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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8. Our night

 

“But remember, stay well rested and don’t do anything that may move your head around lots. No physical activity for a while. I’d like you to keep off your horses, and restrain from P.E at school.” the doctor tells Megan as we are walk out the room Megan has been living in for the past couple of days. Steve’s here, he’s picking us up in his van.     

   I carry Meg's bags for her and her dad steadies her as she walks down the corridor. The doctor’s watching her very closely, making sure she really is ready to go home.     

   “Thank you so much doctor, you’re a real hero.” Steve says, his voice as genuine as the ground beneath us.     

   “Yeah, from me too.” I echo.     

   “Oh it’s okay, it was my pleasure. But let’s hope this hospital doesn’t have to nurse any of you back to health again, for your sake.” He says.     

   “Thank you, you saved my life. I can’t thank you enough.” Megan gushes, making me smile at how funny she is.     

   “You really need to stop all these thank you’s! It was my pleasure! Oh, and Megan, one other thing,” he says as we pause at the exit doors belonging to the recovery ward, “No more falling’s out? Eh?”     

   She giggles softly and says in return, “Of course doctor. Bye!” We wave to the doctor, and in return he waves us off.     Stepping out into the cold light drizzle and the cars and the traffic is like a breath of fresh air, knowing that Megan is now safe in my hands. I am glad to be rid of the clinical smell that constantly haunted the walls and rooms within. Smelling the fuel and dirt in the air feels so amazing that I want to run around and shout to the mountain tops. In fact, I fancy getting in my truck and driving with the windows wide open, in complete silence, just the road, truck and me. The wind blowing through my hair, just like back when Megs and I would ride the horses. It was so peaceful and I always felt at one with the world. Right now, this is how I feel; perfect and in place.     

   I take hold of Megan’s hand unconsciously but when I let go and get in Steve’s van, the perfect feeling slowly evaporates into the cold brisk air of May. The clock on the dash board is flashing 18:34 and even though it’s still very light, the sun looks faded and tired, ready for a good-night’s nap.     

   We ride down the motorway with the radio quietly humming in the background, Steve whistling away to it. It feels good, but far from normal. There’s lots of tension in the air and my body feels tight. I keep looking at Megan, partly to make sure she is okay, and also because her beauty overwhelms me.     

   “So,” Steve begins, probably attempting to relax every one, “What are your plans when you get home?” This came as a surprise to me, I would have thought that Steve would be being very protective, not wanting to let Megan out of his sight.    

   “Dylan and I thought about riding up to our old tree, we haven’t been there in a long time and it would be nice to get away.” She tells her dad cautiously.     

   “I’m afraid you can’t ride up there, you heard what the doctor said.”    

   “Would you let us walk up there?”    

   “Yeah, of course.”    

   “Thanks dad. I just want fresh air after being stuck in the hospital for days.”    

   “I don’t blame you. Get away where you can, as soon as you can. That’s what I and your mother did.” He replies coolly.     “But don’t you regret what you did?” she asks him. This makes me feel tenser and out of place; a conversation where I have no choice but to be silent all the way through.     

   “No. I don’t at all.” He says.     

   “Why’s that? I thought it ruined everything?”    

   “You were the best thing that ever happened to me, and if you can’t live life freely without caring what others think, what can you do?”    

   “Dad?” Megan questions, “What actually happened to my mother?”I wish I wasn’t in the car with them, because I’m not sure I want to hear this, or that Steve wants me to hear this.    

   “She... She was pregnant.” He says. This startles me, and I can tell that Megan’s surprised too.    

   “And what?” she asks quietly, sounding so intrigued.    

   “The baby... It was sick, and I rather not tell you the details... But this baby... Had a disability and well...” The words slowly and gradually emerge from Steve’s mouth, no rush to be in the air, but once they are, they keep pinging round my head. Baby. Sick. Disability. Ping. Ping. Ping. They float in the air, giving me a strong urge to ask questions, but I know this isn’t my place to speak.     

   Megan pauses and I imagine the words pinging around in her head also, but faster, and more furious. They smash against her skull and brain, trying to get out, making her head bang, as if she were at a concert and the music was drumming through her ears, the floor bouncing with every note.     

   “Well...? What?” she asks nervously.    

   “The disability was bad, so bad in fact that when we went for the first scan, it showed up. The doctors tried to act immediately, they did everything they could. That’s why she was in hospital so much. They did an operation on her, but it was a failure, and some poison got into your mother’s blood stream.” He squeaks out, staring forward at the harsh road, the radio still droning in the background. It stops the silence that should be here.    

   “Didn’t they do anything? Couldn’t they stop it?” Her voice sounds like it’s coming from another body, in a different car; on a different continent. I look down and her face is red and splotchy, she has tears streaming down her face, and she is sat back against the seat looking as if she has been winded, completely inflated.     

   “They tried but the poison was too strong. They gave her so much medication that her fatty tissue began to rot inside. We all knew she was dying.” He too cries gently, and I feel sharp tears pricking my eyes, threatening me with a thunderstorm.     

