Year 2: Chapter 40: Just Friends? (Lizzie’s POV)

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It is amazing to me how fast time has gone by. Spring break is already over and I am back at Aberdale University again. I passed all my classes last quarter including the Geology one I was nervous about, so happily, I move onto Astronomy. Abby had told me how interesting it was and how much she loved it, so I am hoping to have an enjoyable and informative quarter. I also have Professor Farientine again for Public Relations, but this time I don’t mind. With my impressive paper on the Delta Sigma and Beta Gamma Kappa donation/fundraiser, it has gotten me on better standing. I even told my mom and dad about the internship and they are both eager for me to do it. I am still a bit undecided, but I will try to make up my mind soon.

The writing club is also going well. Carrie has even arranged for another writing club reading. I feel like it is a bit short notice since the quarter has just started, but she was persistent. So I head to the library with Michael to edit another poem. I was hoping to get some feedback from him, but he had a task of his own to focus on.

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“I have two tests already,” Michael was telling me. “One tomorrow and one next Friday.” Michael then sighs. “This software intel class is going to kick my butt.”

I smile. “I’m sure you’ll do okay. You’re brilliant with those courses.”

“I sure hope so.” He then goes back to typing on this laptop.

“Does that mean that you won’t be coming to the writing club reading?”

Michael shakes his head. “No, I’m sorry. I really need to study if I am going to pass the test tomorrow. This teacher is no joke.”

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I sigh. “Bummer. It would have been nice to see you there.”

“And I would have loved to be there. I promise I’ll make it to your next one.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

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I then check the time and notice that it is almost five. I pack up my laptop into my backpack and then rise from my seat.

“Well I better head off,” I say to Michael. “The reading will be starting in an hour and I want to meet up with Carrie first.”

Michael smirks. “Carrie? You still trying to work one over on her?”

I realize Michael is referring to my trying to recruit Carrie to pledge for Beta Gamma Kappa. With us on our way to becoming a true sorority, I figure getting more pledges would be a good idea. And honestly, I think Carrie would be a great addition to our sorority. Her enthusiasm and devotion to tasks, would really benefit us.

“Mike,” I say, raising an eyebrow, “I’m just trying to persuade her to pledge Beta Gamma Kappa.”

“I know. I’m just giving you a hard time.”

I roll my eyes. “Well, have fun studying for your two exams,” I say and walk off. I try not to laugh when I see the annoyed look he is giving me from the corner of his eye.

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Just as I am rounding one of the bookshelves, I look up and see Carrie placing some books on a shelf.

“Carrie?” I say, looking at her surprised. “What are you doing here? I thought I was picking you up from your dorm?”

Carrie looks over and smiles. “Oh, Hi Lizzie! Yes, you were. I’m sorry. I’ve taken a work study job at the library as an assistant. My shift is running a bit late today.”

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“I would have texted you earlier, but I’m not allowed to have my phone on me while I am working.”

I shake my head. “It’s no problem, I was just wondering. So, is everything all set for the club reading tonight?”

Carrie nods. “Everything is all in order. If you could just wait thirty minutes, I’ll be done with my shift.”
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I then go back and work for another thirty minutes on my poem and decide to even print a new copy before it is time for us to go. Afterwards, I say goodbye to Michael once more and then we are off.

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It is a nice calm drive over. I’m happy to see that the weather has warmed up slightly.

I reach over and turn the radio dial and a 90’s throwback begins to play, “Dreams,” by the cranberries. Carrie smiles and bobs her head to the song.

“I love this song,” she says, when she notices me looking.

I laugh. “Me too. Abby and I used to listen to this song all the time when we were little.”

Carrie turns to me. “You two have been friends for a very long time, haven’t you?”

“Since kindergarten.”

“That must be nice. I had a friend named Lucy who I had known from first grade, but when we started senior year of high school, we just drifted apart.”

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I shake my head. “That is rough. What happened?”

Carrie looks up towards the dashboard and shrugs. “I don’t know. I guess she became more popular and I…didn’t. It was hard for me. It really was.”

“I can imagine. Abby and I had something like that happen with us last year. Luckily, we were able to work through it, but we definitely came close to losing each other as friends.”

“I heard about that. The whole thing with the Tri-Fruhms.” Carrie then frowns. “After all that, you still decided to join a sorority? Why?”

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I chuckle. “I used to ask myself that all the time. I guess, I decided to give it a chance because I felt it would be change. Abby really does want the Beta Gamma Kappas to be different from all the other sororities. She wants it to be more about the bonding of sisterhood and helping the school. No cattiness or drama or bullying. That I could respect.”

Carrie nods. “So, you decided to help her? Just like that?”

“Oh, it took a while. I was actually really annoyed at first, but over time I came around to the idea. I’m honestly glad I did. This whole experience has really bonded us and even let us help the school. The fundraiser we did last month really helped the university and the low-income families in need. Not to mention, we have another event coming up soon.”

Carrie grins. “Sounds like you guys are doing well.”

