t h i r t y - t w o

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I was grateful for exam periods. I spent majority of my time in the library avoiding Daniel as much as I could. If he were there, I'd head to the courtyard near the tree where it was difficult to be seen from afar. Sometimes I'd even study in the Peer Support Meeting rooms where he didn't have access to.

Lunch time was easier. Mrs Fern gave me detention for the next five lunch breaks after that incident with Daniel and Kyle. Even though I was only standing there, Mrs Fern seemed to not care. Luckily, Daniel didn't get a detention. She thought being cut by glass and a broken leg was sufficient punishment. But it didn't mean Kyle was off the hook.

We sat in one of the classrooms and Kyle and I sat at different ends of the room. Him at the front, and me at the back. I caught him looking back at me a few times, but I only looked away, trying to avoid him as well. With Kyle in the room, all I thought about was Daniel. I didn't want to think about him. I tried distracting myself with everything around me. But everything reminded me of him. Kyle. Mrs Fern. Mia. Dad. Our home. The rain. Chemistry and even English.

The only thing that didn't was math and physics. The two classes I didn't have with him. The two classes I could sit in class, relax, and breathe.

After school, I saw Mia walking towards the train station. She still hasn't spoken to me. And it wasn't like I was making much of an effort to speak to her either. I gently pulled at the strap of my bag, looking at Mia when she sat at the bench.

I wanted to speak to her. I wanted my best friend. I wanted to cry, and I wanted her there to tell me to stop the tears and eat chocolate ice cream with her while watching Married at First Sight. I wanted things to go back to the way they were.

I walked over to her and sat down beside her. I felt her eye on me and when I turned to look at her, she looked away. She was still annoyed.

"I heard you broke up with him," Mia abruptly said.

I pressed my lips together. How did she find out about it? Probably from the fact that Daniel was never around me anymore. That whenever I saw Daniel, I would head the other direction or hide behind someone.

"Why?" she then asked.

"He dreams of moving to Sydney," I mumbled. That wasn't the only reason, but I didn't know how else to tell her.

"Wait, so he broke up with him? What a jerk."

I shook my head. "No. I broke up with him."

I was doing it again. The first time I was finally speaking to Mia after several weeks, I was talking about me again.

"It doesn't matter," I shook my head. "What matters is what I did to you and I'm so sorry. I don't blame you for hating me."

She sighed, shaking her head. "I don't hate you, Ellie. You're my cousin."

"That still doesn't excuse what I did to you."

"No. I'm sorry. I shouldn't have yelled at your like that. It was reasonable for you to assume that I told Kyle because there no one else who knew about the deal. But—" she paused, looking down at her hands. "I felt attacked. You didn't even ask me if I did it. You just assumed I told Kyle and it really hurt."

"You have no reason to apologise. You're right. The way I handled it was wrong and I shouldn't have done it. I should've asked you. I should've checked with you first."

Mia finally turned to me, a small smile appearing on her lip. I returned the smile, but she looked away again.

"I don't know. I think I was just jealous. I was so excited for you this year because of the bucket list, and I let myself get jealous because of Daniel. It felt like I lost my best friend."

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