"Remember when we were little, we used to always walk down this road? We only did when we ever wanted to be alone," he said.
"Yeah. So much has changed since then."
"I miss that feeling."
"So do I."
Sydney Edwards never wanted to fall in love. She always believed that a relationship could slow her down, not being able to spend enough time with her friends. But that was 5 years ago, when she was 13. Now, she only has one last summer before she goes to a 4-year college school without coming home.
When she arrives at her family's lake house for the first time in 5 years, she begins to hang out with her long loss friends. But she realizes...her best friend Niall has gotten 5 years cuter. The best friend she's been looking for her whole life has finally turned to her...the one she left behind.


3. Chapter Three

**The Next Morning**

I practically sprinted out of bed when I woke up the next day. I ran down the wooden steps that creaked every step I made and fast-walked into the kitchen, finding my dad sitting at the table. He had a dull look on his face, his fingers tightly wrapped around the newspaper he was holding. He peered at me over his glasses.

"Why so jumpy?" He asked me. He had some kind of sharpness in his voice.

Normally I'm not this awake after I just woke up. I actually wondered the same thing. Maybe it's because I get to see my 4 best friends again. No...that is the reason.

"Um...do you remember my friends here? Every year, I'd hang out with them, and--"

"Friends? Yeah, I remember your friends..." He mumbled.

"Yeah. Britain, Megan, Savannah and Niall--"

"Niall? Niall?! You mean the Niall? The one who I didn't want you to date?" He stood up. 

A wave of pain washed over me, drowning me with it's powerful force of memories. I do remember, all of the sudden. My dad never wanted me to be around Niall, and I never knew why. I would always tell him that it wasn't fair, because Niall was (and is) my best friend. My dad would always yell back that he's a bad influence and that I needed to hang out with someone else. But I never knew why, and I still don't. He doesn't swear. He doesn't go to parties every night and get high. He doesn't drink, smoke or do drugs. He doesn't even have any tattoos. He comes from a nice family and doesn't really care about what others think of him. He's totally selfless, meaning he cares more about other people. He treats me right like a guy friend would, and he doesn't tell lies and doesn't spread rumors about other people. He has the ability to make me laugh at something so stupid, and he's always been there for me. He's just the perfect friend, and I don't know what my dad sees in him that's negative. 

"What do you see in him, dad? What makes you think he's a bad influence? And how can you still think that? That was 5 years ago. You don't know what he's like now," I spat. My dad raised his eyebrows.

"Yeah, exactly. You don't know what he's like now, either. He could be hiding something really big from you, and you don't even realize it."

I shook my head. 

"Niall would never do that..." I murmured. 


"Nothing," I said. I really don't need to have him hear that. It would just start a bigger argument.

"No. What did you say?" He raised his voice, anger slipping out. Why is he so mad? Did he see me or something yesterday? 

And it's not like he can't stop me from seeing Niall. Niall hangs out with Megan, Savannah and Britain too, so we'd both see each other anyways.

"I said...Niall would never do that."

He shot me a glare.

"You honestly don't know that. People change in five years, Syd."

I clenched my hands into fists. I hate being called 'Syd.' It bugs the crap out of me.

"Don't call me Syd. You know I hate that."

He nodded. 

"Why do you hate Niall? Or actually...why did you? Back then?" I looked down at my bare feet. 

He took a deep breath, then sat down.
"Do you remember when his and our family went to the beach together a few years ago? When you were about...12?"

I nodded, but didn't look up from my feet.

"Well...you were in the bathroom, and he was talking to us about you. He um...told us he liked you."

I shot my head up, and he nodded. I had assumed it before, but I didn't think it was actually real.


He nodded again. "I thought that you were too young to date, so I just passed it off as calling him a bad influence. I knew you liked him, so I didn't want to ruin it for you."

"Dad...you could've just told me that. I would've understood. It would've been a lot better anyways. Calling him a bad influence is like saying you didn't want me to hang out with him at all. But I did, because he was my friend."

"Yeah, I know. I should've done that. I'm sorry."

"That's fine. But why are you mad now? Why don't you want me to hang out with him now?"

"Well, you just had to see the point. If he does ask you out, say yes. I'll let you date him."

I smiled. "Ok."

I hate breakfast, threw a tshirt and a pair of pink shirt shorts over my bikini and took my hair out of the braids I put in last night. I walked out the door with my phone in my pocket and walked down the long, gravel road.
I passed the beach, the boat landing, and headed into the Beach Neighborhood. The sun was shining bright, the humidity feeling sticky on my arms. The trees slowly multiplied as I walked farther from the city. I remember the Beach Neighborhood. The houses are buried in trees, the yards having their own privacy. 

"Sydney!" A voice yelled behind me. I turned around, finding Niall running at me. He was wearing a grey cut-off with a pair of black althetic shorts.

"Hey," he said once he reached me. "I was just walking to Britain's. I assume you were going, considering I haven't seen ya since yesterday."

I laughed. "Yeah, it's been so long! How've ya been?" 

"Good! You?"

"Good. Great, actually. I saw my four long-loss friends yesterday at Olson's!" I nudged him in the side.

