“Tell me again: why are we carrying a fuckton of cardboard boxes around?” Amy asked, warily as Liam handed her yet more boxes. The ordeal had begun when her roommate and resident best friend, Liam, texted her asking if she was up to something. Amy should’ve said she was really busy binge watching season two of Orange Is the New Black, but then again, even if she said she was busy, Liam would know she was lying. It was just how their relationship worked. Liam knew the littlest things about Amy, and Amy knew everything about Liam. They were friends since high school, and Liam was so important and supportive of her when her family wasn’t. So they were kind of two peas in a pod.
Which led her to this situation. When Liam told her he needed help with some boxes – Amy figured it was for his latest art piece, and she was a little surprised to find empty boxes getting loaded into his car. But she just couldn’t say no to him. That’s what best friends are for, or something like that.
“Because there’s this girl I met in your uni and she’s moving out from the campus, so she needs recipients to put her stuff in, hence the cardboard boxes.” Liam retorted, while he grabbed a few more boxes and threw it in the back of his car.
“Wow, she must really be a keeper if she’s got you acting like a gentleman.” Liam looked at her with mock outrage.
“If you really wanna know,” Liam leaned against the passenger side of his car and crossed his arms “she’s really nice, and she’s, well, she’s very cute.”
“And the truth is unveiled.”
“No, it’s nothing like that. We have run into each other in campus on some occasions, and I think I have a shot with her.” He said sheepishly.
“Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately? You look like a walking talking Abercrombie model, of course you have a shot with her.”
“Yeah, well, we’ll see. You know what’s the best thing, though?”
“What?” Amy asked as she closed the car’s trunk.
“Her name is amazing. It’s Karma.”
“Shut up.” Amy hit his arm lightly. “Who in their right mind would name a kid Karma? I mean, it’s an awesome name, though.”
“That’s what I thought. Anyway, how are things on your end?”
Amy paused and considered her answer. When Liam asked her how were things on her end, he usually meant to ask why she was being such a shut-in and not going out like average people do. Amy had a lot to thank Liam, after all, he was responsible for introducing her to Jasmine. Jasmine is a great girl who was in Liam’s sculpting class, and she was also Amy’s girlfriend. Amy really liked Jasmine, but she couldn’t really connect with her. It was nothing wrong with Jasmine, though, it was all Amy. She just felt so without purpose with Jasmine. It was like this whole time they were dating, they were actually just being friends. And not even the kind of friends that do things together that friends don’t usually do. So Amy had to let her go. It was actually, more of an agreement between both parts.
She brushed a strand of her hair away from her eyes and sighed. “I thought we already had covered there are no single fish in the Great Lesbian Sea, Liam.”
“I’m sorry, I know I have been asking you this frequently and I know you must be getting pissed at me by this point, but you know, I just want to make sure you’re okay.”
“Well, some of us don’t need to get laid every single week to prevent a pouty face.” Amy felt the poison in her words as soon as she let them out.
“Wow.” Liam said, and by his tone Amy could see she had hurt him.
“Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean… It came out wrong.”
Liam looked at her with his sulky eyebrows and after a moment, smiled. “It’s okay. I shouldn’t be that nosy.”
“Probably. But also, things are going really slow and I’m afraid there’s no one for me out there, Liam. You know, in the cosmos or something. What if I wasted my chance?”
“Ah, come on, Amy. You and Jasmine were more sisters than girlfriends. Don’t stress yourself, you’ll find someone. And even if you don’t, I’m sure you can be happy with kittens running around the apartment.”
“I’m not a crazy cat lady!” Amy snorted and then grimaced, “I do love kittens, though.”
“Okay,” Liam said, smiling. “I think I’m gonna take these bad boys back to Karma’s now.”
“Good luck. Are you sure these cardboards aren’t too heavy, though? We all know I am the brawn of this duo.”
“Ha ha, very funny.” Liam said as he got in the car and started it. “I’ll be back before you know it.”
“Are you sure? Aren’t you hoping for this quick going to Karma’s house to become a ‘don’t wait up’ instead of a ‘be back soon’?”
“You think too low of me, Raudenfeld.”
“Okay, whatever, Booker.” Liam shrugged as she walked back into their apartment, “I’m going to set up a Netflix queue and whether you’re here or not, I’m gonna watch the whole thing. Have fun!”
Liam did come back soon, though and that earned him a curious expression from Amy’s part, which he just responded by shrugging. Amy patted the spot next to her in the couch, and handed the popcorn bucket she was holding out to him. They spent a good time like that, just watching TV together, until Liam said something about having to wake up early. Amy just nodded and told him goodnight, but before Liam went to his room, he turned to Amy.
“Oh, by the way, Karma wants to meet you.”
Amy smirked, “Are you already in the phase where you introduce her to your family?”
“She just wants to make it up to you for having to carry boxes around here and there. She thought it was nice of you.” Liam replied.
