Chapter Eleven

"Dude, are you ever going to study? State testing is coming up soon!" Mason looked up from his math test to roll his eyes at his friend, Adam.

"Yeah right! I've never studied a day of my life and I got 100% on this test!" Mason stuck his tongue out at Adam, who sighed.

"Meanwhile, I studied all night long and bombed it," Alex said. Mason smirked.

"And that, my friend, is why you don't study," Mason said.

"Yeah, that's great, now can you get your lazy butt off of my desk?" Grace, Mason's best friend, asked. She tapped her fingers impatiently on the table and tucked a lock of her black hair behind her ear. Mason simply grinned, spinning around on top of her desk to face her.

"Why? Does it bug you?" He smiled as she sighed.

"Not really, but ever since I…" She trailed off and bit her lip.

"Ever since what?" Mason asked.

"Yeah, ever since what?" Adam asked.

"Nothing," Grace mumbled, stabbing her chicken fingers with her spork.

"Oh, come on Grace, don't leave them hanging like that," Mrs. Garcia, their eighth grade math teacher, said with a wink.

"Mrs. Garcia! As a fellow female shouldn't you be on my side?" Grace whined. Mrs. Garcia smiled.

"No. You're bugging me during what's supposed to be my lunch break, so I should at least enjoy it," Mrs. Garcia said, eating a forkful of her salad.

"It's nothing really. Someone just told me something weird, but I know I shouldn't worry about it," Grace said.

"What did they say?" Mason asked. Grace sighed.

"Someone just told me that you like me, but I know it's not true," she said. Mason frowned, and his cheeks felt warm as he looked away from her. Grace frowned as she noticed his blush.

"And if it is true?" Mason asked.

"Oh, Mason, I…" She bit her lip again, unsure of what to say. He turned his back to her, his hands holding on tightly to the edge of the desk. Adam looked nervously between them. He had already known about Mason's crush, but he had always thought that Grace would return his feelings.

"I-it's fine. Don't worry about it." Mason frowned down at his hands before taking a deep breath. He looked over his shoulder at his best friend. She twirled her hair with her fingers and she was biting her lip again. He was making her uncomfortable, and that was what he had been trying to avoid the whole time. That's why he hadn't told her.

"It'll blow over. It's just middle school anyway. I'm satisfied with us just being friends, so don't worry about it, okay?" He smiled his usual childish smile, and she returned the gesture, but she still looked a bit troubled. He looked back down at his hands and the smile dropped from his face.

It would blow over. It would blow over. It was just middle school. It wasn't a real crush anyway.

That's what he told himself for an entire week. Grace started avoiding him. He would see her in the hallway, and he would wave. She would bite her lip and hurry away.

It would blow over. It would blow over.

He holed himself up in his room. His parents didn't let him play his video games until he told them what was wrong. He made up excuses to skip basketball practice and miss the games. He spent a lot of the time staring at the ceiling. When he got bored, he would study. Mason hated studying. Basketball was his favorite thing in the world.

It would blow over. It would blow over.

Adam started avoiding him too. Grace and Adam started dating. They kept ignoring him. He would wave. They would look away. The little entourage of friends he never knew they had would laugh.

It would blow over. It would blow over.

His parents told him that they were moving away to another state. His father had gotten a promotion and it was an opportunity they couldn't let slip by. He would never see any of his friends again.

It would blow over. It would blow over.

Mason managed to convince Grace to talk to him after school.

"What is it?" Grace asked.

"What did I do?" Mason asked quietly. She stood there in silence for a while. She twirled her long black hair with her finger. She looked shorter than usual. Was she? Was he taller? It had only been a month. How could so much have changed? Why did it have to be this way?

"Mason, things just feel awkward. I mean, I know you like me, and I have a boyfriend now. I figured it'd be easier for you to deal with it if you didn't see me with Adam," she said.

"So you did all of this… For my sake?" Grace nodded.

"You didn't do anything wrong Mason. I just felt weird after I found out, that's all," she said. Mason looked down at the ground.

"I see. Thank you then." Mason turned abruptly on his heel and walked around the corner. He was going to keep walking, but he heard Adam's voice.

"I think he bought it," Grace said.

"Grace, I feel bad. I mean, you might not have liked him, but he was still my friend…" Adam mumbled.

"I feel bad too. He really isn't all that bad… He's just kind of annoying. Like a little kid. I didn't even want to be friends with him at first. I wouldn't have continued being friends with him if it wasn't for you," she said.

"But still…" Adam mumbled.

"Do you want to tell him to truth? Do you want me to tell him that he was just a stupid, annoying kid who stuck to me like a leech? That being around him really drained the life out of me?" Grace asked. Adam sighed.

"Come on, let's go." Grace turned the corner and froze when she saw Mason standing there in shock. Adam followed behind her, but he took a step back once he saw Mason.

"Oh, God, Mason…" Grace whispered.

It was supposed to just blow over.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," Mason said.

"Mason, why are you apologizing?" Adam asked.

"I didn't know I was so much of a pest. I was right to quit the team. I was right to not try and clear things up. I never should've done anything. I'm sorry." Mason's hands clenched into fists. Adam's eyes grew wide.

"You quit the team? Mason, you're our best player!" Adam exclaimed.

"Don't apologize…" Grace reached out to him, but Mason took a step back.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Mason stepped back again.

"Mason, stop apologizing," Grace said.

"You'll never have to worry about it again. I'm sorry. I'll never bother you again," Mason smiled sadly at them.

"After I'm gone, you'll have nothing to worry about. It'll all blow over like I was never even here," he said.

"After you're gone. Mason, what-" Adam couldn't even finish his sentence because Mason turned and ran.

It was supposed to blow over.

Mason sat up in his bed, rubbing his eyes. It was still dark. His clock said it was around three in the morning. He sighed, staring at the wall. He hadn't had that dream in so long. He put his head in his hands.

"It's been two years. Why do I still remember your face so clearly?"

Grace. A girl who was a bit short with long black hair. She almost reminded him of Sierra except for one important difference. Grace had dark brown eyes, like black coffee. Eyes that he used to think were kind. Eyes that held secrets within their dark depths. Sierra's eyes were different. A gentle blue that had never hid anything from him.

Sierra hadn't hurt him yet, and he hoped that there would never be a day that she would.

But in the end a hope is just a hope. Hoping for the best doesn't mean that the best will happen.

This was a loooooooonnnngggggg flashback. But I really wanted to put it in here so... Got any problems with it? Don't worry. It'll blow over... It'll blow over...

Anwwho, R&R.