12 ; Chapter Twelve

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song of the chapter is Hozier's To be Alone

The Milkshake bar was quiet on account of the majority of the age-group who frequented here being in school. I ordered my usual, and it was weird hearing Freddie order a regular Vanilla when Pandora would normally order some sort of weird concoction.

    "Why do you always have to get your own milkshake flavour made up?" I asked as I looked over at her cup which was practically overflowing. She'd asked them to mix cookie dough with peanut butter flavoured ice cream. It didn't look overly appealing on account of it being a weird brown colour.

She pouted her lips around the straw and looked at me through her lashes, "Where's the fun in being normal?"

At the time I smiled and thought it was insanely cool. Just another thing that was cool about Pandora. She wasn't conventional, she was different and strangely, people loved her for it.

I wonder if she knew how her life would be cut short would she have changed anything? Would she have been normal? Would Pandora have thought about her actions and their consequences or would she still have been the same, wild girl that she was?

    "I'm trying really hard to act like everything is fine, Viv, but something about the way you're acting is worrying me," Freddie said as he pushed his milkshake to the right of him. He was sitting opposite me in a booth, wearing yet another checked shirt. I always wondered what was the obsession with checked shirts? Why do people have so many? Ultimately, they may change colour but it's still a checked shirt.

   "How many checked shirts do you have?" I wondered aloud as I stared off into space.

    "Five maybe - look Viv, cut the crap-"

    "Can we not talk about something else, just for five minutes?" I pleaded. I could feel this surge of emotion coming over me and I really didn't want to cry but I was worried the dam behind my eyes was reaching full capacity and wouldn't be long before the tears would be streaming down my face.

Freddie looked at me for a couple of seconds as if wondering whether he should call the nearest mental health facility and sign me in.

    "Sure, what do you wanna talk about?"

    "Anything - just not Pandora or those letters," I replied before taking a tentative sip of my milkshake.

Freddie looked thoughtful for a couple of seconds as he watched me. He sighed before pulling his milkshake back towards him and taking a long sip. We fell into a relatively comfortable silence, neither of us saying anything because we weren't sure what to say. In truth, the only connection we seemed to have was over Pandora. He wanted to play cop and I wanted to find out why she was gone. 

    "What do you want to do when you finish school?" Freddie asked, peering at me as he relaxed his back against the booth. His legs stretched out, lightly nudging mine out of the way under the table. He crossed his arms in front of his chest before reaching up and pushing his hair off of his face.

I thought for a couple of seconds. Truthfully, I hadn't a clue. I had been trying to make plans but then everything started to unravel and I found it slipped my mind. It was hard to do much else after Pandora's confession.

   "I'm undecided," I replied before taking another sip of the milkshake.

    "Undecided?" Freddie repeated, his eyes widening as he looked over at me.

   "I haven't really thought about it yet," I muttered.

    "Don't you think you should have?" he asked with a short laugh at the end as though he was in awe of my blaise attitude. As I sat and looked at him, and took his body language in I noticed a familiar look he was giving me. His eyes were shining brightly with something that was so foreign to me physically but familiar in other aspects. People looked at Pandora that way. Amused humour. Pandora was the 'cool girl' with her cool, laid back attitude towards life. I had been the one who planned, meticulously creating lists everyday. Freddie was making me realise that I wasn't me just because I was grieving or confused, I just wasn't me anymore. Who was I? 

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