Just Friends (Part 1)

I elbowed my backpack back onto my arm before smelling the chill fall air. Leaves streamed and swirled, performing a dance of their own. I added a small hop in my step, inspired.


My best friend, Villa, quickened her steps to match mine. “Hey girliepops,” she smiled. Her rich, vivacious brown hair was down today. Peppy, light blue eyes begged to tell me something.

“So yesterday I had practice. Dee was getting ready but tied her shoe and I didn’t see that, and then I served, but right as she got up my serve hit her square in the face and,” she slow-motioned her fist together, like the volleyball and Dee’s face, “it was bad. Yeah… I feel really, really bad but I don’t know what else to do besides scram for coach.” She grimaced. “I hope she knows I’m sorry.”

“There there. You know that she considers injuries as battle scars anyways,” We laughed loud and clear; embarrassment slinking away whenever I’m with Villa. Playfully shoving we made our way to history class.

The chairs enveloped us as we chatted about our latest book. A tall figure strided by me. Looking up, warm light brown eyes invited a glance. “What’s good, Emmie?” Warren Nordim winked.

I wink back, because the important thing is not to show fear. “Nothin. You?”

“Better with you here,” he rubbed his hands. He met my eye a second before turning away to Wren. I heard him say something along the lines of “looking gorgeous, giving confidence”.

Villa looked at me, amused. That’s Warren for you, fancying himself a ladies man while I stand by the fact he’s a genuine dude. We’d been texting some time now, and he was different but the same as in person.

I adapted to his jumpy but sweet compliments and honest interests. He likes chocolate almost as much as me, and told me he likes it when people tap his soft, fluffy, hair.

He’s a real human being, but he’s someone who acts how he’s now expected to act at school. I don’t think people give him the freedom to be himself, but that used to go for me too. I was oblivious to any sense of hurting or loneliness he has; after all, he is in the acting career. Not that that’s an excuse to talk about someone behind their back…

I shake my head as Mrs. Nordim begins. “Helen… captured… mythology… the Odyssey!…”

Despite the interesting tale of the Greeks, my mind can’t tear itself away from my upcoming job. Drake’s and Freddy’s Diner accepted my application, interviewed me, and then… welcomed me to the team.

I think I want it, but will I be happy? My heart hurts from indecision, split between this fork in the road. I see Warren’s bark-shaded head. He works there too, so I know I won’t be alone. He turns around and I shove my eyes anywhere else.

He’s looking at me. Aw crap. I meet his maple eyes beneath raised eyebrows. I shrug, to which I can tell he is questioning. His gears are spinning and he sends a random smoulder my way. What the- my mouth drops. I’m not one to flush, and yet I shift towards Mrs. Nordim again with a warm face.

History ends and maybe it’d be better if homework was my first priority, but I can’t get my mind off Warren. Or work, for that matter. I convince myself they’re the same thing. I feel the indecision and doubt suddenly squeeze my heart and gasp. A hand touches my back. “How are you?” Warren asks.

“I’m ok.”

Concerns threads into his eyebrows. “What happened?”

Villa squirms between me and the doorway. Moving away to the open hallway, I say, “I’m nervous about the job, you know? It’s physically affecting me.”

“Hey no worries. It’s gonna be great,” he smiled.


I was met with his eye roll.

“Emmie!” Villa was waiting in the hallway, playfully tapping her foot.

“Heh. Villa calls.”

“Of course, my lady,” sweeping into a dramatic bow, Warren sauntered back to grab his backpack. I looked around for any witnesses, sliding off my jacket in the heating room. I would be ranting quietly to Villa in the library if anyone needed me.

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