Lost Soul

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Chapter 23

‘The saddest kind of sad is when your tears can’t even drop and you feel nothing. It’s like the world has just ended. You don’t cry, you don’t hear, you don’t see. You just stay there. For a second, the heart just dies.’

~ Anonymous

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He did not come to school the next day. Though Astrid pretended like she did not care, she was anxious. The others had no clue about it either. For the entire day, her mind kept drifting to him and finally she could not take it anymore.

He had checked up on her when she had a hard time and she was just going to return the favour. Nothing less nothing more. She decided to send him a text first.

Hey.

She did not type anything more. A solid fifteen minutes later, her phone vibrated in her pocket. She glanced at Mrs.Logan, who unfortunately had the eyes of a hawk when it came to students and cellphones. She pushed back the urge to check her phone and looked at the clock. Ten more minutes to go. Then she could go home. And check her phone.

Time dragged on during that ten minutes. It felt like a lifetime and finally the bell rang. As the other students jolted out of their seats to get out of the room, she quickly pulled out her phone.

Hey.

That was all and she could not help but frown. Now she finally understood how he might have felt when she gave him curt replies. She did not want to admit but it frustrated her.

I didn’t see you at school today. Is everything alright?

Her frown deepened as she read the text she had typed out but quickly sent it before she could change her mind. She slipped her phone back into her pocket and grabbed her stuff off the table, shoving it into her bag.

She passed several people along the corridor and even bumped into a few but still, her mind was on him. She had never seen him that angry and honestly, it scared a bit. She walked out of school and to her home after sending a quick message to Madilyn, who had always waited up for her for the past few days, that she was going home.

She reached home to find that no one was there. John always worked late and Tina would be back around seven. Natalia would be back in around an hour so she had the house to herself for some time.

She went up to her room and after changing, she went down to the kitchen and went through the fridge trying to find something to fill her empty stomach with. She grabbed the frozen pizza box and threw it in the microwave. While it was heating up, she grabbed her phone and checked if she had any messages. She tried not to be disappointed when she found none.

After stuffing herself, she went up to her room and decided to do her homework. It was almost six and the sun had begun to set by the time she was done with it. She heard the front door opening and figured it was Natalia when she heard the tv getting switched on. That girl would never miss even one episode of Friends.

(Listen to the song Sweet Night by V while reading the chapter. It’s SO worth it!)

Astrid walked up to the window and opened it, leaning outside and closing her eyes, as the gentle evening breeze brushed on her face. For a moment, she forgot about all her worries and gently started humming a soft tune. Her stiff shoulders relaxed for the first time that day as she sat by the window ledge, deep in her thoughts.

Faintly she heard her phone ringing and she absentmindedly pulled it out, glancing at the caller id. Realising who it was, she sat quickly sat up straight before answering it. She held the phone up to her ear but did not say anything. She knew he was on the other side and so did he. But neither of them uttered a word as the comforting silence passed between them.

A few moments later, Asher spoke up.

“Hey.”

“Hey.”

There was a pause again. This time, she spoke up.

“Are you alright?” she asked in a soft voice that she never knew she was capable of. To any other person, her question might sound normal but he understood what she meant.

“Yeah.” She did not believe a word that came out of his mouth but knew better than to pry. He would tell her when he wanted to. Just like how she would when she was ready. She heard him sigh softly at the other end as she gazed out of the window at the warm evening sun, her back pressed against the window ledge.

“What are you doing now?” he asked her, trying to sound nonchalant.

“Just finished my homework.” She carefully chose her next words.

“Do you want to get some ice cream?” She cringed at her words as soon as they left her mouth as she silently face palmed herself. Smooth. Real smooth. He did not reply and she felt like digging a hole and crawling into it and staying there for the rest of her life. She silently waited for his response while chewing on her bottom lip nervously.

“Yeah.” She let out a sigh of relief at his words but both missed the hidden happiness in each other’s words.

