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Friendship Teens & Young Adult Romance

**Author's note; there was a second story, but it didn't submit so I edited this story with a new ending**


~~~


Gazing into the colourful horizon, I sat beside Ariana before Lake Monova. Trees lined either side, only breaking to form a gap for the pier on the other side, and the rock beneath us was still cool from the night before. The golden light of the sunrise shimmered across the water, reflecting in golden flecks off the ripples in the water and glinting in her amber eyes, making them appear a delicate gold. Gazing across to her, a warm feeling blossomed in my chest. 


She was so beautiful in this early light, her face so calm and serene in the quiet of the morning. Ariana was gazing out to the horizon, her silver hair flowing behind her. Her eyes were alight like flames and her hair glittered like silk; all because of the golden sunlight peeking through the treeline. Noticing my gaze, Ari sighed and turned to me,

“Do you ever wish the world were still for just a moment? So you could savour it… or anything really?”

“I suppose so. I can’t think of many times that I would pause though,” I think for a moment, “Now would be a nice time to pause; gazing across Lake Monova as the sun paints the water a rainbow of colours, sitting in content silence beside you, knowing that for now, life is perfect.” I look over to Ariana, who is nodding as she contemplates my response. Her hair is billowing in all directions as she moves her head, blinding me with golden rays of light. 

“I agree. This moment is one I will remember forever.”

“Me too.” I turn back to gazing at the horizon, but not before I catch her frowning, “What is it, Ari?” She looks at me, the question written across her face, ‘What are you talking about?

“You were frowning. Something’s up, isn’t it.” Ariana looks away. I let her take her time. She’ll tell me when she feels like it. Shifting her position to face me, Ari wraps her arms around her knees and grimaces.

“I’m going to the city for University. I…” She looks at the stone beneath her, “I don’t know if I want to go, Di-Di. I’ve been here my whole life and I won’t know anyone at UOSV.”

“You got the scholarship?” She nodded tentatively. “I’m sure the University of Silver Valley will be amazing Ari! That’s such an opportunity for you, just promise me you’ll come home to visit?”

“I don’t know Di-Di. I’ll try. The University is nearly four hours away, but I’ll try.”

“I’ll miss you, Ari. SVCA will be great, but not as much as if you were there.” Ariana and I had been planning to go to Silver Valley College of the Arts since we were in Middle school; she loved dancing, I loved producing music and the college was nearby. But that all changed when our high-school was offered to host scholarship testing for UOSV, and she’d taken the scholarship test. Now that she’d received the scholarship… nothing would be the same. “Are you still going to take dance classes?”

“Probably,” Ari mumbled.

“When are you leaving?”

“Tonight.”

“You really waited a while to tell me, huh?” She nodded, but her eyes were distant and I could tell we were done with the conversation. I offered her a hand up, “C’mon, let’s go pack your things.” The only response from Ari was a small nod before she took my hands and got to her feet.


~~~


After spending the morning at Ariana’s house, helping her pack and having lunch, Ari had gone to say farewell to her other friends. It stung a bit, but I knew they deserved to say goodbye just as much as I do. She would be back soon for dinner before she would take the train to the city, and I knew that despite her promises to come home, she probably wouldn’t be home for a while. I just hope that ‘a while’ wasn’t too long.


The realisation that Ari was actually moving away had finally set in. My best friend since third grade was moving away. She was moving away to do incredible things while I went to art college in our hometown, strumming my guitar all day, writing lame songs with no future ahead of me. I’m proud of her, really proud of her. She will fit in so well at UOSV, with all the other geniuses from the region.


A door creaked in the distant reaches of the house, the squeal of the hinges telling me all I needed to know; Ariana was home. Standing up from the bed, I looked around her room for the last time. The collection of books that once packed the shelves of her bookshelf was now half packed in boxes, leaving the shelf half-filled. Other boxes full of her belongings lay scattered around the room. Her suitcase rested against the far wall, waiting for her to return, for her to begin her journey. I walked out of the room, pausing only once in the doorway to look back at the room that was so Ariana; everything in it reminding me of her, and the painful fact that she’s moving away. I turn into the hallway, coming face to face with Ari. She looks drained as she drags her feet closer.

