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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14. Tried Not To Remember

 James' P.O.V

I can't believe that I did that last night. I actually said that I'm falling in love, who says something like that? After I whispered those words and she pulled back  I think I mentally slapped myself. Stupid!, I thought. We met two months ago but we haven't been all that close, unlike her and Ed and Ian, so she must be creeped out. How can I face her?

I shake my hair out of  my eyes in frustration, I shouldn't lose confidence. I inspect my face in the mirror, same dirty blond hair, same blue eyes. Something new about my eyes catches me off guard and I stare a myself some more. Are they sparkling because I'm in love? I shake my head, I've been watching way too many rom-coms. I step out of the washroom and come face to face with Keller, as if my thoughts summoned her. She's a little less than a foot shorter than me so I kind of have to look down at her. It's still relatively early in the morning but Keller still looks striking, even with the outstanding white scar. Her messy nest of dark brown hair surprisingly looks nice around her face and I force down my shyness and meet her dark eyes. My heart thumps so loudly to the point where I'm sure she can hear it . Her eyes show no uncomfortableness and I breathe a sigh of relief, so she's not creeped out. Thank goodness.

"You took long, you must love looking at yourself in the mirror," she smiles with evident humor in her voice.

"Of course, when you've got a face like this..." I joke motioning at my face. She laughs and I smile.

"Conceited, conceited..." Keller  says waving her finger at me. She steps into the washroom and locks the door. I slump against the wall in relief. I was lucky I didn't say anything about last night. Sometimes I ramble on when I'm nervous so it's fortunate that I didn't make word vomit.

I walk out to see the rest of the guys in bed, not surprising. They rarely wake up before noon when they don't need to and right now it's only eleven o'clock. With nothing to do I decide to go for a walk. Hopefully, the clean air will clear my thoughts. Out the door, I barely register the large square box sitting on the steps until it almost trips me. I rub my ankle gloomily and look down at the name the box is for. Surprisingly, it's for  us. Who in the world would send something to us? I look for the name the box is from and the blood drains from my face. This is from the previous orphanage, this is from the place that threw us out after they said they wouldn't. I flashback to all the blood and the water and the prank gone wrong and I nearly scream. In this box is everything that tore us apart, everything we tried not to remember.

Keller's P.O.V

I step out of the shower and into my baggy black sweats and old gray sweater. I'm not trying to impress anyone today and settle with a face free of makeup. I tie up my damp hair in a ponytail and flop onto my bed. I turn on the CD player I borrowed from Ian and put on Feather on the Clyde by Passenger. The instrumental of that song is flowy and mystical and reminds me of last night, the one I spent laughing with James. I flashback to his warm hands at my waist and a shiver runs down my spine.

My face burns red and I rub my forehead thinking that I'm going crazy. I'm crazy, crazy,crazy. No way is it possible that I'm falling for that boy. I flip back to my lasy entry, Dear Diary, I hope I'm not falling in love, it reads. I want to laugh at, I want it to be fake but it's not. The truth that I might be falling in love is as easy to read in my eyes as it is reading it in my book. Blue eyes, blond hair, perfect smile, lovely laugh. Since when is that all I can think about? I hear shouting and things thrown against the wall from the room across from mine.  The noise makes me jump in fright until I realize that it's from the Gabriels' room. Then I start running.

Al's P.O.V

 James runs in out of breath carrying a large box. I open it and tears sting my eyes as I think back to the Wednesday. The day when it all came apart.

I remember the rain, the cold rain that plastered my hair to my scalp in under a minute. I remember the shouting I got when I walked in freezing and wet. My sister Alice was a natural mother. She didn't have any kids of her own, she couldn't have, she was my age when she died, eighteen. But she didn't need any because she loved to treat me like her little baby even if I was a year younger but I would happily oblige, when you're orphaned you tend to soak up all the love you can get. The memory of it makes me tear up, I didn't realize then what I had until she was gone.

The Gabriels and I, we were planning something. We played jokes and pranks, whatever you wanted to call them and we were good at it too. Most of them were harmless, the victims smiling and laughing at their own foolishness afterwards. But sometimes they went too far. One day we climbed up onto the high orphanage roof, planning to throw water baloons down at unsuspecting people, it was harmless, petty, overdone. We were bored and that was the only material at hand. We saw the principal of McGaller, our former high school, come up to the front steps of the orphanage and we threw everything we had at him. It was a blast at first, seeing Mr. Jones' vein get blue with anger. We thought that the worst that could happen was us getting detention or suspension, depending on the mood he was  in. We laughed and laughed, our silly little prank turning hilarious. Suddenly, the door to the roof was thrown open, revealing a very angry principal and an even angrier Alice. I dropped my baloons instantly, the disappointed look on her face giving way to embarassment. I tried to apologize but Mr.Jones kept advancing. I walked all the way to the edge of the roof, frightened by heights.

"You little bastard," was all that came out of the principal's mouth before he pushed me. I stumbled over my feet until I fell off the edge. I managed to grab the very edge of the roof before falling completely down. Mr.Jones' foot was poised to step on my fingers, fingers that were grasping for life itself.

"Don't you dare touch my brother!" screamed Alice and out of nowhere I see Alice tackle the guy to the ground, her thin fingers around his neck but they too were not immune to gravity as they reached the edge. They fell down, down into the cobble stone street, down into whatever lay ahead of them. The large brown eyes of Alice wide and unseeing, her neck bent at an odd angle. I remember the sound my throat made when strangled by grief before the memory goes black.

That's what was in the box, those memories I would and could never forget. The Gabriels' nerver forgave themselves for it. They blamed themsleves for what was completely my fault. It was my fault that we got kicked out of the orphanage and the school. My fault why we moved countries and had to start over again. My fault two people lay dead on the ground that day. If only I had been a better brother and stayed inside like Alice told me to.

"What are they playing at sending stuff like this to us?" asks Ian outraged. He holds up pictures of the crime scene. The others sit in silence, their faces devoid of blood. We almost didn't notice Keller standing at the door. Ian turns around facing Keller and motioning for her to come in. We recount the story to her, her eyes widening in shock and her lips turning white.

'What a complete monster," she whispers about Mr.Jones, 'How can you do that to a student?" She's wedged between James and me and puts a comforting arm around me. I bury my head in her shoulder, ashamed. I let the pain destroy me. She was wrong, I am weak.

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