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Shush . . .
“I need you to watch over someone,” he says.
“Who is it and what’s the situation?” I ask him. I hadn’t been assigned to watch someone in almost one hundred years now. I was eager for an assignment.
“Her name is Sarah Nicole Blake. Her father was just murdered, but they weren’t looking to kill him. They were trying to kill her. We can’t figure out who the man was that did this, or even if it was a man. She needs your protection,” he said. He whispered the last part, as if her death would be the end of the world.
The beautiful necklace suddenly appeared into my hands. It was a regular chain with a pendant on it. On the front of the pendant was a carving of an angel. On the other side it said “guardian angel.” I was to give this to whomever I was assigned to protect. This necklace was a sign that she belonged to me.
I put the necklace in my pocket, trying to decide how I would give it to this girl. I had the sudden urge to fly down to Earth and hold her in my arms. I had only gotten this feeling once before. She was my very first assignment, and I immediately fell in love with her.
“I accept,” I whispered, mostly to myself.
“That’s wonderful news! You will have to blend in at her school, though. But, you might want to watch her from a distance first. This might be a tricky assignment,” he warned me.
“I have a good feeling about this one,” I said to him.
“Well, start looking after her as soon as you can. Rather sooner than later,” he said, as he disappeared.
“Wait! What should my name be for this assignment?” I yelled to his fleeting figure.
“You shall call yourself Dean Lenz,” he said, his voice fading. And then he disappeared. I dug out he necklace from my pocket, and held it in my hand. It had been one hundred years since I had seen this necklace, and now I was holding it in my bare hand, closely examining it.
“Dean Lenz,” I muttered to myself. That was the name I would be known by today. Dean Lenz. I figured I would be about 18 years old. I would watch her for a few months, and then join her school. But I still hadn’t decided how I would give her that necklace. That beautiful necklace I still held in my hand.
“Sarah Blake,” I said. The name rolled off of my tongue, and it felt as if I had said it a million times.
TODAY is the first day of my senior year in Walker High School. I felt powerful. Invincible. I was top dog now. There was nobody here that was older than me except the teachers. I was in control. I drove up into the first parking spot I saw. I checked my hair and make-up in the mirror, and ran my fingers through my hair to give it more volume.
“Sarah! Let’s go!” My friend Rachel was tapping on my window, waiting for me to get out of my car. I slowly opened my door as I grabbed my backpack from the passenger seat. I stepped out, my flip flops making noise against the pavement. When I closed my door and faced Rachel, she gave me a once over. “Cute. I love your shirt.”
I was wearing a tank top with black rope like straps and the rest was all different colors. It sounds like it would be ugly, but it was really cute. We walked through the crowd outside of the school, and walked inside. Rachel and I had first period together, upstairs. We both had Science first. As we were walking to our first period, some of our other friends met up with us. Sierra walked by my side, and Mia walked by Rachel’s.
“So, girls. We rule the school now.” The guys stared at us as the four of us walked by. I was considered popular, but I wasn’t the type of girl that thought I was all that and more. I was
just that girl that had the looks and was a good leader, I guess. I would have been just as happy being just another senior. But I was the senior. “What’s your first period, Mia? Sierra?” I looked to each sides as I asked them.
“Math,” Sierra said with a disgusted look on her face. I personally never minded math. I always thought that it was fun, actually. “English,” said Mia with a smug look on her face. Mia was an amazing poet, and she loved English because they studied poetry.
“Rachel and I have Science first with Mr. Semp.” I had heard that he was a nice teacher, but his class was hard sometimes. I was really good with science, and wanted to have a career that deals with it.
We parted ways, and headed off to class. Rachel and I headed off to science. The teacher glared at us when we carried our phones into class. But he couldn’t say anything about it because we didn’t have our lockers yet.
On the chalkboard it said, “Pick a seat and sit in it.” Rachel and I decided to sit in the last row together. When everyone was in class, Mr. Semp came in and shut the door behind him. He looked as excited to be here as I was.
“Good morning. Hey! Quiet Down!” Now he was shouting, trying to get everyones attention. “This is science class. My name is Mr. Semp. And your names are something that will take me a while to learn. So for now, you’re just another kid in my class. Deal with it. If you guys read the board, you know that you can pick your own seats.”
The kids that were still standing suddenly realized what he said. They each picked a seat and sat in it. “You probably won’t be in these seats for that long, because teenagers like sitting by people they are familiar with. Friends. Which means you’ll talk. I don’t tolerate talking in my class unless you’re working in groups or are answering a question. Got it?” Everyone said yes and nodded their heads.
After he finished his long lecture, Mr. Semp told us where our lockers were. We each went to find our lockers once he told us which was ours. Mine was down the hall from Rachel’s, so we wouldn’t see each other much. The locker to the left of mine didn’t belong to anyone, but the locker on my right belonged to one of my friends from last year.
I emptied out all of my notebooks and folders from my backpack and put them at the bottom of my locker. I turned off my cellphone and put it on the top shelf of my locker. I hung my backpack on one of the hooks, then closed my locker and put my lock on it.
I went back to class, and saw that Rachel was already in her seat. “I can’t believe we’re seniors! It seems like it’s all a dream, but it’s real! We rule the school!” She was gripping my shoulders and shaking me back and forth as she spoke.
“If you don’t want to be puked on, you’ll stop shaking me.” She took her hands off of my shoulders, allowing me to stand still once again. My stomach was already doing flips because I was so nervous for the first day of my last year at high school.
“Okay, gross. But aren’t you excited!?” Rachel was practically jumping in her seat. She looked like she would burst any second. Just then the teacher walked in, saving me from having to answer. The truth is, I’m actually scared for this year. I had a bad feeling about this year.
Mr. Semp went on to tell us about his class rules and expectations. At the end of class he gave us two sheets. One with his rules on it, the other a signature page for our parents saying that they understood his rules. I would probably get one of these in every class today, but I’m not going to be the one signing it all.
After first period, Rachel and I parted ways to go to our next classes. Next I had Health/ Gym. Today I would be going to health, and tomorrow I had gym. I have gym on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. I headed downstairs, and looked for my health room. When I got there, my health/ gym teacher, Ms. Smith, was waiting by her door.
When I got close to her, she looked up. “Name?” she asked me. She looked down at her clipboard, waiting for me to answer.
“Sarah Blake,” I said. She scanned her clipboard, looking for my name. She pointed to a seat in the very back, next to the window. She did this with every student that arrived. Nobody ever came to sit next to me, so I was all alone. Ms. Smith gave the usual introduction, telling us about her rules and how she will not tolerate bad behavior.
All of my classes proceeded like this. There were only two classes that I have that I sit by nobody. These two are Health, and Study Hall. I don’t usually like being alone, but I didn’t mind it in Study Hall. This way I could get my work done.
When the day ended, my friends met up with me at my locker. We all walked out to our cars together, the guys staring at us once more. I climbed in my car, and threw all of my papers in the passengers seat. I had a creepy feeling that someone was watching me, so I quickly put my key in the ignition.
Right before I could drive away, there was a knock on my window. Scott was standing on the other side of the glass, a huge smile spreading across his face. I rolled down my window, hoping this would be a short conversation. “Hey, beautiful! I missed you this summer!” Scott and I had broken up right before the summer began because I had caught him doing drugs when he had promised me he stopped. That was only one of the reasons, though.
“What do you want, Scott?” I put my sunglasses on, and looked up at him. He acted like he was hurt with the attitude I was giving him, but I knew it was just an act. I had dated him for a year and a half, and knew just about everything about him.
“I want you, babe!”
“Go home, Scott.” He put his hand over his heart, and put on a pained expression.
“That hurts! Now would you quit the attitude?”
“Scott! We’re over! Don’t you get that? Go away!” I rolled my window up, and drove away. He ran after me, but stopped when I sped up. I was done with him, but I guess he wasn’t done with me.
When I got home, I broke down in tears. Seeing Scott had scared me. I pulled myself together, and checked in the mirror to see if I looked good enough to go inside the house. My eyes weren’t swollen, but they were a little red. My make-up had never run, so I didn’t have to worry about that. The red in my eyes wasn’t very obvious, so I was presentable.
I stepped out of my car, once again getting the creepy feeling that I was being watched. I locked my car, and ran inside. “Hi, honey! How was your day at school?” Mom was standing at the stove, cooking something for dinner.
“I’m glad it’s over. I just want to relax for a little bit. How was your day?” She launched into her big story about long lines at the grocery store, and how much she hated it. I excused myself so that I could go watch some TV after I handed her the papers she had to sign. I went out to the Living Room, and flipped through the channels until I found the news.
I fell asleep during a story about a baby tiger at the zoo. In the dream I had, I was standing in an open field. I was all alone, except for the insects around me. There was a sudden gust of wind, and with it was softly spoken words.
You’re true love is coming, it said. The voice was low, and it sounded very excited. Sarah . . . Sarah . . . This voice was a women’s voice, and it sounded a lot like my mom’s.
“Sarah!” Mom was yelling for me in the kitchen, and I woke up to her yelling for me. I groggily walked to the kitchen. “I signed all of these papers for you, Sarah.” I took the papers, thanked her, and went upstairs to put them in my room. When I looked out the window in my room, I thought I saw someone standing in my yard. But when I rubbed my eyes and looked again, there was nothing there.
I ran down the steps, taking them two at a time. When I saw my mom, I was instantly relieved. There was an instinct in me telling me to keep company for a while. I watched Mom cook dinner, and watched the clock. When it was 4 o’clock, I grabbed my car keys to go pick up my little sister from school. “I’ll be back in a second, Mom.” I walked out the door, and practically ran to my car.
As soon as I was in my car, I locked the doors. The drive to the elementary school was fifteen minutes from my house. I drove quickly, anxious to be around another person, even if that person was my little sister. When I got to the school, I saw my sister talking to some of her friends. When she saw me pull up, she waved goodbye to her friends and ran up to my car. She opened the door and climbed into the passenger seat. She threw her bag into the backseat, and put her seatbelt on.
“Hey, Jess! How was your day at school?” All I wanted to do right now was get away from the creepy feeling that I was being followed. Jess told me about this guy in her class that she has had a crush on for a while and now she sits next to him all day. I asked her about what her teacher was like.
“I’m not really sure,” she said. “I was too busy talking to Ethan.” She giggled when she said his name, reminding me of when I had once been in love with Scott. I gave her a lecture about how school comes before boys, and she completely ignored me.
After she turned her head to look out the side window, making it obvious that she was ignoring me, I turned up the music. I rolled down the windows, and the breeze coming in felt nice on this hot day. Jess pulled a pony tail off of her wrist and wrapped it around her hair so that it wouldn’t fly in her face anymore.
The ride seemed to take five minutes instead of fifteen, and before I knew it, we were home. Jess grabbed her things out of the back seat, and slammed her door as she got out. She ran inside, hoping to avoid another lecture from me. Knowing her, she would lie to Mom about what she did today. I would let her, because she needs to learn from her own mistakes.
When I made my way inside, she was talking to Mom in the kitchen. She had thrown her bag on the floor in the doorway to the kitchen, and I tripped over it. “Walk much?” She laughed at me, then started to talk to Mom again. So I try to give her advice and she hates me. That’s the last time I try to help her!
I started to head for my room, but my mom stopped me. “Honey, where are you going?” I made my way back to the kitchen to talk to her.
“I was going to go listen to some music on my laptop.”
“I was just about to dish up dinner.”
“Okay. Do you need any help?”
“Yeah, that would be really nice. Thanks!” I helped get out the plates and dish up whatever she was cooking. When everything was dished up, the three of us sat down at the dinner table. Jess was still going on about her day, and telling Mom how great her new teacher was. What a little liar. Jess was only in the fifth grade, so Mom thought she was a little angel.
I sat through dinner without saying much. After Mom asked me about Scott and I told her we broke up before summer, she didn’t talk to me much. When I finished my dinner, (I still wasn’t sure what it was) I put my plate in the dishwasher and went to my room.
I turned on my laptop, and went to my e-mail. I had a new e-mail from Mia, and all of the other ones were old ones that I hadn’t gotten around to erasing. They were mostly from Scott telling me that he wanted to get back together. I clicked on the new one, and read it.
Hey, Sarah! I have so much to talk to you about! I didn’t get to talk to you before you left. Did I see Scott talking to you? How did that go? Is he still trying to get back with you? Call me so we can talk! Love ya!
I called Mia after I deleted all of my e-mails. I put on some music for background noise. Mia picked up on the third ring.
“Hello?” she answered.
“Hey, girlie! What’s all this stuff that you wanted to talk to me about?”
“Hey! Well first, did I see Scott by your car?”
“Yeah. He’s still trying to get back with me. It seems he can’t get it through his thick skull that we’re over for good this time.” Scott and I had broken up a lot, but then got back together after a few minutes. This time it was for real, though.
“Guys don’t seem to be able to function unless they have a pretty girl on their arm. But what are you gonna do, you know?”
