"Hey, happy belated birthday, you two!"
"Aw, thanks!" Angela replied in her usual cheerful chirp, while Miles simply nodded with a smile as their good friend fell into step with them. "Thanks, Fay."
"Ah, Leo got you two a little something from the all of us, but you'll see him at lunch," He slid his hands in the pockets of his pants as they made their way down the school hallway. "Did you guys have a good birthday?"
"Yeah!" Angela's tone was much more enthusiastic than his, even though they replied in nearly the exact same voice. "Even though I should kill him for it, Miles bought me this beautiful skating costume…"
"Oh yeah, you used to skate, right?"
"Not used to!" Angela huffed-though she wouldn't usually be so miffed when people forgot she skated too, Miles had probably woken some sensitive thoughts with their little skating spree on the weekend. "I still do! I was never as into it as Miles, but…"
"Well, I'd love to see it sometime, shortcake." Miles rolled his eyes as Fay turned to go into the music room with a smile towards Angela-he could never tell when Fay's flirting was serious or not, though it felt odd when he was teasing Angela either way. "Make sure to say hi to Leo for me!"
"Yeah, of course." Miles replied as he and Angela continued through the art hallway to where the tech and science one began, though the female side of the twins let out a huff under her breath. "Shortcake? Fay's getting out of practice, don't you think?"
"Either that, or he's finally got no need to flirt because he found a girlfriend," Miles replied, eliciting a laugh from his sister as they entered the science room. "Ha, he wishes."
Though it was known after the scene Ray and Angela had caused back in ninth grade that Miles really preferred to be left alone outside of his friends, his birthday seemed to be an exception-to everyone else, at least. Though he still didn't really enjoy the attention, at least people wishing him a happy birthday were better than being harassed about his career. Even so, he was slightly relieved when he, Ray, Angela, Leo and Fiona were at the diner which only had one other table occupied. It generally wasn't a popular place because of how shady it could seem from the outside, but that made Miles like it more.
"Happy birthday, Verdes." Leo enthusiastically pushed a couple colourful bags across the table towards them. "It's something from all of us, even though it was mostly me and Fay picked it out."
"Aww, thanks, Leo!" As usual, Angela was a gracious receiver of gifts, and practically tore open her present. Miles nodded with a smile. "You guys didn't have to, you know-"
"Miles." Ray cut him off, his dark chocolate eyes serious from across the table. "If you say that one more time, I will fucking hurt you. Accept your damn gifts."
Miles let out a huff of feigned irritation, bringing his hand to his chest as if he was insulted as he began to unwrap Leo's gift. "Well! They are my presents, and it is my birthday, I'll have you know!"
Dark brown eyes glittered in amusement as the tall Spanish boy chuckled, "Not anymore it isn't, but I see your point."
"Wow, Leo!" Miles glanced to his left to see Angela had opened a small box containing a pair of earrings and a matching necklace, both resembling icicles.. "Aww, that's so cute! Thanks!"
"Lucia basically told us what a girl like you might like as a gift so we weren't wildly off par, but otherwise…" The redheaded boy shrugged. "So I did a good job then?"
"A great job, yeah!" Carefully, Angela took the earrings from their place next to the necklace, sliding them in her pierced ears, and though they looked stunning on her, especially with her hair being a little shorter than the average teen girl's, Miles couldn't help but feel an unexpected pang of jealousy. He'd wanted a piercing since around the time Angela had gotten hers, when she'd been diagnosed with lupus after a long year of confusion, but Ezra had stepped in, saying something along the lines of it being 'a waste of time and money' and 'could mess with his young media image in the future as a child performer'. Though he could understand the latter point, Miles still longed to have a bit more of a… less cute appearance sometimes, even though it was generally what he was known for on the ice.
"Hey, Miles, open yours."
"Hmm?" Miles blinked, being pulled from his thoughts by Leo's enthusiastic voice. "Oh, yeah. Sorry." Clearing his throat, Miles pulled the tissue paper out of the bag to reveal his gift.
"Aww!" Fiona leaned over his shoulder as he pulled out a small plush gecko, in the same style as the fox Angela had gifted him with, able to attach to his skating bag. "That's so cute! Do you really like such cute things, Miles?"
