Abby Kirk :)

United States

Message to Readers

I would love to get some reviews on the way I excerpted my piece. It's a part of a much larger project I've been working on. I would also love any feedback on characters, dialog, tags, description, etc. Thank you!!

Old Friends

November 17, 2020

Honk!
Samantha leaned into the horn again. Jack was late. He had always been late. Samantha couldn't think of one time he had ever been on time, much less early. She turned to Uncle Tom, who sat in the passenger seat. 
"We might be here a while."
Uncle Tom smiled. "It's alright. I was hoping to get some nice quality time with you anyways."
"Why? I mean, not that I don't love quality time, it just seems like you're on a mission."
"Well," he started. "I know you. And you've been acting a little off lately. Especially about Ben. What's going on?"
Samantha rubbed her eyes. "Nothing, Uncle Tom. I'm fine."
"Are you sure?" 
Samantha nodded. "Look, here he is." She pointed towards Jack's apartment. He was locking the door behind him and running their way.
"Sorry I'm late," he called, slipping into the backseat of her Volkswagen. "Man, it's been a while since I've seen this thing." He patted the door. "What's up, Poppy?"
"Poppy?" Uncle Tom looked at Samantha questioningly. 
Samantha didn't answer.
"That's this car's name. Right?" Jack smiled. 
Samantha turned on her blinker and switched lanes. Jack's smile faded. 
"Sorry," he whispered.
Uncle Tom twisted in his seat to face Jack. "Don't apologize." He smiled. "Sammy's having a hard day."
Samantha rolled her eyes. "You want the full story?" She slammed on the brakes. "For my sixteenth birthday, Jack took me on a picnic. Then, when you and Auntie told me you'd sold the tractor to buy this car a few hours later, he and I decided to name it Poppy. Poppy the car. End of story." 
"Sammy," Jack said quietly. "We're stopped in the middle of the highway."
Samantha glanced at the cars whizzing by and clenched her jaw. 
"Why don't I drive?" Uncle Tom offered uneasily.
"I can drive," Samantha cried. "I might not be able to manage my life, or make great choices, or be a good girlfriend or fiancee and, by the way, I'm terrified that I won't be a good wife, or--" She paused unsteadily. "Or be able to help the people I really love. But I can drive."

Jack stared out the window awkwardly. "Look," he said softly. "I'm sorry, Sam. For--" he stopped.
Samantha gripped the steering wheel tightly. "For telling Julia Hancock that you didn't know me? After twelve years of being my best friend, you told her you didn't know me. And then, guess what you did? You went behind my back and--and--" Samantha blinked the tears away. 
"I know." Jack hung his head. "I cheated on you. I liked her, and I was stupid. I sacrificed everything I ever loved for her. I lied to you and, honestly, I wouldn't forgive me either. So, it's okay. You can be mad at me."
Samantha pressed her lips together tightly.
"If it makes you feel any better, she only dated me for a few weeks. Then she found some jock she liked better." Jack sighed. "I guess I deserved it."
Samantha didn't respond. "Here we are," she whispered. She pointed to the left.
The farm was eerily quiet. The animals had all been sold off to different buyers, and the normal hum of the tractor engine was long gone. Samantha stepped out of the car and onto the hay-covered ground. 
"I've missed this place," Jack whispered.
Samantha nodded. "We did a lot here."
Jack nodded. He placed a hand on the wooden beam above the barn door. "Yeah. We did."

Engraved in the beam were the words: Better Together, Jack and Sam. 
Samantha shook her head. Get a grip, she told herself. That was a long time ago. 
A cry rang out from the other side of the barn. Samantha looked up, startled. Uncle Tom stood, tears in his eyes, standing over the pig pen.

"What?" Samantha rushed over beside him.
"Holly." He pointed to a large pig lying motionless in the pen. "They didn't come for her. They were supposed to pick her up weeks ago. And now," he stopped. "Now she's gone."
Samantha looked away. "I'm sorry," she whispered, stepping away from the pen. She covered her eyes. 
"Hey, you okay?" Jack was by her side. 
"I'm...fine." She swallowed. "I don't do well with smells."
Jack laughed. "See, this is why you didn't like teenage boys."
Samantha managed a smile. "That, and other things."
Jack looked at the ground. "But, uh, actually, Sam, I wasn't talking about the pig." 
Samantha looked up. 
"I was talking about you and Ben."
"What about us?" She studied his eyes. 
"You seem, I don't know, touchy? Whenever someone talks about him. What's going on?" Jack furrowed his brow. "I mean it. You can tell me."
Samantha looked towards Uncle Tom. "Come on," she whispered. She led Jack up to the loft. "Up here." She pointed to a ladder leading to a hatch in the roof. "Uncle Tom built this for me when I first moved. It was kind of my secret hideout. My haven, of sorts."
"I'm surprised you never brought me up here." Jack climbed through the hatch. "The view is amazing." 
Samantha climbed through after him. "Well, it was mine. I was scared that if I showed it to someone else--" she stopped. 
"The magic would fade away," Jack finished quietly. 
Samantha nodded. "It doesn't matter now, I guess. The magic left the day I met Ben." She froze. "I mean, not that meeting Ben was, I don't know, I mean, I never--"
Jack cracked a smile. "It's okay, Sam. That you showed him and not me. Honestly, I'm glad you didn't. It saved the magic. For a little while, at least."
Samantha breathed deeply. The fresh, farm air filled her lungs. "I miss it."
"Me, too." Jack looked out over the fields. "The animals and fields and people. The unfiltered, undiluted sincerity of it all. It's beautiful."
"It is, but that's not what I meant." Samantha turned towards Jack. "I miss-- I miss us."
Jack looked at her sideways. "Us?"
"Best friends us. Tell each other everything us." Samantha pulled her coat tighter around her chest. "I don't know. I," she paused. "I miss my best friend."
 

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