Thoughts rushed through her head like wildfire. Mira knew this was her last chance -- her chance to change what would happen. Sticking in her earbuds, she drifts off into a peaceful unconsciousness hoping to hideaway. But the more she tried to run away, even for a moment, her conscience crept up reminding her of her choice, her betrayal. She always had a choice - it just depended on what she chose. She laid her head back against the soft cushions on the couch snuggling closer into a comfortable position in hopes to mindfully drift off. A knock on the door interrupted her thoughts. “Hello?” she called out. Mira wondered if it was Luke, her best friend, who visited her almost every day. As the door cracked open, a blonde mess of hair and a wide smile confirmed her guess. He didn’t have to say anything, being her friend, so he just hopped next to her on the couch and sighed. Minutes passed by and the silence began to irritate her. “Why’d you come over?” she said. He looked over in confusion brushing his shaggy hair away from his face, “What do you mean? I always come over!” A sudden panic went through her heart realizing he didn’t know about anything that had happened. She didn’t say anything trying to come up with an excuse as to why she said that. “Uh, well,” she couldn’t finish. Luke frowned, “Oh no, that’s the face you always make when you haven’t told me something….spill it.” The panic didn’t go away as she spoke with a shaky breath. “Please don’t hate me…”
This is the part where we start over a week ago.
Nothing seemed different. The bedroom wall was the same yellow tone as any other day, but something felt different. She didn’t know what, but her hands became warm thinking about Ashen. He told her to meet at Apple Street, the name of the bakery, where their friend group usually met. Luke, Ashen, Rosie, and herself met there every Saturday morning but this time, it was just them both. She wouldn’t hide it, the reason her cheeks warmed at his name was the same reason she was afraid Rosie and Luke would find out. Their friend ‘pact’ before forming the group, was that nothing more than friendships would enter their group. The rule was: only friends, only best friends, nothing else. The reason behind this was from experiences that when other groups broke this rule, the group melted into oblivion. Her mind brought her back to Apple Street. There was no reason for her to not show up, and they were only hanging out like Ashen said. Mira quietly whispered to herself, “There’s no reason to worry.” and she believed herself, only for a moment. The time trickled by edging closer to meeting Ashen. She curled her hair, dabbed some clear shine to her lips, and paired an outfit together itching to go. Finally, the clock struck 5 and she was already in her car heading to Apple Street.
The double doors to the bakery were slightly opened waffling out the baked steamed smells. Sniffing deeply into her lungs the bakery goodness, this was by far her favorite place in the world. Ashen peeked his head out the door waving her in. “Come in, come in!” She was led to a couple table with flowers centering the table. ‘That’s strange,’ she thought, ‘why is the flower centerpiece only at this table?’ He caught her admiring the flowers, “I got them behind my college dorm and thought of you.” Mira smiled, “That’s so sweet, thank you! So, I was wondering, why um, are we here?” He laughed, “Wait, you don’t know?” She shook her head. “Oh, I thought I made it clear to you.” She shook her head again.
“I like you.”
She sucked in a breath, “I like you too.”
He reached for her hand and squeezed it. “If Luke and Rosie find out, we’re screwed. There’s not much we can do.” She smiled, “I’m okay with that.” That evening flew by with conversations and laughter that lit up the room. By the end, Ashen walked Mira to her car. “Tomorrow?” he asked. The answer was predictable, “Yes.” Before she could think, he brushed her hair away and leaned in for a kiss on the cheek. “I didn’t know if you would be okay with that.” She nodded, “I’m fine with that.” He leaned in once more, and their lips touched. Goosebumps rimmed her arms, but his warm touch against her back cradled her closer. His lips broke away and their eyes lingered to each other. “Tomorrow,” she said. He nodded, “Tomorrow.”
Every day, for that past week, Ashen and Mira saw one another. They were inseparable, it seemed. But their sweet dream together vanished when Rosie walked in one morning and saw them holding hands. She walked out before a word was spoken. Ashen looked at Mira in regret, “I knew this would happen…” she shook her head, “You didn’t know this would happen. I’ll talk to her later.” But later never came. They both were roommates together and Rosie didn’t show up that night. Ashen even told Mira that Rosie hadn’t come to any of her classes since then. Panic rushed through her body, “Does Luke know?” But neither one had seen each other in a few days.
“Please don’t hate me, please don’t hate me.” She said to him. Luke looked over and smiled. “Is it about you and Ashen?” This was a surprise. Since when did he know? He continued, “Rosie came to me the night she saw you both holding hands. But she actually didn’t mind. She told me before she left to see her family, ‘I always knew they would get together. It’s only a matter of time.’ And I guess it’s true!” He laughed, “And honestly, I don’t mind either. We only had that rule in place because we didn’t want outsiders coming into our friend group and messing it up.” A sigh of relief sifted through her body. “And you don’t mind? I didn’t betray you or Rosie?” He shook his head, “Not at all,” he paused, “well, only a little.”
_Thank you so much for reading! Like and follow if you feel so inclined. Writing is a passion that everyone should try at least once in their life -- a good story is possible. _ Aubrey Maria