Preface What do you do, when everything you want is staring you right in the face?

Do you just run away screaming because you are terrified of what he is? Or do you trust him enough to know that he would never hurt you, look him right in the eyes, and tell him you love him over and over again? I did, and look at me now.

1. Friends I woke up this morning and laid in bed to long. I didn’t want to get up. I was furious. But as the time went by I knew that it was getting closer and closer to 7. That meant school would start without me and my mom would get a call saying that I missed yet another day of school. She wouldn’t be surprised tough. I always did this the morning after the “big” move. Almost every year, it happened again and again. “Are you going to school? Or do I have to call in for you?” my mom shouted from down stairs. I was going to change my ways. I didn’t want this move to be like all the others. “No. I’m going to school today,” I yelled back. “Oh. Okay,” she said in a confused voice. I got up and got ready not really paying attention to what I was doing. I didn’t feel like dressing up, nothing new was going to happen today. I knew that for a fact, or so I thought. I dressed in blue jeans, a black tang top, and I threw a blue sweater over it because today was bound to be cold. I put my hair into a high ponytail and I put a light blue headband around my head holding my bangs in place. Breakfast was boring. I didn’t have much time to eat but I made Pop-tarts just to fill my stomach. I found out that I ended up having to run to my car ─ an old beat up VW bug; she had yellow chipped paint but worked like a charm. My mother bought it for me a few days before to lighten up my mood, but it didn’t

really help. Finding the school was easy in a little town like this, all I had to do was look for the big sign that said, “Richmond High” I parked close to the school’s front door so that I wouldn’t have to walk that far, only to find out that it was reserved. I was startled by a little tap on my window, I pushed the button just slightly so that I could avoid full confrontation with this person. “You must be new here. I’m sorry, but you are parked in our space. You see, we’re a family of five and we normally use two cars to drive to and from school. Today we didn’t, so you’re a little lucky. But just future references, don’t park here,” a silky voice informed me. “Oh ─ Oh I’m sorry,” I apologized. But I was too late. The guy was gone, and I hadn’t seen his face. I just dropped it and got out of my car trying hard not to slip and fall, as clumsy as I was. I sighed when I took in the little “gym” they called a school. Today is going to be different I told myself again, having no luck with the persuasion part. The first day of senior year was a mess. I had to wait in this line ─full of only seniors─ to get my schedule. I was almost late to my first period, world geography, trying to get out of the mess I was in with my schedule, every senior knew what to do and where their classes were, I did not.

I noticed that everyone was making friends with everyone, except me. I tried so hard to keep to myself but people kept coming up to me saying hello and all that junk. For the most part of the morning I stayed away from the other kids and tried not to talk as much. I walked into my third period Chemistry class and looked for a place to sit. I really didn’t feel like making friends at the moment only because I was furious at my mom for making us move to this small state. I hated moving, my mom loved to travel and see new things. We moved almost every year or two because my mom seemed to hate living in one spot for too long. All of the tables groups were taken except one ─closest to the back of the room─ with a setting for a group of 5. Every other table had a group of 3. I thought nothing of it and went to sit away from everyone else. I was getting a piece of paper out ─as instructed on the board by our teacher─ when a boy ─with baby blue eyes and light skin to match his short hair─ from my first period geography class ─I noticed─ came to me when he saw me sitting alone. “Hey, my name is Damien.” “Um, hey. My name is─” “Abigail?” he asked looking down at my schedule. “Abby,” I corrected him. I absolutely hated it when people called me by my proper name. “My apologies, Abby. So, are you new to Rhode Island?”

“I’ve been here a few times. But only on vacation.” “And what made you decide to move to this small state?” “My mom came here for the first time with me last year, and she just fell in love,” I explained, “I really don’t see why,” I said under my breath. “Oh. Well that’s always good. It’s nice to see new faces around school. How’s everyone treating you so far?” he sounded like my mom when we last moved to Colorado. “The people are nice. But really, I’ve just kept to myself.” “Oh. Actually, if I were you I would move,” he informed me. “No really, it’s okay, I’m fine here.” “Alright, suit yourself,” Damien said as he shrugged and went back to the seat where he placed his stuff in the front of the class room. I was writing my name on my paper when it happened. I heard someone clear their throat. I looked up to see who was trying to get my attention and that’s when I saw his face for the first time. In that second of me looking up to meet his gaze, it felt like we were the only two on this whole entire earth. I felt like no one else existed, like we were the only two souls in this classroom, and in this school. He was so beautiful. He had deep green eyes, pale skin, short messy light brown hair, two lip rings and a memorizing smile. “Excuse me, Miss.” His voice was silky and smooth, just like the voice I had

heard this morning, “but we are actually supposed to sit here,” he said waving his hand towards the four other students behind him, all ─like himself─ so beautiful. They had deep green eyes and pale skin, just like the gorgeous boy. It took me a minute ─or two─ for my brain to process what he had just said. He broke my observations with another rude, but quick clearing of his throat. He looked like he was hiding back a little smile. “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t know,” I blurted out, I quickly got up and started shuffling my things together so that I could get out of their way. I went to the table that Damien was sitting at so that I would try hard not to stare. I suddenly regretted not dressing up. “I was trying to tell you that it was their spot,” he whispered to me when I sat down at his side. “Sorry, I should have listened,” I told him being remorseful. “No biggie. But Josh seemed sort of nice; huh, guess I never really paid attention to him, he always intimidated me a little,” he explained to me without interest. “Who?” I asked him. I was surprised that he would think that knew who everyone was. I supposed that my question reminded him that I was keeping to myself at much as I could. “Josh Beckett. And those other ones he’s with are his brothers and sisters. Actually those two are.” He explained pointing to a boy ─big, muscle wise, and

tall. He had light hair─ and a girl ─very small and petite. Her hair was dark and long─ both so very beautiful, “Ah, Annie and Daniel Beckett. The other two are Jessica and Aaron Aversion ," These two looked nothing alike, yet they were so very similar. Jessica had dark hair and Aaron’s was light brown, “They’re brother and sister. They were adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Beckett. Josh, Annie and Daniel are their actual children. They all moved here last year from somewhere in Washington. I can see why, there’s too much rain there.” He explained to me. “Wow. That’s very interesting.” “You bet it is!” he agreed. “They’re all so beautiful…” I whispered to him glancing back at them, only to see that Josh ─the one that informed me I was in their spot─ was staring at me. I turned quickly and my cheeks flooded with blood. I hid my face so that Damien couldn’t see me. “Annie and Aaron have been together for quite awhile, a few years. Same with Jessica and Daniel, they at least have to be married by now!” he explained with astonishment. “And Josh?” I asked quickly. “No, he’s been single his whole stay here. Many girls have asked him out, but he always seemed to have an excuse. Huh, if I was him I would jump to the gun!” he joked. I didn’t laugh. “Kidding!” he said, with both hands in the air. I smiled. I looked directly at Damien to use my peripheral vision just to see his face

again. And just like before, he was staring in my direction ─not at the bored─ at me. When class was over, I gathered my things and Damien offered to hold my books and walk me to class. I didn’t want to be rude so I said, “Um, sure.” As he looked at my schedule to find out where he was taking me, I scoped the room for his face. But he was nowhere to be found, none of them were. I put my head down and stalked out of the room with Damien at my side.

2. Visitor A few weeks had passed by with not much of a change. I saw Josh and his siblings in my third hour Chemistry class every single weekday, turns out Josh and his sister Annie were also in my fifth hour French class. Unfortunately I don’t have Damien in that class to save me. He continued to stare and I continued to melt over how attractive he and the others were. Our relationship never budged, just stayed there, frozen solid. Just two strangers that kept bumping into each other at awkward moment’s ─for me at least─ that always involved me messing with up something that was theirs.

Fourth period English today was not fun. I talked to many other people that sat around me, only because our teacher made us interact. I met two girls; they sat on either side of me at a table of three. The first one ─to my left, who I seemed to keep forgetting her name─ was taller than me with dark brown, short hair. As did the girl to my right, Jasmine, the only different between the two girls was their eyes, Jasmine had light brown eyes, and the other had hazel. Unfortunately, he was not in my class. This made me feel something I hadn’t felt since my dad passed away when I was just a little girl, I felt sad, like I could just cry without wasting all of my life staring at his beautiful face. When lunch rolled around after fourth period, I sat with Damien because the other girls weren’t considered my “friends” just yet. We sat at a crowed table full of his friends, new and old. He introduced me to some of his other guy friends, gentlemen as I would call them because they were very nice and polite to me. When our table was called up to get lunch, Damien escorted me to the front ─before his entire load of friends─ saying, “Ladies first.” I wasn’t all that hungry, but to save him the trouble of being “Dogged” by his friends because I didn’t even buy anything, I asked the lady with the fish net on her head for a pepperoni pizza and a Dr. Pepper. All the guys were getting lunch, so I walked slowly back to the empty table, not wanting to be alone for long, and sat down when I had no success. I looked around to see if anyone was looking at me ─the loner─ and I saw his face, once again. He was staring at me with a grin on his perfect lips. I looked down, and

blood rushed to my tan cheeks. I couldn’t stop smiling at the table. My stomach was full, of butterflies. I wanted so badly to look up at him again, but I just couldn’t lift my head, it felt like it weighed 100 pounds. Eventually, more of the guys made it back to the table ─including Damien─ so I lifted my head and joined the conversation. I had no interest in it because it was about sports. That’s what I get for sitting with a whole bunch of guys I thought to myself. One of the big bulky guys was blocking my view from Josh’s face, thank god. But for some reason I couldn’t stop myself from trying to look past the guy to see the look on his face. I wondered if he was asking himself why I was sitting with guys. I smacked myself in the head for asking myself that question. Of course he wouldn’t be wondering! He has absolutely no interest in me. “Why’d you just do that?” one of the boys, Toby, asked me. I blushed again because he had noticed. “Um, I just remembered I forgot to let the dog out this morning.” I lied to cover up my dumbness. “Oh.” He said in return not looking fooled. I looked back up at Josh, ─out of habit─ his head was turned, and I swear I could see him laughing.

When school was over I was so happy I almost ran to my car. I couldn’t wait to get home and yell at myself for looking stupid in front of Josh, like always.

I wanted to see his face once more before I left. So, when I turned the key to start my car, I searched the small parking lot for his beautiful face only to find that he was a few cars away staring right at me. I met his gaze for about a minute and then it was cut off when someone honked. I snapped back into reality only to see that I was right in front of the parking lot entrance and there was a line of cars behind me. Like always, I blushed and then drove home with infuriating thoughts. I’m so stupid! I thought to myself. When I got home my mom was gone ─probably out looking for a job─ so I went to my room to do homework and open some boxes from our latest move. I walked up the stairs slowly, ─dragging my feet a little─ I closed my door quietly, plopped onto my bed and just laid there. A few minutes later, I was unconscious. The next thing I was aware of was the house smelling like oregano, garlic bread, and I knew my mom was home cooking a big dinner for the two of us, spaghetti. I got up only to find that it was almost 8:30. I had passed out from a long day at school for six and a half hours. I hadn’t gotten anything done that I wanted to, and to top it all off, I looked a mess. I didn’t want my mom to ask questions, so I quickly got cleaned up and reapplied my makeup for no apparent reason. When I skipped down the stairs, I stopped abruptly on the last step because I heard a soft and silky laugh from the kitchen. Only one person I knew had that unbelievable laugh, and even though I only heard it a few times before, I

knew it well. I couldn’t believe it! He was in my kitchen! I could hear another small, dainty, laugh, my mothers. “Oh Josh! You’re such a comedian.” She complimented to a joke that I didn’t hear. I sighed and decided to pull myself together to say hey. I walked in with a big smile on my face, only to see that Josh was smiling in my direction like he knew I was behind the corner. “Hey, Josh Beckett. It’s a great surprise to see you here.” I said, trying to sound not to sound over excided, even though I was. “Hello, Abby Tracy. I am very pleased to be here myself.” “You called me Abby.” I breathed, it was the only thing that came out, I sounded surprised. “Oh, I’m sorry. Do you prefer Abigail?” “Abby is fine, thank you.” I said with a smile. He smiled back a beautiful smile; it touched his eyes, so I knew it was a true. “Well, I was just in the neighborhood and I wanted to say hello. Things at school weren’t so great on the first day, and I’m sorry,” he hesitated, and I blushed, he whispered something I couldn’t quite make out but it sounded something like, “she’s so cute when she does that.” So, another blush faded into the other. I turned to my mother ─who I forgot was in the room with us─ and found her at stove. “Do you need help?” I asked her walking towards her.

“No, I’m okay. You should ask him to stay for dinner! You don’t want to be mean, now do you? He’s a really nice guy. Too bad he’s not my age.” She whispered. I turned my attention back to Josh who was standing up with his back on the wall, trying to hide a smile like he just heard our little conversation. “Umm, would you like to talk in the other room?” I asked him, trying to get away from my mother. “Sure.” He said, “Lead the way.” I walked pass him and sat down in the living room on our only couch, it was multi-colored. We had bought it at a garage sale for only 50 bucks. I patted the cushion next to me looking into Josh’s deep green eyes. “Thank you. I love your couch.” He said with his perfect smile that I constantly melted over. “Thanks.” I giggled. He laughed with me, “We got it at a garage sale a few years ago in Utah. It was only 50 bucks, and we were couch less after our most recent move.” “What a sale.” He joked. I laughed with him for a while. Now I know why my mom said he was so funny. “So, would you like to stay for dinner? My mom never cooks big meals and she’s cooking one tonight, probably in your honor,” I told him, “or maybe because I made a friend.” I whispered to myself.

