Drift (Book 1 of the Merallo series)

When Mariah's best friend Jace moves to the other side of town it feels like they are drifting apart. They no longer have any classes together and he starts making new friends and dating Kiara who is pretty, popular & the best at everything.

Then, Mariah discovers something she is good at, swimming. With an unusual offer from Murray, the swim team superstar, Mariah has the chance to ruin the blossoming romance. All Murray wants in return is a kiss.

With a warning from her mum, famous for her fortune-telling skills, to stay away from Murray, Mariah has to choose between accepting Murray's offer or following her or letting Jace go. But her complicated romantic life is just the 'spark' of her problems as Mariah learns she's a type of mermaid. Now, she needs to learn to control her storm summoning powers before she loses control and hurts someone or worse, kills them.

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7. 7. Reminicing (Denny)

Denny

Sitting in the kitchen on a stool, blowing steam off a mug of tea, I concluded that all my new home lacked was Gwyn next door.  She had been the best neighbour anyone could wish for.  Without Gwyneth, I possibly would have admitted defeat and returned back to my mum who had spoken about 'abortion' and 'adoption' like my only options. 

Mum had no faith in my ability to be a mother; she thought I was doomed. Being a single mum hadn't been easy, but with Gwyn's help I made it through the bad days.

I wasn't really fussed where I lived when I first met her.  At that point, I was soul bent on getting away from my mum. I chose Stowe to be near Dean – Jace's dad. 

My first house was small but lovely.  I fell in love with it instantly.  Back then, I never would have dreamt of owning a house like the one I do today...

As soon as I'd dropped my belongings inside, I buttoned up and set off towards the promenade.

I followed the tarmac path that ran along the shingled beach all the way towards the pier, like Dorothy on her yellow brick road – except; I wasn't looking for a wizard and wishes. I just wanted to do the right thing and I thought this was it.

As soon as I'd dropped my belongings inside, I buttoned up and set off towards the promenade.  It wasn't far from the beach.   I followed the tarmac path that ran along the shingled beach all the way towards the pier, like Dorothy on her yellow brick road – except; I wasn't looking for a wizard and wishes. I just wanted to do the right thing and I thought this was it.

Dean wasn't hard to find, as if caught in time, he stood in front of the Adams Family pinball machine. My stomach spun and I wasn't sure if it was the baby or my reaction to seeing him after so long.

Making my way over, I stood beside him not sure how to start. Awkward was an understatement. Finally with a deep breath, I settled for a simple 'Hello'.

"Denny!" He grinned up at me but his eyes quickly returned to his game. He had to beat that score. "Parents bring you back for the Christmas holidays?"

"No. I'm here on my own."

He let the ball drop through the middle and eyed me suspiciously. "Why?"

"You didn't respond to my text messages." I stalled whilst trying to figure out how to say what needed to be said.

He shrugged and returned to his game. "It broke." He laughed. "You didn't come all this way just because I didn't reply?"

"No, I wanted to be close... for our baby." I blurted out the last part before I chickened out.

His eyes shifted down towards my stomach and although I wasn't big yet he could see how the zipper on my coat was pulling where it wouldn't have before.

He shook his head, "Nah, nah, that's nothing to do with me."

I nodded at him and swallowed the lump in my throat. I hadn't expected him to get back with me, I knew it had just been a summer romance, but I thought at the very least he'd want to know. "I don't expect anything from you." I croaked.

Slowly, I came to realize the romantic in me had hoped that we could pick up exactly where we had left off. My first love would become my only love and we'd marry, live happily ever after and show mum that I was right to keep the baby.

This wasn't going quite as I had fantasized. He clearly didn't want to talk and he took a stance that was intimidating and aggressive. My hands slid protectively around my belly and I began to feel nausea.

"How can you be sure that thing is even mine?" He looked disgusted.

My jaw tensed. He had insulted me and our baby. My baby now! He didn't deserve to be a dad. Alone! I was all alone in this! My mind swam with every swear word I knew and my hand raised and swiped across his perfect face that now looked tainted and warped. Uglier than anyone I had ever known.

Never in my life had I been compelled to slap anyone. My palm stung. I shook with fear. Fear he might strike me back. Fear of what I might do next.

"You're a f'ing psycho!" He growled, rubbing the pink glow forming on his cheek. "I barely know you and now you're trying to baby trap me. That could be anyone's; you slut! You were an easy lay, begging for it." His laugh was bitter and mocked me. "Who knows how many guys you're fucking back home? You've probably lost count."

I couldn't believe he was saying these things. Where was the Dean I'd fallen for? This Dean was a monster. I had to get away from him – fast!

I ran from the pier, clutching my belly, racing along the promenade, retracing my steps home. Panting and out of breath, my new home suddenly just a bit too far away. I leaned against the white picket fence of my neighbour's house, trying to get my breath back. I felt dizzy and tears broke to the surface, further humiliating me.

Then Gwyneth stepped out her front door. I didn't really see her. She was more of a blur of warmth and comfort as she wrapped me in a hug. "There, there." She said soothingly. "I think you should come inside and have one of my famous brews before going back to yours in this state."

I nodded. She was right. I couldn't bear the thought of being alone.

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