I Give Up

So my life is a little messed up. I'm 14 years old, my name is Ace Alex and you'll see soon, my life is anything but normal. Family? School? Happiness? I don't understand.

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11. I Have To

                I can’t help but smile. After everything I’ve been through, this is my first real smile. But I feel like it’s going to be a while before I’m able to really smile again. But for the moment, I’m going to try to enjoy this. First I have to remember who everyone here is…  I look around, seeing a few familiar faces but can’t remember anything at all about them.

               

                “Hey Ace, it’s great to see you back, I’m Sandy.” A nice red haired lady says as she walks up to me.

                Thank God she told me her name, “Hey Sandy,” I say and she pulls me in for a tight hug, ignoring my hand that I had out ready for a handshake.

                “You’ve gotten so tall, what happened?” she says with a slight laugh. I don’t say anything so she turns to Renee and says, “Hey mom, how’s it going?” as she hugs her also.

                “Pretty good hun, how are you?” She asks, returning the hug.

                I realize I’m slouching and straighten up again, looking around, everyone now talking. There are teens, kids, and adults all around. Why am I so nervous? I used to do this all the time didn’t I? Well whatever; time to talk to people and try not to look like an idiot, I decide.

 

                I walk up to a man in a suit and smile while holding my hand out and saying, “Hey, I’m Ace.”
                The man laughed and pulls me in for a one armed hug and says, “Yes boy, you are. Don’t introduce yourself to people here, everyone knows you anyways.” He lets go of me and takes a good look at me and says “I guess I can’t call you a boy anymore can I? You’re growing up to be a nice young man.” He says with a chuckle.

                I laugh a little and say “Thank you um...” I say trying to think of his name.

                “Mike. My name’s Mike.” He says, still smiling.

                “Thank you, Mike.” I say, appreciating his kindness even though I forgot his name.

                “Any time kiddo, I’m gonna go get some food. You should get some too.” He says, turning toward the churches kitchen where they had snacks out, along with some pizza that had just come out of the oven.

                “You know, I think I will have some.” I say as I walk beside him, toward the kitchen.

               

                I grab a plate when I get up there, glancing down the counter at the food, seeing the pizza, cake, candy, nachos, salsa, and other snack foods. I lightly bite my lip, for no apparent reason other than I’m shy, as I grab a slice of pizza. I look at the pretzels and reach out for them then suddenly stop before my hand reaches the bowl as I see images flash through my mind. Seeing my sister laugh as she tries to throw them into the air and catch them in her mouth. She misses one and falls onto her side, laughing even harder at herself.

                “Ace..?” I hear someone say, sounding rather distant. “Ace!” I hear them shout, snapping me out of the flashback.

                “Y-yeah… I’m sorry.” I stutter.

                “It’s alright… Are you ok?” I hear a girl say, the voice sounding so familiar, finally taking the time to look over and see who I was talking to.

                I freeze automatically once I see her. My jaw drops and I look at her, completely speechless.

                “I knew you were Ace…” She says quietly.

                “L-Lily…” I whisper.

                “You can call me Michelle…” she says.

                “Yes ma’am…” I reply.

                “Again, don’t be so formal.” She says as she rolls her eyes.

                “I’m sorry… I guess this is where we know each other from though, right?”

                “Actually this is my first time being here.” She says, completely destroying my little hope of not being completely insane.

                “Oh…” I say, not sure of what to say.

                “Yeah, how old are you?” She asks me.

                “I’m 14… And you?” I ask.

                “I’m 13, it’s amazing how we ran into each other at the airport and now here also.”

                “Yeah it...is…” I say, delaying the last word as I remember what my sister, Rose said…

                “Yup,” She says.

                “I…should leave.” I say, afraid of what would happen if I keep talking to her.

                “Oh… Okay…” She says, looking kind of upset with this.

                “Bye.” I say as I turn away, also kind of hurt, not wanting to stop talking to her.

               

                No Ace, you can’t do this. You need to forget about her. I tell myself. I can’t just let myself fall for her right? Rose said to stay away from her. I need to stay away from her. Someone like her would never want anything to do with someone like me anyways… I think, hurting myself more by this thought. But it’s true, I’m damaged. She couldn’t possibly want to talk to me that badly.

                I sigh and shake my head, walking over to a table and taking a seat by myself. Trying to clear my head still, an elderly lady walks up to me and says, “Hello Ace, it’s nice to see you back.”

                “Thank you, ma’am.” I say, smiling slightly, trying to look convincing.

                “You’re welcome.” She says with a warm smile then turns to walk away.

               

                I need to get out of here… I can’t stay around Michelle… I say, glancing across the room to catch her looking at me. She quickly looks away, her cheeks obviously red. Was she blushing over me..? No, of course not, I decide.

                I stand and walk over to Renee and set my hand on her shoulder, making her almost jump out of her chair.

                “You almost scared the living daylights out of me Ace!” She says as she set a hand over her chest.

                “I’m sorry,” I say, laughing slightly.

                “It’s alright, what’s up?” She asks.

                “I think I’m gonna walk home, I’m not much in the mood for games or anything at the moment, I want to go home.”

                “Oh alright, are you sure you don’t want a ride?”

                “No, I’ll walk, I could use some exercise.” I say, smiling.

                “Alright then, be careful.” She says.

                “Yes ma’am.” I say as I turn and walk toward the door.

               

                I open the door and start walking across the parking lot toward the street. I look up and see the sun getting ready to set.

                As I’m walking, I hear someone running up behind me. I turn to see Michelle running up to me. My heart suddenly starts racing.

                She doesn’t slow down as she runs up to me, throwing her arms around me and resting her head on my chest. Butterflies are flying like crazy in my stomach. I try to think of something to do or say. I give up thinking and slowly wrap my arms around her and look down to see she’s crying.

                She looks up at me and says, “I know we don’t really know each other and I’m sorry… But I really like you… And I don’t want you to go…” She says with hesitation and shyness in every word.

                “I-I’m sorry…” I say as I slowly push her away.

                Tears stream down her face and she runs back for the building and I let a tear streak down my face as I turn to walk home.

 

                Walking home I can’t get her out of my mind. The feeling of her arms around me, holding me like she never wanted to lose me. I’m not used to that feeling… I’ve never had those butterflies.  My heart never raced for anything other than fear. I don’t understand… Why do I feel like this? The butterflies won’t go away… My heart skips a beat every time I imagine her arms around me again.

                Before I realize it, I’m at my house and stumbling through the front door.

 

                “Goodnight!” I yell to grandma as I walk into my bedroom.

                “Goodnight honey!” I hear her yell back.

 

                I fall back onto my bed and stare at my ceiling, not able to stop thinking about Michelle. I’m not falling in love am I..? No, I can’t. Not with her. Not with Michelle. 

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