Best friends could only do so much. Usually, Nickel could rely on Colby for just about everything, but sometimes Colby wasn't around, like now when Colby's parents had decided that this week would be perfect for a vacation to the Capitol. Nickel had plenty of other friends. He'd always been on the quiet side, but his friendly nature allowed him to make friends easily in spite of that. (As opposed to Dani who was outgoing, yet had only a small group of close friends because she didn't interact with other people that well. She just wasn't good at first impressions.)
Yet Nickel had recently discovered that none of his other friends were quite the same as Colby. He couldn't tell his other friends everything that Colby knew, and none of his friends seemed interested in playing the game Nickel and Colby had made up years ago and played constantly. Instead, Nickel had been forced to play whatever game his other friends decided to play, which was never quite as fun. Nickel had decided that he was never taking Colby's friendship for granted again. His other friends just weren't the same.
"I can't believe there's still a week until you come back," Nickel whined into the phone. The two friends had been calling each other every night. Nickel kept Colby up to date on what was happening at home (which was nothing), and Colby told Nickel all about his vacation so far (which basically consisted of an annoying older brother and little sister ruining the whole thing).
"Neither can I," sympathized Colby. "Ailen started crying earlier today because she lost her doll somewhere on the streets. My parents spent ages trying to explain that it's much harder to find lost things here in the Capitol than it is back home in District 12. She's never going to see that doll again, and she's not going to shut up about it for the rest of the trip."
"Can't your parents calm her down by offering her a brand new doll from the Capitol?"
"They tried. She claims it's not the same, since she had the other one since she was born. It makes sense, but I wish she'd mourned in silence."
Nickel silently thanked whoever was responsible for him getting an older sister instead of a younger one.
"I'm sure she'll calm down eventually," Nickel tried to sound optimistic.
Colby sighed into the phone. "I doubt it. You know Ailen. It takes her days to let go of things."
The conversation continued for over an hour. Half an hour in, their talk began deteriorating into idle pratter about the most random of things. Their words almost seemed to lose any meaning, but neither one seemed eager to hang up the phone, knowing there was nothing but boredom or annoyance waiting for them. It wasn't until Dani made a comment about only girls carrying on such long, pointless conversations that Nickel decided it was probably time to hang up.
It wasn't more than twenty seconds after he set the phone down that he began wondering what to do. How had he ocuppied his alone time before? It wasn't like he spent every waking moment with Colby when he was here. Nickel had ways to keep himself busy, but in his loneliness he could think of none of them.