How to save a life

Ava and Luke have been best friends for 11 years, but Luke is drifting away. Depression has taken over him and his multiple suicide attempts have left Ava with only one option; to show her friend that life is worth living before she loses him completely.
Follow them on their journey through Lukes bucket list.

Based off the song by The Fray.

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7. Step 7 : He will admit to everything

The guitar underneath my bed was old and dusty, but as I reached underneath for my long since dropped purse my hand had brushed against it.

It's still in good shape.

It was a dark purple coloured fender acoustic. Very old, it used to be my mums when she was younger. I used to play but now I'd forgotten the key steps. I ran my hands across the strings, wincing at the dull pangs it created. I smiled.

What was that song I'd learned in keyboard lessons in primary school...? How to save a life by The Fray. I'd converted it to acoustic for a personal project.

I placed it against my side cabinet, then recovered the purse I'd gone down for. Today, myself and Luke were going to ride Psycoaster. Number six, and the fifth and last thing I was going to make true for him. It was meant to be the fourth until I realised he'd made that one happen for himself. He'd kissed me, number 9 on the list.

I was still stunned.

It hadn't been my first kiss. That had been in Year 7, at an end of year party we'd gone to in a game of spin the bottle. But I doubted that actually counted... Apparently it had been a first for Luke.

I threw my swimming bag over my shoulder and glanced at my reflection before I left. This time Lukes mum was driving us to the theme park, so I'd dressed in simple jeans, blue flat shoes and a white blouse beneath my unzipped hoodie in an attempt to get her to like me more than she currently did. Despite knowing it would only get messed up in the speed of the coaster I'd taken the effort to curl my unruling blond hair too. For once I looked slightly OK.

They were waiting outside for me. My mum rushed me out of the door, thanked Lukes mum, then kissed me half-heartedly before I got in the car and escaped.

"Hello, Ava." She smiled. Her greying nut-brown hair was in tight ringlets, cropped to her shoulders. Her lips were a shocking pink and her grey eyes lined with striking eye liner. I could tell the smile was forced, and Luke glared at her in the wing mirror. I didn't understand why she was donating all this money to let me spend more time with her son if she hated me so much.

"Hi Miss Faridim. Hi Luke." I smiled back. Luke took my hand, returning the gesture. I felt slightly uncomfortable - and not just because we were heading to ride a death machine that was so terrifying you had to sign a waiver to ride it. It felt strange being so close to Luke now after yesterday, when he'd so casually pecked my lips before disappearing indoors.

I decided to swallow my pride and confront him about it, later when his mum was out of earshot.

***

"Are you ready?" Luke said, looking over at me. I glanced out of the window past him to the theme park. The dark structure behind the stalls and games looked terribly more menacing than it should have. Racked with realisation that I was about to ride that god awful thing, I nodded and stepped out past him. A chilling blast cold air hit me in the face. I folded my arms instinctively across my chest.

He sighed. "Bùyào hàipà, Ava." 

I raised an eyebrow. What was that, an insult? "Should I know what that means?"

"Probably not." He teased. I gritted my teeth. "I'll throw you out of that carriage." I threatened, poking him in the collar irritably. He rolled his eyes. "It means you shouldn't worry. Come on." He reached out and placed a hand on my shoulder, leading me back past some tents and stalls. I saw a few other people in life jackets on the log flume. One person, a boy just a bit older than us, had fallen off and was laughing hysterically. His friend was stood at the side of the ride in dry clothes filming and looking smug.

"Ride time?" Luke grinned at me. I looked at the fast approaching coaster again nervously and shuddered. "I guess."

My legs felt like jelly, a fire of excitement and terror burning a hole in my stomach by the time we reached the 15 minute long queue of suicidal idiots. 

"Short line." Luke said after a moments silence that I spent reading the waifer that had been handed to me.

Warning : Do not ride if you are ;

- Under 16 years

- Over 50 years 

- In any way disabled

- Pregnant

- Asthmatic

- Mentally unfit

- Below 110cm

- Above 80kg...

"Because people generally like living." I mumbled. I really wanted to throw up...

