Vain Attachments

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

College was supposed to be the time of her life. Just in the span of a couple weeks, Bailey would learn about true love and true loss.

 

 

August 17, 2018

I woke up at 6:30 A.M. that August morning, groaning at the sound of my insanely annoying alarm. Normally, I would have pressed snooze a few dozen times and let myself sleep in more, but today had to be different. It was first day at my new college and it that was going to be the biggest change of my life. Transferring somewhere new was a huge step for me and definitely out of my comfort zone, but I also knew it was the best thing for my future and overall personal growth. Excited but anxious about my first day, I immediately got out of bed and grabbed my outfit that I had laid out the night before. Knowing that standing out probably wasn’t the smartest idea during my first week, I went with a basic black tank and grey sweatpants. It’s not like there would be anyone to impress right?

 

As I walked downstairs, I carried my suitcase which was the last thing that needed to be packed into the car. Everything was already practically spilling out of the car, but this suitcase had all my unnecessary clothes for every event I could think of. How could I not pack it? I heard some commotion in the kitchen. “Mom?” I called and I heard, “everything is fine!” Laughing to myself, I walked into the kitchen and saw her struggling to get out one of the pans. Mom always made me a big breakfast before my first day at any big event in my life. Although I was a junior in college and not high school or middle anymore, I really appreciated having a home-cooked breakfast.

“This smells so good, but do you need a little help with that pan?” I smiled. She looked up at me after almost dropping the pan and rolled her eyes at my sarcasm.

Mom laughed and replied, “No, it’s okay, Bailey. The pancakes are on that plate for you, I was just going to make some bacon to go with it. I should have time to make it before we go.” She glanced at the suitcase that was at my side.  

In that moment, I started to tear up as reality hit me… I was leaving my home today. “Don’t forget we leave in about an hour, Mom. Oh and, thank you so much for the breakfast. Where’s Sky?” Sky was my younger sister and although we were about seven years apart, we were inseparable and I wanted to have my last breakfast at home with her.

Not a second after I asked, I heard light footsteps coming down the stairs. A sleepy voice called out, “B, right here”. Sky was not a morning person and I appreciated that she was up early just for me.

“Sky!” I ran to hug her and we went to sit at the table together. Our little family made me so happy; it was me, Bailey, Mom and Dad. Sadly, Dad had already left for work at 4:45 A.M. meaning I didn’t get to say goodbye that morning. We had said goodbye the night before, while spending time at a car show and then getting ice cream. I love Dad.

Once it was 7 o’clock I knew I had to grab my final things and get in the car. Mom and Sky were going to follow me in order to help me unpack everything at school. My favorite part of move-in days is the fact Bailey always helped me decorate my room (although we sometimes disagree where things should go). I love that kid.  

The distance from our Monroe home to Ithaca, New York was about a three-hour drive, meaning I wouldn’t be coming home every weekend anymore like I used to. Sky chose to ride with me although my boxes and miscellaneous things were crowding her legs. She never minded a little inconvenience if it meant spending time with me, and I love her for that. Blasting music as we drove on NY-17, I felt extra thankful for my family that day and promised myself I would keep in touch with them as best as I could.

 

  1.  

10:25 A.M.

“Wow, I forgot how pretty the campus is!” Mom exclaimed as we all got out of our cars in the university’s parking lot. She was carrying my box of clothes and I almost forgot to help with them because I was so overwhelmed, but in the best way. I had visited Cornell at the beginning of the summer, and I fell in love with it all over again as I stood in that parking lot. Pursuing my dream of being a journalist was something I had been wanting for a long time. Although my anxiety started to kick in as we headed towards the lobby of my dorm building, I smiled to myself and imagined all the good things that were to come.

Sky and I took multiple trips to the car, bringing in all my things. It was strange to see my decorations from my room at home in a big box, knowing they would be hung up and displayed in a totally new environment. I knew in the moment more than ever that I would miss my house, from randomly walking into Sky’s room asking for her opinion on my outfit, to watching old movies with Dad in the living room. Never again would I take any moments for granted.

11:00 A.M.