“But anyways, my teachers are terrible this year! It’s hard to believe that it could get worse next year in college! By the way, where are you going?”
“I’m not really sure. I’ve applied for Kent State and LSU. My mom took me on tours all summer, but those were the only two that I actually liked. I haven’t heard back from either of them yet, so I don’t know. What are your plans?” Mia and I had been friends ever since she moved to Walker, Louisiana, in first grade. Thinking of life without one of my best friends seemed scary.
“I applied for Harvard and LSU.” Mia is a straight A student, and the smartest person I know. She would probably get accepted to both colleges. She mostly focused on her poetry, so she wasn’t in any sports.
“It would be so cool if we both got into LSU!” I said. “I’ve wanted to go to LSU since I was a little girl! It’s always been my goal to get in there.”
“Yeah. You’ve been just a little obsessed.” She laughed, and then I heard her Dad call for her in the background. “Hey I’ve gotta go! I’ll see you tomorrow! Bye!”
“Bye, Mia!” I hung up the phone, and put it on the charger. My phone is my alarm clock ever since I accidentally stepped on my other one. I turned down the sound on my laptop, and turned on my sound on my phone. I sat there listening to my music, and I was slowly lulled to sleep.
YOU’RE going to find me today, whispered the man’s voice in my dream. It seemed that that voice was becoming a part of me. I’ve heard it a few times now, and had a feeling that I would hear it for a very long time. When I heard the voice in my dream, I immediately woke up.
I got ready for my second day of school, throwing on a purple top and a pair of jeans. Then I drove off. I had a strange sense that I just had to get to school, but the same sense was telling me to stay away. I ignored the second feeling because I wanted to see if my dream was actually a premonition.
My day started out as usual. Walking to classes with my friends, then parting ways to go to our lockers. Rachel and I met back up when we sat together in Science class. We listened to Mr. Semp go through what we were going to do in this quarter, and the safety procedures we were to follow. The safety rules were the same every year, so I just ignored that part. He was cut off by the bell, and he told us he would finish tomorrow.
Ms. Smith told us that we should meet in her classroom instead of the Gym today. I walked to my assigned seat, surprised that I remembered it. I sat alone in the back of the room, and looked out the window until the bell rung. When it did, Ms. Smith came in the room and shut the door behind her.
Today she started out by telling us what was to be expected in her classroom. Right as she started to tell us what we were going to learn about, there was a knock on the door. She motioned for the guy on the other side to come in.
“Are you Ms. Smith, and is this health class?” The boy that walked in had black hair, and was very tall. His stance said that he was very relaxed at that moment. He wore a plain black T-shirt, blue jeans, and boots.
“Yes and yes,” Ms. Smith said. She walked over to the boy, probably seeing what he wanted. She directed him to the front of the class after he told her what he was here for. “Class, we have a new student. His name is Dean Lenz. Treat him as if he was another one of your classmates that you’ve known for a while.” She pointed to the seat beside me, and he walked over and sat down.
“Hey, I’m Dean.” He held out his hand for me to shake, and I did. When I touched his hand, an electrical current went down through my arm and stopped at my heart. My heart squeezed out an extra beat. I quickly pulled my hand away, and it was cold without his hand resting in it.
“I’m Sarah. Welcome to Walker.” Who was this kid? Why did I have that feeling when he touched me? He laughed as if there was some joke he had just heard. His black eyes stare intensely into mine, making me forget about everything else in the world.
“That’s the perfect example! Be nice to Dean! Just like Sarah.” Realizing that I was looking at him like an idiot, I cleared my throat and looked back to the front of the room. But Dean didn’t. He sat and stared at me for the rest of the period; he stared at me almost . . . protectively. And no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t focus on anything while he watched me.
Ms. Smith continued to talk about what we were going to learn about in class this year. When she started to talk about how hormones was the first thing we would study, I zoned out. I instead focused on how Dean’s eyes were burning holes in my face.
Every time I would glance over, he would smile a half smile that made my heart skip a beat. “So, are we going to sit together for the rest of the year?” His voice was like deep music made for my ears.
“I don’t know. We might, we might not. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.” But I don’t know if I would want to sit by him all year. I don’t like most of the people in this class, but I do want to mix it up every now and then.
When the bell rang for third period, I quickly got out of my seat, and walked to the door. Dean walked behind me until I walked into my next class.
You found me, whispered the man’s voice in my head. And it sounded like Dean’s voice. I instantly stopped breathing, wondering if I was hearing things. It couldn’t be Dean. He was in a different classroom, and it’s impossible to speak to someone through their thoughts. Isn’t it?
My Math teacher walked into the room, and continued to introduce his class. I wasn’t paying attention, but instead waited for that voice to come back to my head. It never came, and I was sort of disappointed. I was creeped out by the voice, but I wanted to hear it again.
When the bell rang for lunch, I met up with Rachel at her locker. “Hey!” She looked excited to see me. “I hate school! Why do we have to come here, anyways?” She asked me that every year. And I still didn’t have an answer.
“I have no idea, Rachel. Are you-” I stopped talking when I saw Dean walking past us. He winked at me, then just kept walking. I stared after him, watching him from the back now. His back formed a perfect V shape, and the muscles in his arms were huge!
“Wow. Who is that? He’s so cute!” I never fight with my friends over a guy because I think that no guy is worth risking a friendship. But this guy is worth fighting for. I felt a special connection to him that I’ve never felt before with any guy. Not even with Scott. “Do you like him?”
“I think so. I don’t really know him, but I feel-” There was a feeling in my gut screaming, Don’t tell her how you feel about him! so I thought of something else to say. “I don’t know. I just think I might like him if I got to know him.” The truth was that I felt this strange connection to him, but I couldn’t admit it to her. When he walked, he walked as if he thought everybody was watching him and he was the best. I don’t like when people are like that, so I had mixed feelings about him.
“He’s super cute! Do you have any classes with him?”
“I have health with him and he sits right next to me.” We headed to the cafeteria, and Dean was walking a few feet in front of us. We walked right into the lunch room and got our food, not bothering to wait in line. We sat at our usual table, and Mia and Sierra were already there. “Hey, girls!”
“Oh my gosh! Have you guys seen that new kid?” They launched into a big conversation about him. I blocked them out, and focused on my food. An unknown force pulled my head up, and walking in front of me was Dean. He sat in the table next to ours. On his tray was a salad and a bottle of water.
He sat, watching me. Any other person would have been creeped out, but the look in his eyes was comforting to me. He never touched his food or his water. When the bell rang for us to go to class, he threw it all away. I slowly stood up. My muscles were acting as if I had been sitting there for a few hours.
“Sarah, are you coming?” Rachel was walking away, looking over her shoulder at me. I walked faster and joined my friends. They were still talking about Dean, but now they were fighting over who should get him. But that’s not for us to decide. But I’m curious. If he were to choose one of us, who would it be?
You, said the voice in my head. I jumped, dropping my tray on the floor. The big noise from my tray filled up the whole cafeteria. Dean heard it, and turned back to help me pick up my scattered food. He picked up the apple first, and I picked up my half eaten pizza. We both reached for my water at the same time, and my hand rested on his as I tried to beat him to the bottle.
“Are you okay?” He was looking into my eyes so intensely that I had to look away.
“Fine,” I replied. I was looking at the ground while I stood up with my tray in my hands. He stood up, too, and when he did, he was very close to me. I took a step back, and regretted it. Being close to him felt right.
“Here. Let me take that.” He took the tray out of my hands, and put it away for me. My hands were trembling as he walked back towards me. “Are you sure your okay? You looked like you had seen a ghost.”
“Not quite as scary as a ghost. Something just surprised me.” He raised his right eyebrow, as if to ask me what surprised me. “Um, I don’t really want to talk about it.” He turned his gaze away from me and started laughing as if he had just heard a funny joke. “What?”
“Nothing,” he said as he tried to suppress his laughter. I just let it go and continued to walk. “Do you want to talk about it yet?”
“Depends. Are you going to keep asking me?”
“Until you answer me,” he said.
I quickly thought of a lie to tell him. “I thought I saw a spider crawling on my hand. It surprised me and I accidently dropped my tray.” He glared at me accusingly, obviously knowing that I was lying.
“Alright,” he said, exhaling slowly. I ran my fingers through my hair, hoping that it looked okay. Dean was walking so close to me that his shoulder brushed against mine every time he took a step. Each simple brush of his shoulder made me stop breathing.
“Well, apparently he would choose Sarah,” I heard Rachel whisper. Dean laughed and looked at me. The smile on his face made me want to be happy forever. When he looked into my eyes, his face turned serious. I stopped breathing, then stopped walking. I couldn’t remember how to work my body.
I started falling towards Dean, my vision turning black on the edges. The last thing I saw before everything turned black was the concerned expression that was now on Dean’s face.
✵ ✵ ✵
“Sarah? Are you alright? Can you hear me?” The man’s voice sounded concerned through my ears.
“Here. Put this on her forehead,” said a woman. Something cold was put on my forehead, and it stayed there. I knew I should open my eyes, but I just wanted to rest for a few more seconds. I examined my surroundings the best I could without moving. The thing I was laying on was soft, with a plastic covering over it. It smelt like medicine in here.
I was in the nurses office. “Sarah? Wake up,” said the man’s voice again. I just wanted to lose myself in his voice. A hand touched my arm, sending an electric current through my body. I sprang up in the bed that I was lying in. The cold compress fell off of my forehead and onto my lap.
The hand flew off of my arm, and my arm felt weird without it there. My vision cleared, and I was able to look around. Rachel and Sierra were standing at the foot of the bed with the nurse. I slowly turned my head to the right, and saw Mia standing and looking at me. She looked worried, but she gave me a reassuring smile. I turned my head to the left, and saw Dean staring at me, concern covering his features. He looked like he was trying to find something to do to help me.
One thing suddenly occurred to me. I didn’t know why I was in here. “What happened?” Dean blew out a gust of air, a look of relief taking place of the concern.
“You passed out.” Images of the fuzzy blackness around my vision, and the look Dean had worn before I passed out in his arms came to me. I glanced at the clock. 1 o’clock. The last time I had seen the clock in the cafeteria was at 12:45. That was when we were leaving.
“Shouldn’t you guys be in class?” I stared at each one of my friends, being careful not to look at Dean.
“Mrs. Brice is giving us passes so we won’t be marked tardy. We were staying here to make sure you were okay,” Mia explained.
“I’m fine. Now go to class and learn something new. I’ll be okay,” I assured them. They all had doubtful looks on their faces, but they turned their backs and walked out the door. All but one. Dean. “You, too.”
“No. I’m staying here with you.” He sounded stubborn, as if he had already had this fight.
“I tried to get him to leave, honey. He refused. I just couldn’t get him to leave your side,” The nurse said before turning her back to us. I glared at Dean, but he stayed stubborn.
“Fine. If you aren’t going to leave, than I have a few questions for you.”
“Shoot,” he said.
“For starters, where are you from?” He seemed to think about his answer, and then he broke into a huge grin as if there was some joke.
“Up north.” He was still smiling, but it wasn’t as big of a smile anymore.
“Where at up north?” I asked.
“Nowhere you’ve ever been, trust me.” The stubborn look was back on his face, so I dropped the subject.
“When did you move here?”
“One year ago tomorrow,” he said. His answer surprised me. He’s been here for a year? And he’s just starting school? That just didn’t add up.
“Why did you move?”
“Because of you,” he said. And for the second time that day, I passed out.
✵ ✵ ✵
“Mrs. Brice? She passed out again,” I heard Dean say. I slowly opened my eyes, almost afraid to look at Dean. But the very first thing I saw were his black eyes staring into mine. “You have to stop doing that, Sarah. You’re scaring me.”
“Don’t be afraid for me. You don’t even know me.” I slid to the farthest edge of the bed to get away from him. But he just laid down next to me, making escape impossible.
“Then tell me about yourself. Anything. Everything. I want to know it all.” I looked at him, not taking him seriously. His expression told me that he wasn’t kidding.
“I hate being cold, and right now I’m freezing,” He moved closer to me, and put his arm around my shoulders. “My favorite color is green, I’ve always wanted to go to Greece, I love the sound of pianos, I love sad movies, and I secretly want to be a science teacher.”
“I know there is more to you then just that,” he said when I stopped.
“There is. But you have to tell me about you before I finish.” I was going to be stubborn about this. I won’t take no for an answer. He sighed deeply, and then began to speak.
“I’m good at beating people up, I have a bad temper, I usually push people away, my favorite color is black, I don’t have many plans for the future, and I love the sound of your voice.” He said the last part as if it was no big deal. He was still staring into my eyes, and I was still unable to think. “Now keep going.”
“I have a family that loves and accepts me for who I am,” I cringed on the inside at this lie. My family only loves me because I pretend to be perfect for them. “I like curling under a blanket with a good book every once in a while, my favorite movie is City of Angels, and I’m terrified of spiders.”
