All the Right Wrongs | Teen Ink

All the Right Wrongs

April 5, 2013
By HHuang, Thousand Oaks, California
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HHuang, Thousand Oaks, California
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Author's note: This story was inspired by a personal experience. When I was seven, I had a crush on one of my friends, but I moved away a year later and never told him how I felt. This has been one of my greatest regrets, so I wrote this story to express what I hoped would have happened if I had moved back or met him again.

December 1997

On the Christmas of 1997, in a white, two-story house in Lakeside, Washington, David Brown and Angie Smith’s mothers are roasting a turkey while their fathers sat at the beautifully set dinner table, drinking red wine, and chatting. Seven-year-old Megan Smith wrote “Merry Christmas!” on the living room’s misty window with her finger. Angie and David sat on the living room floor playing with dolls, a teddy bear, and toy cars while anxiously looking at the brightly wrapped presents under the large, fancy Christmas tree in the corner of the room.
Suddenly, David’s stomach growled menacingly. He ran into the kitchen, leaving his toy cars and his teddy bear unattended, whining, “Mommy, me hungry!”
“Honey, can you wait a little longer? Dinner’s almost ready,” Mrs. Brown assured him in a sweet motherly tone.
“’Kay,” David replied and ran back into the living room excitedly, only to stop short in the entrance.
Angie was holding a big brown stuffed bear with a blue, white polka-dotted necktie around its neck – David’s teddy bear.
David’s face turned bright red in anger. “Don’t touch Teddy!”
Angie looked curiously at David standing at the doorway, glaring at her and then at the teddy bear she was holding. She giggled merrily and planted a wet kiss on top of Teddy’s furry head.
“NOOOOO…” David shouted as he bolted towards Angie. In a second, he snatched Teddy out of her hands.
Angie had not registered what happened yet, and she stared at her empty hands stupidly. Slowly, tears formed in her green eyes, her face flushed, and without warning, she began to wail piercingly.
Megan, who had been watching the entire scene, rushed into the kitchen, yelling, “Mommy! Daddy! Angie and David had a fight!”
Both children’s parents hurried into the living room with worried faces. Megan followed closely behind their heels. Mrs. Smith picked up Angie and cooed to her, trying to calm her down.
“What happened here?” Mr. Smith wanted to know.
By that time, Angie was crying too hard to speak; David hugged his precious teddy bear tightly and would not look at anyone, so Megan told the story. Mrs. Smith sat down on the black leather sofa, holding Angie in her arms.
When Megan was finished with her tale, all four parents were silent. David stared at his feet and felt guilty for making Angie cry. Angie had fallen asleep in her mother’s warm, comforting arms. After a moment, David shuffled toward Angie and Mrs. Smith, hugging Teddy even more tightly, his eyes still on his feet. When he reached the sofa, he looked up at the small sleeping girl. The parents and Megan watched him anxiously. Then to everyone’s surprise, David put his treasured Teddy into Angie’s arms.
Mrs. Brown smiled proudly and broke the silence, “Well, dinner’s ready.”
“But Angie’s asleep,” Megan pointed out.
“Actually, David woke Angie with his special gift,” Mrs. Smith announced with a smile on her face.
Angie, seeing the teddy bear with the blue, white polka-dotted necktie in her possession, giggled in delight.


Four years later…

“I’m moving,” David broke the news to Angie. They sat on the white carpet in Angie’s light blue room.
“Why?!?” Angie asked in shock.
“My dad got a new job, so we are moving to New York,” David explained.
“But we’ve been friends for so long. Our parents can’t possibly bear to separate either; they’ve been friends before we were even born!” Angie protested, upset by the news.
“My dad couldn’t reject the opportunity to be the CEO of a company,” David said.
“Even if it means moving to New York?”
“Even if it means moving to New York.”
Tears started to fill Angie’s round, sea green eyes.
“Oh, come on, Angie. It won’t be that bad,” David tried to assure her.
“Yes, it will!” Angie stated stubbornly, her voice cracking. “How am I supposed to live without you? Who will walk to school with me every morning?”
“Megan will…”
“It won’t be the same!” Angie interrupted, sniffing.
“I’m sorry, Angie. There’s nothing I can do about this.”
“Yes, there is! There has to be a way!”
“I’m sorry, but my parents already bought a house in New York.”
“You can stay here… with me.”
“Sorry, I can’t do that.”
“Yes, you can!” Angie remained stubborn.
“Angelique Smith, stop being such a spoiled little girl! I can’t just leave my parents and stay in Washington! I want to, but I can’t.” David scolded, his voice turning hard, almost cold. “It’s impossible to convince her of anything!” he thought with frustration.
“You don’t want to,” Angie murmured, her tears starting to dry, leaving tear-stains on her flushed cheeks.
“What?”
“You don’t want to stay. That’s why you’re leaving. You think I’m just a spoiled brat who never listens to what other people say. You think I’m selfish. Well, maybe I am!” An uncomforting silence filled the air before Angie continues, “This is who I am, a spoiled, selfish brat, and if you don’t like me… then leave!” As she said her last sentence, she stands up and points at the door angrily.
“Angie…” David began wearily, but Angie did not let him speak.
“LEAVE!!!!”
“Angie, listen to me!”
“No! I’m not going to listen! I wish you would die,” Angie snarled, angry tears once again ran down her rosy cheeks as she glared furiously at David.
David became silent. He stared shockingly at Angie and watched her tears roll down her cheeks. Then he stood up, looked at her one last time, shook his head disapprovingly, and said, “Good-bye, Angie.”
Angie screamed, “I HATE YOU!” as she grabbed her most prized possession and hurled it at the closing door. Teddy hit the door with a loud Thud and fell to the floor.
Angie sank back to the ground and let herself cry.

Angie Smith’s waist length white blonde hair blew swiftly in the wind as she stared unenthusiastically at the energetic cheerleaders practicing on the grassy field while sitting on one of the old wooden benches on the side of the giant football field. She felt her glossy, red LG cell phone buzz in her white skinny jeans pocket and eagerly whipped out her phone and read the text message: Pick u up @ 7 2nite? It was from Brendan Miller, Angie’s boyfriend.
Angie smiled to herself as she texted back: Ok <3
“Who is making you smile like a maniac?” a sweet and familiar voice asked teasingly.
Angie looked up to see Lily Johnson, her best friend. “It’s Brendan, and you’re late,” she answered, trying to sound less excited than she felt.
“I know. I’m so sorry!” Lily said.
Angie stood up, put her phone back in her pocket, picked up her Juicy Couture denim bag, and sauntered to the nearby student parking lot with Lily. She replied, “It’s okay, but we don’t have much time to get ready now.”
“Track practice ended a little late, and five minutes isn’t going to make that much of a difference,” Lily protested.
“Fine. Who are you bringing to Homecoming?”
“My boyfriend.”
“I know that, but who is he?”
“That’s a secret,” Lily whispered with a wink. “What time is Brendan picking you up?”
“At seven. How did you guys meet?” Angie turned the conversation back to the previous subject.
“We went to the same middle school when I still lived in New York. We started dating in seventh grade,” Lily answered.
Angie and Lily stopped walking when they reached a shiny, boisterous black Porsche.
“I want a car,” Angie announced.
“You don’t even have a permit yet.”
“I’m getting one next month, and I don’t need to have a permit to have a car,” Angie objected. “I just can’t drive it,” she added sadly.
“Why did you wait so long anyway?” Lily asked.
“Because my parents thought I was too young at fifteen and a half and made me wait another year,” Angie explained exhaustingly as she rolled her eyes.
“Sucks,” Lily commented.
“Tell me about it,” Angie said.
Lily laughed in reply. She and Angie climbed into the car, and she drove towards Angie’s house.

Both Angie and Lily attend Vanity Academy, which is the best private school in Lakeside, Washington. Only the most talented and most hard working students can get in. At Vanity, the rules are very strict, the materials learned are very detailed, and the tuitions and fees are extremely pricey; therefore, most of the students come from wealthy families. Additionally, uniforms are not required because the board of the school does not believe in restricting what the students do and desire.

