I sighed and dropped my bag to the ground, sliding into the seat opposite Luke. He flashed me a grin. "Hey, Leah," He greeted.
"Hey," I returned. Sometimes I wondered if he genuinely thought my name was Leah. After 10 years of friendship, he still called me it, despite knowing that my name was actually Emilia. Most people called me Emily or even Ellie as a nickname, but not Luke.
The first day I met him, after he moved in next door, he had mistakenly thought my name was actually Leah. Since then it stuck. I didn't mind. I didn't care what Luke called me.
We had been best friends since we were seven, since he moved in next door to me. We were partners in crime most of the time, and always fought, just never seriously. We just got each other, and somewhere along the way, I'd had the misfortune to fall completely and irreparably in love with him.
What's the problem with that, you might ask? Well the problem with that came gliding over to the table then, sitting down beside him and twisting her fingers through his. Paige. His girlfriend of two years and my other best friend.
I averted my eyes as they kissed, staring at the pizza that sat untouched in front of me, trying to still the uneasy feeling in my stomach.
I'd probably known Paige for even longer than I'd known Luke, and once upon a time we'd been inseparable. We still were, in a sense. I told her everything. She listened, she gave advice. We laughed, we had fun, but that didn't make her a good friend, and I realised that when she started going out with Luke.
She knew I liked him. I'd told her. We'd had lengthy discussions about it. But did that influence her decision when Luke asked her out? No.
At some point over the last two years I seemed to have been able to convince her that I didn't have feelings for Luke anymore. Either that or she'd forgotten or simply didn't care.
Matthew slid into the seat beside me, Cody not far behind him. "Gross," Matthew complained loudly, and Luke chuckled against Paige's lips.
It was enough to get them to stop making out, and Paige started picking at her own slice of pizza, Luke's arm slung across her back.
"One week guys," Cody commented, and I couldn't decide if he was excited or nervous. Hell, I couldn't decide if I was excited or nervous!
"One week?" Luke repeated, his eyes wide. "Shit," He sighed. His alarm was only visible for a few seconds before he masked it with a smile. I reached out, nudging his calf with my toe.
His converse nudged me back and I bit back a small smile. Paige was nodding, her mouth full of food.
In one week we would graduate from high school. Then at the end of the summer we'd go our separate ways. I was going to college in California. Luke was going travelling. I swallowed hard and tried not to think about it. I glanced up at Luke, but he was already looking at me. He inclined his head slightly and raised his eyebrows, giving a smile that said 'I'll talk to you later'.
I nodded and Matthew sighed loudly. "They're speaking through private jokes or some shit again,"
Luke rolled his eyes and ignored his friend, leaning across Paige to pick up her last slice of pizza and take a big bite of it before she could protest. She rolled her eyes and smacked him lightly on the arm, but she was laughing.
That night, in the early hours of the morning, I lay awake. I couldn't sleep. My mind was running wild, busy with thoughts. I hauled myself up onto my window seat, heaving open the window with a sigh.
From here I could see Luke's room, and within a few minutes the light flickered on and he was sitting on his own window seat, window wide open.
"Can't sleep?" He called quietly.
I shook my head.
When I was little I used to think that our windows were so close that if I reached far enough I could climb into his bedroom.
"One week," He whispered, letting out a low whistle.
"I know," I sighed, tucking my knees up under my chin.
We always did this. Weekends, summer, Christmas holidays. Whenever we couldn't sleep we'd sit out here at 2 and 3 am, talking through the windows to each other, usually either until it got bright or one of us fell asleep.
"That's only like, two more months until you leave…"
I couldn't decide if he was talking about me leaving to go to college or that I was leaving him.
"I know," I repeated, my mouth dry.
Luke angled his head up, looking at the darkened sky. "Are you excited?" He asked softly.
I thought about it for a minute, I even considered lying to him, but in the end I couldn't do that. He was Luke. He knew me better than anyone else.
"No," I replied, and he glanced at me. Before either of us could say anything further we both started laughing.
"Leah, I'm—" He was cut off by the sound of his phone ringing inside his room. "One minute," He said, raising a finger. He got up with a sigh and I could see his silhouetted figure scrambling around his room looking for the phone.
He returned a few minutes later, his brow furrowed. "That was Paige," He said. "I have to go,"
"Oh," My stomach sank. I knew I should ask. "Is she okay?"
He sighed heavily, running his hands across his face and through his hair. "I don't know," He replied, and before I could ask anything further, his phone beeped to alert an incoming text message and he swore quietly.
He disappeared from the window and a few minutes later I heard the engine of his car purr and come to life. I got down from the window, closing it, and went back to bed.
The following morning I was walking to Starbucks with Luke, who was surprisingly chirpy considering his apparent lack of sleep last night. There were dark rings circling his eyes but there was a certain skip in his step that hadn't been there yesterday.
"What's got you in such a good mood?"
I was half expecting him to tell me he got laid last night and that's what was with him. If that was the case he usually came right out and said it. "You know when I got that call from Paige last night?" He said.
I nodded. "Well don't ask me how it happened, apparently she was out with her cousin. They were at some bar downtown, and she got really drunk. She needed someone to drive her home," He continued.
I frowned, more out of confusion than anything else. "So why are you happy again?"
His grin widened. "I went to pick her up and when I got there somehow I got to chatting to the owner of the place, and he mentioned that he wanted to start getting bands in for live music every now and again,"
I was starting to catch on.
"So when I told him about my band, he said to give him my number and he'd definitely consider hiring us for a gig," He beamed.
Luke had been in a band with a few other guys from school for the past year. I knew that it was what he always wanted to do, and he had a gorgeous voice, he really did, it was so sexy, but I'd never taken him seriously when he spoke about it.
Maybe it was the fact that their idea of rehearsal was playing FIFA or Call of Duty in someone's garage and ordering pizza.
I grinned non-the-less. "That's great!"
He looked so excited, it was so sweet. "Isn't it! You'll come, won't you?"
"Of course," I promised.
His grin stretched wider, if that was even possible. "Thanks, Leah," He said, slinging his arm over my shoulder and hugging me to his side.
A/N: Hey guys! I usually wait until I've written a fair bit of a story before I post it, but I'm pretty excited about this one. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I've enjoyed writing!
I've never written anything in first person, either, so we'll see how that goes.
Thanks, as always, for reading.