Oh my god. I know it's been a year. I know. I'm so sorry! But here I am. I wrote this fic a while ago at school and I just now typed it up. I'm also working on another one featuring Flyzik, if that tickles your pickle. I am so sorry that it's been so long. I miss you guys!
“I’m not exactly sure how to deal with this, to be honest.” Great. The pest control people don’t even know how to rid this house of all of its creepy-crawlies. Why am I not surprised? Mom leaves a mess, letting me come home for Spring Break to deal with it. Of course, she just left totally, without a word. I suspect she ran off to find dad, but then again, I’m not entirely sure.
“Can you at least attempt to get all of them out?” I am entirely too desperate to get this placed fixed up. Since mom ran off, I’m sure she doesn’t care about the house, so I’ll get it cleaned up and sell it. With the money I get from selling it, I can get my own place closer to school. It’s a win-win situation. She doesn’t have to deal with me and I get out. It’s perfect.
“I can try a fumigation and then I’ll spray afterward, just in case. That should get a lot of them out.” The pest control guy looks really weirded out, like he’s never seen anything like this before. Of course, I’m not surprised. I don’t think many moms do things like this, to be honest.
“How much will that cost?” I really hate that this will most likely cost a fortune, but I am prepared for this – I have been for a while. I’ve been working since freshman year to save up for college and after. I knew my mom didn’t want me here, and she had no problem making it obvious to me.
The guy was scribbling in his notebook, quickly tabulating a total. It would only take about one-fourth of my savings, but at least it’ll be clean, and then it’ll be sold. That will replenish savings and add some more to it. Hopefully, people will want this house. Or else I’m screwed.
“Can you start tonight, maybe?” I need the house cleaned up and sold ASAP. I have no time to hang around longer than necessary.
“Sure, I can get my guys out here in an hour and a half. By that time, we’ll need you in a hotel with everything you need for at least two days. Take a bit extra, just in case.” Great, a hotel. I know everyone who works in these hotels, and they haven’t seen me for a few years. I come home once a year for about a two day stint to make sure my mom isn’t dead or anything, and then I leave. I don’t visit anyone else. Whatever. I’ll just make sure I’m really apologetic for not visiting these people that have supposedly been a big part of my life when I was younger.
“Sounds like a plan, thanks.” I shook his hand, seeing him out. Two and a half hours, and I’m out of here for two days, then I have to sell the house. And then I’m free and clear.
“Can I help you?” A guy who seems to be about my age and quite familiar was staring at me as I stepped in front of the desk.
“Umm, yeah. I need a room.”
“That’s more than a little bit obvious,” he states, rolling his eyes. I don’t need your attitude, thanks.
“Ha, ha. Two nights, maybe three.”
“Honey, is everything going well?” Both the guy at the desk and I turned to look at the woman standing in the doorway. This woman I know. Mrs. Carla Merrick, which means the guy at the desk is…
“Yeah, that’s me.”
“Lily Jameson, is that you?” Mrs. Merrick began walking towards me. “I haven’t seen you in forever!”
“Hey, Mrs. Merrick!” We hugged for a while, Zack staring at the two of us in disbelief. Zack and I were best friends before being a girl or a boy mattered, then cooties came along. While we still talked sometimes, we weren’t ever really great friends again. Thanks, high school.
“Are you here because of your mom? We’re so sorry about that. I can’t believe she just up and left you like this”
“Oh, well, I hadn’t heard about it, to be honest. I just came home and she was gone.”
“Oh, dear. I’m sorry to hear that. Is that why you’re here? You can’t sleep alone?”
“No, ma’am. I’m getting the house fumigated. When mom ran, she left a huge mess.” Why was I confessing all of this to her? I haven’t seen her in three years, what’s this to her?
“Well, you’re not going to stay in this hotel. Not when you and Zack were such good friends. No, you’re going to sleep in the guest room.”
“Oh, no. I could never impose on you guys like that.” That and I really don’t want to live with people I used to know in their house. We haven’t seen each other in three years. I’d much rather stay in a hotel.
“Nonsense! You wouldn’t be imposing!” Mrs. Merrick picked up one of my suitcases laying by my foot and handed it to Zack. “Zack will take you to our house. That way you two can catch up, okay?”
