Crisp, autumn air. Leaves changing colors as they fall and hit the ground was the season Holden Preston was waiting for. Pulling his jacket over his semi-broad shoulders, he was excited about what this school year was going to bring to him. More importantly, he was excited to finally express himself to the one girl he’d always have trouble talking to.
Soft, doe brown eyes that make Holden melt every time he sees them. Highlighted brown hair that stops just near the middle of her back. She was petite in size, but she wears her heart on her sleeve as no one else can. As sweet as she can be, acting off emotions was the one thing that sometimes got her into trouble. However, Holden didn’t seem to mind at all. In fact, that was what made her stand out from the rest to him.
They’ve been friends since the fifth grade. Ever since his family moved from the United Kingdom to the states, he’s always been different from the rest of them. Hailey and the gang accepted him with open arms. Making Holden feel appreciated. They were now juniors in high school where they start to develop emotional connections with others. Hailey was that “other” for him. But the thought that always lingered in his fragile mind was; could she ever feel the same way he did?
The thought of rejection was daunting, petrifying even! What was he to do if she didn’t feel the same? Move on? Sure, but Holden knew he would never find someone as quirky, yet wholesome as, Hailey. How can he convey his feelings without being too forthcoming? Maybe write a poem about how her laugh is so infectious, it makes his heart skip a million beats? Or maybe serenade her with a beautiful piece of music? Yeah, like he can sing.
The best he could do was be honest. Hailey was very understanding and they’d built such a strong bond that even if she did reject him, their friendship would remain the same. That was just what he wanted and it made him more confident in telling her the truth.
Picking the most elegant rose he could find; he walked his way down to school grinning from ear to ear. It was a short five-minute walk, but he never minds it. His parents moved close because they were always so busy running their family-owned hotel, The Preston Inn. They could have lived in a bigger home, in a prettier town, but they were very humble people. Money should be saved, not spent on ridiculous-sized houses or cars. At least, that’s what they thought.
Holden approached the school’s grounds and instantly got nervous when he saw Hailey standing in front of the building. Her brown locks flowed in the cool morning breeze, making her cheeks a rose color. She didn’t seem to bring a jacket as the cold meant nothing to her. What was shocking was seeing Tyler next to her.
Tyler Thrombi. Also, very tall, with slender green eyes and short brown hair. His body was very muscular looking as Tyler enjoyed hanging around a gym. This was Holden’s best friend. The guy that always looked out for him when Holden couldn’t speak up for himself. As Holden wasn’t as strong as him or anywhere near as mean, he knew that one day he would thank Tyler for how much he went out of his way to protect him.
That still didn’t answer the question. Why was, Tyler, there so early? Usually, Hailey is the first to get there, followed by Holden, then Tati, their other friend, and Tyler is always the last one. In fact, he’s late most of the time due to his messing about with some girl he found attractive that week. It was strange and it only got stranger.
They began talking as Holden tried to watch from a distance. His mind was racing and his chest tightened. He clutched the rose, that he picked at the stem not even thinking about the thorns that were pricking him in the palm of his hand. What he was witnessing was heart-wrenching. Gut stabbing...
They shared a kiss.
Not one, but two, no three kisses!
Were his eyes deceiving him? Was that really Tyler, his best friend, and Hailey, the girl of his dreams, sharing the one thing he could only imagine sharing with her? Disbelief washed over him as he dropped the rose and stomped on it in the process. His heart was broken and the thought of telling her how he felt cleansed itself out of his mind. He’d be put to rest before ever confessing anything to her. Especially now that she seemingly was with his best friend.
What was left for him to do?
He’d accept it and try to move on, but the love story he’d thought would play out for the rest of his life was dead.
And so was his heart.