We continued to tell each other about ourselves, and I continued to lie about my home life. At one point, Dean picked up my hand and intertwined his fingers with mine. It made me nervous, but I couldn’t bring myself to pull away.
When the bell rung for us to go to our next class, the nurse came in to check up on me. “How are you feeling, Sarah?” I looked at Dean.
“Better,” I said, a huge smile on my face.
“Good. Then you can go to class now.” I thanked her, and Dean asked her a few times if she was sure that I could leave. She assured him each time, and he eventually accepted it. He joined me as I walked to my next class.
“Where is your next class?” he asked me. I looked at my schedule to make sure I was right.
“The cafeteria for study hall. How about you?”
“Cafeteria for study hall.” We walked together on the way there. When we got there, he went to introduce himself to the teacher, and I went to go sit in my seat. A few minutes of them talking, and I saw Dean grin. He walked over to me and said, “Long time no see.” He sat in the seat next to me, his grin getting bigger. “She told me I could sit anywhere I wanted. I wasn’t done talking to you. And I have to be here to catch you if you pass out again.”
“I will not pass out again!” He looked into my eyes, making me lose my train of thought again. “Stop looking at me! I’m getting light-headed.”
“That’s what I thought,” he said.
STUDY hall went faster then I wanted it to. Before I knew it, the bell was ringing for us to go to seventh period. I didn’t want to leave. Dean made me feel safe. Or at least as safe as I could feel when I’m around a guy that makes me faint whenever he looks at me.
“Are you sure you want to go to class?” Dean was still concerned that I wasn’t okay to go to class.
“I’ll be fine. Stop worrying.” Dean and I had talked a lot during study hall. Mostly about me. Now that I think about it, the only things I know about Dean are what he told me in the nurses office. When I tried to change the subject to him, he would change it back to me.
You should go back to the nurse, whispered the voice in my head. I inhaled sharply, and stopped walking. I stared at Dean, confusion clear on my face.
“How did you do that?” I stared at Dean, and his face turned into a mask.
“Do what? What are you talking about, Sarah?” His voice sounded honestly confused, but the hard mask on his face told me that he was hiding something.
“You . . . I heard your voice in my mind.”
“Are you saying . . . that I can talk to you through your thoughts? Do you know how crazy that sounds?” His face had turned into one that I didn’t recognize as he spoke. “Maybe you should go back to the nurse.”
“Stop playing games with me. I heard it. Don’t lie to me, Dean.”
“Come on. Your going back to the nurse.” He put his hand on my back and tried to push me forward. But I wouldn’t budge. “Stop being stubborn, Sarah.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you until you tell me what you where doing.” He seemed to think about this for a second. Then he surprised me. He picked me up into his arms and carried me like I wasn’t heavy at all. “Put me down!” He didn’t even glance down at me as I screamed at him. I pounded on his chest, but he ignored it.
When we got to the nurses office, he laid me down on one of the beds. The nurse came in the room, and looked at me to make sure I was okay. “What’s going on?”
“Sarah says she isn’t feeling well. Can I take her home?” She seemed to ponder this thought, and then slowly nodded her head. She signed us passes to give to the office, telling them that we were both leaving.
“I hope you feel better, Sarah.” the nurse said as Dean picked me up and walked out the door. I crossed my arms stubbornly, and let Dean carry me to my locker. He set me down, and started to put in my combination. When the lock clicked open, I was freaked out.
“How do you know my combination?” He grabbed my keys, my bag, and my cellphone, the closed my locker and locked the lock. He lifted up my sleeve, and pointed to numbers written in blue sharpie. My combination. I was afraid I would forget it, so I wrote it on my arm.
“Your sleeve came up when I carried you to the nurse the first time. I’m good at remembering things.” He handed me my phone and bag, but kept my keys. He started walking, and looked back at me when I didn’t move. “Do you want me to carry you again?” Actually, yes. But I didn’t want him to know that. I started to walk towards him. He matched my pace as we walked down the hall. I kept waiting for him to give me my keys, but he never did.
When we reached my car, I headed towards the drivers side of the car. But so did Dean. He unlocked the door, and got in. “What do you think you’re doing?” I asked him.
“I’m driving you home,” he said simply. He put my key in the ignition, and started the car. “Aren’t you gonna get in?”
“Do I have a choose?”
“Nope.” I sighed dramatically, and went to the passengers side. He leaned over and unlocked the door for me. I got in, and slammed the door shut. I sat on the farthest edge of my seat, trying to stay as far away from Dean as I could. “Don’t be mad at me.”
I crossed my arms, physically telling him that I was mad at him. He turned my car onto my street, but went the opposite way from my house. He pulled over at the park. “Come on.” He got out of the car and gently shut his door. I stayed in the car, still mad at him. He walked farther and farther away from the car. I suddenly felt uneasy, and wanted to be right next to him. I got out of the car and ran to his side.
He walked over to the swings, and I followed like a little puppy. “Sit in one. I’ll push you.” I suddenly felt like I was five years old again and I was spending time with my dad. I sat on the swing that I used to sit on.
Dean pushed me, and quicker than I would have thought possible, I was swinging as high as I could. I leaned as far back as I could without falling. “I’m flying! Dean, I’m flying!” I heard him laugh somewhere behind me, and the sound made me breathless.
I slowed down, and when I was only swinging a little bit, I felt hands slide around my waist, and I was pulled to a complete stop. “Are you ready to go now?” he whispered in my ear. I struggled to breathe. He was so close to me that I couldn’t think about anything but him.
“I think so,” I said. He laughed, and let go of my waist. I slid off of the swing, and Dean came to my side. We walked to the car, and he once again sat in the drivers seat. “Now where are we going?” I asked.
“I told you I was going to drive you home,” he said simply as he scanned the road.
“Okay, um, my house is the one up here on the left.”
“I know,” he said. I tried not to read too much into his answer, but I couldn’t help it. How did he know where my house was? I couldn’t answer my own question. It just didn’t make any sense.
We pulled up into my driveway, and he hit the button to open my garage door. He pulled my car into the garage, and then stopped the car. We both got out, and he locked the car once I closed my door. “I guess I should say goodbye now,” he said.
“No, don’t. Stay for dinner.” What was I doing? I don’t even know him, and here I was, asking him to stay for dinner.
“Okay,” he said.
“Sarah? Who are you talking to in there?” Well, I guess my mom is home from work. I squeezed my eyes shut, and mentally prepared myself to introduce her to Dean. I really hope this goes well. Dean and I walked into the house. He walked right behind me, so close that I could feel his breath on the back of my neck.
“Hey, Mom. How was work today?” Mom works as a banker. She usually got home around 4 o’clock, so I was surprised that she was home early again.
“It was fine. Sarah, who’s your friend?” She looked Dean over, probably taking in the protective stance he had and how close he was to me.
“Um, this is Dean Lenz. He’s new this year.” She stared at Dean for a few more seconds before putting on a warm smile. She walked over and shook his hand.
“Hello, Dean. I’m Jenny Blake. But you can just call me Jenny,” she said politely. She released her hand from his, and walked back into the kitchen. She grabbed her glass of tea and drank some. The smell of chili was in the air, and I was suddenly very hungry.
“We’re gonna go up to my room and watch TV,” I said, pulling Dean out of the room.
“Alright, honey. Don’t forget to pick your sister up at 4!”
“I won’t,” I said. I towed Dean up the stairs. He stopped half way up, and stared at one of my favorite pictures. It was a picture of me and my dad at the park when I was little. He had me on one of his shoulders, and we were both smiling widely.
“Is this your dad?”
“Yeah. He, um, passed away a while ago.” It had happened when I was little, but I remember it perfectly.
“Are you Mrs. Blake?” asked the police officer at the door.
“Yes,” said my mom, a question in her voice.
“I’m very sorry, but your husband was killed last night,” the man said. I heard my mom whimper. “He was driving when another car collided into his side. He died on impact. By the way the accident looked, we have reason to believe that he was murdered.” I didn’t understand what the man was saying, but I cried when I saw my mom start crying.
I was sticking my head through the posts of the stairs, but I quickly pulled it out. I ran down the stairs and to my mom’s side. “Mommy? Don’t cry, Mommy.”
She picked me up, and set me on her hip. She was pregnant with my little sister then, so I almost didn’t fit on her hip. “Why don’t you go watch TV, or something while I talk to these nice men.” I had looked at the two men. One was old with salt and pepper hair, the other was young with long blonde hair.
She set me down, and I ran up to her room. But I didn’t turn on the TV. I could hear their conversation up here.
“Mrs. Blake, can you think of anyone that would want to cause your husband harm?”
“No, sir. James was a very friendly man. He had no enemies.”
“If you think of anything, give us a call.”
“Thank you, officer.” The men had walked out, and the door shut behind them. I heard my mom coming up the stairs, so I quickly turned on the TV. I was flipping through the channels when the door opened.
“Honey, we need to talk,” my mom had said.
“Your Dad-” She stopped then, struggling to go on. “Daddy isn’t coming back. Last night, he was in a car accident.”
“What do you mean he’s not coming back? Like he’s on a permanent vacation?”
“No, he’s not on vacation. Daddy died, sweetie.”
“No! He’s not dead!” I ran out of her room, and into mine. Tears were flowing down her face when I stormed out of the room.
“I’m sorry, Sarah.” He took me into his arms, and I cried into his chest. Jess never got to meet her dad. But she looks exactly like him. The only things she knew about him were what we remembered about him, and what was in the pictures she saw. I wiped the tears from my face, and untangled myself from his embrace.
“That was a very long time ago. Come on.” I wiped the last tears from my face, and led him towards my room. He closed the door behind him as he walked in.
“Do me a favor?” I did my best to not look at him, but he walked in front of me. He was so close that I touched him every time one of us took a deep breath. “Never hide your feelings from me.” He wiped away the tears that were still falling down my face. He did it gently, and that surprised me. His thumbs left hot trails where they had brushed away the tears.
I nodded my head, not trusting my voice. He wrapped his arms around my shoulders again. I cried out my sadness, and he still held me after that. We had moved to the chair in the corner of my room, and he sat me in his lap. I looped my arms around his neck, and rested my head against his shoulder.
“When’s your birthday?” Well that was random. Here we were, sitting in each others embrace while I cry, and he asks me when my birthday is.
“September third. Friday,” I said. He seemed to ponder this. I wished I could just get inside of his mind and figure out what he was thinking. I happened to glance over at the clock.
“Shoot!” I jumped out of his lap, and searched my room for my car keys.
“Where are my car keys?” He dug in his pocket, and pulled out my keys. He held them out to me, but pulled away when I reached for them. “I don’t have time for games, Dean! Give me my keys!”
“Explain first. Why are you freaking out?”
“It takes me fifteen minutes to get to the elementary school. I’ve got five minutes to get there. Give me my keys!” He finally gave them to me, and I ran to the door. “Do you want to come with me?”
“Nope. I think I’m gonna stay here and talk to your mom.”
“Good luck with that. She hasn’t been . . . right ever since we lost my dad,” I warned him. I ran down the stairs, and he was right behind me. When we got to the kitchen, I turned towards the garage door, and he took a seat on one of the counter stools. “I’ll be back shortly.”
I rushed out the door, and unlocked my car. I jumped into my car, and turned the key in the ignition. I opened the garage door, and got anxious when it didn’t open quickly. When it finally opened, I sped out of it, and hit the button for it to close again. I sped down the streets, trying to get to the school on time.
I got there in ten minutes, and I was only five minutes late. Jess climbed into the car, and buckled her seatbelt. “You’re late,” she said.
“I know. I’m sorry, sis.”
“It’s okay, I guess. Just don’t be late again.” Was I that sassy at that age? I remember being a lot more happy and having a better attitude.
“Okay, fix your attitude. I’m not putting up with this again. You better be on your best behavior tonight.” She crossed her arms across her chest, putting on a stubborn face. Every time she did that I would think of Dad when Mom wanted him to take out the trash.
“Why should I be?”
“Because we have company tonight, and I’m pretty sure he didn’t come so he could listen to your attitude all night.”
“Ooh! Does somebody have a new boyfriend? What’s his name?”
“His name is Dean, and he is not my boyfriend! He’s just a friend.”
“Right now.” A huge smile spread across my face. This girl was obnoxious and drove me crazy, but I love her so much.
“I love this song!” She reached for the volume, and blasted it. I rolled down the windows, and my hair blew everywhere. Jess started singing to the song, but I couldn’t hear her over all the other noise.
The ride home seemed shorter than the ride to the school. Before I knew it, I was parking my car in the garage. I rolled up the windows, and turned down the volume on the radio. Jess grabbed her stuff off the floor of my car and ran inside. I locked up my car and closed the garage door.
The first thing I saw when I walked inside made me laugh hysterically. In front of the stove I saw Dean. He was wearing an apron, and had cooking utensils in his hands. “Don’t laugh at me. I’m learning how to cook chili,” he said. And, of course, I just laughed harder.
