Letting Go

After being brutally abused by her father and outcasted by her classmates, seventeen year old Keller Alvidas is glad and even relieved to spend her last year at Edge-of-The-World, the sleepy small town she grew up in. Everything changes when the Gabriels, a group of orphaned teenage boys arrives. They break all her rules about meeting new people but they too have secrets and when the truth comes out Keller has to decide wether to let go and save herself or to continue to be dragged through everything she wanted to run away from, all for one chance she might never get.


30. Bucketlisting

Keller's P.O.V

"Now?" asks James with skepticism written all over his face. I glance out the window, it's still realtively bright outside. I'd have thought that we'd start bucketlisting when it's dark out.

"Yes now," Will says as if it's obvious.

"Well then let's get it on!" shouts Al as he fists pumps out the door. The rest of us laugh and follow him out, Will and Ellis leading the way of course. I'm at the back again, just the way I like it but I feel familliar warmth at my side and I would bet my life that's it's James. I manoeuvre myself between Ed and Ian to avoid James. I'm a coward for running away from my problems but run I shall, I think defiantly.


"Hey, Will. Where are we?" I ask as we're standing in the middle of the street, the cars are few here and the road slopes down until we can see the orphange.

"Number one on our Bucketlist-" Will says.

"Number one on your bucketlist," I correct.

"Yes, Keller. Number one on my bucketlist is shopping cart racing," he states rather proudly as he produces two shopping carts from out behind a mailbox. The guys cheer and fight over who gets to go first. In the end it's Ian and Lorena first. They slip into the cart as Will and Ed push them down and they glide down the street. To them it seems like perfect fun, they scream and squeal and the rest of us cheer them on but inside terror is eating me. What if I crash and fall down? What if break a bone? What I skin myself? It's not like that's not happened before, the evil voice on my head hisses as I remember Gerald and his tortures.

I know what it feels like to fall down. I know what it feels like to break a bone, multiple bones at that. I know what it feels like to get skinned. Still, as Lori and Ian push the carts back up to us I can feel my stomach drop and my heart reach my throat. The fading sun takes it's final breath as Ian and Lori come back up. I can hear the crunch of gravel as James makes his way to my side.

"I can ride with you if you want," he offers softly. I momentarily forget our fight and smile again.

"Thanks but I don't think we can both fit," I remark while staring at the ground.

"You don't have to ride if you don't want to," he says after Will and Ed climb in and race down the street. They high-five each other once they reach the bottom, ensuing cheers from everyone.

"Nah, I want to do this," I say.

"Well, here anyways," he says and hands me my Ipod.

"You were always the type to get lost in the music and stuff so I figured that if you listened during the whole," he says gesturing to the carts, "then it wouldn't be as bad."

I hesitantly thank him and stuff the earbuds in. First on my playlist is Heart Attack by Demi Lovato. I was already  tapping my feet along with the music by the time the chorus came around and I could hear James chuckle from behind me.

"Keller?" Ellis asks. I open my eyes and realize that it's my turn to go.

"You still want to go?" she asks and I think for a solid minute, weighing the pros and cons. No, you're not going, I think to myself, I'm bowing out at the last second but my stubborn head shook itself in  a representation of saying yes. Before I know it I find myself in  a cart, at sundown, listening to Demi Lovato, with Al in the other cart looking nearly as scared as I imagined myself to look like.

"Don't worry. It's not that bad," he tries to say.

"You've done this before?" I ask.

"Nope. But there's a first time for everything right?" he says. I feel Ed's hands at my back and suddenly I'm far away from them, from Ed,  Will, Ian,James, Lori and Ellis. The music blares in my ears while the wind messages itself into my hair and before I know it I'm screaming and cheering like Al. I throw by hands in the air and the lump in my throat is gone, it moves over to let more screams of pleasure take it's place. I speed towards the sunset and I wonder what I was so scared of.