“Are you sure you want me to leave my battle station?” Zack was holding my bag in one hand, looking incredibly disinterested. That’s totally fine with me. We don’t know each other anyway, not anymore.
“I’m here, I can handle it. Now, go on, you two. I’m sure Lily wants to rest.” Mrs. Merrick made her way to the door, opening it and ushering us through. I made an attempt to grab a bag before Zack came by, picking it up and storming out ahead of me with a huff. Alright, cool. Someone is PMSing.
I followed Zack outside, where he was throwing my bags into the backseat of his car. When he saw me standing outside, he motioned to the front seat before climbing into the car himself.
“You don’t actually have to take me to your house,” I told him as he started up the car. When he put it in gear, he punched the gas. Ahh, yes, a speed demon. Great.
“I do, actually. If I don’t, my mom will find out and get pissed. Also, this is getting me out of work, so…” Zack trailed off into silence as he drove. The radio wasn’t on, but he was drumming his fingers on the wheel and mouthed some lyrics.
“No radio?” I asked finally. The silence felt like it was seeping into my bones, and at this rate, there was no way I would ever be able to make a sound again.
“Don’t need one. I have the music I need memorized.” He doesn’t like to speak, obviously. Or maybe it’s just me. We haven’t seen each other in a while, so he doesn’t feel comfortable speaking to me. Of course, I usually don’t like to talk to people, but still. At least I was making an effort.
“Oh,” I nodded as he pulled into his driveway. He had the door open and was out of the car before the brake was even down all the way. This is getting better and better. Kill me.
“This is the house, obviously,” he opened the door to the house and waited for me to catch up to him. “I’m pretty sure you can find the kitchen and stuff, so I’ll tell you the important things.” Zack was walking extremely quickly up the stairs right across from the door. When he reached the top, he motioned to his right. “This half of the hallway is my room and my parents’ room. You’ll pretty much never be over here, really.”
“Alright,” I nodded. He was really rushing through this little “tour,” if you could even call it that.
“And down here is where you’ll be staying. You can choose from either one of the guest rooms.” He opened the doors to both rooms.
“Oh my god!” I backed up from the first door. There was a guy, a very naked guy, lying in the bed. Not covered one bit.
“Jack, are you fucking serious?!” Zack ran into the room and hit the guy, Jack, in the face with a pillow.
“Dude, what are you doing?” Jack asked, sitting up, rubbing at his eyes. Apparently, he hadn’t noticed the lack of clothing.
“We have a guest. And you’re naked. What are you doing here anyway?”
“Oh, is that your girlfriend, Zachary? She’s cute.”
“Clothes, Jack,” Zack was getting pretty angry, or so it seemed.
“Yeah, yeah. Whatever,” Jacked grabbed his clothes off the ground, pulling them on quickly.
“Again, I ask. What are you doing here?
“Well, you know how mad my mom gets when I go home drunk?” Jack began, walking out of the door, winking at me. Zack followed after him as he started for the stairs. “I went to a party last night and I was hammered. So I climbed your tree and crashed here.”
By the sound of it, the two had made their way downstairs. I, however, was still standing in the hallway upstairs. Being in someone else’s house makes me really uncomfortable. Especially when it’s the house of someone who I used to be friends with. Can you say ‘Awkward?’ Yeah.
“Lily, are you just gonna stand up there?” Zack called from downstairs. Well, yeah, that was the plan actually, but whatever. I headed downstairs to meet with Zack and Jack.
“Jack, this is Lily. Lily, this is Jack. But I feel like you guys should just go ahead and accept the fact that you saw his dicck.” Nice introduction, Zack. I didn’t want to see his junk, it was his fault. Who sleeps naked in their friend’s spare bedroom, anyway? That’s weird.
“Dude, it’s totally fine. She liked it,” Jack winked and then laughed. Umm, no. Please leave. You’re strange.
“Whatever, Jack. Don’t you need to be home? Let your mom know you’re still alive?”
“Yeah, probably. Bye, Zack.” Jack turned toward me and, with another wink, said, “Bye, Lily.” Then, he walked out the door, leaving me and Zack in the house alone.
“Sorry, he’s a bit strange,” Zack explained, smile falling from his face when the door shut behind Jack. “So I guess you won’t want to sleep in the room he was in.
“You’d guess right,” I replied, fidgeting with my hands. This is all too awkward.