As I sat on my newly made bed once Sky and Mom left, a feeling of complete loneliness suddenly overwhelmed me. Coming from a completely familiar school to a not-so-familiar one was already proving to be more difficult than I thought. But before I could wallow in my loneliness any longer, a voice in the hallway caught my attention (mostly because I had been zoning out and their speaking startled me). I looked up and saw a tall, dark-haired girl of about five foot five standing in the doorway. She smiled and waved at me. Her hair had strips of green in the front.

“Chloe?” She asked, as she set down a box of textbooks (I still needed to pick mine up, I noted).

I had forgotten all about, you know, the whole roommate thing. Relief came over me and I replied, “Yeah, so you’re Isabel then?” She had already begun putting her books on her little shelf but was still paying attention to me. I also noted that her closet was extremely organized.

“Please, you can call me Izzy, all my friends do! And sorry, I’m listening, I’m just trying to get these books set up.”

I laughed and pointed out, “Okay, but you know classes don’t start for two more days.” Izzy was the most prepared person I had ever met. Most people on move-in day immediately take a nap, find a friend to eat with, or really just anything that doesn’t involve thinking about textbooks yet.

She rolled her eyes and said, “Well obviously, but I need to get ready to start studying already. My first quiz is literally on the first day of class. Makes no sense, but what are you gonna do, you know?”

Not wanting to think about classes quite yet, I tried to change the subject. “That sounds fun and all, but do you maybe want to go do something?” I had hoped to walk around campus to get familiar with it before Wednesday. Besides, once classes started I wouldn’t really have time to indulge in relaxing or going out. Thankfully, Izzy put down her books and decided to come with me. I never liked doing anything alone because my anxiety would not allow me to- one of my bad traits, but at least I had someone to depend on that day.

  1.  

8:45 P.M.

Towards the end of that day, I was feeling happier with my new temporary home. Izzy and I had mapped out where our classes would be- well, really only I had to do that because this was her third year here. Around 9 P.M., I decided to open my journal and write about my day, although it was slightly uneventful compared to what I had imagined. Writing was my way of escaping, whether it was writing in my diary, creating a short story, or even writing an essay for school. Words were something I struggled with out loud sometimes, due to my anxiety but when I wrote, the words flowed in a way I cannot explain. Because I loved writing and creating stories, that is why I decided to become a journalist. I really hoped to become a well-known writer and move people with my words while also learning a lot about the world around me. I only hoped that my anxiety would not significantly hold me back from accomplishing my goals.

  1.  

August 19, 2018 8:15 A.M.

The first day of classes came around in the blink of an eye and I was more anxious than ever before. I tried to convince myself I was excited, but mostly I was nervous. I grabbed my backpack off my bed and headed to my first class, Advanced Writing. This was a required class but I viewed it as more of an elective, a way for me to learn to even better express myself. Maybe this class would bring something wonderful my way. The walk the building was only about ten minutes, but I made sure to leave earlier than I needed to to make sure I got a seat I actually wanted. Everyone knows the seat you pick on the first day is where you will be the rest of the semester. Once I got to the building, I took a deep breath and made my way toRoom 204. An elderly man was standing at the front when I came in, flipping through a portfolio. I wondered what that was for and made my own speculations as I found a seat. I decided to sit in the third row, not too close, not too far back and I loved that the window was right beside me. As I got out my notebook, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I hadn’t taken note of who was in the room when I had entered.

“Hey, excuse me…” the boy behind me said. He really startled me but I turned around.

“Um, yeah, what’s…oh hi”, I stuttered. I had not expected him to be so attractive. I could have guessed by his voice though. “What’s up?” I cringed at my own awkwardness but tried to act calm.

He laughed a little bit, seeming slightly nervous himself. “Sorry, I just wanted to ask if I can borrow some paper. I have my book but totally left my notebook on my desk.” He sheepishly looked into my eyes and I had forgotten how to breath for a moment. Those eyes were gentle, but I could tell there was pain behind them. I reached into my backpack, trying to conceal my smile and handed him a few sheets of paper. Before we could continue our conversation, Professor Burkley had begun speaking.

The first half of the class went by insanely slow, as all first days of classes go. Sitting next to the window may not have been helping things. Tending to daydream, I spent a little too long looking out of it.  I tried to pay attention the details of the syllabus we were going over, but I could feel my handsome classmate’s eyes on me despite the fact he was sitting right behind me. Although I really wanted to make an excuse to turn around in order to get another look at him, I knew it was important for me to get serious and try to absorb any information I could, even on that mundane morning in Room 204 when all we were doing was discussing deadlines.

