Summer With Styles

Macey Calihan is a grown woman now, and when she comes in contact with an old box of keepsakes, she remembers a series of incidents that made her the woman she is today. As a youngster, she was struggling with past occurrences of suicide, self harm, and of course depression, all while trying to balance out the good and bad things of her life. She was so close to happiness when her adoptive parents informed her she and her brother, Carter, would be going to the U.K. to spend the summer at her father's recording studio. She then meets the boy -- or boys -- who save her life, only to pick it up and wreck it again in a new, exciting way. Macey falls head over heels for one, while another falls for her. The only thing standing in her way of happiness, is one decision. But as it turns out, some decisions make themselves whether you like it or not.

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1. The Meeting

 

I had a dream once. It was a joyous dream. I smiled and I cried and I laughed and I died. I was a girl with wide open eyes, but there was no where to hide. I tried to be cool and collected but my thoughts and actions gave me away like I knew they ought to have. It's like a rodeo in that dream – a man with a heart of gold and spirits that could make eagles fly. That was my dream. A man, and me, love and nothing else mattered. I'm not a foolish girl, although some say otherwise. I remember things as I think of them, and I relive them when I do. Does that make me insane? Some would think so.

The dream came to me out of no where, but everywhere at the same time. Like I saw it coming almost, but I didn't allow myself to let it in. Finally I found myself so wrapped up in the kiss of a thousand lives and songs that made everything so special, that I forgot I didn't want those things.

I kept things, for my own personal gain, of course. Things to help me remember what I went through and what happened when a little insecure girl met the man who changed her life forever...the one who saved her life from everything it walked towards.

Pulling out this little box of keepsakes, I remember my dream, though it wasn't really a dream at all. It felt like one, so high and mighty. An emotional blur of incidents that will never leave my mind. I always block it out with some fiber in my being and willpower, but it's too strong to resist. So, today is the first time I relive the dream since it occurred.. The first time in ten years to be exact, and I hope to God I never have to again. Maybe this time I'll gain closure, but until then I'll just rummage through old belongings and see what memories I can dig up.

One, two, three...jump! I fell off the cliff, wind rushing through my hair and face, letting go of everything I knew in my life. It didn't hold any importance to me anymore, and I refused to face the facts of reality. My hopes were shot, my mind was gone...but that made me invincible in most ways. To my dismay, ice cold water cushioned my fall to the point where if maybe I didn't die from the crash, the prickling cold might freeze me to my fated spot, six feet under the ground.

That wasn't the first attempt, and I figured it wouldn't be the last.

Until him.

“Macey! Come down here please!” My mother yelled from the kitchen downstairs. I sighed, what did she want? She killed me, honestly. I hated the family I was adopted into. They supported me and took care of me but knowing they weren't my real family bothered me. Lizzie Calihan – my dear adoptive mother – looked after the household while my adoptive father, Joe Calihan, worked as the CEO of some mega business in the U.K. He was only home a handful of months out of an entire year, which made Lizzie fairly upset. But his business trips proved to be faithful and hard-working, so as long as he made the money Lizzie was okay.

“Yes, mom?” I said politely, entering the kitchen. She had flour all up her apron and her porcelain face was covered in chocolate. I definitely did not belong in that family. “Do you need help?”

“Oh, Mace! I wanted to make chocolate cake for your father when he got home from his trip, but it looks as if I don't even know how to stir the batter right. Do you know how?”

“It's one of the few things my real mom taught me,” I said, taking the bowl from her. Her face dropped, saddened, and I knew I'd hit a rough patch in her mind. “I was only three, but I remember it like it was yesterday,” I continued. “I know you hate that I talk about them, mom, but memories are all I have left of them.”

She pursed her lips and gave in. “I understand, darling. After all, she did give birth to you and I didn't.”

“Don't go there again,” I begged her. “I do love you as if you were my own mom.”

“I'm pleased to here that, but your brother feels otherwise.”

“Where is he anyway?”

She tilted her head to the side in thought. “I have no idea,” she said. “But I know he should be upstairs packing for our trip to the U.K.”

