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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21. Moments

Keller's P.O.V

It's been a month now.  A month since James left me hanging and utterly crushed me. I've tried everything possible to wash the memory from my brain but it still sticks. If anything the memory has come quicker, stronger than before. I remember the soapy scent of his shirt and the exact colour his eyes are when light isn't directly in them. The memories used to scare me, I thought I was going crazy again. Turns out I'm just delusional. I roll out of bed and run out to check the mailbox. Empty. I feel disappointed yet relived and jog back to my room. I haven't always been the most patient person but somehow I can stand waiting this time. Maybe it's because if I don't read 'rejection'on the aceptance sheet I can trick myself into hoping I still have a chance.

I slump back to my closet and pick out faded shorts and a white t-shirt with a black cardigan. It's early April but it feels like July. Chuck Taylors complete my outfit and with my messenger bag I head out the door.

"Hey, wait up," shouts Ian behind me. I stop and wait for him to catch up before I start walking again.

"What's up?" I ask furrowing my brow. The early sun demands my attention and I squint as it gets in my eyes.

"Nothing, I just need advice," he says. I smile, this could be interesting.

"What kind of advice?" I ask again jumping in front of him.

"It's mine and Lori's anniversary tomorrow and I was wondering what I should do," Ian answers. Lori? Oh, Lorena.

"Why're you asking me?"

"Because you're a girl," he says simply. Master logic, I think sarcastically.

"Fine, I'll help you. What do you have planned so far?" I ask.

"That's the thing, I have nothing!' he says running his hand through his short buzz cut.

"It's not that I don't care, or I just remembered. It's just, I haven't been with anyone as great as Lorena and I want her to know that," Ian contines. I smile at his frustration.

"It's okay, I'm not judging. Anyways, If you really like Lorena then do something special, like recreate the scene where you first met or something. Something cheesy but romantic," I finish. He considers my answer.

"I already have an idea. Thanks, you're great," Ian smiles.

"You're welcome, and I know," I say. I was joking about the 'I know' part, I'm about as great as stale bread.

"So what about you and James?" he asks suddenly.  My heart sinks a little. My cheeks flame red and I rake my hand through my hair.

"Don't ask me because I honestly don't know," I admit.

"Well, if you ask me, I think you two would be cute together," he says.

Try telling him that, I want to say. "Don't try to be cupid," I warn, "Valentine's Day was two months ago."

"Oh well. We'll just have to see what happens," he mentions sneakily. I roll my eyes.

"Sure," I reply. We walk to homeroom and I slavage whatever shreds of courage I have left to go sit beside James again. That's how it's been for a month now, me sitting beside James while he acts like nothing happened. I guess nothing did happen but that doesn't mean he should act like it. When I take my seat he clears his throat and turns around, ignoring me. That's another thing that's happened, he's been ignoring me for a long time.

"Hey, James," I say with a small little wave and sarcastic smile on my lips.

"Hey," is all I get back. Same old, same old. I sigh and look over at Ian to prove my point. He flicks me a note and I can't help but laugh a little. It's like we're in sixth grade again when you pass notes to your friends when you think teachers aren't looking.

"Talk to him!" the note screams. I roll my eyes and throw it back to him.

"Stop it!" I mouth to him. He shrugs and returns to the work Mr.Pandler assigned.

"Miss Alvidas, come to my desk for a moment," says Mr. Pandler in his boring monotone voice. Someone's in trouble, I say in my head. It takes me a moment and several nudges from Will to rememeber that my last name is Alvidas and that he's calling me. I hurry up to his desk and chew every bit of skin still left on my lips out of nervousness. Was I in trouble?

"Now, Keller, we need to discuss your latest essay..." he starts.

"What about it?" I cut in.

"Nothing. It was delightful to read. I was only wondering if you would like to read it at your graduation this year," he implores. In front of the whole school? Unthinkable, I could never do that. I tell him so.

"But you see," he tries.

"No, I'm sorry but I can't," I say.

"Tell me you'll think about it?" he begs. I look into his pleading eyes and give up.

"I'll think about it," I say. I may think about it, but the answer's still no. Not with what I wrote. That wasn't even supposed to be handed in but I left the real one at the orphanage. The bell rings and I walk out with a lot on my mind. The whole day goes by, me disconnected from it all. It's like watching it from the inside out. 

I hurry home and run inside my room. I need some fresh air, I think and crack open the window. I cool breeze dances across my face and I sigh with relief. My window's not very high, maybe half a metre from the ground and I swing my leg over and dangle off the side. Living dangerously, I think and even inside my head the sarcasm is evident. I watch the street for a little while, people running into the bakery to get whatever was left of the two for one sale. Kids on their cellphones and hand held gaming devices, mothers telling them to put the games down and exercise. Lovers holding hands and walking in the park across the street. And me, a ghost, barely there. I swing my other leg over and I'm almost completely out the window. I lean over a little, minding the rose bush under me when someone walks in.

"Hey, Keller. I was wondering if-" somone behind me says. I twist my body around to find James, holding a trumpet. What in the world is he doing here, I try to say but it comes out as a little yelp. My fingers lose their grip on the sill and my legs scratch against the brick of the wall as I tumble out the window and into the rosebush. Thorns stick into my exposed flesh and I struggle to pick them out. Thin lines of blood draw out of the little thorns and they sting like poison. The scene reminds me of when I thought I was insane but I push it out of my mind.

"I've never hated roses so much in my life," I mutter and get up. James peaks out of the window and relief washes over his face to see me all right, once he sees that I'm okay he starts laughing. I brush myself off and stick my tongue out at him.

"Are you going to help me or what?" I ask holding my hand out. He grabs it, thankfully, and pulls me inside.

"How do you fall out a window?" he asks doubling over in laughter.

"I don't know, since when do you not know how to knock?" I scoff. He sits by my bed while I continue to stand.

"What's with the trumpet?" I ask.

"This," he says gesturing to the trumpet, "is what I'm playing for the orchestra."

"You joined the orchestra?" I question. My eyebrows shoot up in doubt.

"Well I can already read sheet music so I thought I might as well join," he shrugs. I hesitantly take a seat next to him.

"Let's hear it," I say. Mistake. He can't play. A smile creeps up on my face and then a full on laugh. I'm wiping tears out of my eyes by the time he's done.

"I'm sorry," I laugh, "What was that?"

"Ode to Joy," he answers glumly, "I don't like this instrument. It sounds like a dying cat." I laugh at his impression of a cat being strangled. "Let's see you try," he offers and tentatively pick up the instrument. I buzz my lips, like you're supposed to and James' right. It does sound like a strangled cat. We take a moment to calm our laughter but everytime we look at each other we set it off again. When we finally stop I find myself beside James, just like one month ago. I gulp and scoot away. His face falls and I go pale, he must be thinking about last month too.

"I miss times like these, just goofing around like idiots," he says bitterly.

"Me too," I agree. We face each other and I come back to his side. He wraps an arm around me and I hold on to it.

"But then..."

"Yeah, last month," he finishes.

"Doesn't mean we can't be friends."

"I think the question is are we friends or something more." I think about that question.

"Let's not think about it now," I answer and his arm is tighter against me. We stay glued together for a long time and I don't think it even matters if we're friends, in this moment at least. I rest my head against his chest and he sets his chin on the crown of my head. It doesn't even matter  because right now nothing matters except not letting words ruin this moment because right now, with James, is perfect.

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