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4.4 Parker/Lizzie

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PARKER

I jumped up and down in place, hyping myself up.

"Just go," Norah said. Already over today's bullshit.

She stood behind me with her arms crossed, leaning against the wall. She wore her whole track uniform with her curls pulled back into a bouncy ponytail. A few loose curls framed her face. Now, my whole purpose of our budding friendship was to learn her daily morning routine, so I too could look like a goddamn super model every single second of my life.

"You're being dramatic," Norah stated the obvious.

My feet landed hard on the concrete floor and I stumbled a little. It'd been a while since I wore heels. Heeled boots, but I was still elevated more than usual. I wore my distressed flared jeans over some emerald green leggings so I wouldn't get sent home early with a baggy black-and-white striped sweater. I actually did my hair today, half up and out of the way so I could show off my huge multi-colored dangling earrings with over a dozen tassels. They felt like they were going to pull my ear right off, but I loved them.

This morning, I looked in the mirror and actually saw myself.

"I'm not dramatic," I defended myself. "I'm simply honest. I hone my truth."

"Well, take your truth and take it in there." Norah shoved me towards Mrs. Donnelly's office door, and I caught our drama teacher's eyes through the window. With an awkward as hell wave, my face flushed. There was no turning back now, even if I still didn't know how to start a conversation with her again, after the last one ended in a screaming match.

All I needed was a chance.

"Give her a chance," I whispered.

Holding my hand over my thundering heart, I walked into Mrs. Donnelly's office. Her concrete walls were covered in pictures of past productions. She had a corkboard covered in many candid pictures of students and a few thank you cards.

"Um..." I said, my mouth instantly going dryer than the skin on my forehead. "I uh, I need to talk to you, if that's..." my chest ached and a distinct sweat pooled in my armpits; it was cold and bone-chilling, making me shiver, "if that's okay."

"Take a seat, Parker." Mrs. Donnelly smiled and motioned me to one of her big velvet chairs. I grabbed a pillow that read "save the drama for the stage" in red sequins and plopped down. "Let's talk..."

#

LIZZIE

Around every corner, I had to take a peek first.

The good thing about Parker and I being in different grades was that I never had classes with her. I didn't have lunch with her either. Avoiding her thus far had been easy, but by the end of the school day, it felt so much worse waiting to see Parker, like the anticipation was worse than actually being on fire or actually crashing through a window. It was like going to school with a Japanese horror movie ghost that was just waiting for the most opportune time to give me a heart attack with a jump scare so bad, I'd pee my pants.

Glancing around the corner of the art's department hallway, I spotted Norah leaning against a wall on her phone. She extended her arm out straight and stuck her tongue out before she snapped a selfie. I smirked and let myself relax again.

"Hey," I said, jolting Norah out of her private time. "Who are you texting?"

"No one!" she shouted, which meant she was lying.

"Okay," I said, not wanting to touch the issue with even a ten-foot pole. I was already drowning in my own problems. "But what are you doing around here?"

"Oh, uh Parker's in Mrs. Donnelly's office." She motioned to the door that I was standing right in front of and could totally be seen by anyone inside and I almost dropped to my stomach, but I jumped out of range instead. Looks like Parker still made me crazy. "She's gonna try to explain herself, I think. Maybe she can get back into the play, if there's even a play to get back into..."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, we lost more people in the cast. Olivia infected a ton of people with the vomit storm of century, but uh don't tell Olivia we're calling it that. I think we're screwed here, Lizzie."

I nodded.

"Do you want to wait with me? She'll be out in a second."

"Um..." My stomach squirmed as I gripped my backpack straps a little tighter. "I can't."

"I understand. I'm sorry, by the way, about the break-up. Maybe you guys can be friends again, eventually?"

"I don't know..." I said, thinking out loud, tired after all the running I did today. From the side, I could see the briefest piece of Parker's ginger hair and my chest tightened. "I don't even know how I'm supposed to look at her again, not when I saw her as the other half of me. Not when she looked at me and saw me. Really saw me. If she looked at me any different from that way, I think I might die..."

"Lizzie..."

"Sorry," I said, forgetting she was even there. Forgetting about everything else. "I'll catch you later. I'm glad you and Parker are cool."

"Yeah," Norah smiled, "we are cool now, huh?" 

#

Author's Note

Hello friends! Like always! Please leave a comment and tell me what you think. I take a screenshot of every comment, print them, shred them and put them in my morning granola in order to gain power and immortality. Also. Just like the taste of paper. (Jk...?)

Twitter: @AuburnMorrow

Instagram: @auburnmorrowbooks


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