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It had been a long time since she had been to the corner. A year, in fact. One long year. Boy, how time had passed.
She stood there, leaning against the rusted road sign. A thin cigarette dangled between her fingers. Her eyes never left the building in front of her. It looked as if it hadn’t changed since the day she first stepped through the doors. It still held the same hallways, the same books, the same people as a year ago. It still lived in the happy past.
“I thought you quit.”
She didn’t respond at first. Instead, she merely glanced at him. His hood was up, until he pulled it down, allowing his dark curls to blow in the wind. He jammed his hands deep inside his jean pockets. He looked at her with the same look in her eyes from back then, serious and unnerving.
“I had made a deal with her,” she replied, looking back at the school. “If we were going to survive this hell without it, we’d do it together.” She brought the cigarette to her lips and took a long drag, before slowly puffing it out. “But she broke that promise.”
His face was stoic, but she could tell he was disappointed. “How do you know she’s not keeping the promise up there?”
A laugh escaped her lips, bitter and humorless, mixing with the smoke from the cigarette. “Life’s probably so good up there, you don’t need this crap.”
He hadn’t noticed before, but the leaves had already begun falling, littering the bare streets with pools of reds and oranges. A leaf blew by, and he trapped it under his shoe. The resonating crunch was loud in the silence.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve been here,” she suddenly pointed out.
“It’s been a long time since we’ve hung out,” he immediately replied.
“A year,” she said. She knew what the year meant, and so did he. It was the only reason why they were both there. “I have to go,” she told him. “I’ll be seeing you around.”
“I’ll be here,” he replied.
He watched as she dropped the cigarette and flattened it with her shoe. Her eyes were locked on the crushed cigarette as she asked,
“Promise,” he said, and he wasn’t going to let her down.