“And we can always use more recruits.”

Carrie laughs. “Are you trying to pitch to me again?”

“I’m just saying. You know, we have a Greek formal coming up on Saturday to celebrate our getting a probationary charter. You should stop by.”

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Carrie shuffles in her seat nervously. “I don’t know. I don’t think I’m the sorority girl type.”

I smile. “I didn’t think I was either, but look at me now. And you don’t have to pledge to anything. Just come and enjoy the party! We are inviting two other Greek sororities; the Delta Sigmas and the Eta Phi Nus. It’s going to be a blast.”

I then pull my car in front of the student union building and park it. “At least think about it. I’d love for you to come.”

Carrie looks at me hard for a minute and then sighs. “Okay. I’ll think about it. We better head in though. The reading will be starting in twenty minutes.”

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The readings go very well. All of the stories read, end up being very emotional and heartfelt, all seeming to be dealing with life drama and romance. I feel like Carrie was setting it all up for my closing story; an excerpt from my romance story. I decide to read the chapter about Serena and George trying to reconcile, mainly because I don’t feel like reading the “racy” sensual scenes in front of everyone. Also, the scene of Serena and Paul feels personal to me for some reason. Maybe it was because I had shared them with Michael (who they were kind of based off of). Whatever the case, the audience still enjoyed what I had to read and I received a nice round of applause as I made my way back to my seat.

After the readings, some people ask more about my story, so I just tell them that I am still working on it and hoping to start querying it by June.

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When I finally leave the building, it is almost eight-thirty. I am not quite ready to go home yet, so I decide to take a little stroll by the campus lake. The moon is a half-full in the sky, reflecting upon the water. It is so peaceful that I start to wish that Michael was here to watch it with me.

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I must have been so focused on the moon and the lake that I don’t even notice someone approaching me from behind.

“Elizabeth.”

I snap out of my daydreaming and turn around.

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“Kendal, hi.” I am surprised to see him, for he wasn’t in the seated crowd during the reading. Then again, I wasn’t really paying attention so…

“I didn’t see you at the reading tonight.”

Kendal grins. “I actually slipped in a little later. I was doing some last-minute lab work for my bio class. I did hear the end of your story though. You went with the chapters you showed me.”

I nod. “I thought it would be nice to get an audience’s reaction. Especially after it had been edited so much.”

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“It was just as wonderful to hear as the first time,” Kendal says smiling. “You really are a gifted writer.”

“You are too,” I say, feeling a bit shy from the compliment. “The poem you read at the last reading was beautiful.”

Kendal raises his eyebrow. “You think so?”

“Yes. You really captured the pain of the writer well. The pain of losing something or someone you can never get back. Of taking something for granted until it is too late. It was touching.”

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“Well, it’s a painful thing to let someone you really care about slip through your fingers.” He gives me that funny look again and I feel my cheeks starting to heat up again.

“I-I can only imagine,” I say slowly. “Although I do believe in second chances. You don’t always get them, but if you can, I feel like you have to go after what you want.”

Kendal tilts his head slightly. “You believe that?”

I nod. “Yes, I do. I learned recently that you can’t always let yourself be afraid to try. Sometimes you just have to dive in and hope for the best. At least then you can’t say you didn’t give it your all.” I smile thinking about the talk I had had with my mom about Michael. It was some of the best advice she had ever given me and I was glad I took it.

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Kendal nods. “I guess that’s true. You are only out if you take yourself out of the game.” He then sighs. “I’ve really missed that about you.”

I frown. “Missed what?”

“The way you always made me think.”

I giggle. “I do have a nag for that. And I liked how you were always such a gentleman.”

“I try.”

I then glance at my clock. “Well, it’s getting late. I should head back to the house.”

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I am about say goodbye to Kendal, when he suddenly leans forward and pulls me into his arms. I am so stunned that I can’t move. It has been so long since Kendal has held me like this, that I don’t even know how to react. His arms feel so warm around me, as his cheek presses softly against mine. My heart starts to beat a little faster and I feel a tingly sensation in my stomach. What is going on with me?

“Forgive me,” he then whispers into my ear. “It’s just been so long.”

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He then slowly lets me go and I feel awful for being a little disappointed.

“N-no,” I stammer. “It’s f-fine.” I then tuck a strand of hair behind my ear nervously. “It has b-been a while for me to and um…” My brain seems to have turned to mush all of a sudden and my cheeks feel like they are on fire.

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“I-I should get going,” I say finally. “I-I’ll see you around Kendal.”

I then take off down the path from the lake back to the sidewalk. My heart is still beating fast in my chest as I hurry along. Why did my body react that way to Kendal hugging me?  And why did he hug me like that? Was Michael right? Could Kendal actually have feelings for me?

No. I can’t think like that. I need to focus. I am with Michael now and I don’t need to be worrying about Kendal.

But even as I drive home a few minutes later, I know that those thoughts are not going to be leaving my head anytime soon.

 

-Evanglina

 

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