Best friends. That's what Hunter and I are. Who am I, you ask? I'm Ryleigh Avery Edwards. And of course, if you haven't already guessed, he happens to be Hunter Hayes. He's famous now, but as much as the fans thought they knew about him, I've known him my whole life. We were born and raised in small-town Louisiana.
Our mothers grew up together from the time they were 8. They were both married and living next door to each other by the time they were 21. Soon my mother got pregnant with my older sister, Layla Summer. A year later, they both got pregnant, my mother with her 2nd child and Mrs. Hayes with her first and only. Hunter, of course, was born on September 9,1991. And I was born a week later, on the 14th. There's no time in my life when I don't remember growing up with him. I've even seen pictures of our mothers bathing us together as babies. We were inseparable from the time we were 5.
Looking back now, I realize that there weren't many moments in my life that he was involved in, and vice versa.
Where am I now, you ask? You'll find out soon.
I hate high school. Course I guess most teenagers do at some point. The only reason I've made it this far is because of my best friend, Hunter. I'm just getting out of my last period class of that Friday, algebra. I hate it. I'd much rather be writing songs and playing music with my friend. I slid my very heavy backpack on my shoulders and exited the classroom. As I left school, my sister caught up with me. Being a year older than me, 16 to my 15, it was her job to walk me over the Hayes household everyday after school before continuing down the street to our house.
Once she saw that I was at their front walk, she headed home while I walked up to the front door and knocked. I heard footsteps moving toward me inside the house just before the door opened and I saw Mrs. Hayes.
"Hi, Ryleigh! Come in. Hunter's upstairs already as always." She told me as she hugged me. After she finally let me go, I slid off my backpack and plopped it down in the living room as I grabbed the guitar that I had been playing yesterday and ran up the steps till I could hear my best friend playing the song he'd been working on for the last couple weeks. I opened the door to see him perched on the floor, a guitar in his hands and papers scattered around him.
"Hey, are you doing another show tomorrow?" I asked as I walked in.
"Ryles, you're here!" He said, without looking up.
"Oh, come on, are you performing at the fair?" I sat down next to him, tugged his notebook toward me and began to play it. When I'd finished and looked up, he was staring right at me.
"Ryles, that was great. That sounded even better than I did singing it."
"Stop, you're a great singer."
"I'm serious. And yes, there's a show at the fair tomorrow. Are you gonna come?"
"I don't know, we'll see, Chase asked me to prom. And it's tomorrow. Layla's trying to convince me to go, even told me I can wear her dress. But I don't know, I haven't decided yet."
"But you haven't missed one of my shows yet."
"I know. If I decide to, it'll be last minute and a surprise."
"You know I don't like surprises."
"I know. Would you rather I tell you now that I'm going to prom?"
"No, unless you want to, that is. Do you, Ryleigh?"
"I don't know. I wish I could do both but I know I can't."
We stayed there all night just goofing off until we finally fell asleep on the floor together.
The next day, as soon as I woke up, I decided that as much as I wanted to go to prom, it meant more to me to watch my best friend do what he loves on stage. But I also wanted to surprise him, so I headed home to get ready.
I was about to walk out of the front door when I heard Hunter calling from his room,
"Ryles? Where are you?" Sounded like he had just woken up. I stared at the door, deciding whether I should leave and get ready for the concert or go back upstairs, until Mrs. Hayes walked over to me and said,
"Aren't you going to find out why he's calling you?"
"I know why he's calling. He wants to know if I'm coming to his show this afternoon or if I'm going to prom tonight."
"Oh, you were asked to prom? That's exciting, Ryleigh. Are you going?"
"No, I'm going to Hunter's show instead. But I want to surprise him."
"You know you don't have to do that, right? Hunter will be ecstatic that you're there though."
"Yeah, I know. I want to be there. That means you can't tell him. He has to be completely surprised when he sees me in the audience."
"I won't, don't worry. But you should still see him before you go home since he woke up before you got to the door."
I decided she was right, so with my heavy backpack still on my shoulders, I walked back up the stairs. As I got to the top I called out,
"Hunter? Can I come in?"
"Yeah, come in." And with that I opened his door to see him sitting up in bed.
"Where'd you go, Ryles?
"I have to go home. Some homework to do while I decide what I'm doing later today." I was standing right beside the bed and Hunter sat up and slid over towards me to wrap his arms around me in a tight hug. As I let him hold me, I whispered in his ear, "I'm not leaving forever, you know. You're my best friend. I don't plan for that to ever stop."
He let go and moved backwards to say, "I know, Ry, I know."
And with that, he finally let me leave the house and go back to my own.
I did end up going to Hunter's concert later that afternoon. I can still remember the way his bright blue eyes lit up when he saw me standing amongst the crowd watching him on stage. I remember it like it happened yesterday.