Friends for Life
Adelle leaned over the side table, the one with wadded up paper stuffed under one of the legs shoved up against the mauve wall, and stared at the name on her cell.
She picked up the phone and swiped to answer.
“Jenny broke up with me. Can I come over?”
She glanced up at a photo they took at Coney Island when they were both twelve, the day they hooked pinkies.
Friends for life.
“Uh, did I wake you?”
“No, it’s cool. I’m up.”
“Thanks. Be there soon.”
She lost count of the number of times he’d called to request some moral support, but he’d had three breakups to her zero. Heck, she’d never dated anyone.
Yeah, friends for life. Then hugs and giggles.
Not even ten minutes had passed before a knock echoed through the door. She urged her feet across the plush, dull-brown carpet. Her toes pinched softness with each step. She sighed when her fingers wrapped around the knob. With a quick look in the mirror hung next to the door, she smoothed down a few flyaway, ebony strands. She sighed again and tugged at the knob. His musky scent wafted up her nose and into a place of deep longing.
“You sure this is okay?” he asked. Eyes red from crying set in a face worn from grief pierced her heart.
“Yeah, come in.” She led him to the sofa and sat Indian-style.
He plopped down on one leg bent at the knee, the other leg stretched out on the floor toward her. His frown gnawed at her.
“So what happened?” she asked.
“I wasn’t paying enough attention. ‘Aloof’ and ‘lacking romance’ are the words she used. Why can’t I keep a girlfriend?”
The response froze in her throat. His question had to be rhetorical. She stared at his mouth as he kept talking, but barely comprehended a word. Her reluctance to look away was unwarranted. She’d memorized his lips enough to sketch them in her drawing pad over a dozen times. Two determined blinks brought her back to the present.
“How’s your mom?” he asked.
She gulped. “She’s fine. She and Gus are thinking about getting married. And your mom?” No way did she want to dwell on the inevitability of getting a stepfather. It had been two years since Dad died, but Adelle wasn’t ready. However, that wasn’t what bugged her. Even her mom found someone.
“She’s good. We’re talking again,” he said and smiled.
Painful memories lingered. When both moms divorced their fathers twelve years ago, she and Brandon were thrust into separate cities with their dads. That summer promise survived written letters and phone calls. Their decision to live in San Francisco for the past two years reconnected them and pulled them apart at the same time. Brandon found girls to love. She had sketches of his lips.
“Thanks for being here whenever I call.”
“What are friends for, huh?” She paused, attempting to smile. His gaze unsettled her.
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