“It’s like I don’t even know you.”
“Sad. We’ve been in each other’s lives because of Leo since we were kids.”
“I’ve never seen you open a door for a girl before.”
“You’re not just any girl.”
He reached his hand for me to take and helped me step into his lifted Chevy.
“Nope. You’re Leo’s best friend and what kind of friend would I be to my boy if I didn’t take care of his most prized possession?”
My eyes widened and before I could reply, he shut the door.
It didn’t take long to drive to my car. Twenty minutes later, he was following me inside my apartment, ready to plan out our assignment.
It was almost eleven at night by the time I drove passed Mila’s apartment complex. Her place was visible from the road and I could see the light in her bedroom was still on. At the last second, I decided to stop by and see what she was up to. We never announced our random arrivals. After the day I had, I wanted to chill with my best friend.
I spent most of the afternoon at my old man’s shop. He was showing me the ropes and what my responsibilities would entail once I graduated.
I was exhausted from hearing him say, “Leo, are you listening?”
I was, sort of.
The fact he thought it was normal to work until this late at night was an ongoing argument between him and my mom. She didn’t understand it either.
I stopped at the gas station and picked up a bag of Skittles, they were Mila’s favorite. Parking my car next to hers, I made my way up the stairs to the second floor and walked right in. Mentally chastising her for leaving her door unlocked, again.
“Mila, how many times do I have to tell you to lock your—” I stopped dead in my tracks, standing at the foot of her bedroom door. Knocked on my ass by what I was walking into.
Mila was sitting against the headrest of her bed, a notebook in her lap.
“Hey,” she greeted.
My eyes shifted from her to the person I least expected to see.
In her bed.
Cain was laying down on the end of her mattress, looking up at the notebook in his hands. A bunch of textbooks and food in between them.
“The fuck?” I questioned, causing Cain’s gaze to focus on mine.
“Hey, man,” he greeted next. “Hungry? We got some leftover food. Mila eats like a mouse.”
“I do not! You just cook for an army.”
What. The. Fuck.
“What are you doing here?”
“What do you mean?” he replied, caught off guard by what I just asked.
“Here. What are you doing in Mila’s apartment? Let alone her bed?”
“Oh.” He sat up, hearing the sharp tone in my voice. “We’re partners.”
Mila chimed in, “In our psych class, Leo. We’re partners in our dual thesis assignment. What’s your problem?”
“I don’t have a problem.”
“You look like you do,” Cain intervened, arching an eyebrow.
“I’m just surprised you’re here. I didn’t know you guys have class together this semester.”
Mila stood. “Are you supposed to know?”
“I thought we told each other everything.”
“Bro, it’s not a big deal.” Cain stood, grabbing his backpack. “I was just leaving anyway.” He looked at Mila. “Same time tomorrow?”
On his way out, he picked up a plate of food and handed it to me. “Here, eat something. You look hangry. Talk later, Mi.”
Mi? He had a nickname for her now?
As soon as the door closed, I glanced down at the food in my grasp, recognizing it immediately. “Did Cain cook for you?”
“Yeah, you never told me he was such a good cook.”
“Why would I?”
She stepped back. “Leo, what’s your deal? Why are you acting so…”
“I don’t know… weird? We were just working on our assignment.”
“It’s almost midnight.”
“I guess we lost track of time.”
“Didn’t seem like you guys had any plans to stop working any time soon.”
“What? Cain just told you he was leaving.”
“You guys seemed awfully chummy for never saying more than a few words to each other.”
“That’s not true.”
“So what? You guys are friends now?”
“Ummm… I don’t know. I’ll answer that when you stop acting like a dick.”
“Oh, I’m a dick now? I was your best friend yesterday.”
“Leo! What the hell? Did you not get your dick wet this week or something?”
Why was I acting like an asshole?
“Here.” I handed her the Skittles. “I got you these.”
“Thanks. You should have opened with these.” She sat them on her nightstand. “I’m going to take a shower. You can eat, you can chill, I’ll be back in ten.”
I watched her leave, standing there until I started cleaning up the food. Taking it to the kitchen, I placed the dishes in the sink.
Mila and Cain.
Cain and Mila.
It was not a duo I ever gave any thought about. Sure, he was around her, but it was always when I was there.