Axl was sitting in the library with Tinsley and Felix. Even though he was staring at Tinsley, he was thinking about Everest and his friend Knox. They’d been talking a lot recently and Axl still hadn’t figured out a way to tell Tinsley that he was one, applying to Cambridge, and two, he wanted to break up.
“Where are you applying?” Tinsley asked, looking up at him.
Axl took a moment to realize that she was talking to him and shook his head, looking down at the application form that their teachers had given them. “Uh, I don’t know yet.” He said, glad that he had left it empty so that Tinsley wouldn’t know.
Felix kicked his foot under the table, giving him a look. Axl glared at him and shook his head enough for Felix to see, but Tinsley not notice. “I’m applying to the university. Maybe we could go together.” She said.
“Maybe.” Axl said, rubbing his forehead.
Felix laughed a little and Axl glared at him. Tinsley raised an eyebrow. She found often that Felix would start to make sounds when Axl was hiding something from her. Lying to her. “You’re not applying to the university here?” She asked. “Where are you applying?”
“He’s applying—” Felix stopped as Axl kicked his shin hard enough to make a tiny cry of pain come from Felix’s lips.
“Don’t.” Axl snapped.
Tinsley looked over at Axl. “Where are you applying?”
Axl sighed, glaring at Felix again. “The University of Cambridge.” He confessed.
Tinsley stopped for a moment. “In England?” She asked, then the realization hit her. “For Everest?”
“Yes.” Axl said quietly.
“Are you serious? You’re going to leave me because you want to be with your ex?” Tinsley asked angrily.
“I’m just going to leave you two.” Felix said, standing up and walking away from the table.
Axl rolled his eyes, looking back at Tinsley. “I knew that I was going to Cambridge before we even started dating.” He said. “It has really good coding and game design programs.”
“But you’d stay here if you really loved me.” Tinsley said. “That’s why you’ve never said it, isn’t it? Because you never loved me?”
Axl sighed, trying to ignore the many looks that they were getting from other students in the library, even Felix was standing afar in some of the shelves and watching them. “We haven’t even been dating for a year.” Axl said. “It’s been a few months.”
“A few months is longer than you dated her.” Tinsley said, saying the word her as if the word left a sour taste in her mouth. “But you like her more than me, don’t you?”
Axl licked his lips, pursing them together while he thought. “Tins, I like you a lot.” He said slowly. “But I’m in love with Everest.”
Tinsley pushed back from the table angrily, grabbing her papers and backpack from the ground. “We are so over.” Tinsley said, starting to walk away, she stopped, turning on her heel to look at him. “What was the point of dating me if you were in love with another girl the entire time?”
Axl shifted, looking around at the people that were now interested in their break up. “I didn’t know I was in love with her.” He said. “I guess I just knew that I wasn’t... in love with you.”
Tinsley’s eyes suddenly clouded with tears. Axl’s normal reaction would have been to try to comfort her, but he knew he’d make it worse. “You’re a bitch.” She whispered quieter than he thought she would have before she rushed away.
Axl bit his lip, looking around at the library that still had eyes on him. Felix walked back over, an amused expression on his face. Axl hit Felix’s shoulder. “Wipe that off your face. It’s not funny.” He snapped.
“I’m not laughing, I’m just glad that you finally did it.” Felix said, grabbing his backpack when Axl grabbed his, obviously trying to get everybody’s eyes off him. “But you still have to get into Cambridge. And tell your family.”
“Yeah, yeah. Can we go, lunch is about to end?”
Felix smirked and followed Axl out from the library. After school, Axl and Felix parted, Axl found Elene waiting by the car. “Ella called shot gun.” Elene said as Axl got close enough. He grabbed his arm before Elene could walk past him. “Have you seen the videos of the break up?”
Axl shut his eyes. “I hate people.” He muttered. “I really fucking hate people.”
Tinsley looked up from her feet as Axl walked over. A scowl overtook her face and she glared at the ground to avoid looking at him again. Axl felt guilty for it. He sat down next to her, keeping quiet for a while to see if she'd tell him to buzz off.
"I'm sorry." He said once he was sure she was fine with him there. "I'm really, really sorry."
Tinsley shook her head, feeling tears forming in her eyes. "We've been dating for months. Since February." She whispered. "I didn't know if we were going to make it forever, but I don't understand why you would try to date me if you still liked her."
Axl shut his eyes. He hadn't known that he had liked Everest for a while. He had wanted to get her off his mind. Tinsley was right, they had been dating longer than he had dated Everest, but they had been friends longer. When he talked to Everest, it just felt different. She was there for him and he knew that.
She had been there for him. Through his darkest patch, she had been there for him. She hadn't left when things had gotten to dark. She hadn't tried to tell him that his feelings weren't valid. She had been there for him, it was as simple as that.
"I know I said it already, but I really am sorry." Axl said. "I wanted to date you because I thought you would help me get over her. But every second I was with you, there was a part of me that felt like I was cheating on her. She helped me through everything. She was there when I needed her. And there were times when I was with you that I wished I was with her."
"We were never going to have a chance, were we?" She asked, looking over at him. "Two kids in high school, not interested in the same things, very different career paths and dreams. We were never going to make it."
"No, maybe not." Axl said. "But it was kind of fun to try."
Tinsley swallowed hard. "It was." She said under her breath, wiping away her tears. "Well, I hope you two work out. And I hope it was worth it."
She sent him a smile that Axl was positive she had faked and stood up to leave. He didn't blame her for being so bitter about it. She had every reason to be upset. He just hoped that she understood. He couldn't date her and be in love with another girl. It wouldn't be fair to either of them. She had been right two. They wouldn't have worked for a million reasons, even if it was fun to be together. She would find somebody better. It would work out for the both of them at some point.
All he had to do was pray that he got into Cambridge and things could really start working out between him and Everest. If he didn't get into Cambridge, he could be screwed. If Elene had been right about one thing it was that he couldn't turn his life upside just for her, but he'd already gone in too deep to turn back. He was really just hoping things would work out.