Lyra flopped down on her dorm room couch, exhausted. She hated Thursdays, really hated them. She had just suffered through three grueling classes and dance practice. All she wanted to do was sleep. But she knew she couldn’t. She knew that eventually, Mason would call or text her to come over. And she wanted him to, despite how tired she really was.
Caroline came home before his call though, something she normally didn’t do. “Hey love,” she said with a smile. “I skipped my regular study session and brought you some Starbucks.”
“Oh my goodness, I love you.” Lyra said happily.
“You too, girlie. Ha-ha, how was your day?” Caroline took a seat on the coffee table in front of Lyra, who sat up from her spread out position on the couch.
“Same old, same old. Thursdays are the worst. How was yours?”
“Good, but I’ve still got a night class later.” She slipped off her sandals and started taking her straight shoulder-length blonde hair out of its intricate braid. Lyra watched her longingly. Her curly hair was the perfect length but she could never do all the fancy, twisted braids Caroline knew how to do easily. Caroline laughed at her expression, “Want me to do your hair?”
“Yes please.” Lyra sat on the floor in front of Caroline, who quickly starting parting and braiding her hair in silence. Lyra’s eyes closed and she smiled, she loved when people played with her hair. And although Caroline was 21, only a year older than her, she sometimes felt that Caroline babied her. But in a good way. She was always checking up on her and doing nice things without being asked. Lyra wasn’t that good of a friend but she tried to be, knowing Caroline would always be there for her as a lifelong friend.
“Got a call from your boy toy yet?” Caroline asked smartly, breaking Lyra out of her train of thought.
“No,” she answered reluctantly.
“Yeah well, we both know you will eventually.” She laughed lightly for a moment but then turned serious. “Are you bringing him here?”
“Probably not, but why?”
“No reason. It’s just, after my class, I was planning to have friends over to study some.”
“Of course, of course. You skip one study session and plan another.” Lyra shook her head, messing up the piece Caroline was working on. “This weekend we’re going out. For some fun. You study too much.”
“You sleep at his place too much.” Caroline replied without hesitation.
Lyra was quiet for a second and then laughed. “Oh, that was low.” She took a sip of her Starbucks though, not taking Caroline’s words to heart.
“Yeah, sorry. But I meant it. Eventually you should meet my friends from my night class because some of them are dancers and others are in the drama program. I think you’d like them.”
“Oh sounds nice. I probably would like them.” Lyra was quiet again, but the silence was broken by her phone buzzing.
“But you’ll run to him of course.” Caroline said, not sadly, just in a way of stating the truth. “Just hold on, I’m almost done. You don’t want to text back eagerly anyway.” She chuckled, trying to lighten the mood but Lyra didn’t answer her. Two more quiet minutes passed and Caroline burst. “I’m sorry, okay? I just don’t want you to get hurt."
“He won’t hurt me,” Lyra whispered, but even she knew that was a lie.
“Okay, I’m done.” She handed the braid to Lyra, who smiled thanks. At first glance, it was a normal twisted braid but looking closely there were two smaller braids wrapped elegantly around the larger one.
“You’re really good at this. Thanks.” Lyra held onto it, twisting it through her fingers. Then slowly, she moved toward her dance bag, pulling out her phone. Caroline took her own coffee and disappeared into her separate room, giving Lyra some privacy.