Hope isn’t nervous, but she’s not not nervous either.
She scans the group of people that’s just flooded out of the terminal, but doesn’t see the face she’s looking for. She shifts impatiently. It’s been nine months since she’s seen Amy, and she doesn’t know what to expect. She’s on edge.
“I still don’t get why you’re here.”
Okay, but to be fair, that might be for a different reason. “I’m here for the same reason you are. To see Amy.”
Molly squints at her. “I respect Amy’s feelings about you, but you should know that you haven’t won me over.”
Hope rolls her eyes. “I wasn’t trying to.”
“Well, maybe you should. I don’t like how rude you are.”
“Well I don’t like how you shrink Amy when you’re together, so I guess we’re at an impasse.”
Molly stares at her. “You know, that’s fair. I’m working on it.”
“And I’m working on not being rude.” As if to back it up, she gives Molly a smile. Molly looks at her like she’s grown another head, but says nothing.
Another group of people pushes through the terminal exit and Molly’s hand involuntarily grips her forearm. “There!”
Hope’s too caught up in noticing Amy to shake Molly off.
Her first thought is that Amy looks good. Really good. She’s in jeans and a white cotton shirt, similar to the one she wore when she picked up Hope in Botswana. Maybe the same one, if Hope remembers correctly. Her cheeks are tan and freckly, her hair lighter.
When she sees Molly, she beams so wide that it knocks the wind out of Hope. She’s beautiful, Hope thinks, especially when she smiles like that.
Her second thought is just, calm . Molly releases her forearm and screeches as Amy rushes into her arms. Hope hangs back, just watching, letting them have their moment. She knows, and secretly feels a little smug about it, that she’s seen Amy more recently than Molly has.
“JAW-DROPPING. WHO SAID YOU COULD LOOK THIS GORGEOUS.”
“YOU ARE ETHEREAL. AN ANGEL SENT FROM ABOVE.”
Molly gasps. “YOU. Are a literal goddess.”
Amy shakes her head in amazement. “You’re stunning, the actual embodiment of perfection.”
They both laugh and hug each other. “I MISSED YOU.” Molly screams.
“I MISSED YOU, DUDE!”
Hope rolls her eyes, but she finds the whole thing a little endearing. Not that she’d ever tell Molly that.
Finally, Molly pulls back, holding Amy at arms-length. “Amy.”
“In my efforts to be less controlling and selfish,” Hope snorts at that, “I should acknowledge that this reunion isn’t about me, and that I’ve been hogging you.”
Molly tilts her head toward Hope, and Amy glances over her shoulder. When she sees Hope, her cheeks flush and she laughs, lips pulling up in the bashful smile Hope likes so much.
It’s been nine months since she’s seen that smile for real. They’ve texted and talked on the phone, sent each other Snapchats, but it wasn’t the same as seeing Amy right there in front of her.
It was weird, the last nine months. Hope struggled at first in New York, not sure how to move forward with her life. She got a job waiting tables, tried to figure out what she wanted. It took her awhile, but she decided maybe college looked bad because she hadn’t known what she liked, where she wanted to be. So in the winter, she applied to NYU. She’d been accepted and declared an English major. She doesn’t know yet if she’ll like it, but she’s going to try, and she plans to study abroad, so she thinks maybe it won’t be so bad.
Plus, she thinks, Amy will be close, too.
She hadn’t waited, not on purpose, but anytime she came close to being with someone else, her attraction fizzled. She just wasn’t interested. There was always Amy, hovering in the background and occupying her thoughts.
Now, they’re face-to-face, and she’s occupying Hope’s entire physical existence with her smile.
It’s a little overwhelming.
“Molly,” Amy says, turning back to her friend.
“Hold this please.” She hands Molly her suitcase and her backpack. Hope doesn’t know what to expect when Amy walks toward her, and her heart flutters wildly against her ribcage. She sticks her hands in her back pockets so Amy won’t see them fidgeting.
“Hey,” she says when Amy gets closer.
“Hey,” Amy says back, and it feels so much like that time on her porch that Hope softens. But Amy is different, and so is Hope, and even if it feels the same, it feels different, too. “You’re here.”
“I’m here.” Hope shrugs because, well, of course she’s here. Where else would she be?
Amy hums thoughtfully. “I thought I might have overexaggerated how tall you were in my memory, but I think I underexaggerated it actually.”
Hope rolls her eyes. “Well, you’re just as cute as I remember.”
“I… ah. Ugh.” Amy glances toward the sky, blushing.
“And totally as smooth,” Hope continues.
Amy shakes her head in amusement, looking back at Hope. “Hope.”
“You wanna try this thing? Me and you?”
Hope has to laugh. “That’s why I’m here, nerd.”
“Oh,” Amy lifts a teasing eyebrow. “Right. Thought you came as Molly’s date.”
“Mmm, did you?”
Amy laughs. “You’d make an adorable couple.”
“Mmm,” Hope nods. “Right, should I go off with her then, or?” She gestures in Molly’s direction, but Amy grabs her hand from the air.
“Let’s go out,” Amy says, bold and brave. It makes Hope weak. “Be my girlfriend.”
“Yeah, okay.” It’s all she can say.
Amy beams, cute and happy. She takes Hope’s hand and starts to lead her toward Molly. “Cool. Um, I have your shirt by the way.”
“Keep it,” Hope murmurs, letting herself be dragged wherever.
“Okay,” Amy says easily, almost as if she’d been expecting that. Hope narrows her eyes and Amy grins at her.
They get back to Molly and Amy drops her hand to grab her suitcase. Hope drapes Amy’s backpack over her shoulder and pulls her phone out as Molly and Amy start babbling on about something.
Hope: amy and i are dating ????? lol
Annabelle: jesus fuck dude it’s been 84 years. anyway i already knew that would happen. molly’s been so annoying the past few days going on about it
Hope: i still can’t believe you guys are like semi-best friends now
Annabelle: yeah well. the world works in weird ways
Hope looks up from her phone to see Amy and Molly staring at her. “Yeah? Sorry.”
“You ready to go?”
Hope nods and stuffs her phone back in her pocket. Amy holds her hand out and Hope takes it, tangling their fingers together, not caring that Molly’s dubiously eyeing their clasped hands.
When Amy smiles at her, her perfect, tiny, dorky, cute smile, Hope finally fully sinks into herself, into the person that she is and the person she wants to be.