Hey readers!

Well another angst story based slightly on a real life situation, but I'll leave you to decide when the story stops being real ;)

I hope you enjoy!

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It's just another school day for you, another day looking for a person who may or not be there. It was the week before winter break, and everyone was finishing up classes and wrapping up the last assignments. Everyone was relaxing, all except one.

Your best friend Michelle had been working much harder than anyone else, already getting started on projects that were all for next year and forcing herself to work much harder than anyone else. She'd often get so wrapped up in her work it was all she thought about.

You'd known Michelle for seven years, and lately, she had become less and less like the woman you had first met.

She was smarter than most people and very beautiful, but that's not why you chose her as a friend. You chose her because of her heart.

Michelle was kind, very kind, and she had your back from the moment you met her.

It was a casual acquaintance at first. A math teacher had asked her to tutor you, and you desperately needed the help. She had aided you over countless hours of study, and with her help, you knew enough to pass any test given to you.

After the tutoring was finished, she would often stick around, chatting with you about a book or a movie or the latest idea bouncing around in your head. Over those talks, a friendship developed.

You felt good when Michelle talked to you because her eyes would light up and her face would wear a perfect smile. She would generally be interested in what you tried to say, and she would help you when your brain got ahead of your mouth.

You didn't have autism with her, you weren't socially broken or the "weirdo" of the school, you were normal because she fixed you and made being weird okay. You felt normal around her, and it was such an odd sensation that you craved it.

In return, you tried to be the best friend you could because the heavens knew you didn't deserve her. You tried to fix her problems, noticed when she was feeling less than her bubbly self, and most important of all… you listened to her.

She could talk for hours about social problems, family drama, or anything else that wasn't going well for her and you would help her. You took the social aspect of life and twisted it, giving it some concept that you were used to.

With the mind of a writer that you possessed, you turned family squabbles into battles between monsters, social drama into a world-threatening faceless enemy, and emotional pain into magical curses. Monsters could be slain, enemies stopped, and curses lifted… and once you understood them, you could defeat them.

The bond you both forged was unbreakable, and fights between you both were almost non-existent, as you fixed each other's weaknesses and supported one another's strengths. Fate made you companions, but time made you friends.

As you moved from grade school to high school, you noticed something about her. Her drive to work, thrive, and even exceed in academic environments seemed to triple.

Michelle threw herself into projects with a desire to see them slain at her feet. She wanted to be perfect in everything she did. Top of the class was the only position for her and she manned it well, but while everyone was marveling at her success, you were the only one who saw the cost of her burning desire to be the best.

Dark circles under her eyes from nights studying, afternoons spent in the library instead of outside with friends, and the snappy responses she gave you… then immediately apologized for.

You were happy to get even snappy responses from her, as during these stressful times, she didn't even have much time for you, because her nose was stuck in a book or in research, so your normal hangout times had to be cleared for her increased study sessions.

You concealed how much it hurt from her and instead waited for your best friend to come back around because she always did. All you had to do was give hugs and support, and that was it. In a twist of fate, you tutored her on subjects you were good in.

Then the exam season would pass and you'd get her back again, and everything was okay. She was the girl you became best friends with.

…..

Still, as the last year of high school barreled down on you with full steam, you noticed that the passing troubles of exam season were almost always on her mind.

You were lucky to be passing with all the workload crushing you, much less having any free time to do anything remotely productive outside of school, but you managed the stress and at least had a handle on all the things you were supposed to be working on.

Michelle had turned into a train wreck, and only you saw the cracks behind the smiling face she presented to the world. She had at least four tests a month, as well as several long-term projects due in several months, and every other scrap of free time was all for college applications.

She was running on fumes, moving so fast she didn't even stop to refill her tank.

You hated it, you hated how she had a compulsive need to be the best with everything, and if she didn't it crushed her.

Until finally it all became too much.

You were in a study hall period when it happened, she was on her computer with one hand and taking notes with the other, muttering to herself about things she had to do for this week.

Her voice, even as a whisper, comforted you as you worked on a chapter of your novel, and as you continued typing you didn't hear the stutter at first.

Your fingers moved across the keys as her voice became less smooth, far choppier as she took shaky breaths. Until you finally looked up at her, wondering what had made her stop.

She was hunched over, wrapped up in the blue hoodie she always wore, strands of her brown hair peeked out from under the hood as she shivered. You saw tears drip onto her desk, and before you could lean over to comfort her she stood up and ran for the door.