Upon arriving at home, Angie announced, “Mom, I’m home!”
Mrs. Smith was reading The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks in the living room. She looked up and said, “Welcome back, honey.”
“Nice book choice. It’s my favorite, actually,” Lily commented as Angie jogged up the stairs to her bedroom.
Mrs. Smith smiled in reply as Angie yelled from her room, “I’m taking a shower first!”
“What!” Lily exclaimed as she went up the stairs two steps at a time. “No, you’re not.”
“Yes, I am. This is my house,” Angie argued.
“You’re not the one who just ran three miles during track practice.”
“But I have much longer hair than you, which means it takes longer to dry.”
Lily bit her lips and tried to find a comeback, but could not. “Fine,” she said in defeat. “But you have to hurry up.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Angie replied, rolling her eyes as she closed the bathroom door.
After Angie finished taking her shower, she hurriedly dried her hair with her hair dryer as Lily took her shower. Then Angie stepped into a long flowing one-shoulder navy blue evening gown with white floral beads embellished at the waist. She slipped on silver three-inch high sandals, just as Lily stepped out of the shower. Angie meticulously curled her light locks and let them fall lazily around her shoulders. At the same time, Lily adorned an elegant white knee-length, strapless A-line dress paired with a pair of black pumps. There is nothing she could do with her short, pixy-like brown hair so she left it the way it usually was – cute, appealing, and sophisticated. Both girls finished and stood in front of Angie’s large, beautifully embroidered wooden bedroom mirror as the red numbers on Angie’s alarm clock blinked 6:58 p.m. on the bedside table.
Suddenly, the front door bell rang, signaling the arrival of Angie’s escort. A few moments later, there was a knock on Angie’s bedroom door. Angie opened the door to see her mother. She declared softly, “Brendan is here.”
Angie and Lily smiled eagerly at each other, took deep breaths, linked arms, and walked out of Angie’s room and down the stairs towards the living room. Angie kept her eyes on Brendan Miller as she sauntered gracefully down the steps. He wore a handsome white suit and a charming smile, absolutely enchanted by how beautiful she looked.
Just as Angie mouthed “I love you” to Brendan, the doorbell rang again. Mrs. Smith immediately jogged to the door and welcomed Lily’s mysterious boyfriend. Seeing her boyfriend, Lily instantly forgot about grace and rushed down the stairs to leap into her beloved’s arms. Angie’s eyes followed Lily and landed on the features of the new guest. All of a sudden, all the oxygen in the room disappeared.

Angie’s knees became weak, causing her to lose her balance, and she stumbled down the last few steps of the staircase. Brendan caught her in his warm, welcoming arms.
“Thank you,” Angie said nervously, barely managing a smile.
“Are you alright?” Brendan asked worriedly.
“Yeah, I just lost my balance,” Angie replied.
She peeked out of the corner of her eye at Lily’s boyfriend hugging Lily lovingly, telling her how beautiful she was. He looked too familiar, reminded her too much of her past.
Lily turned to Angie and Brendan excitedly and introduced everyone to each other. “Angie and Brendan, this is David, my boyfriend.” She gestured to the brown haired, brown eyed boy in the black suit and blue tie next to her. “David, these are my friends from Vanity, Angie and Brendan,” Lily continued, and then she put her arm around Angie’s shoulders and announced affectionately, “Angie has been my best friend since freshman year in high school, and I absolutely adore her!”
Angie tried to stay calm as she smiled shyly and returned the favor, “I love you too, Lily.”
Just then, Brendan’s black iPhone rang. He reached into his pocket and answered the call. After a few seconds, he hung up and announced, “The limo is here.”
In a black limousine, on the way to Vanity Academy and the dance, Angie decided to get to know David better.
“David, thank you so much for coming. You have no idea how much this means to Lily.”
“No problem. My family recently moved back here from New York. Lily invited me to go to the dance with her, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to see the school she goes to while spending a wonderful night with my gorgeous girlfriend.” David smiled down at Lily and put an arm around her shoulder to pull her closer to him. Angie winced as Lily returned David’s dazzling smile brightly, showing off the gap between her front teeth, something that she had always been self-conscious about.
“Lily, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you smile with your teeth showing,” Angie pointed out.
“Oh, yeah. David said he likes the gap in my teeth, and he even thinks it’s cute,” Lily explained. She turned to smile at David again. After a moment, she turned back to Angie and said,
“Didn’t you used to have a gap too before you got braces in middle school?”
“Yeah,” Angie said so softly that her voice was almost a whisper. She noticed David staring at her and could not help blushing a little.
“You remind me of someone I know,” David said.
“Really?” Angie tried to sound slightly surprised, but a tiny bit of fear crept into her heart.
“Who was it?” Brendan asked, speaking up for the first time since the limo started driving.
“She was a childhood friend,” David responded.
Angie nodded and looked down at her naps. When she looked up again, he was smiling kindly at her. He knew who she was.
Angie nodded politely but bit her lower lip and gazed out the window of the limo. “If you know who I am, then why are you being so sweet? Even after what I did to you…” she thought.

~

The Homecoming dance was held in the Vanity Academy ballroom. The room was decorated with beautiful blue and gold ribbons, the Vanity school colors. Colorful lights shone down on the dancing students from every corner. Elegantly draped long tables with numerous plates of food and large glass bowls of punch decorated the sides of the room, while equally elegantly decorated round tables and chairs stood in the center of the room, patiently waiting for tired and hungry students to sit down and rest. Tiny burning candles at the center of the tables drowned the room in their sweet floral scents.
As Angie stepped out of the lady’s room, she accidentally bumped into someone going in. She lost her balance and tripped on her long skirt. Just as she thought she was going to fall and embarrass herself in front of everyone, someone in a black suit caught her in his strong arms. He released her once she regained her balance, and she saw who it was that saved her – David.
“Thank you,” Angie nervously expressed her gratitude.
“No problem,” David responded, smiling pleasantly.
Angie glowered at his smile a long time before she begged, “Please stop.”
“Stop what?” David asked, clearly confused.
“Stop being so nice to me!”
“Angie…” David started, but Angie interrupted him,
“Stop being so sweet, stop acting like nothing happened. Don’t you hate me?”
“Angie, I can’t hate you for something you did almost ten years ago. I want to, but… I can’t,” David explained calmly.
“Why?”
“Because…” David began, but before he could finish his sentence, someone in a flowing white dress skipped over to them excitedly.
“Hey! What are you guys talking about?” Lily inquired.
“Nothing,” David replied casually with a shrug of his shoulders. “Do you want to dance?” He held out his hand to her and slightly bowed his head. He lifted his eyes to look at her.
“Sure!” Lily agreed enthusiastically, smiling widely and bouncing with of joy as she took David’s hand and pulled him towards the dance floor.
A lump formed in Angie’s throat as she watched the jubilant couple walk away from her, and tears formed in her mystical sea green eyes. As she tried to calm down, a tall blonde boy walked over to her. Angie recognized him as Scott, one of Brendan’s friends.
“Hey there,” Scott greeted, smiling and showing straight, white teeth.
“Hello,” Angie replied uncertainly. She usually did not interact with her boyfriend’s friends.
“You look great tonight,” Scott said as he looked her up and down, taking in the way the navy dress dress flattered her figure and the way her luscious, curled hair laid gracefully on her shoulders.
“Thank you.” Angie wanted to shrink away from his uncomfortable gaze.
Oblivious to Angie’s discomfort, Scott continued to talk and stare, “I must admit that I was pretty surprised when you agreed to go out with Brendan.”
“Why wouldn’t I?” Angie’s eyebrows furrowed together in confusion.
“Didn’t you know? Brendan only asked you out because two friends and I dared him to. You were famous for rejecting guys,” Scott explained.
“Brendan wouldn’t do that,” Angie said sternly. She could not believe that Scott could tell such a lie about his friend.
“Whether you believe me or not is none of my business. I just thought that you should know.” Scott sauntered away and left Angie standing alone outside of the girls’ restroom.
The rest of the evening passed by in a haze. On the ride back to her house in the limousine, five words kept running through Angie’s mind: I wish you would die.
“Angie, are you okay?” Brendan interrupted her thoughts, his expression full of concern.
“Oh, yeah, I’m fine,” Angie assured him, forcing a smile on her face.
“I think we should hang out tomorrow,” Lily suggested to the group. “There’s something I’ve always wanted to do together.”
“Sure, why not,” Angie agreed almost instantly but only half-heartedly to please Lily.

