The Misfortune

The Misfortune

A Story by Ash Hoskins
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Kage and Crys(tal) dine at a Chinese restaurant when Crys needs a pick-me-up after a break-up. Kage is the best friend stuck in the friend zone. Crys finally falls for him... a little too late.

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Kage and Crys were cruising down the road in Rose City one evening. They were headed to a local Chinese restaurant that they frequented. Crys needed a pick-me-up after having been dumped by her boyfriend, once again. Kage was always there in a heartbeat to help pick up the shattered pieces. He loved when he got to spend time with his best friend, but it was tough for him to get those kind of calls or texts from her. Especially since he knew he would be better for her... and really wanted to be. Even if a relationship with Crys wasn’t in the cards for him, he still cared deeply for her and cherished her friendship. He always told himself “maybe one day.”


They arrived at Yin & Yummy. It was a small, inconveniently located restaurant with a wide range of food to choose from on their buffet. The two friends ate there so often over the years that all the staff knew them by name. Their drinks would even sometimes make it to their table -a booth in the back next to a giant window- before they did. Right on cue, their usual waitress, Liang, was setting their Coke and Root beer on the table as they were walking over. 


“Hi! How are you guys today!?” She beamed at them. Liang was always smiling and always displayed the most upbeat attitude. “It’s been a while since I seen you two. How come?” She continued before giving them a chance to speak.


Kage looked at Crys and raised his eyebrows, waiting for her to explain why they haven’t been around lately. 


“Oh, Liang, we’ve both been very busy,” Crys explained. “With our busy schedules, it’s hard to coordinate lunch or dinner together as often as we used to.” Crys wasn’t up for telling her the real reason for their absence. Abuse is all too common these days, unfortunately, and Crys was embarrassed about it. She just wanted to forget about that part of her life for the rest of the evening. She didn’t need to disclose the whole truth.


“Ah! Yes! I understand how that is,” Liang nodded to emphasize that she understood. “Well, good to see you guys again! Let me know if you need anything, okay? Okay.”


Kage could see the hurt in Crys’s eyes. Her ex-boyfriend broke up with her for the 8th time this year. He was the overly controlling type. Apparently extremely indecisive. Abusive in every way possible: emotionally, mentally, verbally, and occasionally physically. Those qualities usually go hand in hand with a drinking problem, which he definitely did have. He was impossible to please and his mood would change like the flip of a switch. It’s been hard for Crys to deal with. Despite the love she had for him, she knew their fate as a couple. Another day she would spend with him was another day wasted. It was just hard for her to let go. The toughest battles are between the heart and the head.


“Let’s get some food in your tummy,” Kage suggested as he slid out of the booth. Those words hugged her soul. Good company and Chinese food were a great kickstart to healing her heart. 


As they finished their dinner, Liang brought over the check and set 3 fortune cookies on top. Kage and Crys never understood why, but Liang always gave them one extra cookie. They would usually play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” for the third one, but tonight, Crys surrendered the cookie without a fight. She just wasn’t feeling the extra one. She pulled the fortune out of the cookie she had and read it aloud. “Someone you care about seeks reconciliation.” Crys crumbled up the tiny white paper and rolled her eyes. “My fortunes always suck. What do yours say?” She leaned into the table.


“Nothing really. Just your typical generic ‘Good things are coming’ nonsense.” Kage stuffed his fortunes in his pocket.


“Oh! I hate those ones!” Crys exclaimed. “Like, thanks for the effort Confucius.”


Kage laughed. Usually that’s exactly what his fortunes turned out to be too, but today they weren’t. His first fortune read: “If your desires are not extravagant, they will be granted.” He didn’t read too much into the first one until he read the second one. 


   •Now is the time to pursue that love interest!•


What are the odds that both of these little fortunes would read something unusual like that? And the timing is uncanny! Is God giving me a sign?


He could feel his face grow hot. He had been staring out the window for at least a minute, hoping he wouldn’t end up wearing his thoughts and feelings all over his face. He felt that maybe he was reading too deep into the advice he got from a cookie, but he was honestly hoping it was his sign. He was so lost in thought, he didn’t even notice that Crys had paid for their dinner.