"I…" The short blond skater felt his cheeks flush as he answered in a stutter, "I don't… I don't mind them…"
"He's very cute, isn't he?" Angela agreed, and he elbowed her, feeling his face light up even brighter. "Shut up, would you?"
"Very much so," Ray teased, cocking his head ever so slightly to give himself a more innocent look that was undeniably fake, and Miles kicked his best friend's shin, cracking a bit of a smile at the his protest.
"Fay said you like cute things," Leo shrugged, smiling a little. "And you're always skating, so we thought you could strap it to your skating bag or something."
"You and Angela definitely coordinated your gifts, right?"
"Hmm?" The redhead cocked his head, popping the last of the french fries they were sharing in his mouth. "No, we didn't. Why?"
"She…" The small blond skater smiled a little at the thought of the little plush currently hooked onto his bag. "She bought me practically the same thing… Only a fox…"
"Aww!" Fiona nudged him again. "It's gotta be true if two people bought you something so similar!"
Miles simply rolled his eyes, deciding to just leave the topic be, changing the topic with a huff. "The holiday dance is in a few days."
"Ooh, yeah, that is this Friday, isn't it?" Fiona hummed, resting her elbows on the table. "Are we taking any special someones?"
"Not exactly," Miles finished off the string of remarks from his friends at the table. Fiona laughed a little. "Wow, all of you are a little more than pathetic when it comes to love, huh?"
"Pathetic?" Miles raised an eyebrow, a tiny smirk playing on his lips as he leaned to his right to face Fiona. "Are you kidding? I could definitely get a date if I wanted."
"Could you?" Fiona teased, though there was a hint of competition in her tone. Miles nodded, crossing his arms. "Yeah, and I could make it worth her time too!"
The short Spanish girl raised an eyebrow. "Really now?"
"Really!" Miles insisted, the competition in both his voice and Fiona's increasing.
"Fine. Come to the dance with me on Friday!"
For a moment, the five teens at the table were silent, before Leo spoke, his voice laced with total confusion. "What the hell just happened?"
"I just got a date to the dance on Friday," Miles replied simply, even though he was barely sure what had just happened himself-he'd gotten a date for the dance on Friday? He followed Angela out of the booth of the diner, sliding on his jacket and grabbing the present Leo had given him as he did. "And all of you suckers have nothing."
"Are you sure about this?" Angela murmured in his ear as they walked out of the diner. Miles took a deep breath, letting it out to cloud in the chilled, snowy air. "Nope."
The rest of the week went fairly smoothly, and between his usual schoolwork and practicing both routines (as well as practicing his pair skating with Angela which she seemed to be enjoying again, even though she was significantly weaker than she'd been before the lupus), Miles couldn't help but wonder about what the dance would be like. It had been awhile since he'd gone to a dance (he, Ray and Angela would go together every so often before Miles had developed a crush on the eldest of them), and it had been even longer since he'd been to a dance with a date. Though he knew Fiona meant well (or at least, Miles assumed she meant well, in her odd way of doing things) and they were going 'as friends', it could easily backfire on him, in one way or another. Angela had assured him not to worry about it too much. Fiona was sweet, even if she was cheeky and mischievous, and it seemed unlikely she'd pull anything dirty on him, and so trying to obey his sister, Miles decided to try his best not to worry about it.
Christmas approaching also meant the house would be decorated nicely. As the 23rd came close, Miles had to admit that every room of the house was looking festive, from the obvious Christmas tree in the living room to the fairy lights wrapped around the banister of the staircase to the precious snow globe from his birthday on his desk. Even though they didn't do much for Christmas (they weren't really religious, and considering on how close their birthdays were to the holiday, they also generally didn't get many gifts) the feeling of late December was a good one. It was the evening of the 23rd, Miles was suddenly wondering what in the world he should do with his hair that was nearly as long as Angela's, he couldn't help but feel a certain giddiness bubbling inside him.
"Hey, Miles, you know Fiona's stopping by soon, right?"
"Yeah." The blond boy grumbled from where he was upside-down on the couch in the living room, his video game console in hand and a mirror on the floor. Though he was too short for his head to actually be touching the floor, his hair nearly did, and he looked away from the screen of the small device for a moment to stare at his unruly blond locks. "My hair is so freaking long."
