Wonder by Shawn Mendes
I stood on the Westminster Bridge with the will to jump. I was willing to end it all at that moment because I felt as if my social life was now over.
Perhaps I was acting a whit dramatic, but the budding embarrassment from the replaying moment in my head made it quite challenging to think clearly. I couldn’t believe I had done something so impeccably stupid. I felt dumber than a box of rocks, but even they knew to stay quiet. So, I couldn’t even compare myself to lifeless objects.
“Paris, get down from the bridge,” my friend, Shanae, instructed with boredom dripping from each syllable. She knew I was bluffing, but I couldn’t bring myself even to face her.
“No, I’m going to jump. You can go; you don’t have to witness this,” I screamed dramatically for no apparent reason.
I heard a light chuckle from her, but I made no move to turn around. “Get down, mate. You didn’t embarrass yourself that much.” She tried to sound convincing, but the only person who could reassure me was nowhere close to us.
I made a fool of myself. I knew it; Shanae knew it. Hell, even the moon probably witnessed my moment of social suicide.
And it was all because I just had to fall for my best friend.
Three hours earlier
I have been to my fair share throughout my high school years, but they always hosted one, whether Christmas, Spring or even for fundraisers. They weren’t always my cup of tea, but my best friend, Colton, always insisted that I attend, or else I’d ‘miss out on the high school experience’. Since he was the one who was making me go, I needed him to take me there.
I grabbed my phone as I threw down the curling iron, immediately finding his number at the top of my recent contacts. He picked up after the second ring.
“Hey,” he answered. The wind in the background suggested that he was already driving.
“Can you pick me up, please? I need a ride,” I asked as I tried to get my dress up.
I couldn’t seem to reach the stupid zipper no matter what angle I set my hands, and if my hair weren’t this short, I would’ve left the zipper halfway down. Unfortunately for me, my curls fell to my shoulders after cutting my hair last week. So, unless I wanted the whole school to see my back, I somehow had to get the zipper up.
“What happened to your car?” he groaned in annoyance, making me chuckle a little.
“My sister took it. Now, will you pick me up or do I have to find a new best friend?”
I smirked in victory when I didn’t hear him reply since I knew that was all I had to say. Deep down, we both knew I couldn’t replace him, but he wouldn’t push it.
“Fine. I’ll be there by six.” He huffed. “Be ready!”
I quickly threw the phone on the bed and attempted to reach the zipper again, cursing my inability to be flexible. And just when I needed them the most, my mom and dad were gone again. Even my annoying kid sister was out adventuring, so I had no help.
Finally giving up on the zipper, I decided to add a little makeup to enhance my features. I wasn’t usually a girl to dress up, but I knew how to pull a few strings when I had to.
I’ve also decided to tell Colton about how I felt about him, and I wanted to look my best doing so. We’ve been best friends for almost five years, and I didn’t regret one second of it. It wasn’t too long ago that I discovered my feelings, but I’d never thought about making them known until now.
Why wait, right? I’m not getting any younger.
I know we can bounce right back without being awkward in the worst-case scenario that he doesn’t feel the same. But deep down, I hoped he shared my affection. It’ll crush me if he doesn’t. All I know is that I love him. I love him as an individual, as a friend and something a little more intimate.
I smiled in delight once I finished everything, and though my dress was only halfway up, I still felt beautiful.
It hugged my body wonderfully, and the royal blue colour brought out my blue eyes. I slipped my feet into my silver stilettos and grabbed my matching purse just as I heard a honk outside. I popped a mint in my mouth and grabbed my house keys before heading downstairs, where I ensured everything was closed before meeting Colton outside.
He was leaning on his car in his black tuxedo and white dress shirt. He looked so incredibly handsome with his dark hair neatly combed back and his beautiful grey eyes sparkling in appraisal as he watched me.
He always did the most, even for these little dances. It was yet another reason why I adored him.
“Help,” I whimpered as soon as I was in hearing range with him. He cocked a questioning eyebrow at me, and I quickly turned around to show him my bare back.
I didn’t feel or hear anything for a while, so I peeped over my shoulder to see what was holding him up. I caught him staring at my back with a blank expression on his face. But I knew he wasn’t staring at my back. He was looking at my scar. It wasn’t with disgust or pity. Instead, I knew that the memories became alive in his mind again.
Slowly, he latched his finger on the zipper and pulled it up in an almost teasing manner. The tip of his finger brushed my bare skin leaving a cold trail behind that made me shiver in delight. Finally, he finished, and he placed a kiss on my cheek before bringing his lips to my ear.
“You look beautiful, Paris,” he whispered, causing my heart to do a backflip.
“You don’t look too bad yourself, handsome,” I replied, slightly shy.
“Ready?” he asked as he pulled away.
I quickly dismissed the disappointment that I felt as I turned around to occupy my shotgun spot, but I stopped dead in my tracks when an unfamiliar face met my eyes— an unfamiliar female face, I might add.