This is amazing, I think to myself as the wheels roll over a rogue pebble sending me flying. I land with a thud, gravel settling into skin and shredding it to thin wisps. The earbuds stay in place and Ed Sheeran booms inside my skull. My blazer is coated with dust but I can't help but smile. The blazer seems stuffy and I fling it off, the cool air settles on me and I start laughing like I'm crazy. I look up between breaths and I see James rushing up to me, his hair falling in front of his eyes like the very first day I met him.

Bam. It literally feels like someone stabbed me in the chest as I watch James run up to me. It's times like these when I wonder if loving him feels good, or if it just hurts.

"Hey Speedy Gonzalez, slow down. Are you okay?" he asks while helping me up. His touch magnifies the feeling and the pain digs a little deeper.

"I'm fine," I whisper. Good Lord, why does it still hurt?

"Are you sure?" Al asks after joining us. I nod and the rest of our group gathers. They must've heard my laughter and known I'm okay but it felt good to see that they cared enough to check anyways.

"Everyone okay?" asks Will, mainly talking to Al and I. We nod enhusiastically and move on to number two. If this is bucketlisting, I think, then I'm going to have a lot of fun.


"And this is number two on the bucketlist," says Will.

"Disturbing the peace," says Ed clapping Will on the back, "creative." All eight of us were carrying toilet paper and eggs. It's a classic, if not overused. We were going to egg and TP a house, Josh's house.

"Why Josh's house?" I ask while everyone gets in 'position'.

"Well, once you're this charming Keller, you don't make many enemies," Ed says with humour in his voice. I laugh a little at that.

"And we still have to pay Josh back for the mugging," adds Al. I try not to guilt myself, he did try to mugg me after all.

"Fire!" shouts Will and eggs explode all over the exterior of the house. Toilet paper is strewn across trees and bushes and I hesitantly join in, slowly at first and then I forget that people actually live in the house and I go crazy. I miss the front door of the house by a couple meters and yolk spills on the front window.

"Like this," Ed says and guides my arm. He swings my arm and I hit the front door.

"Bull's eye!" he yells and lets go of my arm. I laugh at the mess we made and push guilt out if the way. I hastliy glance behind me and catch James blue eyes. The stabbing feeling deepens, as if it never really left. A strong arm pulls me from behind and leads to the side of the house. James. I don't resist but I don't really make it esier for him. I drag my feet until he finally stops.

"Look, we got to stop this," he says. More pain.

"Stop what?" I ask. I hate to playing stupid, I silently say to myself. His hand ruffles his hair and real desperation fills his eyes. What do I do? Just say your sorry, I think. I open my mouth to apologise but it's like my tongue is broken. No words come out. Pride fills my throat and it constricts and chokes. Empty air settles between us and I feel cold for the first time today.

"I don't know what exactly we were fighting about before and I don't really care but-"

Swallow your pride Keller, I think to myself. And I do.

"I'm sorry okay! I'm sorry that I didn't trust you but I just couldn't risk it!" I say.

"I can take care of myself you know," he says quietly.

"Still, I was scared that he was going to be free and I wanted to protect you!" I very nearly scream. He instantly goes pale.

"I didn't need protection-" he starts but I cut in.

"Sure," I scoff angrily.

"Okay, let's say we lost the case and Gerald was free. How was he supposed to come after me?" he asks.

"I don't know but he would've! Look-"

"No Keller you look. You need to trust me and you can't refuse help," James says. I back away and stare and the ground but James grabs my wrists and forces my face up.

"You can't do everything yourself," he whispers and hot tears forms in my eyes. I don't need help, I want to scream but something in the back of my head says something else. I'm not used to help. After seventeen years of depending on myself I'm simply not used to it. I hastily blink back tears as James' eyes bore into mine. 

"I'm sorry," I say. James pulls me close and I bury my head into his shoulder.

"It's alright, just promise that you won't push me out like that again," he says into my hair.

"I can't promise anything, but I'll try," I say.

"That's the Keller I know," he laughs.

"James! We got to go!" Ian yells from the front.

