The early morning sun warmed my face from the window, it woke me up and with a stretch I inhaled oud wood and fresh vanilla that lingered amazingly on my bed sheets. I felt Liam all around me even though he was no longer here, it was comforting and instantly put a smile on my face. I made quick work of showering and dressing ready for a day of shopping with Tia.
The mall was heaving with bodies, more crowded than usual because every school and university was on their break at the same time. My feet ached as Tia dragged me to every store in the mall and I swear she bought at least one item from each one. The whole time we had been shopping I had only bought a bottle of Pepsi and a packet of gum. That was the difference between Tia and I, she was into clothes, makeup, skin care and anything else a normal girl my age would like. I was just content with food.
Tia and I waited in the Burger King line at the food court and we did silly dances to the background music that played through the small mall speaker. It probably annoyed everyone in the line waiting for their food but we just couldn’t help but laugh uncontrollably at our goofy behavior.
“Order Twelve.” The man shouted from behind the counter and I glanced down at the number on my paper receipt before stepping forward to take the bag of food.
I felt a warm hand over mine as they tried to take my burger. I was absolutely ready to fight until the death for my food but when I turned around I got greeted by familiar hazel eyes and a smile stretched across my face.
“I’m so sorry.” He muttered without realizing who I was.
When our eyes met I felt a burst of excitement inside of me. “Harris!” I exclaimed.
“Olivia!” We both acknowledged each other at the same time.
After high school Harris had moved to Kenya to study animals in their natural habitat, it’s the reason why him and Tia didn’t work out although they parted on good terms. His Instagram pictures are unreal, because he gets up close and personal with lions, elephants and giraffes and other beautiful creatures. His life just seems so interesting and unusual to me.
He had not changed at all, he still had thick dark braids and striking hazel eyes that stood out against his darkened skin. His face was instantly friendly and he had a certain nature about him that made you warm up to him immediately.
“Get your food and come sit with us.” I ordered, not giving him anytime to protest.
We all found a table somewhere near the back of the food court and caught up on old times. He had so many stories to tell and I loved hearing each and every one of them. His work in Africa is extraordinary, he not only helps wounded animals but is part of a team set out to aid the population growth of endangered species. Tia was just as intrigued as me and although they dated for a few months there was no awkwardness between them. Harris was just a straight up great guy, he always has been and I believe he always will be.
He showed us many pictures and explained the back story of each one. It was truly fascinating. Tia and I shared college stories that seemed boring in comparison but Harris sat and listened seemingly with complete interest.
“So did things work out between you and Liam?” Harris asked with genuine interest.
I don’t know why his interest in Liam made me embarrassed but it did. Maybe it was because Liam always had a problem with him when we were in high school. He couldn’t understand my friendship with him and always believed Harris had feelings for me beyond friendship but I knew that not to be true. There has never been any romantic chemistry between us.
“Yeah. We are still together, he is not the guy you used to know.” I told him, blushing a little about it as I remembered all of the encounters he ever shared with Liam and how badly Liam used to treat him, it was always so awkward between them.
“And how about you Tia, are you seeing anyone?” She hesitated before she answered.
Like somewhere deep down inside she was ashamed to tell him that she was dating Jordan. I understood that. Jordan puts on a convincing front and you only become to like him when you get to know him. I spent years of my life feeling intimidated by him and I felt constantly uncomfortable around him. In fact he was the reason I hated going to school. He teased me back then but when I think about it he still teases me now, he teases everyone.
“I am dating Jordan.” Tia said shyly.
“He is not the guy you once knew either.” I pointed out, feeling the need to defend Jordan’s character because I knew Harris would automatically think bad things about him.
“Everyone changes as they mature I guess.” Harris laughed.
“How long are you home for?” Tia inquired.
“A few weeks visiting the family. My uncle owns this night club just out of town, it is the hottest spot and it has a wicked VIP section with all the drinks included. You should come, it is in the basement of a swanky hotel and I could get us hooked up with a suite, pull out all the stops!” Harris told us excitedly, he pulled out pictures on his phone and everything looked mega fancy.
“Oh my God, yes! We are definitely gonna do that.” Tia agreed almost instantly, she clapped her hands together with excitement.
“Cool. This weekend. I will make the arrangements.” Harris informed us.
“I can wear my new dress.” Tia spiraled off into a world of her own, looking down at one of her purchases.
I didn’t have time to confirm nor deny my presence there, they had already decided for me. I would be stupid to pass up that opportunity because it honestly did look amazing but something told me a hotel room for the night with Harris was not going to go down so well with Liam.
After a lengthy lunch and catch up Tia and I said our goodbyes to Harris with arrangements set in place to meet back up on Friday afternoon.
“What do you want to do now?” I asked Tia as we exited the mall. She looked at me pondering our next moves.
“Let’s go to Jordan’s.” Tia suggested.
“What and crash guys weekend?” I laughed because I thought she was joking but her brow furrowed.
“Guys weekend?” She seemed at a loss.
“Yeah they are all round there, I assume they’re playing their Xboxes all weekend or whatever else guys do when we’re not around.” I informed her.
Tias face straightened out into a serious expression. For a moment I thought she was contemplating backing out of her idea to crash guy time but then a look of amusement replaced the seriousness and suddenly I felt sorry for the guys.
“Well that is not what they will be doing when we turn up.” She flicked her dark curls away from her face and interlinked our arms to drag me to Jordan’s.