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Drama Friendship Contemporary

It was a beautiful evening and the light breeze carried the fragrant scent of a woman to her boyfriend.

“So we are meeting Mark and his sister Jenny at the theater?” she said sweetly as she looked back at the man slightly trailing behind her.

“Right” he answered. An uneasy feeling creeping into his chest at the mention of his best friend.

It has been half a year since they started dating and he was still completely enamored. In fact, he often found it hard to believe she was going out with him in the first place. That evening, as he glanced at her features glowing with the light of the mahogony horizon of dusk- he felt his inadequacy in relation to her more acutely than ever.

“Beautiful evening,” she remarked pensively as she admired the scene with its many docks and shops extending into the distance. 

They continued walking in silence as the man watched the boats bobbing calmly up and down ever so slightly over the dark waters. The tranquility of their movements however, did not reflect his state of mind. 

“Hey!!” a voice came from behind them. 

“Mark! Jenny!” she cried in excitement and they all embraced. 

“Julian how are you dude?” Mark gave him a friendly punch on the chest. 

“Good,” Julian looked at his friends’ handsome and bright countenance.

“Cleo, nice to you see,” Mark turned to her. Julian felt his heart drop as blood rushed out of his face. Did he notice her blushing? Was it the lighting? Maybe he was just noticing the rouge she had put on earlier…?

“OK chop chop people” Julian broke off the friendly chatter that ensued, “we have five minutes till the movie starts.”  

“So Julian man we’re going skiing next week,” Mark said as they resumed walking “it’ll be Jenny and me. You guys feel like coming?” 

“Umm not sure yet,” he looked at his friend who was an excellent skier. 

“Hey Julian why don’t we go?” Cleo overheard the invitation and turned around grabbing her boyfriend's arm in excitement, “I’ve never gone skiing! It looks so awesome! Voosh voosh!” she laughed as she mimicked the movement of skiing and the sound of the air speeding. 

“Don’t expect to be making those sounds so soon,” Mark laughed heartily at the display of excitement. 

“Oh no?” she laughed back, “I’m a fast learner you’ll see.”

They continued walking along the boardwalk in comparative silence, enjoying the invigorating ocean breeze. All except for Julian, who now began to worry about the ski trip they were apparently going on.

“How about some popcorn?” Cleo commented as they walked into the theater. 

“I’m getting tortillas,” Jenny said. 

“Hmmm worth getting a big one for two then,” Cleo studied the prices, “Julian doesn’t get popcorn at theaters,” she explained. 

“And you just assumed I do?” Mark laughed. 

“Well now just how can you watch a movie without popcorn?” She turned to Mark with hands on her hips, attempting to mimic a southern lady’s mannerisms  

“I know right?… sorry Jenn but you are wrong on this one,” he gave his sister a brotherly pat on the back. 

“I will have popcorn this time,” Julian blurted out a bit too urgently for it seemed out of place as it cut out the ongoing conversation and left them all awkwardly silent for a moment.

“OK…” Cleo looked at him a bit puzzled, “we can all share a big one then right?”

“Umm yeah why not?” Mark shrugged.

Julian soon found it hard to concentrate on the movie as hands seemed to reach incessantly out of the darkness from both sides and into the popcorn tub on his lap.


“What a beautiful day huh?” Cleo grabbed Julian’s arm in excitement as they parked the car by the ski resort. 

“Emmmhmmm,” Julian agreed distractedly as he looked at some dark clouds on the horizon. 

“Julian! Cleo!” Mark had just parked as well and called out to them as they existed the car. 

“Brought some sunscreen kids?” Mark asked as he approahed with open arms as they all embraced.

“We are going to have such a good day!” he almost shouted as Julian went rummaging through his car in search of sunscreen “it snowed like fifteen inches last night!”

“Awesome,” Julian mumbled in return as he looked under some grocery bags. 

“Julian, dude I brought some,” he grabbed his friend’s hand and showed him the cream, “it was a rhetorical question really…” 

“Ahh,” Julian felt a bit embarrassed, “so let’s go!” he tried to fain enthusiasm, “what are we waiting for children?!” he cried as he walked quickly towards the entrance.


