An Old Friend
"Ugh," I groan as I stand up from in front of the toilet for the fourth time today. "This sucks."
I flush the toilet and walk back to my room, plopping onto the bed and turning on my radio. Empty by The Click Five is on, my favorite song. Well at least something is going my way today, I think to myself as the lead singer begins to sing.
Tried to take a pictureOf loveDidn't think I'd miss herThat muchI want to fill this new frameBut its empty
Tried to write a letterIn inkIts been getting betterI thinkI got a piece of paperBut its emptyIts empty
Oh oh Oh oh Oooooh Oh oh Oh oh
I nod my head to the beat as I listen to the instrumental solo. I continue to listen as the singer continues, not singing along this time.
Maybe we're trying Trying too hard Maybe we're torn apart Maybe the timing Is beating our hearts We're empty
We're empty We're empty
The song ends and I smile in delight at having something go my way today. I'm about to fall asleep to the sound of the radio when I hear my doorbell ring for the second time today. I sigh in aggravation. Any other day I'd be fine with visitors, but today I just wanted to be alone.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm coming," I say as I reach the door. "Yeah? What do y-"
I stop midsentence as my eyes take in the boy before me. He's a little taller than me and has short, sandy brown hair. His eyes are a deep chocolate color and he has long eyelashes that any girl would kill for.
"Hey Cici," he says with a sheepish smile.
I stare at the boy before forcing out a reply, "Alex?"
"Yeah, it's me. It's been awhile, I'm surprised you still recognize me."
"Ten years," I say quietly.
"Oh! C-Come in!" I say quickly.
"Oh, okay," he says and walks into the house. He stands there awkwardly, not sure what to do.
"You can sit down and I'll go get us something to drink," I say and walk to the kitchen. I come back out a few minutes later with a couple sodas. I hand one to Alex and sit on the couch across from him.
"Thanks," he says and opens the soda, taking a long drink before setting it on the table in between us.
"No problem," I say and set my can down also. "So, what are you doing here?"
"Well, my family and I moved back to Bear Lake a few months ago. When we got there, I found out you had moved," he says sadly. "I had to see you, Cici. So, I tracked you down and ended up here in Pismo Beach."
"You tracked me down?"
"I told you, Cici. I needed to see you again," he says shyly. "I looked your family up in the phonebook, found your address, and now I'm here."
"I see you still have the locket I gave you," he says, pointing to the locket around my neck.
"I never take it off," I say with a small smile.
He smiles back and says, "Do you remember the day I gave it to you?"
"Of course, how could I ever forget?"
"You're moving?" I ask, tears brimming my eyes.
An eight-year-old Alex nods at me sadly, tears in his eyes also.
"But, what about me?" I ask quietly.
"You'll be okay, Cici," he says with a sad smile.
"But," I begin, tears spilling over, "I don't have any other friends."
Alex steps forward, putting his arms around me in a hug. I cry into his shirt, unable to hold back any tears. I hear him sniffling and look up to his face stained with tears. We both cry until we have no tears left, stepping away to look at each other.
"I have something for you," he says, reaching into his pocket. He pulls out a small heart-shaped locket that hangs on a chain.
"Turn around," he says and I oblige. I wait as he puts the locket around my neck and latches it together, making it stay in place around my neck. I turn back around and look at him, putting my hand up to the locket.
I open the locket and find a picture of the two of us. It was taken on the day we met at my seventh birthday party last year. We're both smiling in the picture, his fingers raised above my head to make bunny ears.
"It's so you'll never forget me," says Alex.
Tears begin to flow down my face again and I hug him tightly.
"Promise you won't?" he whispers.
"I promise," I sob. "And you won't forget me?"
"It feels like that was forever ago," I say quietly, looking at the floor.
"And a day hasn't gone by where I haven't thought of you," he says.
I look up to him looking at me with tender eyes. He hasn't changed at all, I think.
"When I left, I felt like...I felt like I was leaving a piece of me behind," he says shyly. "I guess that sounds kinda dumb, huh?"
I get up quickly and sit next to him on the other couch, shaking my head. "No, not at all. I felt the same way," I say. "You were my best and only friend, Alex. When you left, I had no one. Sure, I still had Gabe, but he was always hanging out with his friends. He offered me to come with him once but, middle schoolers don't want to hang out with an elementary schooler."
He hugs me closely as tears I didn't know were there run down my face.
"I was so alone, Alex," I cry.
"I know, I'm sorry," he says quietly, rubbing my back soothingly. When the tears finally stop he lets me go, backing up to look at me. I imagine my face is red and tear stained, eyes puffy from crying.
"It wasn't your fault your family moved," I say.
"I know, but I'm still sorry that you were alone."
I nod and lean into him, feeling his arms go around me comfortingly.
"So what now?" I ask.
"Now I'm going to move here, to Pismo Beach."
"You don't have to-"
"I won't leave you again, Cici. I can't leave you again," he says desperately. I nod and begin to think.
"You could always live here," I say suddenly.
"What? Would that be okay? I mean, with your parents?"
"I'm sure they wouldn't mind. They know you, and this house is plenty big enough."
"I don't know, Cici. I don't want to intrude on you guys all of a sudden," he says. I'm about to reply but am interrupted by the sound of knocking on the door.
"More visitors?" I groan and get up, sad to leave the comfort of Alex's body. I stalk to the door and open it angrily, irritated by the interruption. "What?" I growl.
"Hey there, Cici," says Amaimon, Egyn and Kage standing behind him. "We were worried when you didn't come to school so we came to check on you."
"Well, I'm fine so you can go now," I hiss.
"Is this because I took you drinking? I'm so sorry," wails Kage as he drops to his knees.
"Can you guys j-"
"Who's at the door, Cici?" asks Alex, getting up to come see.
"Just a few pests," I mutter.
"Pests?" asks Egyn.
Alex comes and stands in the doorway next to me, looking over the boys in curiosity. "Who are you?" he asks.
"I am Egyn and these are my brothers Kage and Amaimon," say Egyn while gesturing to his brothers. Then he narrows his eyes at Alex. "And who are you?"
"I'm Alex, Cici's old friend," he says and puts his arm around my shoulders casually. Egyn, Amaimon, and Kage all glare at him, then they turn to me in question.
"Like he said, he's my old friend Alex," I say, irritation clear in voice. They turn their eyes back to him and continue to glare.
"Just so you know, Alex, Cici is mine,"says Amaimon possessively. "So you better lay off."
"Actually, she's mine," says Kage. "But yeah, you better keep away from her."
"As usual, you are both wrong. Cici is mine," says Egyn.
The three continue to argue until I'm unable to control my anger.
"SHUT UP!" I yell, stopping the boys at once. "I am not anyone's! I am not some, possession! I am a living person and I don't belong to either of you! Now GO AWAY!"
The demons stare at me in shock, eyes wide and mouths gaping open.
"OUT!" I yell again. They stare at me for a bit longer before turning around reluctantly, leaving the house. I step out of the doorway and slam the door before stomping to my room, Alex following closely behind. I collapse onto my bed face down and groan into my pillow. I feel Alex sit on the bed next to me. He doesn't say anything and I look up in curiosity. He's looking around my room curiously. His eyes rest on my art wall and he stands up, walking over to get a better look.
"Did you draw these?" he asks in wonder.
"You bet," I say, smiling proudly.
"They're amazing...Are these those boys?" he asks, pointing at three drawings.
"Yes," I sigh. He turns around and looks at me.
"Who are those guys?"
"It's a long story."
"Well, I'm not going anywhere," he says with a smile.
I smile back and then sigh. "Alright, but you aren't going to like it."