“Are you sure? I don’t want to ruin anything for you two.” He said, laughing at what I had said. “Yes, it’s okay. We only eat what we eat. There will be tons more, even if you do eat with us, because like when she and my dad were together I lived with them and his 6 other kids. Every night my mom would have to cook for us all, and when she did, she would cook huge meals. If it was just her and me, like it is now, one of those dinners would feed for us for a whole year! That’s how bad it was. So now when she makes food for more people than just the two of us, we have lots of leftovers. Sometimes we have to end up throwing them out because we have it for so long that it just never goes away and it just gets bad! Oh sorry, I’m talking too much, huh?” I had noticed he was just smiling at me listening to my story. “No it’s okay. I like your stories.” He said still smiling. “Good. Cause I have a lot of them! So tell the truth, how come you’re here?” “Well, I guess I can tell you since I’m staying for dinner… I wanted to see you.” “You wanted to see me?” I couldn’t believe it. “You better” he whispered to low for my ears, “Yes. After lunch today, I had to see you again. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I would love to see you, every day, for the rest of my life.”

He caught me off guard with the last line, for the rest of his life? Did he really mean that? I had no idea he could, actually, would ever like someone like me. He studied my reaction, “Don’t underestimate yourself, you’re a very beautiful person.” He reassured me. “Thank you.” I said blushing again. His eyes went crazy. They got deeper and bigger. He smiled with great delight and I couldn’t help but smile back. “So, tell me about yourself, Abby. How many places have you been?” My smile disappeared. I had no idea where I had been, my whole life was filled with trips all over the world. “I’m not sure.” I told him. “I understand. Where did you just move from?” “Colorado.” “How was it there?” “I liked it. We moved there because that spring had gone there for a school field trip from Utah, my mom chaperoned and she fell in love. I mean not with a person, just the place. My mom loves to travel, as you can tell.” He nodded, “And that’s how you moved here, too.” It wasn’t a question. “Sort of like that. I’ve been here a couple times over the last few summers. Last summer my mom came with me, and fell in love again I guess,” I told him.

“That sounds reasonable.” “I don’t see why.” I said under my breath. He heard me, I could tell, because he started cracking up. I joined him with a cheerful laugh. “Dinners ready!” my mom yelled when the timer for the oven went off. I could smell garlic bread. Yum. “Smells good, Ms. Tracy.” Josh complimented as we walked into the kitchen. “Thank you, Josh. But please, call me Emily.” “Anytime, Emily.” He smiled, only to look at me and say, “Lady’s first.” he motioned towards the food. My response smile made me blush into a deep pink, not quite the dark red I’m used to. He just smiled at me with great passion and that made me look away fast. My stomach was suddenly full, of butterflies. I didn’t want to eat, especially in front of Josh. I would probably look horrible! I turned back to face him and get my food and he was no longer smiling. He had jumped in front of me and grabbed a huge plate of food and stuffed a big bite of it into his mouth. He looked so funny I just had to laugh, no I didn’t laugh, I cracked up. I held my stomach and laughed my guts out. He was so funny and super cute when he tried too hard to be funny. He didn’t need to try hard; it just came naturally, the funniness and the cuteness. He swallowed and joined me with a brilliant laugh of his own. I continued

to blush as I got my food. “You two are crazy.” My mom said to us, because she had no idea why we were laughing. “Love you too, mom.” I said with a little giggle. Josh and I walked to the table and he pulled my seat out for me ─what a gentlemen─ and then he sat in the seat next to me. “Ugh, I can’t over how cute you two are!” my mom gushed. I picked up the thing closest to me ─something that wouldn’t hurt if it hit her─ and I threw a crumpled up paper in her direction. Josh just chuckled. “Okay, okay. I’ll leave you two alone. But I’ll be in the living room if you need me!” she said sarcastically. We ate in silence for about 5 minutes until I couldn’t take it anymore, “So, where have you been?” I asked wholeheartedly. “I’ve lived in very many places, like yourself. But I most recently moved from Portland, Oregon to Forks, Washington. And then I relocated here, Richmond, Rhode Island just a few years ago.” “That’s nice. So, tell me about your family.” I suggested and then took a little bite of spaghetti. “My actual brother and sister, Annie and Daniel, they’re very nice people.” He told me.

“As you are.” I smiled. “Thank you. And Jessica and Aaron are my adopted brother and sister. You may have noticed that Annie and Aaron are a couple, along with Jessica and Daniel. My father, Carlos, thought it would be brilliant idea to adopt Jessica and Aaron, as a nice gesture for Annie and Daniel. Jess and Aaron’s mom and dad were my father’s best friends, when they died it was so hard for everyone. Both couples have been together for a while and they will probably be together for much, much longer.” He explained. “And did Carlos adopt anyone special for you?” I asked, curious. He chuckled and said, “No. I’m all by myself. And have you settled down with anyone?” he asked me, also looking curious. “No, my mom doesn’t adopt my boyfriends.” Not that I’ve ever had one. “Have you ever had one?” he asked. Could he read me mind? I thought to myself. He coughed, and I could see a smile pulling at the corner of his lips. “No…” I told him, not wanting to lie. He probably would know if I did, he seemed to know everything. When we finished eating, I took our dishes to the sink. He insisted on helping me looking me strait in the eyes, I couldn’t fight how deep his eyes became when he tried to persuade me to do something, so I agreed and he grabbed a dish towel.

Around 9:50 we finished doing the dishes and he checked the time. “Oh gosh, it’s later than I thought. I should get home. I bet you still have homework to do.” He said with a smile, that made me remember falling asleep this afternoon and I woke up with nothing done, that seemed to be decades ago. “Yeah,” I shook my head, “your right.” “Walk me to my car?” he asked, it seemed like he wasn’t finished talking. “Okay.” I said with great delight, I wasn’t finished talking either. When we got out side I gasped, “Oh my gosh! That’s your car?” I asked. “Why? Are you disappointed? Or surprised?” he asked with a grin. “That’s ─ that’s a corvette!” I struggled to find the right words. I always seemed to lose my mind and words when I was with him. His grin got wider. “Yes, yes it is. Would you like a ride in it?” he asked nonchalant. Yes! I would love one! Especially if it meant being with you longer! I thought, but my answer was a little different, “Maybe some other time. It’s getting a little late.” I said, it was the responsible thing to do. “Yeah, you’re probably right. It’s the responsible thing to do.” He mimicked my thoughts. I gasped, but shook my head and just let it go. It was nothing. I thought, of course he knows it’s the responsible thing to do! How stupid am I?

“Okay, well bye.” I said, not wanting to let him go. “Actually, I lied to you. I came over here tonight to see if you would like to go somewhere with me sometime. You know, so I can make up for my rude first impression,” he flashed a smile at me, showing his teeth, and I suddenly had the breath knocked out of me, “If you’d like.” He added. I couldn’t respond. I had to remember how to breathe. He was so, so, cute especially in the moon light. The moon glittered off his skin like the rays of the sun. He’s smile grew as he watched my reaction and I had to wonder if I just spoke those last thoughts. “S-sure.” I stuttered and my cheeks flooded with blood. In and out, in and out. I instructed myself. I was on the verge of hyperventilating. I had to keep myself speaking so that wouldn’t happen. “Do you have any time or place in mind?” I asked. “Maybe tomorrow…? If that’s alright. We could do it over the weekend if tomorrow is too soon. I was thinking… dinner?” “Tomorrow is good, and dinner is… great.” I managed to choke out brushing my hair back and leaving my hand in my hair. He laughed at my stupid attempt to sound and look cool. I dropped my hand immediately. “Well, I guess I’ll see you tomorrow at school. And tomorrow, after school. When would you like me to pick you up?”

“I ─ I don’t know.” I stuttered, again. “How about 6:30?” Great, I had to wait 4 hours to see him in between school and our date. I highly doubt it is a date, I bet he just feels sorry for me. ‘Cause like he said, ‘you know, so I can make up for my rude first impression’ it wasn’t a date at all. I thought to myself. He clearly saw my hesitation, because he ended up saying, “Or I could move it to an early dinner. You know, if it takes us long to eat. Maybe we could even watch a movie or something and then eat when are finished.” He added. “A movie sounds good.” “Okay. What movie would like to see?” I was stumped, I hadn’t been paying attention to the current movies playing because I never had any friends, or any boys, ask me to go with them to a movie. So I just said, “Surprise me.” This made him laugh. “You’re pretty funny. I could learn to grow attached to you.” He said. I was about to freak out. I had to say goodbye before I started screaming. “Well, I could learn to get used to that, too. Goodnight, Josh Beckett.” “Please, just call me Josh. Goodnight, Abby Tracy. I’ll see you tomorrow; I can’t wait for our date.” He breathed. My mind wasn’t fast enough to register what was happening, but without my body moving one inch, Josh lifted his hand

up to my face and just laid it there for a few ─too quick─ moments. And then with a swift movement, he jumped into his car, and he was gone. I just stood there. Frozen. My brain seemed so slow tonight. Or maybe Josh’s actions were just a little too fast. I shivered ─at how cold his skin had felt against mine─ just a few seconds too late. My mind just couldn’t grasp the fact that he just touched me. I felt so alive at that moment. Even though, somehow, with that one touch, I knew my life could have just ended, quicker than I thought possible. 3. A Walk to Remember The next morning, I woke with a sudden jump of enthusiasm to get to school. I would see him, and be brave enough to say hello. I got in the shower and stayed in there for a very short time, wanting to get to school as soon as possible. I got dressed in decent clothes, not too fancy and not to plain. I curled my hair with no success, so I ended up pinning it back with a clip. I sighed and hopped down the stairs to the kitchen. I ate without tasting my breakfast, and waited till my mom left ─out looking for a job, again─ to agree with myself that it was late enough to get to school. The drive was agonizing because I couldn’t seem to get to school fast enough. But eventually, I made it. Relieved, I parked my car closest to their parking spots, and headed into the school.

I searched around the cafeteria with my eyes, seeing nothing. And then I jumped when someone whispered my name into my ear, “Abby…” the voice said, silky and sweet. I turned around so fast I almost lost my balance. I saw his face, and sighed with relief that I didn’t have to wait any longer. “Josh.” I breathed. “Good morning. You look beautiful. I like your hair.” “Morning, and thanks. You look very handsome yourself.” I said examining his wardrobe, he always looked stunning. “Thank you. You’re here early.” He said looking down at his expensive watch. Ours eyes met once again within less than a few seconds, it seemed like we couldn’t bear not looking at one another for long periods of time. He smiled at me. “Am I? I didn’t notice. My mom left and I got bored.” I said, light headed. His smiles always took my breath away. “Would you like for me to walk me to your class?” he asked, holding his hand out for my books. I nodded and said, “Thanks” as I handed him my things. We chatted about unimportant things like the weather, and current sports. He caught me off guard when he asked about tonight’s plans when we approached my first period, “Have you decided on a movie yet, or shall I choose?”

“Go ahead. I don’t really care; I love all types of movies.” Romance would be nice. In a lovey dovey movie with the boy of my dreams, that would be exciding. I smiled at that thought. “How about ‘A Walk to Remember’?” he offered. I loved that movie. “It’s playing? In theaters?” I asked, surprised. That movie came out ages ago. “No, but I was thinking maybe we could watch it at my house, I own it. Then continue with our plans for a late dinner, after all, it is Friday.” He explained. I couldn’t say no to our new plans, I loved them. “Okay. That sounds great!” I said with too much enthusiasm, he noticed. He chuckled and I blushed. I hadn’t noticed that time was passing fast and that the school was filled with students. Their eyes were on us, amazed. I blushed again, wondering what everyone was thinking. “Don’t worry.” Josh whispered, “They’re just amazed that I’m actually talking to someone other than my brothers and sisters.” He reassured me. “Okay.” I sighed, “Well, I have to go.” I told him. “See you very soon.” He said, and then touched my face again, like he had last night. And like last night he dropped his hand and quickly ─not as quick as the night before─ walked the other way to his class. I stood there frozen, until Damien found me and greeted me with a warm “Hello”. I walked into the class after him, my head spinning.

Chemistry came way to fast, but I was grateful for that. Josh waited at the door, just standing there staring at Damien and I as we walked in his direction. “Hello, Abby,” he said to me then turned to Damien, “Damien, would you mind if I stole your science partner for today?” he asked him. Damien looked shocked for a few seconds, but then he started to look annoyed, “Yeah, sure, whatever.” He said with a glum look on his face. “He looks mad.” I whispered to Josh when we were a safe distance from him. “He’s just pretty sad that he doesn’t get to be your lab partner for today.” “Why would he be sad?” I whispered back, in surprise. “Like I told you before, don’t underestimate yourself, you’re a very beautiful person.” He reassured me, and blood filled my cheeks. He looked away quick, not being able to resist, I told myself. He turned back to meet my gaze and smiled big.

