the girls i fell in love with and how they broke my heart

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic


This took so long to get right, and I'm still not 100% happy with it. But thanks for waiting!

Chapter 5 (v.1) - chapter four

Submitted: September 10, 2019

Reads: 32

A A A | A A A

Submitted: September 10, 2019

A A A

A A A

 

CHAPTER four

 

Cami’s hands rest against the leather of her steering wheel. Her fierce, aqua eyes glue themselves to the road and she barely waits until Honey has her les inside of the car before turning the keys in the ignition.

Honey clears her throat, kicks her Converse up onto the dashboard, “I just don’t understand why you’re so angry.”

It’s a question but phrased as a condescending statement instead. Honey’s an expert in shrouding the meaning of her words, dressing them up in ribbons and bonnets – and she’s even more guilty of this around Cami. Even now, from the driver’s seat, she assesses Cami’s wiltering expression as though it were simply another test paper.

And Cami can read Honey like a book. She sighs, knot whirling deep in her chest. “Stop psycho-analysing me, I’m not in the mood for it right now.”

But she’s never in the mood for a heart-to-heart; considerably less so when that heart-to-heart is adorned with thorns. Cami’s beaten Vauxhall Astra drifts and winds across country lanes, tires crunching softly against clean gravel. Absentmindedly, Honey pokes a curious hand out of the open window; allows fresh air to trail her fingertips and the crux of her neck. It’s playful – perhaps even a bad influence.

She uses her other hand to trace delicate circles on Cami’s sleeve, drawing random patterns across the black ink. She pouts her bottom lip out when Cami’s eyes stay glued to the derelict road.

“They said they loved you,” she says softly, touch drifting, “Blood is blood. And it’s so much thicker than water. You really think they’d cut you off like that?”

Cami lets her eyelids flutter, gently pulling her arm away and back onto the steering wheel. “If you truly believe that, you don’t know my family. They’ve told me how much they love me before handing me a conversion camp leaflet. They’re iceberg Christians.”

Honey scoffs, sinking further into her own seat, “I’m not even gonna ask what that means.”

“Iceberg,” Cami repeats, “They follow the rules when it suits them. They follow the rules they want to follow. They touch the very surface of what it means to be a Christian.”

And Honey understands this, or at least she prays she comes across as though she does. It’s unthinkable for her that a family could reject their loved one based on something so trivial, and whilst she’s grateful that that isn’t the case in her own family tree – it doesn’t make her ache for Cami any less.

“Doesn’t it upset you, though?” Honey questions quietly, fiddling with the sterling silver chain of her necklace, “That your family treats you that way?”

With one arm planted against the steering wheel, Cami uses her other arm to stretch across the seat; she slides her forearm over the leather of the car; turns her head ever so slightly.

“Why would it? It means that I get to choose my own family,” she smiles loosely, knitting a strategic arm around Honey’s neck, “And I’d argue that it’s a pretty fuckin good one, at that.”

After a moment, she leans even farther forward – almost tilting onto Honey’s lap. Then, she moves forward and slowly places a kiss on Honey’s forehead; pulling after moments after to marvel at the nude-pink outline her touch has left.

“This is all I need,” she promises, finding Honey’s braced fingertips with her own; shyly linking them together like puzzle pieces, “You’re all I need, and I couldn’t ask for a better family.”

The other young woman feels her throat bubbling; fights desperately to hold back the onset of tears. It’s stupid, how tightly Cami has her wrapped around her finger sometimes – and in typical Cami fashion, it’s always in the purest of manners. Honey is so entranced by the moment; the squeeze of Cami’s soft yet persistent skin, that she doesn’t even notice the Astra draw to a sharp halt.

After a slow pause, Cami pulls the keys from the ignition and slumps against the headrest of her seat, “We’re here.”

Honey cocks an eyebrow as she reaches for the door handle, “Here?”

She steps one Converse out onto ticklish, overgrown grass and glances out onto the view set in front of her – the buffet of colours and textures more than enough to silence her.

They’re at the very edge of their home-town, looking over the stretch of the neighbourhood – the cluttered forest, the buzzing boulevard, the silent towns-square and shops with their shutters drawn up.  It’s a newly deserted ghost town, ready and waiting for an enormous pin to be dropped.

“This view—” Honey begins, voice tight and words stuttered, “It’s incredible.”