“Ready to go Princess?”

“No.” I offer my hand, as if in guidance to her exhausted being.

“C’mon, I’ll help you take your stuff downstairs, your parents are waiting.”

She nods and lets me guide her into the room. She goes to grab her suitcase, but I offer my hand to her instead. I’ll carry it for her. She accepts, picking up her backpack instead. As we trudge down the stairs, her mum calls us for dinner.

“Come on you two, dinner time!”

“Coming... “ Ari mumbles, at the same time that I say, “Yes, Mrs Del Ray,”

As we enter the kitchen, Mrs Del Ray disses me.

“Now Di-Di, you can call me Maria, okay? You’re basically a member of a family, so no ‘Mrs. Del Ray’ to me please. Take your pick; Mum or Maria, up to you.” Mrs Del Ray calls me Di-Di, like Ariana does, because of two reasons; the first being that Dylan is too formal, and the second being that ‘Di-Di’ means little brother in Chinese, and it was one of the languages they spoke in their household. I’m younger than Ari and calling me ‘Di-Di’ is like calling me ‘little brother’; I’m their adopted ‘younger brother’.

“Yes, Mrs- I mean Maria.”

“Better. Now eat up, we don’t have long before Ariana needs to leave for the train.” Ari and I nod, take our seats, and dig into Mrs Del Ray’s delicious spaghetti bolognese. Mrs Del- I mean Maria, stood smiling in satisfaction from the counter. She loved knowing that people enjoyed her cooking, so I gave her an extra thumbs up just in case the overwhelming silence of us enjoying our food wasn’t enough. Classic, cheesy family friend gesture for sure. Mr and Mrs Del Ray ate their dinners at the kitchen counter, standing side-by-side, and eventually, we all finish the meal and put away our plates. 


Walking out of the kitchen followed by Maria, Manuel and Ariana, I headed to the front of the house. I picked up Ari’s large trunk and she slung her backpack over her shoulder as she turned to look back at her parents. They enveloped her in their arms.

“Goodbye, Mama. Goodbye Papa. I love you.”

“We love you, Ariana.”

“Have fun at UOSV.”

Releasing their embrace, Ari’s parents had tears in their eyes. Ari turned to me, tears in her eyes too.

“Thank you for everything, Dylan Hazelton.” I rest her suitcase on the floor, take a step to close the distance between us and wrap my arms around her. I’m lost for words, I can’t speak, so I just hold her tight and I know, deep inside, that she understands. It feels like a final goodbye, I don’t know when she’ll be back and neither do her parents. I hold her close, her head resting on my chest, and I never want to let her go. 


Finally letting go, I see that her mum is waiting by the open door, so I offer Ari her suitcase resting on the floor beside me. She picks it up, shifting the handle in her hand, and walks towards her mum, the door, and her future.

“Goodbye Mama,” she murmurs, barely audible despite the silence in the room, and walked through the door towards her future. Maria and Manuel move to stand in the doorway, and I lean on the other side of the doorframe, my arms crossed in front of me. We stand there watching Ariana’s steps become lighter, her silver hair bouncing and shining in the early moonlight of dusk as she walks away from us. She pauses only once, at the end of the driveway, to look back at us and grin, waving farewell until we next see her again. 


We kept watching Ariana until she became a mere speck of shimmering silver at the end of the street. Her parents turned away and walked back inside, Manuel’s arm around Maria, but my gaze didn’t shift from the spot on the horizon where I’d last seen the shimmer of Ariana’s hair, the moonlight to my sun. The silver to my gold. My golden hair she constantly told me was too messy, then followed by ruffling it anyway.

“Close the door when you’re done, hun.” I nodded faintly in response. Ari was gone.

Maria and Manuel reminded me so much of Ariana. I didn’t know whether I wanted to be there with them, or whether I despised them for being so similar when it hurt so much. I stepped across the threshold into the night, silently closing the door behind me. I needed to think. I walked aimlessly around town, my feet leading me to the very place I’d last been with Ari alone, the place where she’d told me she was leaving, but also the place that held serenity in its hands, openly offering peace and tranquillity to those who visited. 