“Alright, everybody. Let me explain the project that you will actually be starting tomorrow.” Professor Burkley announced as he flipped to the last page of the syllabus. I was not expecting to start something so early, but I knew his expectations were high and was determined to do my best. Complaining would do me no good. “You will be writing a short story, about any topic you wish and you have one week to do it. It will give me an idea of your writing skills. You can read the rest of this page for the details.” He pushed his glasses up and twirled his red pen around.

I felt so excited to write my first story at my new college and ideas were already swarming in my mind. Would I write about something from my own personal experiences or perhaps come up with a historical piece? Before I could brainstorm anymore, Mr. Burkley added something else.

“By the way, you will be assigned a partner after you write your story this week and they will have the responsibility of peer reviewing your paper. I want you guys to work together after this week, offering constructive criticism. You have the rest of the week and weekend to write a 500 word story.” My heart dropped, as I imagined getting partnered with someone who was far more advanced than I. Although I loved writing, I tended to compare myself to others and was an extreme perfectionist. Burkley paced around the room, as he randomly paired classmates together. I wish we had some input in the process, but what could I do?

Professor Burkley stood in front of me, and I awaited my fate. Everyone’s eyes were on me, and I wondered if these people were judging me or simply did not care a bit about me. Anxiety made me wonder far too many things. “Miss Bailey, you will be with… Mr. Daley.”

“Nooo problem, sir.” I heard the boy behind me say with not a hint of hesitation in his voice, but rather excitement… a little too much excitement almost.

I could not believe this beautiful human was to be my partner. How was I supposed to focus on my writing? Nonetheless, I turned around and spoke to him once again, attempting to leave no trace of anxiety in my voice. “Okay, Mr. Daley… so I let you borrow some paper and I don’t even know you’re first name?”

He leaned even more forward in his seat, waving his pen at me. “Okay, well I don’t even know yours, silly.” He bit the inside of his cheek, trying to cover up his smirk.

I laughed, “Oh, no it is Bailey, Burkley said it. You’re just special apparently, getting called by your last name. You’re already the teacher’s pet?” Looking down at my book, I pretended to be genuinely busy reading the first page.

“Asher. It’s Asher. So, do you know what you want to write your story on already?” I wondered how he knew that I already had ideas flooding my mind but mostly I wondered how anybody could have such an attractive voice and face. His presence made me nervous, but I was happy to experience it. Not to mention, I loved his name was one I had never heard before. He was different, and something about him made me more and more curious as the minutes went by.

Wanting an even better opportunity to speak to this boy, I ignored my anxiety and said, “I’ll tell you after class okay? I’m going to the coffee shop right after… if you want to come… I mean you don’t have to but I thought… I… yeah.?” Cringing at my stuttering, I just started laughing.

Asher didn’t seem to mind me being nervous- in fact, I think he liked it in a way because he didn’t laugh at me. “Hey, you know, that sounds good. By the way, thanks for the paper.”

 

10:00 A.M.

When Professor Burkley dismissed our class, my legs felt frozen. I could not believe I had invited Asher to go with me to coffee. Normally, I did not have the courage to speak up and sometimes struggled to build connections. I’m not sure what came over me, but I decided that good was to come and made myself stand up anyways. As I made my way to the door, Asher followed closely behind, so close I could smell his cologne. “I can’t, I can’t….” I said to myself. He interrupted my thinking, walking right beside me in the hallway and accidentally on purpose running into me. I rolled my eyes at him.

“So, Bailey, how’s your first day of classes going? I’m liking mine so far.” He did that stupid adorable smirk again and I hated yet loved him for it. We started to walk out the main door and he held it for me (I was so nervous I couldn’t even thank him).  

I answered his question, wanting to flirt back but instead I said, “Oh it’s good. Next time you should bring your own paper though.” Instantly, I regretted saying that.

“Next time, you should… okay I got nothing, you’re so right though.” He simply laughed, adjusting his backpack and pulling out his phone. “Alright, since we are going to be peer reviewing each other’s paper next week, can I get your number or something?” Asher ran his fingers through his dark hair, not being so confident in that moment.