Knock. Knock. Knock.
“Angie, honey, will you come out please?” Mrs. Smith begged as she knocked on Angie’s wooden bedroom door. Her only reply was a faint sob.
“Angie, please tell us what happened.” Her voice was lined with worry and concern.
Two large hands landed on her slim shoulders. “Let’s leave her to herself for a moment,” Mr. Smith suggested softly. Mrs. Smith quietly allowed herself to be turned away from her suffering younger daughter.
“I don’t know what’s going on!” Mrs. Smith said frantically, her voice cracking, as her husband sat her down on the sofa in the family room.
“It’s okay,” Mr. Smith assured her as he hugged her tightly. “The Browns called me a few weeks ago, telling me that they moved back to Washington. I didn’t tell you ladies, especially Angie, because of what happened ten years ago. I never thought that David would show up at the house,” Mr. Smith confessed as he rubbed his wife’s arms tenderly.
“So, Lily’s boyfriend is really David Brown?”
“Yes,” Mr. Smith confirmed.
There was a brief pause before Mrs. Smith asked, “Do you know what really happened ten years ago?”
“No, I don’t. Angie never says anything when I ask,” Mr. Smith replied solemnly.
“I told him to die,” a tired, cracked up voice suddenly said.
Mr. and Mrs. Smith both looked toward the sound, and saw Angie, her face scarred with long streaks of dry tear.
“Angie!” Mrs. Smith jumped up from the sofa.
“I was selfish and wanted him to say with me instead of moving to New York, but he didn’t want to. I got mad, and I told him to die,” Angie retold her worst nightmare, an incident that she had buried deep in her heart for a decade. New tears began to roll down her smooth cheeks. The tears fell faster and faster until Angie covered her face with her hands and yelled with regret and anguish, “I even threw Teddy at him! I HATE myself!!!” With that, Angie completely broke down in the middle of the living room. When her legs weakened under her, and she sank to the ground, Mrs. Smith hurriedly rushed towards her and held her close. They sat together on the ground silently. Gradually, Angie’s cries subsided in her mother’s warm embrace, just like they always do. That night, Mrs. Smith tugged Angie into bed and sat beside her, stroking her glossy long golden hair until she fell asleep.

~

Angie woke up to the song of singing birds. Her mother was no longer in her room. After slowly and reluctantly pulling herself out of bed, she took a quick warm, refreshing shower and put on a plain light pink sundress with short flowing sleeves and paired it with white ballet flats. Soon Brendan arrived at her doorsteps to pick her up for their double date with Lily and David. She did not feel absolutely perfect but confessing the night before had cleared her mind, and she felt like a heavy burden had been lifted off her fragile heart.
“Where are we going?” Angie asked curiously as she rode in the front seat of Brendan’s silver Honda CRV.
“You’ll see,” Brendan answered mysteriously.
“Who thought of the place?”
“Lily did,” Brendan answered.
After twenty minutes into the ride, Angie glanced out the window and noticed that the farther the car went, the duller the scenery became. There was nothing but trees and dirt along the road. After another twenty minutes, the Honda finally came to a stop. Not far off from where Brendan parked his vehicle, there was a narrow trail leading off into a different location. As Angie got out of the car, she saw a black BMW in the parking lot. Its hood was down, revealing the clean, cream-colored leather seats.
Out of nowhere, a pair of pale but warm hands covered Angie’s eyes, trapping her in a field of darkness. A high-pitched voice giggled into Angie’s left ear. “Guess who?”
Angie grinned and was about to give Lily a sarcastic answer when she heard a laugh and a masculine voice said, “I think it’s pretty obvious, Lily.”
Lily moaned and released Angie. “You just have to ruin everything, don’t you, David?”
Brendan and David laughed gleefully as Lily crossed her arms across her chest angrily. Angie only managed to paste a tiny half-hearted smile on her face.
David sauntered towards Lily, wrapped his muscular arms around Lily’s short, slim figure in her yellow, knee-length spaghetti-strapped sun dress, and whispered fondly to her, “Come on. Don’t be mad. We’re here to have fun, right?”
Lily’s anger immediately vanished with David’s strong arms around her and his warm breath and sweet words tickling her ear. “Yes, we’re here to have fun,” Lily agreed. She tiptoed and landed a kiss on David’s lips before breaking away from him.
With a radiant smile on her face, Lily grabbed Angie’s right hand and started to pull her towards the trail. “I want to show you a place that is very sacred to me.”
Lily dragged Angie onto the trail with Brendan and David following closely behind them. They hiked slowly, always staying on the easy trail until they finally reached their destination – a beautiful green meadow scattered with numerous tiny patches of various wild flowers: dandelions, poppies, calliopsis, etc.
“When I first moved to Washington from New York, I was already going out with David. I was sad to leave him so I made a wish here that we will live in the same state again and always be together,” Lily explained to Angie, Brendan, and David, who had no idea that his girlfriend has done such a thing. Lily turned to David adoringly and murmured, “I guess my wish came true.”
Lily sprinted off the trail and towards the middle of the wide meadow. Once she got tired, she bended down to pluck a dandelion and blew the seeds towards Angie, Brendan, and David, who were all watching Lily from the edge of the vast meadow. Laughing, David ran towards her. He picked her up and spun her around.
“You won’t believe what Scott said to me last night,” Angie said to Brendan as she watched Lily and David out of the corner of her eye.
“Scott?” Brendan started to look worried.
“He said some stupid things about how you only asked me out because he dared you to.” Seeing Brendan’s worried expression, Angie assured him, “Don’t worry. I didn’t believe him. I know you wouldn’t do something like that to me.”
“It’s true,” Brendan said it so softly that Angie could barely hear it.
“What is?”
“It’s true that I asked you out because of a dare. At that time, I only knew you as the most-hard-to-get girl. I didn’t even have the confidence when I asked you. I never thought you would say ‘yes,’” Brendan revealed the truth.
Angie’s smile disappeared as the words sank in. Eventually, she stated sternly, “How could you!”
Seeing her smile vanish, Brendan tried to redeem himself, “Angie, please don’t be mad! I’ve learned to love you now! Over the last two years, you have stolen my heart with your charm and beauty and your kindness to others. That’s why I’m telling you the truth now. I can’t lie to you anymore.”
Angie silently stared at Brendan for a long time before she croaked indifferently as a lump formed in her throat, “Would you have told me if Scott didn’t?”
“I’m so sorry,” Brendan murmured regretfully.
“Angie, are you okay?” Lily asked with concern as she walked towards them.
Angie glanced at her but turned and bolted away without an answer. Tears began to blind her, but she angrily wiped them away with the back of her hand. She silently scolded herself, That jerk isn’t worth crying for!
“Angie!” Someone called for her, but she did not turn around to find out who it was. She kept running until she reached the parking lot. She glared menacingly at Brendan’s silver Honda as she tried to catch her breath. Just as she was about to pick up a rock from the ground, she heard someone’s footsteps behind her and spun around to see David. He moved slowly towards Angie, his beautiful brown hair shone under the blazing sun and his concerned brown eyes watched Angie carefully.
“Are you okay?” David wondered when he is close enough to Angie but still a safe distance away. He knew that if he was too close, the lack of space will add fuel to Angie’s temper.
“Why do you care?” Angie retorted coldly.
“Because…” David tilted his head back and stared into the clear light blue sky before taking a deep breath and continuing, “Angie, I like you. I always have.”
Angie involuntarily took a step back. She stared at David with wide green eyes, her mouth slightly opened in amazement.
“Eh… um…” David stammered as he tried to find words to explain his previous ones.
Eventually he gave up and said, “Can I drive you home?”
Angie did not answer for a while, but she finally nodded. She allowed herself to be led to the shiny black convertible, but before she got in the car, she turned to glare at Brendan’s Honda again, bent down to pick up a rock from the ground, and held it above her head, her face blazing with anger.
“Angie, no,” David warned from beside her.
Angie slowly dropped her arm and released the rock, letting it fall to the ground. David stirred her towards him, hugged her tightly, and whispered tenderly into her ear, “He doesn’t deserve someone as wonderful as you. He doesn’t even deserve to be cried over.”
“I know,” Angie responded.
David let go of her and opened the front seat passenger door for Angie. Quietly, he drove her home.

