Nowhere

She is hanging below me, clinging to a loose rope. I reach out. She’s too far away. She is too afraid to let go, and I am too afraid to lean out any further.
She’s helpless.
The rope creaked ominously. I look up instinctively, and in that second I see the rope snap high above us. My head snaps down in an instant. Just quick enough to see her fall.
I hear my own screams mixed in with hers.
“Megan…!”
***

Lauren's friend, Megan, died five years ago and Lauren has never really gottten over it. Finally she decides that it's time for her to face her fears. She goes back to the place Megan died, hoping to find it in herslef to move on. What she doesn't bargin on is what she discovers about her death. What really happened? And what has it got to do with Lauren? All the while she finds herself falling for boy she'd have ben better off running far away from...

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12. Dead Best Friends Ex

I shift, slowly waking up, my neck in an uncomfortable position. I sit up, groaning as I move my head, rolling it around to get rid of the kink in my neck. I’m too tired to open my eyes though, so I put my head back down against the window. It registers that my head is resting of something soft. I inhale deeply and a familiar smell greets me - Tyler. I bury my head into the makeshift pillow, breathing in his smell, before I realise what I’m doing. I sit up abruptly, instantly awake. I look down as see Tyler’s jumper. Ergh, I need to get a grip.

  A glance out of the window tells me too things; it’s the middle of the night and we’ve stopped moving. I look across at Tyler who is sleeping peacefully, minus a jumper. A shiver sends itself down my spine and I look down, remembering I only have a dress on. Damn, I should have remembered to get a jacket, but we left too quickly. Tyler’s jumper catches my eye, but I look away, refusing to get any closer to him.

  After another few minutes of suffering in silence, I reluctantly pull on his jumper, feeling his warmth and scent envelope me. I shouldn’t like the feeling, but I do, and I snuggle deeper into the jumper.

  Because Tyler is obviously exhausted – not having had as much sleep as me – I let him sleep, listening to his rhythmic breathing. I look out at the dark sky and take the time to just think about everything. It’s not something I want to do, but more something I feel I have to. I’ve I put it off too long, I’ll burst with the effort. My life has turned upside down in a matter of a day. I’m now on the run from some sort of rogue agency and possibly the police. I’m sitting in a car with the guy who is supposed to kill me and I’m a murder. I shudder despite Tyler’s jumper. I feel a silent tear slide down my cheek.

  I jump suddenly as arms wrap around my waist. I spin around out of their grasp, but I relax immediately when I see Tyler has woken up.

  “Shh,” He comforts, “It’s okay, it’s just me.” Who did I think it was going to be? I shake myself for being stupid. I start into Tyler’s eyes I melt.

  I nod slowly, but let another tear slip down my cheek. “I know, I just...” How can I even start to explain what’s going around my head? I can’t understand half of it myself.

  But Tyler gets the gist. “It’s going to be okay Lauren.” He reaches over and wipes a tear from my cheek and his hand lingers there sending shock waves through my body at his touch.

  He leans in close, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. I try to duck my head, but he puts a finger underneath my chin and lifts it up until I’m looking him in the eye. I lean forward instinctively and he does the same until our lips are almost touching.

  Then I realise what I’m doing and I pull back sharply. I’m about the kiss my best friend’s ex. My dead best friend’s ex. I can’t do this.

  I open the car door and step out into the dark, slamming the door behind me. I take several deep breaths of cool night air to clear my head and calm my racing heart.

 It’s a clear sky and as I look up, I can see all the stars. In London you can’t see the stars because it’s the city that never sleeps, but here, in the middle of no where, it feels like the whole world is asleep and it’s just me and the stars... and Tyler.

  I hear him get out of the car after a minute and stand next to me, but he keeps his distance, as if he’s scared to get too close. Or scared of what I might do if he get’s too close.

  I sigh and Tyler turns his head away from the stars to look at me. I reluctantly do the same.

  “What’s wrong?”

  “Nothing,” I lie.

  “Come on, I know you better than that – what’s the matter?”

  “Apart from the fact I killed someone-” he’s about to correct me, so I do it myself. “Okay, I might have killed someone, and, oh, I have a rogue government after me, trying to kill me?”

  “Yes,” He replies seriously.

  I sigh again the irritation draining out of me, “Megan.”

  He frowns, “That’s what this is about?” He knows instantly that I’m not talking about her death.

  “Yes, that’s what this is about Tyler.” I say, annoyed. “I can’t kiss my dead best friend’s ex.”

  “Lauren, why won't you listen to me – that was five years ago!”

  “Did you, or did you not kiss?” I sound unbelievably jealous, but I can’t help it.

  “Lauren...”

  “I want an answer.”

  Tyler sighs, “Yes we did, but it doesn’t matter because it’s what’s happening here and now that matters. And I like you now.”

  “ONLY BECAUSE SHE’S DEAD!” I scream at him without thinking. Instantly regretting it, I bury my head in my hands before I can see his expression, ashamed of myself.

  “Is that really what you think?” He asks sadly.

  “Do I think that you’ll never like me as much as her? Yes! You went out with her for god’s sake. She didn’t even tell me.” I bite my lip, but then continue, “I’m just your rebound – your way of getting over Megan, because I was close to her, you see her in me.” I sob, letting out all the fears that have been building up since Tyler told me about him and Megan. Boys will always choose Megan over me.

