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But how can you miss someone who doesn’t even exist, anymore?  Two years should be enough time for me to get over it and move on.  And I had, for the most part. 

I already knew that Ivy was a lot of things—backstabbing, gossipy; and okay, even pretty mean.  But I never knew she was a thief, too.

Yet here she was, taking my stuff.

“Steal from me much?”

Ivy screamed and jumped what seemed like a mile.

“You scared me,” she yelled, all accusing—like I was supposed to feel bad.

“Am I supposed to apologize for getting in the way of your robbery?”

“It’s not like that,” Ivy cried.  And that’s when I noticed her glassy red eyes.  She swiped her shiny tears from her face with the back of her hand. 

But were they real?  I couldn’t tell.  There was a time when I’d have given her the benefit of the doubt.  Those days were long gone.

“I can explain,” she said, staring down at the cash in her hand, like she didn’t know how it got there.
I walked across the room and grabbed my box out of her hand.

“I can’t believe you still have this,” said Ivy.

It’s not that I’m so sentimental.  I swear I didn’t keep the cigar box because I was pining over our lost friendship.  Rather, the box was one of the coolest gifts anyone has ever given me.  It’s faded red with a map of the world inside.  Musty smelling like it had an exciting history.  We used to hide stuff in it when we played Pirates—an elaborate treasure-hunting game we made up.  But that was a long time ago.

“It’s just a stupid box,” I said, opening the lid and checking to see that the keys and all my other dog-walking things were still there. 

“I don’t need any of that junk,” Ivy said.  “And I wasn’t going to take all of your cash.”

“Oh, sorry for the confusion.  I should’ve known you were only going to steal a little from me.  You know, since it’s my birthday and all.”  I held out my hand and she gave up the stack of bills.  I counted it in front of her—figuring it was all there, but knowing it would annoy her.