Not Yet Rating: PG Summary: what's more important, friendship or romance? This is a really short one, written as an assignment for a class. We had to write a story, less than 5 pages, and the last 2 words of the story were chosen for us. But I'm not gonna tell you what those 2 words are, or you'll guess the whole ending. Dedication: um… hmm.. how about the Town of Eden? Yes. To the Town of Eden. ~*~*~*~ Jealousy and blind fury were in full possession of Brandon as he thundered at his friend. "How could you do it, Josh? You went behind my back with her. You were my best friend!" "Okay, look. I already said I was sorry, and-" "Sorry doesn't cut it. I mean, you not only messed around with my girlfriend, you lied about it to my face!" "Fine. So you're pissed. We can take it outside if that's what you wanna do." "Forget it. I can't even stand to look at you anymore," Brandon muttered in disgust, storming out and slamming the door. Moments later gravel flew out from under the tires as he peeled out of the driveway.
Brandon drove for a couple of hours on the dark streets, reliving the double betrayal over again in his mind. Josh had been "getting together" with Sheila for weeks- since the senior prom- before Sheila had finally had a pang of conscience strong enough to come to Brandon and tell him what was going on. The two of them had always been close, and Brandon knew that Josh had once had a crush on her, but… well, it still came as a shock. At first he'd simply been hurt, so much that it took all his self control not to break down and cry right in front of her. Gradually, though, anger and bitterness had taken control. And it was a lot easier to be furious than to be anyone's fool. Around one in the morning Brandon finally pulled into his driveway, tired enough that he really didn't care anymore, for the moment.
The final days of high school passed slowly, with the stress of final exams and graduation somewhat displacing the discomfort between the three of them. Anger began to fade as realization slowly dawned on everyone that graduation was coming. Soon they'd all be leaving home.
The night before the calculus final, Brandon was studying with one of his oldest friends, Beth. They'd grown up together, and she lived across the street. Since Brandon had found out about Josh and Sheila, Beth was the only one he could confide in. Halfway through the review sheet the teacher had given them, Beth sighed and put down her notebook. "Brand, you seem distracted." It was a statement of fact, with a tone of voice behind it that demanded an answer. He shrugged. "Brandon." Her voice carried a warning tone. "Okay, okay! Don't hurt me!" he said with a note of mock-fear in his voice. "I was just thinkin' about Josh and Sheila. I'm not really mad anymore.. I liked her a lot but it's not like we were really in love or anything. So I kinda want to start hanging out with them again." Beth nodded. "Sounds good." She picked up the phone and held it out to him. "So call Josh and tell him what you just told me." Brandon shook his head vigorously. "Not yet," he said. "Let's just get back to studying." "Whatever you say," she shrugged, and picked up her notebook again.
The next afternoon Brandon sat in a hot gymnasium full of students sitting silently at uncomfortable desks with exams in front of them. He tapped his paper with his pencil eraser, unable to concentrate. He glanced across the rows of desks and saw Josh, who was fidgeting even more than he was. Suddenly Josh looked up, right at Brandon. Their eyes met for only an instant before each looked guiltily away. I'll talk to him on the way out of the exam, Brandon decided, and went back to his math. An hour later when the papers had all been collected, students filed out of the gym. Brandon spotted Josh a few yards ahead of him, and quickened his pace- then he saw Sheila run up to walk beside him, and hesitated. Finally he headed toward his own car instead and went home without having said a word to either of them.
Late that night, restless without knowing why, Brandon paced around his room. He grabbed his sneakers and went outside to practice his hook shots in the driveway.
Eight miles away, Sheila and Josh screamed. Brakes squealed and a car horn blared in alarm, only to be drowned out with a loud crash and a sickening high-pitched shriek of twisting metal and breaking glass. A witness ran inside to call 911; sirens wailed, lights flashed, and rescuers spilled over the scene. It took a lot of time and effort to remove the two teenagers from the wreckage of Josh's car. Two EMTs started CPR on Sheila while a third held stabilization, but one of them muttered under his breath that she didn't have a chance, that she'd lost too much blood. The driver of the other car was taken into custody. One of the policeman remarked that for such a relatively early hour, her blood alcohol level had been pretty high. She was crying hysterically, tears weirdly reflecting the red, green and blue lights that crossed her face in rapid sequence. A paramedic took one look at the torn figure of Josh, closed his eyes and turned his head to the side. "Obvious morbidity," he said quietly to a colleague. "Call the medical examiner." Brandon picked up his basketball and sat down on the steps of the front porch, looking up at the stars and thinking about the graduation ceremony that would take place in a mere six days. Across the street Beth stepped out her front door in slippers and bathrobe, taking her new labrador puppy Roger out for a necessary short walk. She noticed Brandon outside, and once Roger's needs were fulfilled she plodded across the street. "Hey. What're you doing out here by yourself?" she asked. "Hey. Not much, shooting some hoops." Beth sat down. "Did you talk to Josh or Sheila yet?" Brandon was quiet for a moment, reaching down to scratch the puppy's ears. He thought about the future that was approaching them all so fast, and felt a sudden pang. The tiny black dog began to lick his hand, and he answered his friend absently.