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It was the attention that was given that made Selena interested, she enjoyed the chase. Slowing her pace to give them a false sense of hope, only to sprint further away constantly teasing them. She’d never let them catch up to her, whenever they got too close she’d end whatever was going on between them. She’d always keep them at arm’s length, but there was only one person she let in.

“You’re a dumbass,” she says, her laugh ringing in Selena’s ears. 

Selena felt her heart rate quicken and felt her face heating up. She looked to the source of her flustered expression. Her name is Zoe, she has honey, almost golden, eyes and this messy grey hair. She’s always outgoing and some would describe her as obnoxious, but to Selena, she was the reason she could smile. Not that Selena would ever make it apparent though. She’s always reminded that the way she feels is not okay, that she’ll get over it when she’s older. She’ll be a housewife, married to a man, and bear his children. Be a good wife and always be there for him. Selena lightly shakes her head. She’s just going to have to accept things for the way they are. Plus it’s not like Zoe would ever see her as more than a friend. 

“Hey! Selena,” she turns her head to see the bright girl.

Selena gives her a nod as acknowledgment. This encourages Zoe to continue, “So at practice, I want to try out that new quick attack. You think you’ll be able to make those sets?”

“Yeah, shouldn’t be too hard, I’ve been taking the time to practice at home, they’re still a bit off,” the quiet one replies.

Zoe’s eyes light up, “You’re the best you know that, right? I’ll see you after school, I have to get to my next class. Bye!”

Selena watches as the expressive girl lightly jogs to her next class. Selena hates that feeling, she wants Zoe to be near all the time. She just has to get through the school day before she can see Zoe again.

Practice ended later than usual, but Selena enjoyed the time she spent with Zoe. The spiker always praised Selena for her sets and always asked Selena if she saw her perfect form. She was like a puppy, it was adorable. Selena’s eyes were glazed over as she was dazed, her mother took note and cleared her throat. This snaps Selena back to reality.

“After dinner, we will pray the rosary, we must keep that evil away from you mija,” those were her mother’s words. That’s when Selena remembers she can’t be happy. 

It’s been a few weeks since the last time she had to pray the rosary, Which made her feel relieved. Volleyball was doing well, they just won first place for cities, next is states. After the coach’s long speech Selena began to walk away, she was ready to go home.

“Hey, Nena!” That was the nickname Zoe gave her when they first became friends. 

Selena turns around, “yeah?”

Zoe fiddles with her fingers, “C-can we talk?”

“Uh yeah sure, what’s-” Selena was interrupted by the other girl.

“Oh! Uh not here, can we talk in your car?” She asks.

Selena nods her head, “yeah, c’mon.”

They sat in the car, the silence was loud. Zoe curled up her body, knees touching her chest. Selena sat there, heart racing and wondering what it was Zoe wanted to talk about. She looks up to see the latter trembling lightly. Selena took off her sweater and wrapped it around the not subtle spiker. She proceeds to take one of her hands and holds it, despite the car being warm the grey-haired girl was cold. Selena rubs circles on her hand, hoping it would comfort her. She wasn’t good in that department, but the grey-haired one smiles slightly at the gesture knowing this wasn’t her forte. 

“Sorry if I freaked you out. It’s just- I don’t know who I can talk to about this, and since we’re best friends I thought maybe I could tell you,” Zoe says. Little did she know those words stung Selena’s heart. Right, just friends, nothing more.

She took the silence as encouragement to continue, “It’s my parents. They uh, they’ve been fighting a lot for a while and it wasn’t until recently did they get violent. Neither one has made the choice or even brought up the option of divorce and I don’t know if that’s good or bad. I just- I want things to be normal again, but I don’t think they will. I’m just counting down the days till we graduate and I can be far away from them.”

Selena didn’t know what to say. So she just sat there, holding the other’s hands.

That night when Selena got home she cried. It wasn’t the hysterical angry cry, no. It was the silent kind. The one where there are barely any tears left, the numbness spreading. She has to let go of these feelings. If she didn’t they’d just ruin her.

Some time had passed between their conversation and they were normal. Zoe was still bouncing around all the time, constantly praising herself and saying she’s the best spiker. Selena envied the girl for her confidence, but she knew what was hiding behind that smile.

Practice ended, Selena was about to leave before Zoe had called her name.

“Hey! Selena! Can I ask you something,” she says.

Selena felt a light tug at the corner of her mouth, “you already did.”

Zoe stood there for a moment before she understood the statement, “Ugh you know what I mean you jerk.”

Selena smiled, “what’s up?”

“Can-can I spend the night at your house, mine is um…” Selena didn’t need to hear the rest.

“Yeah sure. I’ll let my parents know you’re coming so they can prepare an extra plate of food,” Selena replies.

Zoe’s eyes were lit once again, “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! You’re amazing!”

It took very little convincing for her parents to let the grey-haired girl stay the night. They were just friends after all the parents knew that. They believe their praying has finally done its job.

It was late at night and Zoe couldn’t sleep. She turned to look at Selena, she noticed the way her chest rose and fell. The way her lips were slightly parted and the way she just looked to be at peace. It made Zoe’s heart flutter. She has known Selena since 6th grade, they met when they both joined the volleyball team and then the softball team. They were always paired together. Setter and spiker, along with pitcher and catcher. They had a bond one that Zoe refused to mess up. So why couldn’t she stop these feelings from developing? Zoe felt Selena stir and immediately closed her eyes and prayed that she couldn’t hear her heart beating a million miles per second.

Selena sighed, “I know you’re awake. What’s up?”

Zoe remained silent.

“Just tell me. What’s wrong?”

Zoe knows they’re best friends. She’s been flirting with Selena since freshman year but Selena never picked up on it. It’s now senior year so she might as well take her chance now. Zoe opened her eyes and was met with dark chocolate eyes staring right at her. She took a deep breath before standing on all fours on top of Selena. Her eyes went wide, but when their lips connected she eased a bit. It was a soft kiss. When Zoe pulled away she looked into Selena’s eyes, eyes that were filled with confusion.

“S-sorry,” Zoe says as she moves away.

She felt like she just ruined something, but she felt Selena’s hand on her face wiping away tears.

“Don’t be. I like you, I just didn’t know how to tell you,” Selena stated. This made Zoe look at her.

“You do?” She asks.

Selena nods her head, and to prove it she leaned in to kiss the girl again. She needed her to understand that she wants her as well. That night they held onto each other tightly not wanting to separate from each other because they knew that in the morning they were going to have to face Selena’s angry parents. For now, though they just wanted to enjoy the little bit of paradise they’ve found in each other.

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Elia Murillo

Augustana '25

Just a tired latina college student who likes to talk. Aside from writing I like to participate in the arts and I'm studying to become a veterinarian.
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