Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 137: The Girl Next Door

           

“I trusted you.”

“Well, then that was your mistake.”

Eric opened his mouth to retaliate, but closed it almost immediately. He shook his head and threw his hands up in defeat. He didn’t know what else to say even though he wanted so badly to come up with something witty. He turned his back on his friend—no, his ex-friend now—and left the dorm room.

He and Cole had been best friends since middle school. They knew everything about each other. They had been there for each other for all the ups and downs of life and growing up. Eric knew all of Cole’s deep dark secrets and Cole knew his. The only difference was that Eric had kept all of Cole’s secrets secret.

After all these years, he never thought that he would be betrayed by his best friend.

Eric exited the boys’ dorm building and walked across campus. It was the beginning of the fall semester. The season was still technically summer, but the mornings and evenings were beginning to feel a lot like fall.

As Eric walked across the campus, he stuffed both hands in his pockets. He wished he had brought a sweatshirt, but there was no way he was going to go back into Cole’s room and get it. He would have to take it back another time.

“Eric?”

Eric stopped walking and sighed. He didn’t want to talk to anyone. He didn’t even want to see anyone. He knew he was bound to run into someone if he was walking through the open campus, but he had hoped no one would try to stop and mingle with him.

He turned around anyway to see what the voice wanted. Ironically enough, it wasn’t anyone he recognized.

“Yes?” he raised an eyebrow looking the young lady up and down.

The woman tucked some strands of her long black hair behind her ear. Another cool breeze blew by making her hair jump out in front of her face again. “It’s Erika. Remember me?”

Eric narrowed his eyes. Erika? The name did ring a bell. He was pretty sure that he knew an Erika way back when he was just a kid. He had just moved to the neighborhood and there was a little girl his age who lived next door.

If he remembered correctly, her name was Erika.

“We used to be neighbors?” she read his mind.

Well, that answered that question.

“It’s coming back to me, yes.” Eric couldn’t help but smile.

They had been best friends up until the start of middle school. Erika had to move away because her father got transferred at work. It was a tough time for Eric. He remembered being so upset that she had to leave. He tried following her, if he remembered correctly. But his mother had caught him the moment he grabbed her car keys out of her purse.

“It’s crazy to see you here!” Erika laughed. “I never thought I was ever going to see you again. I’m surprised you remember me.”

“I’m surprised you remember me,” Eric commented with a chuckle. “I tried driving my mom’s car to follow you to your new house.”

“Eric, I moved a few states away. And we were only 10.” Erika frowned.

“I know. My mom caught me the moment I grabbed her car keys. But I didn’t have any sense of direction or time.” Eric shrugged his shoulders.

He remembered being so worried about starting middle school. He wasn’t going to know anyone because Erika wasn’t going to be there with him.

Then, like a miracle, on the first day of school he met Cole. And they had been peanut butter and jelly ever since.

Well, up until now.

“Please tell me that you’re attending this school and you’re not just visiting or something.” Erika pleaded.

“I live right over there.” Eric pointed to the boys’ dorm building a few feet away from them.

“Well, I live right over there.” Erika pointed to the girls’ dormitory in the opposite direction.

“Great!” Eric grinned. “We’ll have to get together and catch up soon.”

“Well, what are you doing right now?”

“Blowing off steam.” He shrugged hating to admit that.

“So why can’t we catch up now?” Erika took his hand in hers and looked him in the eye.

What could he say in return? Eric had been waiting for so long to see Erika again to the point where he almost completely forgot who she was. He wrapped his fingers around hers and nodded his head.

It was a perfect time to catch up with an old friend.

Words: 770

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Author:

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Rachel Poli is a writer and blogger. She has an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education and a bachelor’s degree in English Studies. She enjoys writing young adult novels, middle-grade, and children’s picture books. She is currently working on her first novel.

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