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April 8, 2010 (20)
“Hurry up and drink it,” I said to Cole, handing him the cup of coffee I’d just ordered from Dunkin Donuts. It was kind of pathetic, but just being there at Dunkin Donuts made me feel like crying. After all, it was the place Will and I always went to. It was our place, and being there after what had happened just felt wrong.
But Cole was extremely drunk and in desperate need of coffee to help sober him up at least a little bit before we went to meet up with Addison and Ashton.
“But I don’t wanna drink it,” he whined in protest. “I wanna go back to the party.”
“Well that’s just too bad,” I remarked. Just knowing that he wanted to go back to Chelsea’s party made me fume with malice.
“No need to yell,” he murmured back, taking a sip of his coffee. I’d barely even noticed I was yelling until he’d pointed it out to me.
“Sorry, I just don’t get what was so great about that party. It was actually kind of repulsing.” I replied matter-of-factly.
“Are you kidding me?” he cried in disbelief. “Chelsea always throws the best parties. Especially in the summer when we get to go swimming and stuff. This one was pretty fun too though.”
“Yeah, if you’re idea of fun is smoking joints, grinding up on every person you see and getting so wasted that you can barely stand up.” I remarked. He simply rolled his eyes in response and continued to drink the coffee. I sighed as I returned my focus to the road, coming to a stop as the traffic light went from green to yellow and then to red.
“Where are we even going anyways?” Cole asked me.
“We’re going out to dinner with my new roommate and her boyfriend,” I informed him, knowing exactly what question was coming next.
“New roommate?” he wondered aloud. Just as I’d predicted.
“Yeah,” I said. “Her name’s Addison and she lives in one of the apartments in that complex that’s like right around the corner from your school. I just moved in this morning.”
He looked back at me, completely taken aback by this sudden news. “You moved here to Michigan?” he cried.
“Uh huh,” I replied, not able to contain the smile that spread across my lips. I was just waiting for him to get all happy and excited, just like I had been when I’d first decided to rent the apartment.
“Why?” he asked instead, sounding confused rather than happy. Not exactly the answer I was looking for.
“I just figured that since I’m eighteen now, it was time for me to move out and start providing for myself.” I told him, purposely leaving out the part about Michael and all of his threatening text messages. “Plus, I couldn’t stand being so far away from you.” I added with a grin.
“Oh,” he said, looking out his window, averting his eyes away from me.
“What’s the matter?” I asked him, feeling a bit of panic rise up in my chest. Did Cole not want me living so close to him? Had I been stupid to just fly out here right away like this?
“Nothing,” he replied hastily, turning back to face me. “It’s great,” He smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes.
“Are you sure?” I asked him, still feeling like I was unwanted there.
“Positive,” he assured me, sounding more believable this time. Maybe he had just needed a few moments to take it all in. That’s what I told myself at least. “So how’s your roommate? She nice?”
“Yeah, she’s extremely nice actually.” I told him.
“How ‘bout her boyfriend?”
“I haven’t met him yet.” I said, my stomach turning just thinking about him. Just reminding myself of what his name was had me feeling uneasy. I knew that every single time he came over, every single time Addison spoke of him, I’d begin thinking about Ash.
“You sound funny…like you don’t like him or something.” Cole pointed out, obviously noticing the perturbed tone of my voice.
“There’s just…something that’s kind of weird about him.” I replied.
“Like what?” Cole asked.
“His name. It’s Ashton Magnolia. And he’s going to school to become a trauma surgeon for the soldiers in Iraq.” I explained to him, watching as a sense of apprehension washed over him.
“Are you serious?” he demanded. I nodded back at him, chills running up and down my spine. Cole was just as freaked out by this as I was. I wasn’t just being paranoid. This was seriously messed up. “Ok, now I’m kind of glad we left the party.” he said, sounding more like his sober self already. It was as if this alarming news had taken him out of his drunken stupor. “I’m really anxious to meet this guy now.”
“Yeah,” I said, nodding in agreement, “so am I.”
We arrived at the restaurant Addison had told me to meet her at right at six o’clock. Once we stepped inside the quaint, family-owned diner, we made our way to the booth in the back corner. This was where Addison had told me to meet her at. Cole and I sat down at it, but Addison wasn’t there yet. She’d sent me a text about five minutes ago, letting me know that they’d just left the apartment and would be there soon. And so we waited for them to arrive, the tension building and building with every second that passed by.
Until finally, Addison approached our table, with her boyfriend at her side.
“Evalynne, hi!” she greeted me with a wide smile. “And you must be Cole,” But I barely heard a word she said. I was much too focused on the broad, handsome boy standing next to her.
The first thing I noticed were his eyes. Even behind the lenses of his sleek, sophisticated-looking glasses. They were a clear, light hazel color with small flecks of brown. When I looked into his eyes, it was no longer Ashton Magnolia that was standing before me. It was Ash.
Even his hair was the same exact sandy brownish-blonde color as Ash’s had been. The only difference was that it was a little bit shorter than Ash’s was. It also had some waviness to it, unlike Ash’s, which was straight.
“Evalynne?” I heard Addison say in concern after tuning back into reality. “You ok?” That was when I noticed that she, along with Cole and Ashton, was staring at me as I sat there in silence.
“Um, yeah, I’m fine,” I replied quickly, my heart fluttering in my chest as Ashton’s eyes met mine for a second.
“I was just saying that this is my boyfriend, Ashton,” she repeated.
“Hi…it’s uh, nice to meet you, Ashton,” I said to him.
“It’s nice to meet you too,” he replied, sticking out his hand for me to shake. I shook hands with him, my skin prickling with goose bumps when we made contact. He made his introduction with Cole, and then sat down next to Addison on the other side of the booth.
As they were getting seated, I glanced over at Cole from the corner of my eye. He was staring at Ashton in a state of disbelief. He even blinked a few times, as if maybe he was just hallucinating, but he wasn’t. This was real. Ashton was real.
“So Ashton, what was it that you’re going to school for again?” Cole asked, making it seem like he’d forgotten.
“I’m getting my medical degree so I can be a trauma surgeon in Iraq.” he replied. Addison grinned proudly at him, placing her hand on top of his, as it sat resting on the table.
“And what made you decide to do that?” Cole said, doing a very good job of acting casual about it.
“I just feel like it’s my duty to help protect my country. But I’ve also always wanted to be a doctor. So I just thought it would be really great for me to do this. I feel like I’m more important somehow, you know?” he explained.
“Definitely,” Cole said, shooting me a quick side glance.
“My husband was in the army.” I stated, completely out of nowhere. I hadn’t even planned to say it. It just sort of came out.
“You never told me you had a husband!” Addison exclaimed. “Aren’t you two dating?” She looked from my face to Cole’s, a look of confusion on her face.
“Yeah, he actually died while fighting in Iraq.” I told her. “His name was Ash Mongolia.”
When I said this, the entire table went silent and Addison’s eyes roamed from my face to Ashton’s. “Wow,” she said, laughing a bit awkwardly. “What a coincidence, huh?”
“Yep,” I agreed, looking right at Ashton, trying to get him to recognize me. Not that he knew who I was or anything. He couldn’t have, because he wasn’t Ash. Like Addison said, this was just a coincidence. It wasn’t like Ash’s spirit had possessed his body or something. That wasn’t even possible…was it?
Ashton sat there quietly, a look of subdued alarm on his face. No one else seemed to notice it, but I sure did. Something was definitely wrong here. Very wrong.