Jessa and Archer have reluctantly played a role in each other's' lives for years. It was always because of Anna.
As Jessa's best friend and Archer's fiance Anna has always been the link chaining them together. When Anna's sudden and untimely death leaves both Jessa and Archer alone and miserable, the two must find a way to put their resentment aside in honor of Anna's memory. Unbound by their common link, Jessa and Archer still can't seem to find a way out of each other's lives...
Laughter and magnified conversations, filled the room and drowned out the music coming from hidden speakers in the well-endowed Cape Corona mansion in which an end of year party was taking place for the students of Cape Corona High School. Jessa did her best to mingle and socialize with her classmates. As student president it was her job to attend these sort of events. At least that was what she told her parents.
Jessa downed a pineapple Jello shot, sucking the contents dry of the tiny medicine cup that housed it. Her classmates cheered her on, but she waved them off before they encouraged her to the point of alcohol poisoning. She dug her way out of the mosh pit of the sweaty bodies all held up in the living room and into a nearly vacant kitchen.
The kitchen alone was the size of Jessa’s house. The marble counters were void of any clutter except for a few pricey stainless steel appliances. A fruit basket held a variety of bright fruits. These were the kind of houses that graced the cover of Better Homes magazine.
Jessa hopped up on a stool by the breakfast bar. Opposite her stood Anna, her best friend since kindergarten. Anna was hunched over the counter, engrossed with the task of signing Jessa’s yearbook. Jessa had been sure to save her a page, as nothing Anna had to say would be short and sweet, but most likely long and devious.
-“Are you done yet?” Jessa sighed in exasperation.
“Don’t get your pom- poms in a bunch Jess, these things take time and dedication,” Anna replied with a playful smirk.
Jessa frowned. “So do lots of things. Like studying for the pre SATS. In fact I think we should start tomorrow. We can meet at Madigans I’ll even buy the coffee.”
Jess studied Anna as she leaned against the kitchen counter scribbling a frantic note in her yearbook. With an unsteady breath Anna raised and dropped her shoulders. “We’ve already had this conversation Jess, please not tonight. We’re at a party for Christ’s sake!”
Jessa, being the persistent one in their friendship, resisted the growing urge to grab Anna by her ebony tresses. “Please Anna, look at me!”
Anna dropped the pen and turned to face her longtime best friend. She blinked away tears of guilt that made her brown eyes seem darker. “I know you don’t like him Jessa,” Anna began. “But this is my decision and mine alone.”
Jessa grabbed Anna's wrist. On her tiny finger was a newly placed engagement ring. It was a decent sized diamond centered on a smooth white silver band. “Technically your parents make all of your legal decisions for you, because you are a child, barely seventeen!”
Anna yanked her arm free. “Archer and I already have our futures planned. Just because I’m not going to college doesn’t mean I’m just going to throw my life away!”
The music and crowds of people around them seemed to grow thicker. For the sake of their Jessa let the conversation die. The air was filled with a rare tension that ceased to exist before Anna started dating Archer two years ago.
Two years ago Jessa could tolerate Archer, one might go as far as to call them friends back then. But things changed quickly within the last two years, Anna changed especially. Jessa blamed Archer.
“What are you thinking about?” Anna asked a minute later.
-“My head hurts, I want to go home,” Jessa lied.
“Okay but aren’t you going to read what I wrote in your yearbook?” Anna asked hopefully.
- “Maybe later. Go find your fiancé and see if he’s ready to leave.” The words came out more bitterly than Jessa had intended. Anna nodded and forced a smile upon her face, but the pain in her eyes was evident.
A few minutes later Anna had returned with Archer Seren. Sure Archer had some redeemable qualities. For instance he was easy to look at with his dark hair and intense green eyes, and sure he could act nice, but Jessa feared it was all a façade he put on for Anna’s sake. Jessa didn’t even bother saying hi to him as they made their way to Anna’s car.
Another perfectly good night, ruined by the topic of “Anna’s beloved” ,Jessa thought resentfully while staring daggers at the back of his head. The threesome made their way to Anna’s car in silence.
Jessa hated being subjected to the backseat, but Archer was too tall to sit back there, and her frame was considerably smaller, still she couldn’t help but feel resentment. “Mind moving your seat forward? You’re crushing my feet.” Jessa snarled in a less than friendly tone.
Archer silently moved his seat up as far as he could without putting himself in extreme discomfort, but the tone at which Jessa asked him to do so grated on his nerves. “Is that better princess?” He mocked.
Jessa could hear Anna sigh in distress as from the driver’s seat, it wasn’t enough to keep Jessa quiet. “Princess, me? Why, Archer you are too kind. But seriously if anyone deserves a royal title it’s you. After all who knows more about getting their own way and dominating minds of the innocent?”
“Oh, here we go again,” Archer groaned. “You’re so deadset on hating me that you can’t see that Anna made her choice all on her own. I think it’s time you open your ears and support her decisions because it seems I’m the only one doing just that and you are supposed to be her best friend!” Archer’s fist came down hard on the dashboard making Jessa jump a little.
Before Jessa could regain her composure and offer a loathing reply Anna punched the horn. Jessa cursed at the sound. “That is enough from both of you!” Anna screamed. She angled her body enough to see Archer and Jessa. “You guys have to get over yourselves! You have to learn how to live with each other if I-" Whatever Anna was going to say was cut off by the glare of headlights speeding towards them. What followed was an instant crash and deafening scream.
The details would be hard to remember. The moment would be even harder to forget.