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Best Friend Practice Kissing

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     “Not even best friends practice kissing?” Parker asks. Audrey swallows and feels her brow twitch, looking down at her lap. Her fingers feel like they have too much energy to keep still as she impulsively grips her knee.

     The memory is weirdly vivid in her mind. It was one of those sticky warm summer nights, Parker’s pink hair wrapped in her fingers as she braided it down the sides. She remembers the nervous sweat beading on the back of her neck, words caught in her throat as Parker goes on and on about this “jerk on her cheer squad that won't stop trying to steal her makeup bag”.

     All Audrey could think of was what her best friend had spilled only minutes before. Of course she’s had her first kiss already, she’s the prettiest girl in their middle school. Or, at least Audrey and Gage think so. Her fingers fumble and miss a step in the braid but her usual obsession for perfection is backseat to her growing apprehension of her words that threaten to spill from her tightly pressed lips.

     Parker reaches behind to pat at Audrey’s knee, “Hey, have you been listening at all? I’ve been rambling about cheer for 10 minutes and you didn’t tell me to shut up even once.” Audrey blinks and clears her throat, wrapping a hair tie around the pink plat. “Yea, I’ve been listening. You’re talking about cheer.”

     She turns around and slaps her small hands down on Audreys knees. Her eyes narrow and she hums, “You’re pissed because I kissed Andy, aren’t you?” She waits while keeping the most intense eye contact she can muster. Audrey swallows the lump in her throat.

     “Shut up, I’m not mad that you kissed Andy.” Audrey feels her stomach drop out, watching the words wash over Parker’s face. The smaller girl’s face closes off and she turns back around, holding onto her feet and keeping silent.

     Audrey picks up her hair again and begins to braid the other side. She gets to the end before even opening her mouth to talk. “I’m sorry,” she whispers, “I didn’t mean to say it like that. I guess I am jealous. Or whatever.” Audrey waits for her best friend to respond, scratching at her thigh to keep herself occupied.

     The girl in front of her turns back around, “Jealous of who?”

     Audrey blanches and presses her lips closed.

     Parker grabs her knees yet again. “I want to know, Aud! Jealous. Of. Who?” The blonde blows a deep breath out and closes her eyes.

     “Andy. I’m jealous of Andy.”

     Audrey opens her eyes again and sees Parker sitting with Rose, Jane shrugging, and she realizes she’s let the time get away from her.