“Aright, Dean. You’re off duty now. Thanks for helping,” my mom said.
“Anytime,” he said. He handed her what he was holding, and turned towards me. I held up my phone.
“This is the perfect photo op!” I was about to press the button when he ran towards me and took my phone out of my hands. He picked me up off the ground, and swung me around the room. When he put me down, I attacked him for my phone. He put it in his back pocket.
“You can have it back if you get it,” he said. I threw my hands up, showing him that I surrender. He took off his apron and put it back in the closet. When he looked normal, he finally gave me my phone back.
“I don’t know if I want that back,” I said. He shrugged, and started to put it back in his pocket. “Okay, I want it back! Give it!” I wrestled it out of his hands, and finally got it back. I heard my mom laugh behind him, and I remembered that we weren’t alone.
“Dinner’s ready. That is, if you’re not too busy to eat.”
“Ha ha. Very funny, Mom.” We grabbed our bowls of soup, and sat at the table. I sat at my usual seat, and Dean sat in Jessie’s seat. I can’t wait to see her face when she sees someone else sitting in her seat.
“Jessie! Dinners ready!” Mom was yelling up the stairs, trying to be heard over the music. The house suddenly went silent as Jess turned off her music and came downstairs for dinner. When she saw Dean in her seat, I saw anger in her eyes. She was about to make a rude remark, but I stopped her.
“Attitude,” I said. She calmed down a little, and sat in a different seat. “Thanks for dinner, Mom.” I smiled at my mom as she sat down. Dean cleared his throat beside me, and I turned my head towards him. “You stole my phone. You don’t get a thank you.”
I turned my head away from him, and looked towards my mom. I was about to ask my mom why she was home so early when hands were tickling my stomach. I laughed until I was breathless. “Stop! Dean, stop!”
“I helped with dinner, too,” he said.
“Okay, okay! Thank you!” I said breathlessly. The hands were gone, and I could breath again. I slowly caught my breath, and eventually I was breathing normally again. “You’re cruel!”
“I think that’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me,” he said.
“Just eat your soup,” I said. He got a bunch of chili on his spoon and shoved it all into his mouth. “Ew! That’s disgusting!” Despite my disgust, I started to laugh. “And by the way, this is my little sister, Jess. Jess, this is my friend Dean.”
“So you’re the Dean I’ve heard so much about,” she said. They started talking to each other, and I just sat there and was grateful that Jessie was being nice for once. She’s finally listening to me when I ask her to do something. Well, there’s a shock!
When everybody was finished with their dinner, Dean and I went back to my room. “Thanks for dinner, Mrs. Blake,” Dean said again
“Thanks for helping, Dean!” She said enthusiastically. I dragged him up the stairs, trying to prevent a long conversation with my mom.
I jumped onto my bed, staring at the ceiling. Dean leaned against the door, not sure what to do. “Come sit by me,” I said.
“Actually, I think I have to go,” he said. I sat up, and looked straight into his black eyes. He stared back at me. I wonder what he sees when he looks at me.
“Are you sure you have to go?” He nodded his head, and I sighed. “Okay. I’ll drive you home.”
“I can walk. I don’t live too far away.” By the way he said this, I knew I shouldn’t argue.
“Okay. But at least let me walk you to the door,” I said. He smiled, and we walked out of my room. When we passed the kitchen, we saw my mom still in there.
“Thank you for everything, Mrs. Blake,” Dean said.
“No problem! Thanks for helping me! Come back anytime!” Her enthusiasm was so fake that even Dean could probably tell. We walked to the door, and he stood there.
“Goodbye, Sarah.” I bit my lip, trying to keep myself from jumping into his arms and begging him to stay, like I wanted to.
“Goodbye, Dean. I’ll see you tomorrow?”
“Absolutely.” He leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. I almost fainted again, but I managed to stay standing. He walked out the door, and I waved to him as he left.
“Sarah?” I turned my head towards the kitchen, and saw my mom looking at me. I looked out the doorway again, and Dean had disappeared.
“SARAH Nicole Blake!” I hear my mom yell from the kitchen. She used my middle name, so I knew I was in some serious trouble. I walked slowly to the kitchen, trying to delay the tantrum. I thought that if she waited for a while to yell, she might calm down a little bit.
I turn the corner into the kitchen, and see my mom drumming her nails on the kitchen counter. “Yes, Mom?”
“Why didn’t you tell me we were having company? The house is a mess! And what if I hadn’t been home yet? And it’s the first day that you meet this boy, and already he’s come to the house? I haven’t met half the friends that you’ve known for years!” And so the tantrum begins. This is why she doesn’t know half of my friends!
“Mom, I didn’t even know he was staying. It was kind of spur of the moment. And if you hadn’t been here, he would have left.” The last part was a lie, and I didn’t realize it until I said it aloud.
“Fine. Whatever.” She left the room, taking the storm with her. Every now and then she would just blow up, and I would never know when it would happen. It would just happen.
I storm up to my room, but stop half way up the steps. I turn to my side, and look at the picture of my dad and me. “I love you, Daddy,” I whisper. Suddenly, I feel much better. I calmly walk the rest of the way to my bedroom, and gently close my door.
As I walk towards my window, I feel like I am being watched. I dismiss the feeling as being my mind overreacting. I opened up my laptop, and turned it on. When it started up, a whole bunch of ads popped up. Most of them were for colleges. I exited out of all of them, and then clicked on my music. When the music started to play, I turned up the volume.
I laid on my bed, resting my head on my pillow. I thought about what had happened today with Dean. Everything that happened. The way he had touched me so gently, and held me so close to his chest when he picked me up. The way he had listened to everything I said like his life depended on knowing every little bit and piece of me.
Just being with Dean made me feel invincible. I remembered how we were in the cafeteria and Rachel had whispered that he would obviously choose me. And I remembered how Dean had looked at me after that. He had looked at me so intensely that I had fainted. I actually fainted because he looked at me! I had never fainted before today.
The thought of his deep, black eyes looking into mine lingered on the backs of my eyelids. My eyes flew open, making the images disappear. I had heard a knock at my door, and my door started creaking open. “Sweetheart? Can I come in?” My mom said through the widening crack in the door.
“Yeah,” I said as I ran across my room, and turned down the volume of my music. She opened the door, came in, and then closed it again. I sat back on my bed, and she sat next to me.
“I’m sorry I yelled at you like that, honey. I just wasn’t expecting to have company. He’s really a good kid, but I’m still wary. It’s just, the way he looks at you. It’s like he wants you to fall so he can catch you.” I laughed because just earlier, he actually had caught me when I fell. “Let me rephrase that. He already did catch you.”
“How did you know that?”
“You left him here with me when you went to pick up Jess, remember?” I nodded, wondering what else he told her. “Okay, rephrasing. He looks at you like his mission in life is to make sure you never so much as get a paper cut. Like he would stop a bullet for you.” Is that how he really looked at me? I hadn’t noticed. All I could remember is how he looked so intensely into my eyes.
“I, um, hadn’t really noticed,” I said. My cheeks warmed up, and I knew that they turned a bright red color. The blush didn’t disappear for a while, so I sat there, talking to my mom about Dean, with red cheeks. All of a sudden, there was a chuckling in the back of my head. Dean!
I recognized the chuckling from when I had fought him for my phone! “Sarah?” I stared blankly at my mother, not really seeing her. “Are you alright? You look like you’ve seen a ghost. You aren’t gonna-” And for the third time that day, I passed out.
✵ ✵ ✵
I woke to the sound of my alarm. Is it morning already? I hit the DISMISS button, and it turned off. I moaned and rolled over. In the doorway, I saw my mom watching me. I gasped because she had scared me. “Honey? Are you awake?”
“Yeah, Mom. I’m awake,” I said.
“Really? It’s not just a false alarm?” She sounded . . . concerned, almost. Had I been talking in my sleep? I only talk in my sleep if something bad happens. Like when my dad died, I talked in my sleep. And when Scott and I broke up, I talked in my sleep. But, I couldn’t think of anything bad that had happened.
“Mom, what do you mean false alarm? What happened?” My voice was raspy from just waking up. I wish I could just go back to sleep.
“Well, last night you looked like you had seen a ghost. Then you passed out. You never became conscious, and then I heard you snoring. And you were, um, talking in your sleep again. Are you sure that only happens after something bad happens to you?”
“I’m sure. Mom, what was I saying?” I was afraid to hear the answer, but I couldn’t help but ask.
“You kept saying, ‘Dean. Dean, don’t leave. Stay with me.’ ” I was humiliated as she said these words. Why did she have to be listening to me? “Don’t think about it. You have school in two hours. You might want to start getting ready.” Being reminded of having to go to school made me feel like someone was pushing down on my shoulders with all of their strength. I couldn’t breathe.
Mom came over and rubbed my back. “Breathe, Sarah. Breathe,” she said as she rubbed my back. I was comforted while she rubbed my back, and I could finally breathe. When I stood up to start getting ready for school, I started to run. I ran as fast as I could to the bathroom.
As soon as I got there, I leaned over the toilet and gagged. My throat burned, and I felt terrible. I shut the door, and took a relaxing shower.
When I got out of the shower, I thought about not going to school today. But I knew why I was really avoiding school. It was Dean I was avoiding. I don’t think I can be around him, because I know that he’s speaking to my thoughts. And honestly, that scared me.
My hands were shaky as I turned the key in the ignition. My hands shook as I turned onto the highway, and I tried to calm myself. But it was useless. I pulled into my normal parking place at school, and sat in my car. I watched my hands shake, wondering if they would ever stop. I was about to take my key out of the ignition when I heard a tapping on my window.
I turned my head to the left and saw Rachel standing next to my car. I took the key out of my ignition, and opened the door. She grabbed my hand, and tried to pull me out of my car. “Come on, Sarah! You’re slower than a turtle!” Rachel shouted at me.
I grabbed my bag from the front seat, and swung it over my shoulder. I slowly stepped out of the car. Just as I was going to close my door, there was a roaring coming closer. I turned around just in time to see a motorcycle drive into the parking space next to mine.
The driver of the motorcycle was wearing a red helmet with a dark tinted lens. His hands went up to his head, and started to pull off his helmet. I briefly remembered the few times I had drove a motorcycle with Scott. I had been okay, but I never drove one after that.
The first thing I saw come out of the helmet was his perfectly formed chin. Then the long, black hair came out. And finally, the black eyes that bore holes in me. They looked sad to me, and I just wanted to go over to him and give him a hug. I stopped breathing. My palms grew sweaty, and my heartbeat sped up.
My hand was frozen on my car door, and it still stood open. Dean started to get off of his motorcycle, and I slammed my car door. He shoved his helmet under his arm, and ran his fingers through his hair. I wanted so badly to do the same thing. Then I remembered the voice in my head. I walked as fast as I could away from the parking lot.
Rachel was practically running to keep up with me. “Sarah! I didn’t mean that you had to run! Slow down a bit!” I just ignored her. I still walked as fast as I could to the school. When we got to the front doors, I finally slowed down. I tried to lose myself in the crowd of kids. I didn’t want to have to face him yet.
As I looked back to the front doors, all I saw were a few freshman coming into the building. Just as I turned my head turned back around, I ran into a big brick wall with a helmet under his arm. “Good morning,” Dean said.
I heard the sharp income of breath as Rachel saw him. I tried not to look into his eyes, but an unnameable force pulled my chin up. His black eyes were so deep that I thought I could swim in them. He looked at me as if he expected me to say something. “Good morning, Dean.” I pushed past him, hoping to get lost in the crowd of kids. But he just walked right next to me. Of course. “Go away,” I said to him.
“No thanks. Not until you tell me why you are in such a bad mood with me.” I looked up at him, and his face was serious. He looked down, and met my eyes. His expression turned from serious to cocky in a moment. “So are you going to tell me?”
I made an irritated sigh, and just walked faster. When he didn’t speed up to walk next to me, I turned my head around. He had stopped walking. Rachel was standing next to him, trying to talk to him. But he was ignoring her. He stared at me as I walked away.
I turned the corner, and ran right into Scott. “Hey, babe. Are you gonna come back to me now?” His words were slurred, and I knew that he was high. I try to walk around him, put he grabbed my arms. Hard. His grip was so tight on my arms that I couldn’t move. “You better come back to me, Sarah.” There was an angry flame in his eyes, and I was frightened.
“You better let her go. Now.” I squeezed my eyes shut, grateful to hear this velvet smooth voice.
“Dude, just walk away. This has nothing to do with you.”
“This has everything to do with me. Now let her go before this gets ugly.” He stepped right beside me, and I saw the look on his face. It was dangerous. Scott saw that, too. He let my arms go, and laid them at his side. Dean put his hand on my shoulder, about to lead me away from Scott. In the corner of my eye, I saw Scott’s hand swiftly come up, and then I felt the sting as it smacked against my face. It made a sickening sound, and I held my burning cheek when he finally dropped his hand.
