“I don’t even think I have to tell you how awful you’d look in one of those bright BVB jerseys compared to a nice, subtle blue Schalke one,” Julian spewed confidently before he took a bite from his fork.
Erik snorted as if Julian’s suggestion was the most ridiculous thing he had ever heard. “I’m sure she knows that blue isn’t her color.”
The two had been like this ever since we hopped on our Skype call with each other, going back and forth on which jersey I would be wearing this weekend when Dortmund and Schalke met for their match. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been in this predicament before. I had been friends with Erik and Julian for quite some time now and it seemed fate was always on my side as I found myself busy with other plans whenever the two sides met so I wouldn’t have to be dragged to a match.
This weekend though I was free and I couldn’t find a quick enough excuse to get out of the obligations to attend. Plus, Julian had somehow synced my calendar to his phone so he knew firsthand that I was free. He made sure to remind me of that when he asked me for the second time whether I would be attending.
“I think since it’s going to be in Dortmund it’s only fair that she wear my jersey. There’s already going to be thousands of BVB jerseys in the stadium. Why not stand out?” Julian tried to reason.
Erik wasn’t hearing it. “That’s all the more reason to wear mine. It’s a home match.”
“Can’t I just wear something neutral?”
“No,” they answered in unison.
I groaned. It really sucked being stuck between these two stubborn individuals.
I found it funny their bickering on which club I would support this weekend. In reality, I didn’t really care who won. I knew someone wouldn’t be happy with the result either way and I would have to deal with it.
They had even spent the last week posting pictures of me on their social media. Erik posted a picture of me and him from a match a few weeks ago where I wore one of his BVB jackets. The caption read:
‘What a great best friend. Always supporting me.’
Julian had taken the less subtle route. He posted a picture of me from a few months ago where I was holding two thumbs up. I wasn’t wearing any football apparel but instead in regular clothes.
‘Leave an emoji below if you think my best friend should wear my jersey this weekend instead of a BVB kit.’
Needless to say, he got a lot of votes of approval and the inevitable questions of whether I was really a girlfriend instead of a best friend. I had grown used to those sorts of comments as well between my friendships with the two adored Germans.
“I’m just ready for this match to be over with so I won’t have to deal with you two.” I playfully rolled my eyes. Internally I was excited that I would at least get a bit of time with them after the match to just hang out. I got plenty of chances to hang out with Erik since I was living in Dortmund as well but my time with Julian was more limited. I had to choose which weekends I would make the short drive to him.
“Yeah yeah. Sure you are. I’m going to head to bed though. Love youuu,” he sang out to me in a playful tone before blowing me a dramatic kiss which I pretended to catch. “You two don’t dream about me too much tonight,” he remarked to both me and Erik.
“I dream about you every night, Draxler,” Erik said with a chuckle.
“Ah, the bromance is so strong.”
I walked into the stadium and I knew immediately I was probably getting a lot of confused glances. I had chosen to wear a BVB jacket with a Schalke 04 shirt underneath. It was easy to see the two colors contrasting but I didn’t care. I was going to find a way to support both of my best friends and this was the only solution considering no place sold jerseys of both clubs sewn together. That would have been a bit weird anyway.
I made my way to my seat which had a perfect view of the pitch. I pulled out my phone to take a picture to post on Instagram, adding in a caption that showed I was supporting both sides before I put my phone back into my pocket.
I watched the game intently, jumping up from the seat whenever someone got dangerously close to the goal. It seemed that happened a lot throughout the match but neither side could draw blood.
I had expected some form of mass chaos, one side ending up breaking through and just slotting away goal after goal but it didn’t turn out that way as the match ended in a scoreless draw instead. I was sure Erik and Julian would blame me wearing both clubs on my back for that result.
I found my way towards the players’ area where I knew they would be able to see me. I wasn’t sure how long it would take them but it didn’t seem like much time as I soon heard my name being called through the hall and Julian running towards me.
He enveloped me in his arms as soon as I was within reach, lifting me off of my feet. “Oof!” I uttered as the breath left my body with the way Julian squeezed me tightly. He placed an array of kisses to all areas of my face except my lips, though he had ‘accidentally’ kissed those plenty of times as well. He always blamed it on the heat of the moment.
“Ah, I missed you.”
“I can tell,” I giggled.
“Could you not squeeze my best friend like that?” I heard someone say from a distance and I knew immediately it was Erik. Julian finally let me go to greet his other partner in crime though his hug was a little less intense.
