Feral took another sip of his coffee, never lifting his eyes from the thick novel he borrowed from his sister. Sasha was very different from him in many ways, but one of the few things they shared was their taste in literature. If they had divergent opinions regarding paper copies versus electronic books, the siblings both loved reading fantastic stories. Not high fantasy with elves and magic, the supernatural kind of fantastic that left you a bit uneasy at the end.
It was Maupassant’s The Horla that first made Feral fall in love with the genre. The way madness had taken over the main character had fascinated him to the point that he had felt the terror of the narrator, he had believed in the presence of the Horla. Just for a moment, just while the story had lasted.
Being someone who relied mostly on reason, the young man didn’t actually think that ghosts and otherworldly creatures walked among them, unlike Sasha. Feral liked to tease his younger sister about her silly beliefs, but never with the intention of hurting her; he loved her too much for that.
“So, what do you think?”
Feral finished the sentence he was reading before placing his disintegrating bookmark and closing the book. Across him was sitting a red-headed girl with a large grin; his 18 year old sister. It was crazy how much she looked like their mother at her age; she had the same green playful eyes, sharing a gorgeous fiery mane and a small frame. Feral looked more like their father with his dark eyes and hair, tall and broad.
He couldn’t help but smile back at her.
“You were right, this is definitively one of the best books we’ve read so far.”
“And you’re not even at the best part yet! Hey, I don’t know if you knew, but I heard Carly is engaged to Fitz… I’m sorry.”
Feral groaned. Of course, he knew. Despite his best efforts, anything related to his ex-girlfriend seemed to find its way to him. They had had a nasty breakup, and though it had been 2 years already, it was still painful to hear how happy Carly was with the guy that used to be Feral’s best friend. It was unfair how the ones who cheated lived their happy ever after while he was… what? Lonely? Unhappy? Not really…
Sure, the young man wasn’t partying every weekend, but he did consider himself somewhat happy. He had great friends and an amazing family, he was healthy and successful in college, what else did he need? Why did it feel like a punch in the gut every time his ex’s name came up? 2 years. You’d think that’d be enough to get over a girl that never really loved you.
But the thing is, Feral had loved her very much. And Fitz… They had grown up together, the three of them. Best friends since kindergarten. How many games had they played, how many pranks had they pulled? They had shared everything, down to detention time. Feral always had a secret crush on Carly, but he never tried anything; their friendship had always come first.
Until that high school party. They were all way too drunk and Fitz, well, he was being Fitz, heavily flirting with a cute girl while Carly and Feral made fun of him from the other side of the room. At some point, Fitz and the girl disappeared in a dark room. That was when Carly had bitten her lips and looked at him mischievously.
“Let’s play a game. Let’s pretend we’re not friends since we’re kids. Let’s pretend you’ve never seen me in that horrible all pink outfit my mom got me when I was 8. Let’s pretend it’s just you and me, for a second…”
As she spoke, Carly had come closer and closer until her lips had been brushing against his. Feral wasn’t thinking clearly and he simply closed the gap to kiss her the way he always dreamed of.
They started dating after that night, it seemed like the natural thing to do. Fitz seemed unruffled by it all and they kept being friends like always. Except now, Feral could actually hold Carly’s hand and kiss her publicly. Living a dream, literally.
College pulled them apart. Fitz and Carly went one way, and Feral, the other. He suspected that’s when they started cheating on him, both of them. His relationship with Carly was tense from the distance and the absence, until they fought every time they saw each other. When they finally broke up, he found out she had been with Fitz for a while.
Now, he was alone. He had lost his two best friends and the girl of his dreams. But he wasn’t unhappy. Sure, he wished things had gone differently; but, in all honesty, he didn’t see Carly the same way and he didn’t love her the same either. Maybe it was time he finally moved on.