"It's cute!" His eyes flickered up from his own reflection to see Angela standing in the hallway. Her own outfit stuck to her usual fashion sense, which always seemed to be better than his, and consisted of mostly retro-looking clothing, something she hadn't swayed from (and quite frankly, managed to pull off quite well). Her makeup, however, was as bold and, well, pretty, and silently, he complimented her, though aloud, he smirked at her. "You look like you're out of an 80s show."
"You look like a girl with no tits."
Miles felt his grin fall away into an unimpressed look, crossing his arms while he was still upside-down. "Touché, ma soeur. Now that we've gotten our insults out, can you tell me what the hell I should do with my hair?"
"Tie it back," Angela suggested, taking the bright blue hairband from her wrist and sitting beside him, motioning for him to sit up, which he did with a sigh. With a quick precision he'd never mastered, she pulled his just past chin-length hair into a low ponytail, leaving a single lock of blond to hang down by his ear. He turned to her with an eyebrow raised. "Was that intentional?"
"You look adorable," Angela simply replied, completely ignoring his question and tapping him lightly on the nose with a smile as she stood. "All the girls are gonna wish they were Fiona tonight."
As Miles went to stand, the doorbell rang, and he exchanged a look with Angela. "Speak of the devil."
His twin sister laughed a little as she practically skipped down the hallway-yet another completely opposite opinion the two of them had was the one on dances, and while Miles obviously wasn't a fan, Angela liked social gatherings, and was good at interacting at them too.
Miles stood up with a sigh, catching a glance of himself in the mirror in the hallway as he followed his twin to the door (he really didn't look too bad, with his thin, light blue hoodie rolled up to his elbows and a darker pair of jeans than he usually preferred, as well as Angela's seemingly magical touch when it came to his hair). He smiled a little as Fiona stepped inside. "Hey, Fiona."
"Hi." Fiona smiled right back at him and Angela, her set of large brown eyes bright. "You two look pretty good!"
"I could say the same about you," Miles replied, admiring her jacket. Though her outfits changed a lot (much more than his own usual style of sweats or jeans and a hoodie), her signature piece of clothing was the blue leather jacket that she'd begun to wear soon after her arrival at Aspen Ridge. It was apparently from her parents, a present to her before she'd left Spain, and the colour was just as striking as her personality was. Though the jacket was obviously the accent of her outfit, a black shirt with a fairly low neckline that featured a pattern of stars and form-fitting blue jeans and black, knee-high boots made for a statement, and though it certainly was fit for a casual school dance, it reminded Miles how stunning she was all the same-something he felt like they forgot sometimes.
"Aw, well thank you!" The short Spanish girl rocked on her heels as she smiled at him, before turning to Angela. "You look pretty great yourself, too." Fiona's hands slipped in her pockets as she took on a much more comfortable position resembling a bit of a slouch. "Your makeup is always so good, girl!"
"Well, you know," Miles found it amusing how bashful usually peppy, sociable Angela could become from a mere compliment-something neither of them had ever been good at receiving. "I've been doing Miles' makeup for the past few years, and you pick up a thing or two when you're constantly working with it…"
"Well it's definitely a statement," Fiona's tone was that of approval as she nodded. "You'll have to teach me sometime. But right now, we have somewhere to be, don't we?"
"Of course!" The female of the twins chirped, grabbing her coat from where it had been hanging by the door. Miles sighed, rolling his shoulders, feeling almost as if he was preparing for a quest or great challenge of some sort. "I guess so."
"C'mon, Miles!" Fiona bumped him lightly with her hip, grinning up at him. "You've gotta be at least a little excited! You've got one thing going for you going into this already, and it's having me as your date!"
Though his tone was condescending, the amused look on his face certainly wasn't. "You are aware we're going as friends, right?"
"So what?" The short Spanish girl crossed her arms over her chest-which Miles felt he could see just a little too much of with how low her shirt was, not that he was really complaining about it. "I am going to get you to lighten up about being in crowds tonight! Just watch me!"
"Ha, have fun trying to do that." Angela tied the belt of her long, red coat around her hips and pulled on her own Vans. She tossed the keys to Miles with great aim. "He's not fond of too many people, and I'm pretty sure you know that by now."
"Well, even if you're a little uncomfortable." The mixed girl smiled up at him with both her optimistic face and bright eyes, and the blond couldn't help but smile back, just a little, even if it was out of sheer amusement. "You should have a little fun. So try, alright? Forget all about everything worrisome and dance with us instead!"