I groaned and slid onto the counter stool, adding different ingredients to the damaged cake batter. “Do I really have to go? I mean, there's nothing there for me in the U.K., and I just graduated. I want to live my life as a free teenager for once.”

“Yes, but you're still seventeen, and if I say you have to go, then you have to go.”

“And if I don't?”

“Don't be silly, Macey.” She picked a cake pan from the bottom cabinet and placed it in front of me, and proceeded to help me crack the eggs. “I know you hate going on business trips with dad, but they're good for the family. You've been to the U.K. every summer since you've lived with us, and now is no different.”

“Does that mean I can stop baking to go pack?”

“Yes,” she said with a laugh, and I was out of there. I marched up the stairs to my room and grabbed my suitcases from the top shelf of my closet.

“Here we go again,” I mumbled to myself. “Another trip, another pain in the ass.”

My bags were loaded with clothes, shoes, and other necessities within due time, but my mind was elsewhere. Why was she making me do this? The U.K. is full of British rejects that didn't know a decent way to act if it hit them in the face. They were all so rude and not charming at all like you would think. Their accents didn't even make up for their cruelty.

I wanted out of that family. I wanted to die and be with my parents, high up in the sky where no one could touch or bother me. I wanted to be so upscale that not a thing could get under my skin, but I knew that was far away and the hopes were gone before I even knew I had them.

Then again, I did like my life outside of family. I only had one friend, but she was special to me in ways that no other person had been. Gema Wyatt was her name. When I needed someone to cry to, she was there, and even coaxed me out of several suicide attempts...not that I actually would have went through with them. Okay, I might have, but I was deranged and upset about everything. But luckily I had her to help me, and without her I might have been in a mental institution by the age of thirteen.

Zipping up my final suitcase, I just knew my summer was going to be a drag after all, or would it?

There was a commotion downstairs that I tried to ignore, but then of course Lizzie called for me to come down to see Joe. “Dad!” I yelled, embracing him when I made it down the steps. “I missed you.” I swallowed the lie, hoping he wouldn't notice, and he didn't. Why I expected him to I'll never know, but what ever.

“Hey Mace!” He replied, taking my hug with open arms. “What happened to your hair?”

“I dyed it brown, dad. Obviously.”

“Don't go getting an attitude, young lady,” Lizzie snapped, pointing a finger at me and then kissing her husband. “We're so excited to go across seas with you, honey. You won't believe the trouble we've went through getting ready for the trip.”

I laughed and said, “Yeah, mom even got a bikini waxing.”

“Let's not get graphic,” said my older brother, Carter, entering the room. “Hey Joe.”

“Son.”

“I'm not your son.”

“Carter James Calihan,” said Lizzie with huge, astonished eyes. I couldn't help but admire him for his bravery. He wasn't afraid to stand up for our parents unlike myself. Carter bluntly told them how he felt whilst I lied through my teeth every chance I received. It wasn't intentional...I think.

“Alright kids,” Joe said, clapping his hands. “Chop, chop, the plane leaves in two hours.”

Two hours came sooner than I hoped, but the security guard finding the pepper spray in Lizzie's purse was entertaining. They said she might try to spray the pilot's eyes and crash the plane or something along those lines, even though we all knew she didn't have the balls to do as such. Heck, I didn't even have the balls and I was considered a psycho-maniac by my therapist.

Oh, yeah. Therapy, how did I forget to mention that? My therapist was a tool and didn't understand that I hated Lizzie and Joe, and I wanted my parents back. It wasn't that much to ask for, right? Well, apparently it was because he declared me “mentally unstable” or something like that. I had problems, that I will admit...but not unstable. I was perfectly able to live a happy life if I chose to. But I didn't want to.

Our plane took off, thirty seven thousand feet into the air, the cares of the trip vanished by then. I could care less about sitting first class, though the warm towels on my feet were soothing. The champagne was nice, surprisingly enough Lizzie and Joe allowed me to drink it.

“You didn't have to come along,” I said to Carter, my older brother.

“I wasn't about to let you come alone.”

“I would've been safe,” I lied. He huffed – or maybe it was a small laugh, I could never tell.