“Thank you for driving me home,” Angie said as she unbuckled her seat belt once the car stopped in front of her house.
“It was my pleasure,” David responded.
“Ummm… Do you want to come in?” Angie offered.
David smiled skeptically. “I don’t think that is a good idea.”
“My parents would be glad to talk to you after so long.”
David hesitated, but he signed and gave in. “Fine.”
For the first time since the night of Homecoming, Angie did not have to fake her smile in front of David. Together, they walked into Angie’s house.
“Angie! David!” Mrs. Smith exclaimed as they entered the house. “You guys are back early. Where’s Brendan and Lily?” she wondered, peering behind Angie and David to see if they were behind them.
Angie and David glanced at each other for a moment before Angie answered calmly, “I broke up with Brendan.”
“Why?” Mrs. Smith asked in shock and stared at her daughter with wide eyes. “I thought you loved him.”
“I did, but he broke my heart,” Angie responded in a seemingly uncaring attitude as she sauntered into the living room and headed for the staircase.
Mrs. Smith spoke up again, “What happened?”
“Mom, I don’t want to talk about it!” Angie snapped and ran up the stairs and into her room. There was a loud Bang as she slammed her door shut.
“David?” Mrs. Smith turned to David.
“I don’t think the story is for me to tell.”
“Fine,” Mrs. Smith said reluctantly.
At that moment, David’s phone beeped. He smiled apologetically at Mrs. Smith as he pulled his black Blackberry out of his jeans right back pocket. It was a text message from Lily: Where are you and angie?
David sent back: I took her home. I’m sorry I left you. Are you ok?
Lily immediately responds: It’s ok and I’m fine. Brendan told me wat happened. I made him take me home. Is angie ok?
David replied: More or less.
Lily: Ok. I love u.
I love u 2. David typed in the last few letters before shoving his phone back into his pocket.
When David returned his attention to Mrs. Smith, he saw her green eyes sparkling with tears.
Noticing David’s confused expression, Mrs. Smith wiped her eyes and explained, “You’ve changed so much. You’re not a little boy anymore.”
“Is that a good thing?” David asked nervously.
“Yes.” Mrs. Smith chuckled.
“Why don’t I go see if Angie’s okay?” David suggested.
Mrs. Smith nodded, and David began to stroll towards the staircase and up to Angie’s room. He turned the doorknob and gently pushed on the door to swing it open. Angie sat in the middle of the room, on the ground, holding a brown teddy bear. David slowly stepped onto the white carpet inside as he gazed around the room. He noticed a few new furniture that were not there ten years ago, and the old children’s bed was traded in for a bigger one, but the walls were still covered with the same light blue wallpaper, and David was still standing on the same soft, white carpet. He glanced at Angie, who was smiling serenely at Teddy.
“You’ve taken good care of it,” David commented as he sat down next to Angie.
“Of course! It is a token of our friendship.”
David reached out to pat Teddy on the head. “It looks smaller.”
“That’s because we grew,” Angie laughed and stared at David like he was stupid, causing him to smile.
“This really brings back memories,” David declared softly, continuing to stroke Teddy’s soft head.
“Yeah, it does,” Angie agreed tenderly.
“Do you hate me?” David unexpectedly inquired.
Angie looked at David with solemn eyes, unsure how to answer, but she eventually decided to speak the truth. “No, I don’t hate you.”
“Then why did you say so when I left?”
Angie stared quietly at the precious stuffed toy for a long time before confessing, “I don’t know.”
“Why did you object to me moving so much?” David asked.
Angie shook her head sadly.
“You don’t know, or you don’t want to tell me?”
“I don’t know,” Angie whispered.
A tear rolled down her cheek and landed on Teddy’s furry head, and then another one landed on David’s large hand, which was still on the bear’s head.
“Do you want me to leave?” David questioned quietly.
“I… I can never forgive myself for the awful things I said to you.” Angie wrapped her arms around her legs and pressed her eyes to her knees to hide her tears.
“I understand.” David placed his hands on Angie’s slender shoulders and kissed the top of her head before he stood up and left the room, taking Teddy with him.

On Monday, a heart-broken Angie found herself face to face with Brendan, who waited for her at her locker at lunch like he usually did even though it was obvious that their relationship was over.
“Angie,” Brendan uttered when he saw Angie walk up to her locker, but she ignored him and proceeded to open her locker to switch her heavy textbooks for her brown paper bagged lunch.
“Angie, please listen to me,” Brendan begged.
“What do you have to say? What right do you even have to ask anything of me?” Angie retorted without even glancing at him.
“I know what I did was wrong, but I already apologized for it.”
Angie spun around to face Brendan and asked with disgust, “Do you really think an apology will save you?” She slammed her locker and walked away before he could answer.
At that moment, Lily joined Angie. “Hey, are you okay?”
“I don’t know, but I do know that I am definitely over him.”
“Good,” Lily replied with a relieved smile.
“Are you coming over for the Christmas party?” Angie changed the conversation to a merrier subject.
“Have I ever missed one?” Lily countered jokingly. Angie laughed in agreement.
As the two girls sat down at a table in the cafeteria, Brendan walked over to them.
“Look, I know what I did was wrong, and I am really, really sorry for it,” he said.
Angie concentrated on taking her tuna sandwich out of her paper bag and ignored him.
“I love you, Angie.”
Angie continued to ignore him and took a bite out of her sandwich.
“Brendan, I think it’s time for you to leave,” Lily spoke up.
Brendan looked at Angie one last time before he signed in defeat and walked away.

December 2011

The sweet smell of ginger bread drifted through the house, loud laughter filled the room, and beautiful sparkling lights dangled from every corner of the Smiths’ large family room while the huge pine tree embellished with colorful blinking lights stood in a corner. It was Christmas time again, and the Johnsons and the Browns were attending the Smiths’ annual Christmas gathering. Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Brown, and Mrs. Johnson were in the kitchen preparing for the feast that will undoubtly be devoured in seconds. Suddenly, the doorbell rang.
“I’ll get it!” Angie yelled as she jogged toward the front door wondering who it was.
Angie pulled open the door and gasped. “Megan!” she squealed and leaped into her older sister’s open arms at the same time Megan greeted the younger version of herself, “Merry Christmas, Angie!”
“Mom! Dad! Megan is home!” Angie announced excitedly.
The sisters’ parents rushed over to greet their older daughter, who had come home from New York University for Christmas for the first time since she gone off to college two years ago.
“Who’s that handsome young man behind you?” Mrs. Smith inquired teasingly.
“Hello, I am Zach Boyle, Megan’s boyfriend. It is a pleasure to finally meet all of you,” the mysterious, tall man introduced himself with a dazzling smile on his face before Megan even opened her mouth. He then advanced to shake hands with Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Angie.
“You are a very polite young man,” Mr. Smith remarked approvingly.
“Thank you, sir. I must credit my parents for raising me well,” Zach replied with a smile.
Megan giggled, grabbed Zach’s hand, and pulled him towards the black leather sofa, but she abruptly stopped when she saw who was sitting on it. “David?”
“Hello, Megan.” David got up from the sofa and gave Megan a hug.
Lily followed his example and greeted Megan, “Hi, Megan. It’s nice to see you again.”
“Me too,” Megan responded enthusiastically. She looked around at the people gathered there that day and noticed that some people were missing. “Where are the Millers?”
The room grew quiet. Eventually, Angie answered with a shrug of her shoulders, “Brendan and I broke up.”
“Should I ask ‘why’?”
“No.”
“Okay.” Megan said but looked at Angie worriedly. She turned back to David and observed, “Wow, you grew a lot.”
“That’s the same reaction that your mother gave me,” David noted, causing everyone to laugh.
“Oh, hi Megan, welcome back” Mrs. Brown greeted loudly when she peeked her head out of the kitchen doorway to see what all the commotion was about. “Come on everyone, dinner’s ready” she added quickly before disappearing into the kitchen again.
“Yay! I’m so hungry!” Megan exclaimed and rushed towards the dining room, dragging Zach with her, who always seemed to be watching Megan with adoring, blue eyes.
The dinner table was set with tall elegant wine glasses, white simple serving plates, and shiny silver utensils. In the middle of the table was a large, freshly roasted chicken. Surrounding the chicken were various types of food such as salad, Italian and French bread, and a gigantic bowl of clam chowder soup. Just as the mothers had suspected, the meal was devoured in mere seconds, or so it seemed.
“Present time!” Lily shouted eagerly as she bolted towards the Christmas tree after dinner and started to pick up beautifully decorated boxes of various sizes from under the tree.
David and Megan offered their help while the parents cleaned up the dinner table and washed the dishes. Angie and Zach stood next to the sofa and watched Lily, David, and Megan grab at boxes after boxes of presents and categorized them by the people they were meant for.
“What do you like about my sister?” Angie asked Zach, out of curiosity.
“Everything,” Zach answered without hesitation, always keeping his darling blue eyes on Megan. Angie smiled at his certainty.
“Have you given her a present yet?”
“No, but I will.” Angie caught Zach reaching his right hand into his black pants’ right pocket. She smiled wider.
“Have she given you anything yet?” Angie inquired purposefully, no longer out of curiosity but to verify her suspicion.
“No, but I know what I want,” Zach answered absentmindedly, still watching Megan move the presents from under the enormous Christmas tree and unaware of Angie’s intention when she asked the last question. He left his spot to help out without saying anything, eyes forever glued on Megan’s beautiful, golden head, leaving Angie standing alone by the sofa.
Soon, the presents were unwrapped, and everyone had a small pile of the items he or she received in front of them, except for Zach. No one had known that he would be there; therefore, nobody prepared a gift for him.
“Hey! There’s one more present here,” David announced. He read the tag on a fairly sized square box, “To Angie.”
Angie reached out her hands enthusiastically to claim her present. She carefully peeled the shiny silver wrapping paper off and lifted the cover of the white box inside. Sitting in the box was a brown teddy bear wearing a blue bow with white polka dots – Teddy. Angie remembered David taking Teddy with him about one and a half month ago after her breakup with Brendan. She hesitantly lifted the bear out of the box. At that moment, all members of the Brown and Smith family thought of the same event - the Christmas ten years ago - and the atmosphere turned grim.
“Thank you.” Angie hugged the soft, furry bear tightly to her chest and kissed the top of its head sweetly.
“Have all the presents been claimed?” Lily asked loudly and happily.
“There is still two more,” Zach spoke up for the first time since everyone began to unwrap presents, “Megan’s and mine.”
Angie grinned knowingly to herself.
“Zach, you told me not to get you anything. You made sure that I wouldn’t be able to,” Megan said nervously, her eyebrows knitted together.
“It’s okay,” Zach assured her gently. He took her hand in his, and they both stood up in front of everyone.
Still holding Megan’s hand, Zach began, “Megan, I am very happy that I got to be with you and feel your love and affection these past few years. I was infatuated with you from the moment that I set eyes on you in our freshman year in NYU. From that moment on, I knew I had to have you, and I promised myself that I would stop at nothing. It took me half a year to win your heart. You finally said ‘yes’ to me.” Zach reached into his right pocket and took out a tiny light blue Tiffany’s box, and then to everyone but Angie’s surprise, Zach kneeled down in front of Megan and opened the box to reveal a sparkling diamond ring. “Megan, I ask that you say ‘yes’ to me once again. If you do, it will be the greatest gift you can ever give me. Megan Smith, will you marry me?”
Megan gasped, and her hands flew to her mouth. A lump had formed in her throat, so she could only manage to nod. Zach rewarded her with a gorgeous smile, stood up, and slipped the ring on her left ring finger. Megan threw her arms around his neck with joy and excitement. Zach kissed the top of her golden head tenderly and spotted Angie in the middle of the crowd, smiling happily but not at all surprised, unlike the rest of the attendees.
“You knew,” Zach denounced Angie afterwards when most of the guests have left.
“Yes, I did. I found out when I was asking you all those questions after dinner,” Angie confessed.
“What gave it away?”
“You reached into your pocket when you told me that you haven’t given Megan anything yet, and the fact that you knew exactly what you wanted as a present from her. Plus, you wouldn’t have waited so long to give her your gift if it wasn’t something extremely special,” Angie explained.
“You’re quite observant,” Zach complimented her with a smile.
“Thank you, brother-in-law,” Angie replied jokingly.
“Zach! Can you give me a hand?” Megan yelled from across the room as she tried to lug a red medium-sized suitcase up the stairs, her engagement ring glimmering under the light. A black one waited at the bottom of the staircase. The couple will be staying at the house for their winter break and had left their luggage in Zach’s car until the celebration was over.
Zack quickly rushed to Megan’s side. Angie picked up Teddy from the couch and climbed up the stairs to her room, ignoring her sister and Zach’s struggle with the suitcases. She placed Teddy back on its usual spot on her dresser and fell backwards onto her comfortable bed. She smiled to herself at all the wonderful events that had occurred that night Megan and Zach are engaged, Lily and David are happily together, and she got Teddy back, but then her smile disappeared just as quickly as it came when she realized something. “Everyone has found their happiness, except me,” she thought.

