This story is property of Ohrea the dreamer. The story is complete. There is no graphic sex scenes but there is a romantic suggestion between to women if this bothers anyone, please move along.
Orhea, the dreamer (feedback, positive constructive criticism, will be accepted at firstname.lastname@example.org )
Rain fell in slow, lazy, fat drops, landing on the car, only to be scraped away with the dull scratchy sound of the windshield wipers. It was chill, it was getting dark, and it was Halloween…
Normally she would have been carving her pumpkin, playing spooky music, and getting ready for a night out. Those times were past though.. Those times were nothing… not without Haddie.
A low rumbling sound permeated the stillness of the car, driving Maia out of it hurriedly. She held a single rose in her palm, trimmed of its thorns, and carefully wrapped with a single orange ribbon. Maia felt that orange was less depressing than black, the ribbon slapped wetly around her wrist as she carried it through the quiet graves, past the faces of angels and gargoyles and crosses, to a smooth, flat, marble stone, that stuck merely inches out of the ground. The stone had only a name and a date on it. “Hadrien Micheals, 10-31-89 –“ The date of her death was left empty, left blank because no one was certain when she died. Haddie, a quiet, gentle spirit, had disappeared on her morning hike only last year. She was later recovered but by then, no one could tell the exact cause of death, the exact time.
Maia shook her head, shivered, and carefully leaned down to drop the rose in front of the grave. It was fresh smelling and crimson, a defiance of the season, but it was Haddie's favorite. Water rolled from her hair, dripped into her clothes, and even rolled across her forehead and off her nose, dripping onto the soggy ground. “Good evening friend” she whispered softly, caressing the stone with the palm of her hand as if it were a smooth cheek. She straightened, gazed down at the grave, and stood for a long moment. Memories flashed into her mind. Haddie's laughter, Haddie slapping the back of her head when she fell asleep in class. Oh Haddy… “We were supposed to get married, raise our kids together. So they could be best friends like we were.”
She choked back the ache swelling her throat and turned her head to the sky. Letting the slow, rhythmic drops of rain splash her face, coat her eyes, and cool her mouth…. Then she swallowed, and headed back to the car. They'd never found out what happened to Haddie, was it foul play? Did she have a seizure and was simply not found in time? She'd been found by the stream.. Perhaps she'd fallen in…
Maia sat in the car, turned the key, shivering in the seat as she flicked on the lights, adjusted her seatbelt, and pulled out onto the gravely road. It was getting rapidly darker, and the tears in her eyes clouded her vision as she drove out of the cemetery on the lonely road back to town.
She was at university; her grades were slipping since last year. She was told she might lose her scholarship.
Maybe she should order pizza tonight… Then again.. She wasn't that hungry..
Something caught her eye and she hit the brakes, the car fish tailed for a moment before turning an almost 360 degrees, the car would have rammed into funeral home sign had the wheels not caught in the mud and become stuck. Maia took her foot off the brake, heart pounding in her ears, her grip on the steering wheel was so tight that her knuckles were turning white under the coppery skin.
“God! What was that?” She turned around in her seat, trying to peer out through the rain splotched window. She knew she'd seen something… It was something white and with no clear shape hovering above the ground right in the middle of the road. Now though, she could see nothing there. The rain was getting harder, wind howled against the car and the wipers continued to swish swish as she crawled out of the car to inspect the damage.
Upon further inspection, she could see the car was just fine, but the front wheels were stuck in the soggy mud. She grumbled, she was pretty sure she would not get the car out of the mud without some assistance, so she reached into her car once again to find her phone.
“Crap, it's dead” growling, she fished for the charger. She'd been so preoccupied lately, daydreaming, listless, she was forgetting things so often, it didn't surprise her she'd forgotten to charge. ..
“Hey, is everything alright?”
Maia looked up to find the source of the voice, her eyes widened and she shook her head. The voice…
“Haddie!” She jumped from her car and moved toward her friend. It was odd that Haddie wore a perfectly clean, blue jumpsuit with white reflective material in strips on the sides and front , it was odd because the jumpsuit was immaculate, perfectly clean and didn't even seem to be wet. Maia thought nothing of this as she threw her arms around her friend. Haddie smelled of flowers and powder, like she always did, and she was so warm…
Maia jumped back, heart thundering in her chest and viewed her friend. Same honey brown eyes, same dark, arched brows, same glossy black hair that stuck out from under her hoodie… but Haddie was dead. The dental records matched…
“You're supposed to be dead! I mean.. “
Haddie's thin, smooth lips turned upwards into a smile and she put her finger to her lips. “Your car is stuck. I told you not to daydream while you drive.” She walked passed a gaping Maia and got into the driver's seat. “We need a little push…” She hit the gas, and the wheels splattered into the mud, struggling, but the car wouldn't move. Haddie sighed and got out of the car. “You get in. I'll push.”
