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.

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24. Dodging Bullets

Keller's P.O.V

"You're quiet today," observes Ed. We sit facing each other in the spotless cafeteria, the cold hard plastic of the table sqeaky clean.

"Yeah, just a lot on my mind," I answer while picking at my fries. The buzz of conversation of the room drones to a low hum as I think. Even after New York I'm still not sure where I stand with James. Yeah, we held hands while walking to school and sure, everytime he looks at me I feel like my chest is about to explode but he still hasn't said anything about 'us', or even if there is an 'us'.

"Thinking about James?" asks Ed.

"How'd you know?" I ask. Are all the Gabriels mind readers?

"You have that thinking look on your face. And," pause, "I know about New York," he says.

"How'd you find out?" The fry in my mouth falls out and I disgustedly throw in back in its container.

"Hey, James' one of my best mates. I know him, he was bound to make a move sometime," he shrugs. I shudder at the way he describes it, 'making a move'. I hate that, it implies no emotion whatsoever.

"So?" I ask running a hand through my tangled hair.

"I'm telling you something I haven't told anyone. James is hiding something."

"What in the world are you talking about?"

"He met up with someone a while back, maybe a month or two ago and I'm worried."

"What does this have to do with me?"

"I'm not sure, just keep on your toes," he warns. We each drop off our trays and walk to class, me to chemistry, Ed to the gym.

I skip through the halls, Ed's words boucing around my head. Keep on my toes for what? I ignore it instead and slink back to New York and to that grimy coffee shop. The warm feeling in my head expanding like a balloon and sparks crackling in my fingertips simply from James' touch. He didn't say he loves you, some vile voice at the back off my head laughs. I groan and shove my hand through my hair in frustration. It hurts because it's true, he hasn't yet said he loves me. Do you love him, the same voice hisses. I take a shuddering breath, yes, you might as well admit it to yourself than to anyone, I think. I remember the way James and I fit together and the way he makes me feel and I know it's cheesy but yes, I think Iove him. The truth dawns on me and I smile, at least I don't have to lie to myself anymore. I make it to my locker and open it when some rude person shows up and slams it shut, right in my face.

"What was that for?" I ask angrily.

"Everything!" a familiar voice yells. I whip my head around to find a fuming Sonia holding a magazine with a picture of me from New York, pretending to be famous to sneak into a concert.

"How in the world did you get your ugly face on a magazine?" he demands. The picture doesn't look bad, it's just me in a brown dress with three school boys acting like body guards. How in the world did people fall for the popstar act?

"I don't know," I shrug and try to walk away, not wanting to cause a scene.

"No, you should know! I've modeled for three years and barely have my face in a commercial and you, you of all people show me up! Tell me how you got yourself on the flippin' front page of this magazine, or I swear  I'll make your life hell!" she screeches. It was my turn to get mad. After seventeen years of being practically friendless, insults served to me like platters and laughed at on a daily basis, she thinks life wasn't hell already? Well, nothing matters anymore because the only thing that's good about having every single bad thing happen to you at school is that there's nothing else anyone can do.

"Well then let all hell break loose," I mutter and walk away. I keep my head down and avoid the stares but behind my hair I'm silently hurling every swear word in my arsenal at every single person who laughs my way. I bump into another person, a taller person.

"Hey, what's the matter?" James asks. I sigh gratefully and look up. Yes, those blue eyes are looking down at me with concern.

"Nothing, just had a run in with Sonia," I shrug.

"What about?"

"New York, remember when we snuck into the Simple Plan concert? Apparently we made the front page," I laugh. James snickers at this and it cools my anger at Sonia somewhat.

"You're kidding," he laughs.

"No, that's what Sonia was all pissed about. You know she models? Apparently she's never made it big yet so when I made the front page her pride must've stung I guess," I explain.

"Well of course you made the front page, you looked great in that dress," he compliments earnestly. I cast my eyes down as my cheeks flame red. The knot in my stomach unravels and I smile. Confidence, I remember.

"Thank you and I know that I did," I say while curtsying.

"Look who's sassy today," he laughs.

"Yeah, I'm the total sass master," I say sarcastically while rolling my eyes.

"Nevermind, you're totally sarcastic again," he says.

"What do you mean by again?" I ask.

"I mean, as in all the times before," James answers.

"Is that a bad thing?" I ask nervously.

"No, it was always something I liked about you," he says, "Your sad sadistic sarcasm."

"I am not sadistic," I protest.

"Yeah I know, it was a joke," he winks while walking to his class. I sigh with  a smile and head into chemistry.

"Hey," James calls out.

"What?" I ask.

"Wear something nice tonight okay, I have a surprise," he smiles.

"What if I have plans?" I ask cheekily.

"See you at six?" he says and ignores my question.

"See you at six," I say with a smile. My stomach just made a million new little knots but I smile in spite it. I feel happy yet a nagging feeling says that I just dodged a bullet, with James or with Sonia I don't yet know.

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