Cami saunters around the front of the car, resting her backside against the bonnet. She offers a wide, Cheshire-cat smirk as she folds her arms across her chest, “The best view in the house.”

“The best view for what?”

Before Cami can answer Honey’s question, the townspeople decide to provide an answer instead. The first firework shoots into the blackness of the night; before crackling and exploding into a cloud of white, pink and blue, alongside a palette of sprinkled colours and shades. In her mind, Honey compares the sight to that of a giant artist’s easel.

She doesn’t have too much time to linger on that comparison before the second firework launches into the sky with a wild burst of light and a more than audible crackle. Then the third comes along. The fourth makes itself more than known.

The penny drops, and Honey’s shoulders instinctively relax with relief, “November 5th. The lights. Shit, I forgot—”

With a chuckle, Cami shakes her head dismissively. After a moment, she reaches around Honey’s waist and pulls her in close – the two bodies settling against the bonnet of her Astra.

“It’s Guy Fawkes night, not my birthday,” she continues, the gleam of each and every firework reflected in her ocean-blue irises, “Just enjoy the lights, my love.”

And so without another word, Honey decides to do exactly as she’s told. Her pointed chin rests against Cami’s shoulder; and trickles of wavy, blonde hair tickle the side of her face as the other woman nuzzles in closer. Cami disappears for a hot second to grab a blanket from her boot – draping it across two sets of shoulders as the Bonfire Night fireworks resume in full-swing.

It seems the right moment for Honey to utter some cliché, romantic words, like; I love you, you mean the world to me, or I’m so glad to be here with you. But the physical touch is more than enough of a reminder. Within the space of an hour, as the two young women watch in wonder at the firework show – revelling in the explosions of bright light and the appearance of homemade bonfires popping up across the neighbourhood – Honey finds herself falling in love with this spot. The curves and bumps of the road; the bottomless ditches;  the overgrown grass and empty, country roads. She grows to adore all of it – for how peaceful, comforting and magical the mere sight is.

Until one day, Cami and Honey visit the overlook for the very last time; without either of them knowing it would be their final visit together. They only return to the spot once more: Honey, with her tear-soaked face and shuddering limbs – and Cami, smiling softly at her through a photograph.

 

 

____

 

The first thing Honey notices about Minerva when she walks through the front door; is how reluctant she is in her stride, her posture, the way she sits. It’s as though she’s holding herself back – assessing the environment before she dares open up to it. Recent events have begun to chip at her hard exterior, and Honey does not know truly if she loves or loathes this vulnerability.

“You sure about this?” Honey asks slowly, flicking the kettle on and slouching against the island counter in her dressing gown, “Don’t feel as though you have to get involved for my sake.”

She’s giving Minerva an exit – an out. The last thing Honey would want is  – in some strange universe – for the book to hit the shelves, and for Minerva to suddenly turn around and change her mind about the whole thing. Instead, she offers a frustratingly neutral expression, keen not to sway the motor of emotion. The exit is a clear green light.

Minerva offers a short smile, unwavering, “I’m sure. You know I’d tell you if I wasn’t.”

And she’s so right; she says the words with confident intention. The kettle whistles lowly, and the two women head towards the lounge after pouring and stirring their teacups. The walk towards the couch seems to last a hundred lifetimes.

They settle; hands warmed by longing palms. There’s an entire history mapped out between these two young women. The connection they established in their early teens; two hopeful youths treading down unforgiving pathways; has become a tangled mess of expectations, heartbreaks, dreams, and all of it has led to this moment.

Two souls, imprisoned by their past – but bound by the red string of unconditional, unending love. That is the history. That is the truth.

Honey flips open her Mac, taps a finger against the keyboard. She looks up towards Minerva, who sips her tea expectantly.

“Right then, where shall we start?” she questions, as the screen boots up, “What kind of story do we want to tell?”

 

 

_______

 

 

Secondary school seems to resume almost as quickly as it had ended, the indecisive weather making for a particularly scarce summer. And when classes continue and students begin to trickle through the front doors, Honey wonders if she’s entered a different world – one populated with unfamiliar, changed faces.

And one of those new faces is an abnormal cluster of fire, water and Earth. A personality and appearance like that of a chameleon, ever-growing and forever changing. Cameron Walker wanders through the front doors of the high school; and without knowing it, walks straight into the fragile heart of Honey Moretti.