“Yes, I know all about you being safe...cutting gashes on your wrists, jumping off cliffs, and driving recklessly through the woods at midnight. You don't fool me, Mackenzie Lynn.”

I quieted myself because being quiet was always the right way out of a conversation I didn't want to engage into. That, or just walking away. But being in an airplane, I wouldn't have much place to go, now, would I? Unless I jumped...

Fly over states...Oklahoma, Kansas, India...until finally New York where we would venture out on Joe's company's private jet. Why we couldn't start out with it, who knows? I fought for my luggage at the airport and followed my so-called parents out to the jet, only to find we would be accompanied by five other passengers.

They entered one by one, faces beautiful and statures tall. They were handsome young men, and around my age, but I paid no attention to their intriguing looks. I only became interested in their personalities, because I knew that even if I pursued one of these gentlemen, none of them would be keen to have me.

“Boys, I'd like to introduce you to my family,” Joe said, parading us before them. “This is my wife, Lizzie.”

“How do you do,” she said, reaching out and shaking each one of their hands.

“And my children, Carter and Macey. Family, I'd like you to meet the boys.”

I understood then that these boys were the same “boys” Joe always talked about being the highlight of his career. I knew Joe was the CEO of a record company with Simon Cowell, but had no idea he had become so successful.

“Hello,” one said in a beautiful British accent. “I'm Louis, this is Harry, Niall, Zayn, and Liam.”

“Pleasure,” I said, and sat back down into my white leather recliner, sipping on my orange juice. The curly haired boy Louis pointed out as Harry sat next to me, much against my disapproval. But it wouldn't be fair to be rude to them.

Those boys were insane! Even worse than me, and that's saying something. Within the first thirty minutes, they began acting like children and goofing off, fighting and bantering like a bunch of hyenas. I found it annoying to the point where I wanted to scream – but I didn't because that would be weird, and I was already branded as such by most people I knew.

“GO GO GO!” Louis chanted at Niall who was chugging a glass of orange juice like a champ. They cheered when he finished, giving him high fives and pats of appreciation – almost like he had accomplished something incredible. It actually made me smile, maybe even chuckle a little.

Niall stood and jumped up and down, hopping towards the bathroom. “Gotta go!” He said in his Irish accent, and disappeared behind the door.

“Do you know how to talk?” The dark, mysterious one named Zayn asked me. At first I didn't understand whom he was addressing, but he stared at for me at least thirty seconds until I realized.

“I do,” I said simply. “However, I choose not to.”

“Clever,” said the curly-headed boy next to me, Harry. “I wish I could do that, but this idiots always have me going.”

“No we don't!” Louis protested. “You love a laugh!”

Was this some kind of serious prank Joe is playing on me? Trapping me in this enclosed space with complete strangers while he, Lizzie, and Carter were in the back, raiding the mini bar? It was agony – no, torturous – to be with those boys.

About an hour later, Niall, Liam, and Louis were all passed out in their recliners, snoring so loudly I could hear them over my headphones. Harry was still beside me, glancing my direction every now and again, but I avoided his eyes at whatever cost. I didn't mix well with awkward eye contact, or situations for that matter.

I felt a tap on my shoulder. Great. I pulled off my headphones. “Yes?” I asked.

“Look there,” he replied, pointing to Liam, who had his head on Niall's shoulder. “They're gay.”

“No they're not, Harry, don't lie to the girl.” I noticed Zayn was sitting just on the other side of Harry, wide awake and listening in.

Harry laughed, shrugged, and then said, “She'll figure it out eventually.”

“I'm sure,” I said, throwing my headphones back into my ears and turning up the volume. I thought one fell out, but to my surprise, Harry had pulled the right headphone out of my ear.

“You're too quiet,” he said. “Are you ever going to stop listening to that?”

“Probably not.”

“You should. Hey, why not play a video game with me and Zayn here? We'd love to crush you at Mario Kart. That is, if you play video games at all...”

“Charming, but crush me you won't. That's for sure.”

“IS THAT A CHALLENGE!?” Zayn shouted, standing to his feet, nearly waking the others.

