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Leap of Faith - Excerpt 3
Chapter 2: Just the Beginning
It’s been a week. I’ve spent every day since that night on the beach looking for him. But he’s nowhere to be found. Not even at night. Never. It’s as if he never existed, and I’m alone again.
Sometimes the water helped. It made me feel free again. He made me realize that’s all I want to be… is free. A free soul. But I’ve only known him for a week. Not even, really. A night and a whole day. So I shouldn’t be coming to conclusions like this.
It’s mid afternoon and the sun’s hotter than ever. I can feel it burning my back up. Or is it the staring eyes of my used to be best friend Alexis? It could be both. I ignore both factors. I focus my attention on the water. The waves come and go and lap up on my shoeless feet. I don’t feel so bad today. I just feel alone.
Three shadows appear around me. I look up.
“Hey, Elise… how’s it like over here in loner land?” Alexis sneers. She wipes sand on her feet onto my shirt. I’ve had enough of this girl. I may have been scared before, but I’m over being scared. I have nothing to be scared of, no reputation to protect. She’s smaller than I am, anyways. I could destroy her. I stand up and put my face inches away of hers.
“Alexis. Get the hell out of my space.”
Alexis smiles that haughty little smile I once used to make. “You want to make me? You and what army, f*****?”
Last straw. This girl has bullied one too many girls like me. I raise my hands onto her shoulders and shove her away. Then, I turn away from her and begin walking away. She catches my hair and yanks on it, pulling me back around to face her.
“Come back here, b****!” Alexis yells.
“No! Listen, I’ve had enough. Leave me alone.” I try to plead.
“You’ll know when you’ve had enough. Like you should have known when…”
I squeeze my eyes shut. “Shut up. Just stop. It was never even true to begin with!” I defend myself. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She doesn’t.
“You’re a dirty little liar!” She swings her skinny wrist and tries to punch me, but I’m faster. I catch her fist and push it away, and shove her to the ground. With that, I turn and run, all the way down the beach, through the weeds and the thickets, all the way to the other end of the beach, the more private, secluded area where the public doesn’t really go. As far as bad weeks go, this has been the worst.
I collapse onto the beach, breathing heavily. I’m exhausted. Not just physically, but mentally, and emotionally. I’m battered and bruised, the bruises may not be visible on the outside, but god, you wouldn’t believe. I almost feel I just can’t do it anymore, this bloody torture.
That’s when I hear soft padding along the sand. The sound of someone running. I swear, she’ll stop at nothing to hurt me. I curl up into a ball and pray, not just for me, but for her, too. I pray I don’t get too carried away…
It’s not her voice. It’s Justin’s. He kneels down beside me. “Are you okay?”
I’m trembling. I feel humiliated. The answer’s no. But, I still have my pride. “Yeah. I think so…” I respond.
He grips my arm and helps me sit up. He wipes the sand off my face. “What happened? Why were you fighting that girl?”
I look down at my feet and hold back my tears. “We… don’t like each other. She’s my mortal enemy, you could say.”
“Why not? What did you ever do to her?” Justin asks. He puts his arm around my shoulders and rubs my arms. I get goosebumps.
“Just… just… nothing. It’s a long story. I don’t really care. I just don’t want to deal with her bulls*** anymore.” I blurt out.
He’s quiet. Almost pensive. I don’t want to break this silence. I’m just happy he’s here again… wait…
“Where have you been? It’s been awhile since tomorrow, you know…” I ask shyly. I think it’s rude. If he wanted to tell me, he would have told me. I’m really not good at this communication thing.
He smiles at me. I don’t know how many times I can say it, but he’s got a beautiful smile. How is it possible for me to feel a connection like this? “I’ve been around. Actually, my parents dragged me on a very spontaneous road trip for the week. Just me, mom, and pops in the RV…” Justin sighs. “It was beyond boring, trust me.”
I smile. “Sounds a million times better than my week.” And it’s the truth. I wish I could’ve gone too. Gone away for a bit.
He tips his head back a bit and laughs. “Yeah. Sure. At least you were here. I wish I could’ve been here with you, actually.”
It’s something I need to grow accustomed to.
I went from spending my summer days alone on the beach or in the cabana, in my room or backyard, to spending my days walking for what seemed to be miles on the shore or driving into town with my new friend… Justin. All in matter of a few weeks.
We share a connection. It’s like we’re the same person in different bodies. Sometimes I wonder where he’s been and what brought him here to me. He’s my so-called savior I spent my days alone asking for. I wonder sometimes if he’s thinking the same things I am… but I can’t be sure.
Silence. It’s a beautiful sound. It really is. I feel as if there is nothing in the world except me, the sand, and Justin. My eyes are closed but I can imagine the dark, starry sky above me. Categories of blue and black colliding to create the perfect night sky. The moon shining down upon the water and the stars shining bright as light bulbs. I don’t need to see it physically to know it’s there. I know this sky like the back of my hand.
I feel as if I could be part of the atmosphere. I feel… weightless, might be the word. I don’t feel stressed, angered, saddened. I feel nothing, nothing but serenity. One might call this my… escape, you might say. But me… no. I wouldn’t call it my escape. I wouldn’t call it anything.
I think I may be falling asleep under this beautiful night sky tonight. And to me, I’m not concerned. I have nothing to fear. Everything I need right now is right here, on this beach.
A voice cuts into my sleepy thoughts.
“Are you falling asleep?”
I’m far too tired to answer.
I feel myself being picked up off the sandy ground and I open my eyes for a spilt second. Just long enough to secure myself by placing my arms around his neck. He carries me up through the weeds and the sand, the hills and up to his house, where we slip inside, the clock reading sometime around 2am. But I don’t care. My eyes close again. He lays me back down and covers me with a blanket. I don’t think he knows I’m half-awake. He kisses my forehead and exits the room. I take one last look around the dark room and my eyes cannot stay open any longer. I fall fast asleep.