In all her youth, fresh face and natural beauty – Honey wonders how she didn’t notice the girl before. Cameron waltzes into the classroom with her bouncy blonde bob and wide grin, collapsing into her seat and turning every single head in the room without so much as lifting a finger. That seems to be a recurring theme with the girls that Honey falls in love with.

She finds herself gazing at the back of Cameron’s fair head, listens intently when she introduces herself. In five minutes, she learns far more than she had learned throughout her entire previous school year. She listens as Cameron describes her childhood, growing up in Northern Wales. Eyebrows raise when Cameron explains that she has five sisters and three brothers; that she’s broken her nose three times; that’s she’s never stayed at one school for longer than six months.

One girl at the front of the class turns in her seat, asks in wonder, “You got expelled? You don’t look like the type.”

Cameron offers a simple shake of the head and a low chuckle, “I wasn’t expelled. My dad’s a freelance labourer so we move around a lot, probably too much, actually.”

After class, Honey catches Cameron at the end of the corridor, surprising even herself with a newfound confidence. The girl spins on her heel, and Honey has to try desperately not to fall to her knees at the sight of those big, emerald eyes – seemingly lost in an ocean of seafoam green.

“I loved your stories,” Honey swallows, clutching the straps of her backpack, “So much more interesting than Mr. Roland’s personal takes on A Catcher.”

Cameron smiles at her, pearly-white grin lighting up the length of the hallway. She has an undeniably different energy about her – mainly in the sense that she has no preconceptions about anybody here at the school. Not about Minerva, or Honey, or any of their classmates. And Honey revels in that luxury.

“Is he that boring?” The other girl laughs, tucking a stray hair behind one hair. Honey wishes they were her own fingers, “Well, in that case, I’ll make sure to share my stories as often as I can.”

Cameron extends her hand, long fingers and soft skin almost ethereal. “Cami, nice to meet you.”

Honey accepts the greeting, enamoured by the fresh face before her, “Honey. Moretti.”

Cami jabs a thumb in the direction of the cafeteria, “Do you maybe want a personal story time? You’d really be helping me out – sitting alone is never something I get used to, even being the new girl.”

Beginning to walk with her, Honey smirks, “You’d be doing me an even bigger favour. I’d love to sit with you.”

And how beautiful it is, to watch young love blossom as naturally as delicate flowers – to watch it evolve into a lifelong connection and companionship. How precious is that sight?

But of course, how treacherous it is – to watch that connection end prematurely; watch as that love is slashed. The biggest lesson of all, of all, is that Death never discriminates.

 

 

_______

 

After a long pause, Minerva places her mug on the coffee table and leans back into the sofa. Her eyes are wide, but strikingly tired.

“I get it now,” she ponders quietly, “She was there for you when I wasn’t.”

Honey opens her mouth to argue but quickly stops in her tracks. This is good – the raw, unfiltered emotion: they are but the building blocks of a good story. It feels wrong, to squeeze the guilt from Minerva as though she is nothing but a rotted fruit; innards barely accessible and salvageable - but it is undeniably necessary.

“It’s not that,” Honey offers, as though her words are any consolation, “She just wasn’t afraid to love me. She held my hand as though it were a privilege.”

Those words seem to stab Minerva; twist the knife. She hangs her head for a moment, picking ferociously at the skin on one thumb. Honey knows that there’s no real need to be so callous, but these emotions build up over time, you see. Time tends to rot everything – including, and especially love.

Instead of a witty comeback, Minerva simply asks, “Did you love her?”

Honey leans forward in her seat, tilts the top of her laptop down so she can see Minerva properly. “Of course, I did.”

The other woman is silent for a moment, then shakes her head. “Yeah, yeah, I know. I just wanna know what that feels like.”

Slowly, Honey extends an arm across the coffee table, places one palm over the top of Minerva’s, holds it there for a few seconds. They lock eyes.

“You do,” Honey whispers, squeezing hard, “You always did.”

And it’s difficult – for Honey to confront the lingering past and hopeful future as though they are enemies in the making. And those realities reside within Minerva, both a time machine and a portal to the possible. Honey stares deeply, prying into the grass green irises of her childhood friend – searching for a morsel of regret. And she finds a mountain of them.

“I want to help you, Honey,” Minerva sighs, chest heavy with longing as she chews at a thumb, “I also want to tell my story – make people understand why I did what I did. And I don’t know if that’s selfish or not.”

And so Honey addresses the elephant in the room – breaks the ice with a sledgehammer. "So why did you?"