January 2012

“Good morning,” Lily greeted Angie on the first day of school after winter break at Angie’s locker.
Angie stuck her head out of her locker to smile and say, “Hey, Lily. How was the rest of your winter break?”
“Boring, but I spent most of my time with David. What about yours?”
“Very busy. A ton of wedding things.”
“I bet the wedding planning is fun though. What have you guys already decided on?”
“Well, the engagement party will be during spring break, so don’t tell anyone that my sister is getting married, yet. You are one of her bridesmaids, and I will be her maid-of-honor. The wedding will be on July 14, this summer,” Angie summarized the entire wedding discussion for Lily. She looked over at Lily and found herself staring into a large open mouth. Lily’s brown eyes were twice as big as they usually were.
“Lily, are you okay?” Angie asked with knitted eyebrows.
“I’m going to be one of the bridesmaids?” Lily said the statement as a question, her voice lowered to a whisper, and her eyes watered with tears of happiness.
Angie smiled, and said, “Of all the things that I said, that’s the only thing you heard?”
“Don’t tell me you’re kidding,” Lily said, ignoring Angie’s question.
“Even if I tell you that I’m kidding, you are still going to be one of the bridesmaids.”
“Yay!” Lily exclaimed as she started to jump up and down excitedly, causing some of her classmates, who were in the hall, to stare at her strangely as they walked by.
“Lily, come down! We’re in school,” Angie scolded, even though her lips threatened to curl into a smile.
“What’s all the commotion about?” a familiar but unwelcomed voice suddenly asked. Brendan was strolling over to them with a grin on his face like nothing was wrong between him and Angie.
The excitement and the cheerfulness immediately disappeared from the atmosphere when he appeared.
“It’s none of your business,” Angie replied coolly.
“I thought you told me everything,” Brendan said, the grin still on his face.
“That was when we used to go out,” Angie said, putting extra emphasis on “used to.”
“Come on, Angie. We can still be friends.” The smile had vanished.
“First of all, I haven’t forgiven you yet. Second, you need to stop acting like nothing happened, and third, leave me alone,” Angie said before she closed her locker and sauntered away.
Lily was about to follow her when she caught a glimpse of Brendan’s eyes. They held so much sadness, regret, and hurt that she did not have the heart to just walk away.
“If you love her so much, then why did you do it?” she asked quietly.
Brendan did not answer for so long that Lily was contemplating walking away, but then he said, “I was immature. I didn’t what I wanted. I thought I had nothing to lose, but now I lost everything I ever wanted. It’s too late.”
“I’m sorry,” Lily whispered.
The corners of Brendan’s mouth curled up a tiny bit in an attempt to show his gratitude. The next moment, he turned away and walked away, but not before Lily saw the gleam of tears in his chocolate brown eyes.

April 2012

“What about this one?” Angie said, fingering a long pink, one-shouldered, silk gown lined with silver around its sweetheart bodice.
“Oh, that’s beautiful!” Megan exclaimed. “I’m going to try it on.”
She grabbed the dress off its rack and speed walked into the fitting room. Her heeled black sandals clanked on the wooden floor of the wedding boutique.
A few minutes later, Megan emerged from the fitting room, draped in the pink gown. Angie could not help staring at her sister for a few seconds before she said, “You look gorgeous!”
“You look absolutely elegant! Perfect for an engagement party,” the assistant who was helping Megan cooed enthusiastically.
“So this is the one?” Megan searched for consolation from Angie, who smiled brightly and nodded approvingly.
Megan beamed and said to the assistant, “I’m taking it.”

~

“How’s school?” Megan asked Angie as the sisters sat in Starbucks. Megan’s hands wrapped around her warm cup of latte and Angie’s around her cup of hot chocolate. The pink gown that they bought a while ago was meticulously draped over the back of a chair.
Angie took a sip of hot chocolate before she answered, “It’s fine. Things are probably the same as when you went there.”
“Come on! Give me more details,” Megan urged.
“Ummm… let’s see. It sucks to see Brendan every day, but Lily makes everything all better. Classes are okay; I’m getting straight A’s. I don’t think there’s anything more to tell.”
Megan smiled when Angie was finished. She was satisfied with this more detailed answer.
Angie picked up a chocolate hazelnut tart from the plate on the table between Megan and she and took a bite.
“Are you really okay with Lily going out with David?” Megan asked.
“What’s not to be okay with?” Angie tried to sound calm. She continued to eat and refused to look at Megan.
“You may be able to hide it from other people, but you can’t hide it from me.” Megan said.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Angie still did not look at Megan.
“I saw it coming, you know.”
“What?” Angie gave Megan a quick glance before taking a few sips of hot chocolate.
“I knew you would fall in love with him. I saw it coming from the day he gave you his teddy bear,” Megan explained, her voice solemn.
Angie forced herself to laugh. “I don’t even remember that day.”
“But I do. All the adults do. We all thought that the two of you would be together some day, that you would become more than friends. But then he had to move to New York, and you had a huge argument with him.”
Megan sipped her cup of latte and continued, “After that, everyone just gave up on the idea, but I never did. I never did, Angie! You were so good at hiding how you felt, but I always knew. You could never hide anything from me. If you weren’t in love with him, you wouldn’t have cared so much when he moved. You wouldn’t have held that teddy bear and cried yourself to sleep every night for the next year. You love him, Angie… more than anything else in the world.”
Angie stared at her cup of hot chocolate, but the drink did not look so appetizing anymore. “How is it that you know me better than myself?” she said, her voice choked up with tears.
“I’m your sister,” Megan said simply.
Angie put her head in her hands, and her shoulders began to shake. Megan got up from her seat and hugged her little sister.
“Can we go home?” Angie whispered.
Megan kissed the top of her head tenderly. “Yes.”