Dean’s hand dropped from my shoulder, and it flew into the side of Scott’s face. It made a thud! sound, and Scott staggered back. When Scott raised his head back up, the flame in his eyes grew larger. Dean pushed me behind him protectively.
Punches and kicks were thrown between the two boys. I flinched every time the sound of skin hitting against skin went through my ears. “Stop it! Just stop!” I put myself between the two angry boys, and put my hands on each of their chests. They both had their fists ready to use, but they both stopped and looked down at me.
“Go somewhere else, Sarah.” Scott said to me.
“No, Scott. You go somewhere else. You aren’t wanted anymore. Just forget about everything that happened between us because it’s never going to happen again.” I dropped my hand from his chest. I slid the other one around Dean’s waist, and tried to pull him away from this fight. He drops his fist, and wraps his arm around my shoulder.
We had walked a few steps away from Scott when he yelled, “Don’t be so sure about that.” I didn’t look back at him, but those words kept floating in my mind. When I felt Dean relax, I took my arm back from around his waist and walked away from him.
“Sarah!” He followed after me, yelling my name until he came to my side. “Are you going to tell me what I did?”
“You lied to me. I’m tired of guys that try to get close to me and then lie!” I was screaming now.
“Sarah, I didn’t-” He was trying to lift my chin, but I just turned my head away from him. “Look at me.” He put his hand gently against my cheek, and puled my head up and made me look at him. My hands flew up to cover my open mouth. His face was a bloody mess. His right eye was swollen, and I wanted to be sick when I saw it. “I never lied to you.”
I grabbed his hand, ignoring his last comment, and led him towards the bathroom. Everybody was either in class or at their lockers, so the bathrooms were empty. I led him into the women’s restroom, and told him to sit on one of the toilets. I grabbed a paper towel, and ran it under some water. When it was fully wet, I rang it out so that it was only damp.
I walked over to Dean and slowly dabbed the paper towel against his face. He never flinched. Neither of us spoke. His face was finally blood free, and I threw the red paper towel away. His eye was still swollen, and there was nothing I could do. “Okay, I’m done.” Instead of standing up, he just stayed perfectly still and watched me.
“Thank you,” he said. “Are you still mad at me?” Not so much anymore, I wanted to say. I wasn’t so much mad at him, I was just afraid of him. But I wasn’t going to tell him that. Instead, I just turned around and walked out of the bathroom. As I turned out of the bathroom, I felt a hand gently caress my shoulder. “Sarah?”
I turned around, and looked him right in the eyes. “Go to class, Dean.” I shrugged off his hand, and walked away. And this time he didn’t follow me. When I walked into Science late, Mr. Semp gave me a dirty look. He motioned for me to take my seat, and he continued to speak to the class.
I ignored the teacher all period. This week wouldn’t be important. Everyone would be introducing their classes, so I really didn’t have to listen to them. All class I thought about Dean’s black eyes, the way they looked into mine. I thought about how protective he had gotten when he saw Scott grab my arms, and then slap me. I thought about his hand caressing my shoulder, and how it felt when his arm slid around my shoulders.
Well the bell rang, I practically ran out of the classroom. “Sarah, wait! I need to talk to you!” I heard Rachel screaming behind me, and I slowed down. When she caught up to me, she wanted to talk about the one thing I wanted to forget. “Was there really a fight between Scott and Dean.” She saw the look on my face, and knew the answer. “Okay, dish.”
“Scott was high. He was gripping my arms really tightly, and Dean got protective. Then Scott slapped me, and Dean lost it. They got in a fight, but I stopped it. That’s all there is, really.” I walked away, and into my health class.
As I entered the room, the bell rang. I quickly ran to my seat, and put my books on the table. “Hey, can we talk?” And while I was thinking in Science, I never thought about sitting by Dean this period. I slowly looked up, and met his gaze. I felt like someone had knocked the air right out of my lungs.
I quickly got out of my seat, and walked to Ms. Smith’s desk. “Ms. Smith?” She looked at me over the tops of her bathroom. “May I go to the restroom?”
“Make it quick, Sarah.” I grabbed the pass off of the door, and went to the bathroom.I walked to the bathroom, passing classrooms as I went. When I reached the bathroom, I went to the largest stall. I locked the door, and leaned over the sink. I looked at myself in the mirror, and I saw the tears that were threatening to fall over, and the beads of sweat on my forehead.
“Sarah? Open the door.” The voice outside of my door made me jump. When I didn’t open the door, Dean started to pick at the lock. It clicked open, and he walked into the stall. He locked the door behind him, and stayed over there. “I’m gonna make a deal with you. If you tell me why you’re acting so weird around me, I’ll let you out of here. If you don’t tell me, people are going to think I’m kidnapping you and then call the police.”
“That’s a little harsh, Dean. By the way, you aren’t supposed to be in the women’s restroom. And I already told you why I’m mad at you. You lied to me.”
“I was in here earlier, wasn’t I? And yes, you did tell me that. Now will you tell me what I lied to you about?” He walked towards me, and cupped my face in his hands. I couldn’t think with him this close. He was pressing his body against mine, and I was breathing in the same air as him. I couldn’t help it; I blurt it out.
“You’re talking through my thoughts. You told me that you weren’t but I know it was you.” He pressed his forehead against mine, and his lips were so close to mine. “Tell me the truth, Dean.” His lips moved along with mine as I talked. That’s how close he was to me. In one swift movement, he closed all the distance between us. His lips rested on mine, trying to make me forget about everything.
I searched for the pass that I had set on the sink. I gripped it in my hand in an iron grip. His tongue traced along my lips, trying to get me to part them. I swung my arm around, and hit him in the back of the head as hard as I could with the pass. He pulled away from me, and rubbed the back of his head. When he was far away and I saw his face, I felt bad. He had just gotten in a fight an hour ago, and here I was, beating him with a wooden pass.
The feeling lasted only a moment. I ran out the door, leaving him in the bathroom. I ran back to health class, and took my seat. Dean never came back to class.
WHEN it was time for lunch, I hesitantly walked into the cafeteria. I didn’t want to have to see Dean right now, and I knew that I would see him during lunch. I hadn’t seen him since he kissed me in the bathroom, and the crowded cafeteria didn’t seem to be a good place to talk to him.
“Sarah, come on!” Rachel whined. “Look, there’s Dean waiting right there for you.” Yeah, because that’s going to make me want to go into the cafeteria. Rachel and Sierra walked back towards me, and they each grabbed my elbows. They dragged me into the cafeteria and, unfortunately, towards Dean.
His eyes looked haunted, and darker than usual. How that was possible, I don’t know. His eyes are black, so they couldn’t get any darker. Maybe his haunted expression was getting to me. With one last shove, Rachel and Sierra launched right into Dean. I threw up my hands for protection, and they ended up on his chest. I could feel his muscles through his black T-shirt, and I liked how it felt. I backed away a few steps, but I was close enough that when he leaned down to whisper to me, he was right in my ear. “Leave with me,” he whispered.
“What? What do you mean ‘leave with me’?” I whispered back to him.
“I mean exactly what I said. We need to talk, Sarah. Whether you want to admit it or not. I just happen to know the perfect place if you’ll come with me.” I saw him hold out his hand for me, but I hesitated. I knew we needed to talk, but we were in the middle of school. I dismissed the thought. I wouldn’t be missing anything. I put my hand in his, and it disappeared when he wrapped his hand around mine.
He led me to the parking lot, and right towards his motorcycle. “Do you honestly expect me to ride on this?” My southern accent was always heavy when I had an attitude. I put my hands on my hips, and just stared at him. He threw the red helmet that I had seen this morning at me. I caught it, but just stared at it.
“That goes over your head,” he said as he climbed onto his motorcycle and put on his own helmet. It was almost as black as his eyes, and there were flames running along the sides of it.
“I know that,” I said. I shoved the helmet over my head, hoping that my hair would look okay when I took it off. I climbed onto the motorcycle behind him, but kept some space between us.
“You might want to put your arms around my waist,” he said. He sounded cocky, so I smacked his back. “Ow, that really hurt!” He teased. I put my hands on his waist, but not enough for him to feel them. He started the motor, and the bike roared to life. “Are you hungry?” He yelled over the roaring engine.
“Not really,” I shouted back. He pulled the motorcycle out of the parking space, and sped off of school grounds. My arms tightened around him as he drove down the highway, weaving between cars and pick-up trucks. I squeezed my thighs around his legs, and buried my face into his shoulder. It had been a while since the last time I was on a motorcycle. “Are we skipping the rest of the school day?”
“Do you want to?”
Yes. “No,” I said. If I stayed with him for the rest of the day, rumors would fly. There were probably already rumors, since people saw us leave together. I’m curious, what kind of rumors could they come up with?
“Okay, then I’ll have you back before lunch is over.” I was sad to hear this, because I wouldn’t be able to see him again until we were in study hall in sixth period. Right now, that seemed like it was years away.
“Where are you taking me, Dean?” I put my chin on his shoulder, and felt the wind blow into my face. I saw him smile in the corner of my eye.
“You say my name a lot,” he teased. I could feel the blush rising on my cheeks, and I hid my face in his back so he couldn’t see. He looked back at me as he shouted over the engine and shouted again. “I’m just teasing you. Don’t hide your face from me,” he said softly. We had stopped at a red light, and he lifted my head up.
“Where are you taking me?” I was careful not to say his name this time, afraid that the blush would rise again.
“It’s a surprise. But I think you’ll like it,” he said. The light then turned green, and I was so relieved because I had began to blush again. He turned onto a dirt road, and rocks flew close to my face as he drove. The road began to get thinner, until it was just a path. He stopped the motorcycle, but didn’t turn off the engine. “Do you trust me?”
“Not completely,” I said.
“Hold on tight,” he said. I tightened my arms around his waist. He began to drive the bike again; this time gently weaving in and out of trees. I watched over his shoulder, not able to look away.
He stopped when we got to an open field. It was just a field with grass and trees surrounding it. He took off his helmet, and put it on his handle bar. I was still wrapped tightly around him, so he didn’t move. “Sarah. We aren’t driving anymore. You can let go now,” he said. I quickly untangled myself from him, then jumped off the bike. I took off my helmet, and put it on his other handlebar.
“Are you gonna tell me where we’re going now?” I asked him.
“This is it,” he said as he looked at the field. “But this is it in the daylight. I really want you to see it at night. It’s so much more beautiful.”
“It’s perfect,” I whispered. I took a few steps into the field and just marveled at it. It was the simplest little place I had ever seen. There were a few flowers, but it was mostly just trees and grass. And still, it was the most beautiful place I could have ever imagined. Dean stood right behind me now, close enough that I could feel his breath on my neck.
“I wouldn’t say that while you’re standing here,” he whispered. His breath tickled as it slithered across my neck. I wanted to shiver, but I was frozen in place. I wanted to look at him and see what was in his eyes, but still, I could not move. His words had caught me off guard, and I had no response to them. We stood there like that for a little bit. Him standing centimeters away from me, his eyes burning holes in my skull; and me marveling at this tiny little field. “We better be getting back to school,” he said, breaking the silence.
He started waling back to the motorcycle, but I still stood frozen in place. “Sarah?” His voice melted my frozen position, and I was able to turn around and walk towards him.
“Do we have to leave right now?” I could hear the whine in my voice. I didn’t want to leave this magical wonderland.
“By the time we get to school, we’ll have about five minutes before our next classes,” he said. I watched as he slid on his helmet, and sat on his bike. I did the same, and I wrapped my arms around his waist, without hesitation this time. He drove through the trees again, and I was still afraid that he would wreck into one.
I trusted him completely, but there was still that slim chance that we would wreck. When we were finally out of the woods and driving on the dirt road again, I felt relieved. I unwrapped my arms from around his waist, and slowly slid them down his arms. I could feel each muscle on the tips of my fingers. When my fingers made it to his hand, I wrapped my hands around his. My hands maneuvered with his as he drove through traffic.
When we got back to school, he parked his motorcycle next to my car. I took off my helmet and handed it to him. He put it on his right handlebar, and put his on the left handlebar. I jumped off of his motorcycle, and shook out my hair. When I lifted my head back up, he was standing about two inches in front of me. “Ready to go back in there?” He looked over at the school, and then back at me.
“Let’s go,” I said. We walked back into school together, and people watched us as we walked through the doors, side by side. And just as quickly as they had probably started, the rumors were whispered around us.
“I heard that they were kicked out of school,” said one girl.
“I heard that they were having sex in one of their cars,” said the boy that was standing next to her.
