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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25. Nothing You Can Do

Keller's P.O.V

Might as well try again, I say to myself as I run up to the mailbox, each step a climb. I haven't checked the mail in ages and the slightly sick feeling in my stomach is magnified as I lift the flap and peak inside. My breath hitches as I see a lone orange envelope inside, quite thick if I say so myself. I grab it and look for the stamp, from the U.K alright. I see my name on it and run inside to my room. I lock the door and flop down on my bed. I rip open the envelope with shaking fingers and the paper makes a sad little scream of help. I take a shuddering breath in and sum up the courage to see what is says. Your whole future depends on this, I think, no pressure. I flick my eyes over to the top of the page. Dear Miss Alvidas, we are pleased to inform you that... it reads. I let go of my held breath and suddenly the world looks brighter, friendlier, I'm in. I sigh and my eyes roam around the page, hungry for more good news. I catch the word 'scholarship' and I literally scream with joy. I clap a hand over my mouth but continue to giggle with pure happiness around  my bed. The happy words dance around my head as I dance around the room. I collapse onto my bed again and re-read the letter to make sure that I didn't read it wrong.

Finally, I'm leaving this stupid town and all the people in it. My heart jolts as I remember different people, five people to be exact. The Gabriels. I sigh, when I applied for the university I wasn't banking on making last minute friends. I still want to go, don't get me wrong, I've wanted this more than anything, I just don't want to leave a couple people behind. I look inside the the thick envelope finding the scholarship papers and something else, a different brocheure from the one I already have memorized. I gasp at the mere suggestion of it, it says that I, as an international student, must either attend the classes six months in advance of the first semester or risk not being able to find a dorm due to extensive demand of them by native students. The official start is in September, as usual, so I need to leave this month, in April. Proposterous, I can't leave in four weeks. I have graduation, classes, prom(which I've never been excited about), and I have my friends. I can't just leave Ed, Al, Will, Ian and James. Especially not James. I'll just have to risk it. I have enough money to rent a flat outside the campus, I assure myself. But what happens when the money runs out? the evil voice in my head says. Shut up, I hiss at it and push it out of my head. I gaze at the clock across the room, it reads 5:30 and I scramble to get ready. James is picking me up in thirty minutes. I'll tell him I'm going to the University of London but I won't tell him a about leaving early, because I not leaving, I think.

---

I wait outside the orphanage doors for James as he wasn't in his room. I check my hair for the millionth time today but it still looks the same, a long braid going along my shoulder. My hair has grown since January, before it was shoulder length but now it nearly reaches my waist. I was wearing a strapless  red lace dress that hugs my waist but slowly cascades down to hit just above the knee. I slipped on a black leather sleeveless vest and flats and I felt good. This was a good choice, the humidity of night clung to my skin but the occasoinal cool breeze would save me and I know that   I will survive the night. The roar of a pick-up truck resonated through the faded daytime and I turned my head to find James in the driver's seat. I smiled and gratefully hopped in.

"You look great," James says and I smile.

"Thank you, you don't look so bad yourself," I laugh. It was true, he was wearing dark jeans and a blue jean button-up with a white t-shirt underneath.

"So, where're we going?" I ask after he starts driving towards the side of town I've never been before. I bite my lips nervously as streetlights become rare and we're encased in darkness. The bumps in the uneven road cause me to hit the cieling of the truck on more than one occasion.

"What are your two favourite things?" he asks instead.

"Music and books, runner up would probably be food," I answer.

"Exactly, I'm bringing you, and only you, to a musical based on a book," he smiles.

"Only me? Now I feel special," I laugh.

"Yeah, you are, to me," he says and I feel my chest tightens.

"So what's the name of the musical?" I ask excitedly.

"You'll have to wait to see, we're almost there," he says. We pull up  to a packed driveway and walk inside the wide theater. I didn't even know Edge-of-the-World had such a big theater.

"How did you find this place?" I ask gazing up at the high ceilings and well-dressed couples.

"You can find plenty of places when you're drunk," he answers.

"You were drunk when you found this place? How did you remember it?"

"It always stuck with me for some reason and I knew that you'd love this place," he says as we settle in our seats. The lights go down and James holds my hand I let him. The familiar music of Les Mis fills the auditorium and I smile. I loved the movie, how did James know that wanted to watch the musical?