“Hey I’m her favorite. I think you tend to forget that fact,” Ju responded. All I could do was shake my head at the pair. I still wondered how I had become a member of this threesome.
“What a game, huh? A scoreless draw is always fun right.” I gave them both a bright smile which they returned with stale glares. I guess it wasn’t as fun for them.
“It was your fault for wearing both of our colors.”
“Definitely. If you would have just worn Borussia like I told you, we would have won.”
I knew I would be right.
“Oh grow up you two. Don’t be so superstitious.”
“Don’t be such a traitor,” Julian joked.
Erik draped his arm over both of our shoulders, leaving him in the middle as he brought us together. “Ah, I love you two fuckers.”
I’m doing something incredibly scary for me on Saturday. But this is something [i think] God is calling me to do and i really don’t want to waste this opportunity because of my fear. And to be honest, i think i’m ready to go out and find myself and my place in this world, so i’m also pretty excited about this.
please, pray that i won’t die from anxiety and everything will go well.
“You remember those two guys that brought us drinks and we snuck out the back of the club before they could get our numbers?”
I had been sitting in my living room surrounded by my closest friends as we sat around in our pajamas reminiscing on our most memorable moments together and sharing laughs. Every month we made the time to get together for a sleepover and tonight was my turn to host.
I had made sure the stock of snacks and drinks were plentiful and it seemed I did well as an array of chips and sodas all sat around us.
“Ugh, memories,” Alexa sighed as she threw her head back, her mouth half full with a partially dissolved large marshmallow. “Ever since this one over here got in a relationship, we’ve had to stop our little weekend rendezvous,” she stated as she pointed over to me.
Every weekend it seemed we all found our way to the liveliest crowd for a night out. It was always madness as we got to the tops of bars and managed to squeeze every free drink out of the men surrounding us. That changed though once I became serious with Leon. Now, the most I did with my friends was go out to calmer venues like dinners and shopping. Sometimes we’d go out to a party but for the most part, it was nothing like the old days.
“I can’t help it!” I exclaimed, grabbing for my soda beside me. “That’s not my scene anymore.” And it wasn’t. If I was given the choice, I would have easily chosen to spend the night in with my boyfriend rather than going out to some crowded bar.
With the sound of the door being opened, I looked over my shoulder to see Leon walking into the room, a confused look on his face as he dropped his training bag down by his side where he stood. “Uh…hey babe?” His tone resembled more of a questioning than a statement.
“Speaking of the devil…” Alexa jeered as she looked over at him. “Hi to you too, Alexa,” he purposely grinned. He walked over closer to me and bent down to kiss my lips, causing a groan to erupt in the room amongst all of my friends, turning their heads in disgust which only made Leo laugh.
“Your friends are always so jealous,” he joked. “What is this anyway? I thought I was coming home to peace and quiet.”
I lightly slapped my forehead, realizing I had forgotten to warn him of this. “I’m sorry. It’s ladies night at our place tonight. It’s our monthly sleepover and I’m the host. Oh, and I left your dinner out for you.”
His eyebrow raised. “So you’re going to make me eat dinner alone?” It was unusual for us to not eat dinner together. There were even nights I ignored the rumbles of my upset stomach craving satisfaction when Leon was late coming home for dinner.
“You can eat out here with us,” I volunteered but he immediately shook his head. “No thanks. I’d rather not hear about Joy’s issues with that on and off situation she calls a relationship and Alexa’s one night stands that won’t call her back.”
Alexa’s eyes immediately narrowed as the rest of us laughed. I was used to the two of them teasing each other. They were best friends, best friends who often embarrassed each other to no end. Alexa was the reason I was even introduced to Leon. As the two of us grew close, she decided to play matchmaker and “accidentally” leave us in her car while she ran into a store for 30 minutes.
It worked out the way she wanted as we spent that entire time laughing over our love of old cartoon shows. We had been inseparable since.
“You are a sick individual, Goretzka,” Alexa commented to which he simply took a dramatic bow and mouthed a ‘thank you’ before he turned his focus back to me.
“So where are you sleeping?”
“Out here. We bought an air mattress.”
“And it’s huuuuge,” my other friend Athena chimed in. “It’s going to take up this whole floor space.”
“You’re not sleeping with me?” A look of disappointment was apparent as I looked up at him which only made me frown back in response. “No. I’m the host. I can’t leave them down here.”
“See, this is why we should have just put it back at my place. Men. Always ruining ladies night,” Alexa scoffed. He immediately had a sharp response. “The only reason there’s no men at your place to interrupt is because they all leave before the morning.” And to that comment, Alexa sent a pillow sharply at his head.
