“Yeah,” I answered. Nathan is back? Since when? “How do you know he’s back?”
“He called me,” Audrey said. “He didn’t say much about where he was or what he did but he’s back for sure. Wait, he didn’t tell you?”
“I’m going to beat the shit out of him,” she snarled.
“What about me? What did you tell him?”
“That you were doing good. I told him you took a year off before starting college, and started working as a barista. He's glad you're doing well. He told me he missed the good old days when the three of us hung out."
Nathan had it all. He had the looks, the money, and the girls. He could have had any girl without even having to ask, but for some reason he didn't. I lost hope once junior year came around and kept my crush for him a secret, at least between Audrey and I.
The more time we spent together, the closer we got. Nathan and Audrey were a big part of my life during high school, especially after my parents disappearance. I had seen many times that those who others once called their friends suddenly turned against them when they wanted nothing to do with their problems. Audrey and Nathan weren't like that.
I met Audrey in the seventh grade. I was your typical good girl. School was like religion to me. I was one of the top students, always had straight good grades, always on time to class, never missed school, and always did my work.
Audrey was miss popular all throughout middle school and high school — everyone wanted to be her friend. She always had at least a passing grade in her classes, would always come to school but showed up late to some classes, and talked a lot.
As we walked together, we talked about many things — your typical teenage girl things. I was never really used to talking this much with anyone my age especially. I always kept to myself most times unless it involved a group project or activity.
I found out that they lived in the same community as I did. In fact, we actually lived near each other — we were neighbors.
When I graduated from high school, I wanted to move out of Audrey's house. Her family had taken me under their wing after my parents disappearance. Audrey and I were in eighth grade when it happened.
I moved out because I wanted to be independent. I didn't like the idea of staying near my old home. It brought back memories of them. After they disappeared, I had gone through a severe depression.
Did they leave because of me? Why didn't they come back home? Were they okay? Were they alive?
It has been over five years and I still haven't heard anything. No one had. My parents never got to see me grow through all these years. They didn't see me graduate from middle school or high school. They disappeared my 8th grade year of middle school. I didn't know when I would be see them again or if I would ever see them again.
I was brought back from my thoughts when I noticed I was approaching the coffee shop I worked at. Once I reached the coffee shop, I parked my car at the back of the building and went in through the back door.
"Morning Lincoln," I said as I walked past him.
"Morning Emma," he smiled.
I met Lincoln when I started working as a barista three months ago. He was my mentor and taught me the ropes of the coffee shop. Whenever I needed help, he would stop whatever he was doing and help me. It wasn't long before we became friends.
I put on an apron, securing it tightly around my neck and waist, and stood behind the cash register. I greeted the first customer that walked in.