Prologue

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The rain is the first thing I notice, pelting down like gunfire, as I exit my mother's work building. I throw my black hood up and clatter down cement stairs. Every step I take rain splashes underneath my feet. I trot along the sidewalk, the ricochet of rain splashing off my hood, and I look around.

Not many people are out among the streets. A boy suddenly runs past me, rain splashing in his footsteps. I whirl around, and look at him. The boy has dark brown hair and is wearing a black sweatshirt that looks like it has seen better days. I look at him for a minute, watching him run down the sidewalk, before turning sharply on my feet.

I try to keep my thoughts away from the rain. My clothes are soaking wet, sticking to my skin, and I feel my jacket growing heavier on my shoulders.

I halt in my tracks as I arrive to a curb. The oncoming cars whiz past me, spraying dirty rain water. I glance down at my wrists, before digging them into my wet jean pockets, and I find them a ghostly color – pale white. I blow a thin, wet, strand of hair out of my face.

After eleven years I can't hold it in any longer. Every damn day I am tortured with him – his smile, his laughter, everything about him. My best friend.

I jog across the road and a cold breeze rushes up the avenue, causing my clothes to stick to my wet skin. Once I reach the sidewalk, I duck under the cover of the diner.

Rain spills down from the diner's roof and hits the sidewalk. I let out a heavy breath, blowing a strand of wet hair out of my face. I pull the door open, to the diner, and push my hood back.

Inside, I find an empty booth and slide into it. The diner is almost empty: a waitress lounging against a counter, lazily twirling a purple pen between her fingers. Four students occupy another booth, in the corner of the diner. They're eating hamburgers, chicken wings, and onion rings. One person, a male with round glasses resting on the bridge of his nose, is telling a story about how he is getting a brand new PS4 for his birthday.

I sigh heavily and rest my head on my palm. My gaze falls onto the window next to the booth. I watch raindrops trickle down the window. Some raindrops collide together, on the way down, to form an even bigger raindrop. Tens of raindrops bolt down, pausing and jolting in random directions along the way.

My stomach begins to drown in nervousness, like a poor puppy learning how to swim for the first time. I suck a shaky, uncontrolled, breath in and let it out slowly. My hands begin to shake violently, so I rest them in my lap and knot my fingers together like cords.

It's official, I'm in love with my best friend.

I curse under my breath and my gaze flickers up onto the diner clock, to my left. The old Roman clock, one you would typically see in an older-styled home, is resting against a wall across from me. The little black needle is pointing at the III while the longer needle points at the XI.

Five minutes, I tell myself, I need more time!

I grasp my hand tightly to my chest, trying to calm down my heart and refrain it from flying out of my chest. My heart begins to beat faster, but I try to calm it down by focusing on the other students' conversation.

"I can't believe you're getting a PS4," someone says, a boy.

"Yeah," another one adds, a girl. I can see the girl, faintly. She has dyed blonde hair with black tips at the ends. The girl tucks her hair behind her ear and leans on her hand. "But the first game you need to play is the Last of Us Remastered - I've heard the graphics have improved a lot."

"No way," the same boy speaks, again. I can't see him, but I can tell that he's speaking passionately about video games. "I think he should get Infamous: Second Son. It's like the modern version of Avatar: The Last Airbender."

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