As we neared the corner, her steps slowed. I matched them until we stopped just short of the end. Street lights smeared the asphalt in a watery glow. Even now, I stood on the part of the sidewalk closest to the road, and the recognition of the habit had me shoving away memories. No. I would not be sixteen again. Not now. Not with her. It wasn’t fair.

She leaned on a lamppost, rain rolling off her leather jacket. “You know,” she said. “You actually haven’t changed at all.”

I flinched as a car blurred past in the darkness. “You don’t know how comforting it is to hear you say that.”

“Why is it comforting?” She smiled. “Were you afraid to change?”

“I’ve always been.”

“I know.”

Our shadows touched.

There was her chin on the classroom desk across from me. I wondered what was on her mind.

What was on her mind right now? I hadn’t asked her tonight. I had no right to be reminiscing about something that didn’t mean anything to her–not then, let alone anymore. There was no point and her hair still fell the way it did and her scent was the same.

We touched. Languidly, she withdrew her hand, arms folding across her chest. “I love you.”

Gently, so gently. Sleepy music faded in and out of the nearest restaurant. I edged closer to the road, knowing she still wouldn’t follow. I’m not as grown as I think I am.

“I love you too.”


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