I stopped listening, and just walked to the cafeteria with Dean. As soon as we walked into the cafeteria, it fell silent. And then everyone started whispering. We heard the same things that we heard in the cafeteria. Instead of being hurt by these rumors, I was fascinated by what they had come up with. “Just ignore them,” Dean whispered to me. He put his hand on the small of my back, and lead me to an empty table. I sat in the chair closest to the window, and he sat across from me. Now I was staring right at my friends. “Later,” mouthed Mia. I threw my head into my head, and tried not to sit here and slap myself. All that time I was out with Dean, I hadn’t once thought about what my friends would be thinking.
When the bell rang for us to go to our next class, I slowly stood up. I was careful to stay close to Dean; I was hoping to avoid my friends for a little while. “I’ll walk you to your locker,” Dean said. He put his hand on my back again, and walked me to my locker. “Where do you have to go?”
“Math,” I said. I opened my locker, and bent down to grab my books. When I stood back up, Dean was still there. “Where do you have to go?”
“English, I think.” I closed my locker, and leaned against it.
“I’ll see you in study hall?” When I said that, I felt like study hall couldn’t come soon enough. When I looked up at him, I felt like a mouse. He was so much taller than me!
“Yeah. I’ll see you then,” he said. He pushed his body off of the locker, and, with one last glance at me, walked away. I watched as he walked away. I stood there, just watching where he had disappeared. When I glanced at the clock in the hall, I saw that I only had one minute to get to class. I ran to class, and walked in the door just as the bell rang.
I made my way to my seat, which was next to one of those goth kids that doesn’t shower. I sat on the farthest edge of my chair and put my hand over my nose. I blocked out the teacher. I thought about the field, and how beautiful it was. It’s perfect, I had said.
I wouldn’t say that while you’re standing here, Dean had said to me. His words snaked through my mind, willing me to always remember them.
Before I knew it, the bell was ringing. I grabbed my books off of my desk, and slowly walked out of the door. When I was wondering where I was supposed to go next, I remembered. Study hall! I get to see Dean now! I’ve known Dean for only two days now, and already I had these strong feelings for him.
I walked as fast as I could to my locker. I opened my locker, threw my books in, and closed it. When I looked up, I nearly had a heart attack. Dean was leaning against the locker next to mine, just watching me. I hadn’t even heard him approach. “Ready?”
“Yes,” I said. We walked to the cafeteria together, and once again, he sat by me. We talked about the field he had taken me to, and he was trying to plan when he could get me to see it at night. He made jokes about stealing me away in the middle of the night, and I laughed every time he did.
“Well, how about this? On Friday night, your birthday, you come with me to the field when it gets dark.” He waited for me to say something, but I didn’t. This time he was serious; I could see it in his eyes. I couldn’t think of a better birthday present. “Hold that thought. I’ll be right back.”
He walked away, and I just sat there, dumbstruck. The whole time he was gone, I tried to think of something to say. When I saw him walking back towards me, I still hadn’t thought of what to say. He walked right past me and whispered, “Do you believe in love at first sight, or should I walk by again?”
“Ha ha, very funny.” He laughed at me, and I playfully slapped is arm. His face instantly turned serious.
“Okay, serious now. What do you think? Your birthday, or is that too far away?” He stared straight into my eyes, making thinking impossible.
“It’s Wednesday. I think i’ll survive until Friday night.” I looked him in the eye, and quickly added to my statement. “It’s perfect, Dean. I can’t wait.”
“Well, if you can’t wait, I can show you tonight. I’ll kidnap you from your bed.” And just like that, he was joking again. I couldn’t help myself; I had to laugh. What made me laugh so hard was the fact that his face was so serious.
“Dean! Sarah! This is a quiet study hall,” yelled our teacher. A huge grin spread across Dean’s face, and my heart stopped. I stopped breathing, and just watched as his grin faded. I was once again able to breath, and my heart started again. “I’m warning you two!” That just made us laugh harder. She turned back to her work and ignored us.
The bell was ringing too soon. It felt like study hall had only lasted five minutes, when it had actually lasted forty minutes. Just as we were about to part ways, Dean whispered something to me. “We never got to talk at that field. We need to. Meet me at my motorcycle after school,” he said. He walked away right after he finished, not giving me time to respond.
I sped through my last two classes. I didn’t bother bringing anything to chemistry last period; we wouldn’t need anything. Chemistry was over quicker then I thought it would be. When the bell rang, I walked out the door ad went to my locker. I grabbed my phone, and my keys, and locked up my locker.
I beat Dean out to his motorcycle. I leaned against it, being careful not to knock it over. I ran my fingers over the soft leather seat, loving how it felt on my fingertips. “The leather is my favorite part.” I jumped at the sound of his voice. “Are you ready to talk?” He held out the helmet I had worn earlier, and I put it on my head.
We went through the same routine. We climbed on his bike, I wrapped my arms tightly around his waist, and we drove off. I watched as people pointed at us and whispered to each other. They were probably saying the same things they had said earlier.
There wasn’t much traffic, so we made it to the field quicker. It was a good thing, and a bad thing at the same time. Getting here quicker meant less time to think. I gave Dean my helmet, and walked out into the field. I sat it the grass, and felt myself fall backwards. The sun light beamed off of my face, but I was more focused on the finger that was now running down my cheek. “I’m sorry,” said the voice that came with the finger.
“For what?” I snapped my eyes open, and looked at Dean, who was sitting beside me. He put his head on his knees, hiding his face from me.
“For kissing you. I didn’t mean to. I lost it. And I thought I was losing you. You were just so mad at me this morning, and you wouldn’t tell me what was wrong. And that I fought with that guy that had his hands all over you and then you put your arm around me and it felt so good. But you still looked mad and I couldn’t help myself I was so scared. Can you ever forgive me? Please yes, Sarah. Just please say-”
“Shut up. I’m not mad at you.” He let out a long breath and lifted up his head. “I promise I’m not mad at you.” I put my hand in his hair, and pulled his face down to mine. I kissed him with everything I had, and he seemed surprised at first, but he kissed me back. “There. Now we’re even,” I whispered breathlessly.
I rolled over onto my back, and felt the Louisiana sun beat down on my face. I could feel fingers intertwining with mine, but it was all so different. I felt like I was in a whole different universe. I squeezed the fingers that were in my hand, and I could feel him pull away. I opened my eyes, and looked at him. “Why are you so careful with me?”
“I don’t want to break you,” he said. “You look so fragile.” I laced my fingers through his again, and he didn’t pull away.
“I’m tougher than I look,” I said. I crawled closer to him, and rested my head on his shoulder. I closed my eyes again, and he started to stroke my hair. Every time he touched me, I felt like I was going to burst into flames. Like I was a bomb about to explode.
“Come on. I should get you back to your car so you can pick up your sister.” He started to stand up, but I pulled him back down.
“She can ride the bus,” I whispered. He chuckled, and started to stand up again. This time, he pulled me up with him. “Fine,” I sighed.
When we were on his motorcycle about to drive away, he said, “By the way, we aren’t even. You hit me in the back of the head when I kissed you, remember?” Then he revved the engine, preventing me from saying anything. He followed the speed limit as we drove down the highway, making the drive longer. I rested my chin on his shoulder, and held my arms tight around his waist.
Even with the extra time, we arrived at the school quicker than I wanted to. I tried to hand Dean my helmet, but he refused to take it. “Keep it. You’re going to need it again.” He pulled his helmet off as I started to climb off of the vehicle. He pulled my face down, and kissed me sweetly. It was a short kiss, but it was so sweet. “That should have been our first kiss,” he whispered against my lips. I stumbled backwards, trying to make it to my car.
I walked to the driver’s side of my car as if I were drunk. Drunk off of that kiss. I gently placed the red helmet in the seat next to me, and drove away. I glanced at the clock. If I headed to the elementary school right now, I would make perfect timing to pick up Jess. So I headed straight to her school.
When I got there, I saw her. Her back was facing me, so I rolled down the window to scream her name. But just as I was about to yell, she moved to the side, and I saw that she was talking to a boy about her age. When she turned around and spotted me, she bit her lip, and waved to him. She ran to the car, clutching her books close to her chest. “Who was that?” I asked when she got into the car.
“Ethan,” she said. She sighed dramatically, and I just laughed and drove away. “Can I move this?” I looked over and saw the helmet in her hands. When I didn’t answer, she set it in her lap.
She didn’t talk the whole way home. That was something new and surprising. “Don’t even start to lecture me about how school comes before boys.” She had caught me just before the words flew out of my mouth. “I could say the same thing to you. Don’t give me that look! I saw the way you were looking at that guy last night!”
“And how was I looking at him?” If she wants to play that game, then so be it.
“Sarah and Dean, sittin’ in a tree. K-I-S-S-I-N-G. First comes love, then comes-” I put my hand over her mouth hoping to quiet her. But she hummed the rest of it. When she was done, she licked my hand, and I dropped it.
“You little twerp! That was disgusting!” We were home now, so she ran out of the car, and into the house. I pulled the keys out of the ignition, and chased after her. I followed her into the kitchen, where I found her standing next to Mom.
“Mommy she’s gonna kill me!” She screamed. She cowered behind my mom, making it impossible to get to her.
“Girls, cut it out. Sarah, put your fist down. Can’t you see how scared she is? Jessie, what did you do to make her so mad?” I slowly lowered my fist. I kept it clenched, but put it down to my side.
“The little twerp licked my hand! She’s so annoying, I hate her!” I stormed out of the room, and stomped up the stairs. I had just gotten into my room when I heard Mom yelling for me.
“Sarah! Get back down here!” She yelled.
“No!” I slammed my door as hard as I could, and then locked it. I jumped onto my bed, grabbed a pillow, and screamed into it. I grabbed my laptop off of my nightstand, and turned it on. While it was loading, there was a heavy banging on my door. Someone was turning the knob, but it was locked so that was getting them nowhere.
“Sarah! Open this door right now!” Just as my mom yelled this, I had logged on and gone to my music. I clicked on a song, and yelled back before it started.
THURSDAY was exactly like Wednesday. Dean and I went to the field, we got yelled at in study hall for being too loud, and I got in a fight with my family again. Both nights I locked myself in my room until everyone else fell asleep.
“Happy birthday, Sarah!” Today is Friday September third. My birthday.
“Ugh! Don’t remind me! I feel so old!” I said. I had met Dean by his motorcycle this morning, and now we were walking into school.
“Well, at least you got to see how fire was made.” I smacked him across his chest when he started to laugh. He just laughed harder. I glared at him, and started to walk away. He ran back to me, not laughing anymore. “Okay, I’m done! And I have something special planned for lunch,” he said. I tried not to look too excited, but I failed.
“What is it!?” He made a motion that meant he was zipping his mouth shut, and then he threw away the key. “Tell me! Tell me!” When he didn’t answer, I pretended to be depressed and walked away.
“Do you always get your way?” I stuck my tongue out at him, and I probably looked like a little kid. “Fine, I’ll tell you. But some of it’s going to stay a secret!” He stayed quiet for a few moments, so I glared at him. “If you keep giving me that look, I won’t give you your present.” He held up a small box, and I pretended to be as sweet as pie. “At lunch, we are going to grab some food from a good drive-thru, then we are gonna go to the field. And then tonight, I’m going to show you the field in the moonlight.”
“And when do I get my present?” We had arrived at my locker now, and I was just leaning against it. He scratched his chin, pretending to think, and then he handed me the small box.
At first, I just examined it. It was a plain black box with a sparkling green bow on top of it. I remembered telling Dean that green was my favorite color as I stared at the bow. “Are you going to open it, or am I gonna have to open it for you?”
“I can do it!” I said when he started to reach for the box. I slowly opened the lid and kept my eyes closed as I did so. When it was fully open, I started to open my eyes, one at a time. I had just opened my left eye, when I was so shocked that my right eye flew open.
Inside the box was a beautiful silver necklace. On the front was a picture of an angel. The details were amazing. It was so beautiful. “Dean, this is-”
“Turn it over,” he said. I flipped over the necklace, and on the back were the words, “guardian angel.”
“Dean, I don’t know what to say. Thank you. I love it.” I stood there staring at it, not knowing what to do.
“Do you want me to help you put it on?” I took off the necklace I had thrown on this morning, making room for it. I picked up my hair into a pony tail so he could see what he was doing. He wrapped it around my neck, and closed the clasp in the back. I let my hair fall, and I turned around to face Dean.
“Thank you. It’s amazing.” I gave him a hug, and rested my head against his chest. He kissed the top of my head, and squeezed his arms tight around me.
“I’m glad you like it. Now go to class. I’ll see you next period in health. I don’t want you to be late.” He kissed me on the head one last time, and then he let go of me and walked away. I threw my other necklace into my locker, and grabbed my Science books.
When I saw Rachel in Science, she started singing “Happy Birthday.” When she was done, I just glared at her. “Did I do something wrong?” She asked warily. “Be in a good mood! It’s your birthday! Did you get any presents yet?” My hands flew up to my neck, and held the necklace Dean had just given me. I cleared my throat, and dropped my hands. Rachel’s eyes practically popped out of her head, and her mouth formed a big O. “It’s beautiful! Who gave that to you?”
