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Happiness for Emily
It was our high school graduation. We were all crying. After this moment, we would move all over the country for college and possibly never see each other again. We all made it through the ceremony successfully without tripping or anything. But Emily didn't stop crying. "What's wrong?" I asked her.
"Riley," she replied. "I always imagined him being here for this." Riley was her ex. He moved to Arizona when we were Freshmen.
"Okay, hang on." I ran over to my best friend. "Naya, wanna go on a trip with me really quickly?"
She set down her drink. "Let's go." she said determinedly.
We grabbed Emily and headed for the door. The only place we stopped was my house, to fill suitcases with clothes and snacks for the trip. Then we were off.
Naya and I took turns driving as Emily slept in the backseat. Fourteen hours later, we crossed the Arizona border. Naya estimated that we had three hours left till we reached Phoenix. "Do you think Emily has any idea we're so far from home?" she asked.
I shook my head, not taking my eyes off the road. "She fell asleep before we even made it to the highway. I'll bet she thinks we're all spending the night at your house."
We chatted quietly for the rest of the trip. Gradually, the number of buildings we passed increased and so did our excitement. Then, finally, we were in the heart of one of the country's biggest cities. Stuck in traffic, we looked around, awestruck. We didn't roll down the windows for fear that the heat and city noise would wake Emily.
Eventually, I called Riley. "Hey Bridget! What's up?" he said when he answered.
"Um... Riley, I don't know how you're going to respond to this, but me and Naya are here. In Phoenix."
There was silence on the other end. At first I thought the line had disconnected. Then he responded, "Are you serious?!"
"Yeah, 100% serious. Can you meet us somewhere?"
"Um, yeah, how about Centennial Park? It's in the middle of downtown."
I sighed in relief and inched the car forward in the traffic. "That sounds great."
"Great!" he seemed excited. "See you in a few!"
I laughed and clicked off. We spotted the park ahead and pulled into a parking spot on the side of the road. The opening and closing of our doors woke Emily.
"Whoa." she sat up. "Where are we?"
"Calm down, Em. We're in Kansas City." Naya lied. "Girls weekend."
Emily looked suspicious, but didn't question us anymore. Naya threw a white dress and blue heels at her. "Put that stuff on, we're going to dinner." Emily scrunched down in the backseat and began to change.
I closed the door. "I think she knows something's up."
"Me too." said Naya. "I just hope she stays as oblivious as she is now."
Emily climbed out of the backseat, looking fairly nice now. We quickly fixed her hair, then began to walk towards the park.
I was the first to see him. He looked nothing like the short skinny kid from freshman year. This guy was taller, much taller, tanner, and more muscular. He wore a white t-shirt over dark denim and his signature Nikes and hat. The smile I remembered was still there.
Riley jogged towards me, yelling "Bridget!" but stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Emily. As Emily turned around, her jaw dropped. She began to walk towards him very slowly as if she was in a trance. When she reached him, she touched his face, as if to make sure he wasn't a mirage.
Then she turned back towards me and Naya. "Where are we really?" she asked.
"Phoenix." Naya answered guiltily.
Emily turned back towards Riley and just stared at him.
"Em, you look amazing." Riley said.
Emily punched him. Hard. In the jaw. "How dare you! You ignore me for years, and when we finally see each other again, all you have to offer me is a petty compliment?! How dare you!" she punched and kicked him with all of her strength.
Naya and I ran forward to pull her off of poor Riley. All of those flailing limbs were hard to catch. Riley grabbed her arms and pinned them to her sides. She gave up then and started crying.
"Don't cry!" Riley said desperately. "I'm sorry, I really am. I regret it all so much. Please don't cry."
"You promised to always be there for me." Emily said quietly.
Riley stared at her for what seemed like an eternity, then kissed her full on the mouth. Naya and I squealed in delight. They broke apart and gave us a look, so we took the hint and backed up a few paces.
"Forgive me?" Riley asked Emily.
She nodded, and they embraced again.
Naya and I fist bumped. We'd done it. Happiness for Emily.