His cheeks heated to a rosy-pink. I couldn't help but smile.

I trotted along beside him as we walked. He told me everything that I missed. Everything I wasn't able to share memories with. Everything, pretty much. I was so amazed. I found out that Megan and Britain had kissed last year at the top of a Ferris wheel at the 4th of July fair, I found out that Savannah had gotten a job at Olson's, but then got fired, a lot of things I missed.

I looked at Niall as he talked. He looked so different since the last time I saw him. His hair was a lot longer, spiked up and out of his face, a platinum blonde like the sun shining above us. His eyes were a lot bluer, like the color of the ocean. He had long, muscular arms and a toned chest. 

I remember he took me to the End of Summer Bash dance when we were both 13. It was just me and him, no Megan, Savannah or Britain. No one except our parents knew we were there. It was before we went to camp out under the tree. I remember when a slow song had played. He had taken me in his arms, swaying me back and forth to the rhythm of the music. I had laid my head on his shoulder, his body feeling warm and tender. He had held me close, not wanting to let go. I knew he had been crazy in love with me. He wanted to kiss me.

I snapped back into reality when he caught me looking at him. I quickly looked away, and he just laughed.

He took my hand in his, entwining his fingers with mine. His hand was so soft. 

"Remember when we were little, we used to always walk down this road? We only did when we ever wanted to be alone," he said. 

"Yeah. So much has changed since then."

"I miss that feeling."

All I could do was nod. How was I supposed to respond to that?

Then, we reached a dock. The dock. The dock we all spent hours watching the sunset, or jumping off of. It still looked the same, faded tan color it always had. Beside it was a large tree with a tire swing tied to a branch. I remember that, too. We always swung off of it, making huge slashes when we hit the water. Niall let go of my hand. 

"You know, we still have time." He said, nudging me. I knew what he was thinking.

I smiled, kicked my shoes off and ran down the small steps, with Niall on my tail, us both laughing. I slowed down once I felt my bare feet touch the rough wood. I missed this place so much.

"What's the matter?" Niall asked.

"Nothing, it's just...I missed this place so much."

"I missed you being here," He took a step closer to me. "We were all so lost without you."

"I know, you told me."

He paused, then quickly fanned himself. "It's really hot out today. I hope we can go swimming." He smirked.

"Yeah, I know."

He stepped closer to me, placing his hands on my waist. He stared blankly into my eyes.

"Sydney, I..." He paused when I placed my hands on his shoulders.


"Sike!" He threw me over his shoulder, running toward the end of the dock. I exploded of laughter. He ran off of it, with me under his arms. The force of the air pushed against me, lifting my hair up from my shoulders right before I felt a cold splash on my body.

When I came up for air, I pushed my wet hair out of my face. Niall quickly shook his head, ringing the water out from his hair. We were both still laughing. 

"What did you do that for?" I laughed, swimming toward the dock and climbing up the ladder to get out. He was right behind me. I stepped up on the rough wood again, feeling a warm breeze trickle my face, my hair, my arms, then finally my legs.

"No reason. It's just that we both used to do that all the time," he said, walking over to me. He shook his head again, the remaining droplets of water hitting my face. He's right. We did used to do that. But not just us to. Britain would do it to me and Niall would do it to Megan, or I would do it to Savannah and Britain would do it to Niall. We all kind of mixed each others up. 

I remember everything about this place...thanks to Niall. He pretty much holds the memories we all 5 of us shared together. And if it wasn't for him, I wouldn't remember at least half of them. He just...is amazing to do that. He is the perfect way to remember something, and that's what I absolutely love about him.

"What?" He whispered. I've been staring at him. I didn't even realize I was looking straight into his eyes. I was so deep in thought that I didn't even see him move. Well, I did...but I didn't really pay attention, I guess. I quickly looked away.

"Nothing," I whispered back.

He nervously wrung out his shirt, making it now less wet. "Sydney, I want to tell you something. I um..."

He leaned in closer to me. I tilted my head to the right a little, slightly feeling his breath. 

I don't want to kiss him. I can't kiss him. I don't want to ruin our friendship. If he tells me he likes me (if he still does), I would ruin it for the both of us. But, I can't reject him. That's worse.

He leaned in closer, but I stopped him. "What do you want to tell me?" I said, causing him to pull back a little.

"Um...I want to tell you...that..."

I heard running coming from a distance. I stepped away from Niall. 

"Cannonball!" Megan yelled. She came sprinting around the corner, her flip flops falling off from behind her. She ran off the dock, splashing into the water. Me and Niall both laughed.

"I saw you guys walk here a little earlier. I was in my house and I saw you walking. I kind of figured you both had jumped in, but I didn't know for sure. I was getting my bag ready for the beach!" She said once she came up. 

"So you didn't know we jumped in?" Niall asked her. 

"I do now!" She said, hopping out of the water. "So are we going to the beach, or what?"

"Yeah. We were just going to Britain's," I said.

"I know. We should go because I think Savannah's already there, and they might be waiting for us," Megan suggested. She started walking ahead of us, me and Niall following her footsteps.

"So, what did you want tell me?" I asked him.

"Oh! Right, um...it can wait."

"Oh, ok."

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