Missing Stars

It was cold and unforgiving. When did the sky lose all the star?

Jenna left the apartment half an hour ago, ran as far away as her legs could take her from him, and thought of hiding in a small playground, hoping that the night could hide her from her fiance’s wrath.

She shielded herself with a tree, dialing a number she believed would never reject her. And it didn’t.

“Jen, I’m at a bar right now. Is this important?”

Jenna flinched. Of course Brett would be at a bar. Her best friend would never skip a night at a bar, then a club, picking up a girl he could take home. It was his routine, and how could she ruin it?

“Brett,” as Jenna heard the pain in her own voice, she decided to just let it out for now, “Please pick me up.” Brett would find her, she said to herself, his usual bar was only a block away.

“Jenna?”

She froze.

Her entire life, Jenna had never been afraid of anything. That was before last new year, when she saw her fiance hit a wall over a simple argument with his family. She knew then, that she was trapped in a prison covered in gold.

There were times his voice alone could choke her, when fear overwhelmed her and left her lifeless.

So this time, Jenna made a run out of her bare feet. She threw her heels out of her way and sprinted towards the only place Brett could guess for her escape.

“JENNA!”

Her legs moved fast, as fast as her heart was beating. And the moment she spotted her favorite coffee shop, she sped up.

A car pulled over, window down, and a sly smile attached to a handsome face formed, “Get in.” Brett opened the door and let Jenna hop in.

She did, and her best friend drove them away from danger.

As Jenna watched her fiance running in the background, she sighed deeply and turned on the radio. Brett looked at her and towards the road, wondering where he should take her away to, because there were places they had visited too many times to go back to. But it all depended on how she was feeling.

“What happened, Jen? I had my eyes on this really hot girl and I left her to come get you.”

Well, Brett was never the nicest friend, but he was the best. Proven, tonight.

“He hung out with his buddy, Andrew, and missed our date. I told him that he should have called me so I could cancel our table reservation and movie tickets, and he started yelling…”

“Again, Jen? This is the third time this month.”

“Well, but it is the first time I called you to pick me up.” Jenna laughed at it, as if the whole thing had been funny.

“Did he hurt you?”

“No, but when his hand started reaching out for the plates, I ran out of that place as fast as I could…”

Brett turned quiet. So did Jenna.

“The stars?”

Jenna had a thing for the stars, and Brett loved taking her to the best star gazing spots in town.

“Only you know where to find them,” Jenna said, “or it always feels like you’re the expert. I swear I saw none just now.”

“Let me take you to them then.” He signaled a big bottle of wine under her seat, a company for their lonely night.

About half an hour later, Brett parked by a park located a little bit out of the city. He grabbed a big blanket from the backseat, always keeping it there, ready just in case he had to do some love making to some hot girl. And just in case Jenna wanted a picnic, which she asked for quite often.

The blanket had been, in fact, clear from Brett’s sexual activities. Much to Jenna’s relief, because who would want to sit on a dirty proof of her best friend’s one night stands?

Jenna took the wine bottle with her and walked with Brett, who pointed at a spot to sit on and spread his big blanket out over it. They sat down and sighed loudly. The stars came out, Jenna decided, only when Brett was around.

“Why is it that I only see the stars when you’re around? It is unfair.” Jenna joked, putting the wine bottle down and looked up at the bright night sky.

“Do you want to end it?” Brett started. He always asked Jenna that question, regarding her romantic relationships, with every single guy she had dated. For some reason, he knew that they were not right for her.

“I really do,” Jenna said, “but how?”

“I can get your stuff out of his apartment. He might be a big guy, but I’m bigger,” he patted her head, “…in case you worry about that.”

She laughed. The thing about Brett was that, being with him made her feel safe. He was someone she could count on, her shoulder to cry on. And right now, she felt safe.

“It’s not just my stuff, Brett. I am worried about him too. Plus, it doesn’t sound like a good way to end things with someone I am planning a wedding with. He knows where I live.”

“You can stay with me.” He opened the bottle and handed it over to her. Jenna took a gulp and handed it back to Brett.

As he was drinking, slowly, remembering how he had some beer before this, she responded, “Brett, you can’t be with me all the time. You can’t protect me all the time.”

“Are you worried about my hobbies?” He was referring to his one night stands, and placing the word ‘hobbies’ did not make it any better for Jenna.

“That… is gross. You know I always support you, but being in your apartment when you’re doing some random girl is just too much.” She grabbed the bottle and drank more.

