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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20. Hurricanes

Ed's P.O.V

My head feels like it's throbbing, it pulses and throbs and reminds me drums. One too many drinks, I think regretting my decision for the millionth time today. I trip and stumble my way to my room and throw myself onto my messy bed which I haven't made today and let the dark leak through to my brain and stop the hurt. I groan, I'm going to have the mother of all hangovers tomorrow. I let my eyelids slip shut when I hear someone jump out of bed. I almost get up and tell them to go back to bed but I stop myself at the last second. This could be interesting. I'm not the nosy type but the drinks I had today are making my brain all fuzzy. I permit them to sneak out and I stealthily get up to follow.

Bad idea. I upchuck all over the entrance. Oh well, no time to clean it up. I know Ian or Al'll clean it up tomorrow. I continue out the door and cloak myself in a jacket I found randomly on the hook. The sweet-smelling air mixed with the humidness of night would be pleasant but I can't distracted. Whoever it is ducks behind a bakery and I hurry to keep up. Someone else is there and I stay glued to the shadows.

"What took you so long?" the first one snaps.

"I had to wait for everyone to fall asleep. And do you really think I would hurry up to talk to you?" the second one snarls. Sounds familar, extremely familiar.

"You would when I still have the picture, not to mention other outstanding evidence..."

"Fine, I'll hurry next time."

"Good, now did you do what I asked you to do?" the first one asks with false sweetness.

"Yes," the person replies.

"Liar, the guy running the ride saw you together. It didn't seem like you were sweetening her up," the other one says.

"He saw wrong," they say.

"He better have. I expect results," they finish. The first one walks away with the clicking of her heels filling the night. I stay attached to the darker part of the buliding while the second one walks back. I see their eyes, striking in the night. Blue eyes, unmistakingly James'. I stay frozen, what was that all about? My head pounds against my temples and it shocks me back to reality, then I start running back.

Keller's P.O.V

Monday, I hate mondays. I force myself up and brush my tangled hair out its nest and leave it down. I put on a carefully crafted outift: black waxed jeans and a red corseted tank top. The red should make my hair seem darker but it still looks the same, dull and mousy brown. I sigh and gather my things to walk to school.

During my walk alone I think about yesterday. The word 'friends?' had never sounded so terrible to me now. And what did I do? I smiled and said sure. I could curse at myself right now but I control my frustration. He just simply doesn't want you, I think. Ouch, that was mean. I shake off the sting of my words and continue walking. I brush away a small tear leaking through before this one drop turns into a hurricane. My resolve hardens, I'm not go around moping about how James doesn't love me. I'm not going to eat a gallon of ice cream and complain to people who'll bearly listen. I'm going to act like nothing's wrong and that I'm perfectly fine.

I escape into the girls' washroom before homeroom starts. I brush out my tangled hair and examine myself in the mirror. I look fine I guess. I shove on my glasses and apply a little bit of lip gloss. I'm going to show James that I don't need him, although I do, desperately.

I poke my head through Homeroom only to be greeted by the Gabriels. I pull off a smile and walk in.

"Look who finally decided to show up," yells Will. I sit on my desk and punch him playfully on the shoulder.

"I thought we could walk together," mutters James behind me and I suck in a breath. His messed up hair and bright eyes just left me speechless. I stood there for a moment, mouth hanging open. I wanted so badly just to curl up in his arms that it physically hurt. I shake myself out of my trance and I stare him straight in the eye as if yesterday never happened. I don't need you, my eyes screamed.

"I just wanted to find my new top," I shrug nonchlantly instead while gesturing to my top.

"I'm happy you did. You look great," says Ed spinning me around. It feels good to get compliments and get spun around so I let him continue.

"Thanks, you look good too," I laugh after he stopped spinning me. Ed shows off his little dimple in my direction and I smile.

"So, did anyone else get the homework?" asked Al afterwards.

"Yeah, all the answers were in last week's lesson if you copied it. I have it here if you want to look at it," I say giving him my paper. He pushes it back.

"It's fine, thanks though," he says before rushing to finish the homework. I shrug, suite yourself. The bell rings and we scramble back in our seats. Before Ed and Ian sit down I catch a bit of their conversation. Something about throw up all over the floor. I laugh into my hand a little as Ed tries to deny it. Probably from all the drinks he had the other day.

"What are you laughing at?" whispers James close to my ear. I pull my head back and and my smile falls.

"It's nothing," I reply. We sit there with an awkward pause standing where exciting converstion once was.

"You look great," he says. My eyes snap to his. Truth.

"Thank, you too," I say a little breathlessly. Stupid, I say to myself and clear my throat.

"You, you too," I stutter with my regular voice. The students filter in and I get my notebook ready. I don't turn to face him again.

---

 After school and back at the orphanage I rip off my skinny jeans and tank top and instead wear my sweats. I pull my hair in a ponytail with thin tendrils of baby hair spiling out to frame my face. I roll my sleeves up to attack my mountain of homework. 

Halway through my math equations I spot my University of London brocheure peaking out of my covers. I walk over to it and read it over even though I memorized every word of it. I run out to the orphanage mailbox and check it. Empty, always empty. I run my hand through my ponytail and slump back to my room. Why won't they send in the acceptance letters yet? I'm not garunteed a spot in the university yet but I still need to know. Some seniors sent them after me and got the letter before me. What if I didn't get accepted? No, I think, you have a 90 percent average, they can't reject you. Nevertheless I throw myself into my homework to distract myself. Knuckles rasp against the door startling me.

"Come in!" I yell. The homework wasn't distracting me yet and I thought whoever was at the door could help keep my mind off things.

"Hey. Ed was making tacos so I thought I'd give you some," says James entering. He sets the plate down on my sheets and walks out. I yell out my thanks before he leaves but he just walks out as if he doesn't hear me. The tacos stare at me from across the bed and I can't help but grab one. I practically shove the taco in my mouth and munch on it happily like a caveman. It was so good. Ed should be a chef. I continue inhaling the rest  when my door bursts open again.

"Hey, do you want a -" starts James before he sees me. I look down on myself, taco crumbs everywhere, grease stains on my lips. I look like a mess.

"Nevermind, you need some napkins," he says with a slight chuckle in his voice. He walks over and sits beside me so close that I can feel his side. A shock races up my arm at his touch and I gasp. Luckily he doesn't hear.

"When you eat tacos you're promised crumbs," I say and brush of the crumbs and wipe my mouth with the napkins James hands me. I broke off a perfectly charged moment.  He picks up my Hedley CD and plays For The Night I Can't Remember.

"You know, I played at a coffee shop before, back in Ireland, and this was the most requested song," he states.

"This song really is great," I agree.  We sit there, in silence, so close that I know he could hear my thoughts. He sits ever closer and moves my face to see his and we're suddenly across from each other. He holds my face in his hands and our breaths intermix. James traces my scar with his finger and I sigh. I place my arms around his neck and I've never felt so right in my entire life. He puts my head against his shoulder and I rest there, still listening to Hedley. I lift my face and gently push our foreheads together. James leans in, anticipation singing through my veins as I slowly shut my eyes.

"I, um, have to go," James mumbles and breaks apart. He flees the room and I'm left alone. My hands grasp my chest and I fall down into my pillows, my homework now utterly useless. I sit by myself in the dark, my hand against my forehead in shock. I can't believe that I almost did that. I should be relived that he stopped the moment from reaching non-friend territory but all I feel is regret. Regret and emptiness.  I already miss his warmth and closeness and a tear escapes my eyes. I don't hide it , I'm letting this tear drop turn into a hurricane this one time.

 

 

 

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