I looked over at him, and again as I noticed his gentle eyes, I wondered what kind of pain he was carrying around. Silently addressing his question, I took his phone which he had offered me even before he asked it. Again, it was almost as if he was too excited but I noticed his confidence had gone down.

“There, now you have my number. I have a question of my own, if you don’t mind.” Asher seemed a little taken back but shrugged and told me to go ahead.

“What’s your coffee order? I have to know. I’m not sure if we can be friends if you order regular black coffee.” I laughed, and we walked up the steps into the coffee shop. It smelled absolutely amazing and reminded me of one particular coffee shop back home, where I had often sat and wrote poetry on the weekends.

Asher looked into my eyes as he opened the door for me and replied, “Okay, Miss Judgmental. But I actually always get a caramel macchiato. I kind of have a sweet tooth.” He smiled and we got in line.

“Are you kidding me, I always get that too!” Although so far we were only similar in the fact we loved to write and ordered the same coffee, I had a good feeling that maybe we had more in common than just those superficial things. I really wanted to know him- something was simply drawing me towards him and I prayed he felt the same.

After we ordered our coffees, Asher picked a table by the window and had already gotten his notebook out. He reminded me of Izzy in a way, in the fact that he did seem really studious. I took small sips of my coffee and watched him sketch some doodles on his paper. Then I realized something.

“Asher, really?” I made a disappointed face but was just joking around. “You told me you didn’t have paper.” I pointed at the notebook, and saw he had drawn a cup of coffee.

Asher froze, then started laughing. “Okay, whatever, I just wanted to talk to you and honestly I didn’t know what to say, alright? Paper seemed liked a good enough excuse.” He closed the notebook and looked right at me, causing me to blush ridiculously.

“I’m glad you talked to me. So… uh, do you want to talk about our assignment?” I hated myself for changing the subject so quickly but could not stand the way he was able to cause my heart to melt as he stared into my eyes. How could anyone be so perfect, when I barely knew them? I wasn’t sure exactly why I felt this way, but I accepted it and waited for his answer.

“I want to hear your idea, if you’re ready. Um, honestly, I know what I’m going to write but it’s hard to explain…sort of based off an event in my life.” Asher replied.

His response made me want to know him even more, but he did ask me to speak about my story first. “Okay,” I said, folding my hands and letting excitement shine through me. “I’m thinking of creating a story about my travels to Europe- specifically the time I spent in Barcelona with my dad. We got robbed one day, and I think that’ll be something interesting to put into the story.”

“Woah, wait a second! You got robbed?” Asher exclaimed. “And wow, you’re pretty fancy Miss Travels.” He took a sip of his coffee and shook his head in amazement.

“Hey, the name is Bailey, you know. “I rolled my eyes but secretly liked the nicknames. I loved the way Asher felt comfortable joking around with me already, while at the same he was a really sweet guy. I wondered if this was too good to be true? I tended to put people on a pedestal and assume the best about them unless they gave me a reason to.

Asher said, “Sorry, Bailey. You have a great name, it’s just I love to see how much you blush when I call you a dumb one.” He reached across the table, stealing one of my pens.

“Hey!” I laughed, letting him keep it since I had about forty other pens in my bag. “And yes, that really did happen to me in Spain, but at least it can make a good story. Who knows what else I will add, though. It’s your turn, Daley.”

“Well, I think I might write about a son losing his father at a young age… uh…” Asher started to stare at his coffee, and bouncing his leg up and down. I knew that sign of anxiety all too well.

I made an effort to try to understand what he might be saying. “Are you okay; do you not want to talk about it right now?”

He looked up, half smiling and took a deep breath. “Actually, I’m okay, yeah. The story is going to be based off my life in a way. I didn’t actually lose my dad- I mean, he’s alive but I’ve lost him… he’s an alcoholic and has been since I was eleven.” Asher bit the inside of his cheek again.

Because of the deep sense of empathy I had, I forgot all about how nervous he made me and reached across the table. Touching his hand, I told him, “I’m so sorry to hear that, Asher. But I’m proud of you for wanting to write about it.”

Asher kept holding onto my hand and replied, “Thanks, I do think that because it hurts so much, it can make a good story. My favorite Hemingway quote is ‘write hard and clear about what hurts’ and I try to follow that statement as best I can.” We sat there for a few seconds in silence.

