the kiss.
It was better than I could have ever imagined. Sweet, passionate, genuine and soft all at the same time. I broke away, chuckling, after a few seconds.
“Sorry about that” I looked away to avoid the further embarrassment of looking into his eyes. The thought that I was probably blushing only flustered me even more.
“That’s okay!” Peter quickly reassured me. When I quickly looked at him, I saw him violently blushing. “I liked it”
I dared to hold his glance, and as soon as I did, a soft smile plastered on his lips. I chuckled, ridden from that tense embarrassment. Peter laughed a little too.
It was a little bit of a mess, it was awkward and cringy. But it was cute, and we were finally together, we had just kissed. What did it matter that it was a bit embarrassing?