// A short story //
Sometimes your closest friend can be your greatest enemy. - Anon.
We're nine years old.
The soft sun sets on our shoulders, brushing against our cheeks. Laughter bubbles out from our rose-bud mouths, and our faces are illuminated by the rich glow of the auburn sun, as our eyes dance with glee. We're grasping our newly bought purses, which each have pictures of pretty teenagers on them. Milk chocolate melts on the tip of my tongue and I savour the last few seconds of its luxury.
"I wanna be like her when I'm older."
"I know; she's really pretty. I like her hat. We'll still be best friends then, right?"
I giggle as I lock arms with Estella and breathe in the fresh, salty air skimming across the sea. I look at her black coffee hair and questioning eyes, as she gazes at the sleepy painting of the sunset. We know that, for both of us, this place is the centre of our world, our peaceful fantasy.
We let our legs dangle over the side of the wall, the ripple of water below gently splashing against stone. The wall is crookedly made with stone bricks as if it were an old man's teeth, but that's what we like about it. We both trail our small fingers against the smooth slabs of rock, which are somehow cold but welcoming at the same time, as if they are a long lost friend.
"Best friends forever?" I ask, fingering my purse.
Our innocent young hearts are filled with joy and laughter, and grip the bond that I hope will never break. At the sound of my voice, Estella turns her big, anticipating eyes towards my warm smile.
"Totally," Estella replies, breaking into a smile as well, "B.F.F. forever!"
Estella looks down at her stylish black purse with a teenager who is wearing a blue sporty tee and sweatpants, a cute violet-coloured hat, sweat-bands and anklets. The girl's shoes are star-printed plimsoles, and she's standing in a position as if she might jump high, right up into the sky and plop down on the clouds. Her face is lit up by an uncontrollably cheerful smile, and it's hard not to be amused when looking at her.
"I think..." Estella straightens up and pats down her shorts as if she were a businesswoman. She holds up a finger and I giggle. "Justine, you're prettier than this teenager here." She lowers her stature back down and smiles. "She is also a bit pretty, though." We both laugh again.
The sound of our laughter is like delicate, tinkling bells. Estella zips open the purse and peers inside. She reaches for her half-heart bracelet, a silver chain with butterflies and a one half of a heart that is her's, the other mine. It's a promise of friendship. She grins as she hands it to me, and I help her lock it on her thin, dainty wrist.
I glance down at my purse, which has a girl who looks very similar to the one on Estella's, but has a more mysterious look. Her cheeks are rosy pink; her eyes are a striking blue. She's wearing an angelic, flowing shirt and a small skirt, a floral printed hat and striped sandals. I open my purse and pull out my half of the bracelet. We put the two halves together.
Estella helps me clasp my half on my wrist, and we clink the hearts together, joining it as one.
"Yay, friends forever."
"Forever and always."
Three years later
"Now, the only A* in the class... Estella, excellent job."
I punched Estella lightly on the arm. "Good job pal," I whispered, grinning.
"What'd you get?" Estella glanced over at my paper, and then smiled strangely. "Try harder next time! You'll get a lot better, I'm sure."
Under the table, I clenched my fist. Who was she to tell me what to do? My face felt like dry paint as I forced a smile. Although my mask showed happiness, it was fake, because I knew I was burning with jealousy inside.
Again? was the question revolving in my head. She'd barely worked hard - studying for no more than three days and what did she get? An A*. I had studied hard over a period of eight days and I merely achieved a B. I was frustrated. She was my closest friend and I knew friends had to congratulate each other but... there were exceptions. I had to accept the truth.
"Hey, wanna go to the wall near the sea after-school? It's been such a long time," I asked at lunch, as we walked to our lockers.
|Bailee Madison||as Justine|
|Elle Fanning||as Estella|