“Hey, Asher? We’re still holding hands.” I smiled but wondered if I shouldn’t have grabbed his hand to begin with and maybe he was just going along with it. Again, anxiety started to control my thoughts.

Instead of pulling away, Asher actually grabbed my hand a little tighter. “I kind of love holding your hand. I know we just met, but I can’t help but think already that there is something special about you.”

 

His words made me blush more but this time I did not mind because I started to feeling more and more accepted by Asher. “I feel that way too, actually. My next class is at 12, so I should probably go but you should text me.”

Asher stood up, helping me get my things together and I put my backpack on. “Alright, I will and maybe I’ll see you later.” He looked at me a little too long, and we waved goodbye as I made my way towards the door. I could barely believe what had happened in just the span of a few hours. Life had taken a sudden, beautiful turn. What could possibly go wrong?”

 

  1.  

August 22, 2018 9:30 A.M.

I woke up that Saturday morning with full intent of getting in a productive studying/writing session at the library. As my feet hit the floor, I looked over and saw the Izzy had fallen asleep in her clothes. She had stayed up for a majority of the night studying for her math quiz. I was exhausted too, but only because I had been up texting Asher about Shakespeare and family life- you know, the typical conversations on a Friday night. As I started getting ready to go out, Izzy had woken up.

“Shoot, no, no.” Izzy muttered, looking at her phone for the time. Looking over at me, she asked, “Where are you going?” I turned around in the doorway.

“I’ve got to study and finish my story.” I said.

Izzy had begun brushing her hair then picked up her scattered books. “You should join me and my friend’s group. They’re already there. I was supposed to be there half-an-hour ago. She scrambled to put on her shoes and I sighed.

“Okay, I-I can do that I guess but I’m not really good at meeting new people.” I didn’t mean to be so rude, but anxiety began to overtake me all over again. Izzy understood and didn’t comment. We finally headed out the door together and made our way to the library. Thankfully, it was actually just a five minute-walk. I don’t think Izzy’s tired self could have handled a longer one. Usually, she was fine throughout the day once she got a chance to wake up.

When we arrived, I was not prepared for what was about to happen. Izzy and I walked up to the third floor and looked around. Spotting her friend’s table, Izzy grabbed my hand, dragging me towards it and as I noticed exactly who was sitting there, my eyes got really wide.

“Bailey?” Izzy whispered, faking a smile for her friends. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost- come on, you’re okay.” But I was not exactly okay.

Sitting at the end of the table was Asher Daley, my Asher. I had no idea that he would be here. It’s not that I wanted to avoid him, but the fact there were only girls at the table with Asher made me sick. Not only was perfectionism one of my bad traits, but also jealousy. I did not mean to be that way, but my anxiety definitely played into it. They were both prettier than me, probably smarter. There I went, letting my thoughts get the best of me. I tried to push those thoughts away and assume the best about the girls.

“Guys, I’m sorry I’m late. I stayed up a little too late studying.” Izzy told the group of three. She put her textbooks right beside a girl who had bright red hair. All of them watched me, and Asher didn’t say a word for some reason. He was probably just tired, I thought. “Oh, you guys, this is Bailey, she’s gonna do some homework while we go over our history work.” She obviously didn’t know that Asher and I had met but I simply went along with the introductions.

Izzy looked at me and explained, “This is Lauryn,” she pointed at a girl with big blue eyes and stunning blonde hair. I nodded and let Izzy introduce the other girl, who turned out to be named Cassie. When she “introduced” me to Asher, he hadn’t looked up.

 

Everyone waved a muttered a hello, not very enthusiastically. I sat beside Asher while Izzy sat on the other side of me but she started talking to Cassie. Deciding to keep myself, I started on my homework but I was desperately waiting for Asher to say something. For goodness sakes, he was sitting right next to me. We had been texting all night and I felt we had really been connecting. The reason I couldn’t speak is that Lauryn really intimidated me. The way she looked at me as I got introduced definitely sent a clear signal that I was not welcomed at this table. I shot a glance at Asher, who just sat there looking over a history textbook with Lauryn. I wanted to take the book right from under her and close it in her face. Sorry, intrusive thoughts again.