“Cleo, do a pizza! Like I showed you! Pizza! Pizza!” Cleo crashed and Julian rushed to her, “are you OK?” he looked at the ski she left behind. 

“I’m trying Julian! it’s hard!” Cleo had tears in her eyes now. 

“Here let me help you up,” Julian picked her to her feet and retrieved the missing ski. 

“Baby don’t cry its hard at first,” he felt bad for her as he wiped away a tear, “everyone has a hard time on their first day.”

“OK, I’m ready,” she clicked in her ski and gave him a brave smile. 

“Sure? You don’t want to rest a bit?” he was now admiring her resolve for the crash did not look enjoyable. 

The last few hours she was making progress. Faster than most actually, and Julian was actually feeling pretty good. The sun was shining and the weather was warm, no clouds were anywhere to be seen, and neither were Mark or Jenny. 

“OK, good, good,” Cleo seemed in control as she started off with a concentrated look on her face and a wide taut stance, “control your speed! More pressure!” she was starting to speed up and he could sense her panicking. 

“Hey Cleo! more pressure on the heels!” Mark all of a sudden appeared from behind, “drive them out and bring your knees together!” 

Applying his advice she began to slow down. 

Julian remembered how Mark earlier that day decided to take a snowboard and swap his skies, “its an awesome powder day I think I’ll take a board!” he commented as they walked towards the rental to check out some helmets for Cleo. 

“Hey Julian can you do me a favor and just write my name on the skies?” he shouted into the rental as an afterthought.

“That show off, showing he knows how to snowboard as well,” Julian thought then. 

Cleo came to a complete stop.

“Hey that was so fast! And I managed to stop!” Cleo jumped up excitedly forgetting she was on skies. Needless to say, she fell. 

Both men rushed over to her.

“We’re fine man you can continue,” Julian hissed through gritted teeth.

“What?” Mark laughed. 

“Just continue your run man! We got it…” he looked over at Mark in irritation. 

“OK, fine,” Mark scuffed and took off. 

“What happened Julian?” Cleo looked up at his crimson face with surprise.

“Nothing, that asshole just things he’s better than everyone else,” he tightened her boots angrily. 

Cleo sat in silence. 

“Let’s start heading back, I think this is enough for one day,” and Julian helped her up. 


“Marc? What as in short for Marcus?” Mark was just coming out of the rental place and holding a slip of paper as they finally arrived, “we know each other since kindergarten and you don’t know my name is spelled with a K?” he looked at him with amusement but Julian thought he was also a bit insulted.

“Oh, I know it’s Mark with a K, I don’t know why I wrote it that way,” Julian scratched his head and smiled awkwardly, “anyway it was nice today thank you for the idea to ski… see you later?” and they were off.


It was afternoon when Julian and Cleo drove down from the mountains back to town. 

“You are listening to 105 FM the home to the best music… and it seems like spring is finally upon us…” a pleasant sounding voice came through the radio.

“So what was the deal with Mark why did you drive him off like that?” Cleo couldn’t help but mention the odd behavior.

“Ahh it’s nothing,” Julian felt irritation start to build up at her mentioning his friend and slowly turned up the volume from the steering wheel. 

They sat in silence, but Julian felt the irritation build up in his bowels, “I don’t know… I just feel like he’s around way too much lately…” he said angrily, “and he’s rubbing me the wrong way… anyway did you do the assignment on the first triumvirate’s demise?” he tried to change the subject. 

“Yeah I did”

“And what do you think? Do you think Caesar should have known?” Julian addressed the subject of the assignment as he lowered the radio’s volume. 

“I don’t know…” Cleo shrugged but she was now deep in thought, “he started acting in a more and more provocative way, y’know with announcing himself dictator for life and going around wearing purple and all… he must have known it would rub many people the wrong way,” she loved talking about such subjects. In fact so did he. They were both archeology majors and that’s how they met. 

“Yet Brutus says he was ambitious…” Julian began expectantly. 

