Authors note- thanks for adding Playing for Keeps! I usually avoid authors notes, but I’m releasing this book a little differently. I will be putting up each chapter as I finish it as this is in the nanowrimo contest! So please comment, like and share as much as you can! Sorry if there are any errors, don’t hesitate to point them out!
I sit on my bed and stare at my friend, her words running through my mind. I watch as the tears fall down her cheeks, her eyes beginning to redden. Despite the tears, she looks as beautiful as ever and I feel a pang of jealousy at just how gorgeous she is.
“What...” I swallow the lump in my throat and try to continue. “What does that mean?” I ask her, my own eyes blurring with unshed tears.
She removes one of her hands from mine and wipes the tears away before straightening her back and taking a deep breath. I admire the way she can summon strength within her, a trait I have struggled with.
“One day it will burst, they don’t know when, but when it does... there will be nothing anyone can do.” She tells me. I allow the tears to fall down my face as I lean forward to wrap my arms around her.
“Oh, Ash.” I whisper, not really knowing what to say. My friend is dying. My beautiful, sweet friend who had never hurt a fly, has received the worst possible news, and I can’t help but think how unfair life is.
Ashley pulls away from me and straightens her back, she wipes away the tears and smiles at me.
“Everything’s going to be OK.” She tells me and I furrow my brow at her change in demeanour. “I have a plan.” She winks at me before jumping up from the bed and pacing the room. I follow her with wide eyes, trying to adjust to the sudden mood change.
“I’ve decided that we are all going on a trip.” She says, her eyes widening with excitement. “I don’t know how long I have, and there is so much to do, so I have everyone returning home, and we are taking a trip together.” She states as she claps her hands together.
“We are?” I ask, following her movements as she bounces around my room.
“Yes!” she exclaims, “I have an entire list of things to do and everyone is going to help me.” She smiles her kilowatt smile and I can’t help but return it.
“Like a bucket list?” she nods enthusiastically and sits back down on the bed.
“Sort of, though I am not going to tell anyone what’s on the list, you all just have to come with me and do what I say.” I bark out a laugh at her authoritative stance, it is so unlike her, she’s the type of person who would sacrifice everything to make someone happy, but here she is, dictating what we are going to do. I know for a fact, that I can’t say no.
“Alright, I’m in, who else is coming home?” I ask her, quietly wondering if Grayson is coming along.
“You, me, Grayson, Emily, Matt and Savannah, so far.” I swallow the lump in my throat when she confirms Grayson’s name and nod my head with a tight smile. She grabs my hands, and squeezes them tightly. “Will you be OK seeing Grayson again?” she asks. I never could keep anything from her.
“I’ll be fine.” I tell her. “It’s been a long time, I’m over him.” I say, looking away from her and towards my bedroom window, my heart beating fast in my chest as I think of him. When he first left for college, he would come home every weekend, it was only a two hour drive after all. After the first month, his weekend visits became less frequent. Our weeknight phone calls became shorter, until my calls went unanswered. Our daily texts became less until one day I realised I hadn’t heard from him in months. He wasn’t fully to blame, I stopped calling and texting too, the heartbreak I’d felt when he wanted to put things between us on hold, was too much to bare. Still, after not talking to him for months I made the trip to his college and found him at a party. When I had walked through the doors and pushed through the crowd, I’d found him sitting on the couch, a brunette on his lap, they were making out. I ran before he saw me, I couldn’t take the pain and he never knew I was ever there.
It was two weeks later that I finished high school, I half expected him to turn up at my graduation, but he never came. He never called or texted to congratulate me, so I took the offer to a college across the country and I left, never to hear from him again.
“I know you’re lying...” She says softly, pulling me from my thoughts. I look back to her and shrug my shoulders. She isn’t wrong. Despite not talking to him in 8 years, I still think of him constantly, I still have the ache in my chest every time I see his face, which is often. Grayson is the lead singer of a band he formed in his first year of college, they released their first single after we had lost contact and skyrocketed to fame. Grayson Scott is a household name, Devil’s Own, the name of his band, is constantly played on the radio. It’s hard to get over someone when they are constantly in your face. Every new girl on his arm on the front page of magazines, which is often, is like a stab to the chest.
I blink back the tears in my eyes as the familiar longing forms in my chest and look back out the window, despite how I feel, and whatever has happened between myself and Grayson, I need to be strong for Ashley. I need to be the friend to her that she has been to me, and that means sucking it up, who knows, maybe seeing Grayson again will be good for me. Maybe, he won’t be the boy I used to know and I can finally get over him. Or maybe, he will still having feelings for me too.
I shake the thought out of my head, not allowing myself to hope for such a thing. Hope only leads to heartbreak, and god knows, I have had enough of that.
“It’ll be fine.” I repeat as I look back to her and smile. Ashley returns my smile, though I know she sees through me. She squeezes my hand and nods her head.
“It will be.” She tells me. “I have a plan, after all.” She winks making me laugh.
“A plan you won’t share.” I point out, earning a shrug and sly grin in return. “So when is everyone getting here?” I ask, changing the subject.
“Most people will be arriving tomorrow.” She answers, “So for tonight, it’s just you and me.” I smile, liking the idea of catching up with my friend.