“Uh, hi.” I awkwardly waved at the girl who was already beaming at me. She seemed nice enough, but I simply couldn’t understand why she was in my spot.
“Hi, I’m Asia,” she said, pushing her hand out the window.
I eyed Colton knowingly. “Asia, huh?” I asked him in particular.
“My name is not actually Asia. It’s Anastasia. I gave myself that nickname when Colton told me about you. And since it’s b part of the name, why not right?” she elaborated with a laugh as if that wasn’t weird at all.
“Well, nice to meet you, Anastasia. I guess I’ll just. . .” I trailed off as I awkwardly sat in the backseat of Colton’s jeep. It felt utterly weird and awkward.
Was she his girlfriend?
Of course not. I would’ve been the first to know. Colton didn’t mention her to me once, and that worried me in more ways than one. Either he’s not telling me everything again, or he was aware of my feelings and didn’t want to hurt me.
She didn’t go to our school, that was for sure. But I had no idea where to start steadying my thoughts.
“So, Col, you didn’t tell me you had a date,” I said softly, trying hard not to sound edgy.
“Oh, he hasn’t told you yet? We’ve been dating for a while now.” Anastasia beamed. I noticed she had an American accent, so that explained why I hadn’t seen her before.
“No, actually, this is my first time learning about you,” I replied, and if I weren’t looking, I would’ve missed the flash of hurt that ran across her eyes.
“I wanted to introduce you in person,” Colton said after a short moment of silence as if trying to justify the means. I also noticed that he looked tense, showing that he was undoubtedly uncomfortable.
Anastasia kept her smile plastered on her face before replying, trying to sound calm and collected. “You told me about her, though.”
Perhaps I was wrong for it, but I felt pride welling up in my heart at the selfish thought that he spoke of me to her. We fell into awkward silence from then. But even though he told her about me, I still couldn’t shake the fact that my best friend was dating someone, and he kept it from me. I didn’t know what hurt worse, the fact that I didn’t know, or the fact that I wish I hadn’t known.
So much for a perfect night.
I hopped from the car as soon as we pulled into the school parking lot. I had no intention of being around them tonight. I wasn’t trying to be bitter, but a bomb like that needed processing time— a lot of processing time.
I quickly made my way inside in hopes to find Shanae. She knew about my crush, so I had hoped she would’ve said something to make me feel better. However, when I told her, she didn’t seem the least bit shaken as I was.
“Well, that sucks,” she mumbled with what she thought was a reassuring pat on my back.
I hung my mouth wide open as I ogled her in disbelief. “That’s all you have to say to me? You’re no help.” I huffed in annoyance as I crossed my arms over my chest.
“The truth hurts, Love. Live with it.”
“Sometimes, I wished you were more of a sappy type of girl,” I mumbled with an eye roll.
She simply laughed and followed me to the table filled with food. I grabbed a cup and proceeded to pour myself some punch, but Shanae snatched it from me with a disapproving gaze.
“That’s spiked. Don’t drink it,” she warned, but I was too stupid to listen.
“I’m thirsty,” I whined before letting the liquid glide down my throat.
Indeed, I could taste the alcohol, but I didn’t care. Where did 17-year-olds get alcohol anyways?
“You know that’s spiked, right?” a very familiar voice said from behind me. I guarded my features before facing him.
“Yes, I am aware,” I replied in a calm tone. Anastasia was glued to Colton’s side, but I tried not to focus on her.
I knew that if eventually, things got serious between them, then we would have to become somewhat friends, and I wasn’t such a brat on a typical day. But who can blame me for being a little difficult?
“Can we talk?” he asked after sighing, and I simply eyed the doll stuck to him. “Alone,” he added, and she eventually let go.
I followed him into the halls in silence. He kept playing with his hands, keeping his gaze downcast, and I noticed that he had a guilty look on his face.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you,” he said with a dry sigh. I knew that was precisely what he would’ve said.
Instead of saying what I knew he hoped I would say, I said the opposite. “Yes, you should’ve.”
“I didn’t want you to be upset.”
“Why would I be upset?” I raised an eyebrow at him as I shifted my weight to my right leg.
He looked as if he didn’t know the answer himself, so I dropped the topic for his sake.
“Look, it’s okay. You wanted to introduce us in person. I get it. Let’s just get back, okay?”
“Wait, I need to know if you’ll be okay with us being, you know. . .” He trailed off, looking timid as he avoided my piercing gaze.
That’s when I realised that Anastasia might just be permanent— at least for a while. It would no longer be just Colton and Paris. Instead, it would be Colton, Paris and her.
“As long as you’re happy,” I finally said. As much as I loved him, all I wanted was for him to be happy.
Besides, how long will Anastasia even last? Nobody’s that perfect.
I sounded like a bitter, jealous hypocrite. And though I didn’t want to be any of that, I simply couldn’t help it.
“Thanks, Paris.” He pulled me to his chest and gently kissed my head. “I need you to know that this won’t change a thing between us, okay?”
Instead of answering, I simply nodded since I knew damn well that this would change everything. But what can I do, right?
