All night I tossed and turning, seeing his face every time I closed my eyes. Sometimes I kept them closed to relive that moment. His eyes wide and that proud smile on his face. A part of me missed him but I immediately banished that thought. I wondered why he was asking around so late, surely it would be smarted to ask during the day. Anybody could give us away, unintentionally of course but they still could. Elle, Milly, Jamie, Lillian or even Freddie. In the early hours of the morning I decided that we had to leave. But then I decided against because I didn't want to. In this town I had learnt more about myself than I had I. The last ten years. This was my home. It's strange how I knew that in matter if days but it was true. I was happy, I had a family, a slightly dysfunctional family but I had one and that was all that mattered. Around four o'clock I pulled on my bottle green sweater my jeans and my first pair of walking boots and I walked out of the house. For a while I just walked, up and down up and down over and over until I couldn't feel my legs any more. When that happened I ran. The salt from the beach drove my hair wild as I sprinted across the sand. The early morning wind a slap in the face. Eventually I collapsed limbs sprawled panting desperately. My heartbeat echoed through my head but a ringing cleared everything. After all of that I still didn't know what the hell to do. There was no epiphany and for that I was disappointed.
Footsteps approached but I didn't turn I already knew who it was.
Freddie sat down beside me.
"You're up early." I said staring at the sky. Blue and complete not yet corrupted by the morning clouds.
"Says you." Freddie smirked. For some reason he was always cracking jokes and laughing. I was jealous, I wanted to crack jokes but every time I allowed myself to get happy I felt as though I was traitor. It was hard to explain but it was laughter, anger or sadness where the products of me losing control. Losing control had gotten me into bad situations and after years of it I had grown numb.
"Are you thinking about him?" For a moment I thought he was taking about Spencer.
I gave a small laugh "no actually."
"You still like him though."
"I can't explain it." I pulled my knees to my chin. " I don't want to have a crush on me but he's like my superhero he's saved me from so much."
I watched pain flicker through Freddie's face. "I saved you from Finn last night." I realised he's right.
I mumbled an mmh under my breath.
Freddie's kiss was unexpected but led to a pure moment of clarity. His lips soft and perfect.
I broke away from him. "I so wish that was my first kiss." i mumbled my eyes still closed.
Freddie let out an awkward chuckle his face close to mine so much so I could feel his breath on my cheek. He moved in for another perfect kiss but I stopped him.
"I can't." I muttered
"Because its not fair on you. I still have feelings for Noah and can't like you both. It's not fair." I told him, getting up to walk away. I had made it halfway down the beach when his arm slid into mine.
"What are you doing?"
"I might not be able to kiss you but we're still friends and I want to be here for you." I smiled and turned away from him, not wanting him to see me cry at his sweetness. I wiped the tear away and explain about Noah And vespa as we carried down the beach.
We got back at seven, the house still quiet. Together we started baking the morning produce for the bakery. I concentrated more on the cookies whilst Freddie did the cakes. He showed me how to ice them, his hand careful and steady. I watched enviously. I decided I wouldn't tell Vespa and Noah about Spencer. He had obviously been and gone. For that I was incredibly thankful. With him gone I could return to the normalcy I was immersed in. I figured that after the summer ended I would stay here helping out Lillian and possibly open my own book shop. I would grow old in the picturesque town like Lillian. I wondered if I could right my own books, together Freddie and I would meet in the cafe and drink tea feasting on his cookies and talking about my latest smash hit. The thought of it all filled my heart with happiness and it was overfilling, a smile growing on my face.
"What are you so happy about?"
"Oh nothing." I said stealing the piping bag off of him and starting my own design. A squiggly line, it was simple childish and looked a little stupid but what did I care, I was as happy as could be.
A week later i stayed in my bed until eleven when eventually the door opened and Vespa slipped in. She flopped down onto the mattress. I stirred under my covers and pulled it up to my face. It was selfish but I didn't want to see the gooey look of love she had acquired since the day of their kiss. It reminded me of the conflicting feelings for Noah. Seeing my reaction Vespa pulled the covers from my face and beamed at me. "Come on. You and me are on record shop duty, Noah's helping Lillian with some thing and Freddie's gone to see his friend." Vespa didn't leave until I physically got out of my bed. When she did I pulled on a dress and stomped down the stairs. My hair a lions mane behind me. For a while we worked in silence.
"Why are you so sad."
"I'm not." I said plastering a smile on my face.
Vespa gave me a final look and then moved to put another cd in the record player. A gleeful old tune filled the shop and Vespa danced like an idiot flashing me smiles every now and then. Gone were the days of moody Vespa. She was like the catcwho got the cream every since her and Noah got together officially and although it had only been a few days she was addicted to love, forever on that mental high. Prancing like an idiot.
She grabbed my arm and pulled me around the aisles, giddy and full of joy. It was infectious and soon I giggling like a little girl after her first cup of coffee.
Some time later Noah appeared at the door and feeling a little sympathetic I put on a cute jiving song. Vespa grabbed a scared looking Noah and soon they were prancing around like loonies too. Lillian walked through the door and stared at them, a smile hidden on her face. Without hesitation I took hold of her hand and began twirling her around the room. She chuckled and gave me a hug. Soon the track stopped and she fell into a chair, giddy and out of breath.
"I'm so glad you kids decided to stay." She muttered, ordering Vespa to get her a cup of tea.