“Do you guys want to quiz each other on what we learned in class yesterday?” Izzy asked the group, holding up what looked like a review sheet she had created. They all nodded and began to go over notes and things like that. Normally, that would have been of no interest to me- caring about what a study group is doing, but I could not stop looking right at Lauryn and wishing she wasn’t there. Asher looked over at me (finally) and smiled. This time, for once, the smile looked very forced so I pretended to be busy being caught up in my own work. I really needed to get my story written.

To my dismay, Lauryn decided to lean over and read Asher’s notes…only she wasn’t reading…she took his hand and said, “So, what do you want to ask me first? I love when you quiz me.” Her voice annoyed me like no one else’s voice ever had and I rolled my eyes with no hesitation. How dare she sit there looking so pretty at this hour of the morning and flirt with Asher, my Asher. Only, was he really mine? I seemed to not exist anymore to him. That cut deeper than a knife, and I took in a sharp breath and bit my lip so that I wouldn’t say anything.

“Okay, Miss History, calm down. Can you actually quiz me, first? I think I’m ready.” Asher gave her a nickname- I wondered if he just went around doing that for every girl he met. I knew I had been foolish for believing he was a genuine guy. It was my fault for always putting people on a pedestal. Of course, he and I were only in the talking stage. It’s not as if we were exclusive- I should not have assumed that we were not allowed to talk that way to anyone else.

“Hey, what if I quiz you guys and you can see who gets the most correct?” I suggested, glaring at Lauryn.

Asher didn’t give her a chance to respond. “Hey, uh…Bailey that’s nice and all but you’re not even in this class.” I hadn’t expected him to say anything like that. My heart sank and I tried not to tear up. I thought I had meant something to him. No longer did I see any gentleness in his eyes, but betrayal.

 

I stood up, and yelled, “You know, Asher, I really need to talk to you.” I glared at him, with no remorse. Everyone at the table stared at me, especially Izzy. I never raised my voice. Asher barely blinked, looking really confused. I didn’t appreciate his acting dumb.

“Okay, okay let’s go to the hall, alright?” Asher reluctantly stood up and walked with me into the nearby hallway. I could not believe he was acting so nonchalant about this.

“What- what’s going on?” I said, tearing up and crossing my arms. “I kind of thought we were talking, you know, but seeing you with Lauryn like that…I just…I don’t know Asher, you tell me.”

He looked away for a second and then took a deep breath. I expected him to give a lame response or maybe even yell at me. But instead, he stepped even closer to me and put his hand on my shoulder, then sliding his hand down my arm, he took my hand. I looked down at it, confused, but not entirely upset either. I felt heaviness in his hand. “Lauryn acts like that. I shouldn’t have even sat right by her. Bailey, I’m sorry. I just-I’m scared okay, so I pushed you away.”

I didn’t understand. “What are you talking about? What do you mean you’re afraid? I thought everything was going well with us and that we were actually going somewhere.” Allowing myself to look up now, I noticed him tearing up as well.

“I’ve never felt this way about anyone, okay? I-“

“Yeah, she’s pretty, she’s smart, I get it…” I interrupted.

Asher shook his head, “No, Bailey. I’m talking about you. I really like you and I’m so happy we started talking. The thing is, when I started feeling so strongly about you…I got scared that something bad would happen. You think somebody could love you, so much, then they’re just not there anymore.”

At first, I didn’t quite understand but then remembered his story, the story for our Advanced Writing assignment. Asher’s father was an alcoholic and was just not there for him anymore, at all. Afraid to love me, that’s what Asher was. In a way, I was still a little bit upset but mostly I was happy that he had just confessed his feelings for me since I obviously felt the same.

“So, you pushed me away?” I asked, grabbing his hand tighter. “I’m not going anywhere. I like you too and I’m not going to leave okay?” He nodded, and I noticed a sense of relief overcome him. Perhaps all he needed was that reassurance. I still had one question.

“Asher, who exactly is Lauryn to you?” I let go of his hand and crossed my arms again. For some reason, although I felt we had a better understanding of what was going on, I was scared of his response.