“If you choose to accept it, then yes.”

Harry then stood along with him and rounded up the video game system out of one of his suitcases, hooking it up to the forty-inch flat screen TV. He turned on the game system and handed Zayn and I both a controller. “What do you say we raise the stakes?” He said and I agreed. “If I win, you have to go on a date with me. If you win, you can ignore us for the rest of your visit.” He smiled a cheeky, innocent grin that I found quite mesmerizing.

“What if Zayn wins?”

“Zayn? He won't.”

“It's true,” Zayn stated with a laugh. “I always lose.”

And indeed, Zayn did lose...and so did I.

I tried to avoid the conversation involving my so-called “date” with this Harry guy, but he apparently wouldn't let me live it down. “Looks like you and I have a date,” he said, looking me straight in the eyes, completely serious. “How about tomorrow night?”

“I'll pass.” No way was I about to go out with him. I never went out with anything and frankly I wouldn't even know how to act if I did as such. The boy with the curly brown hair and the deep brown eyes would have to get over it, whether we had a deal or not.

“A bet's a bet,” Zayn said. “You can't deny it.”

“Look.” Harry looked disappointed that I had rejected him, but I felt no sympathy. “We don't have to call it a date. How about we say it's just two strangers meeting up to get to know each other? Does that sound okay to you?”

I thought for a moment...what if I did? What good could come out of me actually spending any more amount of time with him than I had to? “I'm sorry,” I replied guiltily. “But I don't really know you, and first and foremost I never wanted to be here to begin with. I don't want to waste your time.”

“If you'll agree to only have dinner with me,” he said. “I will assure you it won't be a waste of my time. However, if you don't, then my waste of time will be put upon making the bet in the first place. I'm willing to take a chance. Besides...” he pushed my bangs out of my face with one, gentle stroke. “I wouldn't have asked if I weren't interested already.”

So maybe I blushed, but who even noticed? “I'll think about it,” I said sternly and professionally. We continued the rest of the trip in complete silence: Zayn fell asleep, Harry was involved in his phone, and I sat with my headphones in, full blast, relaxing, but still scared that I'll have to talk to him again. Maybe it was social anxiety...or maybe I actually liked him.

Did I? No. No. Maybe? No, I didn't. He was cute, but far out of my reach. No boy would go for the tainted read wrists with suicidal mental issues. I was a mess.

We landed just in time when the other boys awoke, fully energized and annoying once again. I heard whispers between Harry and Louis, both of them looking at me, but I found a reason to excuse myself, and ventured to the restroom.

Looking at that girl in the mirror, I sighed, admiring her bright blue eyes and her long, chocolate hair. But it was her personality that made me wonder why anyone even bothered noticing her. She was nothing compared to the other girls she knew. She was damaged and broken...she was me, and I hated her.

“Macey, you fool,” I whispered into the mirror. “Why do you have to be so complicated?”

Knock, knock.

The door opened.

“Mackenzie?” Carter said, entering. “You okay?”

“Fine. Where were you the entire flight?” I asked, washing my hands in the sink and rubbing the cold water on my face. “I didn't even see you.”

“In the back, trying to study, but it was kind of hard with Joe and Lizzie conversing about your college.”

I rolled my eyes, looking at him furiously. “Don't even.”

“You're going to college, Macey.”

“I'm not.”

“Why? Give me one good reason and I'll leave you alone about it.”

“You know, I've made enough bets today, and I don't need you to tell me what I will and will not do. I'll have you know that I'm my own person, Carter.” Suddenly I became defensive, normal in other words. “This vacation is going to drive me nuts.”

“Joe says we'll be seeing a lot of those boys, and to treat them like family.”

Great, just perfect. There went my “fool-proof” plan of avoiding Harry for the rest of my life, regardless of what my mind was telling me. It whispered for me to accept such sweet sorrow and give into his romantic endeavors, but I listened not. Harry was perfect, and I was so far away from such. Even though he did want to go on a date with me, I would only have ended up disappointing him. Right?