"Huh?"

"Do what you did?”

For a while, Minerva seems to be stuck on autopilot. Her hands resting underneath her chin as she gazes at the carpet, running one finger along the coffee table as she ponders her options quietly. For the first time, in a long, long time, Minerva thinks before she speaks. And Honey’s unsure whether she admires or despises this new trait.

“I love Parker,” she begins, quiet and mousey, a strange change in personality, “I love our home, our marriage, our child. None of those things were born out of malice.”

Honey runs a fingertip over the rim of her coffee cup, teeth clenched, “But?”

“But,” Minerva continues, tilting her head, “I didn’t love him the way he wanted. I never could.”

Honey wants to ask; then why did you marry him? But of course, she has grown familiar to the knowledge of where the line is – and decides to leave that interrogation alone. She doesn’t understand, she never could – and even typing Minerva’s story up onto the screen will only allow her a sliver of insight. Minerva has been afraid, even now she’s so damn scared – and despite her actions, she’s entitled to feel that way.

Suddenly, Minerva reaches for her coat pocket, “I have something that belongs to you.”

All of me belongs to you, Honey wants to say.

Instead, she remains silent; watches as Minerva produces a white slip from her pocket, rolls it out and flattens it with soft, careful hands. It’s another photograph – brown and creased at the edges. Minerva slides the photograph across the table with purpose, as though she must get rid of it – as though the mere sight of this item draws open old wounds.

And perhaps it does, Honey muses – when two, familiar, teenage faces glance back at her. She flips the image over, uses a finger to trace soft, aqua blue lines: The best summer of our lives! Love forever, Honey. 04’

A lightbulb flashes in the brunette’s mind, and so the dots connect, “I’ve been looking for this. It’s from your photo album.”

It’s almost laughable – the irony of it all. Twelve years have rolled around without so much as a conversation, simply because the both of them are stubborn and hate admitting their faults. And yet, these photographs and trinkets have remained; stored between attic walls, stuffed behind car mirrors, clasped desperately in the hands of women who would rather walk the earth alone than spite their own self-image and ego. They’re sad, damaged, endlessly and fruitlessly romantic – Honey even more so as a writer, as a poet; and Minerva just as much as a woman scorned, betrayed; denied the opportunity to live her truth.

Rising from her seat, Minerva’s expression suddenly softens, her lips allowing a smirk, “Yeah, couldn’t let you keep all the memories now, could I? Had to take a piece for myself.”

“And—” Honey begins, dropping her head and using one hand to massage her temples, “Why would you leave that photo album in my house? If it’s yours?”

Casually, Minerva offers a simple shrug of the shoulders. She turns to face the window – admiring the sleet and ice blanketed across the ground outside. Her jawline is sharper than ever, her eyes gleaming with a sense of purpose. Her hair is winter ice.

She turns back, stares her childhood friend straight in the eyes – electing a shiver.

“I guess I hated the idea of you forgetting me.”

She makes a beeline for the kitchen, and Honey watches with a mixture of bemusement and curiosity as Minerva flicks on the kettle and slumps against the granite of the kitchen island. As if I ever could, she wants to reply.

But she doesn’t. Instead, the moment slips away, like that of fresh icicles from a slated rooftop.

“Brew?” Minerva questions, less of a question and more of an acknowledgement.

Honey grins, leans her chin against the top of the settee as she watches.

“Thought you’d never ask.”

 

 

_______

 

 

There is a very fine line that rests between September and October – and some would argue that that line can often become blurred. Save for Halloween, crisp, brown leaves and chill winds being the main symptoms of a season change. And for Parker Grange, that season change is the start of a new chapter – one that he marks by switching his drink of choice from whiskey “on the rocks”, to a delectable and spiced pumpkin rum.

 

And of course, that change wouldn’t properly be marked without the addition of a fat cigar. And so, Parker does just that; lights the end of his cigar with one expert hand, before taking a sip of his new go-to-drink with the other. He throws his legs up onto the desk and takes a moment to loosen his askew tie. The house feels empty. His study feels empty. The dishes and laundry seem to keep piling up. Parker, admittedly, is not enjoying the single life. Nor the single dad life. Nor the 9-5 office life.

Thankfully, though, these stolen, serene moments of silent bliss exist. And most often, they exist during dusk. Parker makes a mental note to appreciate these moments more often, humming in appreciation as he stubs the end of his cigar against his glass ashtray – before reaching across the desk and tapping the keypad.