“Ohh, no, Crys! Why’d you do that? I’m supposed to be taking care of you!” Kage looked around for Liang, hoping to catch her in time to switch the cards. He got up from the table before Crys could tell him not to worry about it. A little more than 3 minutes later, Kage returned to the table looking defeated. He was too late.


“Kage, it’s fine,” Crys said. “You are already caring for me and you always have been. You are there for me when no one else is and I feel awful for always dragging you into my drama.” Her voice was starting to crack, but she kept going. Kage was shaking his head slowly in disagreement, but kept listening. “I can’t express to you how much you have helped me throughout our friendship,” she continued. “Especially during this last year or so, I feel like you’re always stuck catering to me and my problems. I want to start focusing on giving back. You know, returning the favor. I have been so wrapped up in this unhealthy relationship, I lost myself. You help remind me who I am and I appreciate it.” Crys took a deep breath. Sweet release.


Kage cleared his throat. “It’s not drama, okay? You’ve just been through a lot here lately,” Kage assured her. “We have been friends for years, you already know I would do anything for my friends, especially you.” He paused for a moment, wanting to confess what his fortunes really read. He could use it as an icebreaker to ask her out in the future. Kage decided it’s probably best not to say anything right now. “And you don’t need to worry about keeping score and trying to be even. I’m sure there will come a day in the future when you will have to help me mend a broken heart too.” Crys raised an eyebrow to that last part.


Crys doubted Kage would ever end up with a broken heart. He was calm and cool about almost everything. He has never raised his voice or even so much as spoke out of turn. He’s not one to argue and he actually listens when people talk to him. If he’s even half as good to other women as he is to Crys, the next girl to get her hands on him won’t ever let go. 


Liang approached the table to return Crys’s credit card to her. Before she walked away, she asked them to at least make an effort to come by a little more often like they used to do.


“We will!” Kage and Crys said simultaneously.


Kage and Crys were walking from the restaurant back to Kage’s car. He drove a slightly beat up black Trans Am that his brother, Jeff, gifted him when he turned 18. Kage loved his Trans Am. It was practically his baby. Having felt a little more affectionate toward Crys than usual, as if that were possible, he offered to let Crys drive it around. She’s wanted to take his car for a drive since he got it 4 years ago, but never bothered to ask because she knew that car was dear to him.


“I’d love to!” She exclaimed, clapping her hands together. She stopped just as quickly as she started. “Are you sure, though? I know that car means the world to you.”


“Yes, I’m sure. Just don’t put us in a ditch,” he said half jokingly. He handed her his keys and she ran to the car. Crys put on her seatbelt and adjusted the driver seat and mirrors while she waited for Kage to catch up. He finally got into the car and buckled his seatbelt. 


“Ready!?” She asked, more to herself than to him. Crys was comfortable with and used to driving cars in general, but she felt a lot of pressure on her when it came to Kage’s Trans Am.


“Yep! Let’s roll.”


Crys drove Kage around aimlessly with no particular destination in mind. They ended up in a neighboring small town and, eventually, wandered into the country, slightly lost. Crys was willing to keep going until Kage decided enough was enough. An open road, music, and deep conversations about life made two hours pass by as if they were merely minutes. It was about time for them both to go home and go to bed. Kage took over the drive home, and on the ride back, Crys fell asleep on Kage's arm, intertwined with hers, thinking about how her mind is finally at peace for the first time in a long time.


Kage gently nudged Crys awake. She was home. Still half asleep, she gave Kage a hug and thanked him for getting her out of the house. Kage held onto her embrace, not wanting to let go. “Go get some sleep, Crys,” he advised, reluctantly pulling away from her. Crys managed to exit the car with grace, despite being a bit sluggish, and closed the passenger door quietly. She started toward her front door, but turned around and approached the driver’s side of Kage’s car. He rolled his window down, curious.


“Thanks again. I really needed a night like tonight.” Crys reiterated her appreciation. She leaned into his window and planted a kiss on his lips. Before he had a chance to accept that what just happened was real, Crys was already halfway to her front door. Kage sat there long enough to make sure she got into the house safely, and then another minute to give the butterflies in his stomach a chance to settle. Crys went straight to her bed and decided to text him yet another extended thank you for always being there for her. She even threw in a kissy emoji at the end. Crys fell asleep almost immediately after sending the text.