Of course, because that's what Macey Calihan did; she disappointed every person she came in contact with. That would never change, ever. Even if I tried to make someone happy, it would never work because I'm not happy myself.

We found our way to the condo, and I collapsed onto my bed I would be sleeping in for the next four months. It was comfy, one hundred percent Egyptian cotton, and called out to me...a place where I could shed my tears in peace and quiet. Alone, where I belonged. But somehow I wasn't able to cry like I usually did every night. Instead, I lied flat on my back, looking up at the plain white ceiling...just thinking about him.

Harry.

That boy that annoyed me so immensely, but still managed to captivate me in ways I'd never experienced before. I thought honestly that I was going utterly crazy, because deep down in my heart I knew I'd never survive a date, much less an actual relationship with an actual boy that wanted me.

Impossible dreams, it seemed.

Waking up to the smell of bacon, I heard a crowd of laughter right outside my door in the living room area of Joe's condo. I groaned and rolled over on my side, throwing my pillow over my face and begging them to shut up. Then I heard my door open, and someone telling me not to be so grouchy. That voice...I knew it from somewhere.

I lifted my head to find Zayn standing in the doorway, smiling at me and holding a plate of breakfast. “Here,” he said, walking across the room and handing it to me. “Thought you might be hungry.”

“What, no orange juice?” I said jokingly.

“I can go get you some.” He started to walk back out, but I pleaded for him to stay.

“No, no,” I began. “It's fine, come sit.” I patted the spot next to me, and he took it eagerly. His eyes were dark, opened and swirling with mystery and wonder at the same time. His hair was in a perfect, beautiful quiff that looked great on his set face. “Is he in there?” I asked, and he caught hint of my dislike for the curly boy.

He nodded. “Unfortunately, he is, and he's still waiting for that date.”

“Don't remind me.”

“Let me guess, you're playing hard to get?”

“No, I'm just simply not interested.”

He replied, “Why are you so stuck up about everything?” My mouth fell, surprised he had said something so rude.

“I beg your pardon!”

“And why do you talk so proper and snotty? Loosen up!”

I shook my head and said, “You're just as bad as him.”

“On the contrary, I think you'll find that I'm ten times better.” He smiled with a wink and rose from my bed, exiting my room without further words. Strange indeed, but no different than something a boy from school would do, and they hate me to say the least.

Rumbles in the kitchen.

A loud crash and yells.

“What's going on!?!?!” I screamed, running into the kitchen to find the source of the ruckus. My entire family plus all five boys stood over the stove, trying to put out a large grease fire that Lizzie had started.

“WATER!” Liam yelled, tossing the bucket onto to the flames.

“NO!” I yelled, pushing him out of the way as they only spread. I grabbed the salt and began tossing drizzle after drizzle until finally the burning stopped and smoke rose into the air. “You bunch of idiots!” I screamed at all of them. “Am I the only one who isn't a maniac around here!?”

My bedroom found me again, with the door slamming shut behind me. Shouts of laughter echoed behind it, for apparently they found my bickering amusing. I fell back asleep, broken dreams shattered from the ignorance of family, and out of sleep and crying, mostly because I was torn between life and death. Maybe it was a game but it wasn't competitive enough to prove my obsession with the thought of disappearing.

If I did disappear, however, who would miss me? Lizzie and Joe would, I know, enough though I don't claim them as parents and that hurts them. Carter wouldn't...he's jealous. I know because he told me he wished he could do the things I could do like cook and paint.

Painting.

My life.

Getting through hard times is tough for anyone, especially an adopted teenager. There were times when I thought things would never get better...and I would attempt. Though I'm not sure I really wanted to die, I tried several times. But then I would paint. Everything.

Landscapes, people, abstract art, and food was my main focal point for painting. I would paint the most brilliant things and sell them online at low costs, people would buy them, and I would get a sense of self-appreciation. But sometimes that wasn't enough and I would attempt again.

Every time I attempted I jumped off the cliff near my house. It hovered just over the splashing Atlantic Ocean, famous for accidental deaths. But somehow – some way – I survived every time. After the first few times, it got old and I just started doing it whenever I was feeling down...but only for an adrenaline rush. A change in mood, or a break from the hard life.

