The Starboard Lounge: Part II
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The Starboard Lounge: Part II

Before he comprehended what exactly he was doing, Cypress’s feet were walking in the opposite direction of his friends.

“Is something wrong?” Alanna asked with a confused pout.

He ripped his arm out of hers and didn’t answer as he started descending the stairs in a hurried pace. She didn’t deserve this, none of them did. Cypress realized he was just being a shitty friend, too afraid of his emotions to actually talk about them. His feet picked up pace until he broke into a run.

Orion made a move forward but Nick stopped him, “Let him go.”

Did Cypress not see them there? He had stared straight at Orion. They had locked eyes, and now he was just gone.

Orion could only look on with concern as the strange girl went after his best friend.

The drummer emerged out of the back doors of the Starboard Lounge, heading toward the beach. But there was nowhere left to run as soon as he hit the shore and looked out across the dark water. Instead, he slumped down to the sand and took in a breath of the warm, salty, night air.

Why was he feeling like this? He hated it. He hated how Orion looked at him with that wounded confusion. He hated how it made him feel even more confused, but most of all he hated that he had caused it.

“Hey there,” he heard a kind, calm, voice a moment later and knew Alanna had followed him. She was crouching next to him.

“I’m sorry,” he said and hung his neck between his knees. He hoped she wouldn't be too mad at him for taking her out without feeling anything toward her.

She maneuvered to his right and sat next to him in the sand, “It’ll be okay. I don’t entirely know what’s going on with you and your friends but I’ll listen.”

Cypress sighed and looked at her, “Have you ever had a friend you could tell anything to? That you could trust with your life, know all their secrets, and couldn’t seem to live without them?”

She bit her lip, “No, I don’t have any close friends like that.”

He look a bit surprised at her admission and then sighed, “Orion Loche is that kind of friend to me.”

“So why are you out here and not up there with him?”

“I’m supposed to be on a date,” Cypress smiled bitterly.

“You and I both know this is not a date,” Alanna nudged him, proving she already knew his intentions or lack thereof, “I still don’t understand why don’t you go up and talk to him?”

“Orion…he…I think his feelings have changed on me,” there was a sort of mournful expression on Cypress’s face as he picked up some of the sand next to him.

“He doesn’t want to be your friend anymore?” she asked with a puzzled frown.

“No, I think he wants to be more than friends,” he let the sand go so it was a stream of little pieces, funneled like that of an hourglass, that made a pile next to him. He wiped his hands together to clean them, “And I fear that I’ll lose him if I don’t feel the same way.”

"Do you?" she asked, "Feel like you wanted to be more than friends?"

He stared at the ocean for a moment, then said quietly, "I don't feel that way toward anyone. I never have."

The waves rolled up against the shore, nearly getting their toes wet, while from above Orion and Nick looked upon the two teens from a window of the Starboard Lounge. They saw Cypress’s date sitting close, looking to comfort him as he moped.

“I never knew he liked anyone,” Orion said, seeming bewildered. “He never mentioned her.”

“Maybe that’s why he’s been so distant with you lately,” Nick shrugged. It was bullshit, but Nick was willing to say anything to keep his band together.

Orion saw them rise from their spot on the beach and then Cypress pulled her into a hug. It made a little pang of jealousy hit in his chest.

“Thanks for listening,” Cypress said, with a genuine smile. “It’s good to have an outside perspective.”

“To tell you the truth, I’m a bit envious you have such a close friendship and if Orion values it as much as you do, I am sure he will understand,” Alanna admitted.

“I’ll talk to him before practice tomorrow, but I guess I better take you home now. We can get something to eat at Joe's on the way back,” Cypress pointed back toward the street where he’d parked. Alanna nodded.

“Dude are we going to finish our game or not?’ Nick asked, waiting with his arms crossed leaning on the pool table.

Orion didn’t answer. He was preoccupied with certain thoughts. He had watched Cypress and his date until they had wandered off the beach and out of view. They must have been leaving and who knows what they were going off to now? He just was so stumped by Cypress’s sudden change in demeanor and the little pang of jealousy in his chest only seemed to grow.

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