“That’s settled, then. I’ll get your bags.”
“No, I can do it. It’s fine.” I just need to get away from this weird atmosphere. It’s making me jumpy. Yay for childhood friends, right?
I went outside and to his car. I grabbed my bags and looked out at the street. I could very easily walk away from this house and from Zack, go to another hotel, and stay there. But why turn down a house if you have to choose between that and a hotel? Because of a friend who’s now a stranger. But even with that thought, I turned back to the house.
The banging of drums lurched me out of my slumber. I didn’t know Zack played drums, but then, I don’t know anything about him anymore.
“You boys are going to wake Lily up,” Mrs. Merrick warned as I walked downstairs, my hair in a ponytail and dressed in sweats.
“Lily? Who’s Lily?” a strange voice asked.
“Zack, dude. Do you have a girlfriend?” There’s another strange voice. Strangers in a stranger’s house. How comforting.
“Ha, no. She’s really weird and fidgety.” Well, Zack, I’m not the only weird one in this house, am I?
I joined Mrs. Merrick in the kitchen as the drums continued. “Oh, I knew they’d wake you.”
“It’s no big deal. I needed to wake up, anyway,” I assured her.
“These boys,” she muttered, getting some snacks ready. “They are just like little kids.” Going into the fridge, she reached for some Coke cans. “Do you want one?”
“No, ma’am. Water would be lovely, though.”
Mrs. Merrick obliged, handing me a bottle and the tray with snacks and drinks on it. “Here, take this in to the boys, please. I have to get ready to go to the hotel.” Mrs. Merrick rushed back upstairs, leaving me in the kitchen.
I walked into the living room where there were five guys messing around, a radio blaring – the source of the drums. “Ummm, your mom told me to bring these out, so..Here,” I placed the tray down on the coffee table in front of Zack before turning for the stairs.
“Woah, is that Lily?”
“Dude, she doesn’t look weird.”
“She saw my dicck,” Jack proclaimed proudly.
And then came the chorus of confused voices. “What?”
“Why are you all surprised? He does it all the time.” That was Zack. I know two out of five voices. This is comforting.
“So, she’s living in your house but you aren’t interested?”
“While this is a lot of fun, she is still standing right there.” Well, that means that either Zack really wants to talk about how weird and disgusting I am, or he’s not interested and doesn’t want to talk about it. I’m hoping for the latter.
“Bye, Lily!” the voices chorused as I carried on to the stairs.
I stopped halfway up the stairs, waiting to hear about what they had to say. No, I shouldn’t do this. Do I even care? No. No, I don’t. He can say whatever he wants to. It won’t bother me, not a bit.
Just as I lifted my foot to finish walking up the stars, Mrs. Merrick came down.
“Are you just going to stay in the room all day?” she asked, standing a step above me. I just looked at her. “Why don’t you go meet all of Zack’s friends, and then all of you can hang out together, alright?” She put an arm around me and herded me down the stairs, dropping her arm when we reached the living room where the boys were.
“Alright, you guys, I’m off to work. Don’t scare Lily off.” With that, Mrs. Merrick was out the door.
The guys stared at me as I stood there, fidgeting with my water bottle. Zack gave a pointed look at one of the strange guys before turning back to me.
“Well, umm….I’ll just be on my way, actually,” I mumbled, turning back for the stairs.
There was a muddled conversation, the sound of someone getting hit, and then, “Uhh, Lily? You can stay in here if you want to.” Zack. He’s probably just saying this because his friends made him. Even still, I turned o my heel in front of the kitchen doorway before walking back to the center of the living room.
The guys’ names were Rian, Alex, and Marr, plus Jack and Zack. Zack, Jack, Rian, and Alex are in a band and Matt is their tour manager. Well, he will be, if All Time Low ever makes it. They’ve released an EP, and that’s about it. But they’re working on more music, just waiting for their time to shine. They have constant rehearsal, seeing as they need to practice and be ready for anything, especially an agent stranded here in Baltimore outside Zack’s house who thirsts for water and is drawn to his house by the ‘fucking sweet music.’ That’s Jack’s idea, anyway. He has a fairly hardworking imagination.
“I hope our first festival gig is Warped,” Rian said. He tends to be on the quiet side, I’ve observed in the past hour and a half. However, when something’s on his mind, he’ll say it, no matter what.