Don’t you hate it when you refuse one shopping trip with someone knowing that you’ll find something, but don’t care? I do. Because if had went clothes shopping with my mom last weekend I wouldn’t be scrambling around my room, 10 minutes before my date with an irresistible guy. Then I came across a white, low cut dress shirt that I told my mom I would

wear, if I ever had the chance. Of course I didn’t because I never went on a date and it was too dressy for school. I slapped on a black tang top and shoved the shirt onto my body on top of it. I had no time to waste to I put my nicest jeans on and fixed my hair a little. I looked half way decent when the door bell rang. “I’ll get it!” I called to my mom ─who was getting off of the couch─ as I ran down the stairs. I opened the door wide, and saw his beautiful smile and I had to suddenly remember how to breathe. “Abby.” He sighed. “Josh!” I said with too much enthusiasm. “You look stunning. Are you ready?” he asked me showing me the video he held in his hand. “Yes, let me just get my purse and ill meet you in the car.” I said with a smile. I ran to my room and grabbed my purse and my shoes. “Bye mom, I’ll be home later!” I called to her on my way out the door. “Okay, you two have fun!” she said sarcastically. I ran slowly to his car and saw him waiting by my door. He opened it for me, and after I strapped myself in, he closed the door gently. He was in on the other side before I could take a second breath. “Your house?” I asked him. “Yes. My family is so happy to finally meet you.” He told me. Had he been

telling them about me? And how come he never mentioned that they were going to be there tonight? “Your family…?” I asked, scared. I was afraid they wouldn’t like me. They were all so beautiful, would they ever accept me? “Yes.” He answered me, and maybe even my thoughts. “You’ve told them about me?” “Well…” he said, searching for the right words, “In our family… let’s say… no one keeps secrets. Unless of course they tried hard enough…” he trailed off, it seemed like he was speaking to himself for a second. Then, remembering that I was sitting there watching him, he turned to me and smiled. “Oh, well at least you guys have a lot of trust in each other.” I noted quickly. “More or less.” He said. The drive to his home was really short, not to mention the high speed we were going. But I didn’t say anything about that. I didn’t want to seem too paranoid. His house was unbelievable. It was huge, it seemed to drag on and on towards the sky, never ending. The outside paneling was a soft light brown, and there were plenty of huge windows all around. He had a little porch leading up to the big double doors open to the front room. “Shall we?” he asked getting out of the car and opening my door for me. I walked up the porch slowly talking in the beautiful house. Josh wasn’t impatient

of my slow pace, he sort of understood. “Beautiful…” I breathed as we walked pass the doors, inside was extremely breath taking. The room was a warm off white color; the walls were covered with paintings that had much detail and mirrors big and small. The floor was a dark hard wood and the furniture set up was simple but somehow it the made room even more elegant. There were many different statues setup on the perimeter of the large room. “It’s my mother. She and my sisters have a thing for decorating.” He explained with a smile. “Yeah, my mom likes to decorate but she never finishes anything.” I babbled on about nothing. This made him chuckle. “Would you like to see the rest of the house or would you like to stop here?” he said sarcastically, I hadn’t noticed that I stopped, “My family can’t wait to meet you.” Family. Oh, right. That was the reason I was here, looking like I did, for the most part. I had to impress his family in order for this skimpish relationship to last. “Right,” I sighed. “You know, you don’t have to impress them. I would just like for everyone to meet. Even if it meant not liking each other, I could really care less. I’m just happy if you’re happy.” He said with a brilliant smile. “Okay, I’m ready. Let’s go meet them.” I said, and then we headed up

stairs. The first staircase was very wide and it curved with the room making it almost look like one of the many statues. When we finished walking up the steps we stepped onto a very soft, dark brown carpet. The walls continued with its off white color, covered now with paintings that had no real meaning, just for the color, there were no more mirrors. By the stair case was two double doors like the two in the front of the house, just smaller. “Hello, Josh.” A man’s voice greeted us. He had more of a velvet tone to his voice, not quite as silky as Josh’s. “Carlos, Yvette, this is Abby.” He said as we turned away from the doors only to walk past the corner and face his parents. Carlos was just as beautiful as the rest of them, his hair was dark brown and he was tall. His wife, Yvette, was just as stunning. She was a little shorter than Josh and Carlos, she had long curly brown hair and both had deep green eyes and pale white skin, like the rest of them. “Hello, Abby. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” Carlos greeted me. “Thank you for letting me come to your home. It’s very lovely.” I said turning to Yvette. “Thank you so very much, Abby.” She said in a voice as stunning as her appearance. “Where are the others?” Josh asked Carlos.

“Annie and Aaron are upstairs in the study. They’ll be down shortly. And Jessica and Daniel are… out. They’ll be here later.” Carlos explained just as Annie danced down the stairs with Aaron following slowly behind her. “Abby!” she cheered in her singing voice, running down the stairs to hug me and give me a small peck on my cheek, “It’s such a pleasure to meet you! Josh as been going on and on.” She told me. I blushed, like always. This made me question whether he really truly did like me for me. Annie was very tiny; she had short dark brown hair that was always hung down. Aaron was taller than Annie and had golden hair, like Josh. “Hey, Annie. Josh has spoken very nice things about you, too.” “Hello, Abby.” Aaron said in a low voice. Did he not like me? Josh shook his head at nothing in particular. “Hi, Aaron.” I said even more quietly. “Okay well, would you like to see the rest of the house before our movie?” Josh asked me, impatient. He seemed a little irritated of Annie’s way of “welcoming”. “Okay, sure.” I said, not sure how to respond. “Between those doors are our kitchen and our dining room.” He gestured towards the double doors by the first stair case. He led me out of the second family room up the stairs that Annie and Aaron had just come down, as the rest of his family went through the kitchen doors.

These stairs were just as grand as the first. Only these stairs led us somewhere totally different, a long hallway with many doors with great lengths between them. Bedrooms. “Yes, these are our bedrooms.” He told me. I stopped mid step and turned toward him. “Is this some kind of game?” I demanded. “I don’t understand.” He said truthfully. “You know what? Neither do I. You answer me and my thoughts. Josh, you have to tell me what’s going on here. Just tell me the truth. About everything or I’m going to have to leave.” I told him, I wasn’t even sure of my words. Would I have the power to leave? I could feel tears of rage building up. I wasn’t going to cry. Not now. “I’m sorry. I tried so hard not to make it come to this. But I just can’t stop myself. Most of the time I don’t even know that it’s your thoughts I’m answering.” “I’m not following you.” “Yes, your right I can read your mind.” He confessed, “But as for telling you everything, we’re going to have to discuss this another time.” “Fine.” I said, throwing my arms up in the air, “I’m outta here.” I told him and turned to race down the stairs. “No, wait.” He pleaded, catching up to me in an instant and grabbing my

arm. I wasn’t shocked by how ice cold his fingers were. “What.” I said coldly, still not looking at him to see if my words hurt him, I was afraid that if I looked, my hot tears would spill over. “Okay, I’ll explain. But can we talk about this somewhere else, away from all these other thoughts? My family will not approve of this, but like I said, as long as you’re happy.” I sighed, “Okay, where would you like to discuss this?” “How about tonight, at dinner…? At least after we watch our movie, I would like to continue with this date as traditionally as possible.” I sighed heavily at the word date. “Yes, I do believe this is a date.” “Okay, whatever. But do you promise to explain everything to me at dinner?” “Everything, I promise.” He said with sure sincerity that made me believe his words. “Shall we continue?” he asked for the millionth time today. “Okay.” He continued with the tour, pointing at the first door on our left as we walked back up the stairs and through the hallway. He grabbed my hand this time

intertwining our fingers so I wouldn’t try to run away again, I think, “Well, this door is the study. Mainly Carlos’s office, but everyone goes in and out as they please so he really doesn’t think of it that way. This door,” he said pointing to the first door to our right, “Is my mother and father’s bedroom. The second door on the left is Annie and Aaron’s room and the one across it is Jessica and Daniel’s bedroom. The last door at the end is my room.” At the end of the hall was a very long and skinny window ─it seemed to stretch from the floor to the ceiling─ that nestled just inches from Josh’s bedroom. When we reached the door I risked a little glance out of the perfect glass and saw that we were really high up. I looked back up after I saw the long drop. Josh smiled at my racing heart. When he opened the door I gasped. His room was ten times better than the first floor of this beautiful house. Two of his walls ─not including the one the door was attached to and the wall that divided his and Annie’s room─ were made of glass. Pure window. The wall the door settled on and the one that divided were a rich pearl white color, one was covered with some small paintings with a classification of their own and the other was nothing but shelves. The carpet was a creamy tan. As for furniture, he had a small dark brown couch sitting in a corner next to a nightstand with all kinds of journals stacked on it. Across the room from the couch was a flat screen TV. The wall with shelves was filled with all kinds of things, books, movies, magazines, and all types of music.

“Your room is fantastic.” I whispered, though no words could explain this. “Thank you.” He said taking me to the couch and sitting me down, our fingers still interlocked. He released my hand, and went to put the movie in while I got comfortable. “Do you sleep on this couch?” it was quite comfortable. “Yes, I know it is. But, no I don’t sleep on it.” “Where do you sleep?” I was anxious to know. Did he have a secret home of his own? “No, I live here. But I promise, I’ll explain everything later.” And that was all that was spoken.

I stretched from being stiff for all that time, Josh had held me, I was cold from his body, even though he put a heavy blanket between us. “That was very nice movie. My favorite actually,” I said. “One of my all time favorites too.” “Hmmmm.” “Would you like to walk to the restaurant?” “Huh?” I asked. “It’s not very far, just a mile. And I know a perfect short cut, too. Less than

10 minutes. Unless you would rather drive…? “Sure. I love walking. Just not really, really far distances.” “Yeah, I love late night walks.” I smiled and put my sweater on. He led me down the two sets of grand stairs where his family waited in the front room, now joined by two other members. Jessica and Daniel, I guessed. “Jess, Daniel, this is Abby,” Josh introduced us. “Hello,” I said with a great big smile. I was so happy tonight and I didn’t care who knew it. “So you’re the one Josh has been talking about! Oh yeah, she’s a keeper.” Daniel said with a responding smile. “Hi,” was all Jessica said to me. This made me a little nervous. “Okay, well we’re going to dinner now.” Josh announced. “You two have fun.” Yvette said. “We will.” He answered for both of us. When we were far enough from the house, I asked the first question that came to me, knowing he would already know what it was, I still needed to talk. “So, if you can read other people’s minds, what did your family think of me?” He chuckled a little, and then said, “Wow, I can read minds. I should have

seen this one coming. They think you are very lovely.” “Really?” I blushed. “Well, tell them thank you for me please.” “I certainly will.” “But I don’t get it; Aaron and Jessica were really weird around me.” “Don’t get them wrong, they really do like you. Jessica was just really furious with me for what I am going to tell you soon, and with Aaron, I’ll explain his problem later.” “Earlier today, when you said, ‘in our family, no one keeps secrets’ what did you mean by that?” could the others read minds too? “Yes, our whole family can read minds, if that’s answering your question. It’s really hard to keep things from each other, unless you tried hard enough at least.” “And how could one try?” “Well mainly you would have to think of everything else but the thought your trying to hide. For example, if you’re trying not to tell the others that you committed a crime, you may possibly think of school or recite a language in your head, over and over. It may get boring and you would probably get exhausted after awhile for trying so hard, and eventually the thing your hiding will just slip into the minds of many others.” “That’s very interesting.”

“Yes, it is. Okay so about earlier, feel free to run screaming once I tell you truth.” He whispered looking down. “Why would I do that?” “Abby,” he said with a little fear in his voice. I stopped abruptly and stared him right in the face, we were still on the trail not far from the restaurant, but far enough to where no one could hear us. He continued, “Abby, I’m a… a… a vampire.” I looked directly into his eyes and just stared looking for the lies in his never ending pupils. There were none. I couldn’t say anything. “Go ahead, run.” He said letting go of the hand he was holding. What did he mean by that? He continued, “Run away, Abby. I would never hurt you; I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I did. I understand if you never want to see or speak to me again.” He whispered. What? What are you saying? Could you really leave me? I thought. “I don’t think I can,” he admitted, “It would be a great load of pain for me and all the others who share my mind. But I would learn to deal, even if I never got over it.” He wasn’t making any sense; I couldn’t understand why he would come to this conclusion. I could think of no other way to make it clear that I wasn’t afraid of him and that I would never, ever leave. I placed both of my hands on his

cheeks and pulled our faces together. After a very long explation kiss, I pulled his face away from mine and whispered, “I love you.” We stood there in silence for a few moments, until he finally spoke, “Are you sure you want this, Abby?” “Positive.” I answered without even thinking, I didn’t need to think. This was my choice from the beginning, from the moment I looked into his deep eyes, my love for him started the moment the world stood still. This was truly, a walk to remember. He pulled our faces back together once more for a short moment and then let me go, still holding my hand. I hoped he would never let go.

4. That One Night We reached the restaurant 5 minutes later, he still hadn’t explained everything, but we were getting to that. He asked for a booth with some privacy and so the waitress seated us and left so we had a chance to look at our menus. “We don’t eat,” he started, “We drink.” “Blood?” of course. This made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I knew he would never hurt me, but the thought of innocent people dying scared me a little. “We drink animal blood, Abby. No need to get scared.” He reassured me with a smile. Animal blood? I knew he wasn’t lying, this calmed me. But animal blood couldn’t taste as good. Could it? “Your right, it’s not as… satisfying.” “And can you eat regular food?” I was curious. “We can, we just choose not to. We can’t survive off it.”

"But what about dinner that night at my house?" "Please don't repeat this to your mom, but it was discusting." “Promise! I take it you don’t sleep.” “You got that right.” “Never?” “Never.” “What do you do with your free time, since you seem to have a lot of it?” He paused. He seemed to be waiting for something. A few moments later the waitress came over. “What can I get you to drink?” she asked Josh ─not me─ looking at him with a big smile. “A coke.” I answered. “And for you?” she said still looking at Josh; she was trying to get his attention. She was attracted to him. Just like everyone else, great. “Nothing for me tonight.” He said simply without taking his eyes off of me. She looked at me for the first time, huffed, and then walked away. I repeated the question in once more in my head, so, what do you do? “I…I’d rather not say.” He whispered.

“Please?” I asked, looking up at him through my long lashes. “Well, for the past few weeks, I…I’ve been, watching over you.” “Like, watching me… while I sleep?” I blushed at that. “Not really, I run around the perimeter of your house, listening to you dream.” He explained. How could he be spilling this out to me? “Abby, I love you. I could watch you dream forever if that’s what it took to be with you. I love you, now, forever, and always.” He whispered, grabbing my hand and intertwining our fingers. We were interrupted by the waitress, who cleared her throat nervously. I looked up and blushed again. “Here is your coke,” she said coldly as she sat it down on my coaster, “What would you like to eat?” she demanded, I could tell she wanted to get away as soon as possible. I hadn’t chosen yet, so I looked down and said the first thing I saw, “Chicken quesadilla, please.” She said nothing, looked from me to Josh again, rolled her eyes and walked away. What was that all about? I thought. “She was just wondering why someone like me could love someone like you. I clearly see no problem with that. You are utterly the most beautiful thing man has ever created.” I blushed and he kissed me again. “So, what was up with Aaron?”

