The flight to Bora Bora was intense. Lilith stayed away from Skye as much as possible and slept through most of it.
Riley and I watched a movie and he asked me about Kai. I talked about him, how we met, what we’ve been through ever since I was away and how the distance made us cherish the times we were together.
“Sounds to me like you’re in love,” Riley said and I nodded.
“That’s because I am. I’ve never met anyone as wonderful as him.”
“Oh come on, As. You know that’s a lie,” Riley winked and I laughed.
“Okay, okay! His sister Hannah is just as wonderful.” Riley looked disappointed because he was thinking of himself when he winked and I just made fun of him.
He sighed and looked at Lilith who sat on my left.
“She’s been sleeping for a long time,” He commented.
“That’s because we’ve been on the plane for almost a whole day. It’s reasonable she’s tired.”
“I guess, but it’s so unlike Lilith” I shrugged even though what he said was true. Lilith never slept in and never liked to sleep for longer than six hours.
“So,” I said trying to change the subject. “Have you ever been to Bora Bora?”
“Oh yes. Abbott takes me, Ford and Skye with him every single year but this year, his parents wanted him to leave early. Probably because Lilith was going with you and they wanted to spend their time with him. But it’s the first year Lilith’s ever invited anyone.”
“Well, I’m honored. She’s my best friend and I’d never change that for the world.”
“You know what we’ve all noticed?”
I shook my head.
“Lilith’s been more open with you than with anyone else. From the first day on. It’s really surprised us all how quickly you two became friends. Mostly because Lilith has always had major trust issues.”
“What do you mean?”
“She didn’t tell you? I guess you should hear it from her, then.” I didn’t reply to what Riley said because my mind was trying to make sense of his words.
The first thing we did when we landed was follow Lilith to meet Abbott. He was standing next to a limo, that was clearly our ride. Abbott gave all of us a hug, but there was a smile reserved especially for me. I was new to this place and there was so much to see. That’s why my first thought of his smile was that it meant trouble.
During the ride, I sat next to Lilith and even though she was all moody, some of her sarcastic personality returned.
“Let’s play truth or dare,” Abbott wiggled his eyebrows.
“Not again,” I groaned. Most of the times when we’re alone, the guys want to play either that or Never Have I Ever.
“Scared?” Riley sent me a wicked grin and handed each one of us a glass of champagne.
“Wouldn’t dream of it.” I replied, daring Riley to respond. Ford spoke as he raised his glass.
“A toast first.”
“To what will we toast this year?” Skye asked.
“I think we should toast to Astrid. She’s the new edition to our gang after all,” Lilith said and Abbott nodded in agreement as I blushed.
“To Astrid,” everyone said as they raised their glasses. I smiled shyly, shaking my head in amazement. Those were my friends. A year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me the friends I had would betray me, I’d transfer schools and meet these wonderful people.
A year ago, I wouldn’t have believed you if you told me I’d get a boyfriend, lose my virginity and connect with my brother again. It’s funny how much life can change in a year, isn’t it?
The drive didn’t take us that long but I enjoyed the view all the same. I have never thought I’d be leaving the country and going on a vacation with anyone.
When we arrived to their vacation house, my mouth dropped open. It was like this huge mansion with a beautiful garden and all these trees. There was a beach and not to mention a pool. If I thought my parents had money, it was nothing like what the Arwens had.
“It’s a lot to take in, isn’t it?” Lilith whispered when we both stepped out of the car. Maids took our bags and carried them to our rooms and even though the guys went their own way, Lilith wanted me to follow her.
“I knew you had a lot money, but Lilith... this is more than just a lot.”
“Yeah,” She said, not really looking me in the eye.
“What’s wrong?” I asked my best friend, concerned about the way she walked. She looked almost as sad.
“I never take anyone here with me.” She had told me. “I heard the conversation you and Riley had on the plane.” She explained.
“He told me you have trust issues.”
I nodded, but didn’t push her any further. It was clear she didn’t want to talk about it. We walked in silence for a few moments, passing the house and heading to the beach, sand slipping into our shoes. Lilith picked a spot away from people so that we could get some privacy. She sat down under a tree and I did too, taking my shoes off so my feet could run through the sand.
“You’re not going to ask me why, are you?” Lilith said after a couple of silent moments passed between us, swallowed by the sound of the ocean.
“I’m not going to force you to talk to me if you don’t want to,” I told her truthfully. She met my gaze, her blue eyes ripping into me as she tried to fight back tears. Instantly, as I saw the tears in her eyes, I sat closer and wrapped my arms around her.
“Hey, don’t cry,” I said to her.
She shook her head, laughing at herself a little. “I just can’t believe I met you. Out of all people that could be assigned to share a room with me, you were the one.”
“I hope that’s a good thing,” I said puzzled, awkwardly laughing with her.
“It is. I’ve been hurt by so many of my friends. But they were never really my friends in the first place, you know?”
“Yeah, I know what that feels like.” I wiped a tear from her cheek and she leaned her head on my shoulder.
“When you told me why you transferred, I just got the feeling I could trust you. You knew what it felt like to be betrayed and I knew that as well. And as crazy as it sounds, I started trusting you as soon as you started trusting me.”
“I don’t want to go all aw on you but aw,” I said to her.
Lilith laughed again but then turned serious. “My family always had money but we also had people waiting to take advantage of us. When I started going to school, I always had friends. In seventh grade, I was accepted to the cheerleading squad and I’ve met new people. It wasn’t until I overheard them talking at a sleepover that I found out all kinds of friendships I had were fake. The girls spread rumors about me and made fun of my eyebrows. They were nice to me when I was around, but they gossiped and talked about me when I wasn’t. The bullying got really bad when I started being confronted in the bathroom, getting notes in my lockers and finding my clothes torn after PE. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I asked my parents to switch schools. But even as I did that, the gossip reached me every time.”
“I’m sorry,” I said to Lilith.
“Why? It wasn’t you who hurt me. It was them.”
“Still, it’s not easy to go through this. I can’t even imagine how you must’ve felt.” Our situation was quite different but if Lilith had to transfer schools more than one time, it had to be horrible.
“It wasn’t easy, you’re right. My parents didn’t think there was any other solution than to send me to school with Abbott. In New York. I never told anyone about the money because everybody would think of us as privileged and would treat us differently. Abbott seemed to keep it a secret as well. So, I learned from him. I’ve been avoiding everyone and mostly hung out with my brother and his friends. If anyone gave me a hard time, I learned to step up for myself. But that only happened once - with my previous roommate. Everyone else was pretty much harmless.”
“I’m glad. I’m glad that everything turned out well at the end, Lilith. And screw them! Eyebrow power all the way.”
Lilith laughed and she hugged me. “Thank you for listening to me. I’m glad I took you here and told you the truth.”
“I’ll always be here to listen to you, Lil. All you need to do is say the word and I’ll be by your side.”
We’ve known each other for only a few months, but I felt like it’s been forever. Sometimes, you just clicked with other people and found it easy to confide in them. Lilith was one of those people that I trusted more than anyone. Somehow, our personalities just matched. She brought out sides of me that I wouldn’t normally show and I did the same with her.
I was lucky to have her by my side as she was there when I needed her the most and I could only hope to be there when she needed me.
Lilith was not my best friend.
She was my sister.