Luke chuckled. Though I was too sick to concentrate on him. I glanced around, trying to think about other things. The pin stripe tent opposite us? The giant swing in the distance? Over Lukes shoulder infront of us in the line were two boys, surprisingly our age and I had to admit, pretty good looking. I avoided eye contact before one of them, a blonde haired boy who resembled the popular guy at my school, grinned out of the corner of my eye and approached by shouldering Luke away. 

"Hey." He said. He had a deep voice, and no where near as gentle as Lukes. It was off-putting. I looked up just slightly through my eyelashes. "Hi..."

"Will I be escorting you on the ride, then?" He smirked. His smirk wasn't funny like Lukes, either.  It was weird. Disconcerting. And I winced.

"That's fine, I have my -"

"Boyfriend!" Luke cried. My eyes widened. Boyfriend? Had he completely lost his mind? Lukes arm draped around my shoulders, and he planted a kiss on my head. "So stop looking at her like that?" He ordered. His tone sounded harsh, commanding.

I looked up at him in surprise to see his eyebrows knitted, his lips curled into a snarl like he was ready to were-wolf up and growl at him or something.

He led me away behind a few people. It barely mattered as we were nearer to the front now.

"Boyfriend?" I whispered, trying not to sound too furious. I crossed my arms. "Boyfriend?"

He shifted, dropping his arm to his side from around me. He leaned slightly forward in a guilty slouch. "I didn't like the way he was talking to you, looking at you... I stepped in, that's all." He breathed.

I blinked hard. "You couldn't have just asked him to get a life?"

He looked at his feet and shrugged. My heart, cheesily, gave a flip at the saddened expression on his face, like he felt terrible. He appeared so sweet and innocent it was misleading that he'd just death glared some idiot for being a flirt.

I looked up and lifted his chin slightly, since he was so slumped I was almost eye to eye with him for once. There was so much I wanted to know now...

"Why did you do that? And why did you kiss me yesterday?" I asked as gently as I could. His blue eyes bore into mine, lips parted just slightly in frustration. Then he stepped back sharply.

"I like you Ava. But I understand you don't feel the same way... I didn't want to tell you in case it ruined our friendship. I..." He had tensed up, he was nervous. I could tell from how he jabbed his fingers together. "You probably just think I'm a suicidal freak like everybody else deep down. Why else would you do all of this?"

I was the girl. The sentence scribbled out on his list of what was wrong - That was about me. All this time he'd liked me?

At skydiving... ; "You mean a lot." He breathed.

At the drive in movie... ; "I know I'm gorgeous but you gotta stop staring at my like that." He teased.

Last night outside his house... ; He leaned in and pressed a gentle kiss on my lips, lingered there, then stepped back. "Night, I'll call you tomorrow." He smiled.

I grabbed his hand. "Don't you dare say that! I'm doing this because I care about you! You mean so much more to me than you know, and I don't want to lose you." I looked at my bare feet just an inch deep in the water with colour spreading across my pale cheeks. "It's embarrassing that I just realised why that is."

A smile crept across his lips. "Yes?"

I hesitated. What I was about to say could go beautifully, or the other way. I decided to take the risk.

"I like you too, Luke." I blurted. "I... I mean... I didn't want to tell you either just in case -"

He cut me off with a chuckle, and he took my hands. "In case it ended badly? How about we just take a risk?"

I smiled. There was no reason left not to. All this time I was deceiving myself, I was making problems that didn't need to be there. I'd told myself I couldn't love him, that that would be wrong. I just had to accept my feelings and everyone would have been happier. "That doesn't sound too bad."

Luke led me onwards to the nearest carriage. The terror was diminishing, replaced by a giddiness I didn't even attempt to swallow.

"Ready for the ride now?" Luke asked in a lovely, gentle tone. A man strapped us both in, the second carriage back in the row of 8 seats. The adrenaline was made more extreme by having Luke there beside me. Then from the corner of my sight a lever was pulled, and we were launched up at an impossible, mind numbing speed up the coaster. 

I screamed at the top of my lungs. Not from fear, no. Though the wind blasting me in the face and the twists and turns of the ride weren't exactly in my comfort zone. I screamed because I was happy. Because I was finally letting out what I'd kept in for so long.  Because now I understood that maybe, just maybe, I didn't need steps to save a life. I didn't need any technique in fact. Just love.

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