“Well,” he sighed, “your blood has the sweetest scent, he was like me the first day I met you. He just couldn’t resist. He knew I would hurt him if he ever did anything to you. So he was trying not to breathe.” “Trying not to breathe?” “Yes, we don’t need air, but it helps us hunt.” “Hunt?” “Yes, we hunt for our food.” A thought occurred to me then, “Was that where Jessica and Daniel were?” “Yes. You catch on pretty fast.” “Thank you. So, since you, Annie, and Daniel are Carlos and Yvette’s real children, does that mean vampires can have kids?” “No. That’s just a cover story. Because people would be specious if we told them that they adopted all of us. They would probably think that Annie and Aaron, and Jessica and Daniel were like secretly married or something.” “Are they?” “Actually, yes they are.” “Really? How long have they been together?” “Annie and Aaron both say about over one hundred years and Jessica and

Daniel have been together for almost a ninety years now.” “Wow. How old are you guys?” “Carlos is a little over 200, I am 158, Yvette is 108, Aaron is 253, Annie is 122, Jessica is 99, and Daniel is 87.” “Dang.” “Yeah.” “And you never had anyone in those 158 years?” “I do now.” he said with a smile squeezing my fingers very gently, then let go. Our waitress came back with big smile on her face, seeing that our fingers were no longer together. She dropped the plate right in front of me and turned to Josh, “Are you sure that I cannot get anything for you.” She said biting her lip, truly flirting. I sighed heavily and Josh turned, looked her strait in the eye and said, “Look, I don’t want anything. Now I would really love it if you would stop trying to flirt with me in front of my girlfriend.” I blushed at the word. Girlfriend? Really? I smiled. “Oh, my bad. I didn’t know that you were with her.” She said coldly. “Well clearly if I’m holding her hand and telling her I love her, than yes. I’m with her. And I intend on being with her for a while.”

“Okay, my apologies. He’s your check.” She handed it to him and swiftly walked away.

I woke up that night, ice cold. I searched around the place franticly looking for a blanket. “I’m sorry, did I wake you?” a voice from beside me asked. I gasped. “It’s okay,” the voice said to me, “It’s just me, Josh.” “Josh? Oh my gosh! Don’t scare me like that.” “Who did you think it was? Are any of your other friends this cold?” he whispered sarcastically. “No, but I’m not used to waking up lying in bed with a block of ice.” I joked back. “Well I can go back out side and run again, if you want me to.” “No!” I almost yelled. “Shhh! Your mom is sleeping in the other room you know.” “We’re at my house?” “Yeah, did you really think I’ll just leave you at my house without your mom knowing? That’s really irresponsible of me.” “But I fell asleep on your couch when we got back. Did you bring me home or something?”

“Yes. I carried you all the way home. You know, so your mom doesn’t wonder why my car is in your drive way tomorrow morning.” “You carried me home?” “I am pretty strong you know, and fast.” “What’d you do? Run?” I joked. “Actually, yes,” he said seriously. “Oh. Well, thank you for taking me home and for… staying with me.” “Well, it was either this, or running. And I’d choose this over running any day.” He whispered in my ear. I bit my lip and pulled his face to mine before I went unconscious once again.

When I woke the next morning I was sweating. My shirt was stuck to my skin and my face was all sticky. There was no evidence of anything cold in my bed, just me gasping for the cool air coming from my open window. I pushed off the heavy blankets that once separated me from him and searched my room with my eyes for his reassuring smile, but found nothing. I cursed quietly under my breath and got out of bed to clean myself up. When I was slowly waking up in the shower, I started to wonder if last night was all a dream. Waking up to Josh in my room, watching the movie with him holding me, his cold skin against my warm skin, our hands intertwined, the

beautiful and rude waitress, when I forced our lips fiercely together just moments before I told him those three sincere words, getting ordered to run when I was told about what he really was… vampire. I stopped in the middle of squeezing the shampoo into my hand and dropped the bottle. I froze. No matter how warm the water was against my skin, I was frozen sold. I stood there till I slowly defrosted from my moment of remembering. I finished with my shower in a hurry. I got dressed without thinking and ran down to the kitchen. My mom was gone. I had no idea where she would be, but I didn’t care. I grabbed my keys and ran into my car. I hoped in without knowing where I was going. I screamed when I saw a figure in the passenger seat. “Calm down, love. It’s only me.” Josh said. “Well, you could have stayed in my room or I wouldn’t be freaking out like this.” “I had to go home and change sometime. I stayed out because when I got here you were in the shower, and I knew you wouldn’t forgive me if you accidently dropped your towel when you saw me lying on your bed.” “Well, I would have defiantly screamed. But thanks anyways for giving me some privacy.” “Your welcome.” He said leaning over to kiss me. “So last night was real…” I whispered against his lips.

“Oh, that. Yeah I was sort of listening to you when you were in the shower. And yes, everything that you remember happening was all true.” “Even the…” I didn’t finish. I knew he already knew where I was going with the whole thing when I first thought of it. “Vampire? Yes, my family and I are vampires.” “Well, at least I’m happy that it’s all true. Every single bit of it.” I said as I grabbed is hand. “So, what are we doing today?” “We? Well, I don’t know.” “Let’s go somewhere special.” “And where is this special place?” I asked. “Just somewhere I used to go before you moved here.” “Okay. Would you like to drive?” I said hesitantly. I was scared he might break my tiny car driving at the speed he normally does. “How about we go get my car?” “Well…” “Don’t worry. You weren’t awake last night when I brought you home; this might be something you want to see.” “Wha-” I tried to say, he was too fast for me. He was out of the car, to my

side, and I was slung to his back before I could finish. He ran normally towards the nearest forest, and then when we were secured by the great green walls, he took off running at top speed. His breath didn’t increase speed, it just stayed normal like if he were walking, not sprinting. “Close your eyes,” he said, and I obeyed. We reached his house in no time and he sat me down on the lawn to rest and slow my pounding heart beat. “Woah.” “Did you like it?” he said as he put a flower from the garden behind my ear. “It was amazing, like flying.” I said breathless. “And you wonder why we love to do it.” “I never sa-” I stopped myself. “No, you never did say that. But you did think it.” “It’s really easy to forget things around you.” “I can tell. But I love it when your mind goes wild when I do this.” He said as he kissed me gently. He backed away after a few seconds. “Your heart is like a sweet symphony when we touch.” “My mind and my body just love you way too much.” He smiled as he helped me up from the ground.

“So, are we going?” “Oh, just a little place where I like to think.” He said as he opened my door. “Are you ever going to tell me?” “Nope.” He said with a smile as he got in on his side. “Well, if you’re kidnapping me, I could probably live with that.” I said as I kissed him. He was my new life, and I was in love with it.

5. Our Special Place He drove at top speed down the empty highway, leaving behind my new home, diving to the middle of nowhere. “It’s not the middle of nowhere, it’s the middle of somewhere, but people

just don’t really go there anymore,” he explained. “Then where are we going?” I demanded. “You don’t like being surprised, do you?” “No!” “Okay, okay. We’re almost there; it’s just behind that hill.” He said as we started to drive towards a mountain. “A hill?! That looks like a freaking mountain!” “Okay, so maybe it’s a little bigger to you than it is to me, but don’t worry, we’re almost there, love.” “Okay.” I pouted. When we finally passed the huge mountain, he slowed down extremely; we started strolling down the road looking at the ruins. Everything was old and rusty. “What is this place?” I finally whispered. “This was where I was born.” He said softly as we stopped in the parking lot of an old movie theater. “This is where you were what?” “This is where I was born. In 1851, there was a hospital where this theater is. It burned down eighteen years later, when I turned into a vampire.” He said, as

he helped me out of the car. “But, why?” “When Carlos bit me, I went crazy after I woke up. I started to kill everyone in the hospital.” “Why were you in the hospital?” “I had heart cancer, only seconds left of my life actually. From miles away, Carlos could hear my shuddering heart, so he ran faster than you can imagine, just to save me.” He shook his head like trying to make the bad memories go away, “Well, after the venom stopped spreading and I had woken up, Carlos tried to explain to me what I was and what he did. I was out of my mind thirsty that I couldn’t even register what he was trying to say. So I ran as fast as I could out of the room, to the nearest human with flowing blood.” He explained as we walked into one of the empty auditoriums. I was so lost in his words that my mind was trying to picture all of this, it wasn’t very hard. I pictured him running down the halls and accidentally bumping into a nurse so hard, he shattered her bones. I pictured him sucking her blood until she turned pale white, to helpless and weak to do anything. “That was exactly how it was, just running in and out of the doors looking for more blood. That was all I could think of was blood, blood, blood. It was seriously torture.” He said through clenched teeth. “I bet,” was my best response.

“After hours of draining people, Carlos found me again and just simply told me to stop.” “And you obeyed?” I asked, as he helped me sit on the huge stage while he just stood in front of me, staring into my eyes, telling his story. “I had to. I can’t really explain what sort of… dominance, I had towards Carlos. It was like, he was the Alfa and I was just part of the pack.” He said, choosing his words carefully. “It must have taken a lot more than just one word to stop you, right?” “Actually yes, it did. When he found me, I was just finishing off the last living person, he came up to me and looked me strait in the eyes and told me to stop. When he did, I looked down at the little girl in my arms and just let her drop to the floor. I after looking at the horror on her face, I told myself I would never drink a humans blood ever again.” “Poor little girl.” “Yes, I know. If he would have stopped me just seconds before I picked her up, she could have lived her life like any normal human.” “But wasn’t she dying?” “No. She wasn’t.” “How do you know that?” “Because, that little girl was my sister. She was there to see me,” he

whispered, looking down. When he said this, I couldn’t help but cry. His poor little sister was killed by her own brother. I was spaced out, thinking of how Josh must have felt when he saw the horror in her eyes. He wiped the tears off my face with his finger, turning the salty water into ice. “Please don’t cry, love. This was my fault.” “It’s j-just t-that I-I…” I couldn’t finish, what was I going to say? That I know how he feels? Well I didn’t. I didn’t know how he felt. I wasn’t a blood thirsty vampire that sucked my little sister lifeless. I was nothing compared to him. But I was just so sorry for the little girl, it could have been anyone else, I could have even been me, but it just had to be her. “Shhhh…” he soothed, as I put my head against his shoulder. I sobbed for a while until my tears went dry, then I pulled my head up from its stiff position and looked Josh in the eye. He looked like he was in pain. “I’m so sorry for your sister,” I croaked. “No, no that’s not why I’m sad. I just hate to see you in pain.” “Oh. Well, I’m sorry you had to see that.” “It’s alright, love.” He whispered right before he pulled our lips together again. We started walking around the old theater as I asked him questions about

his past, “So, how come the building burnt down after you became a vampire?” “Because, after I drank everyone’s blood, we had to set up a death stage somehow. No one could just find everyone here with drained blood.” “So you burnt down the hospital?” “What else were we supposed to do? I was dying already so it wouldn't have mattered." “Oh yeah, I bet you couldn’t face your mom after what you did.” “Hardly. I just didn’t want to look into her sad eyes when she found out that her only daughter died, I can’t even start to think how she felt when she found out that both my sister and I were said to be in the fire.” “What do you mean by ‘were’?” did he burn his sister? “I didn’t burn my sister, no. I buried her.” “But where?” “Back here.” He said as we walked out of the back door of the theater. “Where back here?” “Just a little into the woods. Would you like to see?” “S-sure.” I shuttered, I wasn’t very sure of my words. “It’s okay, she’s completely buried. It’s been over 140 years.”

“So, really… there’s nothing left?” “There was nothing left for me to do.” We walked a little into the forest before we stopped. I looked around for some sign of cemetery. But found nothing but a rock that stood up against an old tree and Josh was on his knees with his head in his hands in front of it. I walked slowly towards him and it sounded like he was sobbing, could vampires cry? I knelt down and put my hand on his back and slowly moved it up and down as I read the stone. It said: “…HERE LIES ANGEL ANN AVERSION. A DAUGHTER AND A SISTER. WE LOVE YOU SO MUCH, AND I AM SO SORRY. R.I.P. 1857-1869…” It was carved in by something, I just could think of what. “My finger nail.” Josh whispered after a long moment of silence. “What?” I asked. “I carved it with my finger nail.” He said as he took his head out of his hands. He curled his fingers, just looking at his nails. I could see what he was talking about, his nails looked as sharp as any knife. “Your fingers never look like that though.” “It happens when I want them to, mainly when I’m mad.” “But it’s not your fault…”

“I know it’s not. But sometimes I just think I should die for what I did to her.” “But you don’t.” I said trying to get him to look at me. “Then who am I supposed to blame for her death?” he snapped. I had nothing to say. Who could he blame? Carlos maybe, because he was the one who turned him, but that would be wrong. His mom? No, she didn’t send her daughter, she snuck out of the house to see her only brother. Really it wasn’t anyone’s fault. “But it has to be someone’s…” he whispered a little too low for my ears. "Actually, no it doesn't." "What?" "You can read my mind and you still don't understand me?" I laughed, "What I meant was, you shouldn't blame yourself for the past, only for the good of the future." "You make no the sense... but I get you, Abby. And thank you." he said as he sat on the ground so he could use his hands to pull me closer to him into a passionate kiss. "I love you." I breathed against his cold lips. And that’s how we were, in love with messed up life’s. What a perfect pair.

6. Please Don't Stare I woke up the next morning a compete mess. I couldn't sleep last night because I didn't have Josh with me. I told him to spend the night again but he insisted on only saying every other night, just to get used to things the way they were. I was fine with that, but my only problem was school. What was everyone going to think about us? Would we hold hands? Would we kiss? Or would we not even talk because we were friends with completely different people? I would have to ask him. But how? And even if we did do that couple stuff, of course people would ask questions. “I just love your mind in the morning." a voice said from my window. "Josh?" "Yes, love?" he said, still not coming into my room. "What are you doing here?" "Right now I'm hanging from your window seal. And I'm making up for not staying last night."