He luckily ducked in time to avoid its impact but that didn’t stop everyone else from laughing.
“But really? I don’t get you for dinner or for sleep?”
I shook my head no as a smirk broke my face. I thought it was cute he was adamant about me being present but just for tonight, he’d have to do without me.
“Fine. Enjoy your stupid party,” he joked, putting on a dramatic pout as he began to walk away, leaving us to the rest of our girl talk.
I lay entangled in the blankets peacefully until I felt an arm nudging me in my side. At first, I figured it to be one of the girls sleeping wildly next to me but when the touching continued and I opened my eyes, I saw Le leaning over me.
“Get up,” he whispered.
“For what?” I questioned back, my tone groggy as I tried to wake myself up enough to not fall right back to my pillow.
“I need you in bed.”
My face immediately screwed in confusion, wondering what exactly he needed me for. “Why?”
“I can’t sleep without you.” A sincerely pitiful look plumped his lips and I looked to the other girls sleeping around me on the air mattress, still knocked out. If I planned on making an escape, it had to be now.
“Fine,” I whispered. I crawled off of the bed without making much noise or movement, at least as much as I could avoid. Once off, he took my hand and guided me back towards our bedroom. He took no time once we were in the room to pull me onto the mattress, his arms wrapped tightly around my waist as he snuggled me against him.
“I can’t believe you woke me up for this,” I giggled.
“I need you by my side at all times.” He lowered his lips to my neck and placed a kiss there before pulling the blanket over us. “Goodnight.”
I had never felt the empty feeling accompanied with a loss like this one. I had sent myself to wallow in my own misery in my bedroom for as long as possible, my dark black drapes draining out any sight of the sun outside making it seem as if it was approaching night in my room though in reality it was early afternoon.
The state of my room was utter chaos and that was probably a microcosm of my mind. Because I didn’t know how to feel, I didn’t know what to do. My best friend had left me for an entirely new country and what was I supposed to do with that news? Jump with glee?
Granted, I had fair warning and I had months to prepare for her departure to her new home in a foreign land with her new husband but that didn’t help prepare me for her actually not being there in the mornings when I wanted to pop into some shoes and walk a few houses down to loudly tap on her bedroom window to wake her up like we did when we were in high school.
We had been like two peas in a pod since nearly birth. She was there for every major event of my life and I hers including her wedding where I was the maid of honor. It just felt empty now to know she wasn’t just a drive away but a flight away instead.
And so maybe I had stage 10 clinger issues with my best friend. So what?! She was really all that I knew and the only person I really considered a true friend in this town. Someone I could spill all my secrets to, someone I could cry to. She was everything for me that no one else could be and I felt that now I had officially lost my best friend.
“I know you’re not going to sit in this room and mope again today.”
Julian’s disapproving voice rang out through the once silent bedroom as he entered and shut the door behind him. I didn’t bother to verbalize a response to him, instead keeping my face buried in the pillows and offered a muffled, nearly incoherent response. “Go away. I don’t want you to see me like this. In all my non-makeup, puffy for the past three day eyes and messy hair.”
Julian was my other best friend. I liked to call him the bright side of our trio. When me and Allie were in a bad mood or worse, faced with the labor of period pains or temporary heartbreak, Julian always dropped by with bags of chocolates, romantic movies, and a warm smile to make us forget what was even bothering us. He had helped Allie through quite a few drunken nights and had even talked her off of the ledge the day before her wedding when she got cold feet.
She hadn’t stopped thanking him since.
He had a habit of always finding a way to make us feel better but I didn’t want to feel better right now. I wanted to mope and whine like an abandoned child. Too bad he was Julian and that wasn’t going to happen.
I could feel the bed dip with the pressure of him sitting next to me, his hand drifting to my hair and gently running his fingers through it. I was surprised his hands didn’t get tangled in the mess in the process.
“Get up.” He used his other arm to forcefully shake me which caused me to raise my head from the pillow and sit up some to turn to him. “Can’t you just let me be?”
“No. I can’t. Get up. We’re going out.”
“Didn’t I tell you I look an awful mess?” I pointed to my face which was all the backup I needed for my words. I hadn’t looked in a mirror recently but I was sure I looked like I had just went through a shredder.
He cupped my chin with his hand and said, “You look gorgeous with no makeup.”