Brett chuckled. Sometimes he would ask Jenna to pretend to be his girlfriend to get out of having to call a girl back or committing to a date.

“Remember Valentine’s day last year?”

Jenna turned to face Brett, remembering that Valentine’s. The Valentine’s when she and Brett spent the night walking together after ditching their dates, due to feeling no chemistry with the people they dated at that time.

“Of course. How can I forget? We laughed so hard at how pathetic we were.” She smiled at the memory, and grabbed her necklace to look at its pendant. It was a beautiful, custom made, somewhat vintage, mini bottle with fairy dust inside, that had been hanging on Jenna’s neck for the past year.

“You gave me this necklace,” she stated, “and it’s my favorite.”

On Valentine’s day last year, Brett called Jenna at 5 PM, when she was browsing dresses in her closet, looking for what to wear on her date with a guy she had been dating for few months then. Because it had been Brett calling, Jenna answered, and two hours later, they were eating pizza at their favorite place, wondering why they had ditched their dates for a sad, platonic, friend-date.

After pizza they decided to walk to their favorite frozen yogurt place, and strangely they never made it there after going around for ages. Then when they passed by their usual coffee shop, Brett pulled a box out of his pocket and tossed it at Jenna. She caught it and asked him if he’d forgotten that it wasn’t her birthday yet.

“You like wishes and magic. So I got you fairy dusts.” Brett repeated the same words he’d said a year before, and they meant differently to Jenna now than they did back then.

She would have wished for a true love if she had made a wish the day she got the necklace, and tonight she would wish for a clean slate without love. If only she was actually making use of the dusts now.

“It doesn’t work, you know,” Jenna gave away a sad smile, and tucked her necklace back under her sweatshirt. “Wishes like mine don’t come true.”

“Have you ever tried the dusts?”

Brett watched her eyes. He knew Jenna better than he knew himself, and probably better than she knew herself. There was no one else as identical, as twisted and terrified of life as him.

“What are you afraid of, Jen?”

For the first time in years, Brett asked Jenna the right question.

One which she had no answer to. Yet.

It would be hard to answer something like that, especially when asked by the one person who possibly knew her best. And it would be hard to imagine there was something she feared more than running back into her fiance’s arms. Especially considering that she was a girl with a fairy dust bottle.

How much more pathetic could she be?

Jenna was afraid of admitting that she had always loved someone else but her fiancé. A lot more than she should.

A lot more than a best friend should her best friend, who by the way loved sleeping with different women all the time.

She was afraid to admit to herself that she fell for someone so wrong, because despite everything that he was, Brett was her rock.

“I’m not sure,” she said.

An hour later, after long pauses and the wine bottle had been long gone for awhile, Jenna proposed going home.

“Can you drop me off? I should get back home now.”

Brett knew this would happen, and stalling would not get him anywhere. As much as he respected Jenna, he never understood why she kept going back to the one guy he kept telling her to leave. To avoid even, for since day one he had never liked the idea of her dating a hot tempered man.

He got up, helped her up, and folded the blanket into a big mess. Quietly, he took Jenna’s hand and led her back to his car.

The moment they got to his car, Jenna checked her phone. Twenty something missed calls and texts too many to count.

“He apologized, didn’t he?” Brett locked the doors and started driving back. Jenna nodded, and he could hear her doubts loud and clear.

It was the longest drive back home. Neither wanted to turn on the radio. Both were deep in thoughts, wondering what could have been and what would happen next.

Jenna wanted to turn back time. Brett wanted to move forward.

Then the moment the apartment building came to sight, Brett parked outside and grabbed Jenna’s arm.

“Are you sure you want to go back?”

To be honest, Jenna had never been more sure in her life. Nothing was scarier to her, than letting herself fall deeper and harder for her best friend.

She nodded.

Brett locked his eyes in hers. “Jen, kiss me.”

Jenna froze. For what seemed like an eternity, even though it only lasted two seconds. Her mind fogged up, and she pulled away from Brett, getting out of the car and walking away.

She took her time walking towards the door, her heart heavy and loaded. After some time, she turned to look at Brett, who was still sitting in his car, staring back at her.

His eyes said it all. And her eyes said it all.

Finally, a year after the only time Jenna had ever attempted to make a wish with her fairy dusts, it finally came true.

But then, it was a year too late. The stars had disappeared again, and Jenna walked back into the apartment.

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