"Yeah, I couldn't sleep." "Really? Me either." he said with a low chuckle. "Can I at least get ready before you see me with bed head?" "Sure, I'll wait for you down stairs." "But what about my mom?" "She left about an hour ago. She was thinking about some job she got." "Really?" my mom and I hadn't talked for the last few days because I was always out with Josh and she was always gone or asleep when I got home. I would have to ask her about that job. I got out of bed and jumped in the shower for a few quick minutes and then got ready like always. I skipped down the stairs when I looked decent and hopped into Josh's open arms. "Hungry?" he asked. "A little. What’s for breakfast?" "Uh...er... what do you usually have?" I giggled, "It's okay, I’ll take care of breakfast. You just sit here and make yourself comfortable." I said as I gave him a quick peck on his lips then got up to make a bowl of cereal. I ate as quickly as I could so that we could go to school, even though I was going to dread the moment people saw us.

"Come on, miss worried. It's going to be okay. You shouldn't care what other people think. I love you and that's all that matters." "I don't care what people think, I just hate when people stare..." I whispered. "It's going to be okay..." "Are you sure?" "I promise." "Okay. Let’s go." I sighed and then kissed him once more before getting up. The drive to school was fast and easy. He helped me out of the car like always, and that’s when the madness began. One person looked, then another. After a while, everyone in the parking lot was staring at us. I just wanted to tell everyone, Please don't stare, it's just me and my boyfriend. "Nice." Josh whispered into my ear, I giggled. "Off to class, young lady." he joked when we walked into the school. "You too, old man." "Hey, I look young." "But you know, it's on the inside that counts." I laughed. He sighed, "Come on."

When we reached my first period I saw Damien waiting outside for me. Oh gosh, this couldn't be good. "It's not; he's going to ask you on a date while I’m not around. Ha! Watch this." he whispered to me while we were still walking. He stopped in front of my door turning so Damien could see us together. Then he grabbed me by my waist, I put my hands around his neck, and he kissed me fiercely, all for Damien. He started the kiss, and he had to end it. I never wanted to let go, I didn't care who saw us or where we were. I just wanted to be with him in my arms forever. "Have a nice day. I'll see you soon." he said loud enough for Damien to hear. "I miss you already." I answered, then gave him a quick peck on the lips and let go. "I love you so much," he whispered in my ear, that was just a little too much for Damien at the moment. "And I love you so much more." I breathed. He let me go and handed me my things. I turned to Damien while Josh was walking away and he had the funniest look on his face. Mixed emotions. First was surprised, then it changed into disgust, anger, sorrow, and then it ended with confusion. "What’s up?" I asked as mellow as I could be. "Wa-What was that all about?" "Oh, that," I blushed, "we're sort of a thing now." I said, it was the best I

could come up with. "When did that happen?" he asked as we walked to our seats in the class. He had chosen the seat next to me on the second day of school so that I wouldn't be sitting alone. "Um, Friday...?" "Oh." "Are you okay?" "Yeah, fine, whatever. It's just that I never thought it would happen. When did you two even start talking?" "He came to my house Thursday night and had dinner with me and my mom." "He did?" "Yes, it was pretty nice too. And that night he asked me on a date, and I said yes. So on Friday we had our date. Many other things happened after that, and I guess it ended up to be what you saw in the hall." "I don't like it." "Don't like what?" "You and Josh Beckett. I don't like it. Not at all." he said, shaking his head. "I'm not asking you to like it, but as my best friend I’m asking you to be

happy for me." I wondered what best friend would do to him. Would he back off now that I considered him my best friend and that I was taken? Because being taken didn't really seem to be enough. He looked a little shocked. But then he responded by saying, "And as your best friend, I’m saying that, that just isn't right." "Okay and I accept that you don't like my boyfriend and I being together, but also as your best friend, I’m asking you to keep your opinions to yourself and to keep your mouth shut. Got it?" "Whatever." was all he whispered in response. We didn't talk for the rest of the period. Second period gym was never ending. Today we had to play tennis and I accidently hit some guy in the head with the ball. "I'm so sorry!" I yelled as he started jogging towards me. I studied his face for anger, but all I saw was his eyes, they were huge. Not in a creepy way, in a cute memorizing way. Sort of like anime eyes. "Hey! No biggie, what’s your name, pretty lady?" he asked, as flirty as can be. I couldn't speak, it was like his eyes and his smile and his face and his body and his breath and everything was hypnotizing. "A-Abby." was the best I had; I blushed and bit my lip. What was that? I thought, I never bite my lip!

"Well Abby, I think I'm gonna need your number. You know, for insurance purposes." he said with a magnificent laugh. I responded with a little giggle. Then Josh popped into my mind. "I'm sorry. I have a boyfriend." "That's alright; I should have known that a gorgeous little lady like your self would be taken. But it was worth a shot, right?" “Yeah, well it was nice to meet you... Um, I didn't catch your name." "Terrance." "Pleasure to meet you, Terrance." I stuck my hand out to shake his. "Oh, no. The pleasure is all mine." he said, grabbing my hand and kissing it. I blushed even more. I'm so sorry, Josh. I love you. I thought. He had a very nice face. Light brown eyes, short spiked dark brown hair, and he was just as tan as me. When gym was over and I was finished getting dressed, I saw Josh waiting for me by the door with a blank expression on his face. Before I could close the distance between us, Terrance caught me by the hand and pulled me aside. "Hello, my lady." "Um... hi." I said, looking in Josh's direction. He was headed towards us. "May I have the honor of walking you to class, beautiful?"

"Actually..." "Excuse me." Josh said, looking at where Terrance was holding my hand, "Could you please take your hands off my girlfriend." it wasn't a question. "Josh Beckett?" he asked in disbelief, "You’re going out with Josh Beckett?" "Yes, yes I am. Do you have a problem with that?" I asked him coldly. "I am so very sorry. I had no idea you two were together, or even speaking. My apologies." Terrance said releasing my hand. Josh quickly blinded our fingers together, glared at Terrance, and we began to walk away. "I'm so sorry." I repeated to Josh. "It's alright love; I know you didn't mean to hurt me." "It's just that..." "I know, I heard." "Oh." I whispered. He stopped walking, let go of my hand, and turned to me so he could see my face. "Abby, listen to me. I love you. But if you ever want to be with someone else, just tell me to my face. I don't want to hear it in your thoughts. I want you to tell me strait on. I will understand. I've waited for you my whole life, but if I’m never good enough for you, let me know. So if you would like to be with Terrance McAllister then just tell me right now, and I will let you go and never see you

again. I will leave you forever if that is what you ask of me. I want you to live a normal life." "Josh... Please don't ever say that. I love you, more than you could ever imagine. I don't want Terrance." "Are you sure?" "Yes. I am positive. I want to be with you as long as I live. I love you." I whispered, and then kissed him. When he broke the kiss he said, "I love you too." We reached third period, hand in hand, with people still staring. Damien was waiting by the door like always. When he saw me he smiled. But then it disappeared when he saw Josh next to me. He sighed, and then walked into the classroom. Josh chuckled. "What?" I asked him. "He regrets ever telling you about me." he said, still laughing. "Oh." I whispered when we walked into the room. The table that Josh used to sit at was now a set of six chairs. "I just thought you would like to sit with us today." "Sure, why not?" I said with a smile. Now I wouldn't be just considered as Josh's girlfriend, I was now part of the family.

"Hello, Abby!" Annie sang as I sat next to her and Aaron. "Hi, Annie." I said with a bigger smile. "How's life with my brother?" Daniel joked with a husky laugh. I blushed and Josh squeezed my hand. "Nice." was all I said. "Today we will be dissecting frogs!" said our teacher. "Ew." I whispered. "I agree, they're not very appetizing." Daniel laughed. Josh darted a stern look at Daniel and his face fell in shame.

Lunch came sooner than I thought. I wasn't very hungry after what happened in third period, but I was just glad to be with Josh again. Jasmine and Sarah ─I finally remembered her name─ asked me about him in 4th period, and I answered their questions with honor. They were just two of the many people to see us kiss in the hall before first period. They said we looked super cute and really great together. "What would you like to eat, love?" Josh asked me when we were in the lunch line. "Do they have pizza?"

"Yes ma'am." "Okay, that and a Dr. Pepper, please!" I instructed. "Wow," Daniel laughed, "You two would be killer to live with. Always lovey and all that crap." Then Jessica hit him when he chuckled. "Sorry, hun." he muttered. I giggled. "It's just love." whispered Josh. "Psh. Me and Jess love each other and you don't see us showing it all the time." he boomed with a laugh, then Jess sighed heavily and walked to the table leaving Daniel behind. "Common, babe! I was just playing." he said to her back, then chased after her. "Here you go, love." Josh said as he paid for my food, "Your favorite?" he asked. "Yes sir." I smiled. He grabbed my hand as we walked to the table, Jessica and Daniel were in front of us and Annie and Aaron were behind us. Everything went silent as we walked by. Everyone was staring. Even the people who knew we were together. I blushed. Josh chuckled. "What?" I whispered. "Your best friend and your new friend are jealous." "Then I bet this will drive them crazy." I breathed into his ear. I stood on my tippy toes and kissed him for a long moment until someone cleared their

throat, Daniel, then Josh broke the kiss ─like always─ because I didn't want to stop. I looked around, and everyone's jaw was dropped. Damien and Terrance just huffed, and then looked away. When we reached the table, Josh held out my see for me and I heard a few girls go, 'awww.' I just blushed. "Here, baby." Josh said as he placed the tray on the table and sat himself down by me. "Here, baby" Daniel mocked in a high pitch voice that made Annie, Jessica, and I giggle. When lunch was over, Josh, Annie and I walked to French class. The period went by so fast because all I was doing was passing notes to Josh.

Hi. What are you doing?

Something you should be doing, work.
Oh. Well your face is distracting me (:

Abby, you should be more concerned with your school work and not my face, no matter how beautiful you think I am.
Haha, I love you.

& I love you. Now work. You must learn or I will never take you to Paris.
Paris? Really?

I was thinking about it. It's really up to you. But

if we must go, you must learn, love.
Yes sir (:
I smiled when he crumpled the paper and tossed it at the trash can. The bell rang. "Come on, love." Josh said, grabbing my things and gesturing for one of my hands. "Why don't I walk you to class?” I said when we were walking down the hall. “Are you sure?” “Yeah, the gym is close to my sixth period anyways.” “Okay, love.” He said with a little chuckle. “Bye, I’ll see you after school.” I said to him. “I’ll be waiting for you.” He breathed, and then kissed me. Walking to class by myself was okay. Besides the fact that I saw someone outside of my class waiting for me. No, it wasn’t Damien. Not Terrance. It was Jessica.

7. Over “Jessica? What are you doing here?” I asked. “I’m here to talk to you.” “About…?” "Josh." "Oh. What about Josh?" "You really like him, don't you?" she asked as she started walking out the back door of the school. "Uh. Yeah, I do. Hey, I'm actually supposed to be in class..." "I told your teacher you were going home early. So you have the whole period off." "Really? Thanks, Jess." "It's Jessica." she said coldly. "Sorry." I mumbled, then we walked into the forest behind the school. "It's whatever. But listen, he really likes you, you know."

"He tells me." I said with a brilliant smile. "He thinks great things. Most about you, and the future. The future he sees involves you every time. He's in love with you, Abby. Very truly, in love with you." I blushed. Why was she telling me this when I already know? "Abby, has Josh ever told you how I became a vampire?" She asked. He never did, we really didn't talk of Jessica much. Besides the fact that she looks mean. She laughed a dark laugh. "Yes, I can tend to be a little frightening at times, but I have my reasons. Would you like to hear my story, Abby?" "S-sure." I stuttered. "I'm warning you, it isn't very happy," she sighed and stopped so that we could sit on a dry log. Then she began, "I was born in 1910. My name was Jessica Marie Hart. My parents were Mandy and Louis Hart. My father owned a very successful bank and me and my mother were swarmed with glorious things. I had everything my friends wanted, money, beauty, and the best boyfriend ever. I had the perfect life as Jessica Hart. "On my eighteenth birthday in 1928, my father bought me a very expensive car. Me and my boyfriend were going out that night to a party that my best friend was holding in my honor, of course," she smiled at that thought, "I asked my mother and father if I could drive to this party in my new car and they

said yes, but as long as I didn't get drunk and drive home. I was bummed. That was my plan for the night, to get drunk and have a great time with the people that I loved. "I promised my parents that I wouldn't drink. But I lied. I was going to have Marshal, my boyfriend, drive me home. When we arrived at the party, we were swarmed with people trying to chat with me. The party was a huge success, I had tons of fun and so did everyone else. Prior to this party a few weeks before, I found out that I was pregnant. I was so happy that I was going to have a family of my own with the person I truly loved. "I drank and had fun anyways, even though I knew that it was going to put my baby at risk. We were to announce that night that I was with child, but I can't remeber if I ever did. I told Marshal not to drink that night so that we could return home safely. He didn't listen to me. I was to out of it to even notice that he was totally wasted. We got in the car and drove off without anyone noticing," she was staring at the ground, to into her story to really notice that I was staring at her with concern. "He drove so fast," she started to whisper, "there was no way of stopping him. I yelled at him to slow down... but he just kept telling me to live a little, saying that he was trying to have the time of his life with his one true love," she stopped to look me strait in the eye, her deep green eyes were filled with pain, "he died that night, Abby. He proposed to me in front of all those people," she breathed, "My fiancé died that night... because we were drunk driving! I was in

critical condition for hours. I lost my baby," she croaked, "I lost my baby..." she continued to whisper. "I couldn't live any longer. I just wanted to die. My whole life was lost. Gone, in that crash. I tried everything. I tried to make myself stop breathing, I tried to fall out of my bed, I cut myself for about a month. When I was finally released from the hospital, I went back home to live with my mother and father again. I was so depressed, I had to freaking take pills!" she shrieked, "You don't know how horrible I felt. My parents were officially ashamed of me. One night they finally thought it was okay to leave me home by myself, so they went out. I found the hidden alcohol, grabbed all the pills they had in our medicine cabinet, and tried to overdose." "What do you mean by 'tried to overdose'?" I whispered. "I passed out on the ground, half dead and half alive. My parents found me and rushed me to the hospital. There was no hope left for me, so they said their last goodbyes and then left me to die. But, little did they know… Carlos was my doctor. He bit me. I lived." "I'm so sorry." I whispered. She turned to me and smiled. "Sometimes bad endings have their ups. Yeah, Carlos saved me and I was furious. I wanted to kill him, actually. But I didn't because he had someone for me... He had Josh for me." She breathed. I couldn't speak. He never told me this; they used to be in love?