“Okay. I’ll let you guys buy me a salted caramel Trufflelata. But I also take payment in cash or even Chipotle coupons.”
Liam laughed. “I’ll tell her that.” And with that, he went to bed.
“So you’re telling me you did nothing this weekend other than watching Netflix?” Shane asked, with disbelief all over his face.
“Yeah… Oh, there was this thing, yesterday. Liam and I had to carry these cardboard boxes all around.”
“Oh, that improves your weekend by a hundred percent, how could you not invite me, Amy?”
“Shut up.” Amy rolled her eyes at her friend
“No, but really, I’m interested now. Are you moving? Are you plotting murder? I’m dying for the deets and so far you haven’t given me any.”
“Well, we didn’t need it. I was just helping Liam out with this girl.” Amy shrugged.
“Aren’t you always?” Shane sighed.
“Hey, be nice. It’s not like Liam doesn’t help me out with stuff too.”
“I’m not saying he doesn’t, Amy. I’m saying you’re not giving him too much to help you out with. It’s hard for you to believe it, I know, but the love of your life isn’t going to come knock on your door, ask for some guacamole and sweep you off your feet.” Shane put his arm around her shoulders, “And we gays have to work twice as hard. It’s not like Nicholas Sparks sits around and writes novels about us. You have to take the reins of your own life.”
“I’m not looking for anyone in particular right now.” Amy looked at him and frowned at his smug smirk.
“Maybe not. And you’re totally fine without anyone. You are smart as all hell, witty and gorgeous. And if you feel fine that way, then by all means, continue doing your thing. But what I’m saying is that sometimes it’s good to just have that someone, you know? Even if it’s a casual thing, it makes wonders for the self-esteem.”
“Alright, Oprah. I’m gonna get some coffee before class, do you want some?”
“No. I’m trying out this new coffee detox thing right now so my skin looks better.”
“How’s that working out for you?” Amy grinned.
“My skin is as flawless as a baby’s, but I feel like shit. It’s like I’m on autopilot. But it’s said this goes away soon enough. My skin will remain amazing, though.”
“Good for you. You look awesome.”
Shane gave her arm an affectionate squeeze, “I’ll meet you for lunch later. Think about what I said, okay?” He smacked a kiss on her cheek and walked away towards the building.
When Amy started college, she was afraid of being alone. Well, not exactly alone, she’d always have Liam, but he was minutes away from her in his art school. It was just the old high school jives. Amy wasn’t popular in high school, and she was completely fine with that. She was fine with just hanging out with Liam and some other people from school she got along. But when college time came around, she thought she was just so immature for all this. And with that came the fear to feel left out, because so many new things were being thrown at her, new knowledge, new people. It was exciting and scary, and then she met Shane Harvey.
Shane was Amy’s go to therapist, he was her best friend – not in the same way Liam was, because they were childhood friends – but he was as great as Liam. Amy could always go to him with a problem and he would help her out, and vice-versa. He wasn’t judging of anything, and it helped out he was gay, because as much Liam tried his best, sometimes his advice were not that great on the queer field.
Shane was pretty much the opposite of Amy, and that’s what made their dynamic so good. The fact that he was the ying to Amy’s yang and whatever. He also gave her really sincere advice. She was kind of being a shut in lately after everything seemed to die out with Jasmine. She didn’t think there was anything out there she was missing, but Shane was right, sometimes you just want to share stuff in a more intimate way. Sometimes you want a friend that’s more than just that. And if Amy was going to admit it, she wanted a person like that in her life. Her past relationship didn’t work, but that didn’t mean she should give up on trying to socialize altogether. As she paid the barista and waited for her coffee, Amy gave herself a pep talk to make her promise she would try harder and put herself out there.
Her inner monologue was interrupted briefly by hot hot coffee being spilled on her t-shirt.
“Shit!” She cursed under her breath.
“Oh my God, I’m so sorry!” Amy felt hands all over her arms and shoulders and looked up to see who had spilled her coffee on her. She was pissed mostly because the coffee was hot and it hurt her quite a bit, but once she saw the girl who had spilled it, she took a beat.
In front of Amy was standing the cutest girl in the world. Now, that can be quite a fallacy, since Amy has had not and never will have the privilege to see all the cute girls the world contains, but in Amy’s life, she had never seen a girl like this. Of course she was attracted to her, how could she not? She had these big, hazel puppy eyes and she was scrunching her nose in the cutest way, and it didn’t help she had great auburn hair falling down her shoulders in soft curls, so yes, Amy’s rage was instantly dissipated.
Amy took a look down back at her shirt and evaluated the damage, she shrugged. It didn’t look so bad, the stain on her shirt would not be too hard to remove, and she had brought a hoodie along, so she would be fine until she went home.
Amy smiled at the girl, “Oh, it’s no problem,” She dismissed it with a hand gesture “It doesn’t look that bad, and I have a hoodie to cover it up.”