“Stop flirting with me, Draxler. You know I’m vulnerable right now.” I slapped his hand away and went back to burying my face in the pillow, listening to his vibrant chuckle echo throughout the room.
“You’re such a drama queen. You act like you won’t ever see Allie again. I’m sure she’ll come visit and bring you out there sometimes. You’ve got to be happy for her finding happiness with the love of her life.”
I quickly interjected my overly harsh, irrational opinion. “Who gets married at 22 anyway? An idiot that’s who.” I liked her new husband so it wasn’t like I stood by those words. I was ecstatic that she had found the one and was even jealous that it wasn’t me trotting off to a new place to call home with the man that I loved.
Instead I was stuck in Gelsenkirchen.
With Julian Draxler.
“Well I was planning on marrying you when we turn 24 so…we’re not too far off,” he shrugged with a chuckle.
“By the time you get the balls to ask me out, I’ll be married to Fernando Torres,” I joked back. It was probably the first joke I had partook in in a week. I rolled over and finally sat up in the bed, looking directly at Julian who had an obnoxious, satisfied grin on his face probably because he had succeeded in at least getting me up.
“As long as I can get you to have my child before you’re off with him, I’ll take that. Now…” He playfully slapped a hand down onto my thigh before standing up. “Let’s go.”
“Where exactly are we going?” My eyes narrowed in confusion. It seemed he was always up to something.
“Just come on. Slip into something and meet me downstairs.”
“Can’t I just go naked?” I smirked, pulling the comforter from my body so I could actually rise from the bed.
“Eh, I think the neighbors have suffered enough don’t you think?”
I quickly grabbed for a pillow and threw it at a laughing Julian, who had quick enough reflexes to catch it before it him in the head.
“Get out. I’m coming.”
Julian nodded and trotted out of the room while I reached for a pair of pants to slide in, figuring the shirt I had on was decent enough to be seen in public in. I wasn’t sure how far exactly this trip would take us but I hoped not too far as my outfit wasn’t all that great and I planned on pulling my hair into a messy ponytail.
Once dressed, I headed downstairs as instructed and Julian was waiting already by the door. I expected him to begin to walk out of the door but instead, he motioned me to follow him back upstairs. “Change of plans,” he explained.
I didn’t question it but instead followed along silently. He pushed the door open to the guest room and headed straight towards the large window, pushing it open.
“What are you doing?”
Halfway out of the window already, he took a brief look back to me. “We’re going to the roof.” Without another word, he stuck one leg out and then the other to land out on the small window balcony. Reluctantly, I followed. It wasn’t like I hadn’t been up here before. Me and Allie used the small getaway plenty of times when were younger and I had a feeling Julian used that for reasoning why we were up here currently.
“What do you have up your sleeves, Draxler?” I stood next to him and embraced the still cool air breeze that hit me momentarily.
“Remember when we were 17 and Allie tricked you into yelling ‘ I love Julian’ up here and I heard you?”
My eyebrows furrowed in confusion as I reluctantly responded. “…Yeah?”
“I want to hear it again.”
“I want to hear it,” he reiterated with a smile.
“How is this going to make me feel better?”
“It isn’t. I’m doing this for myself,” he chuckled. I couldn’t help but laugh as well and playfully push him lightly in the chest, cautious to not put much force into it or else he’d end up falling.
“Hey hey! Be careful. You don’t want to end up in the news for killing your secret lover,” he joked.
“You’re not my secret lover!”
“I’m not?” He offered a taunting raise of his eyebrow and a semi-serious look. His hands soon reached to either side of my hips and pulled me close. His eyes searched mine and I couldn’t break the stare and current hold we had on each other. Without hesitation, Julian gingerly planted his lips on mine, gently taking my bottom lip into his mouth sensually. I wilted under his touch, my eyes closing and my body falling into the romantic kiss.
He let me enjoy it for a while longer before breaking the kiss though his lips still remained dangerously close. “Say it,” he commanded while his soft lips brushed against mine.
Our stare was intense and so were my words as I spoke them between the two of us. “I love Julian Draxler.”
“Louder,” he demanded, our foreheads once connected until I moved my head back to prevent yelling directly in his ear.
“I LOVE JULIAN DRAXLER!”
The sound of a car door shutting broke us from the quasi-romantic love scene and our eyes drifted down to the driveway to see my father looking up at us curiously. “Again? Way to tell us what we already know.” He gave a playful shake of his head before continuing to head inside, leaving me and Julian in a fit of laughter.
I truly did love J.D. and his ability to make me feel better was just one of the many reasons why.