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.


9. saying it and meaning it

I made the terrible mistake of just dipping my toe into the water first.

"Y-you've gotta just jump in!" He exclaimed.

I shook my head in vehement opposition to the idea, shrinking back from the cold, spring fed waters.

He swam toward me and quickly pulled himself onto the bank. I started laughing nervously as I backed away from him.

He swept me off of the ground and into his dripping arms. I just giggled away as he jumped into the water with me in his arms. We submerged with a splash. I was already shivering when our heads came back for air.

"This is the same trick you've pulled on me for the past thirteen summers," I griped and pulled on his ear.

"Ow!" He swatted my hand away and laughed. "It's not a trick if you're too slow and caught up in giggling to get away. Am I wrong?"

I shook my head.

It really had become something of a first-swim-of-the-year ritual at this point.

He started to spin us in slow circles. A few birds were chirping in the distance over the sound of burbling water. Butterflies flew overhead.

It was like a moment out of a Disney Princess movie. If it weren't for being so damn cold, I would have thought it was a dream.

I lazily twisted my fingers through his damp curls as he continued our aquatic waltz.

He bent his head down and touched his forehead to mine.

"What are you thinking about?" He asked.

"How good this is," I sighed. "And how I'm afraid I'll lose it."

"At this point, there's no way you'd lose me," he said and kissed my cheek. "I've seen you on your worst days. You can't scare me away. You tried that, remember?"

I shook my head, remembering but not wanting to.

"You don't have to keep an eye on me, you know," I sighed. "I'm not going down that path again."

"I'll always keep an eye on you," he argued. "But not because I'm afraid of the worst. Because I want to help you to never feel that way again. I don't want you to ever feel so alone and hopeless again. You're never alone and there's always hope."

I nodded and held my left wrist out in front of me, looking at the scars left over from the worst period of me life. Worse even than what we were dealing with now. They were fading, but still there.

He moved his arms to hold me with just one, then took my wrist in his free and and pulled it to his lips.

My heart skipped in my chest.

To this day, I couldn't tell you a specific reason for why I tried to take my own life three years ago.

I was just... overwhelmed with school, with my mother's expectations, with terrible isolation in my own home, with anxiety and loneliness. With not liking myself, and not being given a reason to like myself from either of my parents. They just told me to buck up and get over it.

Oliver had done the best he could to buoy me, but what's one buoy in a hurricane? Especially if you don't want to hold on.

And so, one day, I locked myself in the bathroom and took a razor to my wrist.

I had no idea what I was doing. I wasn't anywhere near successful, but I was a bloody mess. My parents were at least concerned enough to rush me to the ER and get me therapy after that. But, where was the help I needed before? And where was the continued show of concern and affection after the doctors said I was making fine progress?

After that, I was still isolated at my home. At least now I knew well enough to seek belonging. I started to stay with Oliver and his mom more often. To call Hedy when I felt lonely. To accept their invitations to go out, even if I just wanted to stay home and listen to music by myself.

I learned I needed real companionship and I sought it out. I needed to be surrounded by people who saw value in me. Who wouldn't take it personal if I said something hurtful, but didn't let me get away with lashing out either. Because they knew it was a bad day. They knew I was hurting. They also knew I could be better and reminded me I could be better. And that they would help me.

I really had been a fool not to see Oliver back then as I do now.

Of course, I don't think I could have really seen him like this back then. Not when I was still just trying to like who I am.

I wrapped my arms around Oliver's neck and nuzzled my nose into the crook just under his chin.

"June," my name sounded sacred on his breath.


"You don't have to say anything, and it's not like it's a secret," he mumbled, then said not clearly, "but I want to tell you, so that you know. I love you, June."

I sucked in a breath.

I wanted to say it. Something in my head told me it was way too soon, but something in my heart told me that didn't matter.

"Like I said," he sounded so nervous. "You don't have to say anything. I just wanted to tell you, finally. I wanted to tell you the night we kissed."

I smiled.

"I love you, too, Oliver," I whispered and raised my head to look at him.

He smiled, always smiling. His feelings were always written all over his face. He brought his face closer to mine and kissed me gently, softly, like he was afraid I might break.

I didn't want him to think I was so breakable.

I parted my lips and press a bit closer, inviting him to deepen the kiss. He pressed his lips more firmly against mine. I could feel his teeth graze against my lips. I could feel his heart hammering in his chest through mine.

He pulled away, his breath caught in his throat.

"The sun's about to set, huh?" He asked.

I nodded.

He let me go and we swam to the bank, pulling ourselves onto dry land. We clumsily pulled out clothes back on over our wet underwear, then hiked back to the campsite hand in hand.

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