Short Stories

A collection of short stories, that often cloud my thoughts.
Anything from romance, horror and everything in between.

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3. Thantophobia (Inspired by Halseyfanatic's story Thantophobia)

She walked over with a small smile on her face. The few years we'd been together, I recognized it as the smile associated with things she'd rather avoid doing. In return I waved with a similar smile. Her school bag hung over her torso from her left arm, it hit her leg repeatedly as she trudged down the grassy hill coming from the main building. She was wearing my favorite hairstyle on her. Up high in the back, was a mass of hair done up in a bun, while two loose strands; carefully chosen, were hanging in front of her face.

 

"Hey." She answers with a careful voice. It hurt to hear her being so closed off.

"Hi." I answered quietly. We gave another small smile, before our eyes met the ground around us; desperately clinging onto anything to keep the conversation going. I cleared my throat,

"So..." I started with nothing to back me up. This was harder than I thought it was going to be.

 

Her eyes looked up at me, waiting for me to continue.

"Uhm." I pushed, trying to find anything. She giggled, and because it's been so long since I heard it, I look up. Her hand covers her mouth slightly, so I can't see the genuine smile her laughter brought on. Shaking her head, she looks away saying

"I'm sorry." Smiling in response I admit

"No. Don't, that was great." Her brown eyes look up at mine confused.

"I mean, it was a nice sound to hear." I explain, shuffling my feet as I kick a lone rock on the paved parking lot.

 

My eyes dart up to the movement I see in my peripheral vision. Her hand rests on my arm as a support.

"Thank you." She says quietly. I smile up at her, staring at her mouth. Watching as her lips part to say the words, her thin, pink lips. Part of me wants to kiss her. But that would be a mistake, one I'd like to make, very much, but won't.

 

"How many times are you going to start our conversations like this?" She asks with a giggle. Smiling in response, I look down at my black sneakers. Wondering how they've become caked in dirt.

"Oh don't become shy on me now Andrew." She teases, sliding her hand down my arm and holding my hand long enough, to pull me closer to her. Jolted toward her, I alertly look down at her face. We're closer now, I'm closer to her. Her peppermint lip gloss hits my nostrils first. Then the Herbal Essences shampoo she uses. 

 

Part of my memories come forward. A laugh, a smile, then the kisses. Oh, the kisses. The long, wet and cool bursting kisses that haunted me every night.

"Sorry." I get out in a mumble. Her hand lets mine go, but I reach for it back and hold on tight. Purposely intertwining our fingers, doing this surprises her so much she has to look down. I watch her once relaxed face, change to a sad and confused one. 

 

"How're things?" I ask, genuinely curious. She looks back up at me, the distant look she had on her face before is back.

"They've been good." She answers in a monotone. I sigh, looking up at the big oak tree. Watching the small specks of sunlight streak through the leaves and branches. They blind me if I stare at them too long. I feel the heat radiate in our enclosed hands. Smiling, I rub my thumb over the back of her hand, creating small circles and deliberately pushing in deeply so she becomes aware.

 

My pale skin is so prominent compared to her sun kissed tone. We're so different, but that didn't stop us from falling in love. It felt like love anyway. For me it was, but for her she seems so different since a few months ago. I almost wonder if maybe for her it was something different. Looking down at her black hair glinting in the sunlight, I think back to when I braided it while she hugged a toilet bowl. I chuckle at the thought, momentarily forgetting that she's in front of me.

 

Becoming embarrassed by my thoughts, I take a step back. Her eyes look up at me while I do this.

"Can we pretend for a moment that a few months ago never happened?" I ask cautiously. She gives a small laugh and says amused

"Okay? Momentarily forgotten." With a matching smile. Smiling I say

"Remember Christmas break? You got so hammered I had to braid your hair, while you made fast friends with the toilet?" She giggles, tightening her grip around my hand.

"That was the worst braid. Not only did I wake up with a headache the next morning, but it was so badly constructed that it left me with enough knots to make a nun swear." We're laughing as I remember her wild hair and groggy demeanor. 

 

Her phone rings. I let go so she can answer it. I stand there awkwardly, listening to half of a short irritated conversation. Sliding her phone back in her pocket she sighs. I almost reach out to caress her face, but drop my hand before I can achieve the goal.

"I should go." She answers tiredly. Slightly frowning, I ask

"Can't you stay another minute or so?" Her eyes scan the almost vacant parking lot.

"No. I really can't." She replies irritated.

"Are you going to be okay? Or are the strangers on the main roads going to come across road rage Roxy?" Her smile returns with a light laugh.

"Quite possibly." She admits with a giggle, looking back up at me.

 

A smile still lingers on my mouth, as I bring her in to a hug. She locks up almost instantly. Her arms never leaving her sides, while she holds her breath. While I continue to tightly hug her, she seems to accept it. Slowly her arms make their way around my waist. Lingering lightly, not really touching me.

 

"Maybe we can do something this weekend?" I ask, already knowing the answer. We depart, and she sighs.

"I think so. If I can finish my paper and get time off from work. You know me. Busy busy busy." She says with a forced giggle. I nod but know I won't see her this weekend. If it's not a paper, it's trig homework. If it's not homework, it's swamped hours at work. These are genuinely reasonable excuses but an entire month of the same ones, tend to leave you thinking that maybe they just don't wanna see you.

 

She walks around to the drivers side of the car. I walk toward the front, standing inches from the curb. I watch as she opens the door, throwing her bag in the passenger side. She smiles lightly up at me, the same one she greeted me with. I wave goodbye before she lingers there next to the open door. Her eyes darting from her car back to me, lost in thought over an internal contemplation. Then it's answered with a shake of the head, and she piles into the driver's seat. I wait for her to roll down her front windows, before hearing her engine roar to life.

 

Her hand waves in response, and she leaves the parking lot. Time seemed to stand still in that moment. I watched her blinker come on, and her turn onto the black top road. We've become such strangers now. I wish it wasn't like that, but I'm the one who drove the wedge between us. Too many hurtful drunken words. Too many thoughts lost in the airwaves, never to be seen again that would've saved us. If I hadn't been so stubborn, or proud. I am the reason she's closed off, the reason she deliberately avoids meeting up with me anymore. I am the reason I have to live with Thantophobia.

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