Lane strided on, her face full with determination. Suddenly, she heard Erica’s voice around the nearest corner. Actually it was her laugh and then her words. So, she had company...maybe Alicia. Then Lane heard another voice, Darren’s voice! Quickly, Lane found herself jumping behind a ficus hedge into someone’s front garden.
The two of them rounded the corner coming right by her. Lane’s heart pounded like an old rail engine pumping up and down. Darren had his arm around Erica’s shoulders while she giggled and cooed and pinched him softly.
“What do you know? Those reptiles!” Lane mouthed the words silently. She had been so right about Erica’s motives for the last few weeks, and maybe more than that! She watched them amble past, this close to her that she wanted to trip them both.
After a few minutes she ran home, taking an alternate loop. As she ran she kept thinking, I should have said something to them! Anything, like, “I was just chasing down the UPS guy!” or “So kids, you’re in love and you don’t tell me?!” But more like, “You rotten-stinking-behind-my-back scum...”
The sun was dropping as fast as Lane’s self esteem. She raced up to her room but not so obviously that her mom suspected anything. Her mom called out, “Back so soon? Dinner in thirty minutes! Oh, and maybe clean up that room of yours...”
Lane hurled herself on her bed, stunned. She and Erica had clearly chosen different paths to growing up. She knew something was going on with those two, but stubbornly, she wouldn’t believe it, just wouldn’t ask, not that and let the friendship collapse. But it had anyway.
The tears came only after most of the anger drained away, replaced with sadness. Sadness that she had lost her best friend to what? A boy? Indeed, as she thought about it more, she realized that it wasn’t Darren she cared so much about. It was the loss of a trusted friendship and all that was tied up in that.