“Okay, then, Attie, can I ask you something?”
“Shoot.” For a moment the only sound was the seagulls and the crashing of waves. A family was stationed not far from where they were, packing up all their beach stuff to call it a night. Everlie focused on their laughing and the sounds of normality before she composed her thoughts.
“Do you think we’ll always stay friends?” Attie shook her
head in confusion, causing Everlie to sigh heavily. “I mean, what happens if…I
don’t know…what if I get tired of chasing you? What happens…if…hypothetically,
I moved away.” Atticus brought together her eyebrows, tilting her head
downwards to catch Everlie’s eyes.
“Hey, what’s going on? Talk to me.” Everlie started walking again, this time Atticus was right on her heel. They walked for a minute until Ev stopped just short of the waves once more, staring out into the ocean.
“I got an interview.” Was all she said.
“Okay, cool. Congratulations. An interview to where?” Everlie flicked her eyes towards Attie but then decided against it.
“To The Art Institute of New York City. To the school I’ve been wanting to attend since I was like five. My mom got me an interview with the Dean and they’re thinking early admin this fall. But of course, I would have to move to New York,” She turned to face Attie now, unsure of she was thinking. “One thousand miles away. From here. And you.” Atticus seemed to consider this. She didn’t seem to get mad, like Everlie thought she would be. She didn’t get upset or sad or defensive.
“I thought you were applying to Brookside Community College in New Twinbrook City.”
“That was until I found out I had a real chance at getting accepted. I never imagined I could actually do it. Mom said they’ve already seen some of my work, and they like it. This doesn’t happen every day, Attie, and…I would be stupid to pass up this opportunity. We’re flying up there next week for the interview and to get a look around the city and meet people that would help me and it’s a big chance to have the job of my dreams…please say something.” Atticus was smiling. Her arms were crossed over her chest as she listened to Everlie ramble on, enjoying the sight of her getting all flustered and bothered. It wasn’t until she had calmed down that Attie came forward, closer than they had been earlier.
“Okay? Okay what?” Everlie snapped.
“Okay…go. Take the interview. Kick ass, like I know you will, and get in.” Everlie’s lips parted to say something to object, but nothing came out. She closed them, blinked, and opened them again.
“I thought…that you would be upset. I mean we’ve always talked about us living together, getting an apartment, your apartment, renovating it…” A big gust of wind came through, knocking the pair even closer. Attie bent down and tucked a strand of hair behind Everlie’s ear, placing a ghost of a kiss on her forehead.
“I don’t see why we can’t still do that. If that’s something you still want.”
“But…you want to move to New Twinbrook City. You want to move into your mom’s apartment. What about your friend there?”
She bubbled, “Those things don’t matter to me, Ev. You, I care about you. I can find an apartment anywhere. But a home…Ev that’s only something I can find with you. So if you wanted to move to, I don’t know, Antarctica, then Everlie, I’ll follow you. I’d follow you anywhere. If you still want me to.” Atticus took Everlie’s hand in her own, rubbing her thumb on the back tenderly as Everlie’s face showed her bewilderment.
“Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?” She laughed, letting Attie pull her into her arms.
“I don’t know. After I left, you know, that night, and I went to the City….I couldn’t stop regretting my decision to leave, and I realized, that my entire life, there has been two things that have made life bearable for me. My mom, and you. Well, I lost her…and Ev, I don’t want to lose you too. So I’m trying. I’m trying my best from now on. I promise.” Everlie wrapped her arms around Atticus, squeezing her with all that the tiny girl had in her, letting their faces linger inches from one another.
“Thank you. That’s all I could ever ask.”
“I meant it, you know?” She whispered as their lips began to touch.
“Meant what?” Ev asked, not really focusing on much anymore, other than their lips together.
“I love you, Everlie Harris. I mean that. I love you.”