*the next morning*
Today's the day! I'm feeling a bit chipper. Every step I take is a hop, and I'm gliding around happily. I can't stop smiling.
"I've never seen you so happy before," Hazel squeals. Even though at first she didn't support me seeing him, I convinced her last night that this was right. She decides she was gonna help me get ready, so I can look perfect. My nails are painted a cherry red, to match the bandana I'm wearing. I'm wearing a tight black bodycon dress, with black high tops. My dark chocolate hair's tied up into a cute, messy bun.
I'm waken up by Craig. He tells me I can't make plans today cause someone's coming over for lunch with us. "Ummm.. Who?" I ask Craig. No one ever comes to our house for lunch- especially not for both of us. We don't have many mutual friends.
"It's a surprise. You'll see when she comes over! She's a childhood friend." He answers confidently, "It's like a reunion of old times."
All the sudden it hits me in the chest like a baseball going 100 mph. Stela. "Is it Stela? Stela Jones?!" It came out as a yell, although it was meant to be at a normal level. He grins at me,
"Yeah, I saw her at a club last night and invited her over. I think it will be good for you two to pick things up where they left off."
"Good!? I don't know if that's the word for this at all!" I run out the back door into the forest. To the wooden bench. To where we sat the last time we talked. 4 years ago. The memories flood my mind.
I can't talk to her. I've left her waiting for so long. There's no way she still likes me. Not after what I did to her. I lay down on the bench.. My memories fading into a dream.
I start my drive to Niall's house. The song, Back For You by One Direction is blaring through the speakers. What a coincidence. The song finishes right as I pull into his driveway; I forgot we live so close together.
His house looks exactly the same. So roomy, yet so ordinary on the outside. His car is parked outside; so is Craig's. Good, this wasn't a joke. I ring the door bell, hearing it chime through out the house. Craig answers, "Hello dear!" I expected Niall to greet me so, I was at a little disappointed. I tried to hide that disappointment by smiling. "He's.. Gone for a walk." Craig says, reading my face like an open book.
My face lights up, "Oh, alright!"
"The food's going to get cold if we don't eat it soon. I suggest we eat now; Niall can eat when he gets back from his mysterious journey."
Craig and I sit down at the table, dividing all the entrees and sides into thirds. Some for me. Some for Craig. Some for Niall. Craig and I exchange stories back and forth about our past four years. My stories paled in comparison to his. He had been traveling with his girlfriend, went on tour with One Direction for awhile, moved to the Americas, but moved back home. My stories were minor successes: buying a car, graduating high-school, getting into the local college and starting my degree in psychology. We share some laughs, the hours feel like minutes. When I arrived it was 1 PM, now it was 3. Niall still is nowhere in sight.
"I think I'm going to go for a walk. I miss your backyard. The forest, the good memories. Would that be alright with you?" I asked, nostalgia taking me over. In my mind, I can hear Niall's voice, "I promise, I will come back for you"
"Go for it," Craig encourages. It's like he knows something I don't.
I walk into the backyard, finding the stone trail that leads to the forest. I walk alone in silence. The leaves are a rainbow of shades of brown, yellow, and orange. The wind blows, knocking some leaves off the trees. They whirl around me to the floor; it's a beautiful sight. As I walk through the forest, I can practically see my memories coming to life. The way we use to play hide n seek in this forest. The bonfires on cold winter nights. Star watching in the summer. My eyes tear up, but I don't want anyone to see. I hear a yawn; it startles me. "Shit!" I swear under my breath. I thought I was alone.
I awaken with a loud yawn. The autumn leaves swirl around me. I hear a feminine voice swear under her breath. I could recognize that voice from anywhere. Stela. My heart races. I haven't seen her in so long. I hear her footsteps, crunching leaves in every step. As she gets closer, I want to run. But I can't. I feel as if I have no control over my body.
As I approach the stranger, I feel tense. What if it's him? What if it's a random homeless man? What if it's just a neighborhood kid? Why do I care so much, nothing has even happened yet.
I take a few more steps until I reach the bench we used to sit on-- where we last saw each other. There he was. Niall James Horan.
We stare into each other's eyes for what feels like forever. It's pure silence except for the wind.
"S-Stela" he stutters, his jaw gaping open, "I've missed you."
His words should comfort me, but they only hurt me.
"Then why did you wait so long... It's been 4 years." I shot back, my eyes filling up with tears. I should be happy, I tell myself. But I'm not.
"Those whole four years I never loved anyone else the way that I love you."