We returned to the dance, where we parted. I found Shanae and her boyfriend, Nick, and Colton found his new girlfriend. Well, they weren’t a ‘thing’ yet, and I had an instinctive urge to claim him as mine before it should happen, but I knew he’d just think I was crazy.
In both cases, I felt like a third wheel, so I spent most of my time drinking spiked punch. I watched as he laughed and danced with her, and even though I wouldn’t admit it out loud, they looked good together. Before I knew it, my head was spinning, and I was dancing with anyone in sight. I was never good with alcohol, but this was a different level.
My eyes found him again, but this time he and Anastasia were heading for the exit. I ran after him, catching him just in time for him to stop.
“Hey, where are you going? You took me here rem-remember?” I slurred as I blinked rapidly to focus my vision.
“Gosh, Paris, you’re drunk,” he muttered with his voice dripping with concern as his hand immediately wrapped its way around my waist as if on instinct. “I’ve got to take you home now. Sit here, okay? I’m going to pull the car up.”
He placed me on a chair at the door as Anastasia’s eyes darted between the two of us.
“But what about showing me the fountain?” she asked as she followed behind him.
I paid no attention to what happened since the lights immediately went dim and a slow song started. For some reason, I got excited and disobeyed Colton’s rules by getting up.
My feet took me to the stage area, and I had no idea how nobody saw me. I stood in the centre of the stage behind a mic, and that’s when heads started to turn.
“Awe, you all love so lovely together,” I cooed as they watched me in confusion. I noticed Shanae’s eyes going wide as she tried to make her way through the crowd.
“So in love and cute,” I continued with a giggle. “We all deserve love but not me, apparently. The one I love doesn’t love me, and the person he loves is prettier than me.” I giggled as the mic almost slipped from my hand. Everything around me seemed blurred and foggy, yet, my brain didn’t take it as a huge red flag.
“Paris, get down from there!” Shanae whisper shouted from the side of the stage, but I paid her no mind.
Just then, the door opened, and Colton and his date re-entered. My stupid mouth did just the same as the door.
“There he is right now!” I pointed at the door, and all heads turned to face him.
“I love you, Colton! Love me too!”
My eyes drooped as I felt my body being pulled from the stage and through the back door. A splash of water to my face snapped me right out of my daze, and I was face to face with Shanae and a whole lot of realisation.
I just told Colton that I loved him. I just told the whole school! Gosh, I’m such a freak. I was embarrassed, hurt and felt stupid. So I did the only thing that seemed logical.
I ran as fast as I could in no specific direction, with a shouting Shanae behind me. I didn’t stop until I was a few meters from the famous bridge.
And so, here I was.
“Are you done yet?” Shanae asked, and I finally jumped from the bridge onto the ground with a sigh.
I slid down against the bridge and my head in my hands as I pulled my knees to my chest. I felt a presence sat beside me, and I waited for her to say something encouraging or something to make me feel better. But instead, she just had to be herself.
“I told you not to drink that punch,” she whispered as if that helped. I threw her a glare which, of course, only made her laugh.
“You’re not a good friend,” I complained as I hit her shoulder.
“Hey, I just ran five miles behind you, and I’m not a good friend?”
“Okay, maybe you’re a decent friend,” I chuckled, and she did too.
Just then, bright headlights stopped in front of us, and I saw that it was a very familiar jeep. My heart raced as Colton jumped from it and rushed to my side.
“Thank God you’re okay,” was the first thing he said before he wrapped me in a hug. I was utterly confused.
“Aren’t you mad?” I asked gently, though I was relieved to know that he wasn’t.
“Why would I be mad? Worried I was, but I’m not mad.”
“I just thought that. . .” I paused, not wanting to embarrass myself anymore.
“Thought what?” he probed.
I sighed. “I caused all that attention on you back there. . .with my declaration.” I mumbled the last part in hopes that he wouldn’t hear, but, of course, he did.
He didn’t say anything right away, which slightly unnerved me. Instead, he sat beside me in the spot where Shanae previously sat and rested my head on his shoulder.
“It’s okay, Paris. I love you too. I would’ve been mad if you said you didn’t,” he said, shocking me out of my skin.
My heart leapt in hope as I looked up to meet his eyes. I knew his ‘date’ was in the car, so this was slightly immoral, but the alcohol in me prevented me from caring.
“Really? You love me too?” I asked in anticipation, but he only chuckled softly at me.
“You really are drunk, aren’t you? Of course, I do, Paris. Whether you’re drunk or not, you should know that.”
A wave of disappointment quickly flooded me when I noticed that we were both referring to two different types of love, so I simply nodded in response.
“Besides, it doesn’t matter if everyone else thought you meant it differently. We both know what you meant, and that’s all that matters. You’re my best friend, and I’ll love you forever,” he added, crushing me even more.
Right. Just best friends.
Hello loves! Thank you do much for reading our very first chapter!
I hoped you liked it, and I really hope you continue!
Stay safe loves. <3