Out of Reach

This is a story of a teenage romance which blossoms into something beyond beautiful. It has twists and turns, where a young couple fall in and out of love with each other and other people. How do their lives pan out in the end though?


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35. 2 years or 34 years?

 

“Congratulations Dyl.” Sophie says sadly to me, but I only beam at her.    

   “Thank you.” I say cheerily above the voices.    

   “It’s nice to see you’re happy.”     

   “Look Sophie, if this is hard for you then go home, I don’t mind.” She looks away and walks off.     

   A lot of our old school friends have come, including Adam, Blake, James, Lauren, Lily and Will. We’ve thrown a big party, with all our family and friends, for a big occasion.    

   “Ethan wants you dad.” Daisy passes me my whining son, who had his first birthday just 5 days ago.    

   “What’s wrong buddy?” I ask him, taking him off my daughter, who is so grown up now, and is leaving to go to university 89miles away next year. Ethan cries in my arms; he’s tired.    

   I see Lucy and Polly playing together from the corner of my eye, Lucy nearly 6, and Polly, 3 years old. I decide that they will play nicely with him.  

   “Lucy, could I ask you a really big favour?”    

   “Yeah!” She runs over to me, her blond hair that used to be rich brown, flies behind her.  

   “Could you play with Ethan for me and make sure he’s okay?”    

   “Yes. Come on Ethan.” She coos. I watch them toddle off together, and sigh.     

   “How long has it been now?” I feel a pat on my shoulder, and turn round to see my dad beaming at me, “34 years?” I laugh, because he’s right, we’ve been together pretty much from birth.    

   “It feels like it.” I say, “But no, just 2.”     

   “Hey, little acorns.” He smiles, looking into the sky.    

   “Do you know where she’s gone, I’ve barely seen her all day, and it’s our anniversary!”    

   “Can’t say I do, sorry son.”     

   “It’s fine. Right, I’m going to go find my wife, see you later.” I walk away from my dad and scan the groups of people, searching for a flash of blond. I grab myself some champagne from a tray resting on a table, covered with a white table cloth, and then walk over to Jack.    

   “Have you seen Megan?” I ask him.    

   “No, sorry, great spread though, I doubt I could pull off something like this.” He looks around the room accordingly, taking in the balloons and the mini platters of nibbles.    

   “Thanks.” I walk into another crowd and spot an old friend of mine without anybody to talk to.    

   “Are you alright Ryan?” I say, smiling at him.    

   “Yes thank you. The party’s great by the way.” He says, holding up his champagne glass towards a banner.    

   “It’s pulled together quite nicely.” I laugh, “Have you seen Megan? Only we’re due for our dance in 20 minutes and I’m getting quite anxious.”     

   “I thought she went over there about a quarter of an hour ago, but other than that, no sorry.” I points vaguely in the direction of a door leading outside to the patio area, where some of our guests are conversing by the fountain.    

   “Thank you.” I rush outside, “Mum, have you seen Megan recently?”     

   “No, why have you lost her?”    

   “It seems so. I can’t find her anywhere.”    

   “She may have popped to the ladies?”     

   “Maybe.” I walk back inside scratching my head, wondering where the hell she could’ve gone. I fiddle with the open collar on my shirt, and run my fingers through my hair, making sure it’s still spiky. I had it cut short a few years ago.    

   I walk briskly through the crowd, surfing it with my eyes wide, hoping to see her eyes shining back, but I end with no such luck. With 15 minutes left, my palms grow sticky and I sense this could all go horribly wrong.    

   “Congratulations!” I hear a cheer from behind. I spin around and see Mrs. Washington beaming at me, the creases in her face much deeper than I once remembered her.     

   “Mrs. Washington! Thank you.” I smile at her and hug her tightly.    

   “How’re you young man?” She hugs back, her fusty smell putting a big smile on my face, forcing me to remember the days back when we sat in the art department drinking tea together, whilst she taught me all her best tactics.     

   “I’m very well thank you miss.”    

   “You look it. Now please, call me Arlene.” Her voice is beautiful raucous coming from the back of her throat.    

   “And how are you?”    

   “Oh lad, I’ve been better, but the kids are keeping me in shape. I shout at least 8 times a day now.” She laughs a low, scratchy and infectious hollow.    

   “I can imagine.” I say, laughing along with her.    

   “Well, you look like such a man; I shall have to stop calling you young man soon.” She scans me up and down with her big eyes, eyes that have seen the world.    

   “I feel like one.” I grunt, and she chuckles to herself, her red lips stretching into a banana-shaped smile.    

   “And where’s the missus?” She asks, looking round the room.    