  “That’s not how it is, I swear to you.”

  “Stop kidding yourself! You can’t bring Megan back, so you go for second best – her best friend. Every time you smile at me, all you see is Megan. Then you realise it’s just little old me.” I give a harsh laugh. “What a disappointment.”

  “No! Lauren don’t you ever think that! You are nothing like Megan and you never will be, but I like you for who you are, not because you were her friend.”

  “You hate me!”

  “I don’t hate you!”

  “Yes you do, or you wouldn’t have signed up to kill me!”

  “God dammit Lauren, I told you that’s not how it happened. I don’t hate you, I wanted to hate you but I couldn’t.” Tyler puts his hands on my shoulders, weighing my down.

  I look up at him. “Oh, so you don’t hate me, you just want to hate me, oh now it all makes sense.” You could sink a boat with the amount of sarcasm in my voice.

  “Just listen to me.” I purse my lips, but somehow manage to stay quiet. “Okay, so I still haven’t completely gotten over Megan’s death, but I don’t think anyone that was there that day has gotten over seeing her die. But that doesn’t mean I haven’t moved on. You lost a good friend, but you still made friends with Chloe so, in your own way, you moved on.” He reinforces his words by shaking my shoulders. “That’s what I’ve done; moved on.

  “But Tyler,” I almost plead with him. “Every time you’re with me, you’ll think of when you were with Megan and I’ll think of you two together. It will only taint our relationship.” I wince when I realise how desperate I sound. I want Tyler and me to work so badly. I want him to tell me that it will be fine, that we can work it out and get over it eventually. He goes one better.

  “Lauren if I could, I don’t think I’d change anything-”

  “You wouldn’t change anything?!” I cry in disbelief, “What about Megan dying, Chloe ending up in hospital, me being stabbed? You wouldn’t change any of it?”

  He winces, realising what he’s said. “That’s not what I meant.”

  “What did you mean then?”  I snap.

  “Just let me finish!” He takes a breath and continues more calmly, “I wouldn’t change it because now I’ve met you and I have another chance. If Megan were still alive, it wouldn’t change my feelings for you.”

  I frown at him, trying to process what he’s said, “So... so you would pick...”

  He nods, his eyes not leaving mine. I can see the sincerity of what he’s saying reflected in his dark eyes. “Yes, I would pick you over Megan if she were still alive.”

  I feel a small spread across my face, but I can’t let myself fall for him all over again. I shake my head at him, but I can feel myself believing him.

  “I’ll prove it.” His eyes spark and I suck in a breath as they inch closer to mine.

  “How?” I breathe.

  He doesn’t reply, instead he cups his hands around my face and presses his lips to mine. His touch sends sparks through my body. He his lips are soft, but there’s an urgency to the kiss, like he’s trying to tell me something. At first I just stand there, unable to move from shock. My hands hang limply at me sides. He starts to pull away, but then I find the use of my arms, and I run them up Tyler’s arms and then his neck, resting them on the back of his head. I tangle my fingers in his blond hair and I pull his face back towards me. His lips met mine again, but this time I respond with just as much urgency, as if our time’s running out. Maybe it is. His hands wrap around my waist, drawing me nearer until our bodies are pressed against each other. When finally we pull away we are both breathing heavily, but he smiles and I return it.

  “Believe me now?”

  “Yes.”

  Tyler pulls me to him again and I bury my face in his chest and sigh. “Thank you.” I breathe.

  He chuckles softly. “What for? Kissing you?”

  I laugh weakly. “That as well, but I meant with Yasmin - You saved my life. And before that you stopped me jumping after Chloe.”

  “I could leave you.” He whispers into my ear, sending shivers down my spine. I hope he thinks it’s the cold, but I can’t fool him. “I don’t know what I would have done if you had died.”

  “Jump after me?” I joke

  “That’s not funny.” I feel him frown against my hair. “I might have done.”

  I turn and pull away from him slightly so I can see his face. “I honestly thought you hated me. After the waterfall, I just didn’t know what to think.”

  He shakes his head, “I think I just forgot about everything; my job, Megan, Yasmin and it was just you and me. I was angry with myself after for flirting with you like that, because I promised myself there was no way I was going to fall for you.”

  I raise an eyebrow and smirk at him. “Flirting?”

  His blush is almost undistinguishable in the dark night. “Well, I just couldn’t resist.”

  I smile and press my lips to his for just a short few seconds before Tyler pulls back and he pulls something out of his pocket. I can’t see what it is, but he reaches up and puts it around my neck. I look down and see my silver heart resting around my neck.

  I pull in a sharp breath. “Oh my god, where did you find this?”

  Tyler smiles at my reaction. “At the high ropes course. I stayed behind for a minute and I saw this on the ground. I’d seen you wearing it, so I took it. I forgot about it until now.”

  I cock my head to the side, staring up at him wonderingly. “Thank you. Really, I thought I’d lost it forever.” He smiles in answer. I can’t help but ask. “Why did you stay behind?”

  He shrugs. “I wanted to avoid Yasmin.”

  I wince as he says he name, but Tyler cups my face in his hands. “You’ll be okay Lauren. I won't let anyone hurt you.”

  I smile and lean up to meet his lips. Somehow I believe him. Nothing can ever happen when I’m with Tyler.

Yet, a niggling feeling tells me I'm wrong.

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