“Hold on a sec, I just bought this song and I really want to listen to it,” he said from his computer.

I sighed, “Okay.”

A soft guitar started playing from his speakers. I sat my purse down on the floor and took a seat on the arm of our couch. I couldn’t even explain why I was starting to get irritated. I just was. I wanted to go and I had felt like he was rushing me to finish getting ready and here I was waiting for him to listen to a song that definitely wasn’t going anywhere.

“A full moon shinin’ bright, edge of the water we were feelin’ alright,” a guy started signing. I should have known this would be a country song.

He walked over to me, pulling my arm and pulled me off of the couch.

“…The girls are always hot and the beer is ice cold,” he started singing along.

I was looking down at the floor. I knew he was looking at me while he was singing, singing to me. He pulled me in closer to him. I was practically hugging him. I put my arms on top of his shoulders and he pulled me so my body was against his.

“….Never gonna grow up,” he sang to me softly. He started to sway.

“Never gonna slow down. We were shinin’ like lighters in the middle of a rock show. We were doing it right. We were comin’ alive. Yeah, caught up in a southern summer, barefoot, blue jean night.”

I felt butterflies erupt in my stomach, flying through my veins to every part of my body. I felt giddy all over.

I put my head against his chest, swaying with him.

Two minutes and forty-nine seconds later, he was done singing. We were done dancing.

I took a small step back and looked into his eyes.

It was exactly like throwing my heart over the edge of a cliff praying that he was at the bottom ready to catch it. Except I had already done this, fourteen months ago, and he was still there to catch it.


I hated this feeling. That feeling of waiting for something to happen but time is moving way too slow. Well, that wasn’t all that I was feeling. It was a mix of that feeling with some of what you feel the night before the first day of school. I don’t know if anybody else has ever felt that feeling but if I’m the creator of it then I don’t want the rights to it. I’ll gladly hand it to somebody else.

What am I waiting for? My boyfriend. I actually have a day off which means that I get to see him. That is, if you consider seeing him through a video chat actually seeing him. I count it since it’s the only way I’ve been able to see him since he got deployed to Afghanistan over a year ago.

I reached over and grabbed Barry, the stuffed bear I made when he took me to a Build-A-Bear workshop right before he left. I squeeze him once, a habit I’ve developed every time I got anxious to talk to him.

I moved my eyes over to the clock and watched another minute pass by. It was getting late. He usually calls by now. I say this because our calls have always been before four in the afternoon. It was getting closer to four-thirty. I pulled the Harry Potter book I was reading closer to force myself into the book instead of letting my mind create scenarios that would make me paranoid.
I heard the front door close gently but I ignored it. It was probably my best friend/roommate, Ariel, leaving. Or coming home, I really didn’t care either way. At this moment I couldn’t make myself care about anything but time and when I’d finally get to see him.

Reading this book was starting to become impossible. I kept looking over at the clock after every sentence. I was watching time move by at in incredibly slow pace and it was nerve-racking. I hated it. It was almost like in school when you would watch the clock tick down the last few minutes before the bell rang on Friday, except this was a lot worse.

I started playing a game with myself. If I read an entire page, I could look at the clock. Then I’d up it, if I read five pages I could look at the clock. It was almost like a slow form of torture except this also prevented me from coming up with insane ideas that would make me stress out even more. I didn’t need thoughts like ‘what if they got bombed’ creeping into my head.

I heard somebody walking up the stairs. I debated for a split second whether or not I should say something to Ariel but decided not to. I didn’t need her asking if he called yet and then when I told her no her taking a seat on my bed and trying to help me figure out why he wouldn’t have called yet. I didn’t need my mind jumping to the worst possible situation right now. I was already having a hard time stopping it with just me.

I had one more page to read until I could look at the clock again. I started reading faster.

“Hey there darlin’,” I heard an unmistakable voice say.

My head shot up.

I bolted out of my bed and ran into his arms without even thinking or second guessing it.

He caught me, squeezing me tight.

He set me down on my feet but kept his arms around my waist.

“You’re home,” I said. Placing my hands on his face as if testing to make sure he wasn’t a robot or something. That he was the real thing, flesh and all.

“I’m home.”

“You didn’t tell me!” I said, slapping his arm.

He shrugged his shoulders, pulling me against his chest.
“I wanted to surprise you.”

I squeezed him as tight as my muscles would allow.

I felt tears coming on. I didn’t want to cry but I couldn’t help it. I couldn’t believe he was actually home.

“Now, now, don’t start that or you’ll get me-“ he stopped.

“What?” I asked, looking straight into his eyes.

“Your eyes, God, they still get me,” he said, leaning down closer to my face.

“It’s not the same seeing them through a computer screen,” he added.

I pulled him the half inch to my lips and finally kissed him.

He picked me up into his arms, walked to my bed and gently set me down, before pulling away.

“I’ve missed you,” he whispered before kissing me again.

My assignment from Ally.

“I’m done!” I yelled. “I don’t want to deal with this anymore,” I added before storming out of the house.

I hated him. I was seriously done this time. I didn’t want to deal with any of this, this relationship stuff. It wasn’t for me. I wasn’t made for relationships. I’m just good at giving relationship advice. Who said I had to be in a relationship? They’re complete crap if you ask me. I mean, sure they were fun. The kissing, the holding hands, the cuddling, it was nice. But the fun could only last so long, eventually they wanted more and I wasn’t willing to give it to them. I don’t get attached. I don’t care. This is why my relationships rarely lasted beyond two months. Other than the fact that I also got bored.