"Alright, alright," Miles chuckled, caving to the girls as he opened the door for both of them, the snowy, frost-laced wind nipping at his cheeks. "You win. I'll try and have some fun tonight."
Despite the fact some of the other areas of the school's activities were seriously lacking, Aspen Ridge generally had good school dances, and good dance committees working on them. Though he didn't have a lot of time because of his skating, Miles could have imagined himself on the dance committee in a different life, under different circumstances. It definitely seemed like it could be fun.
Because of the reputation the school had when it came to dances, there were also generally a lot of people that showed up, both from Aspen Ridge and other schools, considering how many people had friends at other schools in the area. From the moment he'd stepped into the gym, Miles had felt the familiar anxious flutter in his chest, and even as Angela, Fiona and surprisingly, even Leo (who really wasn't much of a school dance person to begin with) dragged him into dancing, he was definitely more of a standoffish, disappear into the crowd type when it came to so many people. He didn't really mind, as long as there was the feeling he was practically invisible-he liked to be on the watching side of things for once. And so, he watched, genuinely curious in all the people around him and what he missed while he was on the ice. Though he'd scanned the crowd a few times, he hadn't seen even anyone that looked vaguely familiar to Ray-not that it was too surprising. Ray predictably wasn't much of a school dance person either, and had probably only come in the past because the three of them were used to being together.
"Hey, Miles! I didn't expect to see you here!"
Miles jumped at the familiar yet unidentifiable voice, turning to see someone he'd known for almost as long as he could remember, though hadn't seen in awhile. "Mari! Wow, it's been forever, huh?"
"Yeah, guess it has." Miles couldn't help but smile, even though he knew Ray had a million problems when it came to his sister. He liked Mari, and even though she came off as nothing more but overly seductive eye candy for the older grades, she was smart and clever all the same. Even so, he wouldn't befriend her, given the chance-they were too different and Ray would kill him. "You're usually the life of the party. What's up?"
"Eh, my date was a junior jackass and ditched." She shrugged, as if the sentence was second nature to her, and Miles decided not to question everything he could find wrong with it as she continued, "Why are you over here? I heard from Ray you had a hot date."
"Uh… Something like that…" He trailed off, unsure how to reply, instead asking a little too eagerly for his liking, "Is Ray here?"
"No." The beautiful Spanish girl shook her head, her flawless ringlets bouncing over her shoulders and chest. "He said he might come by later if he's feeling for it. I was really surprised to hear you and Angela and that new girl Fiona were going and he wasn't though. Are you two fighting or something?"
"Not… Exactly," Miles replied after a moment, suddenly unsure what to say. "Or I don't think we are. Why? Did he say something?"
Mari shook her head again with a laugh. "Man, you two really are fucked when it comes to communication right now, huh? Sorry, Blondie, I'm not a page to anyone, so you're going to have to ask him yourself. I mean, you two are best friends, right?"
Though he opened his mouth to answer, the blond skater didn't get a chance to say anything as Fiona grabbed his arm, making him jump once again. "Hey, Miles, you should come and-oh, hi." She seemed to realize Mari, who was still standing with her hands on her hips and that infuriatingly amused, and slightly degrading smile on her face. "Who's this?"
"Oh, you must be the hot date." Mari stuck out a hand, though her usual holier-than-thou tone was present, and nearly sounded mocking. "Mari. I'm Ray's younger, and undeniably more attractive sibling."
"Oh, you're Mari!" Fiona shook her hand, and though her cheerful exterior remained, Miles felt something in the air around them shift from warm and light to chilly. "Damn, we've heard a lot about you!"
"Really?" Mari cocked her head with a little amused sound. "All good things, I assume."
"Of course!" Though her tone was convincingly cheery as usual, Fiona's undertones were cold and unamused, and sent a bit of a chill down Miles' spine-so she isn't just an optimist who thinks everyone is good and pure… Good to know.
"Well, considering it's been a long while since my brother's best friend has had a date of any kind, I guess I should let you two do whatever dates do." She turned to walk away, into a different section of the dance, though smiled over her shoulder at Miles, her wink semi-playful. "Though if it doesn't work out by the end of the night, Blondie, you know where to find me!"
For a very brief moment, Miles stood in silence with Fiona's light grip on his arm still present, before she muttered, "Well, I definitely loved her to bits."