Whenever I would free fall, nothing mattered anymore.

And I liked it.

“Wake up, Macey, we're going to dinner,” Carter said, ever so lightly shaking me. “You went back to sleep this morning and slept the day away. Mom and dad think you're on drugs.”

I laughed and sat up, groggy and maybe in a better mood than I expected. “Are those rats still here?” I asked him. He shook his head and handed me a hairbrush.

“No, they're meeting us there.”

“Great.”

“Why don't you like them? I think they're awesome, and Harry and Louis are hilarious. They all are.”

“Good, why don't you marry one of them and I'll march in one of those parades with you.”

“Don't joke,” he said, glaring at me as I slopped on some mascara and eyeliner in the mirror. “I'm in love with Gema. You of all people should know that.”

I rolled my eyes, remembering his dear affection for my best friend, whom in reality had no feelings for him what-so-ever. They dated for about a year, and broke up a few months before summer. He still wasn't over it despite my struggles to help him.

“Get over her,” I spat. “Seriously, you're ridiculous. And get out, I have to change.”

We made it to Feuroe De Locke's, a five-star Italian restaurant just inside the dinner rush. The boys were already there, with girls surrounding them, shouting their names. When we were seated I was so curious to know why that was, or how.

“Zayn,” I said, diving into casual communication. “Why were you all being mobbed when we got here?”

They all stopped eating and stared at me disbelievingly. “You really don't know?” He replied, evidently stormed that I asked such a question. I shook my head in confusion, missing something. “You've never heard of us, at all?”

“Obviously she hasn't,” Harry chimed in. “That explains a lot.”

“We're a boyband,” added Liam. “One Direction? What Makes You Beautiful?”

“Doesn't ring a bell.” I took a sip of my water, not making much eye contact with the beautiful Harry sitting beside me, mumbling something into Louis' ear. Probably about me, but I didn't care. I was too washed up in thoughts of my life to really do or say anything. Some could say I was a quiet person, while I did have to arrogant ability to speak my mind whenever I pleased.

Joe kept a close eye on me the whole dinner; I knew what he was thinking. He knew I would say something rude to piss someone off, which is what Carter and I both did for a living, but I just sat there without words until Harry – of all people – finally spoke to me.

“You should come to the studio sometime, Macey.”

Joe objected, “I don't think that's such a good idea. Macey doesn't like music.”

“Yes, I do,” I said. “I just don't like certain kinds.”

“She's into that whole Mozart crap,” Carter informs them. “Classical music.”

Harry seemed intrigued by this accusation. “Oh, really? Who's your favorite composer?”

“I really do like Mozart, but Vivaldi and Bach are my favorite.”

“I'm a Vivaldi kind of guy myself, but I prefer Verdi over anything,” he said. My heart fell to my stomach. Actually meeting a person my age that liked classical music was almost impossible. Too bad I hated him.

“You never listen to classical, mate,” Louis laughed.

“No, but my mum does and it's relaxing.”

“It is,” I agreed. “I always listen to it when I paint.”

“I love paintings!” Zayn said happily. “I'd love to check out your work sometime.”

“Look on ebay, it's there all the time,” I said.

To which he replied. “I'd rather have the personal tour.”

What does a girl like me say to that? “Sure,” I stated, noticing a hint of jealousy in Harry's eyes, which kind of made me guilty, belittled me a bit, but I shook it off.

I never planned to be friends with any of these fellows, but I could tell Zayn and I were hitting it off pretty well. He was a sweet guy, and seemed to have good morals, and lacked the obnoxious hauteur that Harry had. I liked that about Zayn, and he seemed to like me as well.

But what I didn't know, was that Harry and Zayn both liked me, and that would eventually tear them – and me – apart.

Sitting on my bedroom floor, I remember that girl I was back then and how I loved so strongly I almost damaged myself to find happiness. Macey Calihan then, and Macey Calihan now, are two totally different people. The transition was the hardest thing I ever had to go through, but I did and I survived it. My summer in the U.K. proved to be the best time of my life...and the worst.

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