“Warped would be fucking awesome!” Jack yelled. He’s like a toddler, really. He’s loud, likes to run around, and is, all around, just weird.
“What’s Warped?” I asked tentatively from my spot between Matt and Zack on the couch. Matt turned to look at me incredulously while the other guys just put their heads in their hands.
“What’s Warped? WHAT’S WARPED?!” he yelled, jumping off the couch. “Warped is only the best music festival in the world, alright? All these great bands come together all summer and play their hearts out to screaming teenagers. It’s beautiful, really.”
“Bands like yours?” I asked Zack. Before he could answer, Matt jumped in.
“All bands, near and far. They all love each other when they get to do Warped together.”
“Unless you’re Blood on the Dance Floor. Then everyone hates you,” Alex explained.
“Do you know anything about music, honestly?” Matt asked. I shook my head and he sighed before slumping back onto the couch. I just shrugged and got up, walking back upstairs to take a shower and get dressed.
“Why is she living here anyway?” Rian asked Zack. I was eavesdropping from the kitchen. Wait, is it seen to be eavesdropping if the people you’re listening to aren’t even trying to be quiet? I don’t think so.
“I don’t know. All I know is that she was gonna check in at the hotel and then my mom saw her and insisted she stay here,” Zack replied.
“Did you know here before?” Matt asked.
“We used to be best friends.”
“So you were friendzoned?” That was Alex.
“No, we just grew apart. High school does that to you.”
“You liked her though, didn’t you?” Alex, why are you so interested in this? I don’t see how it matters to you.
“Well, I mean, yeah. But that was a long time ago. Things change.”
WHY AM I JUST NOW FINDING OUT ABOUT THIS? I can’t handle knowing things like this about an ex-best friend.
“Did she like you back?”
“I don’t know. Doubtfully. I mean, it doesn’t seem like she likes me now, so I would guess not.”
“Maybe she’s just nervous around strangers.”
“But we’re not strangers. We’ve known each other forever!”
“Au, contraire. How long has it been since you actually talked?” Why are the guys so interested in this? It’s weirding me out.
“Five years, I guess,” Zack replied. He’s right, it has been five years. In hindsight, I realize that it’s a long time, a lot longer than I ever wanted to go without talking to one of my best friends.
“A lot can change about a person in five years. You don’t know each other anymore.”
I have to stop this before they end up having a fucking schoolgirl pow wow.
“So, what’s up?” I asked, walking to the living room to join them. They all looked alarmed to see me, and then made themselves look normal. I know what you guys were talking about, no need for secrets.
“Well, it’s only 8. We can get an hour or two of rehearsal in, can’t we?” Rian asked.
“Yeah, sure,” Alex agreed, getting up and leading us all elsewhere.
“You’re gonna like it, I know,” Marr said, walking next to me to the basement where they rehearse.
“I hope so. Otherwise, I’d have to set the equipment on fire.” Matt laughed and we walked downstairs. There were soundproof walls, one huge drum set, a bunch of speakers and mic stands, and, in the corner, two guitars and a bass. Rian seated himself behind the drums, Alex grabbed a guitar and headed to the center mic. Jack grabbed another guitar and settled himself at the mic on Alex’s right. That left Zack with the bass and mic on Alex’s left.
When they began to play, I was immediately entranced. They were absolutely phenomenal. It was a wonder they haven’t made it to Hollywood yet, they’re good enough to get there. I can just picture them a few years from now, walking around Hollywood like they owned the place. They very well could.
Suddenly, the tempo shifted. They had finished the last song, which has seemed pretty upbeat,, before slowing down a good bit. When Alex started in on the song, I could tell it meant a lot to him. He had obviously written this from the heart. I made a mental note to ask about it later, and shifted my attention back to the boys, still playing their hearts out.
“Did you enjoy it?” Jack asked when they finished playing. He came and flopped down in my chair, sprawling across my lap.
“Yeah, it was really good, actually,” I responded, attempting to lift him off. It was no use. He had settled down and I knew it’d take an act of congress to remove him.
“Jack, honestly. You just met Lily yesterday. You are not close enough to keep doing weird stuff like that,” Alex sighed, motioning to us in the chair.
“WE ARE BEST FRIENDS!” Jack screamed, clutching onto the chair to keep from falling.