   “Why didn’t you help her?” Megan looks so confused, so lost, and so helpless, leaving me feeling emptier and emptier by the second.    

   “She was going Megan. She became too weak to do anything and all we could do for her is try to relieve the pain.” His voice thickened for a second then, and he wipes tears from his face so he can see. Megan doesn’t say anything else. The radio is stifled, and Steve’s whistling has now turned into sniffs, the relief I felt before has left my body.    

   I look out the window and watch all the other cars zooming by, everyone with their own problems, every single person oblivious to what’s just been said. Who knows, maybe they are going though worse than what we are; maybe they’re rushing somebody to hospital because they’re having a heart attack. We pass a little girl sat in the back seat of a Peugeot – probably six or seven years old – and she’s crying.     

   “Dad?” Megan asks, sniffing and sounding so helpless.    

   “That’s me.” Steve sighs, sniffing also. It’s obvious he wishes they never discussed this in front of me.    

   “Is that why you were so protective over me with boyfriends?” she asks shyly.    

   “Yeah sweetheart. I was scared that maybe it was in your jeans, or blood, or DNA or whatever, and that maybe the same thing would happen to you.” He says, sounding stronger word by word.    

   “I... what if it is? You know, is in my DNA or whatever.” she sounds worried, and I can tell from the tension in her shoulders and jaw that she is petrified. I would be too. I saw the state her mother was in. She was always distressed, and in so much pain. She still tried to do things, like make beds, get lunch for us, and even pick the leaves and dirt out of my hair when we had been playing out. It hurt her, I could see it in her eyes. She still wore her dresses though, and did her hair and makeup. Then one day after mucking out the horses, we ran in for lunch, and Lucy was throwing up in the downstairs toilet, door wide open. She was in her silk dressing gown and fluffy pink slippers. Her hair was knotty and her complexion was basically green. At that very moment my head started to spin. I was twelve, Megan was eleven. It was the 10th of September, and only a few weeks until Megan’s birthday. I couldn’t take it all in. I was so used to seeing her potter around at free-will, kissing Steve and brushing Megan’s hair, and there she was, every single second, dyeing in front of us.    

   If you think about it, every second, every single person is dyeing, growing older and their lifetime getting shorter.    

   “It won’t be. I know that it won’t be. I will never let anything hurt you or kill you. Not ever again.” He says, his voice wobbling slightly.     

   “But, if that baby had the disease, why didn’t I? You and my mother made us both, so how can one kill her and one keep her breathing?” she questions.     

   “Both the parents have to carry the gene, but it is small and there was a 1% chance out of 100 that that could of happened.”     

   “Then why did that 1 chance have to happen to my own mum? It doesn’t make sense.” She says, and in my head, I agree with her.     

   “Listen, your mother and I were very lucky to have you in the first place; the Doctors said that normally this gene would pop up straight away.” He tells her firmly yet affectionately.     

   “So what? You’re saying I should be thankful that I’m alive? I know I should be dad, because in case you haven’t noticed, I have been in a coma in hospital, scared every time when I close my eyes, that it could be the last time.” She argues her voice fiery with passion.    

   Steve shakes his head and looks straight forward at the cold road, the harsh tarmac that covers nature. He doesn’t quite know what to say.       

   

Steve pulls the van up into the drive, and the smell of manure and animals seeps through the slightly opened windows, making me feel happy and at home. We climb out, but this time I am helping Megan into the house, hugging all her family and asking them if they are well. Megan’s fussed over but she just stands there, smiling proudly, as if to say, yes, I am alive.     

   Megan gets settled in, and then to my surprise, undresses with me in her room. I know it’s wrong, but my eyes run over her body, taking in her pale skin and shapely figure, thin, but curvy. She then pulls a white dress over her head, which cuts at the knee, and ties with a silk bow round her middle.     

   I can’t stop thinking about how gorgeous she looks.     

   As we walk over the rich knee-length grass, I grab Megan’s hand tightly, feeling her thin boned structure intertwined with mine. Looking at her, I wonder why she doesn’t know she’s beautiful, and why she hides herself away when she naturally stands out. 

 

The falling... It’s so relaxing after a while... so refreshing... I think it’s cleansing my soul or something...      

 

The sky is full of colour and the painting that we are walking into feels magical. I should be taking pictures, but I know in my heart that I will always remember this from simply my memory.    

   Closing in toward our favourite spot we know and love, I think about what the words true love means, and how rare it is. My mum and dad are together, but they were never like John and Honey, Steve and Lucy or Jack and Karen. They met at a job interview. My  mum and dad happened to both want to be journalists and they sat next to each other in the waiting room, waiting for the interviewer to call out their names. They got talking and, eventually got married.    

   Neither of them got the job though, so now my dad works in the local butchers. My mum is a hairdresser part-time, and if it weren’t for my mum holding down that job when I was a baby, we would never have moved in next door to Megan; we would’ve lived with my dad’s parents whilst my dad picked up a job.     

