Kayleigh sat on my bed, bouncing up and down. “What shall we do this time?”
I shrugged. “You tell me. I’m not even sure what we could do.”
She gasped, jumping onto her feet. “Let me give you another makeover.”
“Hell no. That did not work so well the first time and I don’t owe you any favors. I’m not going to do this.” I shook my head, remembering where her last makeover got me. Now I had an Ezra in my life and I couldn’t get rid of him.
“You’re tutoring Ezra. You’re pretty lucky. I’m happy for you.” She smiled.
I pulled my hair from its ponytail. “I would like to think the opposite. We should find something meaningful to do.”
“Well, why don’t we go somewhere? We never go anywhere outside of school.” She looked at her wallet. “I have enough for us both.”
I put my hand out here. “That is really nice, Kay, but I don’t think I can allow you to pay for me. I’ll just ask my mom.” I walked downstairs and entered the kitchen. “Mom, can I have some money to go out with Kayleigh? We’re bored here.”
She looked at me. “How will you pay it back?”
Kayleigh ran downstairs and grabbed my arm, yanking me to the side. “Forget the money. One of the guys is hosting a party and Ezra is going to be there.”
“Oh, no. This is our sleepover. It’s about us.” I shook my head, peeking back at my mom.
Kayleigh gave me her puppy dog face. “Please. I promise I will be your designated driver again.”
I cocked an eyebrow. “I’m not drinking this time.”
Kayleigh turned me around, holding onto my shoulders as she stood behind me and said, “We are going to just go for a nice walk by the pier. Amelia and I will be back before dark.”
Kayleigh dragged me out the door before my mom could approve or object.
She turned to face me when we were halfway down the street. “Thank you for coming.”
The wind pushed my hair into my face, making it hard to see anything in front of me. “I did not agree to this. You forced me.”
She linked her arm in mine and smiled as she walked down the sidewalk some more. “I promise I won’t drink anything for the both of us. I just want to have some fun with you. Your house is very boring.”
We arrived at the party. It was hard to miss with the loud music and many cars parked in the driveway and by the curb. I expected to see red cups all over with half-naked students but everyone was conscious and holding a conversation.
“Are you sure we made it to the right party?” I faced Kayleigh.
She swung her arm around my shoulders. “I’m positive.” She led us inside and looked around. “This place is huge. I can’t believe I’m here.”
“Kay, you made it,” a guy said beside us. He patted her back and she waved in return. He was one of Ezra’s friends. Since Ezra befriended me, Kayleigh befriended his friends.
Kayleigh let go of my shoulders. “I brought Amelia.”
“Ezra will be happy about that,” he commented. He gave me a wink.
I dropped my jaw and nudged Kayleigh. “This music is horrendous.”
“I think it’s nice. It has a good beat.”
“It’s singing about sex.”
She shrugged. “I didn’t notice.” She danced a bit, walking into the kitchen. I followed behind, not daring to leave her side. I had to admit Kayleigh had better moves than me. When I tried to dance, I looked like a dying fish.
I listened as it faded out. “Oh, thank God, it’s over.” I wiped my brow.
Kayleigh twirled around. She grabbed a cold bottle of beer from the fridge, putting the top to her lips. She mouthed the words to the song that began to blast from the speakers.
“Oh, this is really funny.” I rolled my eyes.
Kayleigh closed her fist, pulling her elbow down as she lip-synced some more.
“You promised not to drink any beer.” I pointed at the beer.
Ignoring me, she spun around and jumped up, mouthing more of the song. She would never listen to me. This girl was not to be tamed.
Her arms moved in slow motion as the music slowed during the bridge. As the chorus came back around, she broke out in more dancing. I scanned the room and noticed all the eyes on her. Everyone else seemed to enjoy this. She was the life of the party.
The song came to an end and she handed the beer to a fellow bystander. “It was just my pretend microphone. Relax, have some fun.”
She grabbed my hand, dragging me through the crowd. Her body continued to move to the rhythm while I walked like a normal human being. I guess I was basic and just as boring as my entire house.
Tripping over a foot, screaming came from my mouth until someone caught me. “I guess I’ll be your hero now,” he whispered in my ear. His arms were wrapped around my waist and he was leaning over while my feet didn’t have good footing.
“Ezra.” I pushed against him once I was balanced on my own two legs. He stepped back and smiled at me. I knew what that was for. He was just glad I came. In my defense, I only knew because of Kayleigh. It’s not like the bastard bothered to invite me himself. If I hadn’t come, it would’ve been all his fault.
He leaned down towards my face. “That’s my name. Don’t wear it out.”