   “That’s it, I don’t know.”     

   “If I see her I shall inform you.” She pats my arm.    

   “Thank you Arlene, see you later.”   

   I make my way near to the back of the room where smaller groups of people are stood talking, and there are a few tables with people sat around chatting.     

   “Hello, how’re you?” A woman asks me, her smile seeming somewhat familiar. I can’t quite pin point who she is, she must be somebody from my high school, but the name doesn’t come to me. I look into her eyes and scan my brain for a clue, an answer, anything.    

   “Sorry, I’m terribly forgetful, what’s your name?” I ask her, shaking my head in disbelief that I had to ask the question.    

   “Oh how rude of me, it’s Alicia.” My jaw drops open, and I don’t try to hide it. Her hair is straight, and ends on her collarbones. It’s a light brown. Her skin is tanned, but not the orangey colour I remember, more like an early brown, like a glow. Her cheekbones are high and very prominent, and her lips are thick and glossy, but aside from that, she looks very natural. Her eyes are a big and alert, but look older than I remember, with creases outlining them instead of eye liner. They are a deep brown, which is what makes them look so youthful. Her eyelashes are bold and curl upwards, pointing in the direction of her eye bone, and just above that, are her thin eye brows. She is wearing tight fitting denim jeans, a white top that shows the smallest amount of cleavage, and a pair of black ballet pumps. Her breasts are as big as I remember, but her posture has changed, her shoulders aren’t pushed back anymore, and she almost seems to be sinking into herself. She’s quite beautiful, more so than I remember, and it’s startling at first until I realise what she did to my wife. She suddenly looks ugly, her nose is too big, and is pointed downwards, and I see her one of her eyes is bigger than the other. Her mouth is slightly wonky; her teeth yellowing behind her pretentious smile, and her skin could do with slight ironing.     

   “What’re you doing here?” I lower my voice to a harsh whisper.    

   “I came to say congratulations.” She says, whispering also.    

   “Well we don’t want your congratulations. Now please leave before Megan sees you and you ruin her day once again.” I push her towards the door with my arm.    

   “Dylan, listen, I’m sorry for what happened in the past but-”    

   “Alicia, I don’t want to hear it. Just leave, and peace will be restored, I’m sure.”     

   “I have to apologize to Megan.” She insists, walking back through the crowds.    

   “No you don’t. You have to go back to wherever you came from. Take the hint; you aren’t wanted here.”     

   “I made an effort to come, I want to do what my intention was.” She tries to get passed me, but I block her.    

   “I said, go away.”    

   “You can’t make me do anything.” She walks by me before I can react. I chase after her, but she’s lost in the crowd of talking people.    A voice booms through the speakers, “Please, could I ask Megan and Dylan Alden to take to the dance floor.” I give up, and walk over to the dance floor as requested. I stand there on my own for a few seconds, looking through the crowd, before feeling a cool hand cover my eyes. I laugh, because I know its Megan. She drops her hand and I turn around to face her. She’s gotten changed, and is now wearing a long tight-fitting green dress. It has diamante straps, and the back swoops down low, just covering the back of her pelvis. Her eyes twinkle mischievously in the warm light that’s pressing down on me in a cloud of sweat.    

   “Where have you been?” I say into her ear, wrapping my arms round her waist. She puts her arms round my neck, resting them on my shoulders. I love this stance, I feel whole.     

   “I was getting ready for you.” I kiss her, and the gathered crowd aww and ooh and laugh and wolf whistle. Megan laughs too.    

   “Please, give it up for Megan and Dylan.” The DJ says, before playing our wedding song. We kiss again, and sing along to the lyrics. We dance, and the audience seem to be in a trance, watching our love flourish. Out of the corner of my eye, I see Alicia stood watching too. Her face is unreadable, but I’m worried that because I can see her, Megan can too. Will she even recognise her? Probably. I wouldn’t forget the eyes that nearly killed me; in fact, I’d see them every day, and every night before I sleep. They’d creep into every nightmare and my dreams too.     

   I smile into Megan’s eyes instead and focus what’s in my arms, because right now I’m holding my world. I never want to let her go in this moment. We’ve gone through so much, and my stomach clenches and aches with love for her. I kiss her harder and harder, then twirl her under my arm. Her hair flows beautifully in a circle, reminding me of every time I’ve been with her. I remember I always thought she was stunning, always. I used to look at her when we were about 18, and just be completely stunned. I love her.    

   “I love you, I love you so much.” I mutter to her.    

   “I love you so much more.” She says back, and we kiss again. We used to be shy about kissing in front of family and friends, but right now I couldn’t care less. I love her. 

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