Mandy saw a boy as she looked around and she took her hand from her hair to smile at him and give him a quick wave. But she didn't approach him. She just watched him from a distance, fingering one of her earrings nervously.
Approaching him would mean talking to him, and she wasn't so big on bothering strangers. She kept looking at him though.
There was something...something about him....
He saw the girl wave at him, and he let out a sigh. He knew it was rude to just sit there so he waved back with a tiny motion of his hand. He tried to keep human interaction to a minimum these days, but he knew sometimes it couldn't be helped. Aaron thought about calling out to her, maybe saying hello, but she was still over on the other side of the gym. He wasn't sure if he could still yell that loudly. ((I'm very tired right now and probably won't stay awake to answer your next post. Just a warning.))
Mandy tried not to stare at the boy, but her eyes kept travelling back to him. His hair, his height, his eyes. All of it seemed...familiar somehow. She tried to keep her gaze covert, shuffling closer and closer, a little bit at a time.
He was familiar, so, so familiar...
"C'mon, faster Mandy! You're such a slowpoke!"
There was that distant voice in her mind, the memories. It was faded, like an old bleached photo.
She moved a little closer.
((Just bumping. ^-^))
He tensed up, feeling himself trying to shrivel up into a ball. She was a little creepy, the way she was moving towards him like that. It was almost like she was studying him. He quickly glanced over to where she was standing. He was starting to figure out who she was. He could almost feel it.
"Um..." Mandy started, feeling the need to say something. She flinched a little at how loud her voice seemed, but tried not to show it. She wore a wide, pleasant smile, a bright mask. "Hi. I'm new here." She said, then wished she could take it back. I'm new here. Duh. That much was obvious. But she just kept smiling and tried not to show anything.
Mandy. He would have known the voice anywhere, even though it had matured a little since he had last heard it. "Mandy. Your name is Mandy isn't it?" He said, clenching his teeth.
Mandy halted where she was, her smile turning to glass. She shuffled her feet nervously.
"I um...Yeah. I..." She tried to find something to say to this stranger, this kid who mysteriously knew her name. She took an uneasy step forward and squinted at his face, frowning a little internally.
"Best friends forever?"
"Of course, Aaron. We'll always be friends, forever..."
Oh. My. God. Was it really...Mandy's eyes widened as she looked up at the boy.
"What are you doing back?" He said, unable to keep most of the venom out of his voice. It was petty, he knew that. It was a long time ago, and they had been young. But to never once say goodbye. They were best friends. She was pretty much his world. It was cruel, and he had a hard time letting go of his grudge against her for it.
Mandy shrank back. It was him. It really was. His face had, it had become more serious and mature. But it was Aaron, for sure. "I-I...My mom and I are back..." She stammered. He was angry at her. Of course he would be. She had left him. It was for a good reason, but she had still left him. Of course he was angry with her. She turned her gaze to the floor.
He snorted. "I can see that. Surprised you still know how to talk." He was being a huge jerk. He saw how she shrank back at his words, almost like she was scared. Aaron had waited far too long to say this though, and he needed to get it out.
"Aaron, I-I'm really sorry..." Mandy whispered softly. She didn't look up into his eyes. She just hugged herself tightly, running her hands up and down her arms. Her scarred arms. She shrank a little more, making her already small frame smaller. "I didn't mean to-"
The rest of the kids poured into class, cutting her off. He glared before descending the bleachers. "Save it. Just save it Mandy." After all these years, she just shows up, arrriving just how she left. With no warning. At least they were in gym class. Not much talking went on in here if you weren't on the same team as someone.
Mandy flinched as if his words were blows, landing harshly on her thin little shoulders. And she knew what blows felt like.
But she tried not to show it as kids poured in. She pulled on one of her lazy grins, one of the masks she kept around.
Aaron huffed. She was mocking him with that smile, he knew it. To think his biggest worry had only been what sport they would be playing a few minutes ago. How much life could change for the worse in a few minutes astounded him. If only Mandy would just leave, like the first time she did.
Mandy's smile felt stiff and it was harder for her to pull it on than usual.
He hated her. He hated her. Her stomach twisted a little as she looked helplessly over at him.
I'm sorry! I'm sorry! She was silently screaming, pleading it with her eyes. She hadn't meant to hurt him like that. She never meant to hurt him. But it didn't change the fact that he was hurt, and it was her fault. She swallowed hard as a lump started to form in her throat.
Aaron felt a pang of guilt when he looked at her face. She looked ready to cry. "Man up," he thought. "You did what you had to do." He stood in the line to be picked for teams, trying to avoid her eyes.
Mandy kept glancing distractedly, worriedly, over at Aaron.
Maybe...If you could explain to him why...She immediately batted the thought away, rejecting it almost as soon as she thought it. No. No. That is one chapter that is going to stay closed. She told herself firmly. She felt a pang in her chest.
"I just fell..."
"Oh, this? It's really nothing..."
"Just a scrape. Just a scrape."
The little lies she had told him, him and other people, but mostly him when he had wondered about the bruises, the cuts. They all niggled at the back of her mind.
She couldn't tell him. She just couldn't.
Aaron felt a pang in his chest as the memories of them together came flooding back. They had been so happy. All those times swinging on the swings, picking flowers (not his favorite, but she liked it so he went along), swimming at the pool. All were probably the only actual fond memories he had of his childhood so far. He almost felt like apoligizing and asking for her forgiveness. It wouldn't accomplish anything, though. They would never go back to those care-free days.
"Mommy...? Where are we going...?"
"Far away, sweetie. Just sleep."
"There's no time, baby. He'll understand..."
No. No, he didn't. He didn't understand, and he never would, and now he hated her. She could see it in his eyes. His familiar, warm-
Mandy's attention was abruptly jolted away from Aaron as a ball collided hard against the back of her head, sending her pitching forward.