I settled down into my chair while the guys joked around. Finally, Jack moved and I got even more comfortable, falling asleep a couple of hours after the rehearsal.
“We didn’t lose her, mom. She’s right here.”
“I don’t know, you’ll have to ask her.”
“At least get her a blanket.”
“Mom, if she wanted a—“
I was still half asleep while this conversation continued. I wanted to wake up, but I couldn’t.
“Good. Now make sure she’s comfortable. I’m going back to bed.”
Zack grumbled under his breath before bringing the blanket over. While he draped it over me, his hand brushed my most ticklish spot – my side. I giggled and he jerked away in surprise.
“You’re awake?” he asked.
“A little,” I admitted, opening an eye to look at him.
“I was asleep, but then I heard you and your mom, so I kinda woke up a bit, but I’m still mostly asleep,” I explained.
“Why did you sleep down here in the first place?”
“It wasn’t planned, it just happened. But now that I’m awake, I’ll just go to bed.”
“Not after I brought you that blanket,” Zack warned.
“I do what I want.” I said simply before standing up, throwing the blanket at him, and running for the stairs.
“I swear to god,” he growled, throwing the blanket at my retreating form. I screamed and ducked as it whizzed by before continuing on to freedom.
I had almost made it to the door when hands grabbed around my waist and hosted me into the air. I squealed as Zack carried me down the stairs I had just run up, stopping halfway down to grab the abandoned blanket.
“Zack, put me down right now,” I said between laughs.
“Or what? You’ll throw a blanket at me?”
“You threw that blanket at me, too.”
Zack rolled his eyes and finally put me down on the chair I had previously vacated. As he was recovering me in the blanket, he began speaking. “Now you look like a baby being tucked into bed. How cute,” he laughed, looking at me when he was done with the blanket. “Now go to sleep.”
“Make me,” I retorted, quicker than I could think about it. He stared at me and I at him for a few minutes before he withdrew, turning for the stairs. A few moments later, I untucked myself and followed suit.
The next morning, I headed downstairs for some water and bacon that had been left un-policed on the kitchen counter. The guys were all in the living room, meaning that Zack’s house is obviously the hang out place.
“You and Lily would make a cute couple,” Rian said nonchalantly.
I almost choked on my bacon. What? WHAT?
“Umm, what?” Zack laughed awkwardly.
“You and Lily would make a cute couple.”
“I think Cass has been rubbing off on you, dude,” Alex said.
“I could see it,” Jack stated.
“Lily and Zack being together.”
“Just because we used to be friends doesn’t mean we are now,” Zack reminded them.
“But you like her. Or you did and now that she’s back you’re remembering just how much you liked her.” Rian, why are you analyzing everything? There is no need for that.
“Fine, I liked her when we were friends and for a bit in high school, but were not friends and we’re not in high school.” Zack explained. Oh, he liked me. That’s great to know NOW.
“Friends don’t just stop being friends. You may not talk to each other, or even be close anymore, but that doesn’t mean that the echoes of a friendship aren’t still there,” Rian said.
“That was definitely from Cass,” Alex laughed.
“Maybe. But it’s still true.”
Then, my phone rang. Suddenly, all chatter stopped in the living room. Shit. I fumbled with my phone and finally answered the call. “Hello?” I asked, entering the living room like I hadn’t just heard the boys’ conversation.
“Yes, this is Tim from Bug Off! I was calling to speak to Lily about the fumigation.”
“This is she,” I replied. Hopefully, the house would be fine so I could go back. It’s been two days, now. I sat down next to Alex on the couch, all the guys looking amongst each other worriedly.
“We have some bad news.”
Of course you do. “What is it?”
“It’s gonna take a bit longer than we expected. It’ll be about two more days,” he told me.
“But, since I gave you an incorrect assessment, these two days will be half-price.”
“Well, thank you,” I told him, rolling my eyes. I just want to get to the bottom of the boys’ conversation without it being obvious.
“Alright, I’ll get back to work. We should be done in two days. I’ll be in touch.”
I hung up then, refusing to trade pleasantries. I just want my house to be clean so I can sell it and leave.
“Who was that?” Jack asked when I put my phone on the table.
“Someone who’s helping get the house ready for sale.”
