Emma has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. They did everything together and he was never happier than he was when she was with him. So why should it matter to his parents (and several doctors) if she wasn't, strictly speaking, 'real.'
I wondered about this as I watched her. She was sitting on my sofa, attempting to beat my high score despite being awful at it. Turning her head to look at me, she shrugged and stuck her tongue out in concentration, then focused back on the game.
I hadn't had to worry about my parents judgement for the last three years, deciding on my fifteenth birthday that I would pretend I could no longer see Emma. They were thrilled when their little boy came home one day with a girlfriend.
Anna was cute and confident. So maybe she was a little controlling. Maybe she could be spiteful, just a little. I still liked her a lot. And she likes me too, I think. Most of the time.
I mean, its really only when I'm selfish or rude that she gets nasty. She makes sure to remind me that after every argument that is my fault. Which is pretty much all of them.
Emma is cute and cool in a different way. She didn't have blonde hair like Anna, but a brilliant shade of orange that surrounded her head in messy waves. Her eyes were a gorgeous brown and she had freckles like constellations across her nose and cheeks. Not that I compared them a lot.
"Hey, are you gonna come play or what?" Emma called from the edge of the sofa. I realised she had paused the game and was kneeling on the sofa watching me.
"Yeah, sorry. Lot on my mind. And, y'know, don't want to show you up like last time!" I vaulted the couch and landed next to her, grabbing the controls.
Soon after, my mum called me down for dinner. That was Emma's cue to vamoose, climbing out my window onto the tree outside and vanishing.
Dinner with my family is the same thing night after night. We exchange "how was your day"s and the like. I was surprised tonight when my mother skipped the pleasantries and addressed me as soon as I sat down.
"Did you hear?" She asked me, with an expectant look. I don't get why people do that. Did I hear what? I need more information! When I didn't answer she continued. "You're friend from when you were younger, at playschool? Her family is moving back to town!"
"You know I don't really remember much from when I was little mum. What friend?"
"M - something," was the unhelpful reply.
After that she got bored and changed the topic and I had my nightly phone call with Anna.
The school was buzzing with news of this girls return. I wasn't exactly popular before I got with Anna, but since then I had next to no friends. My old friends couldn't stand her and the feeling was mutual. They used me to get at each other so much I got tired of it and gave up.
I didn't see the new girl until lunch. I was walking through the corridors, trying not to get trampled by eager eleven year olds stampeding to the dinner hall. I looked up and there she was.
Talking to a couple of girls, probably the students asked to look after her for her first few days. Gorgeous ginger waves, deep brown eyes and a smattering of freckles. Emma.
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