FLAME

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All day... all alone...

I was walking to school followed by two confused gazes. Vian and Jay were curious and confused, but they followed me quietly giving me space. I was processing everything that happened last night. After I heard what he said, I slowly walked to my room without saying anything and went to bed.

I heard whispers of them outside my door until I fell asleep. I guess they were contemplating whether to knock on the door. I was grateful that they decided otherwise. I was neither in the mood nor in the right mind to talk. Strangely I slept very well but everything came back once I woke up in the morning.

It hurts to the extent that I can't even breathe. I want to cry but I couldn't. Something heavy in my chest making me breathe hard and blocking my tears to fall.

I know why it hurts. I can't even imagine him being with someone else. But more than that, it angered me that he didn't confide in me when it comes to his dating life. Jay was cool with it, but I can't. I am not even sure if I am angry or sad or both.

I can't believe that he told me about them because I confronted him after Ryan told me about them... more like he informed me. Even with the fight between Jay and him, we met every day at school and I even played basketball with him. He got more than one chance to tell me but he didn't. Why? Am I not that important to him anymore? Why is everyone like this to their best friend once they started dating? Is this why Haze was avoiding me too?

I was asking all kinds of questions to myself while walking. Suddenly I was shoved to the side by Vian and only then I realized I was about to walk into the wall from the entrance of our school.

"Thanks," I said without looking at him and kept walking.

He caught up to me and stood in front of me blocking my way.

"Talk to me, Aves." He was almost begging.

"We are going to be late for class. Move." I said trying to walk around him but he blocked me spreading his hands out.

"I don't care." He said dragging me to our favorite tree. We stopped under the tree followed by Jay.

"We are not going anywhere until you tell me what's wrong." he firmly said grabbing my shoulders and leaning down a bit to look me in the eye. But I still avoided his gaze.

"You were the one who suggested that we should date. Then why are you acting like this?" Jay interfered defending his best friend.

I think this is going in a dangerous direction more than I think and it's time to bring out my Oscar-level acting if I do not wish to be caught.

I raised my head to look straight at his eyes before talking. It's the only way to make him believe me. "I am so happy for you," I said smiling.

He looked surprised and slowly retreated releasing me from his hold.

"She is a nice girl. I am happy for you both. I didn't expect that you would say that, so I needed some time to process and I just wish that you told me a bit sooner. That is all." I said without moderating an inch of my smile.

His eyes held my gaze intently searching for something. It was a few scrutinizing seconds until I broke the contact and looked at Jay.

"That's it?" Jay looked surprised.

"We have been discussing all kinds of scenarios all night, and you are telling me that's it? I thought it was your turn. I was excited to see you two fight." He said pouting and I couldn't help but let out a chuckle.

"You know I am closer with him than you right?" I asked Jay smirking. I know it makes him jealous, but I say that all the time just to annoy him.

"Whatever," he rolled his eyes annoyed just like I thought. Before we could say anything more, the bell rang so we decided to put a pause on this conversation.

For the first time in my life, I was faking my smile, posture, talk, and everything with my best friends for the whole day. I caught Vian's eyes on me sometimes looking like he knew I was acting regardless I didn't give up and that was so tiring.

During lunch, I asked them to go first since I wanted to meet Mr. Harrison, and also I needed a minute for myself. They both were sticking by my side all day like I was a suspected thief, waiting for me to get caught. The more they did that, the wider the curve on my lips grew. On top of that, seeing Vian sitting with Haze in class and walking around with her took everything in me to keep that smile plastered on my face especially in front of Jay.

So I had decided to take a detour to the restroom before I met with Mr. Harrison. As soon as I entered the stall and closed the door, tears started rolling down my cheeks like a broken dam. I can't let my eyes redden much so I controlled as much as I can but when I close my eyes and all I see him holding hands with another girl, my tears flow down like there is no limit.

I came out and washed my face rigorously so that I will have an excuse for my red-eye if they see me. Right then I heard the door open and someone entered.

I looked up to see Haze standing awkwardly. She looked like she wanted to run away.

"Hey Haze," I greeted her with a smile.

"Hey Ava," she said awkwardly.

"I heard that you two were dating. I am so happy for you guys." I said with an assuring smile. Apart from everything, I was really happy because they both are good people and they deserve a shot at this. If this is fate, who am I to stand in the way, right?

