"Anna you actually look... well you look... hot."
"You think?" She twirled.
"Yeah. Shit, Megan's going to jump you the minute she sees you. Give me warning, I don't want to be here."
Anna laughed and hugged me.
"I'm so glad. I was worried for a second there."
"No, you know what, you look awesome. You might have to watch what you wear now though! Don't want to clash."
"I reckon I'm alright." She grinned. "We should go out soon, then I can showcase it."
"Actually Liam and I were thinking we should go out at the weekend. So how about then?"
"Sounds good. To celebrate you moving in?"
"Great. I'd better pick an outfit."
I rolled my eyes and smiled as she ran to her drawers.
"Anna, you've got 3 days."
"... Okay. I'm just excited."
"Thought you didn't want to get rid of me?"
"I don't silly! But I think you guys will all be great together. Who knows, in third year it might be a band house."
"Nah, there's no room for Callum. That's why he'll be here next year. But I guess it will be fun to basically be living with them. They're pretty tidy too. Although there is the impending threat of baby vomit and diapers."
"But think how fun it'll be to have the kid to cuddle! It'll be adorable! I can't believe I'm going to miss the first few months!"
"Yeah but then you'll be back and it'll be Aunty Anna."
"Awww, do you reckon?"
"I don't know. Maybe. Who knows what the future may bring?" I sighed dramatically, sitting down on the sofa. I reached for my phone and stared at the picture of Sam. Then, taking a deep breath, I changed it to one of the group photos of Anna, Ali and me, with the guys. Sam had taken it, but it was still better than staring in to those eyes and feeling the never ending pit of guilt that rolled through my stomach every time.
"Hey... oh. You changed it."
"Yeah. It was time." I shrugged, trying to lift the weight on my chest.
"It'll be alright Cara."
"Yeah. Yeah I'm sure it will."
"Come on, we'd better get to sleep. Lots to do tomorrow."
"Yeah. Night Anna. Thanks. You look great."
She grinned and headed back in to the bathroom to brush her teeth. I curled up on the sofa waiting for my turn. Tomorrow was looming, and I couldn't face the idea that everything was just... happening.
"Come on losers, get in." Liam said as the van pulled up. "Holy crap, is that Anna?"
"Hey Liam, like the hair?" She said.
"You look ready to kill. In the good way I mean." He grinned.
"He means you look bangable and it's a shame you're a lezza." Jak grinned from the driver's seat.
"No, that is not what I meant." Liam elbowed Jak.
"Alright boys, stop drooling. She's taken." I smiled slightly and got in the van.
"Hey, you ready?" Liam asked gently.
"Sure. I guess. Ready as I can be."
"It'll be fine Cara. At least she won't be there."
"Yeah." But part of me had been hoping she would be. Part of me wanted to leave everything there, just so that when she came back she'd know I hadn't given up. I still wanted her.
We were here all too soon. I stared up at the fire escape that I had to climb.
"Come on then guys." Jak said, jumping out.
"Cara? You want us to give you a minute?"
"... Yeah. Just a minute. Thanks." I smiled at Liam and got out. I climbed the steps, hearing them getting out but staying put behind me. I unlocked the door and stepped inside.
It smelt like home. The faint hints of flowers, fresh paint, chocolate and... Sam. The smell filled my nostrils and I felt tears rise in my eyes. I dashed them away and steeled myself to walk further in to the flat. The first door was the bedroom, but I couldn't quite bring myself to look in there yet. So I went along the corridor to the kitchen/living room/dining room. It looked pretty much the same as when I'd left. Even... even the photos were still there. I tentatively stretched my fingers out to touch the picture of the two of us at Sam's party. The glass was cool against my fingers, which suddenly felt very hot. In fact I felt hot. I was so nervous I was sweating.
I snapped my fingers away from the glass and shoved them in to the pockets of my jeans. There was nothing in here I would take. Nothing I could take. I went back in to the corridor. I had to go in the bedroom. Everything I'd left, everything Sam hadn't given to Anna, was here. In there. I pushed the door open.
At first glance everything seemed the same. It smelled the same. But then I saw the empty space above the bed and realised the picture I'd gotten for her had gone. It was like someone had punched me in the chest. I doubled over, gasping, and sat on the bed. Burying my head in my hands I took deep breaths, trying to calm down. I couldn't react like this. She had every right. I'd left her, I'd broken my own heart. But I'd hurt her in the process.
My fingers tangled in the covers we'd lain under, feeling the warmth of the throw. I took a deep breath and let it out. Sensory overload. I had to stand up.
I went to the chest of drawers and opened them.... only Sam's stuff was there. I ran to the wardrobe. Had she gotten rid of everything? I turned round, frantic, and saw my two suitcases on the floor next to my side... what had been my side of the bed. Hurrying over to them I found them all packed full of my things. Not thrown in angrily. Folded, neatly and carefully. She'd packed me out of her life. I touched one of my shirts, folded on top and started to cry. She wanted me out so fast she'd packed for me.
"Cara?" Anna's head popped round the door. "What... Oh. Did you...?" I shook my head, still sobbing. "She did it for you?" She crouched next to me and rubbed my back. "Wow. Okay."
"Anna have you found-" Liam popped his head round. "Oh." He came over and stared at the cases; I could practically see the cogs spinning in his head as he realised what had happened and tried not to say anything. "Shall I take them out?" He asked gently, rubbing my arm.
I dashed away my tears, took a steadying breath and nodded. Liam grabbed one of the suitcases and headed for the door; I heard him pushing Jak back down the stairs.
"I'll do the other, give you a minute." Anna said, rubbing my back a little more and then taking the other suitcase and wheeling it out.
I sat there for a second more, and then stood, going to the bed side table on Sam's side. She always had a pen and pad there. I took it out and wrote on the paper, a few stray tears dropping on the paper.
I couldn't bring myself to write that last line; I love you. I couldn't do that, not after everything. It would be a giant kick in the teeth. In the face. A finger to her face and feelings. I couldn't write it. I wanted to. But I couldn't.
I left the note on the bed, put the key to the flat next to it and left, leave the latch on so the door would lock behind me. Then I ran down the stairs and jumped in the van, wanting to leave, get away, before the urge to go back and scream in to the empty space above the bed filled me to the brim.