Lying on the beige carpet, broken and shattered, embedded into the fibers of the material, were the pieces of the glass heart. Its fragments glinted in the summer sunlight, glittering with a hidden secret. For three days, Nicole had stared at the broken pieces, her face contorted into a mask of confusion and pain as memories came back to her in flashes.
About a month later, the shards lay on the oak headboard of her bed, yet the sunlight, so beautiful and pure, hit the shards unnaturally, seeming to taint the broken fragments of the glass heart. For a fraction of a second, if one looked hard enough, they could glimpse, for a brief moment, a pair of dark hazel eyes, no longer bloodshot and tired, and a pair of electric blue ones, no longer closed and gone. For that brief moment in the second, hidden in the whispering breezes, one could hear the brilliant sounds of laughter that echoed off the walls. But if one were to wait, for the next fraction of the second, if they waited for the sickening crunch of metal and shatter of glass, they might see the faces of Nicole and Olivia, frozen in the terrifying darkness that enveloped them. But nobody except Nicole ever waited for the rest of the second, instead remembering the happiness and joy that the girls brought with them.
When they asked her about Olivia, she could only really remember the lake house. How they both went back to the lake house trying to forget all that had happened in an effort to relive the warm summer days of their childhood. They went back to remain grounded, tethered to the lake that overflowed with their laughter and happiness. It was there that they had gone on that drive, Olivia eagerly unwrapping her last birthday present while Nicole drove through the intersection as the light changed and the semi accelerated through. There in that hospital room, filled with flowers and family, Nicole knew even before the nurses told her that Olivia was gone. They told her to move on. That what happened with Olivia wasn't her fault. They told her to write her own story, one that wasn't about a pair of girls who existed in the first fraction of the second. Those first few days, all she could think about was that red light and that fractured heart.
Later, Nicole became better at pretending to forget. She laughed and smiled so convincingly that her parents believed her. Or maybe they wanted to believe her--wanted to believe that their youngest daughter, their little angel, would be alright.
"Guess what day is tomorrow?" Nicole asked brightly, her words punctuated by her high-pitched laughter.
"Tuesday," Jackson teased, turning to her with a grin.
"No. Why would I be asking if it was just Tuesday?" grumbled Nicole. He just laughed, slamming his locker door as he waved goodbye already turning to someone else. She sighed before turning back to her own locker filled with crumpled worksheets and tests. She knew her own fake personality flaws kept her from being popular or even well-liked, but because of that necessity to hide her true nature--to hide that part of her that would always be connected to Olivia--Nicole accepted the subtle snubs without comment. She knew what she would tell her parents tonight. How she wanted to go out to eat tomorrow night on her sixteenth birthday before watching a movie, just the three of them.
"Hey, bitch," called a voice from behind her, "Did we have any Spanish homework." She turned around fixing a careful faux-angry expression on her face before answering.
"I don't know," she called back. Then, as an afterthought, "I might remember if you stopped calling me that."
Alex snickered before replying, "I don't know, it kind of suits you and your know-it-all attitude." Beside him, Ethan glanced up at her before staring down at his phone. It was the first time that they noticed each other.
Later, they would work together on a project before becoming friends. She would ditch class and he would listen to her cry about Olivia and she would let him rant about his obnoxious older brothers. They would come to care for each other amidst the turmoil of their own lives. But this moment would always be significant. It would live on throughout their entire story of love and friendship. Becasue until that day, they had existed in separate spheres, divergent in their paths for so long and now it seemed that they would collide catastrophically.
This was part of the first chapter of a novel that I am writing and I hope you guys enjoy it.