Chapter Three

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Lily

One thing I hate about airports is how expensive the food is. I came in here with fifty dollars and now I have ten and a sense of defeat. All I have to carry me over the three-hour plane ride back to Georgia are M&M's, a bottle of water, a small bag of SunChips, and a book I'd been eyeing for a while. Snacks and beverages are handed out during the ride, but their chips are off-brand and taste weird, and they give out a specific water that tastes like air. Call me crazy, but water does have taste and I prefer it than tasting practically air—nothing.

I shove my overpriced items into my leather shoulder bag and thank the cashier before leaving the small store. Right next door is a Starbucks overflowing with cranky people and trendy-looking girls taking selfies. Soon pictures of their expensive coffee and scones will be plastered all over my Instagram feed with a swanky caption: I'd run through airport security for you, or something like that. I walk around the line curving and extending all the way down the hallway, stopping outside of a cafe. The scent of cinnamon rolls wafts into my nose and I'm tempted to buy one, but then I'd be completely broke, and I need the extra cash to tip my cab driver back in Georgia. A cup of steaming coffee does sound enticing, though...

Sighing, I drag begin to walk away when I hear someone calling out my name.

"Lily?"

I turn around and my eyes go wide. "Finn?"

He pulls out his headphones and pulls me into a hug. I instinctively hug him back, smiling at his usual scent that rivals the cinnamon floating out of the shop next to us. It feels like forever since I've last seen him, even though it's only been one week.

"Do you want a coffee while we catch up?" He asks, nodding his head to the cafe.

"Yes, please—" I stop talking, realizing I really don't want to spend the last of my money.

Noticing my dilemma, Finn smiles warmly. "It's on me," he offers. This is why I love him. Well, one of the reasons. He is so compassionate.

"Thank you so much."

I follow him into the warm café. It's much smaller than the gigantic Starbucks a few doors down, but it's homelier and refreshing. No girls in crop tops despite the freezing weather. No men in business suits yelling at people on their phone. It's just me, Finn, a young mother, an older couple, and a few quiet college students. The walls are painted a soft beige, with pictures of the Eiffel Tower and the Leaning Tower of Pisa. I get a plain black coffee and Finn gets an iced-coffee with too much caramel syrup and a puffy cloud of whipped cream piled at the top. I pull a playful face at his drink and he laughs. We get a seat at the back of the small restaurant. I take a small sip of my coffee and smile as the hot substance travelling down my chest.

"So, what are you doing here?" Finn asks. "I thought you were in Georgia."

"I was, but I came back for my private audition for Dancing Shoes."

"That dancing company that's interested in you, right?" He scoops whipped cream into his mouth.

"That's the one." I nod, smiling from ear to ear.

His eyes light up and his cheeks grow rosy, my excitement contagious. "And how did the audition go? They loved you at the showcase, they'd be stupid to not love you again." When I don't immediately answer, he reaches across the table to poke my shoulder, laughing. "Well? Are you going to leave me hanging, wondering, or are you going to answer me? How was the audition for the company? Did it go well?"

Unable to open my mouth without squealing like a banshee, I nod furiously, making him laugh a hearty laugh.

"I am so proud of you. Come here!" Without warning, he leans over the tiny bistro table and wraps me into his arms. But it isn't enough. I haven't seen my best friend in a little over a week, and I just gave a heartfelt audition. I'm not guaranteed a spot in the company, but Sara Jean, the representative at the showcase, gave me hope on my way out of the glamorous building. I scoot out of my chair and round the table, allowing him to pick me up and swing me around. I laugh and hug him back a tad bit tighter. He does the same, nearly squeezing the life out of me. Has he always been this strong? Jesus. One of the baristas give us a weirded-out glance, but I don't care about the scene we're making.

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