Finally, thank God.
I can't help but think when Matt finally dismisses us from the weekly meeting. It was a long one, considering print day is the next morning. The day before is always our busiest, with putting everything together for the weekly print. Sure we have a website with daily updates but some of us still liked having that paper copy, unlike the rest of our generation who rather use their tablets and iPhones to look up current events.
Don't get me wrong, I'm down with the times but to me, there's nothing better than having a physical copy of your favorite book or magazine and turning pages instead of scrolling up and down on an electronic. I still believe in the power of physical print, which is my I enjoy writing for our school newspaper, the Glendale Press.
But today, I'm over it.
I quickly gather my belongings and make my way out of the press room, waving at a few of my co-staffers on my way out.
After a quick stop by my locker, seeing as I have to head to work, I dash toward the exit, walking to my desperately in need of detailing Toyota Camry which used to belong to my mother before her passing.
Paul, my brother, hates that car. If it were up to him, it would have been junked right after the funeral. But I refuse to let it go. Dad just handed me the keys when I announced that I wanted it. All I know is that dad wouldn't sell it so I made use of it.
Laughter catch my ears as I reach my car. I look up and am not surprised to see my ex-best friend jump into the arms of Erik Wilder. Usually I just roll my eyes and go on about my day anytime I come into their paths but today for some reason, my mind decides to take the suffering.
Obviously Callie didn't drive today so Erik is picking her up. I watch as they share a kiss before he opens the door for her and she gets inside. He closes the door and starts walking toward the driver side, but he looks up and sees me standing there and almost stops. A falter. It's barely a second, he nods at me and then he keeps going.
A minute later, they drive off and I stand there trying to ignore the stupid lump in my throat.
Not now, Aundrea. Keep it together.
I scold myself. Most days I can keep it together. It's gotten easier over the years.
Erik has always been there for as long as I can remember, even before Callie. He is also the only one who hardly changed ever since the death of my mother two years ago. He's been my brother's best friend since the first grade. Growing up you'd never see one without the other too far behind. And to this day they are still inseparable.
I don't know how my feelings for him changed. It was gradual I suppose. We grew up around each other. He and my brother played sports together. They celebrated birthdays together and he was around our house more than his own. So, I grew a liking to him. A crush.
Erik has also always been charming. Over the years, he's treated me like I was his younger sister, and that has never changed from him even though it has for Paul.
Ever since mom passed, Paul also changed. I don't recognize him anymore. He's become self-centered, dad and I don't even exist to him anymore. Only his friends. It's been clear to everyone that his grief had gotten into another level. He had a close relationship with mom. They were closer than I ever was with her. He and I are 9 months apart but in the same grade. We started school together so we have always had the same group of friends, but that has changed too.
After mom's death, Dad buried himself with work. I hardly ever see him around the house. When I do, it's only his shadow passing by. We haven't had a full conversation since after the funeral.
So yeah, my family is pretty much dysfunctional. Mom's death changed everything, even my relationship with Callie. We drifted apart. I became a loner and she made new friends. She even managed to become Erik's new girlfriend, despite being aware of my feelings for him.
Now here I am, a senior at Glendale Heights, working for the press in an effort to win a scholarship. It's my only escape out of this town and I have made it my goal to work as hard as I can to make it happen.
The scholarship requires that the student be involved in extracurricular and since it was a writing scholarship, I became a staff member of the Glendale Press. It keeps me busy after school aside from my part time job at the local bowling alley.
The thing about the scholarship is that it's also very competitive. Every writer in the school wanted it just as bad as the next.
I had the grades and the GPA, but so did my competitors. Matt, being the editor in chief, is my biggest competitor. Along with Callie, who covers our entertainment section of the paper.
Though our friendship is no longer existent, we are somehow able to work together for the press. Not that it's really an issue, I really don't have to deal with her much. It's rare that we talk during meetings so as long as we can tolerate being in the same room.
I don't know how long I stand there even after Erik's car drives off, lost in my thoughts. It isn't until I feel someone poking me a couple of times that I snap out of it.
"Are you deaf?" A deep voice barks out from behind me. "Move already."
I turn to the guy shouting at me with an irritated scowl on his face.
My expression quickly matches his. I hate being poked. "Why don't you just walk around?"
There is a lot of space around us. The lot is damn near empty so I don't understand why he is bothering me.
His scowl only deepens and he stares at me as if I'm out of my mind.
"Are you slow or something?"
Who asks questions like that to people? How offensive. "Of course not, no need to be rude."
I see the muscle in his jaws tighten. He looks about ready to rip my head off. His identity alone should have prevented me from opening my mouth in the first place. I don't know what I'm thinking. Actually, I don't think I am using my brain at that moment.
"Would you just move so I can get inside my car?" He asks through clenched teeth, impatiently.
"This isn't your car." I say, completely oblivious of how dumb I sound.
He just gives me an annoyed look. "And I suppose you drive an Audi?"
What is this guy, blind?
"This isn't an Audi," I start to say, quite smartly too. "It's a Cam-," I stop when my eyes finally land on the car which I am standing by. It is in fact an Audi.
"You thought this was your piece of shit Camry?" He sounds amused.
And I resent that. My mother loved that car, even if it is a piece of shit. It's not even a that bad. It's still in great condition. Even if it stalls sometimes and has a shitty paint job, and a dent on the side. I love it anyway.
"Might want to go get your eyes checked out," With that, he brushes past me, climbs inside his car and drives off. The screeches of his tires letting me know how frustrated he is.
That's what I get for spacing out in the middle of the damn parking lot.
I can't believe just I had my first encounter with the infamous Tristan Moore and I made myself sound like a freaking idiot.
He's going to have a field day telling his friends about that crazy girl who thought his perfect four ring was her broken down Toyota Camry.