“And Brutus is an honorable man!” they both cried out the next sarcastic line in unison and burst out in laughter.

“And now we have a new song called Et Tu Brute by rapper Matt Nye…” the pleasant voice of the radio presenter came into their conversation. Cleo looked over at him in shock and laughed,

“Huh! What are the chances!” she shoved his arm in amazement.

“Yeah,” Julian agreed distractedly but he couldn't help the feeling of premonition he suddenly felt. 


“So, the second triumvirate consisting now of Mark Anthony and Octavian fought Marcus Brutus and Cassius in the battle of Phillippi, finally bringing triumph to the pro Caesar camp or the Populares… but that was not the end of the Roman Civil war as we all know” the Professor closed her textbook, “next lecture will be about Mark Anthony going to Egypt and making his bed both literally and figuratively with the Egyptians and the Egyptian queen…,” and with that a babble of conversation erupted as the lecture ended. 

“Hey Cleo, why don’t you come over tomorrow and study for the test with us… it’ll be Jennifer Luke and myself… ah Julian come over as well won’t you?” Charlie added after noticing Julian stopped packing his books and was looking at him in anger. 

“Nah me and Cleo already agreed to study for it today,” Julian got up, “coming?” he asked Cleo as he gave her his hand. 

“Ummm OK,” she took his hand reluctantly, “maybe for next one,” she waved at Charlie as they walked away. 

“What was that all about Julian?!” Cleo was visibly agitated, “we did not talk about studying for the test yet,” her eyes flashed in anger. 

“I don’t like that Charlie guy, he keeps staring at you…” Julian was now mad himself. 

“No he does not!” Cleo retorted looking at him in disbelief.

“Yes he does,” Julian scuffed, “I sat behind you last lecture as well as the one before and the guy just doesn’t stop gaping at ya,” 

“Oh come on Julian I can’t believe we’re having this conversation.”

“So what are the subjects for the test?” Julian tried to change the subject. 

“That’s what you do huh? After acting all weird you just change a subject,” Cleo couldn’t stop herself from chuckling after seeing him putting his hands together in the please gesture and making a puppy face, “well, it is about…”


Julian knocked on Cleo's apartment door at the prearranged hour they agreed to study at but heard no answer.

Pushing in the door he walked into the empty living room she shared with two roommates. 

It was empty but voices could be heard. 

As he walked closer to her room the voices seemed to get louder. 

“Mark stop it!” he heard her laugh and he felt his pulse quicken as he became pale.

“Seriously stop!” but it didn’t seem like she wanted him to stop at all.

Julian was now practically running to her door as her laughter filled his whole consciousness with rage. 

 “Get out you traitor piece of shit!” he roared as he kicked open the door. 

But the scene that was revealed to him, was not that which he had expected. 

Cleo was setting on her bed across from a teenage boy. In between them cards were sprawled on the blanket and they were both holding on to a card which was the subject of their friendly dispute. Their smiles however were now erased from their faces as they looked at Julian in shock. 

“What the hell Julian!” Cleo screamed at him as her terror turned into rage. 

“Umm I’m sorry,” Julian stuttered, “is that… is that… your brother Mark?” he realized to his horror. 

“Yes it is!” she looked at him in disbelief, “who did you think it was??” she looked at him closely fearing the answer. 

“Ahhh, ummmm,” Julian tried to think but couldn’t come up with an excuse, “I thought it was Mark… ahhh y’now” he finally admitted. 

“How could you not trust me Julian?” she cried out in a chocked voice, “common Mark we’re taking a walk,” she got up and took her brother’s hand passing Julian on the way out, “I can't believe you Julian," she looked at him with such offended sadness that it wrenched his heart.

Soon he was standing in front of an empty room. For how long was he planted stupefied in place until he finally decided to leave he could never remember. 

March 16, 2024 01:30

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1 comment

J. D. Lair
17:02 Mar 16, 2024

If only he could have gotten over his irrational fears, he may have found the love and loyalty he was looking for.


Show 0 replies

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