I was walking over to Rowan's house, alongside her new boyfriend Allen. We talked about music, and about what we wanted to do after graduation. Soon enough we arrived at her door, knocked, and were invited in kindly by her house mate.
"Rowan!" She shouted, "Your boyfriends are here!"
She laughed from upstairs, "Only one of them is my boyfriend!"
I chuckled and nudged Allen with my elbow.
"Actually, we're both her boyfriends," Allen joked.
Rowan ran down the stairs and hugged both of us. She kissed Allen on the cheek.
"Hey Row, could I use your piano? I wanna work on something for a bit. I know you two could use some alone time anyway." I said, pointing at them.
Rowan laughed, "Sure, but we're all going to a movie soon so don't get too wrapped up!"
I rolled my eyes, "I'll try."
We parted, her and Allen going upstairs, and me to the living room. She had a nice upright that she'd purchased from a local piano shop. I loved coming over to play it and work on my projects. I set down my backpack and got out my laptop. Before I could pull any music up, Skype blocked my screen, with a notification from someone. I clicked it, and Ashley's contact info appeared on the screen. She was online. My heart rate quickened. Now that I was online, she could see me. I breathed deeply several times before messaging her.
Me: I was planning on emailing you soon…
Her: I understand if you don't want to. It was selfish of me to contact you then, to even be here now. I'm so sorry.
Me: Don't be… I just want to talk to you. Can we Skype?
I clicked her name, and after several painstaking seconds her face appeared on my screen. I realized I was almost trembling. I smiled, she smiled. God damn I loved her smile.
"Let me plug in my headphones," I said. I grabbed them from my backpack and shoved the jack into my computer. Suddenly everything was hazy, and I was no longer in Rowan's house. I was being sucked through some kind of tunnel. I couldn't see anything. Then I saw Ashley, from behind. She was looking at her computer, and slowly her room came into focus. My feet touched the carpet, and I breathed in cold air.
"Hey," I said plainly.
"Oh hey," she responded. For some reason, neither of us were surprised at this sudden change in circumstances. We just continued talking as if we were still Skyping, as if we were still hundreds of miles apart. But she seemed distant… As the conversation went on, she became shifty-eyed. My heart sank as I wondered what she might be hiding from me.
A boyfriend? I thought. I started to feel anxious, and Ashley excused herself to the restroom. I waited for several minutes, but every second passed made me more anxious. After several more minutes of waiting, I decided to check on her. I heard the sink running as I approached the bathroom, and I heard sniffling.
"Ashley? Hey, are you okay?"
The door was cracked, and I pushed it open slightly. She was leaning over the sink, applying powder and makeup furiously to her face. She was crying.
"Ashley! What are you doing?"
I rushed in and turned off the sink. She closed her eyes, still crying. She'd been trying to cover her whole face. I embraced her.
"Ashley, what do you think I'm here for? Don't you know by now that I love the way you look? You don't need to hide your face from me."
I held her tightly, and she cried into my chest. It was probably making a mess on my shirt, but I didn't mind. Not for her.
A crowing voice came from downstairs, "Ashley!! Where are you?!"
Fear shot through my heart.
Instantly, I was awake.