Dangerous Rush(7)

By: S.C. Stephens

Frowning, I looked over at Antonia’s sleeping body. She hadn’t thrown up in a long time, and I was taking that as a good sign, but I’d still feel better if I saw her eyes open, saw her smile at me. “I’d like to stay until she wakes up.”

Putting a hand on my shoulder, Izzy looked down at me with the concerned eyes of a mother. “I’m fine now, Hayden. I can handle this. For today. But Felicia…something is off with her. I feel like…I feel like she’s gonna run again. Go to your girlfriend, get her to talk to you. Then get some sleep.”

I knew she was right, but even still, a part of me didn’t want to leave. Sometimes I needed reassurance too, and seeing Antonia awake and happy would be very cathartic. Izzy was right though; something was going on with Felicia. She needed me too, and I needed to be there for her. “Yeah, all right. I’ll get out of here for a little bit, get some sleep. If you need me to come back—if you ever need me to come back—just text me, Iz. Like I said, I’m not going anywhere.”

“I know,” she said with a smile, then kissed my cheek.

On my way home, I worried. Worried about Izzy, worried about Antonia, and worried about Felicia. How did everything fall apart so fast? But no…it hadn’t fallen apart, it had just cracked. And I could fix cracks.

I struggled to keep my eyes open the entire ride home, and when I pulled into the driveway, I debated if I could go to bed first, and talk to Felicia when I woke up. No, even I knew that wasn’t a good idea. She was my priority, and I should treat her as such. I’d talk to her first…then go to bed. As I twisted the knob, another thought occurred to me, a much happier one. I’d been waiting for a good time to ask Felicia to marry me, but there hadn’t been the perfect moment; I was beginning to think there never would be one. So, what if I chose the wrong moment instead? What if doing it now—when we were at our lowest—was the best for everyone? It would give Felicia something positive to think about, brighten Izzy’s spirits, and possibly Antonia’s too. What little girl didn’t love weddings?

My mind made up, I decided the first thing I’d do when I saw Felicia was drop down on one knee. I should give her the ring, too, though. I’d sneak into the bedroom, grab it from my underwear drawer, then drop down on one knee. It would be perfectly imperfect.

Plan in mind, I was quiet when I entered the house. She might be in the bedroom, of course, which would make things harder, but I was sure I could do it. I had quick hands.

Stealthily closing the door, I started heading for the bedroom. Something felt different in the apartment, but I couldn’t put my finger on it…like the air felt stale. When I got to the bedroom, I poked my head in to see if Felicia was there. She wasn’t, so I began tiptoeing to the dresser. I stopped when I noticed something…odd. The top two drawers on Felicia’s side of the dresser were cracked open, the bottom one was completely open, and empty.

Straightening my stance, I instantly forgot about being sneaky. Walking over to the dresser, I started yanking open drawers. Felicia’s were all empty. What the fuck? I switched to my side of the dresser…but everything of mine was still there, including Felicia’s engagement ring.

I checked the closet beside the dresser, and found the same thing—Felicia’s stuff was gone, but all my crap hadn’t been touched. An icy feeling started clenching my chest, making it hard to breathe. Did she fucking run again? She hadn’t done it in a while…I thought for sure she’d outgrown the compulsion. I hurried to the bathroom, but it was the same as everything else—void of her. Goddamn it. How could she bail on us now?

Maybe she hadn’t left yet. Maybe I could fix this. “Felicia? Babe? You here?”

There was a panicked edge to my voice. I hated hearing it, but I couldn’t help it. Felicia had never taken all of her stuff before. She’d always just fled with whatever she had on her at the time. Everything about this felt wrong. It felt pre-meditated. Felt…permanent. Fuck, this wasn’t just Felicia running away for a few days to get her head on straight. This was Felicia running away…for good.

No. She wouldn’t do that to me. We’d been best friends since I was ten years old. Something else was going on here. It had to be something else…

The bed was pristine, untouched. No clues there. Ducking out of the bedroom, I started searching everywhere for her. It was a small apartment, though, not a whole lot of space to check. When I got to the kitchen, I stopped searching. A piece of paper was lying on the table. For some reason, just looking at it made my heart beat faster. Felicia had never left notes when she ran. Ever.