What’s stronger? True love, or soulmates?
Strings
CHAPTER
16
What Ifs and Unsteady Hearts
“How do I look?” I ask Ruby for about the sixth time.
“You look great.” Ruby says again.
“Man, what would I do without you?” I laugh.
“Die a horrible and worried death.” Ruby replies, grinning.
“How do I look?” Ruby asks me.
She has on a dark blue dress with is bright against her tan skin. Her dark hair is pulled up into a ponytail and she’s thrown on a silver chain necklace.
“You look great!” I grin.
“Thanks, and you do too, just thought I’d tell you again since you seem to be freaking out.” She laughs.
I laugh, and run my hands over my red tank top and black skirt, nervously. She’s right, I am, it’s a party, with Leo, and we’re a couple. I never thought my life would get here. I just always figured I’d be hopelessly pining after someone who would never love me.
Sure it’s not perfect. August is here, and don’t get me wrong he might be one of the nicest people on earth, but I don’t love him. Although I don’t think I’ll ever love him I think it would be nice to be friends with him. He’s a nice person, and he seems funny, why not be friends. But if he’s my soul mate will you end up liking me, or is that stuck-up to think. If I’m his soul mate... Will I end up liking him? I can’t imagine it happening but my mind is filling with what ifs.
“Come on, lets go, we don’t want to be late.” Ruby says.
Grace lives in a big, fancy house only a block away from the beach. The windows are all open and light is spilling onto their big lawn. I can hear voices and music from the street and I know it’ll be almost unbearably loud in the house.
“Hey!” Grace says, answering the door. “Is Leo with you?” She asks. Did she know we were together? Or did she like him? What if, what if, what if. I hate all the what ifs so much. Why can’t I just have an answer for once. A truth. Something real. Something solid. Something that’s for sure.
“No, contrary to the popular belief he and I aren’t actually conjoined at the hip.” I say.
Grace laughs, “do you know if he’s going to be here?” She asks. Oh god, does she like him. What if, what if, what if. If I wouldn’t look like a child I would’ve thrown my hands over my ears, but that wouldn’t get rid of the what ifs. Nothing can get rid of those.
“Yeah, later.” I say, pushing past her and into the house.
I was right, the music is almost unbearably loud. Ruby walks off to find food and I know she’ll find me with a big plate of chips and some drinks. I push my way farther into the house looking for a place for us to all sit. We do this at every party, Ruby finds food and I find a place that’s a quiet as possible and we all sit there talking and laughing for most of the party.
I find a place under the stairs to the second floor and sure enough a few minutes later Ruby shows up with food and drinks balanced precariously in her arms.
I take the drinks from her because they look on the verge of falling, and we both sit down under the stairs. Only ten minutes later both Leo and Liam show up and they both take seats next to us.
“Hey!” Liam shouts at Ruby and I, his voice just barely louder than the music and chatter surrounding us.
“Hey!” Ruby and I chorus back.
“I’m gonna go get more to drink, you want anything?” I say, mostly to Leo.
They all shake their heads and I stand up. I push my way through the crowd of people looking for the kitchen. When I finally find it I’m glad to find that there’s only one person there, August.
“Hey.” He grins.
“Hey.” I smile.
“So can we be friends?” He asks.
I grin, “definitely.”
“Great, so friend, whats up?” He asks.
“What’s up?” I ask in surprise.
“Yeah, what’s up, what’s hanging, what’s happening in that life of yours, what is elevated in your existence.” He says, grinning.
I laugh, “nothing much.” I say.
“Oh come on, something has to be happening.” He says.
I shake my head. “Nope, how about you?” I ask.
“I am... I am very behind on the history assignment.” He says, then he shakes his head. “Yeah, I’m really boring.” He laughs.
“You’re not boring.” I say, smiling.
“Aw, shucks, you’re gonna make me blush.” August laughs. “You’re not all that boring yourself.” He says, green eyes gleaming.
My heart starts pounding and I feel my breath growing short and fast. The world around me starts spinning and I feel like I’m going to pass out. I’m having an anxiety attack.
“Hey.” August says, reaching out a hand towards me, worriedly. “You okay?”
I try to answer but I can’t make myself speak, the world is spinning and hazy. Then I feel myself begin to fall.
August lunges towards me and manages to grab me before I fall.
“Charlotte,” he says. “Charlotte can you hear me? It’s gonna be alright, it’s just a panic attack or anxiety attack... Uh, I don’t know which. Point is it ends, and you’re alright, don’t worry, you’re gonna be just fine. Uh, you are just fine.” He says. I can hear him but I can’t seem to make myself reply. Then it stops.
I blink, and take in a slow, deep breath.
“Charlotte?” August asks.
“I’m okay.” I whisper. “I’m alright.” I say.
“Are you sure?” He asks. “Come on, lets go somewhere quieter and then you can catch your breath.” He says, taking my hand.
“This is a closet.” I say, almost laughing.
“Yes, but it’s quiet.” August says. “And it’s a big closet.” He smiles.
We both sit down on the floor of the closet. August watches me with his bright eyes well my breathing starts to slow. I still feel a little light headed but I think that’s just because I’m shaken up, I haven’t had an anxiety attack in awhile. I used to have them all the time, they started after my parents split. Leo started this game with me, to help me calm down. We would look around and see how many things of a certain color we could count.
He would shout out a color every time I started to freak out and he would make me look around and count that color.
I look around and start trying to count the green things.
Shirt, shirt, shirt, tie, shoes, August’s eyes... I begin to feel less dizzy and my breathing is finally normal again.
“You alright?” He asks, putting a comforting hand on my shoulder.
“Yeah,” I say, “I’m fine.”
“Good, you want out of this closet?” He asks.
I smile and nod, we both stand up and step out of the closet. Then I go to find my friends, my heart still just a little unsteady.
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