Taking You For Granted

Oliver had always been around, and so he would always be around... Just, as a friend. That's all he was, she swore to herself. But, when something terrible happens she's forced to take a new look at her longest standing, never changing relationship.

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8. onward to the future

I shared a bed with Carolyn that night, not that she thought anything would happen with all of us in the same room. I was just terrified of hurting him if I tossed or turned the wrong way in my sleep.

I woke up to the smell of coffee.

I opened my eyes to see Oliver carrying a box of donuts and a cardboard drink carrier with three coffee cups.

I was relieved to see that he was moving around like he wasn't hurting and the swelling in his eye was almost gone, leaving the dark shadow of a bruise.

"Good morning ladies," he smiled and placed the box and the carrier on the dresser.

He came over to me and leaned in to kiss me, but I blocked him with my hand.

"Morning breath," I explained, but he pulled my hand away and kissed me anyways.

"You worry about the silliest things," he smiled and kissed me again.

Carolyn came out of the bathroom and cleared her throat.

"Just a reminder that we need to head to the district attorney's office in thirty minutes," she smiled and Oli pulled away.

I sat up, swung my legs over the side of the bed, and dragged myself to my suitcase to pull out the outfit I'd chosen for today.

I didn't want to look like a silly teenager, but I also didn't want to look like I was trying to hard, either. So, I had chosen my nicest dress, a belted shirt dress with a collar a buttons running all the way down the front. It was navy blue with white daisies printed all over it. I had gotten it to wear to my welcome home party when I got out of the hospital three years ago. I was pleased that it still fit me.

Oliver looked nice in a white button down shirt and indigo dyed jeans. We were both wearing Chuck Taylor's, something I just didn't feel like myself without. Carolyn had dressed up a bit, too. She wore a pretty pink blouse and a black pencil skirt with kitten heals. If it weren't for the bruises on Oliver's face, I would have liked to have gotten a picture of us all together. Maybe I'd ask to do it anyway.

We left the hotel after eating our donuts, loading our bags back into the Explorer because we'd be heading straight to the campsite after the meeting with the attorney.

Mr. Evans was waiting for us in the lobby, and unbelievably beautiful woman in a perfectly tailored jet black suit beside him. Her wavy blonde hair looked like it cost thousands to have done, and yet effortless at the same time. Like if you asked her how she did it, you'd think she was lying when she said she just brushed it and it turned out like this.

Mr. Evans shook our hands and introduced us, "Juniper Hill, this is Carla Brown. Carla, this is Juniper, her boyfriend, Oliver Galaviz, and his mother, whom I actually haven't met in person. Hi, I'm Thomas Evans. We spoke on the phone yesterday."

Mr. Evans reached out to shake Carolyn's hand.

"Yes, it's nice to finally meet you," She smiled and shook both of their hands. "Carolyn Galaviz."

"I'm glad to meet you all," Carla smiled. "Tom told me you've taken Juniper into your home."

The last part sounded like a question, so I answered, "Yes. My mother wanted me to keep quiet, so I left home. I guess that would make me a runaway."

"Have you turned eighteen, yet, June?" She asked and I nodded.

I had turned eighteen back in January.

"Then you are no longer a minor," she smiled. "You're free to make your own choices about where you'll live and about what you will or will not keep quiet."

I really, really like Carla Brown.

"Would you all care to come up to my office?" She asked.

After an hour in her office, I felt like my head was going to explode. After another hour, I just wanted to crawl under a rock. She had me recount exactly what had happened in detail at the party the previous weekend. We also discussed Eddie's actions following the party, as well as what happened when I approached the police.

Carla thanked us for our time, said she would be in touch with us about next steps. I gave her the dress I'd worn to the party before we left.

Mr. Evans took us out to lunch at a Japanese ramen house.

"I know that wasn't easy," he said to me. "Took a lot of guts to recount all of that so calmly. How have you been holding up?"

I shrugged my shoulders. I had good days and bad.

"If you're interested, I can work with the school counselor and help you find someone to talk with," he offered, to which I quickly shook my head.

I'd seen my fair share of shrinks. I had a veritable tool shed of techniques they'd given me in the past.

"I think I'll be okay," I said. "I'll let you know if I think I need it."

"The offer always stand," he smiled.

After lunch, we got back into the Explorer and hit the road, a bit uncomfortable in our fancy clothes. We were only an hour or so from the state park.

Once we made it, we changed into more comfortable clothes in the bathhouse and carried out tents down to the spot we had rented.

We set up the tents, then started to get a few other things set up.

"You guys go explore," Carolyn suggested. "I'm saying this for selfish reasons. I want to go sit by the river a read a book in quiet. Come back before it gets dark, though, and we'll eat dinner."

Oliver took my hand and we obeyed, hiking a mile or so along a well worn trail. We stumbled upon a gorgeous swimming hole. It was about twenty foot across, fed by a small waterfall above and feeding into another small waterfall below.

Before I could say anything, Oli had kicked off his shoes, taken off his shirt, and was unbuttoning his jeans.

"I'm not skinny dipping," I stated firmly.

"I've got boxers on," he smiled brightly. "Don't tell me you went commando."

I shook my head as he shook his feet out of his pant legs and jumped in. His head came up of out the water and his teeth were chattering.

"Cold?" I asked.

"N-no," he lied. "C-come on. The w-water's fine."

He was too adorable. I swallowed my embarrassment and slipped my feet out of my Tom's. Then I dropped my shorts, thankful I was wearing relatively cute and opaque briefs. I pulled my tshirt off over my head and dropped it to the ground, the last thing to go. My bra was a little more problematic, a light pink sports bra with no padding. If the water was as cold as he made it seem, the bra would be all but pointless in keeping my dignity.

But, it was Oliver. When he looked at me, stripped down, his eyes didn't roam over me like I'd expect any other boy to do. He just smiled at me, like he was excited for me to join him in this little adventure.

And that was the point, wasn't it?

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