Miles chuckled, glancing over to her and biting back an amused grin. "A hundred percent."
Fiona sighed, shaking her head and turning to face him completely. "She's really Ray's sister? They're completely different!"
"Not completely," Miles corrected with a little sigh of his own. "They have the same dry wit and charm over people. Ray could definitely be the male version of Mari if he wanted to be."
"Luckily," He echoed, smiling at Fiona. "Alright, I'm assuming you didn't come over here to talk to Mari after that, so what's up? Are you having fun?"
"Yeah, it's pretty great!" The Spanish girl's cheerful charm reappeared-though after such a serious performance and conversation that had followed, Miles wasn't sure if it was completely legitimate anymore. "Angela's off with some of her friends from geography, so I thought I'd come find you!"
"And…" The blond boy hesitated, unsure if he wanted to know the answer to his own question. "And do what, exactly?"
"Dance, of course!" She tugged on his sleeve stubbornly, though she was grinning all the same. "You're a dancer, I'm a dancer, we're each other's dates, so shouldn't we be dancing at a dance?"
The short blond boy had to crack a smile at her enthusiasm, deciding it probably wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if he caved, just for that moment. "Fine," He sighed, though he was smiling at her as she pulled in into the midst of the dance, letting his concerns about Ray (and similarly, Mari) fall away. "Let's dance, Fiona."
Even though Miles had to admit, it hadn't been as bad as he'd thought it might go, and he seriously enjoyed his time with Fiona (her energy was contagious), Miles could only take so much before his social anxiety picked up again, and the adrenaline and endorphins wore off to the point where he wasn't blindly hanging out with Fiona again. He wasn't expecting her to, but Fiona seemed to understand, or at least try to as they stepped out together, leaning against the wall in the hallway near the back door of the gym in a comfortable silence as Miles collected his thoughts.
"You're a good dancer," Fiona said quietly after a long moment, snapping the short blond out of his thoughts. He cleared his throat. "Thanks, you aren't bad yourself."
There was another moment of silence, as Miles both tried to sort out his thoughts about Ray, and about how many times he could have publicly humiliated himself by accident in the dance, no matter how irrational it seemed.
Miles cocked his head, glancing over the girl beside him. "Yeah? What is it?"
"I, um…" The usually confident, vivacious girl's voice was suddenly small, and Miles raised an eyebrow. "Well…?"
"Look, do I…" She took a deep breath, before finally saying in a single puff of air, "Do I make you anxious? Or trigger your anxiety or something?"
For a moment, they stood in silence, on the outskirts of the dance, their gazes locked while Miles struggled for words, suddenly unsure what to say. "Fiona, I…"
"Tell me the truth, okay?" She stepped right in front of him, her beautiful eyes serious and her arms crossed over her chest (which definitely wasn't helping a certain blond focus on her question whatsoever). "I can take it… I can change what I'm like around you if you want."
"No, no!" Miles shook his head, before letting out a sigh. He let a hand rest on Fiona's shoulder, keeping eye contact as he spoke with a little smile. "Fiona, I like being around you just as you are. You're pretty awesome, you know." He saw her own lips turn up into a bit of a smile at the compliment, and continued, "You just… Put me into situations that make me anxious, I guess."
"I haven't known you very long," She replied, cocking her head with a smile at him. "But I know that you don't want to be stuck in your comfort zone, Miles, and you should learn how to get out of the security bubble mindset sooner than later."
Miles made an amused sound. "You're trying to help me grow up."
"I'm trying to help you grow in general," She replied, her voice no longer as small and shy, but unusually mature and calm-not that Miles hated it. "And hopefully, you do."
The blond skater laughed a little, leaning back against the wall. "Well, I hope I do too, because it isn't always fun on the safe side of the fence. Was that really all you were worried about?"
Fiona's usual, lighthearted smile returned as she shrugged, a bit of a laugh in her voice. "Yeah, pretty much."
"Well, stop worrying," He replied, smiling at the comfortable atmosphere between them as Fiona leaned back against the wall next to him. "That's supposed to be my job."
Fiona laughed lightly, nudging him as she did. "Don't you go and start worrying either. It's not good for you."
"Hey!" Miles turned to the west back door (which wasn't used a lot) as it opened, smiling at Angela as she practically skipped over to them, teasing, "Ooh, did I interrupt something?"