“Text me your address. I will pick you up.” She hesitated for a second with the address thing but decided to go with it, just hoping that she would not regret it in the end.

“Okay.”

“See you in fifteen minutes.” They hung up with wide grins on their faces. She quickly changed into a grey Adidas hoodie and black jeans before she quickly grabbed some of the money that Tina had given for her lunch at school and stuffed it into her pocket. She slipped on her white sneakers and walked downstairs to find Natalia sprawled out on the couch, munching on Oreos with her eyes trained on the tv before she saw her.

“Oh, hey Astrid!” She dramatically waved her hand before noticing her attire. “Are you going somewhere?”

“Yeah.” She sounded as nonchalant as ever.

“With who?” Natalia interrogated.

“A friend,” Astrid replied, looking amused as Natalia squinted her eyes at her while raising her eyebrow.

“Is it a boy?” When Astrid hesitated and didn’t reply, Natalia’s face immediately brightened up before a wide grin took over her features.

“It is a boy!” She jumped up and clapped her hands dramatically. “Who is it? Come on. Tell me.” She walked up to Astrid and nudged her with her elbow, while grinning slyly.

Astrid laughed as she pushed her cousin away. “Tell aunt that I will be home by ten at most.”

“Enjoy. And don’t do anything that you shouldn’t be doing!” Natalia yelled as she closed the door behind her. She shook her head at Natalia’s antics but could help feeling happy for some reason. She looked at the time and realised that he would be there anytime.

She heard his car before she saw it. She stood patiently as she waited for the car to come to a halt before opening the passenger door and sliding inside. She quickly buckled herself up and turned to look at him for the first time that day.

He looked the same as he usually did but she could tell that he did not feel the same. He looked good though, in a white tee with dark blue jeans. Neither of them spoke anything. It was becoming a thing between them. The silence. They just enjoyed each other’s presence. In a few minutes, he pulled up at the same ice cream shop that they had come with their friends after the movie, the same shop he had stormed out of. Astrid reached out to unbuckle her seatbelt when he stopped her.

“No. Wait here. I will be back in a second,” he said before getting out of the car and walking inside the shop. Astrid stared at his retreating back, confused but stayed put. A few moments later, he walked out with a chocolate cone and a vanilla cone in his hands, both wrapped up in tissues. He opened the door and handed it to her before getting inside and strapping himself up.

“Where are we going?”

“You will see,” he replied before adding, Hold mine for a few minutes, please, but don’t you dare eat it.”

“Yeah yeah,” she muttered, slightly rolling her eyes, her lips stretched back in a small smile.

He switched on the ignition and drove to god-knows-where as Astrid licked at her ice cream, glancing out of the window. The night was beginning to fall as the sun almost completely retreated into its confines.

They were driving past the woods and up the small hill, at whose foot their city laid. aA few more minutes later, he stopped the car and grabbed his ice creams from her hands, which had already started to melt. He unbuckled and got out of the car, with Astrid following him. They were almost at the top of the hill as they walked a bit further until they came to a small cliff-like structure overlooking the entire city.

Astrid could not help but gasp in surprise as she looked at the view in front of her. If she had called her bedroom view amazing, this was breathtaking. The majestic view of the skyline appeared with startling beauty. There wasn’t a cloud in the star-speckled sky as rows of towering skyscrapers stretched below her. A bright half-moon hovered at the fringes of the luminous cityscape, where the red blinking lights of distance radio towers.

Out of the corner of her eye, she saw Asher settling down on the slightly warm lush grass and she followed suit. They licked their ice creams peacefully, talking in the awe-striking view in front of them.

“It’s amazing”, she softly gasped, her eyes fixed at the sight in front of her.

He simply hummed in response. Again, silence invaded the space between them, though it didn’t bother them. It reminded them both of the night on Asher’s rooftop and couldn’t help but realise how similar it was to what was happening at the moment.

It was at that moment that something sparked between them. Though, unfortunately, they failed to realise something.

Both of them were falling. Hard.

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