I step off onto the platform and adjust the strap of my bag on my shoulder. Exactly four years have gone by since I last stood here, and honestly, I don't know why I'm back. I've kicked myself repeatedly for even leaving, but what else was I supposed to do?
She told me she never wanted to see me again, to get out of her life. And I did. But I've regretted it ever since, barely sleeping at night because I was haunted with dreams of her. I tried to take my mind off of her, tried to forget about her, but I couldn't. I never regretted her, so I never forgot about her. I never gave up on what her. Maybe I should have. I don't know anymore. There were other people that I maybe had a tiny bit of interest in, but they didn't last beyond one date. Nothing's changed for me.
Maybe she's forgotten about me. Maybe she's moved on, gotten over me like I haven't gotten over her. After all, she had a right to. She's the one who called it quits and I'm the one who sounds like a lost puppy that can't find its way home.
There's a familiar sight across the station, my best friend leaning against a pillar, his eyes scanning through the group of passengers from the train. He hasn't changed one bit; the smile he flashes when he sees me makes me want to turn around and go away again. I shift the bag on my shoulder and push through the crowd toward him. There are no words at first; I hug him, missing this close contact, and he kisses my cheek before he takes my bag. "How have you been?" he asks, his voice calm and collected, but it's full of relief that I'm back. I can hear it in his tone.
I haven't spoken to him since last year, at least until this morning when I told him I was coming back and to meet me alone at the station. I shrug and follow him out of the station to his truck. "I've been better."
"Tori misses you, you know. She regrets every word she said to you." He sets my bag in the bed of the truck and opens the passenger door for me. "I barely see her anymore, but when I do, it's written all over her face." I want to run away because he mentioned her name, what I've been trying to forget for so long.
"If she missed me, she wouldn't have said what she did. And I didn't come back here to see her anyway." He rolls his eyes and shrugs, shutting the door and walking around the truck to the driver's side.
"Keep telling yourself that, but I know you didn't come back for me, Jade. You're meant to be with her. If you weren't, you'd still be gone and we wouldn't be having this conversation. So do you want to see her now or later?" I sigh and look out the window. The drive is silent, and when he pulls into the driveway of a house, the memories break through the dam.
"God, Vega, just find the damn flashlight, will you?" She glares at me from the other side of the bed before going back to digging through the drawer of the bedside table.
"You know, it would actually help if you look too. I don't know why Beck locked us in his bedroom. And I don't know about you, but I'm pretty sure he cut the lights in here." No shit, Vega, what was your first clue? I search through his dresser, but there's no flashlight. We're lucky that it's evening and there's still some light coming through the window, but Beck's not going to let us out of here until we make up. "Jade, will you quit zoning out and help me find the flashlight."
"What the hell do you think I'm trying to do?" I glance around the room and sigh. Out of all the years I've known Beck, I don't think he even has a flashlight in his bedroom. I've never seen one, not even in that storm a few years ago. "There isn't one, Tori." I kick the side of the bed. "He locked us in here without any fucking light. It's just like him."
"Damn it. Just apologize so we can get out of here then." Like hell I will. "Admit that you were wrong."
I stare at her in disbelief. "How was I wrong? I told you the damn truth. It's not my fault that you didn't want to hear it." What else was I supposed to say? I know I'm right in this. Ugh, women. "Fine, Vega, you know what? Let's just stay here because I'm not going to say I'm wrong."
Tori narrows her eyes and shakes her head. "Why did I ever bother with you?" I cannot believe she just said that. "Seriously, Jade, I try and try with you and you always start these fights that you won't admit that you're wrong. Do you like fighting or something?"
"You're going there? You honestly think I like fighting with you, that I start these fights, like you think I do? Are you on drugs, Tori? Do you need some help? The last thing in the fucking world I would ever do is fight with you on purpose. I just don't think I was wrong this time." I cross the room and reach out to touch her arm, but she pulls away from me. "Tori, please…" I never beg. But I can't lose this.
"We're done, Jade. I'm so tired of this with you. I just…I'm done." She pulls out her cell phone and tells Beck to let us out, that we're breaking up. I kick Beck's bed again and move away from her. As soon as the bedroom door opens, I shove past my best friend and leave. Tori wants me out of her life, I'm gone.
"Where'd you go, Jade?" I blink and remember where I am. "Look, if it's too hard for you to be here, I understand. I can take you to Andre's."
I shake my head. Tori and I had our first kiss at Andre's and we broke up at Beck's. Why Beck thought it would be a good idea to bring me here is beyond me, knowing that. "No, Beck, it's fine. I'm just…I have to get over her sometime." The pain is visible in his eyes, and he knows it's sort of his fault that we broke up. If he hadn't locked us in his bedroom, Tori and I would have eventually gotten over the fight.
The next morning, Beck and I head for the coffee shop. I haven't been there in forever and I miss the mornings that Tori and I would spend there, enjoying a cup of coffee before we had to go to work. Beck wraps his arm around my shoulder and gives a little squeeze to remind me that it's all in the past. I need to let go of her, but I can't.
Unfortunately, I think my thoughts are a summon because through the shop window I see Vega sitting at our table, staring at the cup in front of her. Across the table from her is Andre, talking animatedly, but she doesn't seem too into his monologue. She looks as though she wishes he would leave, but Tori's too nice to ever tell her best friend to go away. I think I was the only one she ever said it to.
I look at Beck and force a smile. We're staying because there's no way in hell I'm going to run away this time. Whether Tori sees me or not, there's nothing to worry about. We enter the café and walk straight to the counter. In the silence it's easy to hear the sharp intake of breath. I don't know if it's because I'm back or because she's angry at me, but right now, I wish she would talk to me. I can hear her arguing with Andre in hushed voices, but I don't know what they're saying.
Eventually, I guess Tori wins because Andre approaches us with a smile. "Hey, Jade, long time no see. How have you been?"
I shrug. "I've been alright, how have you been?" He isn't the one I want to talk to, but looking over his shoulder I notice Tori watching us. "Hey, actually, would you guys excuse me?" I don't wait for an answer, walking toward my ex-girlfriend. Sliding into the seat across from Vega, I frown. "Look, I've been thinking…"
"You were right," she blurts out, her face turning red. I stare at her in confusion. Clearly the girl has lost her mind. "The last fight we had, Jade, you were right. And I regret telling you to go away. I didn't know how hard it would be to get over you, but I can't do it. It's impossible."
"I wish you had thought of that a long time ago, Vega." She frowns and I realize she misunderstood my statement. She thinks I'm going to tell her I've moved on, that I've gotten over her. "That's the exact opposite of what you're thinking…" I correct. "I've been trying to forget you, Tori. It's not a walk in the park, and I don't want to do it. But what you said…Maybe we're just better off friends. We fought a lot and it was always over the stupidest things. I just…I'd rather have you in my life as a friend than not at all."
She nods. "So…we'll just go back to being friends?" I confirm with a faint smile and she sighs, standing up. Pulling me to my feet, she hugs me and it all feels so familiar, holding her in my arms like this. For those three minutes I forget what we just agreed to and kiss her, my arms tight around her waist and hers around my neck. When I finally pull away, I rest my forehead against hers. "Just friends," she whispers.