I remember it all too well- Chapter 2

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The thing about pictures is that despite how much the people in it have changed, it still remains the same as the day it was taken.

It'd been a while since Riley had looked over at her old high school pictures, and now sitting on the couch after a long day of work with her old photo book, she didn't think nostalgia could hit her any harder.

There were pictures of her and Maya on the first day of middle school, standing there awkwardly in front of the school with their arms intertwined. She chuckled, remembering how embarrassed she felt that her parents insisted on walking her all the way inside. That day had been a nervous wreck for Maya and her, but both managed to live through it, much to their relief.

Then there were the pictures of her fourteen birthday party. She'd only invited her closest friends and a couple of classmates since she didn't want anything too big, and they ended up having a great time. The six friends all stood there in the living room, with pink part hats on their heads and the widest smiles. Farkle had his arm wrapped around her waist, while Lucas had his arm flung around her shoulder. Smackle was on the other side of Farkle, standing there with a tight grip on her boyfriend's shirt. Maya was next to Lucas, and Zay happily hung closely to the blonde. Riley had never felt so loved than in that birthday party; they were their closest in those years.

Flipping through more pages, her lips would turn up into a slight grin seeing the familiar faces of old memories. They were so happy and carefree back then; what she would give to be like that again.

Her dark eyes landed on a certain picture, one she thought she'd long gotten rid of. It was the picture they took the day Farkle moved to Oregon, and it had been slightly smeared by what seemed like droplets of water. They had taken it at Farkle's house after some tearful goodbyes as a last picture of their group. Smackle was now beside Lucas, her lips only mildly lifted into a grin and her arms folded across her chest. Lucas had his hands tucked into his pants pockets, with the same saddened look to his eyes. Zay wasn't as upset, but the grin plastered on his lips was just as forced as the rest.

Then there was Maya, who had tightly wrapped her arms around Farkle's shoulders, and whose eyes were closed shut. Her best friend had cried harder than any of the sixteen year olds had seen her that day, and not even Lucas could calm her down. Riley also placed her arms tightly around her best guy friend's torso, and with red eyes and a small grin, she looked at the camera. Farkle had both his arms around each of them, pulling them closely. Except, his eyes were glancing at her with emotion that Riley just couldn't recognize. She hadn't noticed it then, until they sent her the picture later that day.

That was the last, real moment they all had together. After a couple of months, it was clear that they had all drifted from each other.

Soon, Farkle's texts and Skype calls became less and less frequent, until one day, they just stopped all together. Zay and Lucas began growing more and more popular when they became the football stars, and decided to let her know that it was best if they just weren't friends anymore. Smackle had tried to keep up with them, but after having moved back to the academy, they just didn't see her anymore. When her parents died, it was the worse. Lucas and Zay sent their condolences, even offering their support for a while, Smackle couldn't make it, and they didn't hear from Farkle at all. Sure she had family members there, but the only friend she had left was Maya. Maya was the only one left by her side after three years.

Maybe that's what made it worse; that although Lucas, Zay and Smackle weren't around anymore, she thought Farkle always would be.

He was the one she'd spent so much time crying about.

Placing the photo book on the small table in front of her, she sighed and leaned her back against the couch. Her feet ached, her back was about two seconds away from snapping, and the overwhelming feeling of tiredness was overtaking her. Auggie had gone to sleep over an hour ago, and she knew she should've too, but she felt compelled to take out her old book and look at all the photos. She hadn't opened the thing in years, but suddenly it was the first thing that came to mind the moment she walked through the apartment door.

She was about to fall into a deep sleep right there on the couch, when she heard a knock at the door. She groaned, throwing her head back and gradually making her way to the door. Maya sometimes had a habit of randomly coming over when she felt too lonely in her apartment, and she had a constant habit of losing the key that Riley had given her.

Riley just yawned, opening the door, and leaning against it tiredly. ''Just come in, Maya-''

Except, when she looked up, it wasn't Maya; it was a nervously grinning Farkle Minkus. However, this Farkle Minkus was taller and leaner, wearing a gray shirt on with a black hoodie, along with dark pants and black shoes. His hands were casually tucked into his pockets, a small smile on his lips and his dark brown hair in the same haircut it'd been in since high school. It was clear he'd grown more attractive, even having what seemed to be like a perfect jawline.

His blue eyes stared down at her, clearly examining her timidly. ''Hi, Riley''

She didn't say anything at first; just blinking a couple of times to make sure she wasn't dreaming. ''Farkle,''

''I know it's late, and I know I should've called you first, but I just-'' he sighed. ''Can I come in?'

''Actually, I just got back from work and I'm really sleepy'' she said, way too fast.

He nodded, staring down at his feet. ''Riley, I know I was horrible to you these past years, but I think it's time we talked''

''Tell me, Minkus, how hard is it to pick up a phone and text your friends to see if they're alright?'' Riley folded her arms, taking a step closer to him. ''Or, you know, tell them happy birthday, or even pay your respects when their parents die?''

Farkle stared at her intensely, but even then she could tell he didn't dare look her in the eye. ''I'm sorry, Farkle, but our talk ended years ago when you decided keeping in touch with us was too much of an inconvenience for you''


''Goodnight, Farkle'' she spat, closing the door to the apartment with a loud bang.

Making her way back to her bedroom and throwing herself onto her mattress, she buried her face into the pillow and began to cry.

She cried for what felt like hours, man did she cry, for the boy who hadn't been around for over three years. And yet, there was comfort knowing he was fine.

Even if she'd been falling apart for years now.

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