You turn to the teacher in the room, who nods slightly, and you follow her. Thankfully every faculty member in the school knew about the relationship you both had, so if something went wrong with one, all they had to do was call the other… and that could do more than they ever could.

So you follow the empty hallways, hearing her choked sobs as you speed walk down the halls. Thankfully no one was actively watching you, so you got away with moving slightly faster than a walk.

As you turned the corner, you saw her huddled in front of a water fountain, sobbing softly with her head in her hands. You step forward slightly, not wanting to scare her off as the sound of your footstep enters her ears.

When she doesn't react, you sit down beside her and place an arm around her, rubbing her shoulders with slow strokes as you let her cry.

Michelle sniffs and raises her head after a few minutes, blinking away the remaining tears as she squeezes your other hand. "It's all too much… the History paper, the English presentation, the Art analysis, the college applications… I don't have enough time! Everyone expects me to be the best, to hold myself to this impossibly high standard, and I can't…"

She takes a deep breath "But I have to."

You close your eyes, almost angry at the pressure she was collapsing under because it was all of her own making. You were passing most of the classes, you were going to a good college, and you were still finding moments of free time. "Michelle, you don't have to put this pressure on yourself." You whisper, trying to run a calm hand over her raging emotions.

"I do!" She snaps, and suddenly all the tears are gone, replaced by anger. "If I don't get into Harvard, my dream school, then I won't get into Law school, and if I don't become a lawyer then I'll just be another washout who waitresses for a living! All my dreams require on getting noticed by Harvard or another top Ivy League school, and to do that I need to push myself to get the best grades I can!"

Suddenly, you are angry too, because she just said the answer to all her troubles. "Michelle, you said it yourself, you need to get the 'best grades you can.' Not the best grades in the school, not the best grades in the class, but the best grades you can. Take some of the pressure off and you will still achieve all your dreams. Because that's who you are. You are beautiful and talented and special, and any college would have to see that in you."

Your fists clench in front of you as you take a breath "I can't watch my best friend destroy herself."

She stands up and wobbles a bit before closing her eyes "I'm not destroying myself, I just need to work harder… eliminate everything else that isn't school and just focus on my GPA."

Shooting upwards like a rocket you grab her shoulders, almost wanting to shake her as you lock your eyes onto hers. "Does everything include your best friend?"

The pain at watching her put so much pressure on herself, giving everything up for one shot at a dream, of taking a hard and lonely road for the uncertainty of success... it tore through your body like a wildfire. Suddenly not caring about the answer, you lunged forward, too far gone to stop yourself.

Your lips were on hers the second your brain caught up to what your body had done, but your hands clasp around her arms and you don't pull away. Because above all the social complications, new tension, and further stress this puts on you both, the kiss does something else.

It makes the pain go away.

For a second you are terrified she'll pull away in anger or disgust or fear. Your brain vaguely pulls up a conversation you both had had about a boy she was dating or was it just someone she had a crush on? As you mill about in uncertainties, one thing becomes more than clear.

Her arms tighten around you, and one of her hands grips your shoulders while the other buries itself in your hair, and she starts to kiss back. She adds to the spark that you lit aggressively, turning it into a bonfire as you massage circles into her shoulders.

Then you both pull back, sharing heaving breaths and red faces as your brains realign and you realize what you both did.

You look around and note with relief the hallways are still deserted, and you let her go as she smiles at you.

"My brain stopped just then. I wasn't worried or stressed or anything really, I just felt… nice." Michelle chuckled.

You exhale with relief, at least she wasn't mad or anything. "Glad I could help you."

As you turn to go back to class, confident that everything was well in hand, she stops you. "Thank you for bringing me down to Earth, I needed it. If I ever get overwhelmed again… could you kiss me? O-only if you want to, but it would be nice."

You smiled, kissing in general never had much appeal to you, but the idea of kissing Michelle…

"I think I can do that for you." You take her hand "But don't shut me out okay, let me know before you get overwhelmed because I can help you."

Her eyes sparkle for a moment, and for that moment you see the girl you used to know. "I will, promise."

And as you walk back down the halls, a thought pierces the fog of your brain. Maybe if you kept kissing her, you'd find the girl you used to know.

...

I hope you enjoyed the story! :D

Please leave a review, feel free to check out my other works, and have a great day!