One missed call. And somewhere, burrowed deep in his chest – Parker loosens his grip onto hope. The hope that Minerva may have picked up the phone.

Sure, she’s a liar; a cheater. All of the despicable traits that should repel a man as sensible as Parker. And yet, none of those traits negate the fact that this woman had been his wife, the mother of his child. A love like that can be annoyingly invincible.

As he hits the ‘redial’ button, Parker catches something from the corner of his eye. He turns his head, faces the trophy case beside his desk. The moving boxes remain piled in the corner of the room – a cruel reminder that this home shall soon be just a house.

There’s a long line of awards, certificates and trophies; the majority courtesy of Minerva. Awards for theatre performances, TV performances and modelling shoots. But that isn’t exactly what Parker focuses on. Instead, his sight lands on a small, piece of jewellery – sat on the edge of the top shelf.

It looks odd. Out of place, as though it is breaking rules by simply being there.

And of course, Parker recognises this ring. How could he not? When he’d agonised over the jewellery counter at Harrods all those months ago, eyes bouncing between the expensive gleam of each ring like a materialistic game of ping-pong. How could he forget the rush of adrenaline as he dropped to one knee, arms shaking wildly as he reached for the plush, velvet box?

And on reflection, Parker realises that Minerva likely never loved him. Not when he produced that ring, not when their child was born, not when they tied the knot. She’d chosen him because he was safe, not because she adored him. And that is a marriage that was doomed from the get-go.

The other end of the phone line suddenly sounds, wrenching Parker back into reality.  The voice on the other end of the line sounds gruff; strikingly familiar.

“Henry Publishing’s LTD, how can I help?” The voice questions; clearly annoyed at being woken up so late. Parker looks towards his clock. 9:56PM. Shit.

“Hey, Mike,” Parker begins, pacing around the study awkwardly, “It’s Parker. Parker Grange. Just returning a missed call.”

At the mention of his name, Mike seems to chirp up, his duvet covers shifting as he clambers out of bed. Parker thinks he’s hears the floorboards creak over the line as Mike stammers to respond.

“Parker,” he exclaims, as quietly as he can without disturbing the rest of his home, “Sorry, of course, I remember. Didn’t expect a call this late.”

Cringing, Parker apologises, “I know, I know, I’m sorry. Didn’t get to my voicemail til’ now.”

He reaches for his glass, sinking back into his seat, “So, how come you called, anyway?”

Parker listens as Mike shuffles, presumably into his kitchen, if the sound of the fridge buzzing is anything to go on. There’s a quick squeak of a wooden chair as Mike sits himself down, inhaling and exhaling over the phone.

“Er, so listen,” Mike begins, clearing his throat as though something is stuck in it, “There’s no easy way to say this, so I’ll just say it. Everybody knows about the divorce.”

Great, Parker muses, slumping against the headrest of his seat. He spins himself slightly, disappointed yet not surprised at the words. He knew this attention was a possible symptom of marrying Minerva. Though, he never expected the attention to occur following the marriage. He was an ordinary man, after all – just deemed interesting by association.

“I’m aware,” Parker responds, much more coldly than he intended, “Everybody in the country knows about my personal situation, at this point.”

He takes another long swig of the rum, letting it slide down his throat like coup syrup. The aftertaste is cruel, but Parker has grown used to torturing himself. And this phone call is hardly an exception. Mike shuffles again; fidgeting.

“With all due respect, a personal life is never personal in the public eye.”

Parker opens his mouth to retort with a witty comeback or a rude comment but settles against it. Not because he wants to be the bigger man – but because he daren’t dig this hole any deeper. Instead, he bites the bullet – hell, lets it shatter his teeth. He rubs one finger against his temple, eyes squeezed.

“Look,” he breathes, “Just tell me why you called?”

Thankfully, Mike obliges – and so Parker breathes a long sigh of relief.

“Following the news of the split,” he continues, further cementing his image as an arrogant prick, “I just wanted to give you a chance to terminate your proposition?”

Shit, Parker thinks. He’d almost completely forgotten about the business deal he and Mike had agreed upon, although only a couple of weeks had passed since settling it. And sure, maybe Mike Henry simply wanted to offer Parker a chance to withdraw his end of the bargain, or perhaps he wanted a snippet of gossip for himself. Either way, Parker is stuck for words.