I wandered down the path, the gravel beneath me crunching slightly beneath my feet, breaking the silence of the lake and its surrounding forest. The trees give way to the plateau of rock where Ari and I used to sit, and I sit down, feeling the crevices beneath my fingertips, the rock still warm from the sunlight of the day. The silver light of the moon shimmered across the lake, creating a near-perfect reflection of the moon, surrounded by the trees lining the lake on the surface of the water. Gazing across to where she’d been the last time we were here, an emptiness grew in my chest. Her hair was moonlight, her eyes were the sun and her skin was the Earth, and now she was gone. 


Gathering the words I was incapable of saying mere minutes ago, the words that meant everything and nothing all at once I gazed across the lake. She had been the moon to my sun, the silver to my gold and my yin to my yang, and her departure had left me feeling empty, like a part of me was missing. Part of me was gone. With the moon, the stars and the shimmering lake as witness, I whispered goodbye to my sun, my moon and my universe. 

“Goodbye Ariana Del Ray.”


~~~


Seven years later...


Strumming my guitar gently in the comfort of my room, I looked across to the vibrating of my phone sitting across the bed from me. It was just a regular Friday afternoon, I had no upcoming album releases so it couldn’t be my agent and my friends were all busy with their upcoming releases. In the five years that I went to art school and the two years that followed, I’d managed to get a few contracts and sell a few albums but for the most part, worked at a coffee shop down the street in between writing music and teaching guitar. If it wasn’t a friend or my agent it wouldn’t be important, I turned back to my scrawled notes of chords before me and continued strumming as the vibrations subsided. Falling into the flow of the music I hummed along to the chords, occasionally putting in the odd word here and there. 


Two subsequent vibrations sounded. Huh, looks like somebody actually wanted to call me if they bothered to leave a message. I sigh, putting down my guitar and shuffle further along the bed to glance at my phone. That’s odd, Manuel Del Ray hasn’t called me in at least a year, what could he want? Apart from seeing them around town, I haven’t talked to Ariana’s parents in a while, so it must be something important for her dad, Manuel, to be calling me. I pick up my phone and scroll down to the message on my lock screen.


Manuel Del Ray ~ 1 minute ago

ARIANA’S HOME!! Come over & welcome her back! She’s just home, come thru back door to surprise her. Invite ur family for dinner @ 6. Ariana’s in town!! Woooo :)


I chuckled at Manuel’s excited message and lazy slang, grabbed my guitar and phone, scrawling a quick note to my parents on the kitchen counter and headed out. 


Slipping through the back door, I quietly sit my guitar down in the lounge room and tip-toe my way towards the voices coming from the kitchen.

“... University has been amazing, the research program’s going well, and I’m really glad you guys convinced me to do a PhD beforehand because it’s helped me so much!”

“That’s great darling!” I peeked around the doorway to see Ari’s shimmering silver hair, longer, but still the same shimmery silver as it was last time I saw her. Maria and Manuel were facing her, and the doorway I was standing in. Manuel’s eyes flashed in recognition before he grinned slyly.

“We actually have a surprise for you, Ariana-Banana-Alana.”

“Hm? What could he surprise possibly be to make you grin like a cat?”

“Turn around and you’ll see.” The questioning on Ari’s face was practically audible in the room, and without seeing it, I knew it was written across her face. Slowly, Ariana turned behind, the questioning quickly wiped from her face as her eyes widened as she saw me leaning against the doorframe. 

“Dylan Hazelton?” The shock is written across her face, and the years of buried memories flicker across her eyes as she remembers our childhood and our friendship before she left for university.

“The one and only.” I grin, holding out my arms to her as she approaches.

“You’re back.” She murmurs into my arms, and her parents leave without another word. After a while, Ari pulls away and says softly,

“C’mon Di-Di, let’s go upstairs.”


~~~


“How is uni?” I asked, now sitting on the floor of her room.

“It’s fine. I don’t want to talk about it,” She says, sitting across from me on the floor.

“Sure.” We sit in content silence for a while before she speaks again, this time much softer.