"No," The blond rolled his eyes, though smiled at his sister too. "We just stepped out for a sec. We can go back now, if you want."
"You don't have to." Angela's voice was sincere-she wasn't teasing, despite the fact she definitely could have in the situation. "I was just wondering if you two had ditched me…. For one reason or another."
Miles caught onto her poking fun at the both of them near the end of her sentence, and whacked her gently. "Angela!"
"What?" She grinned cheekily at both him and Fiona (who had a gleam that was most amused in her eyes). "I don't care if you have literally gone gay for his childhood friend or Fiona's only been here for a month, you're still an attractive guy and she's still an attractive girl…"
"Get your mind out of the gutter," Miles huffed, feeling colour rise in his face as he crossed his arms. "And keep quiet about that, would you?"
"Sorry, sorry," His twin apologized with a sheepish grin as she turned to Fiona. "So, what were you two doing out here, anyway?"
"I, uh…" Fiona's gaze flicked back to him lightning fast, before she replied with her usual confidence, "It was getting pretty loud and hot… So we decided to just step out for a minute or two." She stretched, smiling at Angela. "We really can go back in, Angela, I don't mind."
"Well, as long as you two are sure…" Miles nodded, and his sister smiled at them, turning to reenter the dance. "Well come on then! Let's finish the year at school with a bang, yeah?"
The three of them had stayed at the dance for only a little longer than he, Ray and Angela generally did-or had, Miles supposed-and though he'd been sure he'd be alight with anxiety and nerves for more than even the first time he'd stepped out, with Fiona, Miles found that he was smiling as they began to leave the school, halting momentarily in the doorway before the chilly night.
"So I'm guessing you two had fun, then, right?" Angela chirped, and he and Fiona nodded in unison as the Spanish girl replied happily, "Yeah, it was pretty sweet."
"Yeah, it was fun," Miles admitted with a smile, leaning against one of the door frames. "I don't know if I could or would do it again, but it was definitely fun."
The shorter of the blondes grinned at them as she nodded. "Good, good! Well, I'm glad you had a successful first school dance in Canada, Fiona."
Fiona smiled right back, obviously content with how the night had gone. "Me too. It was pretty fun."
"Well, I'm glad you feel that way going into this," Angela's tone suddenly shifted, and Miles saw a familiar mischievous gleam in his twin sister's sea-blue eyes. "Because this will either make it better or tap it down a notch…"
Miles raised an eyebrow, cocking his head and crossing his arms over his chest. "Angela, what are you getting at?"
The short French girl opened her mouth to reply, hesitated, and then after a long moment, motioned upwards. "I swear, I did not set this up."
Biting his lip, Miles glanced upwards, catching the mistletoe in the corner of his eye before slowly returning his unimpressed gaze to his sister. "You definitely did."
"Nope." Angela raised her hands defensively, though she was definitely hiding a smirk behind her innocence. "Not this time."
"Well, I…" He shook his head with a sigh, deciding to stop arguing with his sister and face Fiona, who was standing on the other side of the doorframe, her large brown eyes curious as he half-joked, "You definitely would have had better luck with Angela. I'm not a very good kisser."
Fiona raised an eyebrow. "You're fine with this, even with your, um… complicated love life?"
"I have no love life," Miles corrected with a little smile. "And even if I did it couldn't be as complicated as my friendship with him right now. Why, are you not fine with this?"
The short Spanish girl shrugged, and before either of them had a word out of their mouth, took a half a step forward , her hand pressing to his chest for leverage as she gently kissed him, short and sweet-something he had absolutely not been expecting from someone like Fiona. As she stepped back, just as quickly as she'd kissed him, she replied teasingly, "No. Definitely, not fine with kissing you. That would be ridiculous."
"That was a low move," Miles muttered, leaning forward to return the favour-though decided he didn't need two kisses with someone he wasn't exactly interested in dating that night, opting to kiss her cheek and follow his sister out of the school. Fiona laughed as she followed them after a heartbeat. "You couldn't even return the favour! You coward!"
Miles rolled his eyes, sliding his hands in his hoodie as they began to walk home, their light, playful chatter filling the stillness of the night air. Even though he really couldn't deny he felt incredibly light and at ease, he also couldn't help but feel something was missing (or rather, someone) and how odd it felt without his longtime best friend by his side as well.