"Not just in love, Abby. We were all about each other. I mean sure, Marshal was my first and only true love, but Josh was something way, way different. We were supposed to get married, you know," she said looking off into the distance. Why was she telling me this? Why was she trying to hurt me? "Abby, I want you to know that you’re not the only one that Josh has ever loved," she said looking me strait in the face. "He loved me." "W-what happened?" I asked, not wanting to know. "We were just a few weeks away from our dream wedding, and thats when Carlos stumbled across Daniel Martian while working night shifts at the local hospital. Daniel was dying and Carlos thought he could really help him. So he turned him. When Daniel and I met, we were inseparable. No one could get me away from him, not even Josh. I fell out of love with Josh and in love with Daniel. 12 years we were together, me and Josh. He was so hurt that he moved away from our family for almost 30 years. He came back in 1970 and by then, of course, me and Daniel were already married and deeply in love. After that, I promised Josh that I would never hurt him again. Ever," she paused, "I also promised him that if someone was to hurt him, I would hurt them. So, Abby... What’s with Terrance?" She broke my silence with that question, "Terrance? What about him?" "You seem to like him. Is this true?" "No."

"Don't lie to me, Abby." "I'm telling the truth." "I can read your mind, so if you're lying to me, I will know." "I'm not lying!" I began to raise my voice. Why was she doing this? "What is going on?" I heard Josh's voice coming towards us. "Nothing. We're just talking." I told him, still looking at Jessica. He saw through my lie, of course. "Jess, just let it go. She didn't do anything to you." Josh said. "But she hurt you, and you know she did. I'm just doing something that you won't." She snapped, getting up from the log to look at both of us strait. "And what’s that? Trying to scare her to death?" "No! You know that's not what I'm doing. I'm just doing what’s right. I'm keeping my promise." "Would you two just shut up?" I yelled, hopping off the log like Jessica. "What?" they said at the same time, facing me. "If you want me to say it, then fine. I'll yell it out to the world. I LIKE TERRANCE McALLISTER!" I shouted. But I will never love Terrance like I love Josh, I thought. I began to run to my car, hoping no one was following me. "Abby, wait." Josh said, having no trouble catching up to me.

"What, Josh? What do you want?" I stopped to look in right in the eyes. "I know you just said that so she would stop pushing you. I know what you said was a lie." "And what if it wasn't? Huh? What if I really do like Terrance? What if I was in love with him? What would you do? What would she do?" I asked, pointing in Jessica's direction. He stood in silence for a while, stunned at what I said. "Abby..." "Just drop it Josh, can’t you see I would like to be left alone at the moment? Maybe we should just end this relationship right now. Apparently I'm not good enough for you. Would you want me to risk my life?" "What are you doing, Abby?" "I don't know. I'll let you know when I find out. But for now, goodbye Josh Beckett." I left him standing there, shocked as I sped down the road fighting back tears. What the hell did it just do? I asked myself.

8. Safety Fireworks My mom pounded on my door, "Honey! Are you okay?" she asked. "Go away!" I sobbed. "You've been like this for hours! You need to come out sooner or later! Come on, can you just talk to me?" she pleaded. "Just leave me alone!" I screamed. She didn't answer, "Josh, I'm so, so, so sorry." I whispered in between sobs. How could I do this to myself? I had to

apologize to him... get him back... even if that did risk my life. I wondered how he felt now. Did he still love me? Did he hate me? What was Jessica going to do? He was probably in so much pain... I was going to die... I shook my head, trying to clear it. No, I thought, she would never kill me... Josh would never allow it... he couldn't possibly hate me that much, could he? A few hours later I slumped down stairs to find something for my empty stomach. That’s when I saw someone waiting for me... "Mom?" "I waited." she responded. "But... Why?" "I wanted to tell you something... But you've already stopped crying, so I don't think now is the best time." "Just tell me." "Are you sure? Honey, you look tired. Maybe you should go to bed." "Mom, I'm fine. Just spit it out already." "Abby... I was worried." "Mom... W-what did you do?" "Well, I knew why you were crying. So I called him, and when he didn't answer... I went to investigate. Abby... Abby, they're gone." she whispered. "They're... they're what?" I breathed.

"Everything. Everything they own... is gone. Abby, they left." she had pity in her eyes. She was sorry for me. Suddenly I couldn't breathe, then everything when black. I my life was lost... gone, forever. ***** Sometimes I wonder whether life has its cruel moments for a reason, or just to give someone heartache. I certainly go with heartache on this one, because no matter what, my life is lost in the wind of his latest passage, they packed me away like one of their useless things, only they accidently left me behind... ***** I don't know whether it's been days, weeks, months, or even years, but time doesn't seem to matter anymore. My reason for living left me because I told him to… But what can I do? I want him back. But I can't have him. "Abby!" Damien yelled, running up to me and gathering me into a great big bear hug, "Can you believe it? School is over!" he shouted over all the commotion. "It... it is?" I said, looking down at the diploma in my hands. "Duh, silly head! We just passed through graduation! I can't believe it’s over." he sighed, looking over our senior class in the small gym. Everyone was shouting and taking pictures with their families.

"Oh. Yeah, sorry. I just spaced." I mumbled. "Are you okay? Come on! You have to be happy!" he smiled big, "Well I'll see you soon, okay? Remember! You promised to hang out with me over summer. We should go to a movie tomorrow!" he shouted, to enthusiastic. "Uh. Okay, sure." I stumbled over my words, I didn't know what I was saying these days anyways, so why did it matter? "Bye! I love you!" he shouted, picking me up again and then placing me back down to give me a dramatic kiss on the lips. When he let go of me, I was frozen solid. He had a big grin on his face; "It was worth a try, right?" he chuckled, and then ran off to his parents.

I went to bed early, again, "Night, mom." "Abby. Come here." "Mom, I'm tired. I had a long day today. Can't I just go to bed?" "No!" she shouted, "Abigail, it is your graduation night. You should be going out with your friends! Come on, what does being 18 even mean to you?" "Being mature and going to be early." I said, turning around to walk up the stairs. "No. You are going out tonight, weather you want to or not."

"Fine!" I said, throwing my hands up in defeat, "I'll call Damien and see what him and his friends are doing, okay?" "Thank you." she said sitting back down on the couch. I absolutely hated that couch, he sat on it. "And please," she continued in a whisper, "for everyone's sake, please don't think about him tonight? Okay? Tonight is just about you and your friends." "Okay." "Abby, you should trying dating again... Damien is a really nice boy, you know." "No. Mom, please, please. I'll date when I'm ready, okay? But for now, can we just drop it?" "Okay, now go upstairs and get ready. Oh! Don't forget to call Damien." I sighed and walked upstairs. I grabbed my cell phone and typed in "Dayyymeeennn" into my phonebook, then pressed send. It rang three times before someone picked up. "Abbilicous?" "Hey. What are you doing to night, hun?" "I was going to go to a graduation party, but I'm game for whatever you want to do, baby." he said casually. We weren't a couple, but we still called each other names.

"A party sounds cool, I'm down. Who's hosting?" He was silent for a moment, and then whispered, "Terrance." "Oh." "We don't have to go if you don't want to." he said quickly. "No, it's okay. I'll go. Pick me up in 20?" "Sure thing, bye babe. I love you." "Bye, hun" I said, and then hung up. I've never told any other boy 'I love you', even though they say it to me. Damien understands though, that’s why he doesn't get all mad about me not saying it back. I rummaged through my closet for something decent to wear, that’s when I started to wonder... should I dress up? I texted Damien to make sure. 'Love, Do I need to dress up?' I asked, then I dropped my phone to look at clothes again. A few moments later I heard my ringtone, 'I can hear your heart, crying out for me' I picked up my phone to check the message. 'Yes ma'am,' It said, 'Wear black and white with me, kay?' I replied with, 'Is a cocktail dress okay?' then pressed send. He responded just moments later with, 'Anything you wear will make you hot. So yes, go with the dress. Bye, baby. I love you.'

I set down my phone, and then grabbed the black and white cocktail dress my mom bought for me just a few days ago. I curled my hair, put on my heals ─which I hate by the way─ and then was ready by the time Damien showed up. "Bye, mom." I said, as I strolled out the front door. "Have fun, honey. And don't forget what I said, okay?" "Gotcha." "Wow." was all Damien could say. "Thank you." I said with a smile, I haven't smiled in a while. "You look so beautiful." he breathed. "You to, Mr. Man." I giggled, I haven't laughed in a while either. "Here you go," he said as he opened my door and closed it for me. "Thank you, Damien. For everything." I said when he got back in the car. "I was nothing, but you’re welcome." he said, leaning over to kiss me slowly on the lips. This was different than before, when me and him used to kiss, it was like an electric current. But when Damien kissed me, I was just like safety fireworks. When he pulled back, he grabbed my hand and we drove to the party. We arrived hand in hand, I knew this made people wonder. But, I let Damien do all the talking. "Dude!" Joey, one of Damien's friends, called, "Nice to see you brought a

date! Hey, Abby. You look... wow." he laughed. "Thanks Joey, I get that a lot." I said looking at Damien with a smile. "So are you two a 'thing' now?" he asked, using quotation marks with his fingers around the word thing. I looked at Damien who said, "I guess you can say that." he said casually, looking at our hands. "That’s hot. Well I'll see you two love birds later! I'm going to talk to Jasmine," he said with a grin, then he whispered, "I hear she’s got the hots for me!" we all laughed as he left. "I'm going to go get something to drink. Kay, baby?" "Uh. Okay. I'll wait here." I mumbled when he let go. I stood there looking really lonely, and someone noticed. "Wow, I haven't seen this body since the day she and Josh broke up." a voice said from behind me. My body ached when I heard his name, but I turned to see who was talking to me anyways. It was Terrance. "Hi, Terrance." "Oh, come on. Lighten up, baby. You’re at a party! And I accept." "Accept what?" "Well, you were bound to ask if I would dance with you, right? Well, Come

on sweet pea, let’s dance." I hesitated. "Uh, actually I'm her-" "Shhhh. It's just one dance, it won't hurt anyone." "Actually," Damien said from behind me, "This is my girlfriend, which means she's my date, which means she is going to dance with me." "Lighten up, Damien. It's just a dance." "Listen, if you two keep this up, I won't dance with either of you." I snapped, they were dumbstruck by that comment. "Well," Terrance said, turning to Damien, "Since she is your date, I might as well dance with her first." Terrance grabbed my hand and twirled me onto the dance floor just the first beats of 'Superhuman' by Chris Brown came on. Terrance, the gentle man, bowed and gestured for my hand. I giggled, curtsied, and then took his palm in mine. We started swaying with the beat as he pulled me closer to him, a little too close. He whispered in my ear, "So, are you two seriously together? "I have no idea. I guess... I mean it has been awhile, hasn't it?" "Since you and Josh broke up?" he asked, I flinched, "It’s been almost nine months, sweetie." Nine months? What? "Nine months? Really? Has it been that long?" I whispered back fiercely. He was just about to answer me, when Damien cut in as 'Goodbye to You' from

Michelle Branch started to play. "Abby." Damien breathed in my ear. I just smiled at his reassuring voice. There was no one I wanted to be with right now more than him, but Damien was a good enough substitute. I looked him in the eye and saw a little sparkle of hope for us. What the hell? I thought to myself, it’s worth a try, right...? Then I planted a big fat kiss on his perfect, warm lips. This wasn't the electric current I was hoping for, but I could probably deal with the minor fireworks.

9. This Seems Pretty Fair It was a very unusual nice, sunny, and hot day outside, so I dressed in a blue bikini top with a brown tube top over it, short blue jean shorts, and brown

and blue flip flops. I scrunched my hair so I looked wet, but it wasn't. Damien wanted to go to the to beach and the fair today. Were walking down the street, headed to the county fair, when we heard someone shout, "Ooooh!" Jessie, Damien's best friend ─now─, yelled from behind us, "What do we have here?" he joked with thick sarcasm jogging towards us. "Shut up." Damien muttered. Blushing and looking down at our hands combined, I giggled. "When did this happen?" he asked, putting his hands on our shoulders. "Grad party. You know the one you never showed up to!" Damien said, smacking Jessie in the back of the head with his free hand. "Sorry, man. I had a date." he said with a smirk. "Oh, really? And you don't think it was a great idea to tell me!" he raised his voice, I wasn't scared though, I knew he was just kidding. "It was with Sarah McAllister." he sighed with pleasure, throwing his hands up and leaning back looking up at the sky. He shouted this, clear and sincere, “Damien, I think I'm in love." he couldn't stop smiling. "Terrance's little sis?" I winced at the name when he said it, "I'm so happy for you, dude. But... isn't she older than you?" Damien asked. Jessie looked up and smiled, "That's the beauty of it, man. We're so in

love, age is just a number!" "Well, that's great. I'm happy for you. We're happy for you." Damien said, looking to me with a smile. I nodded with a little grin. We reached the fair within minutes, Damien paid for our entry fee and our tickets. Jessie sat in the front waiting for Sarah, they had another date. We waited with him so he wouldn't be lonely. After a while of sitting there, I had to go to the bathroom. "Uh. I'll be right back, okay? I'm going to go to the bathroom. Wait for me." I said, and then hurried off. I scrambled around looking for the nearest bathroom, and didn't find one. "Uh. Excuse me." I said to the back of someone who I thought worked here, "Do you happen to know where a bathroom is?" I asked. I inhaled and his sent was extraordinary, his hair was an elegant light brown, and cropped short so it hung just a little below the ears. He turned and I gasped. I couldn't believe my eyes. "J-Josh..." I whispered so low that it was barely audible. "Hello, Abby." he said clearly. So he was real. This was not my imagination. Tears started streaming down my face, I jumped, wrapped my arms around his neck, and without thinking, I kissed him so fiercely that it hurt. He tried to get release my grip from the back of his head, but I wouldn't budge. When he finally used all of his strength, I released my lips from him forcefully and blushed. I searched my mind for something to say. "So, what are

you doing here? I thought you left. Are you back for good? Are you just visiting? Are you here with a...a date?" all the questions came out in a rush, but I stopped with the last one, that one I didn't want to be answered. He hesitated, but answered my crazy questions anyways starting with the last one, "I do not have a date. I'm sorry but I'm just visiting. And the reason I'm here is because...." he didn't finished. "Because..." I prompted. "Because.... Because, Abby, I wanted to see you." he whispered. "Oh." was the best I had. I searched my mind again, looking for the one question I wanted to be answered before he left me... again. I shuddered at that thought, and then asked, "Josh... W-why did you leave me?" He looked puzzled for a moment, and then said, "Because, Abby, you told me to." What? I placed my hands on my hips and said, full of sarcasm, "I do not recall." He sighed and looked away. "Abby, I didn't intend on speaking to you today. I was trying to hide from you so that Damien wouldn't get irritated with me if we spoke. So when you left him I thought that this would be the best time to see you. I'm sorry if I caused more hate and if you are going to hurt more when I leave again." "So..." I whispered, "You guys are really gone?" I asked with tears threatening to spill over.