"You are?" she looked at me wide-eyed.

But the next second she hugged me tightly and said, "I was afraid and I didn't know how to say this to you so I avoided you. I am really sorry Ava." She tightened her hold apologizing.

"I was worried but I understand now. You don't have to apologize." I was glad that we made up finally.

After meeting up with Mr. Harrison, we both went to the cafeteria together. Before reaching the table where Jay and Vian were, I briefly saw Ryan watching me.

Vian looked surprised looking at us walking together and smiled. I smiled back and went to sit beside Jay. Hazel sat with Vian and we had our lunch together chatting and I acted very well like all is very well in the world.

"Oh, I almost forgot," I said scrunching my nose remembering something.

It was in the evening when we were about to leave school after classes. Thankfully it was Friday and I can rest for the whole weekend. Vian and Hazel were walking together, and Jay and I followed them a few steps back.

"What is it?" Jay asked me confused.

"I talked to Mr. Harrison about your parents." That is why I went to meet him during lunch. I looked at Jay intently waiting for his response because I don't know how he would take this.

He looked surprised, and I could see the wheels turning in his brain. He was contemplating how to take this and what to say. I stood there patiently waiting for him to talk.

I know it's not my place and it's a sensitive topic for Jay. It took weeks for him to open up to me. But as I was thinking about how to help Jay in this matter, the persons who came to my mind were Mr. Harrison and Mr. Donan. Somehow they were always there helping when Jay was in trouble and it looked like a good idea to approach one of them and also I know Jay trusts them even though he doesn't show it.

"I told him everything and guess what he told me next?" I said beaming but Jay looked a bit hesitant regardless of my reaction.

"He wants to help your parents. He said that he knows a Psychiatrist friend in London and will ask him to help your parents. He also said not to worry about the money. He wanted to talk to you, but I said I wanted to be the one to disclose this to you first." I said smiling widely.

Hearing that, Jay's lips curved into a smile. "I have something to tell you too." He said.

"I told my Grandma and My Uncle about my parents and they said they will help in whatever way they can." His smile widened.

"Wow... That's awesome Jay." I squealed and hugged Jay making Vian and Haze turn back.

"What's going on?" they both walked towards us puzzled. Jay's face darkened looking at Haze. So I came up with the stupidest excuse ever.

"We use to play a game together and he just leveled up in that game gaining points." I lied through my teeth without hesitation. Jay looked like he wanted to hide under a rock and I felt bad for him.

"You were squealing just for that?" Haze asked me frowning.

"Well, it was a difficult level to play," I said with an awkward smile.

All the while, Vian was watching me smirking. I could say he was amused and enjoying what was going on.

When we were about to leave the school, Ryan came running towards me yelling my name.

"Hey, Ava." He stood in front of me smiling. His eyes scanned the people standing behind me once before looking at me again.

"Hey Ryan, What is it?" I asked him.

"Well... I was thinking that... that you didn't give me an answer." It took a whole minute for him to finish what he was saying, and he looked really uncomfortable. He stroked his hair with his fingers nervously looking at me.

That's when I realized that I totally forgot about Ryan asking me out because I was so engrossed with Vian drama. I felt really sorry about that.

"Oh... Umm...That..." I could form words at that moment. When he asked me out in front of his house I knew what my answer was but we were interrupted by Vian and I couldn't give him my answer.

But now that I think about it, I don't really know what to say. Strangely I don't want to say what I was going to say to him last night.

"Can you give me more time to think about it? I am not really sure what to say..." I said hesitating. His face fell, but he managed to smile again.

"Of course. Take your own time. I will be waiting." Saying that he hugged me.

"I hope to get a positive answer." He whispered in my ear and slowly moved back and walked away waving his hand 'bye'.

I watched his retreating back for a moment and turned around to leave releasing a huge sigh but a pair of grey eyes caught my gaze and made me stop, holding me in my place.

..............................................................................

No matter how hard I try,

I couldn't reach you.

Though I hear your song in the wind,

I wish our fate is entwined.

The blue sky became your throne.

Here I am watching you from below.

All-day... All alone...

Enjoy reading and please leave your thoughts about the story in the comment section. Thank you - T.


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