Maia felt creepy, but there was a subtle pull in her mind that had her doing as Haddie asked. She got into the driver's seat, and when Haddie started to push she hit the gas. Amazingly, the car backed out with little effort and Maia fixed the wheel when Haddie let go and directed the car to the side of the road out of the mud. Haddie walked to the side of the car, and got into the passenger's seat.
“Sheesh Mai you were always messy but…how old is this take out box?” Haddie threw the box into the back seat and fastened her belt. “Let's go to that little diner we like so much. You remember? The one with the good coffee”
In spite of the questions in her mind, unsure of whether or not she was dreaming, Maia turned onto the road and began to drive. After a minute of silence she couldn't hold back her thoughts. “When they said you were missing, I knew something was wrong. I went out in the search party to find you. The snow covered everything. God I should have gone with you…” More tears welled up. “If I had just gone…”
“Hey you had finals to do. It was a freak storm. “ Haddie shrugged , her fingers shot up to follow the trail of a rain drop as it slide down the window. “You know they always say that the world is full of what ifs if you are looking for them. What if I had never gone on that walk? What if I had stayed in like you told me to? Hmm… what if you had told me the truth about you?”
Maia hit the brakes too hard at the stop sign, sending her head bobbing forward and back. “What do you mean?”
Haddie sighed. “Left turn, remember? “
“Oh… right” Maia made the turn. She pulled in front of the little diner, her hands shook a little as she shifted to park and took her foot off the gas. She opened her mouth to speak but Haddie got out of the car.
Maia called after her. “Jerk!”
Haddie's laughter was like a dozen butterfly wings hitting the leaves, soft and fluttery. Maia smiled a little, comfortable in the routine, the familiarity of many years doing the same thing in many different ways. She followed Haddie into the diner and followed her into their favorite booth. She ordered two coffees, but Haddie didn't touch hers, only stared at her for a long moment, her brows drawn together thoughtfully.
“I think I know why, but I want to hear it from you. Why didn't you tell me?”
Maia didn't always need Haddie to explain her questions. Sometimes Maia just knew what Haddie was thinking, and could answer. This was such a time.
“I thought it would change how you felt about me. I thought… it could ruin our friendship.”
Haddie scoffed and slapped Maia's hand. It was sharp, but didn't hurt.
“I don't care who you date Maia, so long as they treat you right. We've been friends since the 3 rd grade. You remember when Cassidy was bullying you and we put rocks down her shirt?” Haddie laughed a little, but her eyes crinkled with hurt as the laughter died and she gave Maia a reproachful look. “It's pretty simple you could have said, hey Haddie, I'm gay” Haddie shrugged. “You know what I would have said? I hope your girlfriend likes kids. Ha! Cuz you are still gonna have them.”
Maia felt uncomfortable; she squirmed in her seat, fidgeted with her coffee, and ran her fingers through her hair, looking away. “I didn't think of it like that. I was just… scared you know? My folks don't even know yet…”
“And they don't have to know, until you're ready. Hey… Mai… I'll forgive you okay? Just… do me a favor. Clean out your car, carve a pumpkin for me.”
Maia laughed “we could do one together”. She turned to look at Haddie, taking in the smooth planes of dusky skin across her for head, her supple cheeks, her sparkling eyes…
“You know I've got your back, wherever you are.” Haddie winked and leaned over to sniff the coffee. “Smells so good.. so will you promise? You'll carve a pumpkin for me, on Halloween. You'll clean out your stinky car? Maybe you should get a girlfriend too, your love life stinks.”
“Promise me Maia.”
“My love life doesn't stink”
“Yeah it does suck, but promise me.”
“Oh alright!” Maia threw her hands in the air. “It's just… with what happened with you. There was no closure and I… I miss my friend.”
This time Haddie reached out and patted her friend's hand affectionately. “Me too… but, I've never been far. What happened was an accident. That's all. I had a seizure and fell into the water. ..” Haddie's voice trailed off as she glanced out of the window. “Is that Kate?” Her smile brightened. “You used to get red whenever she showed up. Remember high school? Oh my god you had a crush didn't you!”
Maia felt her skin grow hot and squirmed in her seat. “God it is… and no I didn't have a crush!”
“Yes you did!” Haddie laughed as Maia sat lower in her chair when Kate walked into the diner.
Kate was looking through her wallet and never looked up as she approached a stool and hopped onto it. Maia's voice lowered to a hiss. “Tone it down!”
Haddie's laughter died into a smirk and she eyed Kate for a moment. “Leather jacket, that god awful bike she used to drive around, you remember that? She's cleaned up though. I like the tie.. Maybe you should go over and talk to her…”
Maia shielded her face with her hand “No!”