Crys woke up the next morning, well rested. She checked her phone to see if Kage had texted her back yet. Nothing. For a brief minute, she wondered if she had crossed a line with him when she kissed him. Crys decided that it was more than likely he just went home and fell asleep as soon as his head hit the pillow. It was also 9am and he typically didn’t wake up until about 9:30am. Crys wasn’t naive about how Kage felt about her. She told him a couple years earlier, just being up front and honest with him, that all her relationships tend to fail and she would never let her friendship with him crumble over a relationship gone sour. 


The more she thought about it, the more foolish she realized it was to assume that he would end up like all the others. She actually knew him and could trust him and he trusted her just as much, if not more. She was starting to see him in a different light. He has always been good to her and she was finally realizing that he is someone she should be with, and not just as a friend stuffed in a corner like a broom, only to be brought out when her messes need cleaned up. He deserved better than that.


Crys took a hot shower, dried her hair, secured it in a messy bun on top of her head, and then went downstairs for breakfast. She sat at the table with a simple breakfast sandwich and yogurt. She couldn’t help but think about Kage some more. It’s almost 10am and she still hasn’t heard back from him. Crys opened her message thread with him and double checked to make sure she didn’t miss his text by accident. She didn’t.


Crys’s phone suddenly started ringing in her hand, startling her. It was a number she didn’t have saved, but it was very similar to Kage’s number. It must be his brother, Jeff. She wondered why Jeff would be calling her. “Hello?” She finally answered. Panic instantly set in when Jeff spoke. Something was definitely wrong. 


Jeff informed her that Kage was the victim of a hit and run last night and he died on the scene. The color drained from her face and her heart felt like it dropped to the pit of her stomach. She couldn’t speak. Jeff told her that he had something from Kage’s car that he was going to come by and drop off. All she could manage to say was “okay”.


The call ended and she just sat there at the table for a while, feeling lost and numb, her breakfast barely touched and already cold. She tried to process the news she had received. Her first thought was that she was to blame. Her text message must have distracted him and caused the fatal accident. She had so many questions and no answers. She turned the news on before essentially being blinded by her tears. Crys curled up on the couch, clutching the nearest decorative pillow to her chest and her mouth, in an attempt to muffle her uncontrollable bawling.


Jeff showed up a half an hour later, knocking a couple times before he decided to let himself in. He sat on the end of the couch at Crys’s feet and patiently waited for her to calm down enough to talk. Several minutes passed as Jeff sat in silence. Crys finally pulled herself up and wiped a few tears from her puffy red eyes and face. “Why? How?”


“He was hit by a drunk driver 3 blocks from here,” Jeff began. “The drunk driver was caught walking home after wrecking his vehicle into a tree about a half a mile away from the initial accident.” Jeff had to pause and collect himself.


“Did they say who the drunk driver was?”


Jeff nodded his head to the t.v. The news was reporting on the vehicle that had crashed into a tree, followed by the mug shot of a very familiar face with permanently dirty looking skin. The drunk driver was identified as David Gallows, Crys’s ex-boyfriend. A burning feeling of hatred surged through her body. She couldn’t believe it: the man who stripped her of her sense of security and self-worth for almost 2 years, also took from her the one person who ever truly cared about her.


Jeff figured now was a good time to try to lighten the mood with what he brought over for her in the first place. He reached into his pocket and pulled out 2 thin white strips of paper. They were the fortunes from Kage’s fortune cookies from last night. “Kage’s phone was recovered at the scene and the first thing that came up on his screen was your message thread. He was in the middle of texting you back on his way home about these fortunes. I assume he was getting ready to send you a picture of these because they were in his hand when they found his body.” He handed the little fortune papers to Crys. “I figured I would bring them to you to keep. He wanted you to read them, and this is probably the last favor I will ever be able to do for my brother.”


Crys read both of the fortunes. She was hurting and numb again, all at the same time. She was lost for words. She was angry. Angry at David for being the drunken screw up he is and angry at herself for a whole lot more.


