A Year Too Late

December 5, 2008
Loud music blasted from the stereos as people stood in groups, eyeing one another cautiously. Refreshments had been set out in the kitchen, yet because of the early hour, they were left untouched. Austin caught a glimpse of Carry as she strolled out to the yard and decided to follow.

He caught up with her on the porch as she looked out at the view.

Hey, haven’t seen you in awhile. Been enjoying the summer?

It’s been good so far. Been getting ready for college these past few weeks. Man, can’t believe we’re finally out. She replied without taking her eyes off the sunset.

Yeah, tell me about it. But I don’t think I’m ready to let go of this life just yet.

Hm, really? Why not? I’ve been waiting for this day since I went to my brother’s graduation two years ago.

You’re not going to miss anybody when you head out?

Uhm, well maybe my parents. They’ve really been a big part of my life. But I figure that you can always make new friends.

Wow, just like that, huh? No more girls’ night outs, with Christie and Julia?

Carry smiled. Well then, what about you? Going to miss your friends?

Yeah, definitely. I’ve known Sean since I was five. And, I’ll definitely miss a few other people.

Carry turned to focus her gaze on him. Like who else?

He chuckled. Well I am going to miss a certain lab partner that I survived physics with.

Oh really? How so? She never was a great help to you anyways.

I’ve got my reasons. One of them being that she cheers me up every time I see her.

But she never used to say anything that would cheer you up.

She never had to.

Carry shifted her weight. She was starting to get uncomfortable.

Austin? What’s going on? Why are saying this?

Because it’s true! Ever since that day after school. The day I walked you home. Do you still remember?
Yes! But, that was freshman year! Why didn’t you say anything to me then?

Because. . .you always seemed to have someone else. That time you were dating Kyle. Then it was Matt. There was never a time in between where I could've told you how much I cared.

How do you know? Maybe I would’ve said yes if you asked! Now, it’s too late. . .

I know, but how could I have said anything?

But it’s too late now! I’m leaving for New York soon and you’ll be in LA.

We can still see each other. . .

It would be too hard. I won’t be able to come home every holiday, and you’ll be busy with your internship.
I’m ready to move on, Austin! If only we were still in high school. . .

Carry was close to tears. She spun on her heels to rejoin the party inside.

I did care about you, junior year when our future didn’t seem so big a deal. You were always there for me. I would have said yes. . .it would just be too hard now. . .

With that, she left him to watch the last remainder of the sun alone as it disappeared into darkness.

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