“Someone special,” I said. I started to giggle like a little girl. Mr. Semp started class then, so neither of us could say anything.
“Turn your books to page 122. The first quarter is going to be a review. We will start off by reviewing the layers of Earth’s interior. Can anybody name all of the layers?” he said. I looked around, and nobody else had risen their hands. I threw my hand up, and he pointed to me.
“The Inner Core, the Outer Core, the Mantle, and the Crust.” I said. I had found this lesson of Science interesting, so I remembered it well.
“I’m glad to see that someone is awake! Now can anyone tell me which layer is thinnest, and which is thickest?” And again, I was the only one to raise my hand. He picked on me again.
“The Crust is the thinnest layer, and the Mantle is the thickest layer.” I felt like a dork being the only person who knew all of this. But it felt good knowing that I was smart.
“Well done! Now, there are two more layers that combine with the Mantle and the Crust. what are they, and can you explain them?” Again, I answered.
“The two layers are the Lithosphere and the Asthenosphere. The Asthenosphere is a soft rock that sits below the Lithosphere. The Lithosphere is solid rock that floats on top of the Asthenosphere, and it is made up of the Crust and the top of the Mantle.”
“Miss . . . Blake?” He looked at his seating chart, and back at me. “You could probably teach the class if you wanted to.” I could feel my cheeks warming, and I knew that they were a bright red. “Do you want to? I heard it was your birthday today,” he said with a smile.
“Um, not really,” I stuttered.
“Why don’t you come up here and just help me then?” When I didn’t answer or move, he tried to coax me up. “Come on. It’ll be fun. Trust me.” I slowly walked up to the front of the room, and I couldn’t feel my cheeks getting warmer with every step that I took. “Come on! Don’t be afraid,” he said with another friendly smile.
“That’s what someone always says before something bad happens,” I said. The entire class laughed, but I didn’t get what was so funny.
For the rest of the period, I sat in the front of the room and helped Mr. Semp teach. I helped explain things occasionally, and I wrote stuff on the board when he told me to. When the bell rang, he told me not to leave yet. I was so anxious to get out of there and get to Health. “You did a good job today. Did you ever think of joining the science club?”
“Yes, actually.” This topic surprised me. “But I just don’t have enough time.”
“Oh. Well that’s too bad. Thank you for helping me today.” I nodded, and ran out of the room. When I got to my locker, Dean was standing there. I through my science books into my locker, and grabbed my health books. We walked to class together, and Ms. Smith smiled as we walked into her room. We took our seats in the back of the class just as the bell rang.
Before the teacher started class, Dean picked up my hand and traced patterns on it. He didn’t stop when she started class. I couldn’t concentrate. His fingertips left hot trails behind them, as if my hands were on fire. “Stop. I can’t concentrate,” I said.
“Don’t worry,” he said. “She isn’t saying anything important.” He continued tracing patterns on my hands.
“Ugh!” I said a bit too loudly. Dean dropped my hand, and faced the front of the classroom just as Ms. Smith turned towards us.
“Sarah? Is there a problem?” I struggled for an answer. I couldn’t tell her that Dean was holding my hand in his and I loved the way it felt. So I thought of something else.
“No. I, um, I’m sorry Ms. Smith. I was just, um, thinking aloud. This material is, um, really hard,” I said. Great. Now I was mumbling um every two seconds. I shrank in my seat, hoping to become invisible when everyone started laughing at me.
“Sarah, we’re going over class rules,” she said with a worried look on her face.
“I know. I think it’s kind of hard to have to learn and memorize different rules for every class.” I wasn’t getting through this very easily. I couldn’t lie under pressure, and the whole class was watching me. And Dean was staring right at me. My palms started to sweat, and I wished I was invisible.
Ms. Smith went back to talking about the class rules, and I shrunk down in my chair. “You’re not a very good liar, you know that?” I turned to see Dean laughing at me.
“That’s because everyone was looking at me,” I said. I glared at him, telling him with my eyes that it was all his fault. I glanced at the clock, and then took my books out of my desk. It was almost time for third period.
The bell rang, and Dean stood up so fast that he was just a blur in the corner of my eye. I stood up a bit slower than him, and he waited for me. We walked out of class together, and I carefully avoided the teacher. He hugged me as I turned to go to my locker, and then he continued to go to his next class. I was bending down to put my books in my locker when I heard someone talking behind me. “You and Dean? Cute couple. But I must say, I am a little jealous. He’s cute.” I turned to see Rachel standing behind me.
“We aren’t really a couple. And why would you be jealous? Don’t you have a boyfriend?” She dismissed the thought. She had been dating Will Samuel for a year and a half, and they were always breaking up. They were probably in the middle of a fight right now. It wouldn’t be anything new. I shut my locker, not bothering to grab books for next period.
“Yeah, I have a boyfriend. That doesn’t mean I’m married. I can still look. And my eyes like what they see,” she said, trailing off. I rolled my eyes, and just walked away. I walked into my math class, and took my seat. I couldn’t stop thinking about what Rachel had said. Rachel is the kind of girl that always gets what she wants. And right now it seems like she wants Dean. I decided right then and there that I would do anything it took to keep Dean.
Math passed in a flash. I couldn’t remember anything my teacher had said. I think I had fallen asleep, but I just couldn’t remember. Next thing I knew, I was walking with Dean to the parking lot. I grabbed my helmet out of my car, and turned around just as he started his motorcycle.
I put on my helmet, and climbed on the back of the bike. We drove off, and I wondered where he was going to take me to lunch. “What are you hungry for?” he asked me.
“Anything. It doesn’t matter as long as it’s food,” I said. He pulled into a McDonalds, and we each bought a hamburger. We quickly ate in the parking lot. I was anticipating going to the field, so I ate as fast as I possibly could.
When we were both done with our burgers, we drove out of the parking lot. There wasn’t much traffic; everybody was at work. So when we got to the stop light, there was only a truck and us. Our light turned green before his. Dean picked up his foot from the pavement, and started to drive. It all happened so fast after that.
When we got into the middle of the intersection, and the truck sped right towards us. I couldn’t see the guys face. All I saw was the bumper that was only a few feet away and getting closer. I shoved my face into Dean’s back, hoping that it would all be over quickly. And then suddenly I wasn’t sitting on the motorcycle anymore. I felt an arm around my waist, and nothing under my feet.
I opened my eyes slowly. When I could see, I quickly scrambled to hold on to Dean as tight as I could. I was floating in mid air. In the hand that wasn’t holding me, Dean had his motorcycle. He was carrying it as if it didn’t weigh anything. I looked down, and saw the truck that had about to collide with us drive away.
I was slowly lowered down to the ground. When my feet finally hit the pavement, I backed away from Dean. Tears welled in my eyes as I tried to think of an explanation for what had just happened. The sadness in Dean’s eyes was as clear as glass. “This was a mistake. We should have just stayed at school,” he whispered. It didn’t seem like he was talking to me, so I stayed quiet for a few moments. But eventually, my curiosity won.
“What just happened?” I asked him. When he just stared at me, I asked again. “Dean, what just happened? Answer me! Who are you?”
“That guy is the reason why I’m here. He was trying to kill you. We should have stayed at school. This was all my fault. We should have stayed at school.” He kept saying this, never answering my last question.
“Who are you?” I asked again. He immediately stopped talking when I asked him this. He stared straight into my eyes, and I could see him struggling for an answer. “Don’t even try lying to me,” I said firmly. He took a step towards me, and I took a step back.
“I can’t tell you that, Sarah. You have to understand. Please understand. Please,” he said. His eyes were pleading with me, and I wanted nothing more than to tell him that I understand. But then I would be lying. “I can’t tell you who I am,” he said as I started to climb onto his motorcycle. “But that necklace can. You’ve known the answer ever since I told you to read the back.”
I flipped the necklace over, and read the two simple words on the back of my necklace. Guardian Angel. “You’re my Guardian Angel?” I looked right into his eyes.
Yes, whispered the voice in my head. Dean. He took another step towards me, and I sat on the bike.
“You lied to me,” I said. I drove the motorcycle away, back to school. I left him standing in the middle of the road. When I looked back, he was gone. I looked above me, and I saw him there. “Go away!” I screamed.
I’m sorry, Dean whispered through my thoughts. I ignored him the best I could. I just wanted to forget everything about him right now. When I looked back up, he was gone.
When I got back to school, I parked his motorcycle back in its spot. I didn’t put my helmet back in my car. Instead, I set it on his handlebars, not wanting to see it anymore. I walked back into school. The lunch period was still going on. I walked into the cafeteria, and sat with my friends. As soon as I sat down, they all started to sing “Happy Birthday” to me.
Tears from earlier fell down my face, and I ran out of the cafeteria. I ran straight for the bathroom. I ran into the biggest stall, and locked the door. I took off the necklace Dean had given me and threw it to the other side of the stall. When I looked towards it, I saw that it had landed in the exact same spot where Dean had kissed me at.
I ran over and picked it up. I held it in my hand, and just stared at it. Tears made my vision blurry, and the necklace was the only thing that I could see clearly. I heard shoes hitting the tile outside of my stall. Then there was banging on the door. “Sarah? Sarah, what’s wrong?What did we do? Open up,” I heard Mia say.
I just sat on the floor, leaning against the wall as the tears silently flowed from my eyes. They continued to knock on the door, and I continued to ignore them. Eventually the bell rang, and Rachel and Sierra left. But Mia stayed. She had stopped knocking on the door. Now she was picking the lock. I forgot she could do that. The lock opened with a click, and the door slid open.
Mia closed the door behind her and locked it. She walked towards me and sat beside me. She looped her arm around my shoulders, and I rested my head on her arm. “Tell me what happened, Sarah. You know I’m here for you,” she whispers to me.
“Dean and I got in a fight,” I said. My voice was cracking, and a new round of tears flowed.
“It’s okay. Everything is going to be okay,” she assured me as I shook in her arms. We just sat in the bathroom like that until another voice flowed through the crack in the door.
“Sarah? Sarah, please, you have to understand. I’m not supposed to tell anyone. I couldn’t have told you even if I wanted to. I couldn’t say the words. Please. Sarah, I’m so sorry. Can you let me in so I can talk to you?” The sadness in Dean’s voice made me cry even harder. He didn’t wait for me to open the door. He knew I wouldn’t. Instead, he slid under the door.
“Go away,” Mia said. “You’ve hurt her enough. You aren’t welcome here.” The pain in his eyes when she said this hurt me. I felt his pain as if it were my own.
“Can I talk to Sarah? Alone,” he said to her. She looked to me, and I nodded my head. She gave me a hug before slowly getting up. When she reached the door, she looked back at me and waved goodbye. I listened to her footsteps walk out of the bathroom until I couldn’t hear them anymore.
I watched Dean as he stood across from me, not knowing what to do. He started to walk towards me, and stopped when my eyes darted to his feet. “Okay, Sarah. What do you want me to say?”
“I don’t want you to say anything. I want you to go away and never come back.” I tried to make my voice sound as hateful as I could, but I couldn’t be mean around Dean. It just couldn’t be done.
“That’s not going to happen. I’m here to stay until I know that you’re safe. I’m not going away. And you can’t tell anybody who I am. You have to keep quiet about it,” he said as he slowly stepped closer to me. “Would you have rather me let you die earlier?”
“Yes,” I said. He was so close to me now; I couldn’t think.
“You don’t mean that,” he said.
“You don’t know what’s going through my mind!” I screamed at him.
I bet I do, he said to my thoughts. I clamped my hands around my ears, hoping to get the voice out of my head. You’re glad that I’m here, he said.
“Get out of my head!” I screamed at him. There was a slight pull in my hand, and I could see the necklace he got for me dangling out of it.
“You took it off,” he said with confusion in his voice.
“It reminded me of you,” I said with venom in my voice. “I don’t want anything to do with you.” I stood up, and walked to the door. His hand fell on my shoulder, and he spun me around.
“It doesn’t matter what you say to me, I’m not leaving. You can be as mean and cruel as you want, but just remember. I can be a lot more cruel than you can.” He dropped his hand from my shoulder, and I turned away from him. I walked out of the bathroom, and away from him.
I didn’t go to class. It was almost over. I just stood at my locker, waiting for the bell to ring. When it finally rang a few minutes later, I slowly walked to study hall. Just as I was about to step into the cafeteria, a large body stepped in front of me, blocking my path. “Where’s your little bodyguard?”
“Get out of my way, Scott,” I said as I tried to step around him. But, he just stepped in front of me again. He put his hands on my shoulders, and started to push me into a corner. Away from people.
“I’m done playing games with you, Sarah. I’m not gonna sit around and watch you drool all over that new guy. You’re mine, not his,” he said with anger clear in his voice.
“You say it like you own me,” I said. I saw movement in the corner of my eye. I turned my head slightly, to see what was over there. Just as I did, I saw a dark figure slide behind one of the nearby computer carts. Dean. He put his finger over his lips, making a “shush” sound as he did so. I turned my head back to Scott, just as he punched his fist right next to my head.
