Chapter 16: The Best Friend

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A knock on the door halted me from my work. I was just getting on a roll with my manuscript that I needed to complete in a week because finals were fast approaching but everything kept getting in the way. "Nathan I swear to God if you fu-"

I swung open the door to be greeted by someone who was certainly not Nathan. The stranger stared at me with intense green eyes and his plump lips were upturned in a smirk. "You must be Audrey."

I slightly closed the door so I could quickly shut it in case this beautiful stranger decided he spontaneously wanted to kill me. "W-who are you?"

The man laughed as he ran his hand through his dark, raven coloured hair. "I'm a friend of Nathan's. The name is Hayden."

He held out his hand for me to shake and I gently placed mine in his. "I'd say my name is Audrey, but you already know."

I took another good look at him and a hint of recognition took me by surprise. "Nathan has a picture of you and him in his room. You travelled with him, didn't you?

"All around Europe," Hayden responded with a smile. He looked past my shoulder. "Is it possible I could come in and wait for Nathan to come home?"

I nodded my head and opened the door wider. "Of course! Sorry, I'm crazy scatter brained at the moment."

Hayden stepped into the apartment and I quickly made my way to the living room in efforts to clean up my mess. Papers were everywhere, pouring off the coffee table and onto the floor. Meanwhile, dictionaries were scattered on the couch and my coffee and leftover Chinese food were left cold by the television. "I am so sorry for the mess."

Hayden let out a velvety chuckle. "Finals, I presume?"

I picked up the last of the papers, being extremely careful not to get them out of order. "Kind of, I have to finish a manuscript for my Creative Writing class."

Closing the dictionaries, I placed all four of them on the now clean coffee table. Hayden came up behind me and picked up a few papers that I had missed. Luckily, they were just some notes. "Sounds tedious."

"Makes me want to rip my hair out if we're being honest," I sighed, making my way to the kitchen to make myself another coffee. "Want anything to drink?"

Nathan's friend sat on the counter stool. His piercing eyes stared at me and I couldn't help but to think he was intimidating. "Coffee would be nice, if you don't mind."

"Coming right up," I said as I started to make the coffee for both Hayden and I. Once it was done, I placed a steaming mug in front of him. "So, Nathan told me you continued to travel after you guys left Europe. Where did you go?"

"Went to Australia, but that was brief," he chuckled. "Too many snakes. I ended up coming back to Canada and staying in BC for awhile."

I nodded my head. "It's beautiful in BC. I went there a couple of summers ago with my parents. Personally, I didn't mind all the rain."

Hayden smiled at me. "Glad someone agrees with me."

The door swung open and Nathan stood there, looking completely baffled. His eyes darted from Hayden and I. "What the hell is going on?"

"Well it's good to see you too, bestie," Hayden laughed. He stood from the counter stool and walked over to Nathan, who still looked utterly confused. "I decided it was time to come home."

Nathan smiled with pure joy and dropped his gym bag. Walking over to Hayden, gave him a hug. "It's about damn time!"

"Yeah," Hayden said, he gave him a pat on the back. "Missed having a place to call home."

Nathan and Hayden went back to the living room and started to talk animatedly to one another. I, on the other hand, sat on the stool in the kitchen that Hayden sat on earlier and watched them talk. Nathan stared at his best friend intently, with a smile plastered on his face the whole time. He looked happy and genuinely relaxed, which was a nice change to see.

Stopping the conversation, Nathan turned to me. "Hey princess, when do you think Darian will be home?"

Hayden's eyes widened at my nickname and I let out an awkward cough. "He's at Justin's tonight. If you want the apartment to yourselves for the night, I can go to Samara's."

Nathan scrunched his eyebrows. "No, you don't have to go. We can order a pizza and hang out if you want."

I looked between Hayden and Nathan, checking to see if there was any hesitation about me staying. When I found none, I shrugged. "Sounds good."

A couple hours later, we all sat in the living room with boxes of pizzas everywhere. Nathan and Hayden were on the couch and I sat on the floor staring wide eyed at the television screen.

"Audrey," Nathan asked slowly, "Are you okay?"

I turned back to see both of the boys staring at me strangely. I tilted my head to the right. "What? I've never seen a boxing match before. It's kind of cool."

Both of them let out booming laughs for several minutes. God, I thought Nathan was bad and now there was two of him.

Hayden turned scarlet from laughing so much and my cheeks started to heat up. This was embarrassing. "How have you never seen a boxing match before?"

"Never found violence to be entertaining, I guess," I mumbled under my breath.

I looked up to see Nathan staring at me with understanding. He must be thinking about that awful night with Noah. He gave me a small smile. "Well, if you think you want to stop watching we can turn the channel."

I shook my head. "No, it's cool."

We sat in a strange silence for a few minutes when I finally got up and said, "I need a beer. Anyone else want one?"

"Oh, I do!" Nathan exclaimed like a child, his gaze never breaking from the screen.

Hayden turned to look at me and gave me a kind smile. "I'd like one too."

He looked me up and down, leaned over to Nathan and said quietly, "She's my kind of girl."

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