The setting sun glimmered through the window, veiling my bedroom with a golden glow. Outside I heard the sounds of Friday night traffic, people either making their way home from work or heading out to celebrate the arrival of the weekend.

Even though I lived on one of the busiest streets in Melbourne, I never took much notice of the noise. The trams, the cars, the people, the constant sounds of the city; I found it comforting. It meant I wasn’t as alone as I sometimes felt. I had expected to eventually adjust to living on my own, but something about it never felt right to me. More than anything, I hated having no-one to come home to.

Leaning over my dresser, I looked closely at my reflection in the bedroom mirror, concentrating as I slowly glided my black pencil liner over the outer corner of my eye.
Turning my head left, then right, I made sure I had mastered the cat eye look perfectly, when I heard a knock on my apartment door.
“Be right there, Jo!”

It never takes me long to get ready, all I need are my favourite pair of jeans, a singlet, my motorcycle boots, eyeliner and sometimes a brightly coloured scarf, and I’m ready to go. It’s the middle of Spring, and while the top half of the world is getting colder, Melbourne is getting deliciously warm, so I opted for a black singlet and magenta scarf to go with my standard jeans and boots tonight.

Standing back to take one last look, I smiled cheerfully – a kindness I always gave to myself when I saw my reflection. I let my long, dark brown hair hang down, its ends tipped with turquoise. My deep hazel eyes are overshadowed by my long dark lashes and arched eyebrows that would make me look serious, if I didn’t smile so often. My lips, thin and asymmetrical, are not the typical full lips that so many women want and men lust after, but they are exactly like my mothers’, and that’s why I love them. Sometimes, if I squint hard enough while I smile in the mirror, I can almost see my mother smiling back at me. Wrapping my scarf loosely around my neck, I picked up my faded brown satchel from the bed and headed for the door.

Jo, my dearest friend, and I were going to the local bar to have a few drinks and see Wyatt and his band perform.
I could feel the butterflies start to come alive in my stomach, a sensation I always felt around Wyatt. I couldn’t help but smile again at the thought of him. Pulling my door open, Jo greeted me by standing in model pose, with a hand strategically placed on her hip and her head tilted to the side.

“Like my new dress?” She waved her hand up and down the short, strapless, neon orange outfit. Her long, flame-red hair fell down passed her shoulders, framing her heart-shaped face perfectly. Her bright blue eyes looked up at me expectantly, her grin lighting up her face as she waited for a response.

While inseparable, Jo and I are two very different people in regards to fashion sense. While I dressed more for comfort and paid no attention to what is popular, Jo dressed to impress and followed the trends religiously. On the surface, we appeared to be different in every way, but as friends for more than a decade, the history we had with each other created an everlasting bond.

Ever since we met, on the first day of high school, we had been there for each other; from helping each other with homework and boy troubles to the toughest times of our lives. When I lost my parents just a few years before, at nineteen, Jo never left my side. During that time she became my rock; we consider ourselves sisters now. Working together as waitresses at Pop Rocks, a 1950’s nostalgia diner where Jo is the Manager, allows us to see each other almost every day. Although we have so much fun there it hardly seems like work at all.

“It’s very… bright,” I answered, as politely as possible. 
Jo’s arms dropped to her side, disappointed.
“You look beautiful, Jo.”
She perked up again.
“Thank you! And may I say you look as angsty as ever.” Jo looked down at my motorcycle boots and grimaced.
“I’m not angsty. I’m comfortable. And I’m perfectly happy in this outfit, thank you!” I said as I swung my door closed and locked it behind me.

“I know, I know,” sighed Jo as we started down the stairs of my building. “Little Miss Comfortable. That’s you! If you ask me, you’re a little too comfortable. You gotta get out of your comfort zone and do something exciting! Something bold!”

Jo smiled at me cheekily, and I knew exactly where she was headed with that speech – I had heard it many times before.
“Jo, please don’t start.”
“Come on, Eva. Tonight’s the perfect opportunity for you to tell Wyatt how you feel. Step up! When are you gonna make your move?”

I sighed as the butterflies in my stomach twisted and turned. I had been building up the courage to ask Wyatt out for over a year now, ever since we first met. At the time, Wyatt had just moved to Melbourne from Cairns to study Architecture, and came to the diner looking for a job. After Jo hired him and he started working with me, we grew into such good friends that I became terrified of ruining the friendship.

“I’ll tell him. I will. I’m just… waiting for the right moment.”
Jo rolled her eyes, she’d heard that before, too.

We turned the corner to see our tram about to leave and started running to catch it. I laughed as I heard Jo struggling to jog behind me in her six-inch heels. We climbed up the steps and onto the tram, falling onto a seat as it started to move.

Jo looked me in the eyes as she caught her breath.
“If you don’t tell him soon, you might miss your moment.”

As They Rise (The Eva Series #1)Read this story for FREE!