“You’re supposed to be my girl. I’m the quarterback on the school football team. I’m supposed to be with the most popular girl in school.”
“Well you should have thought of that before you did what you did the night I caught you with drugs. It’s over between us. So quit trying to get back together with me. It’s pathetic,” I said. He started to lean closer to me. I spit in his face when he was about two inches from my face.
“Why don’t you remind me what happened that night?” My breath caught in my throat. I haven’t told anyone about what really happened that night. “I said tell me!” he yelled in my face. He rose his hand, as if he were going to slap me. When his hand started coming towards me, and fast, I realized that he was going to slap me.
When his hand was so close to my face that I could touch it with my nose if I turned my head, a hand wrapped around his wrist, stopping his hand before it hit me. “If I were you, I wouldn’t touch her,” said the musical voice behind Scott.
“Dude, she doesn’t need a bodyguard. Just back off. This is between me and her. Not you,” Scott said as he turned to face Dean. In one swift movement, Dean had Scott’s arm behind his back, and he was pushing him into the wall.
“Let me make this clear. You lay a hand on her, and I’m going to know. And I’m going to make your life miserable. Trust me when I say that that’s not an empty threat.” He let go of Scott’s arm, and Scott whirled around to look him in the eye. But he had to look up to look into Dean’s eye, which made him seem so much less threatening. “Walkaway before you do something that you regret,” he said.
Scott turned to me and said, “We aren’t finished.” And then he walked away. He just disappeared around the corner, leaving me alone in the hallway with Dean.
“I’m still mad at you,” I said to Dean as I began to walk away. He didn’t follow me like I expected him to.
Instead, he yelled down the hallway, “And I don’t expect you to forgive me.”
AS I drove home, I thought of everything that had happened today. The necklace Dean had given me this morning was dangling from my neck. That felt like it happened years ago. I had felt like I was so special at that moment. Like everything was finally going to start working out for me.
And then that whole guardian angel thing happened. I felt so stupid for not figuring it out when I read the back of that necklace. I didn’t figure it out in the nurse’s office either. “Where are you from?” I had asked him.
“Up north,” is what he had said to me. It all seemed so obvious now. The littlest things he did made it obvious, but he hid his secret so well that I would have never suspected a thing. But, why would I need a guardian angel? Memories from that summer night with Scott ran through my thoughts.
When I got home, I threw my keys on the counter. Mom wasn’t home yet, so I was all alone. I had never felt so alone in my life. I walked over to the fridge; Mom usually put notes there in the morning for me.
Happy Birthday! I might be held late at the office. But while I’m at work, think about where you want to go to dinner, okay? I shouldn’t be any later than 5 o’clock. See you then!
Her sloppy handwriting was scribbled across a sticky note. I took it off the fridge, and threw it away. The tiny slip of paper didn’t make a difference. The fridge was still as cluttered as usual. School pictures, doctor’s appointments, calendars, and family pictures were all stuck on the fridge.
I walked into the living room, hoping that I would get to lay down and take a nap. But when I got to the couch, I saw a few presents on it. I wasn’t about to sit next to presents that I can’t open. So instead I just walked up to my room, and laid on my bed. Before I knew it, I was asleep.
In my dream I’m running. It’s dark, and I can’t tell where I’m at. But I’m running as fast as I can. I kick up dirt every time I lift up my foot. I hear a dark laugh behind me. He’s following me. “You can’t run forever, Sarah. I’m going to get you one day. And when I do, I’m going to kill you. Just like I killed your dad,” said the voice that matched the evil laugh.
“Who are you? What do you want from me?” I screamed behind me.
“You know who I am. And I want you dead.” The voice was right beside me this time. And it sounded so familiar. I couldn’t quite figure out why it sounded familiar, though.
“Leave me alone! I don’t want to die!” I screamed to the mysterious voice. I could hear his fading laugh as it became farther and farther away from me.
“Don’t worry,” said a new voice. “I’m here to protect you.” I slowed down, and came to a stop. Arms wrapped around my shoulders, and I was comforted in the safe embrace of my guardian angel.
I woke in my bed, with my hand clutched around my necklace. I untangled my fingers from the chain, and rolled over to check my clock. It was time to pick up my sister from school. I slowly got out of my bed, and walked downstairs. I went to pick up my keys from the counter, but they weren’t there.
I looked all around the kitchen until I finally found them on the table. Why were they there? I slowly walked over to the table, being extra cautious. I felt like someone was just going to jump out at me and try to hurt me.
When I finally grabbed my keys, I drove to the school to pick up Jess. When I got there, she was leaning against the wall. She wasn’t talking to any of her friends. She was just standing there. She ran over to the car as soon as she saw me. “Hey, Jess! How was your day?”
“Fine.” She turned her head away from me, showing me that she didn’t want to talk. We drove home in complete silence. When we finally got home, she immediately headed for her room. When she was about half way up the steps she turned and said, “Happy birthday, by the way.” Then she turned back around, and walked up the steps with her head down.
I waited for a few minutes for her to come back down. When she didn’t, I went up to her. I slowly opened her door, only to see her lying on her bed. I heard a small weeping coming from her. I walked over to her. I sat on her bed beside her and rubbed her back. “Do you want to talk about it?” I asked her.
“Ethan talked to me today. He said that he wasn’t interested in being anything more than friends. He said that he likes someone else.” The tears flowed silently down her cheeks. She threw herself into my arms, and cried on my shoulder. I did the best I could to comfort her. I didn’t do a very good job; I was having my own problems.
I told her that there would be other guys. I told her that if Ethan didn’t like her, than it was his loss. The tears slowly subsided. By the time we heard the front door open and close, she had stopped crying. She wiped her eyes, making sure that they were dry. We walked downstairs together, and I kept my arm around her shoulders.
“Well it’s nice to see you girls getting along,” Mom said when we got into the kitchen. She walked over and put her arms around both of us, making it a group hug. “So, Sarah, have you decided where you want to eat?”
We ended up going to some buffet. I ate quickly. I didn’t want to be out today. I just wanted to go home, sit on the couch with a blanket, and eat some ice cream. We spent about an hour at the restaurant before we left. As we drove home, I just stared out my window, not bothering to make conversation.
When we got home, Mom insisted that I open my presents. She made a huge deal out of it. She got out the camera and everything! I pretended to be excited so she wouldn’t get upset. She got me a digital camera, a picture frame, a plain necklace chain, and a new ipod. I acted like I was really happy about the gifts. I took my camera and snapped a shot of my mom and Jess. They both looked really happy. I smiled, and told them that I would be right back, I’d be taking my gifts up to my room.
I slowly walked up to my room, with my gifts in my hands. It was almost dark out. I watched the slight breeze shake the leaves on the trees. The stars where shining bright in the sky, and there was a full moon. The moon lit up the backyard as the sun slowly disappeared. I suddenly got an overwhelming urge to cry until I had no tears left. But I sucked it up, and went back downstairs.
For the rest of the night, we watched movies and ate birthday cake. At about 10 o’clock, Jess went to bed. I followed behind her at 11 o’clock, and my mom went with me. I heard my mom start snoring about a half hour later. I knew Jess was already asleep. She always falls asleep as soon as she gets to bed.
I laid down in bed, and just stared up at the ceiling. I hadn’t changed into my pajamas yet. I had kicked off my shoes, and set them next to my desk. After sitting in bed for half an hour, I got bored. I climbed onto my window seat, and stared into the night. I thought about what had happened at lunch today. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
My thought were interrupted by the steady strum of a guitar. Following the guitar, I heard a voice floating up into my window. I glanced down, only to see Dean in my back yard, with a guitar in his hands. I listened to his song as he sang.
The more of you that I inspect
The more of me I see reflect
The more I try to read your lips
The more the mask you wear rips
You’re all I see through my eyes
My memory of you never lies
If I could be with you everyday
That would blow my mind away
Sometimes you have a way
Of taking my breath away
You’re the lyrics to my song
The beating to my heart
Point me to the sky above
I can’t get there on my own
Tears fill my eyes
As we said our last goodbyes
This sad scene replays
Of you walking away
My body aches from mistakes
We lie to each other so much
That in nothing we trust
I think I’m falling for you
His hands dropped to his side as he finished his song. A single tear spilled from my eye. “I’m sorry that I had to lie to you. I’m sorry that I hurt you. I’m sorry for everything that i’ve done to hurt you. But, Sarah, I have to tell you something.” He had slowly floated up to me as he spoke, and now he was right in front of me. “I’m in love with you.”
My heart stopped. Before I could say anything, he leaned towards me, and kissed me. I wrapped my arms around his neck, and intertwined my fingers with his hair. He rested his hand gently against my cheek, as if I was glass that would break if he was too rough. And at that moment, I realized that I was in love with him, too.
He pulled away too soon. When he did pull away, we were both breathless. “Well? How do you feel about me?” he asked. He seemed so vulnerable at that moment. It seemed like if I said the wrong words, he would shatter like glass.
“You already know how I feel about you.” I pulled his head back towards me, telling him how I feel without using words. This kiss was sweet, less demanding. In it was all the love I felt for him, even after only a short time. He once again pulled away too soon. He put his forehead against mine, and sighed.
“Come on,” he said to me. I could feel his breath against my face. It smelt like mint. Everything in the world disappeared at that moment. It was just me and him. Nothing was going to hurt us, and nothing was going to tear us apart. We were finally together.
“Where are we going?” I asked when I could finally form a coherent sentence.
“I promised to show you the field in the moonlight, didn’t I?” He held out his hand, and I took it. He wrapped his hand around mine, and my hand disappeared. “Do you trust me?”
“Not at all. But that’s what’s going to make this fun.” He wrapped his arm around my waist, and pulled me out the window. One look at the ground had me cowering into his shoulder. I trusted him to keep me from falling, but there was the little voice in my head imagining falling to the ground. To keep my mind away from the image, I asked him a question. “How does it work, being my guardian angel?”
“What do you mean?”
“How does it work? What are you supposed to do?”
“I’m supposed to protect you,” he said simply. A thousand questions ran through my head when he spoke his simple statement. But, I only spoke the most important one.
“What do you need to protect me from?” I was afraid to hear his answer. Could he possibly know about what had happened that night with Scott? No. Nobody knows about that. Not even Scott. He was too high to remember his actions.
“Someone’s out to get you. I don’t know who it is, that’s why I have to protect you. And part of that protection means I have to know any secrets that can help.” At his words, I didn’t know how to breathe. All of the air escaped from my body as if I had fallen hard on my back. I hadn’t mentioned that night to anyone. Except Scott when I fought with him. Was he referring to that?
“I don’t have any secrets. I’m as clueless as you are.” Why was I such a bad liar? I could hear it in my own voice. He raised one eyebrow, and sighed. We stayed silent until we got to the field. And he was right. Everything was stunning when it was bathed in the moonlight. The flowers weren’t as bright, which made it easier to look at them. And you could see the stars perfectly in the sky. “It’s so beautiful,” I whispered.
He chuckled. “I knew you’d like it.” He led me to the middle of the field, and we relaxed
in the grass. He looked at me expectantly, and I tried to ignore him. He finally got tired of being ignored, and spoke. “Earlier today, you were talking to Scott. I heard you guys. What happened that night; the night you had been talking about?”
For a while, I just stared into his eyes. I knew I could trust him. But all this time, I’d been too afraid to speak to anyone about it. Not even my best friend. Then this guy comes, this wonderful, perfect guy, and I’m about to tell him everything. He’s supposed to protect me. So I should tell him, right? I push all the babble out of my mind, and answered him honestly. “He raped me.”
My voice was so weak. I had kept it bottled inside me for so long, and it just suddenly spilt out of me. Because he had asked, and he had cared. Now he sat silent, staring at me. He tried to find the right words, but there was nothing he could say to hide the truth of my brutal words.
“Because he was high.” He didn’t phrase it as a question, but I answered him anyway. It felt good to be able to talk to someone.
“Yes. But, that doesn’t change what he did.” I turned my head back to the stars. I couldn’t stand his gaze that spoke pity for me. I didn’t want pity. I just wanted love.
“Why did you never tell anyone?”
“I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t even admit it to myself, let alone someone else. I just kept it bottled up inside, waiting for someone that I could trust enough to tell,” I whispered. He grabbed for my hand, and I curled up to his side. Silent tears fell from my eyes. Not from sadness at the memory, but from happiness that there was finally someone who cared for me.
“Shush. No need to cry. Everything is okay. I’m here for you. He can’t hurt you anymore. Shush . . .” His reassuring words made me smile.
“I’m not crying from sadness, silly. I’m crying because I’m happy.” I looked up at his face, and he looked utterly confused. “I’m happy I found a guy that cares and loves me,” I explained. He kissed the top of my forehead, and we just laid there, relaxing with one another’s touch.