This story is by Kaytelynn Thompson and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
Everything about being at this party was uncomfortable. Miranda looked around the house. Pumpkins hung from the ceiling and twinkled in unsynchronized patterns. There was a pumpkin on the table vomiting guacamole amongst a sea of tortilla chips while gooey cheese curdled at the top of it. Miranda’s stomach lurched at the appetizer. It was absolutely revolting. Everyone wore masks or had their faces painted unrecognizable. Bright and revealing costumes drew in the eye but Miranda was looking elsewhere. Where was Lanie? Miranda twiddled with her friendship bracelet while she searched high and low for her best friend.
“It’s okay… Just find her.” She mumbled into the air to deaf ears. The speakers throbbed steadily to the beat. Laughter and talking challenged the music. Miranda’s gaze was met by a mask. Her face burned from its stare and her eyes plummeted to the floor as she maneuvered the crowding bodies. Orange and red leaves begged her to keep them company. Almost tripping out of the sliding glass door, her eyes fell on Brandon, Lanie’s boyfriend, with his hands all over a girl who wasn’t her best friend.
“Oh boy.” She said as she turned away from him and walked towards the verandah where Lanie was sitting. She hadn’t noticed Miranda walk up yet. She admired the leaves complimenting Lanie’s hair. Her pixie red hair shimmered as light hit the glitter in its layers. Her costume was shades of soft teals and violets. Rhinestone littered the bosom of her corset and her skirts shimmered like her hair and cheekbones. Her mask dangled from her fingertips and it swung back in forth.
“How is a pretty girl like you sitting out here by yourself?” Miranda said. Leaves crunched under her boots as she did a twirl in front of Lanie.
“Good, you got my text.” She smiled weakly.
“I take it Casanova’s costume dilemma solved itself eh?” She joked softly.
“He’s been cheating on me for months Miranda.” She whimpered. Sobs threatened to burst from her chest.
“He has been sleeping with that girl behind my back and telling me that he loves me every day.”Lanie balled her hands into fists as tears slid down her cheeks, smearing her make-up. Miranda sat next to her and pulled her friend into a hug. Punching him in the throat felt like a great idea but it would only upset Lanie more. For four years, Miranda admired Lanie for her looks and her intellect. She was smart, funny and beautiful. Every time that Miranda looked at her she felt her heart sink into her stomach and jump to her throat whenever she spoke to her. Cupid had her in a chokehold and every day it grew stronger.
“I suppose it was for the best. A long distance relationship doesn’t survive if one end doesn’t try.” Lanie said as she rested her head on Miranda’s shoulder. Her perfume was fresh mint picked from a garden. They were going to colleges in different states and Miranda has promised to attend the same college as Lanie to be her roommate. The crisp air of autumn burned their cheeks and grew colder making them huddle together for warmth.
They sat silently for what seemed like hours. The music died down to a whisper. Lanie had fell asleep against Miranda and shivered with the breeze. Miranda clicked her phone to life and saw that it was a quarter past three. She listened to Lanie’s breathing amongst the rustle of the crackling leaves. If they stayed in the cold for much longer her asthma would flare up. Gently rubbing her arm, Miranda roused Lanie. They gathered her things and started walking.
“Do you mind if you stayed at my house tonight? I don’t want to be alone tonight.”Lanie said. Her make-up was smudged and smeared from her crying. Lanie’s phone buzzed and broke the silent night. Brandon’s name announced her hesitation. They came to a halt, answered the call and put it on speaker.
“Hello?” Lanie whimpered into the receiver.
“Hey baby, you want to come back to my place? I sent everyone home. I want to make up for tonight.” He slurred.
“I don’t know. I’m already half way to my house and I am tired.” She said. Miranda kept quiet and read Lanie like a book. Her body swayed while she tapped her foot. Her gentle face hardened and she placed a hand on her hip.
“Come on baby, you know you want to.” He said.
“No, actually I don’t. You blew me off tonight to grind on your little bimbo. So why don’t you call her.” She ended the call and signaled Miranda that they were still on course.
“I can’t believe he had the nerve to call me to come back to his place to fuck while he was practically fingering that girl.” Her pace had quickened and Miranda had to jog to keep up with her.
“Lanie, slow down. I can’t run remember.” Miranda wheezed as the two slowed down. Lanie had begun to cry again and dove into Miranda’s arms.
“He doesn’t deserve you Lanie. You don’t deserve this pain either.” Miranda whispered.
They got to Lanie’s house and paused at the front door.
“You know, on second thought, I think I want to have some time to myself.” Lanie said. Miranda nodded and hugged Lanie firmly.
“Anything you need. I’m just a text or a phone call away.” Miranda said as she offered a smile.
“At least I have you.” Melanie said looking Miranda in the eyes.
“To be honest, I’m happy he cheated on me. He gave me a reason to let him go and now I can go after someone I have liked for a long time.” She said still locked onto Miranda’s eyes. Quirking an eyebrow at Melanie, Miranda had a confused look painted on her face.
“Who?” Miranda asked. Lanie smiled sweetly and tightened her arms around Miranda’s waist.
“You.” She whispered while tilting her chin upwards. Lanie brushed her lips against Miranda’s. They relaxed and melted in each other’s arms and broke their kiss. A giggle escapes Lanie’s lips and she exhaled.
“This will be interesting to tell our parents.” She said. Miranda winced and screwed her face.
“Worth it. We will tell them when we are ready.” Miranda said and leaned in for another kiss.
“See you tomorrow?” Lanie asked, her eyes were a child’s innocent gaze.
“See you tomorrow.” Miranda said.