“In private,” she said, exasperated and took his arm, leading him away. She looked back at me and gave me a dazzling smile. I giggled.
When they were a fair distance away Brice cleared his throat. “So, I was wondering if you wanted to go with me to Kimber’s end-of-the-year party?”
Excitement exploded through my middle. “I would love to.” I had been hoping he would ask me! We had gone out a few times before, but this, showing up at Kimber’s party together would be making a statement. A statement that we were an item.
He smiled, turning the power of both his dimples and his dazzling smile on me. “Yeah? Cool.” He shoved a hand through his brown hair, visibly relieved.
I twisted a strand of shiny blond hair around my finger and smiled, about to say something completely ditzy I’m sure, but Kimber saved me from making an idiot of myself. “Heven, we gotta go. We can’t be late for cheerleading; they’re announcing next year’s squad captain!”
How could I have forgotten about that?!
“I heard that you’re going to be named.” Brice said. “Congrats, captain.”
“Thanks.” I said. “But it hasn’t been announced yet.”
Kimber made a noise. “Please, like you don’t know it’s in the bag.”
Well, okay, it was pretty certain. I gave Cole and Brice and little wave as Kimber drug me away.
We quickly changed into our cheer uniforms and I took a moment to brush my hair into a ponytail and add blue and gold ribbons (the school’s colors) wanting to look fabulous for the moment I was made captain.
Then we rushed out into the gymnasium where my future awaited.
I took another glance at the clock. Only a few more minutes ‘til my shift was over. Usually I liked working; it was a good excuse not to be home. I liked the people. They didn’t seem to have any hidden agendas or horrible secrets lurking in their gaze. But tonight I just wanted to leave. I felt caged in, restless.
The monster was gone, and even though I knew it would be coming back, it always came back, I was thankful for the fact that I had been rid of it for a few days. I felt like I could breathe – I had been able to let down my guard for a while. I knew why I was so edgy tonight.
I wanted to see her.
It felt like eons since I had seen her last. I said I wouldn’t see her again. I missed her. I could go and see her, from a distance of course and no one would know.
Just one last time.
I would make this last memory count. I would commit it to my brain so that I would always carry a little piece of her with me.
I would tell her goodbye. Even though I never got to say hello.
Best. Day. Ever! This day was turning out to be awesome! The cheer squad was mine, Brice and I were practically dating – we would be dating after Kimber’s party and summer vacation was only a couple short weeks away! Now, if I could only erase this little essay problem this day would be perfect. Maybe I should take Kimber’s lead on this one and buy a paper.
“Come on, Hev, let’s go!”
I took one last look in the full-length mirror before grabbing my stuff and heading out after Kimber. I looked good, just the way the soon-to-be head cheerleader should look. I was wearing a pair of dark skinny jeans and a purple top that was softly tie-dyed and was slightly longer on each side of my hip. It was a loose, swinging style and since it was still kind of cool outside (Thank you, Maine weather), I was wearing a lightweight light purple Burnout tee underneath. To top off my outfit, I was wearing not one, but two, necklaces. The first was a long chain with a giant white paperclip that was blinged out with purple crystals. The second was shorter and simpler, my mother gave it to me: a simple silver cross on a silver chain. I finished off the outfit with a pair of dark purple heels with a crystal detail at the toe. I released my light blond hair from my ponytail and let it fall in waves around my shoulders.
With that I rushed out of the locker room and ran (as good as anyone can run in heels) to catch up with my friends. They welcomed me with smiles and more congratulations. It felt great. I was a lucky girl.
“So are we on for some celebration?” Amber asked.
Kimber looked at me. I smiled. “Sure thing!”
On the way out to Kimber’s too cute red car I leaned in and whispered. “Drop me off at the library after?”
Kimber laughed. “I knew you’d never buy a paper.”
I’d thought about it. But, yeah, in the end I couldn’t do it. I didn’t like being lied to and I wasn’t about to lie to my teacher. “Guess not,” I smiled.
Cole was driving by as we were climbing in Kimber’s car and he stopped and rolled down the window.
“Follow me!” Kimber called and blew Cole a kiss.
I spotted Brice in the passenger seat of Cole’s truck and on impulse I blew him a kiss too. I saw him grin as they drove away.
She wasn’t at the first place I looked. Usually she was riding a horse on a huge property that belonged to someone she must know. She would ride the horse into the woods and along a trail that wound through the trees.
It was the first place I saw her. A day I wouldn’t soon forget.
I wasn’t sure where else she would be, but I remembered a place that I followed her to a while back and I drove there, hoping that she would be there. When I pulled up I got lucky and saw the red car that she was always riding in and I knew that she would be inside. It was a popular place to hang out, a coffee shop that also served food. Because it was late afternoon and school had let out, it was busy, but that was good.
It gave me cover.
I could blend in and no one would even know I was there. A little voice inside urged me to see how close I could get. I was tempted by the voice, but I had vowed to only see her from afar…
When I opened the door to the café, I was greeted with the strong scent of coffee and pastries. My stomach growled, I was always hungry, but I hadn’t come here to eat. To avoid sticking out I went to the counter and ordered some kind of coffee drink, I have no idea what I asked for because I was too busy trying to see where Heven might be.
When the barista went off to make whatever I ordered I took the chance to glance around the room and over my shoulder. I saw her immediately. It’s like her shiny blond hair and smile were a beacon to my lost ship. Her back was turned and she was laughing. She had a great laugh. It was confident and carefree. She was at a table that was full of people, so full that it spilled out to the booth behind them, where guys were leaning over it and talking.