"Yes. After you left and told me to leave you alone, Jessica tried so hard to make me forgive her and she begged me to go to your house and say that I was sorry, but I told her no. I told her that you wanted to be left alone, so I was going to give you space; even if that meant we that I had to move away from you... forever." "But I never wanted you to leave, Josh." "I know, but at the time it was my only option." "Then why did you come back and see me if you knew it would just hurt me more?" I demanded. "Abby..." "What Josh, why would you want to hurt me again? Is that your freaking goal in life? To make my like a living hell?" I almost shouted at his face. "No, Abby. I left you because it was for the best and be both needed to move on and meet other people." "We had one stupid little fight! And look how that turns out, you move away!" "You told me to leave you alone." "I didn't think you would take it that seriously and move your whole family like a thousand miles away from me!" "Abby..."

"Just shut up, Josh!" I started to cry but not because I was sad. "Abby, listen to me..." "Why should I?" "Because I've fallen in love again!" he shouted. This caught me off guard, "W-what?" "I came back to tell you that I met someone else and that I want all those left over feelings between us over and done with." "But, Josh... I love you." "I know, and those feelings need to stop. I don't want you to get hurt anymore. Damien is a really nice guy, and you deserve him more than you do me." I was still looking at him dumbstruck, "You met someone else...?" I whispered. "And you did to. I just want you to know that there is no longer a love connection between us anymore! Okay?" he stated. "Are you serious?" I asked. "Yes, in fact me and the girl are getting married in a few days, so I'm glad that I cleared this right up. I will be on my way now. Goodbye for the last time, Abby Tracy. I wish all the luck in the world that you and Damien are together for a

long time." he said quickly. Before I could respond with a single word, there was a cold breeze and he was gone... again. Out of my pathetic life. I dropped down on my knees and started to sob. "Abby!" I heard someone shout but I didn't respond, it wasn't the silky and sweet voice I was hoping and yearning for, "Abby! Abby, what's wrong? Did someone hurt you?" Damien demanded. I could speak, so I just sobbed against his chest, "H-h-h-he's g-g-g-gone a-again!" I cried harder. "Shhh." He patted my back, "Common, honey. Let’s get you home. Can you give us a ride, Terrance?" Terrance? Why was he here? "Sure, no problem. Anything to help Abby." he said with a chuckle. "Now is not the time. Now help me get her to your car." Damien said coldly, "Common, baby, get up, I'm taking you home. It's gonna be okay, I'm here, it's gonna be okay." he cooed over and over again in my ear as we walked to Terrance's car. My face was buried in his chest against nice shirt that was getting stained with my tears. My legs felt all scraped up from falling onto the concrete and my hair was grimy and matted with my sweat. I was a mess, but Damien didn't seem to care. That was the moment I knew that he was truly in love with me. He loved me for me, and nothing else.

10. The Dream “Abby, you look so beautiful tonight.” He whispered as I sat down in the fancy seat in front of him. I took his hand in mine and he kissed it. “Thank you, Josh. You look stunning yourself. So, what’s with the high end restaurant in Paris?” I asked. “Tonight’s a special occasion.” He said simply. “Really? And what is that?” “Well, let’s wait until after you finish eating for me to tell you, okay? But be careful, we don’t want that pretty dress of yours to get messy.” He smiled. I was wearing an elegant black silky dress that hung just above my knees. It also had a low cut V neck that showed a decent amount of cleavage. "Gosh, I don't know what to get, it's all in French!" I laughed, trying out little words that looked easy to pronounce from the menu. "That's all right, love, I'll order for you.” He said grabbing the menu as our waiter came over. “Comment peux-je vous aider?” he asked. “Rien pour moi ce soir mais, Mai j'obtiens l'à de Poulet de Herbed à la Francaise pour mon fiancé,” Josh asked in French.

" Mon plaisir. Et boire?” said the waiter. “What would you like to drink?” Josh said to me. “Uh, coke?” I asked. He chuckled, shook his head and then told the waiter, “Lorina.” “Je reviens de suite avec votre ordre.” “Merci.” Josh said sincerely. “That was not coke, what did you get me?” I asked. “Sparkling lemonade, it’s a French specialty.” "Oh, well, wow. I didn't know you knew how to speak French." I said, astonished. "158 years of being single, what would you do with your time?" he smiled. I giggled, “So, what was that last part about?” “Huh?” he looked confused. “Don’t play dumb with me, mister,” I smiled, “I heard the word fiancé.” “Oh. That. Well, I wanted you to eat dinner first… but, since you already heard I might as well do it now.” he explained as he stood up and walked by my side. “W-what are you talking about, Josh?” I asked, my eyes were getting all

cloudy because I knew what was about to happen. He got down on one knee, took my left hand and asked, “Abigail Marie Tracy, I love you more than anything in my never ending life. You are sweeter than any prize ever won, I promise to love you for as long as you live, will you marry me?” “Yes.” I whispered and began to cry as I kissed his soft, cold lips. I jolted up right in my bed. I was gasping for air as tears started to fall onto my sweaty cheeks. “It was all a dream; it was all a dream…” I sobbed over and over again.

Why? Why now? I asked myself.

11. Sex on the Beach 4 Years Later “Happy twenty-first birthday Abby!” everyone yelled as I walked through the door of my apartment with Damien. “Aw, thank you so much you guys!” All my friends, family, and co-workers were cramped into my small living room. “Guess what, hun?” my best friend, Sarah, asked. “What?” “You’re officially twenty-one! Yay, you get to go out with me and Jessie tonight and party!” she screamed. “Are you drunk?” “Just a little.” She admitted. “Yeah, sure. I’ll go with you two; I’ll ask Damien if he wants to go. Sit down and don’t throw up on my couch. Okay?”

“Yes ma’am.” She said, and then stumbled over to my brand new sofa. I walked into my kitchen and saw Damien standing with Toby just talking and sipping something out of a red plastic cup. I walked over to him, kissed him on the lips and asked, “Do you want to go out tonight with Jessie and Sarah?” “Yeah, sure, babe.” He said, and then kissed me again before I left the kitchen to tell Sarah the good news. “He said yes, so it looks like I’m going.” I said cheerfully. “Omg, that’s awesome. I need to tell you something, like now.” she said so seriously that her face almost looked sober. “Okay, hun.” I said as she dragged me to the bathroom. “You have to promise you won’t tell anyone what I’m about to tell you, okay? Not Jessie, not even Damien, alright?” she whispered fiercely. "Sarah... What's going on?" "Abby... I'm pregnant." she finally answered. It took me a few moments to process this, maybe to long because she started to shake me, "Abby? Abby, I'm telling the truth!" "You're..." "Yep, pregnant," she shuddered, "ugh, that word just scares the hell out of me. I mean, I would love being a mother, but now? I feel so young."

"But you were drinking..." I was still lost in my thoughts. "I know, that's supposed to be bad for the baby, but I couldn't help but celebrate! I'm super happy, like you don't even know." "Does Jessie know?" "No, he doesn't know just yet... but I was wondering if you could help me break the news to him." "Sure, but wait, you're not a virgin anymore?" I snapped out of my daze. "Well, obviously not. Wait, you haven't let Damien pop your cherry?" she gasped. "What? No! Of course not... we're not in this relationship for sex, he loves me and he knows that I'll tell him when I'm ready." "Aw, I love how innocent you are," she smiled, "But, you two have been together for four years, sweetie." "I know, so have you and Jessie, and look at you now! You're pregnant!" "Shh, not so loud! But, yeah I know. And the sex was great!" "Ew!" I shouted covering my ears and shutting my eyes, "TMI, TMI, TMI! Too much information!" She laughed and then sighed as I opened my eyes, "See, this is why you're my best friend."

"The one and only," I smiled and gave her a huge hug. "I love you, Abby." "I love you too, Sarah." I whispered. "Hey!" Someone said as they slammed the door open, "Get out! Get out! I need to pee!" It was my crazy boss, Linda. "Ha ha, okay!" we laughed together and then ran out of the bathroom.

"Abby, you look hot!" Sarah yelled as she and Jessie came to pick Damien and me up from our apartment. I was wearing black leggings with a long, red and silver striped tang top with some cute black pumps ─I'm officially in love with heals, they're almost the only type of shoe I wear─, my hair was also scrunched, as usual. My little birthday bash was fun and it died down pretty quick, mostly because some of my friends had to work the next day. A few months ago, Damien, Jessie, Sarah and I snagged a temporary job at Hollister for the time being while we finish off our last year in college. Soon after we will be moving back to Rhode Island to be closer to our families. Mainly my mom and her husband for me, who just happens to be my drama teacher from high school. "Thanks. You look so pretty too, Sarah!" I complimented back. "So, where are we going?" Damien asked as we got into the back seat of

Jessie's Escalade. "Only the hottest Club in Cali! The Hard Rock Cafe." Jessie answered; he was our DD ─designated driver─ because he was only twenty. We arrived and got a valet to park our car as we walked inside. "No drinks for you, missy." I said to Sarah. "Shh! Not so loud! I told you I promise to tell him by tonight, okay?" "Ha, okay.” I said as I walked to the bar with Damien and Sarah, "God, I don't know what to get." "Can I get one Sex on the Beach for my best friend?" Sarah asked the bartender. "Sure, sis. And for you, sir?" he asked Damien. "Corona, please." "Coming right up." "Did he just call you sis?" I asked Sarah. "Yep, wait, you didn't know?" "Know what?" "Terrance works here. He came to visit me while I go to college with you; it's just a temp job, though. I'm making him pay rent while he stays at my apartment with me and Jessie."

"And you never told me?" "Of course not. That guy practically stocked you in high school; I just wanted to keep your relationship with Damien safe. No need to thank me now." she laughed. "Here you go, beautiful, and happy birthday." Terrance said as he handed me my drink. "Thanks, Terrance." I said. "Oh, so you remember me?" He joked as he handed Damien his beer. "Of course I do. Oh, I forgot to say Hi. Hi, bye." I said as I grabbed my drink and Damien's hand. I dragged him to the dance floor and started to dance as I nursed my drink. I could feel myself getting Tipsy really fast. We were there for a few hours before I was ready to go home, "Where's Jessie? I'm ready to hit the sheets." I giggled because of the double meaning in my words. "Over here, babe." Damien escorted me to the back seat of Jessie's car where I was too drunk to sit up so I laid my head in Damien's lap. He stroked my hair gently on the way home while I played with his fingers on the hand I was holding. "Byeee!" I yelled at Jessie's car as him and Sarah drove away to their apartment.

"C'mon honey, let's get you inside." Damien whispered. After he shut the door I threw him up against it and covered his face with kisses, "Are you sure, Abby?" he whispered slowly against my lips as I put my hands under his shirt. I just nodded slightly and he gathered me in his arms, scooped me up bridal style, and brought me to our room. He continued to kiss me the whole way, without parting once, even when he placed me gently on the bed. He pulled away as I ripped his shirt off and unbuttoned his pants; he gracefully shoved my shirt off and unclipped my bra with one swift movement. He released his grip around my waist as he tugged off his pants, we were to into the moment and not sober minded enough to even think of condoms. He kissed me and didn't stop, even when he said, "Sweetie, this is going to hurt, I'm sure it will, but only for a moment. I'm sorry, and I love you." It did hurt, but like he promised, it was only for a moment. Our kisses were mostly substituted with slight gasps and moans, but it was over before I wanted it to stop.

