Isn’t it funny how life can be so unpredictable? Just this morning, Alana felt like she was the happiest person in the world and now she was crying uncontrollably. Every time she got up to go back to class, tears would start streaming down her face again. “Why am I crying so much? I can’t understand myself”, she asked herself but she knew why. The person who wanted to make her come to college more than anything else was now committed to her best friend. She felt like a failure. She kept asking herself what was wrong with her. She wanted to know why Bret chose Aliya and not her.
She controlled herself somehow and got out of the toilet. She splashed water on her face and tried to look as normal as possible. After failing horribly, she walked back to class. She knew she didn’t look okay but she tried acting like she was. After all the crying, she did feel a little better but it was as if the pain she felt was adding up. She went and sat in her place. April sat next to her, Bret next to April and at the other end of the bench, there was Aliya. When she sat, all the three of them bent a little to look at her. April asked her what happened.
“My head has been aching since morning”, she lied. “I’ll probably skip classes after the short break and go to a doctor”, but she was going to go home and sleep. Maybe when she woke up, she would feel better. They wished her a quick recovery and everyone but Bret turned back to look at the board. Bret looked at her. He looked sad. “I’ll be okay, Bret!”, she said to him and smiled weakly. He smiled and turned towards the board too. She noticed how he’d look at her every once in a while but ignored it. She went home early. Slept. Woke up. Nothing had changed.
A few days passed. Things didn’t change much. Alana kept away from Bret and made sure there was at least one person in between her and him during the classes. She wanted to get over him. She wanted to be happy for Aliya and she was trying her best. It still hurt a lot. “Things will get better with time. Just.. hold on”
Bret started bringing a book to college which he’d read in the breaks. He told them that he wanted to finish the book so he wouldn’t be going out during the breaks for the next few days. She would go with Aliya and April cafeteria everyday now. A few days later, Aliya left to the cafeteria in a hurry and told them she had some important work there. Alana and April went there after a while – after walking around the entire college. It was like their ritual during the break. April ate in the cafeteria everyday and Alana gave her company. When they reached, they saw Aliya sitting with a guy.
“Oh! So that’s him!”, April said.
“What? Who is he?”, Alana asked her.
“He’s someone Aliya met on Facebook, apparently. They’ve been chatting a lot recently. She keeps telling me about him”
“Oh. Why didn’t she tell me?”, she asked curiously. She wasn’t hurt but she wondered why Aliya would do that.
“She thinks you have feelings for Bret and that you wouldn’t like it if she started hanging out with some other dude. I told her there’s nothing like that but..”, then April looked at Alana with a very shocked look. “You don’t like Bret, right?”
“NO!”, Alana said it out a little louder than she’d wanted to, “Sorry. I didn’t mean to scream. I was choking on something. I don’t like Bret and I’d never think anything like that”, she was a little hurt now and also a little worried. “Am I so obvious?”, she asked herself. Something told her that Aliya wasn’t doing the right thing though. “Nah, what am I thinking. I know Aliya. She’d never cheat on Bret. Maybe I’m feeling that way only because I like him. Ugh”, she thought.
Everyday, Aliya would rush to the cafeteria to meet her new friend. The new guy and Aliya were getting closer. Aliya had started spending lesser time with Bret. Alana kept telling herself they were just friends. Finally, one day, April couldn’t take it anymore.
“She does remember that she’s dating Bret, right? Yesterday they were holding hands and walking around after college had ended”, she sounded annoyed.
“There’s nothing like that, April. They’re just friends, I’m sure”, she told her and smiled. She knew something was wrong but kept ignoring it.
A month passed like that. Aliya’s new friend had become Aliya’s best friend. Bret still didn’t come to out in the breaks with them, he had finished the first book and now he was reading another one. They hadn’t talked properly in so long. She couldn’t take it anymore. She wanted to talk to Bret. She wanted this to be over with. One day, she got the perfect opportunity. Aliya left as usual to meet her new friend. April hadn’t come to college. It was the break. Bret was reading his book. She went to him and gave him a friendly push. He looked at her and smiled.
“What’s up, Alana? How come you didn’t go today?”, he asked her. He put the bookmark in the book and closed it.
“We haven’t talked in a while. We used to talk so much before. Aliya literally stole you from me, didn’t she?”, she fake laughed. He smiled. She’d missed that so much but she realized how the smile wasn’t the same. It was so sad now.
“Nah, I wouldn’t let anyone do that. You’re my main”, he said and winked still smiling. That hit her right in her heart. She wished he meant it. She wished she was in Aliya’s place. Aliya was so lucky! “HOW CAN ALIYA EVEN DO THIS! If I were here, I’d never let him sit in class and read a stupid book. I’d never let him be alone!”. Now she was angry. Aliya was going out with worlds most amazing guy but she was spending time with someone else.
“Listen, Bret. How is everything going with Aliya?”, she asked him with a stern face.
“You know..”, he paused. It was like he was making up his mind for something, “I need to tell you something Alana. When Aliya asked me out, I didn’t like her. I said yes because I couldn’t say no. Don’t tell her I told you this. But now, I think I’ve fallen for her. I really like her”, she couldn’t understand what she was feeling. It was a lot of information. She wanted to tell him about Aliya and her new friend and about how they held hands and walked around after college but that would hurt him. She couldn’t be so selfish.
“I know you love her. You can’t love her more than you love me though, can you?”, she fake laughed again. She had to change the topic. He didn’t laugh. He didn’t even smile. He just looked at her. He looked sad. “What did I do? Did I hurt him? I sh-“, Bret interrupted her thoughts mid way.
“No. No, I can’t”, he said still serious. Her heart suddenly started pumping blood really hard. That scared her a little and then he laughed. She was half relieved but a part of her wanted to tell him everything. About how she felt about him. About how she would give anything just to spend more time with him. About how he meant everything to her.
Strangely, she felt a lot better that day. She felt like she had just met with a long lost friend. She felt like things were going to get better. For now, she had started talking to him again, like “old times”. “Soon everything will be back to normal”, she thought. Little did she know.
To be continued…
PREVIOUS PART : What a life – Another side – Part 2