Haddie shook her head. “I wanna be an auntie. At this rate you could be a nun…. Oh fine move your hand I want to look at you.”
Maia sighed and removed her hand, adjusting herself in her seat. She gazed at her friend a long moment and something passed between them… a sort of feeling that she could only describe as wistful.
“Mai… you are a good person. You deserve to be happy.” Haddie took Maia's hand into her own.
Maia could feel the warmth spread from her palms and surround her heart. For the first time in a year her depression lifted. She felt, content.
“You were always my best friend Mai, you always made life easier to handle. When mom and dad divorced, when I broke my arm that year and couldn't try for the swim team… You always had a way to brighten a drab day. Like days like this when we'd spend time in the house making paper flowers and hanging them in the windows… be nice and find someone to share it with. “ She tilted her head toward Kate. “Bad girl gone sharp looks like a good start… You never know what could happen.” The dusty clock in the corner chimed eight and Haddie pulled her hand away. “I need to go.”
“Oh? Yeah I should drop you off at your mom's she'd been a mess since you went missing….” Maia moved to stand.
Haddie frowned and shook her head. “No.. I have a ride. Things to do you know… Hey remember what I said, I have your back no matter what. Oh and before I forget you left a box at my place a week before the accident. The pictures for the scrap book I was making you. I finished the book, it's under my bed but mom's not been in my room, I'm sure she'll let you get it.. No don't get up I gotta go, bye!”
Maia watched slack jawed as her friend ran out of the diner and turned right, disappearing from view of the glass.. She looked down at the cups of coffee… only to see one sitting there, it was full and cold. A shiver went up her spine as she sat down once more, taking apart her encounter with Haddie inside her mind. Haddie…
But then what was that? What just happened?
She didn't hear anyone approach, but she heard the slightly husky voice over her head.
“A couple of warm chocolate chip cookies goes well with hot coffee.”
Maia blinked up at Kate. A thought struck her. Kate's eyes were so dark…
“You don't remember me?” Kate's smile was more like a smirk. “I remember you.”
“Oh… no I remember you. Bad girl Kate… I mean… “
Kate laughed. “No you're right. I was bad… but life has a funny way of changing things. I noticed you were here alone I thought you might like the company.” She held up a plate of cookies. “Cookies on me”
“I had been talking to a friend, but she's gone now.” Maia still felt odd but she shrugged it off and gestured across from her. “Have a seat”
Kate sat down. “You had a friend here? When I walked in you were alone. Must have left a while ago huh? Anyhow, how have you been?”
Maia blinked but didn't say anything. She was certain that Haddie had been here… She shook her head and took a sip of coffee to gather her rattled nerves. “I've had a hard time after what happened to Haddie.”
“Yeah I heard .. I'm sorry to hear it I know you guys were close, heh.. I used to think you were lovers.”
Maia sat down her cup. “No, Haddie had a boyfriend. We were… more like sisters actually.” Maia smiled. “I've missed her.”
“Oh yeah I know that now. Hadrien told me… Anyway I was in a bit of trouble and I was wondering if you could bail me out. No pressure or anything!” Kate's eyes drifted over her shoulder and she leaned over a little. “You see there is this Halloween Party tonight.. . and I don't have a date. It's at my job and I got bullied into showing up. What are your plans for tonight?”
Maia blinked and then smiled a bit, taking a cookie off the tray she took a big bite. It was buttery and chocolate and oh so good. With a sigh she washed it down with her cold coffee. “I need to clean out my car, and carve a pumpkin… “ She could see Kate's expression starting to darken so she rushed in. “I don't have a costume either but you could help me out. I need to run by the store anyway for a pumpkin, you help me pick out a descent costume and I'll come with.” She took another bite of her cookie. “You scratch my back, I'll scratch yours.”
Kate's eyes widened slightly and she chuckled a little. “Fair enough” She took a bite of her cookie. “You have a deal…”
Later, Maia walked to her car outside of the diner, Kate parked her truck in the next spot over, so Kate walked her to her car.
“Whats that on your windshield?”
Maia frowned and pulled a perfectly dry note from beneath the wiper.
“Hey Mai, I forgot to mention… You remember that cat costume I got you last year as a joke? You said you'd never wear it because your butt's too big. Well suck it in girl! It's in the back of your closet, underneath the fluffy bunny slippers. Remember I got your back! – H”
The rain started to pick up, splattering over the page, and the ink seemed to dissolve the words into nothing. Maia laughed and crumpled up the paper in her hand. “Let's go carve a pumpkin… a big one.”
Her small car peeled out of the driveway, a blue truck closely following.
And somewhere… a good friend watched, and smiled…The END
Return to the Academy