Goldfish Hearts

“Do you think goldfish have hearts?”

I snorted at her question. “Of course they do, Lou. How else would they have blood and stuff?”

Audrey wrinkled her nose. “No, Em.”

I narrowed my gaze. She knew I hated that nickname. “I’m not a goddamn girl, Audrey.” I growled under my breath.

“I meant, do you think they feel things?” She continued, oblivious to my irritation.

“How the hell would I know what a stupid goldfish feels?” I grumbled, kicking at the dirt.

“I don’t know,” she sighed dismissively. “I just wondered.”

I was silent, picking at the bandages suffocating my wrists.

Her eyes flickered to my hands and she frowned. “Emery…”

“I know. God, okay?” I said sharply.

Audrey ducked her head and focused intently on my boots.

“Hey,” I began hesitantly. “It’s just hot and they itch.” I trailed off. “Audrey?”

“Just shut up, Emery.” She mumbled, crossing her arms.

“Is this about the goldfish?” I asked slowly.

She tossed her head, hair flashing in the blistering sunlight. “No, Emery. This is not about the fucking goldfish.”

I sat perfectly still, gaping at her.

“What?” She said, defensive.

I shook my head. “God, I don’t know. You’re just…”

“Just what?” She demanded.

“You’re just a stupid girl anyways.” I mumbled.

She sat motionless for a second then shoved herself to her feet. “Look at me.” She demanded, stomping her foot.

I meekly raised my eyes.

“You’re just a stupid girl too, Em.” She lilted over my name and I got angry. Really angry because I hadn’t meant to say that.

I bolted upright, but she beat me to the punch. Clutching my eye, I reeled backwards against the brick wall. “What the hell!”

She hit me again.

I started cussing because I couldn’t see. I called her terrible names, but I know she didn’t hear them. She was gone, her boots floundering in the puddles as she sprinted down the alley.

I sagged against the trash heap, grinning. God, that girl was beautiful.

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