AfterTheStorm

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Be sure to read the short story prequel also on my profile "Soaked"

Chapter 1.
It's our song! "August yelled motioning for Sophie and Audrey to meet her on the skating rink floor. The scattered blinking lights of every color lit up in conjunction with the blaring music bouncing off every thump. A different color with every beat. The song brought an even bigger flock of people to the already crowded floor but, Audrey, August and Sophie shined brightest in the flashing rink. Pretty much everyone in their little town graced Kate's Skating Rink with their presence on the weekends. It was Twin Forks' proudest hangout, along with Harry's Cafe, where the girls liked to get fries and shakes after skating.

Some of the kids, even adults, needed the skating walker to help them. It was a makeshift walker made from pvc pipes with wheels glued on the bottom. Not the trio though, as the girls called themselves.

The girls' movements complimented each other as they moved next together. They glided, dancing to the song, legs weaving in and out like pretzels on the shiny wooden floor. In and out and in and out. In perfect unison like they were linked extensions, feeling the music, and each other, as they moved. When one moved, the rest followed.

"Hey girls hey!!" Chris screeched in his high pitched voice, doing some sort of double turn he made up. He landed right in front of the girls, skating backwards to move with them. His thick fluffy brown curls bounced as he bobbed to the beat. Chris was theirs. They loved him from the moment he joined Rainley High in 9th grade. He was their confidant, referee, wing man, and they were his.

"Gettin' jiggy wit it" he loved the attention as he belted out the lyrics with his over exaggerated dance moves.

"You make it look so easy" Sophie squealed, as he continued to glide in front of them skating backwards.

"Water" August yelled to the girls and Chris. She had always been the natural leader of the group. "Let's get a drink," she continued. Their skates all shrieked to a halt as they turned them dragging on the floor to exit the oval.

Audrey and August made their way to the snack bar while Chris and Sophie occupied the small red booth. "4 waters" August smacked her hand on the bar with her card, to get the cashier's attention, in typical August style. She didn't have much patience, ever. She also didn't like when people didn't notice her. It was August's world and everyone else was just living in it.

"Did you see that cutie?' Chris nodded to the tall muscular man skating, while Audrey and August brought the waters to the table. "I think he likes me" he smiled devilishly.
"Chris, he looks like he's almost 30!" Sophie said trying not to cough up her water she just gulped up. "We're in high school!"
"So!", he chirped an octave higher, "you know what they say about older men..."
"No, I don't know, please enlighten me" August chuckled, bouncing off the others.
"I say go for it" Audrey shrugged in the undertone of the others. She was usually the calmest in the group and the most realistic. She knew Chris would do what he wanted anyways. "Might as well go along with it" was her stance.

"Oh shiiiit" Chris screeched waving his arms in the air. "yo this is my jammm, I gotta go". He made his way back to the floor obviously trying to shake his ass just right for the older hottie.

The girls laughed as they continued to recover. In the distance a statuesque blonde caught Sophie's eye. The girl started walking to the snack bar, not far from them. Sophie nudged August's foot under the table.
"Ouch what the hell Sop-" She finally noticed what Sophie was referencing. Marie. The trio's nemesis had arrived at the skating rink.

Marie moved to town at the beginning of senior year and stole August's boyfriend with no regard for anyone else. She came in with a fury like she ruled everything her platforms touched. Naturally, the trio hated her. Chris was not a fan either, by default.

"Well look who it is " Marie snarked, finally walking past their booth.
"Yeah did you forget names already?" Sophie said in her nastiest tone.
"Like the name of the boy you made out with last week" August shot Marie down.
"There are too many to remember" Audrey scoffed, always knowing how to play it cool and finish with the zinger.

The trio roared in laughter, satisfied that they irritated Marie as she walked away.
"Bitch" they all said, accidentally in unison, breaking out into even louder laughter. That's how they always were. They were all one. Always. From the moment they met. Their conversation bounced off each other like it needed to be pieced between them all.
August, Sophie! Chris's voice was heard from the skating floor.

"August, Sophie!" Chris' voice stopped them both across the University courtyard snapping August back to her harsh reality. He wasn't able to join them at Harry's cafe when they were home last weekend so seeing him now was a welcome warmth.

August's eyes were puffy from the past few days of crying. Everytime she lifted her head she felt like she was being stared at from every direction. Had everyone heard about what happened? Of course they did. The campus was bustling like always on a Monday morning. Except this morning August felt like she was in a fish bowl with everyone peering in at the one eyed monster.

Pee Dee University was small by comparison standards. Just like high school, August had grown quite popular in the three years she had attended. August's distinguished position in Alpha Kai Omega made her somewhat of a queen in college.

The Trio had worked their butts off. They finally hit their senior year and it was supposed to be perfect; the one that went off with a bang. But, now, the memory that would plague the rest of August and Sophie's lives would be losing Audrey. The trio had been together since elementary school. Their parents had been friends and it only naturally progressed that the kids would be too. They were inseparable all through grade schools and even made sure they went to the same college, except Chris. Chris decided to join the police force. The school was close to home so they still saw him all the time. They'd even come back every month or so to go skating or visit Harry's Cafe.

Sophie laced her arm through August's as they met on the courtyard.
"Are you ok?" August lovingly mothered over her best friend. "No, are you?" Sophie slumped out.
"No." August wept.
"Come on my loves" Chris finally reached them, ushering them across the open field plagued with whispers and stares. He had just come from the police station to be with them and was still in his uniform. They all interlocked, walking with their heads down. They felt empty. A link in their arms was missing. And it would always be missing now.

"Ugh, I hate I couldn't be with you this weekend." Chris had to pull a double shift until Sunday and couldn't meet the girls at Harry's cafe. By the time Chris got off the girls were back on campus at their sorority house. "I'm sorry I couldn't make it sooner lovies" he stopped them again, hugging and consoling them both.
"The counselor wants to talk to us" Sophie choked out.

As they entered the tall castle-like brick building, the counselor was in the first office off the grand foyer.
"Knock knock" Chris led the way, his arm draping both Sophie and August.
"Hello girls, and—-" The counselor nodded towards Chris. "I'm Chris, Rainley County Deputy" He held his hand out to shake her's. "I'm Mrs. Blount and I'd like to offer my deepest condolences." Sophie broke into an even louder weep into August's shoulder.
"I understand you all knew each other for a very long time." She continued. "Please sit down."
August nodded agreeing, "yes we grew up together." She stayed collected holding Chris' hand and Sophie in the other.
"Did Audrey have anything in particular that was bothering her, or leading her into these new, more damaging, behaviors?" Mrs. Blount perplexed August who tilted her head.
"What do you mean" August drew her eyebrows together drifting her eyes out the window behind Mrs. Blount.

The room blurred as August was taken to a moment in time. Audrey was showering in the stall next to her after volleyball practice in the girls locker room. Audrey slipped on the bar of soap "whoaaaa" and fell flat on her ass. "Audrey!" August ran to her to help and slipped all the same falling onto Audrey. The two should have been hurt but they just fell into laughter, naked, water dripping down on them, a mess. In some sweep of the moment their laughter quieted and their faces were inches from each other. Audrey daringly leaned in to softly mingle with August's lips. They parted for a moment, but before that moment lead to too much thought, they both crashed their lips back onto each other, tangling and swirling their tongues like a rampant fire had just been let loose. Audrey's sweet supple lips felt like pillows and devoured hers.

"August?" Mrs. Blount softly pulled Audrey back into her current reality.

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