“Do you mean wear it out as in, I use your name instead of my own? Because I could never dream of being you. However, if it was the second option where I say it so much that it becomes a jumbled mess of letters, I can totally do that.” I gave him my best smile.
He patted the top of my head and turned on his heel, leaving the crowd. I looked around for Kayleigh but found no sign of her. The crowd was squeezing in on me but that wasn’t going to kill me tonight. Ezra would be my cause of death.
I pushed through the crowd and gasped for air when I made it out.
“Took you long enough, Amor,” Ezra said.
“What on earth does that mean?” I creased my forehead as I furrowed my brows.
He chuckled as he walked away. I followed him into the kitchen. He grabbed a beer. “Would you like some?”
“I don’t drink.”
“Alright.” He shrugged his shoulders and popped the top off and took a drink. “Anything new in your life since I last saw you?”
I sat on a stool and glanced at him. “I wouldn’t tell you even if there were. You’re not my best friend.”
He leaned against the counter and ran his fingers through his hair. “I could be.”
“And just how do you think that is possible?” I leaned back.
He faced the crowd of students who were dancing to the music with some alcohol in their systems. “There are many things you don’t understand about this world and how I wiggle my way into one’s life is one of them.”
I scoffed. “You made a rude comment about my future. It’s that simple.”
“And you don’t ever think it was meant to happen this way? Do you believe in coincidences or do things happen for a reason?” He turned his head towards me. “Do you think we actually change our paths or our paths are just set from conception and we think we control our lives? Someone had to know that we were going to go a different direction in such a quick manner, right?”
“What are you implying? That I can’t actually control my future and I’ll be whatever I was meant to be?” I narrowed my eyes at him, crossing my arms.
“We can’t actually predict our own lives. We choose our paths but yet, our futures were set in stone because we were always meant to follow these paths and we aren’t actually straying from them when we believe we are. Say you choose not to follow a dream. You think you aren’t going to make it and then you decide to go for it anyway. Your future hasn’t changed because of your new decision. Your path knew all along what you would eventually decide,” he said.
I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to say. I had never imagined Ezra to have such a deep understanding of anything. Although, he didn’t believe in entitlement despite working for Playboy.
“Mel?” he asked.
The music seemed to lower to a sound of silence but I knew it wasn’t really turned off. The volume hadn’t been touched. My ears had just become more focused on what Ezra was saying.
“You think no matter what choice we make, our futures won’t change. They know what decisions we are going to make ahead of time...because our future is ahead of time.” My eyes lingered a bit too long on Kayleigh dancing in the crowd. She was enjoying herself. Would we always be friends? I didn’t want to grow apart.
Ezra blocked my view and his face got serious. It was a strange change of mood. “It’s too complicated for most of us average humans to understand how this works. We control our lives but our future already knows what we end up choosing before we get there. Even if we try to change it, we don’t know our future so we don’t know if we changed anything.
“Imagine you’re a good child. You do everything right and this lifestyle will eventually lead you to a future of success and happiness. You will become a CEO with a happy husband and beautiful children. Unfortunately, for you, you have no idea this is what your future will be on this path. It’s only a guess on your end.”
I nodded for him to keep going.
“You stray from this good lifestyle. You go into a life of crime. You rob banks. You make bad choices. This lifestyle gets you a future of prison with no kids and no husband. You have nothing. Because you never actually knew what your future could be, your future of loneliness is your ultimate ending. You never changed your future. You were going to make those decisions from the start and your lonely future always knew you would stray from the good path,” he finished.
All I could do was stare at him, stare into those beautiful eyes. His hair was messy but any man could pull that off. His muscles were tense as they waited for my response. If what he said was true, even if I tried to avoid him, we would end up together anyhow.
If we were soulmates, our futures knew how this was going to end. Every choice I made was already predicted by my ultimate ending.
“Amor?” He waved his hand in front of my face.
“I refuse to believe it. I refuse to believe it. I can’t do this, Ezra. I can’t.” I jumped off the stool and left the house in a hurry. Kayleigh followed me out, being the good friend she was.
She didn’t say anything. I needed this space for a moment to think about everything. I already knew. This pull that Ezra and I both felt towards each other told me we had to be soulmates. I didn’t want to believe it meant we would end up in love. I couldn’t love him. He was a jerk. He was a buttface.
Was I going to win this bet? My future knew. It would know if I could make Ezra fall for me. It knew if I would love him in return. I thought I was making all these decisions to change my path but I was really making decisions that my future expected which just led me to more of the right ending.
I looked back at Kayleigh, watching her worried expression. Nothing she could do could stop what was the inevitable. When humans believed they were changing their ending, they were just helping themselves reach the ending they were going to get from the beginning.