Ever since he’d first laid eyes upon Minerva, he’d wanted to ensure her happiness. The day that they made eye contact across the lecture hall, his heart became engraved with her initials, and only hers. He was drawn to her beauty, her grace – and at the same time, adored the permanent scowl she wore like exquisite, pearl earrings. He was bemused by how she stood with folded arms, as though always eager for war.

And yet, after it all – despite her infidelity and lies, he still cannot admit that she has a single bad bone in her body. Even if she did, Parker would embrace them – like always. But he isn’t what she wants. He never could be.

“No,” he says simply, polishing off the last of his glass, “I’m holding up my side of the bargain; your bank account is still fat, right, Mike?”

He can almost hear Mike scowl on the other side of the phone, but after a few moments, he begrudgingly affirms: “That’s one way of putting it, Mr. Grange.”

The silence that sinks across the line is strange. Parker takes that moment to grasp the rum bottle in it’s entirety, swivelling the neck between his fingertips. A friend waits for him at the bottom of the bottle.

Mike’s sleep-deprived voice sounds over the line. Quiet. Inquisitive.

“Why are you doing this, Parker?” he says, seemingly puzzled at his choice, “She made a bloody fool out of you. The nation is laughing at you because of her.”

He smiles against the rim of the bottle. This could never have ended any other way.

“She had her reasons,” He responds, “Now, hold up your end of the bargain, Mr. Henry.”

His spare fingers find the END CALL button, just as the other man begins to reply. This conversation is the very last thing he needs right now. No, all Parker needs is a belly full of rum, another generous cigar and some peace. He sinks, even further into his seat; absentmindedly switching the vinyl player beside him on. Parker nods along to the soothing voice of Frank Sinatra and flicks a flame underneath the end of his cigar.

Honestly, he never intended for any of this to go this far. He never intended to be sat in his office late at night, drinking and smoking himself into oblivion in an empty home. But would it have been better if this had all happened later? After two years? Five? A decade?

He truly is a fool to want somebody who could never love him back. And perhaps, this is his last act of kindness to his one, true love (if you believe in that sort of thing).

Parker holds the rum bottle up, gestures into the darkness of the room. Alone.

“To first loves,” he says quietly, “And the heartache they leave behind.”

 

 

_______

 

 

“Why can’t we just do it?”

Minerva stares into the sunken eyes of her childhood friend; feels how Honey’s eyes burn and dig deep into her own gaze. Like some kind of twisted corsage, Honey grips onto her friend’s arm, fingernails curling inward harshly. She hangs on for dear life; teeth clenched; expression desperate.

Winter Prom. 2005. A delicate, moonlit evening alive with stars and the blazon run of youth. Liquor pours like a waterfall and the hills are alive with the first inkling of snow. December has always been cruel, although prom night in particular seems to leave an extra sting for Honey.

Two girls. One bathroom. A shared affection but a battleground of excuses resting between them. How Honey longs to clamber over this battlefield, crush it with the heel of her stilettos. That prospect is much easier said than done, it turns out.

With blackened eyes, Minerva wrenches her wrist from Honey’s insistent grip. She tilts her head, winds her neck so she can peer through the crack in the bathroom door. Once she deems it safe, Minerva steps forward, pushes the door over softly with her back.

She lets out a long sigh, one that has clearly been building up for a while. Her eyes struggle to meet Honeys from across the room. “You know we can’t do that, Hon.”

Instead of explaining further, Minerva simply walks back over to the mirror, continuing to root through her makeup bag in the search of a perfect, red lipstick. She works quickly, pretends as though she doesn’t feel Honey’s gaze run across her – hot and judgemental.

“We can’t?” Honey repeats, taking a step towards the other girl, “Or you won’t?”

Minerva exhales, glances upwards in the mirror as she slams down her lipstick tube, “Which answer would hurt you less?”

Minerva is stubborn, headstrong, undeterred. All of the qualities that initially attracted Honey (and others) like a moth to a flame. And yet, Alas, Honey refuses to give up; refuses to admit defeat. She moves up against Minerva, intimidating and unavoidable, to the best of her ability.

She snarls, “I know you want this. You hate hiding as much as I do.”

Despite what she would have others believe, Minerva is also abysmal at hiding her emotions. The agreement sticks to her flesh like hot candlewax, and Honey takes the opportunity to move closer.

