Life Plus One by Rachel Robinson
Life Plus One
Ben Brahms shed his glasses, gangly body, and a life long pact to attend an Ivy League college with his best friend the day the world took on a sinister hue. With his outward appearance matching his new career as a Navy SEAL, Ben is saving the world…literally,
at the expense of everything he gave up. A whole life.
Harper Rosehall honors the pact. She takes on, and then dominates college on the opposite coast. Always the geek, and always behind socially—especially with men, she blossoms. With her moral compass guiding her, she finds herself drawn back to San Diego and all she left behind.
With memories from their pasts haunting every interaction and decision in their present—and future, their timing never seems to be quite right.
Some friendships last the test of time, can Ben and Harper’s stand the tests of life?
Life doesn’t care what you love, it takes it away anyways.
We read comic books and eat vanilla cake straight from the bakery box. It’s both of our favorite and I couldn’t help the falling, dying feeling settling in my stomach as we finished up. I promised no drama, but all the words I should be saying are eating at me. We’re dissecting a scene from one of our favorite comedy movies when she finally breaks her mundane conversation streak. “Our timing will never work out, you know? This newest blunder is evidence. Me moving back, you moving to where I just was. I think we need to let go of the pipe dream of forever after, Benny.” Her eyes glass over.
“Yeah?” I ask.
She turns away and her long ponytail swings, brushing an exposed shoulder. When her hair is up and she turns her head just so, a muscle moves in her neck. It’s long and elegant and it reminds me of a swan. I’ve come to realize it’s because she wore her hair up for an entire year while she waited for it to grow out. Ugly duckling. Swan. Yeah, really deep. It’s not the same as the haphazard blow job ponytails and tight neck muscles I see in the women I’m with these days. They don’t have swan necks that make me stare. They have nothing. In their defense, Harper already has everything.
“You’re right,” I say, pulling her against me on the sofa.
She leans her head against my shoulder and I wonder what her neck looks like right now.
“I need to get to bed. Your flight is early.”
She sniffles and I feel her nod against me. “I’ll miss you.”
If I hadn’t just promised to keep things simple, I’d tell her how I feel dead when I’m not with her. How inconsequential life seems without her to share it with. No one understands me, knows that weird, quirky person buried deep inside. Instead, I kiss her head, “I’ll miss you too, Harps. I’ll see you soon, though. Graduation or bust, you nerdy, awesome person.”
A quiet laugh rolls through her. “You know I don’t want it to be like this, right? I’d fix everything and make life simpler, the way it used to be, if I could.”