“Why’d you stop visiting me?” I comb my hand through my hair.

“I thought that you were doing fine without me, thriving at Uni without me. You never came back to visit, not once, I thought you’d moved away for good.” She sighs.

“I… I didn’t think of it that way. I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay, Ari. Just promise me something;” She murmurs her agreement, “Don’t leave Monova for more than a year at a time. Seven years is too long, Ariana. I missed you.” She smiles sadly and nods, so I shuffle over closer to her and wrap my arms around her shoulder.

In little more than a whisper, Ari murmured into my chest, “I missed you too, Dylan Hazelton.” She lifted her chin, looking up at me with her deep, gold-flecked amber eyes, which took my breath away. They were even more stunning than I remembered. Our faces were so close, it would take so little to close the gap and I really wanted to, but did Ariana? Ariana decided for me, bringing her lips to mine. It felt as if Heaven and Earth had collided, stars were forming, exploding and shining all at once, and Ariana was the centre of it all. Her warm, delicate lips on mine, and her hands caressing my hair and my shoulder blades. After a while, we break apart and Ari asks me,

“How long have you been waiting for that?”

“A while. You?” 

“Since I realised you were the thing I was missing in my life.” She pulls me closer and I savour her warmth. Murmuring into the crook of her neck, I say,

“Don’t you find it ironic that you call me your younger brother, yet I’m an older brother in so many ways to you? Although, I suppose that’s all changed now.” Lifting my head, I bring my lips to hers once more and for the first time in a long while, I feel satisfied.


~~~


Strolling down the path, the gravel crunches beneath my feet, breaking the silence of the lake and its surrounding forest. The trees give way to the plateau of rock where Ari always sit, and I stand gazing across the lake. The silver light of the moon shimmers across the water, reflecting in silver slivers off the ripples in the water like Ariana’s silvery waves of hair. Thinking about the events of today, I smile in reminiscence; Ari had come home, not just to Monova, but to me. Her hair is silvery moonlight, her eyes highlighted golden like the sun, and to me, she is my universe.


And I finally have her back.


November 21, 2020 01:11

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12 comments

Hi Zoe, great story, I noticed a few errors but great work! 1."Noticing my gaze, Ari sighed and turned to me," Maybe change this to "Noticing my gaze Ari sighed as turned to me," 2."everything in it reminding me of her, and the painful fact that she’s moving away." I don't think you need the comma after her. 3."and eventually, we all finish the meal and put away our plates." I don't think you need a comma after eventually. 4. Maybe instead of "Ari was gone." put "Ari was long gone." 5. "Ariana was the centre" I think you mean center. ...

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02:20 Nov 26, 2020

Thank you Varsha! Unfortunately, it was approved a few hours ago, so I can't change it on Reedsy, but I'll change it on my personal doc. Also, I do tend to overuse commas, so thank you for pointing those out, I'll read through to see if there are any others I need to change. Have a nice day... or rest of the day wherever you are in the world :)

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Thank you Zoe, have a wonderful day as well!

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20:26 Nov 25, 2020

Heyyy, so I have changed this story a lot since I submitted it on the 20th. There were initially 2 stories, but the second one had an error while submitting so I edited it onto this story. Any suggestions and feedback would be really appreciated! (unfortunately, it's been approved now, so any errors I can't fix on here, but I'll fix on my personal doc. it bothers me that the tenses are kinda off... but oh well, I can't change it now)

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04:51 Nov 21, 2020

A bit of a shorter story than usual, and in 1st pov, which I only just realised I haven't written in on Reedsy yet. (how did that even happen?) Anyway, any feedback, suggestions, critique, etc would be appreciated and as always I hope you enjoyed it!

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Very nice work, I loved the deep details you gave and the strong bond between Ari and Di-Di.

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22:03 Nov 22, 2020

Thank you! (and thanks for the follow too ;)

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sure, also do check out my new story and tell me what you think.

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22:07 Nov 22, 2020

Of course! I'll check it out sometime later today :)

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22:10 Nov 22, 2020

Do u want me to give feedback on both parts of the story? (part one and part two)

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