   Thinking about the perfect coincidence that I live in, makes me wonder how the universe works. What if my mum was sick on the day she met my dad, and then she wouldn’t have gone to the interview, and never met my dad, so I would never have been born. If my dad had got the job we would have been able to afford a house at least in the silver estate, and I would barely know Megan, apart from nodding at her around school of course. If I had never met Megan, I’d never have met the most beautiful, funny and intelligent girl, the girl that I know today.    

   I drop the bag of food, blankets and pillows just outside the shadow of the tree. Engraved on the lower part of the trunk is a heart, and inside the heart reads: D + M 4EVA. It’s a stupid childhood promise that I hope remains.    

   “Come on then, get out the blankets and the snap, I’m so hungry.” Megan smiles, gesturing to the bag I threw down a second ago, and stands waiting for something.    

   “Yes boss.” I wink at her. I lay a blanket down on the grass, out of the shade so that we’re not cold, and then set out 2 sandwiches and 2 bottles of water. I put the other blankets under the tree, and make it really cosy and comfortable. I pick some blossom off the tree and sprinkle it all over, hoping to make it as romantic as possible. I hope she gets what I mean.     

   “Come on Dylan!” she shouts over. I turn around and she’s sat, legs stretched out, arms behind her, hair tossed over her shoulder. Her whole body is lay in front of me, taunting my mind, and I laugh to myself because I know she’s playing games.  Without saying a word, I go and sit opposite her, cross-legged. We eat the sandwiches silently, but it doesn’t feel silent at all. I can almost hear her heart racing, and together, our pulses create a special rhythm I’ve only ever heard when I’m with Megan. Every so often I hear a soft laughing, but apart from that, all there is to be heard is chewing and the bird’s song.    

   Have I ever mentioned that when Megan sings, she sounds like an angel clashing with light, and like when a butterfly brakes from a cocoon, and all the goodness and life explodes out at once.    

   “So, come on then, how old do you want to be when you have kids?” she asks me, grinning cheekily.    

   “I don’t really know to be honest, just whenever it feels right.”     “Oh come on! Seriously!” she says, her smile growing even broader.    

   “What!? I am being serious!”     

   “No, never mind when it feels right, what would be the ideal age for you to have kids?” she asks me again.    

   “Probably about twenty-five up to thirty for my first kid, but no more kids after forty-five.” I reply softly and thoughtfully. She looks at me as if she can see the cogs turning inside my head.     

   “I want my first kid when I’d twenty-seven.”     

   “Why?” The certainty in her voice makes me question her, and I think she must have a good answer.    

   “Because then it allows me to find someone I love, go to university, get a job and a house, then the baby will be safe and hopefully have a happy life.” The sense pores from her, and I realise her broken past has lead her to think about such things, and what she’s want in life if she could do it over.    

   “Okay, I think you win.” I say.    

   “Why thank you kind sir, and may I say that I am not a sore loser, but am incredibly glad I could beat you at such a deed on this fine day.” She jokes.    

   “But you said you needed to find somebody to love.”    

   “I know.” She teases.    

   “Well do you?”    

   “Naah, I think I can cope with you.” Megan says, her eyes twinkling in the remains of the setting sun.  I stand up and sit back down leaning against the cherry tree. As I pat the woollen blanket beside me, Megan giggles and walks forwards. I put my arm around her and she fits perfectly under the pit of my arm, sending shivers up my spine. She gently rests her head on my chest and I lean my head back against the trees sturdy trunk, closing my eyes and storing this moment into the back of my mind to save forever.     

   She looks up at me and kisses my mouth. I can smell the grass and the animals in the background, but close up with Megan I can tell that she’s wearing her favourite perfume.     

   “Dylan?” Megan asks me slowly, almost creating suspense. She doesn’t look at me, but instead looks over the fielding grass.     

   “Yeah?”     

   “Can I ask you something?” Nerves creep into her voice.    

   “Yes, of course.” I say, attempting to relax her.    

   “When do you want to lose your virginity?” She asks me this question slowly, not rushing her words, actually, surprisingly making sure that I hear every one.    

   “Whenever it feels right.” I answer softly into her ear, my breath making her hair move slightly.    “And have you ever felt like it felt right before?” she whispers back.    

   “Yes.”     

   “When?” Her voice comes out a whisper, and we both know she can tell what I’m thinking. Leaning forward, she looks deep into my eyes.    

   “Right now.” I say. The words come out of my mouth like an accident. I never meant to say it. I shouldn’t have said it. But now the words are out, and they’re going to be hurting her and she’s going to freak and think I’m pushing her-    She leans in towards me and kisses me again, but this time her mouth fits around mine, and moves in times with mine, and I feel dizzy and excited and happy all at once. Her tongue presses against my lips, then creeps in and strokes the insides of my gums, and then with everything else, sparks and all, she moves, slowly still, but it’s a move. One of her hands rests on my neck pulling us closer together, the other on my chest pushing me away. Her leg drapes over mine, but then she pauses and pulls back, her hands staying put.    

   “I’m sorry.” She says.    

   “Please don’t be.” I say, getting my breath back. I look deep into her eyes, and she returns the favour. Then, I feel some sort of silvery thread, attaching itself to both our bodies, and it grows shorter, pulling us together again. This thread is what makes us do the next thing.  

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