l u k e 

The reception was long over, and now, a pig is being roasted on a spit, the tables are filled with an array of food, everyone has changed to their bathing suits or into some weird Boho-themed attire, and it's just like a normal party. The sun has set a few minutes ago, leaving the cloudless sky a flat pink that would soon be blending into a dark indigo. I'm currently at the buffet bar because I can't seem to get enough of the gigantic shrimp they're serving. Apparently, a girl beside me has been having the same predicament for the last fifteen minutes. I've visited this table at least ten times, and this girl has been there every single time. She never spoke to me during those ten visits, but now, she does. "Hi," she greets shyly.

I look at her completely this time. She's got a pretty face with pastel blue hair framing it. She's got big breasts too, and as a whole, she's beautiful. But there's something missing in her—she's not Eleanor.

Immediately realizing that I can't reply, I just wave and start to walk back to where Eleanor and the others are sitting. "Hey, wait! Aren't you gonna say hi?"

Her question brings me back a few months and make me reminisce over the times Eleanor used to talk to me and push me to speak. I remember how frustrated she looked when I never replied, and then I remember the slight change in her eyes when I told her that I couldn't and could never ever do so. And then I compare those times to today and realize how fast everything can change. I'm thankful everyday for that.

I turn back around at the girl, take a pen from my pocket, retrieve a napkin from the bar, and write something on it. I'm Luke, I'm mute, and it was nice spending time with you here at the buffet table, but I need to go. I hand it over to her with a lopsided smile and begin making my way back to the group. And so does she.

Eleanor looks up at me with a smile as I approach but it falters as she spots the girl behind me. "And who's this?" she says with fake anticipation.

I shrug and sit down next to Eleanor, making sure to sit as close to her as possible so she lifts her legs onto mine.

"Guys, this is Amanda. She's an old barista at Cozy Cove, and Arden's cousin," Jake says, with Amanda waving at all of us as he did.

We all mutter a chorus of hello's. I sit with my eyes fixed on my shrimp as I tear its shell off. I then see Amanda pull a chair over next to me in my peripheral vision. I look up at her as I'm biting into the shrimp and make awkward eye contact with her. I quickly avert my gaze and learn one social etiquette: never look into someone's eyes as you suck on a shrimp for dear life.

"So we're gonna have a concert type thing later at seven. We Are Horizonless is gonna be performing some really kick-ass songs," Arden says, her eyes glinting with glee. We Are Horizonless is this cool band that originated from Queenstown and went viral until they got signed by Fearless Records. They're internationally famous, and they're also Jake's close friends. Actually, I think he was their songwriter for a little while before.

"WE ARE HORIZONLESS? Holy crap it's like seeing your high school classmate get famous. That band is the bomb," Eleanor exclaims, with Arden agreeing.

"Oh my god, could I talk to them or something?" Michael asks in excitement.

"Of course man, they're ours for the whole evening. It'll be like old times again," Jake answers. I heard that he loves those guys to bits since they've basically been his brother throughout the years. "I remember when they were only hitting up small clubs and shit. It's amazing how fast things change."

It really is, I think as I look at Eleanor. Her eyes are lit up by the fairylights above us, making her face immaculate and her hair a shiny auburn.

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