He stepped closer to me, looking deeply into my eyes. It was during that moment the gentleness seemed to have returned to his eyes as he pushed my hair behind my ears. Holding my face with his hands, he said, “No one, Bailey. She’s nobody, I promise. You are my only person.” I smiled, holding his hands and Asher and I shared a beautiful moment. It was a hug, everyone, calm down. As we held each other, I felt that everything was falling back into place. I decided Asher was my favorite person, and that was that. Only, that wasn’t all. Nothing could have ever begun to prepare me for what was to happen a few days later. I should have been more intentional about remembering my promise to never take anything for granted.

 

  1.  

  August 26, 2018 2:03 P.M.

After my Spanish class, I decided to head back to my room to relax a little bit. I tended to overwork myself and forget to relax, so it was time to take care of myself for once. As I headed back, I decided to take my phone out and call Asher. We had texted that morning, but I hadn’t heard from him since our good morning text. I loved the effort he put into the morning paragraphs he sent me, going into detail about how much he cared about and appreciated me. I dialed his number, but there was no answer. Maybe he had fallen asleep. I left a message and put my phone away. Finally, I made it to my room, but when I walked into the doorway, a had a strange feeling. Something felt…wrong, incomplete.

I heard loud footsteps coming up onto our floor and turned to see Izzy racing at me. She looked totally panicked, running her fingers through her hair and her face was extremely pale. “Bailey, Bailey!” She exclaimed, tears running down her face.

“Izzy, what’s wrong?” I threw my backpack on the floor and studied her face, trying to understand where all this emotion could be coming from.

Izzy walked over to her bed, pulling my arm and sitting me down to talk. “It’s Asher.” I never thought hearing his name in a sentence would make me feel so heavy and afraid. “This morning, his-his father died. Asher had gone to visit home this morning and found his dad…just laying there, dead, with an empty bottle beside him.” She looked down, barely able to get out her next sentence. “Asher-he…he… took his own life after finding his father..” Izzy wailed, covering her face.

I refused to believe it. “NO, NO! He’s not dead, he’s not dead, please…” I sunk to the floor, shaking uncontrollably. I had just spoken to him the day before. Everything was going so wonderfully. Then I realized, what Asher had been so afraid of actually was happening to me- I was the one being left. More than anything, I hated him for leaving me. How could he leave me here? Izzy and I sat in silence, staring at the floor together and trying to comprehend the news. I still have not been able to take it all in, to to this day.

 

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September 5, 2018 8:30 A.M.

As I walked into my Advanced Writing class, nobody moved and nobody spoke. Even Professor Burkley seemed to be frozen that day, not flipping through his things as usual. The stillness in the air was something I had never felt before. Knowing Asher wasn’t there… that made me feel sick inside but I had no choice except to carry on and attempt to focus on what I was supposed to be doing. Professor Burkley cleared his throat, trying to get our attention, but barely seemed all-there himself.

“Everyone…” he cleared his throat again, and I realized he was holding back tears. “It’s been a week since I assigned the stories, so it is time that you get with your partners to begin peer review. I won’t be lecturing today.” As everyone turned around or moved to other chairs to talk to their assigned partners, I felt my face become hot and tears started to well up in my eyes. Professor Burkley came up to me, not able to look into my eyes.

“Miss Bailey…” He started. “I can look over your paper, but actually I’d like you to look at this first.” He handed me what looked like a typed story of about four pages. “Asher turned his story into me a few days ago, he said-he said it was important to get it to me then. You need to see this. If you need to go read it elsewhere, please, do. I understand.” As Burkley walked back to the front, I let my tears fall onto Asher’s pages. I decided to get up and find a bench outside. I was glad Burkley seemed to notice what Asher meant to me. All great writers understood what love was.

As I sat on a bench that was beside a beautiful rose bush, I closed my eyes and let the sunlight hit my face. I held the story in my hand, and when I was ready, I began to read. But to my surprise, Asher had not written anything pertaining to his father. Instead, he had made every single paragraph about a girl he had fallen in love with over a short period of time. He wrote about falling in love with her at first sight and about the beautiful life they had together. I could not believe it- Asher’s story was ours and he written about the future he wanted with me. His father- that wasn’t the story he wanted everyone to know, he wanted everyone to remember that Asher loved me. Our story was short, but I was thankful to have been a chapter in his life. I smiled, knowing that although he was gone, he took my heart with him.

 


Submitted: July 20, 2021

© Copyright 2021 chloe fox. All rights reserved.

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