“You’re selling your house?” Rian, stop asking questions. I think you’ve uncovered enough for today.
“Yeah. I mean, I don’t plan on ever being back here unless there’s something I can’t get away from,” I answered.
I saw Rian and Zack exchange a look before Rian continued. “How long do you have to sell the house?”
“I’m putting it on the market whether I’m here or not, but I’d love to sell it before I go back to school after Spring Break.”
“How long will that be?”
“A week and a half.”
“Well, you heard her. A week and a half before she leaves for school again. There is no way I am going to risk starting something and having to end it in a week and a half,” I yelled into my phone.
Rian sighed. “It wouldn’t be risky or anything. I can tell she likes you.”
“I’m sure. Look, I appreciate it and all, but I refuse to make an attempt at something that most definitely won’t—Oh, hey. What’s up?” Lily had walked into my doorway, waiting for me to end the conversation.
“I’m gonna go to the park or something. I just feel like being outside,” she answered.
“What’s up? Dude, we’ve been talking for ten minutes now!” Rian yelled.
“Not you, Rian, you idiot.” Zack turned to Lily. “Just be careful, alright?” She nodded and walked away, beginning her trek down the stairs.
“Oh, Lily. What’s up?” Rian asked.
“She’s going to the park or something,” I replied.
“And you’re still standing there talking to me why?” Rian’s sass level was on the rise. I don’t have time for him to be Counselor Cass.
“She told you she was going to the park because she wants you to come with her. Duh.”
“No, she didn’t.”
“Yeah, she did. Now go.” Rian hung up afterwards, leaving me in silence.
“Hey, Lily, wait up!” I yelled, jogging to catch up with her on the sidewalk. I hate myself for listening to Rian, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t feel something for Lily, even if it is just an echo of high school feelings. Still, she looked confused by my appearance. Rian gave me the wrong advice, or so it seems. Figures.
“Rian said I should come with you. It gets a bit sketchy at night,” I explained.
“Oh, well that’s nice,” Lily smiled before turning around and continuing on her journey to the park. We walked in silence for a while, me slightly behind her, before she broke it. “You know, we haven’t really hung out since the summer before Junior year.”
“I don’t know, I saw you at some parties. From across the room. While you talked to your little preppy friends,” I teased.
“Come on, you know those don’t count,” Lily laughed, bumping my shoulder before grabbing my upper arm and holding it while we walked.
“Yeah, but it’s the only time I got to see you being preppy with your preppy friends.”
“Oh, shut up. I wasn’t that bad,” Lily defended.
“True, but look at how awesome the guys and I are! You were destined for awesome,” I explained.
“So I’m not awesome now?”
“You’re getting there,” I smiled. Lily shoved me away before linking arms again.
“This walk is a lot longer than I expected. I guess I’m just used to going from my house,” Lily mused, still attached to my arm.
“We could’ve taken my car, but you seemed to be really into the idea of walking.”
“Yeah, but now I regret it. Carry me?” she asked, giving me the puppy dog eyes, the eyes she knows always work on me.
I was going to resist, I was. But then she turned on the eyes full force. Shit. “Ugh, fine,” I told her, turning around, waiting for her to jump on my back.
“You do realize there’s a height difference, right? I can’t jump up there!”
“Whatever, short stack,” I joked, squatting a bit to let Lily get on my back. Once she was secure, we headed on our way.
“I love coming out here at night. It’s my favorite thing to do,” Lily sighed, twirling the swing she was on.
“I remember. You came out here all the time,” I replied.
“You would never come out here because ‘parks are for girls!’ “ she grossly exaggerated my voice.
“Hey, I had a reputation to uphold!”
“For what? Running away when girls got too close?” Lily joked.
“That was only for the ones that weren’t accepted into the club!”
“God, I miss being a little kid. It didn’t matter what you did or who you liked or anything. You just existed.” After a moment of us sitting in silence, Lily got up. “Come on,” she held her hand out to me.
“We are not leaving if I just carried your lazy asss out here,” I warned, grabbing her hand anyway.
“Well it’s a good thing we’re not leaving yet, isn’t it?” Lily led me to a spot cleared out in the middle but surrounded by trees on all sides. When she reached the clearing, she let go of my hand and plopped down on the grass, lying back, face to the stars.
“So, we’re stargazing?” I asked, settling down next to her.
