Sylvie(10)

By: K. Langston


“So what. We’re young, Syl. You don’t need all the answers right now.”

“True, but I still need answers to the most pressing ones, like finding a job and figuring out how I’ll pay my part of the rent and—”

“Hey, I told you not to worry about any of that.”

I press my lips together, suppressing my insecurities. This has been a constant argument between us. He has his inheritance from his father’s life insurance so he doesn’t need money, but he doesn’t understand how important it is for me to pay my own way. I can’t depend on him for everything.

Yes, I am in love with him. And yes, I want to be with him, but there’s absolutely no way I will let him pay my way. And then I have to wonder if I would just be in the way. He’ll be busy pursuing his music, and I have no doubt he will make it big once the right person discovers him.

“I don’t wanna talk about this right now. It’s too depressing.”

“Our future is depressing?” he asks with a raised brow.

‘Our?’

Hope flares in my chest.

“Listen, you’re comin’ to Nashville with me. We’ve been plannin’ this for too long and I can’t do it without you. I won’t. So stop being so damn stubborn.”

“Me? Stubborn? I could say the same about you.”

“That’s why you’re my best friend,” he says, pressing his hand to the small of my back, effectively molding me to his body. “I could never be anyone but myself when I’m with you.”

Resting my head on his shoulder, I close my eyes, my heart cracking in two. It screams to tell him, to confess every secret and fantasy my soul carries, but I just can’t bring myself to risk what we have. If we don’t work out or worse, he doesn’t feel the same way, our relationship will never be the same again.

So I settle on what we are instead of what we could be.





Past

A few weeks later, Rachel and I are getting ready for a party at her house. I’m still mourning my lost chance to tell Linc how I feel but I continue to remind myself that it’s for the best.

“C’mon, Rach,” I whine again, stomping my foot.

She’s been teasing her hair to high heaven for more than thirty minutes now. The brown locks are more than perfect. The barrel curls falling flawlessly down her back.

“Hold your horses,” she says, smearing on some of her favorite nude gloss. She gives her hair one final coif before grabbing her purse. Then we hop inside her Honda Civic and drive to the edge of town.

“You’re tellin’ him tonight, right?” Rachel asks.

“Rachel,” I warn.

My hope has been crushed, devastated by fate’s blow. I’d decided being just friends is best for both of us. It’s safe. And the only absolute guarantee that I won’t lose him.

Rachel disagrees.

“He’s a guy, Sylvie, not a mind reader.”

“I don’t want it to change things between us.”

“Things have already changed. Ever since prom there’s been tension between you two, and it’s a little awkward. It’s upsetting the dynamic of the group.”

“Oh, my bad,” I say with a sarcastic laugh.

“You know what I mean. Have you seen the way he looks at you? You can see it all over his face. One of you needs to bite the bullet and just say it already before I lose my damn mind.”

Looking out my window as we arrive, I see cars parked everywhere. Field parties happen often in Grandeur, there’s not much else to do with time to waste and lots of open space. Usually, it’s just people we go to school with, but it’s my birthday, and Nelson, the guy responsible for planning these things, used that as an excuse to have a blowout. There are cars parked everywhere when we arrive. Some from three counties over.

“Holy shit!” I gasp when I spot a tag from Clarke County.

That’s an hour away.

“Nelson wasn’t bullshitting, was he?” Rachel is as shocked as I am. “Who are all of these people? And why would they come to a birthday party for someone they don’t even know?”

“They know Nelson, that’s enough I suppose.” Rachel shrugs. “You ready?”