Amongst Knights

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Chapter 6

Owen is tired of hear all these people telling him that he should date Steph. How many times does he have to say it? They’re just FRIENDS.

He walks over to the familiar beaten up Mustang Coupe that his best friend inherited from her older brother. Owen opened the side door to see a very changed best friend.

All throughout high school, Stephanie Lee always had her naturally curly hair up in a ponytail. Her bright red glasses always made her stand out from the rest of the crowd of nerds that they always hung out with. The summer right before college, Steph had her braces taken out after four torturous years expecting the perfect smile. Unfortunately, her teeth were straight, but the unnatural shape of her teeth left her crying from the orthodontist because of her unmet expectations. He remembered when she cried on the phone to him as she drove home about how the orthodontist recommended her to a cosmetic dentist.

Now, the girl in front of him looks totally different that he stares at her in wide eyed shock.

“Aren’t you going to come in?” Steph teases him.

Owen quickly closes his now open mouth and enters her car.

The first thing he notices the moment he sits on the familiar passenger seat is the feminine scent of sweet flowers. It is strange cause Steph never wore perfume in high school as she rejected most things feminine and girly, but she is now extremely different from the girl who graduated high school with him. She is now the epitome of all the girls she used to shit on just last year.

“Owen!” Steph screams in joy at seeing her best friend for the first time in months and goes in for a hug. Shit. Were her boobs always this big? He is now acutely aware of how tight her body feels compared to softness it had in the past.

“Steph,” Owen says as he regains his composure. “You look... different.” Owen realizes how big her natural eyes are without the strong prescription lenses that always contorted her eyes.

“Yeah,” she says bashfully and tucks a random strand of pin-straight, raven hair behind her ear. She turns on the car engine to fill the awkward silence as Owen unconsciously keeps staring at her.

“So, remember how I told you about how my orthodontist said my teeth were unfixable, so he recommended a cosmetic dentist?” Steph speaks.

“Yeah,” Owen says slowly thinking about all their past Facetimes. In all the times that they Facetimed each other, she always had her hair up with the same old bright red glasses. Nothing looked out of the ordinary.

“My dad came home that night, excited to see my teeth. He just said made an appointment with the cosmetic dentist once he saw the final results of my braces. After the procedure, I just wanted to change my image. I also got contacts and permed my hair. You remember Shelly, my roommate? Well, she got me going to the gym, and yeah,” she ends her explanation bashfully.

Steph was not necessarily fat when she was in high school, but she wasn’t necessarily skinny either. But now, she is super toned and looks like she has been hitting the gym every day. He vaguely remembers how she would always message him that she was in the gym and would contact him later. They both arrive at the local café and Owen slowly watches his now very different best friend enter their familiar old café.

“Hey,” Steph says to the teenaged male cashier.

“Stephanie Lee, right?” he asks her in shock.

“Yeah,” she says. “Connor, right?”

“Yeah,” Owen sees how Connor glances at her up and down, and Owen doesn’t like it one bit.

“Two medium iced coffees with milk,” Owen steps in between them.

“Uh,” Steph intercedes, “could you actually make one of them black instead?”

“Sure, Steph,” Connor flashes her a stupid smile. He calls her by her nickname as if they’re such great pals. Owen has the great urge to wipe that dumbass grin off this punk’s face.

“You’re in college now, right?” Connor makes conversation with Steph again much to Owen’s annoyance.

“Yeah,” Steph answers politely across the old oak countertop.

“Where do you go?”

“BC,” Owen answers instead.

“What about you Steph?” Connor ignores Owen and asks again.

“I go to Yale.”

Connor whistled low, “Damn. You home for the Thanksgiving?”

“No. She’s here for Christmas,” Owen grumbles sarcastically.

“Be nice,” Steph smacks Owen’s arm to reign her unruly friend back.

“Can we have our coffees, please?” Owen asks impatiently.

“Here you go,” Connor says, completely ignoring a steaming Owen.

“Thanks,” Steph says as she picks up the two coffees.

“I’ll see you around,” Connor says with an arrogant smirk.

Before Steph says anything, Owen pushes them towards the tables and says, “She won’t.”

“There’s no need to be rude to him,” Steph huffs.

“Since when do you not add milk to your coffee?” Owen asks her as they take a seat. They always got the same coffee order through the four years of high school together. It’s like he can’t even recognize the female in front of him anymore.

“I’ve been trying to cut down unnecessary fats from my diet. Plus, I’ve gotten to like the taste of black coffee,” she takes a sip of her coffee.

“I don’t even know who you are anymore,” Owen says half-jokingly, half-seriously.

“People change,” Steph shrugs.

“You’ve changed a lot,” Owen still cannot believe the girl right in front of him. The nerdy Asian girl that he’s known since twelve is no longer there. He doesn’t know what to make of the now hot girl right in front of him.

“I don’t know. I still feel like me though,” Steph toys with the straw.

They catch up by talking about their respective college lives, but Owen can’t help but to be distracted. The once familiar mannerisms now seem more distracting. She sits with her legs crossed and her leg accidentally bumps into his as they continue talking about some funny story with her roommate. His skin tingles at the accidental contact.

Steph bites her lower lip as she tries to hold back the laughter from telling her story. He can’t help but wonder how her lips would taste like.

“Are you even listening to me?” Steph breaks him out of his thoughts.

Shit. Did he just think of Steph as something more than platonic? Fuck. What was she talking about?

“You seem really off tonight,” Steph says worriedly. “You want to just call it a night?”

“Sorry. I guess I’m just a little tired,” Owen brushes it off.

“You want me to drop you off? I’ll see you tomorrow anyways,” Steph says worriedly. After all, she was going to be at Thanksgiving with her family like they usually were ever year.

“No, it’s fine,” Owen reassures her.

Once satisfied that he isn’t too tired, Steph asks, “How Jen?”

“Who?”

“Your girlfriend,” Steph said incredulously.

Right.

He has a girlfriend.

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