"We're coming!" he shouts back. I struggle to keep up with James' fast pace and I continue to stumble in my sandals as we run up to the front door and try to catch up with the rest of the guys.

"Keller you're too slow," he laughs as he throws me over his shoulder. It jabs into my stomach everytime he runs but at least I'm not tripping. From the corner of my eye I can see two dark figures catching up with us and my immediate reponse is that it's the police.

"James, I think the police are mad about the egging. You might want to hurry it up," I say.

"What?' he asks and slows down. He comes to a stop and the figures come into sharp clarity. I can just make out the first guy's face. He was the one running the ferris wheel at the carnival. The second one was one of Josh's friends.

"James! Put me down, those aren't the cops!" I hiss. He sets me down immediately and we both start running. The ferris wheel guy, I don't give a rat's arse about his name, flashes something that glints in streetlight. A knife.

"Hey, I think you have something that we want," the ferris wheel guys growls. His cheeks are gaunt and his eyes are a startling black. James steps in front of me in defence mode.

"Who are you guys?" he questions. Black eyes steps forward until he's face to face with James. The second, brown eyes, circles to meet me.

"Aw, don't you remember me? Maybe this'll jog your memory." The sickening sound of fist meeting jaw fills the night as James falls on the ground. Brown eyes lifts me by the waist in a vise-like grip and I kick and scream for the guys but they're not here. Terror fills me and the pain in my chest intensifies as I kick the guy's balls in. He lets go and falls to the ground but I set my knuckles against his face, just in case. I rush over to where Black eyes is whispering something to James. My hands scream in pain and protest as I frantically grope at James' face, resorting to slapping him awake while the guy justs watches in fake pity.

No use, he's out cold. Tears escape my eyes and I scream every sort of swear word imaginable before confronting the only guy not on the ground.

"What the hell's your problem?" I ask clenching my fists and moping away my tears.

"You," he replies. I look past his shoulder and see someone jogging down the street in nothing but gray sweat pants, a t-shirt, and slippers. Josh. I silenlty praise God for Josh McKenizie. Something must've shone in my eyes because the guy whips around.

"Lanny?" says Josh in amazement.

"Josh?" he asks. So they're friends. Lanny grabs me by the hair and quickly gags me with a t-shirt. The clinging sweat on the shirt makes me throw up a little but I can't seem to rip it off. I aim for the Lanny's balls but he seemed to have learned from the other guy's mistakes and blocks my shots.

"Lanny! What are you doing? Let Keller go," he commands.

"So her name's Keller. I like it," he says close to my ear. I throw up a little more.

"Lanny, let her go," Josh repeats.

"Sorry man, I got a lot riding on this and in case you didn't know," he pauses and smiles with malice, "she's dating that James guy."

My eyes move frantically as Josh pales ever so slightly.

"You put her down or-"

"Or what? Did you call the police?" Lanny asks.

"No..." he admits. Who wouldn't call the police? Lanny steps closer to Josh and the knife glints. I try to warn Josh with my eyes but he pays no heed.

'I'm sorry Josh but like I said, I got a lot riding on this," and he stabs him. The knife slides in a out repeatedly but I can't close my eyes. Blood leaks out from Josh's mouth as sirens blare from the background. I'm sacred silent, just like the coward I am. Lanny swears and pulls both of us towards a neraby van. He throws me in beside Josh and I use my hands to try to stop the bleeding.

"Settle in Keller. We're going on  a little ride," he says. The sirens fade out as we drive further and furter away. Josh won't stop bleeding and the pain in my chest seems minimal compared to his major stab wound. Josh turns to face me with his eyes moving rapidly.

"Turn around," he whispers. I obey. He feebly releases the gag and pulls it out of my mouth.

"You're going to be alright," I say with my hands trying to staunch the flow of blood.

"I believe you," he whispers. We continue driving and I use the gag as a bandage but in a minute it's already soaked through. I feel bad that Josh believes me, becasue I don't.

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