All they could hear was the sound of the river below, churning on through the stones that they continued to throw into it. The boy had always liked being here with his friends, escaping their world of papers and expectations, but things had changed.
The river now flowed away from them, and he had no choice but to follow it or drown within the rapids. He looked down, noticing the blank expression she had from her seat on the old wooden bridge. He tried to smile again but was too tired to do so after spending all night waiting.
“Gina-” He started once more.
She said to him, “Doesn’t the twilight look beautiful? The stars are starting to fade and the moon is waning, but at least the sun is coming. Right?”
He gulped, forcing down a strange lump in his throat. “Gina, it’s been all night. Shouldn’t we head back? We have to-”
“I don’t mind waiting here by myself if you’re getting cold feet,” She murmured, staring out into the dark blue sky. “Besides, he said sunrise, remember? He’ll be here. He wouldn’t miss the view.”
He let out a shaky breath, running his palms over his face. He had already lost his patience. “Gina, please. We need to go back so you can-”
“The sun’s coming in a few minutes,” she said, leaning back to rest her hands against the wood. She would not look at him. “We should enjoy this before Finn gets here.”
“Finn won’t be here!” He said, glancing towards the path leaving the bridge. “He isn’t… He isn’t coming back.”
There was a long pause before Gina spoke again. “Do you wanna get more throwing stones? I think the situation calls for them. It’s too quiet.”
He hesitated but, after a few moments, moved forward towards the brook below them. As he reached out, he felt a hand against his back, pushing him in. “GINAAAA!” The cold water hit him, the rocks narrowly missing his head but badly scratched his jacket. He glared, looking up at the giggling Gina. “That wasn’t funny.”
She finally smiled, wiping tears from her eyes. “It was to me. I can’t believe you fell for it.” Gina kneeled down and held out her hand. “You need some help?”
He slowly took her hand, and stood. He smirked. “Nope, but you will.” Her eyes widened as he tugged her towards him, letting her tumble mid-air into his arms. He chuckled as they fell into the brook together, their clothes soaking up the cold water. They splashed around, playfully tossing water at each other and forgetting.
Once they became too cold to stay, they stood and turned back towards the path of the brook that faced the sun, watching as it began to rise. It was then they noticed how close they were. When he moved to back away, she pulled him even closer. “Just hold me for awhile.”
“Gina,” he said, placing his hands on her forearms. “About Finn-”
“Forget him.” She wrapped her arms around his waist and refused to let go. There were warm tears on his shirt mixing with his already wet clothes. “It’s just you and me now, Riley. You and me.” He let out a breath before wrapping her in a tight embrace. The warmth of their breaths kept them from the cold, the sun continuing its ascension as they held each other close and ignored the void in their chests for a moment longer.
“It starts at 9am, just a couple hours from now.” He said, not pulling away. Riley could feel her starting to loosen her grip but continued. “I know you don’t want to go, but… I need you there, with me. I don’t want to be alone when-”
Gina looked up, staring into his eyes. She held his gaze until she turned back towards the brook, watching it continue on its lonely path down to the lake. “Can we come back right after? Say goodbye to the river?”
He smiled, pulling away to take her hands and kiss them. She turned her head back to face him. “No need, Gina. It’ll always be there.”