“Nobody will care,” Honey whispers, her promises already falling on deaf ears, and yet she persists, “And even if they did, doesn’t our happiness come first? I want this. I want you. You’re all I’ve ever wanted.”

Minerva hisses, hanging her curled hair against the steamed mirror, almost giving up. She pulls her head back, eyes squeezed tight and fingernails tapping against the enamel of the sink.

“Don’t say stupid shit that you don’t mean. You always knew that we could never tell anybody.”

Honey curls her fists inward, anger soaring through her veins in double-quick time. She shakes her head in disbelief.

“You never told me that.”

Minerva spins on her heels, face screwed up in fury, “Because you’re fuckin’ naïve, Honey.”

The two girls stand eye-to-nose, both with their chests rising and falling, both with fists curled in anger. How troublesome, for rage and love to exist in the same capacity at the same time. It’s a wonder this didn’t happen sooner, Honey remarks to herself.

Minerva steps forward, heels clicking against the bathroom tiles. Her face refuses to soften.

“I never meant for any of this shit to happen,” she says, and then, “It’s not my fault that you fell in love.”

There it is.

“What are you saying?” Honey demands, throat burning. Fresh, hot tears simmer at the back of her eyes, and yet she fights desperately to push them back.

There’s a long beat of silence, and perhaps that bout of silence speaks much louder than any words ever could. Minerva recognises this; acknowledges it. She tilts her head back again, as though she cannot even stomach uttering those words to Honey’s face.

And yet, she does.

“I don’t love you,” she says. Simple. Needlessly straightforward. But why does it feel so fucking complicated?

And there it is: the elephant in the room, the clarification, the explanation on where the two young girls actually stand in one another’s lives. And yet, even with such venom, with such malice, Honey cannot bring herself to believe those words. Those years of hushed, sweet nothings; tender touches. Despite everything: boys, kissing boys (or trying to), dating boys (and always failing), the two girls would always circle back to one another. And after so many years of friendship, Honey has grown accustomed to detecting Minerva’s lies And there have been so many.

And this? This is one of them.

“I don’t believe you,” Honey says, almost smug, “you kiss me, you fuck me, you talk about our future all the time. And yet you couldn’t even stomach kissing Brad?”

Minerva shakes her head, not in denial, but in dismission. She doesn’t want to hear this reality check. Silently, she prays for this ordeal to end. But of course, Honey perseveres.

She takes another step closer, wraps her fingers around Minerva’s wrist. But this time, she does so gently – as though Minerva is porcelain. She pleads with her eyes.

“Call him,” she begs, “Tell him you found a new date. Please.”

Minerva glances at the hand around her wrist; doesn’t attempt to wring free of the grip. She doesn’t want to.

Instead, she looks to the ground – shakes her head as she murmurs, “I-I can’t…”

“Please,” Honey continues, grip tightening, “If not for my sake, then for his. Nobody deserves to be lied to like that—”

At that moment, the doorbell buzzes from the downstairs hall, and Minerva’s mother’s voice echoes from the kitchen – a simple, “Coming!”- and yet that’s all it takes for Honey’s heart to sink.

Two girls. One bathroom. Minerva leans forward slowly, and Honey holds her breath. For a moment, she is unsure of what to expect, but Minerva simply rests her forehead against Honey’s – skin slick with sweat and foundation.

“I would give anything to be with you,” Honey says, failing to push tears back.

Minerva does not reply, simply reaches her hand around and clasps it to the back of her best friend’s head. She has become the expert of killing silently and softly.

She holds the two of them there for a good few seconds, before pulling away, grabbing her clutch and heading towards the bathroom door.

“I gotta go,” she says, “Brad’s waiting for me.”

The pure anger and betrayal that climbs inside of Honey’s throat seems to translate into her words. She stares at Minerva in the reflection of the mirror; stark and daring. Desperately daring Minerva to love her back.

“If you walk out of that door,” she says, quietly, “We’re done. Forever.”

Minerva pauses, grazes her fingers against the door handle as though she is between two minds. Of course, her gaze refuses to meet Honey – a cowardly exchange that is louder than words. The pause feels infinite, and neither girl knows if it lasts for seconds or minutes.

It definitely doesn’t last forever, though.

Minerva slips through the door as though she were never in the room; and she takes Honey’s heart with her, tucked away in her clutch-bag.

One girl.

One bathroom.


© Copyright 2019 beccamidmoores. All rights reserved.

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