The next day…

“Thank you everyone for coming. Today we are gathered here to celebrate the near reunion of Zach Boyle and my daughter, Megan Smith,” Mrs. Smith announced to the family and friends gathered at the banquet hall. She gestured to the happy couple standing next to her: Zach in a well-fitted black suit and Megan in the simple pink gown that Angie chose for her. Their hands were tightly wounded together, and they smiled and looked into each other eyes as the crowd clapped. Zach leaned down to give Megan a peck on the lips, causing the crowd to cheer jubilantly. Megan giggled, slightly embarrassed.
“Now we will have the couple dance to a song before we serve dinner,” Mrs. Smith said into the microphone before she sauntered to her seat between Mr. Smith and Mrs. Boyle. Her hem of her long blue gown flowed gracefully around her legs.
The song I Turn to You by Christina Aguilera began to play. Zach offered his hand to Megan and led her to the center of the room. As they danced, Megan and Zach’s faces carried bright smiles and sparkling eyes.
“She looks stunning!” Lily said in awe. She could not take her eyes off of Megan.
“I picked out the dress,” Angie boasted.
“No wonder it doesn’t flutter her as much as I thought it should have,” Lily teased.
“LILY!!!” Angie yelled as everyone else at the table laughed.
Lily was seated next to Angie, with David next to her. Several other friends who attend Vanity Academy sat around them.
After Zach and Megan finished dancing, sinner was served. The chicken salad was a crowd pleaser. Afterwards, the dancing continued. Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Boyle, Megan and Zach, and a few other couples dominated the dance floor. When the third song started to play, David and Lily decided to join the other dancers. Angie watched them dance and made a choice:
I will give up on David. I will bless Lily and him and wish them happiness… Yes, it’s been long enough. It’s time to…
“Would you like to dance?” a voice interrupted Angie’s thoughts. She looked up to see Brendan smiling at her she had not known that he was there.
“Not with you,” Angie retorted coldly.
“You can’t still be angry with me,” Brendan said, still smiling.
God, I hate his carefree ways, Angie thought through gritted teeth.
Angie opened her mouth to tell him to leave her alone when another voice said, “Is everything alright here?”
Angie looked up to see David and Lily standing behind Brendan.
“David! Long time no see,” Brendan greeted. He extended his hand to shake David’s but David ignored it.
“What are you doing here?” David asked sternly.
“What do you mean? I was invited by the bride-to-be’s family,” Brendan replied.
David looked at Angie and back at Brendan.
“Do you want to dance, Angie? With me?” David asked.
Angie stared at him, hesitated, and nodded. She let David lead her to the dance floor. Kelly Clarkson’s A Moment Like This began to play.
Brendan watched them dance. A frown formed on his face.
“Do you regret it?” Lily, who was standing next to him, asked.
“Yes,” Brendan murmured. “If I could do all over again, I would.” With that, he slowly walked back to his seat. Lily watched him go and felt something pull on her heart.

“Thanks for saving me back there,” Angie said as she danced with David.
“No problem. I just didn’t like what he did to you,” David replied.

Neither of them looked at their dancing partners. Angie stared at David’s chest, while David looked at whatever was behind Angie.
“Sometimes, I wish I never left,” David said quietly. “If I had stayed, things wouldn’t be so awkward between us. Nothing would have changed. We would have been together a long time ago.”
Angie smiled wryly. “If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t have fought with you. I would have let you leave.”
At her words, David looked at Angie, surprised. “Why?”
“Because then we would still be friends.” Angie finally looked up at David, and her sea green eyes met with his brown ones.
“You’ve grew up, Angie,” David murmured so quietly that only she could hear what he said.
The music stopped. Some guests sauntered back to their seats while others walked onto the dance floor for the next song.
Angie turned to leave when David caught her arm. He whispered in her ear, “We never stopped being friends.”
His warm breathe tickled her ear, and shivers crept down her spine. Just then, Megan appeared behind David and tapped him on the shoulder.
“Do you mind dancing with me?”
“With the bride-to-be? Of course not!” David laughed as he took Megan’s hand.
“I need some fresh air,” Angie said in a barely audible voice and walked out of the room.

“You look beautiful,” David praised Megan.
“Thank you.”
“I didn’t expect you to get married so quickly.”
“Why? So that you could have a chance?” Megan joked.
David laughed and said, “Well, I’ve always had just a teeny bit of a crush on you.”
Megan laughed with him. “Lily isn’t bad, right?”
David stole a glance at Lily. She was talking to two girls who go to Vanity with her. Turning back to Megan, David said with a smile, “No, absolutely not.”
“You two make a cute couple, but Lily wasn’t the person I always thought you would end up with.”
“Who did you think I would end up with?”
“You know who,” Megan said.
David looked away from Megan and did not respond.
“Do you know how I fell in love with Zach?” Megan asked.
“How?”
“The first time he asked me out, I rejected him. I didn’t know who he was then, what kind of person he is. After I rejected him, he seemed to appear everywhere. He hung out with my friends more. He never made a move again. He was just simply there so that he could watch over me; that was his kind of love. I thought, how weird of him to follow me everywhere, but because I interacted with him more, I fell for him. So the second time he asked me to be his girlfriend, I said ‘yes’. From that moment on, I would agree to whatever he asked, because that’s my way of loving.”
“You said ‘yes’ to everything?” David asked with raised eyebrows.
Megan smiled and replied, “I know what you’re thinking, but he respects me, so he would never ask anything outrageous of me. At least he hasn’t yet.”
David chuckled at her last sentence.
“Why did you tell me all of that?”
“Because I want to make you realize that you have to be persistent to get the things you want. Sometimes, patience alone is not enough. Zach was patient but he never gave up, and now here we are.”
David remained silent.
“You have loved Angie for many years, but you are not making much effort. At this rate, I’d say that Brendan is beating you. At least, he had her once,” Megan said in a hard voice. David’s silence angered her.
Is he just going to let her go like that? she thought.
David stopped dancing and stared at Megan. Her words had stirred his heart.
Megan continued, “I love my sister, and I’m sure there are many others who do, too. If you don’t go after her now, you might lose her forever.”
Without a word, David sprinted towards the door and was out of it in a second.
Lily, who was talking with a few friends, saw David run out of the room. Worried, she said to her friends, “I’m sorry, excuse me.” She lifted the hem of her long yellow dress and jogged after David.

David found Angie standing under a tree, the wind lightly blowing on her hair and dress. She looked beautiful.
“Angie!” David called out.
Angie looked towards the source of the sound and was taken aback to see David.
“What are you doing here?” she asked as he took several huge steps towards her.
When he reached her, he said, “I need to tell you something… something I should have told you a long time ago.”
“What is it?”
“I… I…” David signed and stared up into the sky. He did not know how to put his feelings into words.
Angie’s eyebrows clenched together. She had never seen him look so nervous. She put a comforting hand on his arm. “Is everything okay, David?”
At her touch, David looked at Angie, and in a flash, his lips were kissing hers. Her lips were soft and tasted slightly sweet, just the way he had imagined them to be.
Angie closed her eyes and savored the warmth of David’s lips. Why didn’t she realize until now? This was everything she had ever wanted: to be in David’s arms, to be kissing his lips…
Suddenly, Angie’s eyes snapped open, and she pushed David away. “What are you doing?!?” she yelled.
“I love you, Angie,” David said.
Angie shook her head in disbelief. “Why me? You make girls feel so happy to be around you. You can have any girl you want, so why me!”
“Don’t you see? I don’t want any other girl. I want you, Angie. I’ve wanted you for ten years!”
Angie shook her head again. “I can’t. I can’t do this to Lily.”
She began to make her way back to the celebration, but David grabbed her hand.
“Let go, David!” Angie tried to pull her hand out of his grasp, with no success. She glared at him, but David did not notice. He was staring at something behind her.
“Lily,” he whispered as his eyes grew wide.
Angie gasped and spun around. Lily stood a few feet away with her hands tightly clenched into fists at her side. Tears rolled fiercely down her cheeks. Angie took a step towards her, but Lily quickly turned around and went back inside.

