The High Flier

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The High Flier

The High Flier

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Porter Addley was a mindscape. He was a musician, a ticking time bomb. Most of all, he was lonely. He would never admit it, but it began to eat away at him. As the sun set, the temperature outside dropped. His jacket lay loosely on his shoulders, barely zipped up. He sat on the bleachers, no one else in sight. It was peaceful for the most part. In his pocket was an unopened pack of cigarettes. Pulling at the plastic film with his teeth, he searched for his lighter. He stuck a cigarette in between his lips, lighting it. The nicotine escaped from his mouth, floating up into the evening sky. Porter had a variety of problems, smoking being one of them. He stopped vaping for Ambrose, but couldn’t quit completely. The rush, and the serenity the smoke brought him, was hard to get rid of. There were times he assumed it was his only escape. He took another hit, holding the thin roll of paper between his fingers, moving it far away from his crimson lips. 

In the distance, a blonde girl had begun crossing the football field, making her way toward the bleachers. Porter squinted, unsure who would be out here at this time apart from him. But, as she got closer to him, her facial features became crystal clear. A beauty mark was visible below her lip. Her longer hair framed her face perfectly. Porter took a deep breath, finishing his cigarette.

There she was; Milana Bailey, the resident poet.

She walked up the stairs, out of breath. She had no jacket covering her upper body, her arms bare and cold as she ran her fingers along them. Porter watched as she took a seat next to him, looking up. Milana was the only other person that knew he was out here. Everyone else could care less. Porter wasn’t sure if he liked this, if he enjoyed Milana being this near to him. His cigarette was close to burning out. He threw it onto the concrete under his feet, searching for a new one to light. 

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“It’s cold out here, Porter. What are you doing?” Milana smiled softly, wrapping her arms around her body. 

“Smoking. What’s it look like?” He was a tad cocky with his reply, but Milana didn’t mind. She was used to it. Colette wasn’t always the nicest person. She learned that Colette would always walk over her, therefore she never fought back. Milana sighed. Her breath was visible, the temperature continued to drop. As the two enjoyed the comfortable silence, the wind picked up. 

“Want some company?” she asked Porter, sure the answer would be no. 

Porter hesitated at first. He looked at the blonde, good-natured girl next to him. He exhaled, putting his cigarette box back in his coat pocket. “I guess so.”

“Okay,” Milana simply mumbled, her knees now pulled to her chest. 

Porter couldn’t help but take small glances at Milana. As she softly exhaled, her body moved peacefully. Her hair was golden, even as the sun disappeared and stars overtook the sky. Porter was lankier than Milana. He was taller, too. Parts of Milana admired that, though she’d never tell him. Porter placed another cigarette between his lips, lighting it. Tugging at his jacket, he took another peek at Milana. She was slightly shivering, the air grazing over her bare shoulders. He thought for a moment. Before he had the chance to regret it, he pulled his jacket off of his frame. 

Milana’s eyes widened as she felt a softer, heavier fabric wrap around her upper body. She turned over toward Porter, who was smirking. “You need it more than I do.”

“Are you sure?” Milana questioned the mysterious boy, watching his expression closely. Porter nodded, a puff of smoke escaping him. Without thinking much more about it, Milana stuck her arms through his sweater sleeves. She pulled it over her legs, inhaling. It smelt of nicotine and cologne, something out of a movie scene. Milana would remember this moment from here on. As she went to adjust, something else crossed her mind. 

She parted her lips. “What made you give me your jacket?”

“Milana, look at yourself. You’re shivering,” Porter argued, stern. He sat up straight, finishing another cigarette. He had smoked three in the course of twenty minutes. Unhealthy, he was aware. Milana looked down, her arms tight against her chest. Despite Porter’s jacket acting as a blanket, the colder air continued to nip at her. She wasn’t ready for the upcoming winter. She despised having to walk to school while snow stuck to the ground below her. 

She was a curious, rather optimistic thing. Right now, however, her morals were clouded. Something about it felt freeing. “I know. It’s just—usually you’d curse me out before helping me. You aren’t a people person, Porter. I don’t want you to have to change that. I don’t know, it was just new. It was new, and I liked it.”

Porter smiled to himself. He wasn’t sure why. Milana was right, he would rather be hating her instead, but she had a personality so light, so loving, that it was hard. “If it were anyone else, I would’ve let them freeze.”

“What’s so different about me? I’m just like everyone else.” Trying to understand Porter’s logic, Milana continued to ask questions. She continued to keep her head down, scared to make eye contact, scared of the breeze. Porter shook his head, laughing. He placed his cigarettes next to him. “No, Milana. You aren’t. You’re inspiring, you’re fresh. You know what you want, and despite the obstacles, I’ve never once seen you give up. Colette treats you as if you’re less than her. Colette doesn’t know your worth. You don’t know your worth.”

Milana was taken aback. Porter Addley had never spoken so highly of her. No one had ever spoken that highly of her. Not even herself, not even her parents. She pulled her head up, turning to face the lanky boy next to her. She gave him a faint grin. No matter how still she was sitting, something pulled her closer to Porter. Hesitant, she leaned her head against his shoulder. She had never done that before. As the wind settled, all her walls began to collapse. The overhead lights on the football field were automatic, shining over the two. Her hands fell neatly into her lap. “Porter Addley, you’re sweet.”

Porter looked down at Milana, serene. “Thank you.” 

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