Do I tell her I like her?

Been talking to this girl for almost a year now and we've at times been really close, she's a bit younger so I actually haven't considered dating her, even though it's legal in this state, with both our circumstances it's not really a reality right now. She's 17 and I'm 22, we've done stuff in groups and before I used to get hints that she's liked me at times, but as mentioned, I don't see a point to it. I've been pretty gentle with her for most of our relationship, but one thing I've discovered is she's wants to know if I like her, just tonight she asked me if so. She has asked me this before but in different ways, which I've usually deflected and didn't tell anything, kinda beat around the Bush. This has made it hard to talk to me she says. I haven't given a definite answer yet and it's been about 30 minutes, I kinda went silent after telling her I'd have to think about it. She's unicorn status and I'd like to stay friends till she gets a little older and I get to a state where I can actually date and plan for the future. It may sound like oneitis, but I also have been talking to 4 other chick's on different levels, ive dated a few others while still in contact with this girl in talking about now, and kinda have had her orbit me a bit. I'd tell her about the girls I've been with a little and ask her for favors which she usually does them, simple stuff. I do in fact like her the most, the only down side is I don't get to see her often, but I always enjoy being around her. I don't know if I should tell her now that she's asking because she told me she doesn't understand me, if I like her or not, so she said she's always pretty uncomfortable. I don't usually flirt to much when I'm around her, I just act normal and try to be that older smarter guy who has answers and knows stuff, cause in this situation I do, but if anything I'm just open with her. What is the pro to telling her I like her after she said "if you do then okay, we'll figure it out and find a way to work with it" , but if I don't like her, "then it's on the books." I'm kinda torn with what to do right now. To me of I do tell her I like her and she doesn't like me back, I could see us falling out and losing her as a future prospect. also. Earlier today I was super sick and so I was texting her to see how she was doing after snowboarding, and told her I'm really sick, still kinda am. She has been comforting me a bit and I asked her to look up some smoothie recipes for the stomach flu, which she found and sent a few examples. But tonight I woke up and started messaging her, then she popped the question after a few

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