~

“Lily!” Angie called as she raced after Lily. “Please, let me explain!”
Lily stopped running and glared at Angie. “Explain what? Explain that my boyfriend and you love each other and that the two of you kissed? You don’t need to explain that, I already saw it.”
“Lily, please…”
“Why is it you of all people? You’re my best friend. I have been with David for four years, but you’ve barely seen him a few times. How is it that he could fall in love with you so easily?”
Angie did not answer. She silently stared at the floor, not sure how to tell her best friend about her and David’s history, or whether to tell her at all.
By this time, the commotion had attracted all the guests’ attentions. Megan walked slowly towards Lily and put a hand on her shoulder.
“Lily, there’s something we have to tell you,” she said softly.
Lily looked at Megan with tears still gleaming in her eyes. “We?”
Suddenly, she noticed the Smith and Brown families gathered behind Megan. This is about Angie and David, she realized.

A week later…

“She broke up with me,” David said. He was on the phone with Angie.
“I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” Angie said.
“Yeah, I’m fine, but Lily was crying a lot when I last saw her.”
“I hope she’s okay. She haven’t come to school for two days now.”
“Don’t worry. Lily’s a strong girl. I’m sure she’ll be fine…” David paused for a while, and Angie heard ruffling and someone talking in the background. “Angie, I need to go. Talk to you later?”
“Yeah, okay. Goodnight, David.”
“Goodnight,” David said before hanging up the phone.
Angie and David’s friendship had returned back to the way it was before David moved to New York. In fact, it was like he never left at all.

The following day, Angie found Lily at her locker. She cautiously tip-toed towards Lily and whispered “Hi” so softly that Lily almost did not hear her.
Lily smiled brilliantly and replied, “Hello, Angie.”
Angie was surprised by Lily’s warmness. “You are not mad?” she asked.
“I was, but after crying for a few days, I’m over it.”
“You are?” Angie said doubtfully and uncertainly. “But you loved him so much.”
“Well, obviously not as much as you. I would have never told him to die if he was moving away,” Lily stated.
Angie frowned and covered her face with her hands. She looked at Lily through the spaces between her fingers. “I wouldn’t say that it was an act of love.”
“It’s a proof that you care enough.”
“So how much did my parents tell you?”
“Both yours and David’s parents sat me down and told me everything that happened starting from when you were three.” After a pause, Lily continued, “Angie, you’ve known David for fourteen years. Why didn’t you tell me?”
Angie uncovered her face and said solemnly, “I haven’t forgiven myself for hurting him.”
“Well, he already did. The only thing that’s keeping you from having your happiness now is yourself,” Lily said softly.
Hearing her words, Angie gazed into Lily’s brown eyes and said, “So you’ve really forgiven me?”
“Yes,” Lily assured her, nodding.
Angie smiled uncertainly at Lily.
“Really, I’ve forgiven you. Shall we go to lunch now?” Lily asked.
“We shall,” Angie replied, grateful to have her friend back.
Upon entering the lunchroom, Angie spotted Brendan sitting with his friends – probably the same ones who dared him to ask her out two years ago – with his back to the door. As she tried to sneak away, Brendan turned around. Their eyes met.
Too late, Angie thought.
“Hey!” Brendan called out. Smiling, he walked over to Angie and Lily.
“So can I assume that you two has made up?” he said when he reached them.
“There is no need to assume, because it is true,” Lily said.
“That’s good,” Brendan commented.
“Yes, I have decided to be open-minded.”
Brendan chuckled. “If only everyone is as forgiving as you.”
“Excuse me?!?” Angie snapped.
“I said…”
“I know what you said!” Angie interrupted. “Are you saying that I’m not forgiving?”
“Well, that wasn’t directed at you, or anyone, really. It’s true, though, that you haven’t forgiven me yet,” Brendan said matter-of-factly.
Angie glared at Brendan menacingly and then turned on her heels and walked off.
Looking at Brendan, Lily said, “Why are you always so…” She tried to find the right word. She gazed up at the ceiling thoughtfully, but eventually, she signed in defeat. “I don’t even know what word to use.”
“If you don’t know what you want to say, then I can’t answer you,” Brendan teased.
“Get that smirk off your face,” Lily scolded lightly.
Brendan laughed, and Lily could not help grinning.
“I’m going to go find Angie,” she said.
As she turned to leave, Brendan said, “Are you really alright with Angie being with David?”
Lily smiled wryly. “Are you?” she threw the question back at him.
“Even if I’m not, I would have to be.”
“Exactly.”
“Lily Johnson, you are the most good-natured girl I have ever met.”
Lily giggled and joked, “Brendan Miller, you are the most heartbroken boy I have ever met.”

Lily found Angie sitting on the stairs in front of the school. “Hey, are you okay?” she said, sitting down next to Angie.
“Yeah.”
“He really loved you, you know. I know what he did was wrong, but I think he’s compensated enough for it,” Lily said.
“He didn’t do anything to compensate,” Angie responded immediately.
“He lost you,” Lily stated quietly.
Angie stared down at her hands, clasped together on her knees, and did not answer.
“I’m not asking you to fall in love with him again, or even be his friend, but at least forgive him. Give him a chance to redeem himself,” Lily suggested.
Angie remained silent for a while but eventually she said solemnly, “I don’t hate him anymore, but I still need a little more time to forgive him. It’s just that… I wish I heard it from him instead of from Scott.”
“Would it have hurt any less?”
“No, but I might not have lost my dignity, too.”
“I’m really sorry, Angie. This should have never happened to you.”
“It’s not your fault.” Angie paused before continuing, “Did David tell you that I almost threw a rock at Brendan’s CRV?”
Lily’s mouth fell open, but she recovered quickly and said, “No. Why didn’t you? It sounds like something you’d do.”
Angie could not help laughing at her statement. “David stopped me.”
“You guys were really close, weren’t you?”
“More than you can think,” Angie replied. She looked at Lily and added, “I’m sorry we hurt you.”
“It’s alright,” Lily said, plastering a fake and hopefully convincing smile on her face.
“What did you like about David?”
“I like his kindness and generosity. He is always so thoughtful and sincere about everything,” Lily said. Turning to Angie, she asked, “What about you? Why did you fall in love with him?”
Angie thought for a moment, but she shook her head. “I don’t know. Without even realizing it, I just fell for him. I don’t think love needs a reason because then, it wouldn’t be called ‘love.’”

~

After school that day, Lily sat in her black Porsche and sobbed.
Knock, knock.
Lily gasped in surprise and almost jumped out of her seat. She turned to see Brendan peeking at her through the driver’s window. She quickly wiped her tears away, opened the door, and stood next to her car.
“What are you doing?” Lily demanded to know as she blew her nose into a napkin.
“Are you okay, broken-hearted girl?”
Lily frowned at the nickname and said, “Don’t make fun of me.”
“Now you know how I feel when you called me that.” Brendan replied with a smirk.
“I only called you that once before, and you haven’t answered my question, yet.”
“I saw that your car was still here so I came over to say ‘hi.’ Little did I know that I would find a snotty-nosed girl crying in the car,” Brendan teased her.
“I miss him. David, I mean. I want to be a good friend to Angie, and I can’t blame them for being in love with each other for the last ten years, but it still hurts so much to pretend that I’m fine with everything.” Lily looked at Brendan cautiously. She should have been mad at him for making fun of her, but instead, she poured her heart out to him.
Brendan became serious. “Lily, I will be here for you if you want to talk to someone about your weird situation with Angie and David or about life in general.”
Lily stared at Brendan. He had never been so serious before. She thought he would laugh at any moment, but he did not.
Brendan continued, “What I’m trying to say is… if you want to talk, my ears are open. If you want to cry, I will gladly lend you my shoulders any time. If you want to take a break, you can lay on my laps. If you want words of comfort… well, I’m not very good at those, but I will try.”
Lily did not speak for a while, but eventually, she said, “Are you confessing to me?”
Brendan was taken aback by her question. “Err… I don’t know.”
“What if I want a hug?”
“Then my arms are open anytime.” Right on cue, Brendan opened his arms.
Instead of accepting his embrace, Lily asked softly, “What if I want to a kiss?”
Brendan’s arms dropped to his side. He opened his mouth to say something, but no words came out. He did not even know what he wanted to say.
Lily walked around her car, closing whatever distance was between Brendan and she in the crowded school parking lot. She held Brendan’s face in her hands and kissed him. Her lips lightly brushed his. Lily pulled away almost as soon as their lips touched. She stared at Brendan, dumfounded and surprised by her own actions. Brendan looked as astonished as she did. Lily rapidly got into her car and drove out of the parking lot, leaving Brendan standing where he was on his own.