I was out of his neighborhood now. My feet leading me to a place I didn’t know. If I was honest with myself I had no idea what I was doing. I was too far from my house to actually consider walking home. I didn’t want to go back and say “Hey, I hate you, we’re over but can you take me home?” I had too much pride for that. I was also too stubborn. He would gladly give me the ride home if I asked but the entire time I’d hear pleas about how we should be together. How we were right for each other. That he needed me. I know his argument. He wasn’t going to talk him way into getting me to stay this time.

I found myself in a park. The sun was almost completely set and there was a baseball game going on. I walked over to a field behind the diamond so I could observe. I smiled as I watched the kids, who were no older than nine, play. It made me miss when I played baseball with my brother on his little league team.

I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket. I pulled it out without really thinking about it.

“Come back, please?” it was from him.

I turned my phone off and put it back in my pocket. I didn’t want to deal with him. I left for a reason. What made him think a simple text would get me to come back? I hoped he knew me better than that.

I lay on my back, staring at the now night sky. I was done. I was out. I was free. I couldn’t tell for sure if I was happy about this or not. I figured I just wasn’t used to it. I’ve never had a relationship last eleven months. I was a different experience for me. I wasn’t used to being free. I just need to readjust. I’d be better by tomorrow.

“Nicole,” a small voice said to my right.

I was up like a firecracker. I almost snapped my neck from how fast I turned it to look at him.

“What do you want?” I asked. My voice controlled in the sense that I wasn’t yelling and screaming at him.

“To make sure you were okay,” he said.

“I’m fine, obviously. I’m a big girl. I can take care of myself,” I said, venomously.

“Why are you doing this?”

“Doing what? Ending this? Because I want to!” I all but screamed at him. “I’m not a relationship person. I don’t do them and I don’t do well in them. I honestly have no idea how you managed to get me to stay in this for eleven months but I’m fricking done. I don’t want to deal with this relationship crap anymore.”

“This is all just crap to you? Does it matter that in those eleven months that you consider crap that you’ve turned me into a better person?” he asked, his voice was low.

“It matters. You don’t need me to be your girlfriend to stay that better person though. It’s not like once you lose me you go back to being the horrible person you thought you were.”

He was looking at the ground, refusing to meet my eye. This wasn’t good. I’m hurting him, something I’ve all but pinky promised I wouldn’t do.

“If that’s what you want. You want this?”

“Yes,” I said, my voice was barely above a whisper now.

I couldn’t believe it. He was going to actually let me go.

“You want me to walk away, get back in my truck, leave and never look back?”

The “yes” was right on the tip of my tongue. But everything changed. I pictured him leaving, without me, never to come back and my stomach clenched. My breathing got caught in my throat. My chest was tight. Whatever this feeling was, I didn’t like it.

“No,” I said before I even thought about it.

He looked up at me, his beautiful green eyes piercing my plain brown eyes.

“I want you to kiss me,” I said.

He didn’t even hesitate. In two steps he was in front of me, grabbing my face, pulling me into a kiss that almost knocked me off my feet.

I may not be a relationship person, but wherever I went, whatever I did, however I felt, it always led back to him.

And there was nothing I could do to stop it.


Alex pulled into a parking spot, immediately scanning the field. He found what he was looking for sitting under the biggest tree. He quickly got out of his car and started walking over to her. He was going to make whatever it was right. He didn’t care what the cost at this point.

He was three feet away from her when he got a good look at her. She didn’t look like the girl he knew at all. When he thought of her an image of a tank soon followed. She was tough, strong, and able to withstand hurricanes. This wasn’t her. The girl he was looking at looked so worn down, beaten, broken, fragile.

She looked up when he was about a foot away. He could see tear streaks down her cheeks. Her big, brown eyes were shiny. She had been crying. She’s still crying. Alex’s heart sank. He had never seen her cry, ever. He never thought it was possible. Her crying didn’t exist, like the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus.

“What are you doing here?” she asked.

Her eyes were down, looking at her hands on the grass. Her voice was barely above a whisper.

“I lost something. I needed to find it,” Alex answered.

He sat down in front of her. It was taking all his self control to keep himself from throwing his arms around her, holding her to his chest, making promises to hurt everybody who did this to her. He knew better.

“What did you lose?” she asked.

“You,” Alex answered, readying himself for the next question. She asked more questions than a six year old. He would get his chance to ask his once she went though hers.

“I’m not your keys. You don’t just lose me.”

“You’re harder to find when you leave your phone at home.”

“I didn’t want to be found.”

“I figured that much on my own,” Alex said.

He could feel it coming. The moment where he was either going to find out what happened to her or where she was going to tell him to get the hell away from her if he knew what was good for him.

She wiped her eyes, finally looking up at him. Alex noticed she wasn’t wearing make-up, another thing that she never did. He could feel his anger rising with every new discovery. Whoever did this to her was going to pay. He didn’t care anymore. Nobody was going to get away with this. He was going to make this right.

“I’m a monster, you know,” she said, looking back down.

“Monsters aren’t beautiful. They’re skin is also green.”

“That’s what storybooks tell us.”

Alex sighed, moving a little bit closer to her. His self control wavering.

“You’re not a monster,” he said.

She just shrugged her shoulders. “How did you know I’d be here?”

“I didn’t. I was hoping,” Alex admitted. It was such a long shot when he thought about it. He didn’t expect her to be here. It was almost too obvious. If she didn’t want to be found he thought she would have picked a more secretive place. He almost didn’t come here at all. But then he remembered something she used to say, ‘Where do you hide something you don’t want to be found? In the most obvious place.’ That’s when his long shot became more of a most likely. He still thought he was lucky that he found her here. He wasn’t going to admit it though.

He watched her shoulders shake as more tears flooded her eyes. She kept her face down, hoping to hide the fact that she was crying.

She suddenly stood up, walking to the blue bike path. Alex jumped up, walking as fast as he could without running until he caught up with her. He didn’t care where she was going, he would follow her to the end of the world if he had to.

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