“Duh. The stars are beautiful and so…Constant. And, unlike most people, they’re there even when they change, if that makes sense,” Lily explained, snuggling into my side.
I woke to the sound of a bird right next to my face. When I shifted to block the sunlight from burning my retinas, Lily stirred, her head on my chest. I reached into my pocket to pull out my phone only to discover that it was dead. Great.
“Lily, wake up,” I said, shaking her arm lightly.
“No. Go away,” she grumbled, turning her face farther into my shirt.
“We kinda slept in the park, so you might want to wake up,” I explained.
Lily woke and snapped into a sitting position. “What?! We slept here?”
“Apparently so,” I mused.
“Shiit. Why are you still laying down? Come on, get up!” she yelled.
“Chill out,” I replied, sitting up. “My mom’s probably not even home yet.” I got up to stand next to Lily and stretched. Sleeping on the ground is not recommended.
“What time is it?” Lily asked.
“I don’t know. My phone died. Check yours.”
“I kinda left mine at your house.”
“I didn’t think we’d be here all night!” Lily shrieked. I didn’t think I could deal with her voice getting any more shrill, so I grabbed her hand and started leading her away from the park, on the route back to my house.
“Where have you been?” my mom shrieked when Lily and I stepped inside.
“We were at the park, I—“ I began.
“How come you couldn’t answer your phone?” mom cut in.
“My phone died. We-“ Once again, I was cut off.
“And you didn’t even leave me a note! I dammn near had a heart attack!”
“We didn’t mean to fall asleep,” I assured her.
Mom just shook her head and turned to Lily who was trying to make herself as small as possible, slightly behind me. “Your phone has gone off once or twice, I think.”
“Thank you,” Lily replied, not looking her in the eye. Mom turned to walk away, and Lily and I escaped upstairs. When Lily went off to find her phone, I followed after.
“I guess my mom was home. Whoops,” I shrugged as Lily picked up her phone from the bedside table. She had a voicemail.
“She didn’t seem too happy,” she recalled, punching the code into her voicemail. I stood there while she listened to the message.
“Who was that?” I asked when she closed her phone.
“The bug guy.”
“I had to get my house fumigated before I could sell it,” Lily explained.
“So you’re selling it and going back off to college?” I asked.
“Yeah, that’s the plan. And with the money I get from the house, I can get an apartment in North Carolina for me to finish off school and stay.”
“Oh,” I mumbled, looking down and taking a few steps back.
“Yeah. I guess I’ll go pay the bill and contact my realtor.” Lily brushed past me on the way out, leaving me standing in the room alone.
She was going to leave, no glances behind her, no regrets. She was going to leave just when I was ready to acknowledge my feelings for her. Just my luck.
“Hey, Rian. Weren’t you and Alex looking for a house?” I asked when he entered the kitchen.
“Yeah, you know of one?”
“Of course I do. I know it quite well, actually. And I think you like the current owner,” I explained.
“Who’s the owner?”
After discussing the details, Rian ran into the living room. “Alex, we’re gonna get our house!”
“All the better to love you with!” Alex yelled dramatically before launching into a hug.
“Where’d you find a house?” Zack asked the two, confusion on his face.
“Lily is selling hers.”
“You’re buying the house? Already? Now, she’ll be able to leave even faster.”
“What?!” the guys yelled in unison.
“She’s selling her house and moving to North Carolina. Permanently,” Zack explained.
Well, yeah, I was. But why was this such a big deal? Everyone knew it was gonna happen. I need to stop eavesdropping from the kitchen. This is getting outlandish.
“But you don’t even like her that much, I thought. Why is this such a big deal?” Matt asked. Yes, someone else speaking some sense.
“Well, I…” Zack began.
The plate I was holding and preparing to put in the cabinet fell from my hands and crashed to the floor upon hearing Zack’s statement. Stop feeling things for me. I can’t handle it. Not now.
“What the hell?” Jack grumbled, entering the kitchen. He stepped inside and saw the pieces of plate scattered everywhere, surrounding me. I just stood there, shocked.
“Jack, what happened?” Zack called from the living room.
Jack looked at me for a while, contemplating an answer before he called back, “A plate just fell off the counter, is all.” I ran upstairs, leaving Jack to deal with the broken plate.
room, packing up