“I know words won’t do much for you right now, but Kage cared about you a lot. I don’t think I would be out of line to go as far as saying that he really loved you. Actually, I know he loved you. From day one.” Jeff stood up from the couch and looked down at Crys, her pretty green eyes were nearly bloodshot and were still really puffy. “If you need anything, Crys, I’ll be there for you. I know Kage would appreciate you being taken care of, especially now that he’s gone and unable to be here for you.”


Several months passed before Crys was able to muster up the emotional strength to go back to Yin & Yummy. She walked into the restaurant, just barely taking 4 steps in, when Liang ran over to her and gave her the biggest hug. Liang was excited to see Crys, but her smile wasn’t her usual genuine smile. It was a mask for the sorrow.


“I heard what happened, Crys. I am so sorry. I was wondering if you were ever going to make it back in here again.” Liang sniffled. “All the memories here and everything? Must be hard for you, no?” She finally released Crys from her embrace. Crys gently nodded, trying hard not to cry again. “Very hard.” 


“Come! I have your seat.” Liang lead Crys to the table she always sat at with Kage. It had a thin velvet ribbon going across both of the booth seats. “We seat no one here anymore but you. Just you.” Crys was flattered by the gesture. She invited Liang to sit with her while she told her all about the hardships that Kage was helping her through, the connection her ex-boyfriend had to Kage’s tragic end, amd also showed her the fortunes Kage got last time they came in and explained why they were significant to them. The hardest part for Crys was keeping her cool while telling Liang that she was finally starting to have feelings for her best friend that night. She came to her senses a little too late. 


Liang was shocked when she learned about all the details. She excused herself and returned to the table a few minutes later with an old small picture frame and a white sheet of printer paper cut down to size. She taped Kage’s little fortunes to a bigger sheet of paper and put the paper in the frame for Crys. “Now, you can take this home and put it on your nightstand, or you can leave it here in this booth so you have it with you whenever you come for lunch.” 


“I’ll leave it right here in this booth. It’s like a small memorial on his behalf,” Crys pointed out. “I like that idea.” She set the picture frame next to the wall under the giant window they liked to sit next to. Crys never would have guessed that something seemingly so insignificant, could end up meaning so much.


“Okay, good. You go get some food now, you need it!”


Crys got her usual heaping plate of seafood and stuffed mushrooms. Half way through her lunch, the loneliness started to set in and she wasn’t feeling very hungry anymore. Liang came by with a check and set a single fortune cookie on top. Crys got her credit card out to pay her bill when she noticed it was a $0 charge. It turned out that the night Crys paid for her and Kage’s dinner, he went and found Liang and told her he wanted to pre pay their next meal together to assure Crys wouldn’t end up paying for him next time too.


“Kage, you are too good.” She smiled for the first time in months. As Crys was getting ready to leave the restaurant, she opened her fortune cookie, dying to know if hers was going to be another meaningless message. 


     •People die only when we forget them•


“Touché.” 

© 2021 Ash Hoskins


Author's Note

Ash Hoskins
*I use little to no detail describing how my characters look because I think they should look however the reader pictures them to look in their head.*
Also wrote this in one night so yeah, it could be better thought out.

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Reviews

Great job! You are a hell of a writer you know. Very well done. I'm glad you didn't provide unneeded detail. I've learned to not do that. This one is emotional. I almost cried at the end.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Ash Hoskins

4 Months Ago

well, thank ya! i appreciate that.
i hate stories that don’t end happily, but i like writin.. read more
Ash Hoskins

4 Months Ago

i hate reading sad stories but i like writing sad stories.* that’s better.
Frankie

4 Months Ago

I'm glad you added one. You are a good writer!

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Added on May 23, 2021
Last Updated on May 23, 2021
Tags: love, romance, tragedy, tragic, shortstory, fortune, misfortune, life, death, pain, heartbreak, toxic, abusive, drunk

Author

Ash Hoskins
Ash Hoskins

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About
a good gel pen & paper are my best friends. i mostly just budget these days, though. i work at a collision repair shop as an auto body technician in-the-making. i love true crime documentaries and sto.. more..

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