"Me too." I said.
That evening Vespa made dinner, she had plucked a recipe from Lillian for beef Wellington and banana tart tartan. Freddie Noah and I sat on one sofa, me being in the middle, whilst Lillian sat back in her armchair flipping through a knitting magazine. Freddie was busy reading a large book his hair unruly and a pair if square glasses in his face. Noah stared at the TV half asleep. In the kitchen Vespa buzzed singing the tune of the song we had danced to.
When 'that quiz show' came on the whole thing changed. Freddie literally threw his book to the floor and got comfortable tucking his legs under his body. I squirmed, both of our legs couldn't fit and the my leg twisted painfully under my butt. I moved me feet out to put then down but Freddie put them on his lap. He flashed me an excited smile and stared back at the screen.
That Game Show was a tradition in the Caspar household. Freddie and Lillian were particularly eager to see that episode because the previous episode had been two weeks ago as the football had been on the week before. Freddie explained excitedly. "It's a quiz show but funny things happen if they get it wrong."
" ok?" I said tailored my head with a smile. Deciding I might as well enjoy it I leant into the sofa. Noah shifted uncomfortably and I landed with my head on his lap. I laughed slightly and sat back up. He smiled nervously and sank more into the sofa.
A box of maggots fell on the contestant's heads and he screamed like a girl prancing around the studio. Lillian Freddie and I burst into laughter whilst Noah made a face.
"Why do you watch this?" He asked as Vespa tinkered in the kitchen.
"It's funny." Said Freddie pointing at the screen.
"Yeah" I agreed.
Noah twisted "it's not though people are being made a fool of its like torture."
"They sign up for the show it's their own fault." Freddie said a confused smile on his face.
"Why does it bother you." I asked
"Because," he got up. "That's exactly what happened to us." He stormed out the room. Freddie and I shared a look. I got up and went to the kitchen. At the door I changed mind, I wanted to sort it out. I walked back through the living room and followed Noah to his room.
I found him stood facing the corner of his room, kicking at the wall angrily.
"What do you mean that's exactly what happened to us? That's nothing like it." I said loudly.
He turned his face screwed up he pointed his finger at me. "They are laughing at other people's misfortunes , that's what the nurses and doctors were doing to us. Being stuck in their was humiliating, when people had to hold me down because I wanted to hit that bloody doctor." Noah came up to me, pushing his face into mine and shouting in my ear. He grabbed my shoulders.
"What they did was wrong." He screamed.
A sob escaped my mouth. In a matter of seconds I watched as his pupils dilated I shock. He backed away and sat on the bed his head in his hands. I gulped, for a second I was genuinely scared. I had never seen anger like that. With a sigh i sat beside him on the bed.
"When they apply for that show they know what to expect. We never agreed to be kept their. There's a difference. What happened to us was wrong but that show its just stupid, ok?"
Noah moved tentatively and our lips met. It was wrong. I wanted to back away but I felt as though I should be grateful for getting what I wished for. But all too soon I realised I no longer wanted Noah, we were friend no more no less, I wanted Freddie. Because when I opened my eyes that was who I wanted to see. "Noah." I muttered moving away. "No."
"I eh sorry I don't.. I don't"
"Dinners ready." Said Freddie in the doorway. His face missing a smile. I stared helplessly at him. No. I had ruined it. I wanted to hit Noah so bad but it wasn't his fault he was emotional. I ran after Freddie but Noah caught my arm.
"Where's Freddie?" I asked Vespa alarmed.
"He went to the beach, dinners ready sit down."
"I can't ill... Ill be back soon ok?" I didn't wait for an answer I ran out the door and all the way to the beach looking for Freddie. The weather outside was horrid. Spits of rain drops spread everywhere like a mist, soaking my body instantly.
"Freddie." I screamed over and over, wanting to tell him how I felt. "Freddie" I ran up and down the beach, panting breathlessly. My hair dripped and my bare arms had gone slightly blue. "Freddie"
I saw him, sitting up in the cliff that dropped to the sea. I ran to the edge and began climbing, my arms slick with water I struggled, my hands sliding over the jagged rocks leaving my skin in ripped tatters eventually I got to the top.
Freddie wouldn't even look at me as I called his name. He just sat feet dangling off the edge, head bowed. I walked until was right on the edge my toes teetering.
I shouted over the sound of the waves and wind.
"Anagapesis : noun, no longer feeling affection for one you once loved."
Freddie didn't look up. " is that the definition of your feelings for me." He gave a moody scoff.
"No that's what I feel for Noah, what you saw it wasn't... It didn't..."
He interrupted me. " I thought you were nice, hut you screwed me and your best friend over for him."
"He kissed me." I screamed angrily.
Freddie scoffed. I shook with annoyance. I kicked him lightly in the side. He tossed me a look, lazily, his face filled of disgust.
"Don't you get it. I like you. No. I love you and I just hadn't realised it until then. Noah kissed me because he was upset and we've been through a lot together. I'm not saying that makes it ok but when he did kiss me I wanted it to be you that I was kissing. I didn't want to hurt anybody." I shouted over the roar of the weather. My voice hoarse. Freddie narrowed his eyes and made an effort to leave.
"No!" I shouted grabbing his arm.
"Get off of me." Freddie yelled yanking his arm away roughly. My feet stumbled back until the rock was gone. I fell backwards.