The girl seemed to calm down at that but she still had the traces of a pout on her lips “I’m really sorry. I feel so bad for spilling the coffee on you.”
“Don’t worry, it’s all good.” Amy reassured her and the girl retreated her hands from Amy’s arms, Amy frowned minutely at the loss of contact between them. “I’m glad to help you.”
The girl’s expression was confused, “I’m sorry, I don’t get it.”
“It’s just that the black coffee from this particular place in campus is gross. If you want a tip, it’s always better to go with the iced ones. At least you don’t taste the coffee that way.”
“Oh, okay,” A smile grew on the girl’s face as she got Amy’s joke, “Thanks for saving me from gross coffee, then. You’re my knight in shining armor.”
“Don’t mention it.” Amy winked. She felt somewhat nervous though, she didn’t know if it was her or if the girl’s delightful smile was doing that to her. She settled for a combination of both. She felt ridiculously rusty at this, but it felt like they were slowly stepping into flirty grounds right now, and Amy sucked at flirting. But she tried.
“You are really nice. I should know because I am clumsy sometimes and when I bump into people or have coffee spilled near them their reaction is to curse me.”
“I would never do that.”
“That’s why you’re nice.” The girl grinned and then bit her lip, making Amy’s train of thought derail momentarily, “Um, do you know for happenstance where the Experimental Physics class take place?”
Amy scratched her head, “I do not, but I have a pretty good guess that’s in the Physics building. Its right after the café, just make a left, you’ll see an old marble porch building with Physics right there on the top. They have a board with the rooms and the classes right on the entrance like every building around the campus does, you should be fine.”
“Thanks. I think I’ll buy some more coffee then, and go to class.”
Amy nodded, “Get an iced one, and remember, the coffee here tastes gross when it’s not covered in milk and whipped cream and syrup.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.” The girl said as she reentered the queue.
“I’m uh, I’m not trying to pry but are you new here? You know, with the building question.”
The girl’s face lighted up, it seemed like she didn’t have people being interested on her story, and Amy got it, New York could be a rude place sometimes. Not exactly rude, Amy loved the city with all her heart, but life was rushed. The city never sleeps and it seems like neither do the habitants of the city, for someone who just moved, this could be hard to adapt, but if there was anything that Amy could say to the girl to make her feel better is that New York welcomes you like no other city does. If you find the time between all the rushing up to get to know the city, you’ll fall in love with it rather quickly.
“Yeah,” The girl frowned. “Is it too obvious? I mean, people here are always rushing around and it’s so different from where I come from.”
“You get used to it pretty soon.”
“I guess. And there are always good people who are willing to help out. I’m lucky I met a few.” The girl paid the barista and waited back where Amy was standing. “I’m still settling in, though. I know nothing of the city yet.”
Amy was feeling kind of brave and so far she hadn’t run her mouth so she felt like she was about to and couldn’t help herself before she let out “Maybe I can show you around some good spots around the city. You know, the really good spots, not the tourist ones.”
The girl seemed to enjoy the suggestion and irresistibly smirked at Amy, “Yeah, I’d like that.”
The barista put a new cup of iced coffee by the cupboard that Amy resolved belonged to the girl, she got her own cup out of it, as it was hanging there since the coffee-spill accident and grabbed the other cup, handing it to the girl. The girl took a sip of it and deliberated for a little.
“Not bad. I’ll have to know your name, by the way. I have this whole ‘I-don’t-go-out-with-strangers’ kind of policy.”
Amy smiled, trying to not focus on the millions of ways ‘go out’ could be interpreted, “Amy Raudenfeld.” She gave out her hand and the girl shook it.
“Nice to meet you, Amy. I’m Karma Ashcroft.” Karma looked down at her watch and let go of Amy’s hand with an apologetic expression, “And I’m super late. Sorry, I have to go.” Karma turned away from Amy but then looked back to say “Hey, Amy, I’ll see you around!” And she was gone in a daze.
“Bye.” Amy waved as she was pretty much frozen right there in place, because she really liked this girl and Amy wasn’t delusional, they were flirting. Weren’t they? Okay, maybe Amy was a little bit delusional. But the fact is that Amy thought they could get to know each other better, and evolve into something more than just acquaintances.
The only problem is that Amy put two and two together. Liam met a girl in her campus. And Liam told her the girl was named Karma. And how many people were there in that particular campus named Karma? Amy guessed not many. And having seen Karma, she looked Liam’s type. In conclusion: Karma was Liam’s new girl. The girl Liam wanted to woo and all that jazz. But Amy wanted to woo Karma, too. Only she couldn’t do that to her best friend.
Suddenly the coffee on her shirt seemed like the most meaningless problem she had right now. Because Amy was starting to crush on her best friend’s crush.
She sighed as the realization hit her whole, “I’m so fucked.”