June 2012

After David parked his black BMW convertible, Lily meticulously stepped out of the car, trying not to step on the hem of her long dress. She wore a simple red dress with a sparkly sash around her waist and the same black heels she wore to Homecoming in October. A gorgeous diamond necklace decorated her neck.
David opened the door for Angie in the passenger seat. She smiled at him and let him take her hand as she climbed out of his car. She wore a long purple one-shouldered dress and black heels similar to Lily’s. The one-shouldered strap was adorned with three flowers. Angie had tied her long blond hair into a chignon and decorated it with a plain black headband.
The three of them sauntered into their senior Prom. The ballroom was decorated even more lavishly than it was for Homecoming. A red carpet covered the floor. White table cloths were draped over the round tables. A bouquet of freshly picked pink roses decorated each table. Long tables of food did not line the walls this time because dinner will be served straight from the kitchen. Several waiters stood around the room carrying trays of drinks. At the end of the room, a band practiced a few notes on the stage, preparing to perform for the hundreds of students gathered there for their last high school dance.
“Look who’s here,” Brendan said loudly as he walked over to Angie, David, and Lily. He directed the words at all three of them, but he only had eyes for Lily.
“You look beautiful,” he complimented her.
Lily felt her cheeks burn and looked away, hoping that Brendan would not notice. “Thank you,” she said.
Angie was surprised to see Lily look so embarrassed. She almost never blushed.
Brendan turned his glance towards Angie and said, “How are you doing, Angie?”
At first, Angie did not know how to answer. Every time she saw Brendan, she remembered how much he had hurt her. But on the night of her senior Prom, seeing the sincerity on Brendan’s face, recalling her conversation with Lily a few months ago, and holding David’s warm hand, she knew that she had already forgiven Brendan. She looked him in the eyes, smiled, and said, “I’m good. Thanks for asking.”
Brendan nodded and smiled in response. He turned his attention back to Lily. Offering his hand, he asked, “May I have the honor of having the first dance?”
Lily did not answer verbally, but she gave him her hand. The two danced silently for a moment.
Brendan broke the silence. “So what was that kiss the other day?”
“What kiss?” Lily tried to sound innocent and clueless.
“Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.”
“But I really don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“It’s okay to like me,” Brendan said, only half-jokingly.
“What makes you think I like you?” Lily retorted. She stepped away from him. Other couples continued to waltz around them while they stood on the dance floor.
“First of all, I’m rich. Also…” Brendan began, but Lily cut him off.
“A rich and beautiful girl doesn’t need the money of a rich and handsome boy.”
Brendan chuckled and said, “You never know. And did you just call yourself beautiful?”
Lily hesitated for a moment before saying, “You’re the one who told me that I was beautiful.”
“Fair enough,” Brendan pointed out, shrugging. “But what did you call me just now? You said I was a rich and what boy?”
Lily signed in exhaustion. “I said you’re a rich and hand…” She glared at Brendan and frowned.
The corner of Brendan’s mouth twitched and threatened to curl into a smirk. He coughed to hide a laugh.
“It’s not funny,” Lily snapped, crossing her arms across her chest.
Brendan took a step towards her and leaned down to kiss her. A chill crawled down Lily’s spine when his lips touched hers. Her heart skipped a beat, and she could have sworn that she stopped breathing.
Brendan pulled away to ask, “Are you sure you don’t like me?”
Suddenly, Lily’s heart pumped loudly, and adrenaline rushed through her body. she felt daring. Lily wrapped her arms around Brendan’s neck and whispered, “You’re right. I like you, Brendan Miller.

July 14, 2012

Megan stood in front of a full-length mirror, wearing her wedding gown. Her dress was a white strapless mermaid gown with floating multi-layered lace, designed by Vera Wang. On her feet were white satin peep toe heels.
Angie handed her a tiny light blue Tiffany box. A pair of emerald cut diamond earrings sat inside.
“Thank you, sweetie,” Megan said with a bright smile, taking the box from Angie.
Suddenly, Lily rushed into the room, exclaiming, “Oh-my-gosh, am I late?”
She wore a pink strapless, cocktail length, chiffon dress and silver heels. Angie and the other bridesmaids wore the same dresses and shoes.
“Not yet,” Angie answered. “You’re usually more punctual though. What happened?”
“I know. I’m so sorry. There was really horrible traffic,” Lily explained.
Megan turned from the mirror to speak to Lily, “Can I talk to you for a minute?”
“Okay.” Lily followed Megan through a door and into her dressing room.
Megan sank into a couch, while trying not to wrinkle her wedding gown. She petted the spot next to her and gestured to Lily to sit. She did.
“What did you need to talk to me about?”
Megan shifted her position so that she is facing Lily. For a few seconds, she just bit her lower lip, but she finally said, “I encouraged David to confess to Angie at my engagement party a few months ago. So your breakup with him was partly my fault.”
Lily was silent for a moment, stunned by Megan’s confession. Then she smiled. “Thank you for telling me.”
“You’re not mad?” Megan asked, confused.
Lily shook her head. “I should be, but I don’t love him anymore. So I’m no longer bitter about what happened. Of course, I wish you guys told me about Angie and David’s history earlier.”
“I’ll keep that in mind next time,” Megan replied, laughing. “Hopefully, there won’t be a next time.”
“Agreed.” Lily laughed with her.
Someone knocked on the door, and Angie’s head poked in. “Sis, it’s almost time.”
Megan looked at Lily. “Are you ready?”
“Yes.”


The orchestra began to play Here Comes the Bride. Three seconds into the melody, Angie, as the maid of honor, took the first step down the aisle. The wedding was held outside, so only the rows of chairs, which about thirty guests were sitting in, formed the aisle. Angie held a small bouquet of red roses and freesia with both hands. As she walked, she spotted David sitting near the front, staring and smiling at her, and she smiled back. The site of him almost made her heart leap out of her chest.
The bridesmaids walked behind Angie, each carrying similar bouquets. Brendan, sitting next to David, mouthed to Lily, “You look beautiful.”
Lily could not help giggling.
Lastly, the bride walked down the aisle. Megan held a large and gorgeous bouquet of white freesia, lilies, and peonies in one hand. Her other hand was looped around her father’s arm. Megan stared straight ahead, at Zach. She gracefully and confidently sauntered towards Zach, her groom and her future.
Megan and Mr. Smith finally reached Zach. Mr. Smith tenderly took Megan’s hand and put it in Zach’s. “Take good care of her,” he said.
“I will, sir,” Zach replied.
Mr. Smith smiled at the young couple and then sat down next to his wife. He held her hand tightly as the officiant began to speak.
“We are gathered here today to join together Megan Smith and Zach Boyd. If anyone objects to their reunion, let them speak now or forever hold your peace.”
No one stood up or said anything. After a few seconds, the officiant continued in his booming voice, “Today, the bride and groom have chosen to say their own vows. Mr. Zach Boyd, you may say your vows.”
Zach nodded and turned to look at Megan. Taking both her hands and staring deep into her sea green eyes, he said, “Megan, from the very first moment I set my eyes on you, I knew I wanted to marry you. You have always been there for me when I despaired, when I laughed, and when I cried. I promise to always cherish you and respect your decisions. I promise to hold you when you cry, laugh with you when you’re happy, find a solution when we disagree. I love you, Megan, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”
The officiant turned to Megan, “Ms. Megan Smith?”
Megan took a deep breath, tightly clutched Zach’s hands with her own, and began, “My beloved Zach, I used to be afraid of growing old. I used to be afraid of not being perfect, but I’m not anymore because I met you. You’ve showed me how beautiful I was, and I know that you would love me no matter what I look like. You are the first person I have ever fallen in love with, and it was you who taught me what it felt like to fall in love. Zach, you are the best thing that has ever happened to me. I want to grow old with you. I love you.”
Megan and Zach smiled at each other before turning to the officiant
“Mr. Zach Boyle, do you take Miss Megan Smith as your lawful wife?” the officiant asked.
“I do.”
“Miss Megan Smith, do you take Mr. Zach Boyle as your lawful husband?”
“I do.”
“I now pronounce you husband and wife!” said the officiant. Turning to Zach, he said, “You may now kiss the bride.”
Zach reached out to touch Megan’s cheeks as Megan wrapped her arms around Zach’s neck. They smiled at each other again, and then they leaned in, and their lips touched.



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