"How'd you know that I love this?" I say.

"You told me on the rooftop once," he whispers.

"Really, I don't remember," I frown.

"Well you did tell me, you just haven't been paying attention."

---

"Let's waste time," sings James.

"Chasing cars," I add.

"Around our head," he finshes. We're sitting in the car singing along to songs on radio as we make our way back to the orphanage. After the preformance we both got a urge to start singing.

"I suck at singing," I complain after belting out the chorus Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol.

"Yeah, I know," agrees James grimly. I smack him on the arm while laughing.

"Sorry I wasn't blessed with great vocal cords," I say, my voice drowned in sarcasm. James doesn't respond while he finishes the rest of th song. I lean against the window of the truck and just listen, getting lost in his voice and those promising words. Even after it ends I close my eyes and replay the lyrics of the song in my head.

"Hey," James says shaking me after a while.

"What?" I ask.

"I thought you were sleeping," he mumbles.

"And miss out on your singing, no way," I say jokingly. Laughter ensues while the engine of the truck coughs, sputters and dies.

"Stupid piece of junk," mutters James while he attempts to revive the engine. He also mumbles an agressive string of swear words as he engine whines and dies again.

"Whose truck is this anyways?" I ask after he calms down.

"Doesn't matter now, we have to walk home," he says and helps me out of the truck. We abandon the damned thing along the side of the road and start walking.  Good thing I wore flats, I think as we walk against the hard, unpaved road. We walk in silence as Jams ruffles his hair in frustration.

"I'm sorry about the truck," he apologises.

"Nah, I don't mind," I say.

"No but I do, I wanted this to be perfect..." his voice trails off. He's so upset, I think sadly. I know just what'll cheer him up. I run into the dark field of  tall grass and start yelling at the top of my voice.

"If I lay here." I start running towards James and I pull him in the field with me.

"If I just lay here! Would you lie with me and just forget the world!" I yell some more.

"What are you doing?" asks James. The stars look like they're lighting up just for me, creating a natural spotlight. I smile up at the sky and run through the grass barefoot. The tall blades scissor against my skin, up my arms and legs but I ignore it and keeping running. I stop and let James catch up with me before running off again.

"You picked the worse time to be crazy again," he pants.

"You said you wanted this to be perfect. Perfect to me would be dancing around in an empty field of grass. It's crazy alright, but it's true."

"You should've told me that before. I would've saved money on the seat reservations for the musical," he jokes and his hands find my waist. Heat flares in that spot and I bring my arms to loop around his neck. He pulls me close and we swing along to music that only exsists in our head.

"Oh the musical was fun, thanks for that. I'm just saying this is better," I say after a while.

"You like the weirdest things," James remarks.

"Well, in books dancing in the middle of a field is always the most romantic thing," I say.

"So if you were in a field, dancing with, let's say, the Grim Reaper, it would still be romantic?" he asks. I visualize the moment, my arms around the Reaper instead of with James and I shudder, disgust flooding my mind.

"Thank you, you just killed fields for me," I say.

"I try..." he trails on. We dance in silence for a moment, not an awkwad silence. After a while silence becomes sacred and you learn to treasure it. I lay my head against his chest and I breathe in his soapy scent. His cheeks meets the top of my head and we swing along to the music.

"I love you," I whisper, finally setting free those three words since my dad made a visit.

"About that," he says. I lift my face and stare aup at James confusedly.

"What do you mean?"

"Nothing it's just that," he starts. His phone buzzes and he, unexpectedly, lets me go to answer it.

"I'm sorry Keller, I need to meet somebody right now. Maybe I can walk you home really quick," he says. My heart sinks and sink and sinks. He's serious, I just told him that I love him and he's thinking about meeting someone else.

"Oh no, it's fine. Since this person is so important to you I don't want to burden you. I'll just go now," I choke out while slipping my flats on again. I run out of the field and run and run and run. My pride is hurt and I feel so embarassed. My throat makes that angry chokind sound and I clasp  my hand over it .Goodness, did I scare him? No, he just doesn't like you like that, the evil voice in my mind says. Every part of me screams in protest but I keep running and I don't look back until I reach the orphanage. I slip inside and collapse on the sofa, tears streaming down in angry rivets. He didn't even bother to stop me, I think before I fall asleep.

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