Jacob was standing in front of his bedroom window. His brain had tried to process everything a thousand time and now, it had ran out of energy and his mind was a black void. He had forgotten to shower, had skipped his homework and had barely eaten. He had tried to read but he couldn’t even get a sentence in. He’d trained until it hurt. Now it was 9 Pm. and he was staring at the street lampposts flickering in and out.
Suddenly, a buzzing filled his room and he was out of his daze. He checked the text he had just received. It was Kath.
“I know it’s late but can we meet?” Jacob blinked and read the message multiple times. When the words finally fell into place he threw himself down the stairs and dressed as fast as he could. He texted back asking where they should meet and was putting his gloves on when Kath replied. “The park.” It said. And so Jacob left and made his way there with long, quick strides.
When he arrived at the park, it was empty and the silence was buzzing in his ears. He was about to sit on a bench when he saw Kath making her way down the street. When she saw him, she broke into a run and, before Jacob had time to react, she threw herself on him.
-“Jay…” She said between two labored breath. He could feel nervousness in her embrace. “What am I supposed to do now?” She trailed off. He felt her arms squeeze around his waist.
Jacob stayed still, not knowing what to do with his own arms. After a while, she finally took a step back and, without even looking at him, she sat on the bench. Slowly, he did the same, waiting for her to say something. He could hear her breathing beside him. She must have ran much longer than it seemed.
-“Jeremy confessed to me…” She started. “He said that you knew about this.”
-“He told me after school.” Jacob answered lifelessly.
-“You didn’t stop him?” She asked with a petite voice.
-“Should I have?” His words were sharper than he would have liked. “It’s his feelings after all.”
-“I thought you were mad at him.” She cut.
-“He’s selfish but I beat him up. I think we’re even.”
-“How can you not be mad anymore?”
-“I’m not the kind to hold grudges.” At those words, Kath moved uncomfortably.
-“He said that he was sorry. He told me that he was stupid for going out with Sarah and that he was jealous. He said that he understand that I’m mad and that we could at least be like before…” She took her head in her hands and a big cloud of mist escaped her mouth. “Am I supposed to forgive him? Can I really do that?” She stared at Jacob for a while. “You’re not going to say anything?”
-“I thought you needed ears to listen, not advises.” Jacob answered slowly.
-“It’s different now.”
-“You’ve been with Jeremy for years. You were always together. He wants to redeem your friendship. I don’t see any problem in that. He accepted that he was wrong.”
-“I was wrong as well. I knew he liked Sarah. I tried my best to be on his side but in the end, I was selfish.”
-“Then start from there and see what happens. Maybe you’ll grow to like him again?”
-“And what about you, Jay?”
-“You make your own decision, I won’t chose for you.”
-“That’s not what I meant.”
-“It’s late, I should go home.” Jacob got to his feet. Kath grabbed him by the wrist and he stopped in his track. “I’ll take you home, it’s dangerous for a girl to go around at night.” At this, Kath let go of his hand.
-“You’re running away.” Kath started. He began to walk again, this time in the other direction. She hesitated but ended up following. “You’re not fair.”
-“What would you want me to say?” Jacob said flatly.
-“I don’t know. I can’t tell what you’re thinking. I just wish you’d tell me if you disagree.”
-“It’s not my place to disagree.”
-“It is. You’re always protecting me, Jay. You care, I can tell. But… I don’t know what you really think.”
Jacob kept quiet for a moment and all that could be heard was footsteps in the snow. If he kept quiet just a little longer, they would be in front of Kath’s house and he wouldn’t have to explain anything. He didn’t want to say it to her. He never had planned for his feelings to become so. Jeremy was first, he had never even been second. There was no need for him to tell her. Not ever and yet…
-“Jay, I want to know what you really think.” Kath pressed him. “We’re no longer a duo, you’re there too. Can you actually forgive Jeremy? Can we still be friends, the three of us, just like before? What if me and Jeremy~”
-“I told you, I’m not mad at him anymore. There’s no point in me being mad. You would have a reason to but I don’t. It’s your feelings, you’re old enough to know what you want.”
-“That’s not an answer to my question.”
-“Fine. You’ve been together with Jeremy for a long time. It should be really hard to break that kind of friendship. You guys have all kinds of memories together.”
-“Yeah. That’s true…”
-“As for you going out with him, my feelings have nothing to do with it but if you really want to hear me out then I’ll tell you. Maybe you’re able to forgive him but… I don’t want it.” Jacob chuckled painfully. “I would hate you to go out with him. But this is no decision for me to make.”
-“W-why would you hate it?” Kath asked slowly, looking at her boots. Suddenly, Jacob felt very cold. He stopped in his tracks.
-“That’s your house, right. You should go inside, it’s cold.” His voice was an empty growl and Kath raised her eyes to stare at him.
-“This is all too convenient. We reach my house when you’re about to explain it to me. I don’t want that. I want an answer. Tell me or I won’t go inside.”
Jacob gave her a sad smile and patted her head gently then turned around and left. As he walked into the darkness, his smile was replaced by a pained frown.