"Morning sunshine." he smiled against my lips. "Ugh, my head hurts like a mother." I whispered. “Here, take these.” He said as he handed me to pills, “It’s Advil, it will help get rid of your hangover.” “Thanks.” I whispered as I slowly got out of bed, “Ugh,” I groaned, “My

body is aching.” “A late night can do that to you.” He laughed. I ran into the bathroom seconds later and threw up. My body heaved and hurt so much I had to hold my sides to make sure I didn’t fall apart. “Are you okay, honey?” Damien called from the bedroom. “Y-yeah, I think it was from last night.” I croaked. After I flushed the toilet, I brushed my teeth and grabbed a cup of water, with which I drank my Advil with. I walked slowly back to the bed and covered my naked body up with our blanket. “It’s okay, baby, it’ll pass.” Damien said as he stroked my head like he did the night before. I fell asleep again and the smell of chocolate chip pancakes woke me up. “Morning, sleepy head,” Damien smiled as I sat down on the bar stool by the Island. I was wearing his robe because, for some reason, he was wearing mine. That got a giggle out of me. “Morning. Ugh, my head still hurts.” I complained. “Here, maybe you’re just hungry,” he said as he placed a stack of pancakes in front of me, this made my mouth water, “We didn’t eat last night after all. This should fill you up, though.” Before he finished talking, I was already finished with the first cake. Why am I so hungry? I wondered. As fast as I finished the first one, the second was

gone. I ate the four pancakes in less than five minutes. “Damn, it looks like you were hungry. Would you like some more?” he asked. I nodded, but when I did this, I gagged and raced to the bathroom again. “Jesus.” I whispered as I wrapped my arms around my stomach and laid my body on the cold tile. “Abby…?” Damien had a very serious look on his face. “It’s okay, it’s okay.” I said and then got up to get back in bed, “I just need some rest, that’s all.” “Okay, well come out when you’re ready. Sleep well, I love you.” Damien kissed my forehead as I drifted off to sleep.

12. Just a Little Test. It’s been three weeks since my birthday, and I still feel horrible. I’ve been eating like crazy, and it’s showing just slightly. The throwing up went down just a little, so I only do it in the mornings. “Let’s go! I can’t wait to see if I’m allowed to find out the sex of the baby!” Sarah was jumping up and down on our way to the hospital, today was her first ultrasound and she asked me to go with her because Jessie had work. She’s been pregnant for about a month, and she constantly rubs her little pouch. When she told Jessie the news three weeks ago, he fainted. I smiled at

this memory because Sarah called me seconds after I woke up from my nap, just to tell me what happened. She started freaking out, it was pretty funny. “Hello ladies, do you have an appointment?” the receptionist asked us as we walked into the lobby. “Yes, McAllister for 2:30.” I answered for Sarah. “Ah, yes, here we are. Right this way.” She said as she led us into one of the back rooms, “The doctor will be here shortly.” She said, and then shut the door as she left. Sarah got onto the bed and made the paper on it crackle. She started to bounce up and down while she spoke to me, “Abby, I can’t wait!” She started to rub her belly, “I’m going to get to see you baby. I can’t wait to see you. Mommy loves you, Angel, mommy loves you,” she cooed. “What did you say?” I asked. “Oh,” she blushed a little, “It’s just a name me and Jessie picked out, if she’s a girl, we’ll name her Angel.” “That’s a really cute name, I love it.” I smiled. The doctor came in shortly after. “Hello, Ms. McAllister. How are you today?” the doctor asked. She was short, light skinned and she had long, curly hair. “I’m very excited!” she almost shouted.

The doctor laughed, “You should be, carrying a baby is a very happy process, it comes with pain, too. But, it’s a big change, and every change should come with a little pain, right? Or it really doesn’t matter. Now, let’s get started.” After she was finished putting the jell goop on her belly, we saw a round egg-like shape on the screen. I was holding Sarah’s hand for support, and she squeezed it just gently. Sarah started to cry a little after a while. “Look at that,” I whispered, “its little Angel.” She smiled at me while the doctor printed out the picture and wiped off all the gunk from her stomach. Before the doctor said we could leave I asked her, “Uh, Dock?” “Yes ma’am?” she responded. “Uh, I’ve been sick every morning for like three weeks. At first I thought it was just a really bad hangover, but it never went away and now I’m eating like crazy.” “It was like that for me,” Sarah said, “Are you sure you’re not…” she didn’t finish. “It could be just a cold. Or you could be like Ms. McAllister, here. When was your last period?” I counted on my fingers, “Over a month ago… it was supposed to be last week,” I whispered, “I’ve never missed a period in my life.”

“Well, you could take a standard pregnancy test. How long has it been since you were sexually active?” she asked in a very serious voice. “About three weeks ago, and the next morning I had a really bad hangover and it seemed like I puked my guts out.” She laughed and then went to one of the cabinets and grabbed something that looked like a stick, “Here, pee on the end of this and when you’re finished, there will be either a plus or minus sign. If it’s plus, come back in here and I will give you an ultrasound. If not, you may leave.” “Okay.” I said, and then took the pregnancy test from her. Me and Sarah went into the bathroom while I took the test.

I looked at the picture they printed it out and I started to cry again. “Abby! I’m super happy for you! Yay, we get to be pregnant together!” she yelled. “I need to tell him…” I whispered as I drove home. “Well of course you to! C’mon lets go to the store right now and announce the great news to everyone!” I sighed, “Okay.” We walked into Hollister and everyone seemed to greet us. I walked behind the counter and kissed Damien on the lips.

“Hey, baby. How did the ultrasound thing go?” Damien asked me. “It was great; they even gave us a picture.” I held up my ultrasound paper and showed it to him. “Aw, is this your guy’s little baby? Pretty small for one month, don’t you think?” Damien said. “No,” Sarah laughed and held up her picture, “This is our baby! That, is yours.” “W-what…?” Damien muttered. I smiled softly and said, “Baby, I’m pregnant.” Damien fainted.

13. Demanded 6 months later, Rhode Island. “Honey, can you go to the store and get me some cookies?” I yelled to Damien, there never seemed to be any food in this damn house. “Sure, hold up. Give me like five minutes.” Damien came into the kitchen and saw me with my hands folded over the big bulge that was now my stomach,

“never mind then, I’ll get going right now.” he said to my pissed off face. I smiled and then kissed him. "Yeah, you don't want to piss off a six month pregnant lady!" I yelled to him as he laughed then shut the door, "three more months to go, sweetie." I cooed as a rubbed my big tummy. I searched through our litte pantry lazyly for potato chips. I didn't find any. Hmmmm, I thought, I think I'm going to call Damien so he can buy me some... maybe a tub of ice cream, too... Oh! And McDonalds for dinner. Yummy. I smiled. As I was reaching for my cell phone, It rang. It was Sarah. "Best friend!" I shouted happily. "Abby!" She sobbed. "Sarah? What's wrong, sweetie? Are you out of potato chips, too?" I joked. "No! Jessie left me!" she cried harder. "What? Hold on, calm down, honey. Start from the begining, tell me everything." I said seriously. "I-It's not his baby! I did a DNA test today and the results came back negitive when I sampled his hair! Abby," she sobbed, "He's not the father of the child I'm carrying!" "Oh god. I'm so, so sorry. But... If he's not the father.... then who is?" I whispered.

"Abby...." she quieted her sobbing, "Can we meet up at the coffee shop between our houses? I need to speak with you ASAP." "Okay, I just need to get some shoes on and I'll be there, alright? I'll see you in five. I love you." I said quickly, I wanted to know what was on her mind. "Bye." was all she said, then hung up. I walked as fast as my little legs would allow down the street towards the coffee house. When I arived I took a seat at the table Sarah was sitting at, her eyes were red rimed. "Aw, sweetie, it pains me to see you like this." I said as I slowly sat down in the seat across from her. "Abby, I'm here to tell you the truth." she whispered as she sipped water from a cup. "Sarah... what are you talking about?" I asked, hesitating. "Abby..." She sighed, then just put it out there, "Damien cheated on you with me." she said quickly, but clearly. "W-what are you talking about, Sarah? Is this some kind of cruel joke?" I asked. "No. When we all lived in Cali, ─You, me, Jessie, and Damien─ we had a short affair," She began, "During work days at Hollister, when him and I had days off together, we would... hook up." she shuddered, but continued, "He's just as

gulty as I am in this situation. We talked about relationships ─yours, mine, and ours─ but in the end, we decieded it was best that we were just friends. We vowed that we would never tell you or Jessie about our litte affair because we were just to much in love. He, please forgive me, but he complianed constantly that you two were going no where with your relationship, he said that you didn't love him because you were still attached to Josh Beckett," I cringed, "he also said once that he was glad me and him were hooking up because you refused to have sex with him." "I have to go." I said suddenly as tears started falling from my eyes, I got up as quickly as my pregnant body would allow and started walking back home. Sarah tried to race after me with no sucess, instead she yelled, "I wanted to tell you sooner! Abby, please don't let this come between our friendship!" she gave up running after me, so she said, "Just call me when your ready..." By the time I reached my little, cozy house, my vision was cloudy. I slammed the door and limped down the hall to the kitchen with one hand on the small of my back, keeping me up right. "Honey? Is that you? Where did you go? I was so worried," Damien called from the kitchen when I saw his face I cried harder, "Abby? What's wrong? I have your cookies!" he ran over to me and tried to hug my shaking body, I pushed him off violently. "Get off of me!" I shreaked, "I can't believe you would do this to me! How could you cheat on me with my BEST FRIEND!" I screamed at the top of my

lungs, my baby didn't like this, she started kicking really hard. I gasped. "Abby... not now, you're not in the right conditon to be yelling, baby's don't like that." he said calmly. "What the hell do you know about baby's? Besides the fact that you have two baby girls on the freaking way!" I yelled in his face. He looked a me dumbfounded, then said, "W-what?" "Yeah, that's right! You freaking got Sarah pregnant, too! Jessie left her today because he found out it wasn't his baby that she was carrying, and that only leaves one person! You. You two were hooking up around the time she got knocked up, so guess what? You have two children. Hope you have a joyfull life with the only one you're going to see. So leave, now." I demanded. "Abby, you know you can't live here by yourself while you're six months pregnant. So kicking me out won't help you... you need me, Abby. You love me, even tough you won't admit it." "Now!" I shreaked, and pointed at the door. "Fine, whatever. Have our stupid baby, but leave me out of it." he shouted, and then slammed the door behind him.

That night I cried myself asleep thinking of Josh.

14. Saying Hello to My Past Ding Dong sang the door bell. I got up slowly from the couch to answer it. "Abby!" My mom cheered, she was so lively, even for a thirty seven year old, "Baby, it's been two months since you kicked him out, you have to get out and live a little." “I get out.” I protested. “Going to the store to get food doesn’t count.” "Mom, I'm eight months pregnant, I'm not ready for this... Maybe in two months we could go out, but I'm just not in the mood." "Well, what if I told you today is Sarah's baby shower?" she asked. "I would slam the door in your face." I said coldly. "Oh come on, you haven't even had a baby shower! So guess what? I just gave you one. C'mon! Get your comfy shoes on and let’s get out of here!" she said grabbing my hand and my shoes. "Mom... Don't make me do this." I warned. "I will, you and Sarah need to make up, and if this is the only way of

getting you to talk to her... then so be It." she said with a smile. I looked at the driver seat of her car and saw Joe, her husband, sitting there with a sympathic face. When we arrived at my mom's house ─she still lives in the one she bought when I was in high school, this surprised me─ I saw pink and purple balloons everywhere, along with streamers and really loud party music. "Mom..." I whispered. "C'mon, I let Sarah have her baby shower here as long as she allowed you to have yours here at the same time! She was super happy that she just couldn’t say no!" she laughed. "Fine. But I'm not saying I’m going to enjoy this..." I said as she helped me out of the car. I was greeted with hugs, kisses and warm hellos. Sarah was almost one of them, but she stopped short when she saw my deadly glare. “Abby… It’s been two months since we’ve spoken. I’ve called many, many times, left messages, sent e-mails, all that stuff. Abby, I want the past behind us so we can focus on our future together. So, what do you say? Best friends?” she held out her arms, a hug. “Sarah, I love you to death. You’re like a sister to me. When you told me you slept with the father of my child, I was hurt. I was appalled, too. I never, ever, thought anyone could hurt me more than Josh did,” I shuddered, “and that night, I

found out someone could. “As I cried myself to sleep thinking of Josh, I noticed that I had fallen in love again, and when you told me that my second true love cheated on me with you, I was hurt more than ever because after Josh, I never that I could trust anyone with my heart again. “When I gave my all to Damien the day I found out I was pregnant, I let all those walls I put up fall and I allowed myself to fall in love again. You took that away from me. I could never forgive you for what happened in the past, but I will blame you for what happens in the future because you’re my best friend until the end.” I smiled, wiped my tears away and gave her a giant hug. She sighed in my arms and said, “Two babies, one daddy.” I laughed and kissed her sisterly on the cheek. Moments after, the phone rang and my mom answered in with a friendly hello. “Abby!” she yelled, “get over here, someone wants to speak to you.” “Ugh,” I grumbled to Sarah, “It better not be Damien. I don’t want him to put a damper on our special moment.” She giggled as I said this. I walked into the kitchen and saw my mom’s face, she looked worried. “What’s wrong, mom?” I asked, fully concerned. “Your bitter past is calling,” was all she whispered.

I snatched the phone from her hand violently and said, “Hello?” “Congratulations, I’m sorry for everything, and I love you.” Mumbled a voice that I hadn’t heard in over four years. Before I could answer, he hung up. I looked at my mom and she wrapped her arms around my bloated stomach as best she could as I just stood there and cried. “Somebody call an ambulance!” one of the guests yelled form the living room, “Sarah’s water just broke!” We raced Sarah to the hospital as fast as we could. All the party guests sat in the waiting room for hours on end. But, out of all her other friends and family, Sarah wanted me to be with her in the room, holding her hand, as she gave birth. And so I was. Let me tell you right now, that was not a pretty sight. When it was finally over, I wiped my hot hand over her forehead that was matted with sweat and whispered, “You did it.” In her ear as she drifted off to sleep. “Excuse me,” the nurse whispered, “Uh. It says on here that you are the god mother,” she said looking at a clip board, “Is this true?” “Um. I think…” I mumbled. “Oh, well, I think she might be out for a while, so would you like to see you god daughter?” she whispered. “Sure.” I smiled and kissed Sarah’s forehead, then left the room quietly with my hands on my stomach.

I walked into a room full of sleeping babies. “Here she is,” the nurse whispered. I looked down at the precious sleeping baby. She had black hair, rosy red cheeks, light skin, and small, soft, pink, lips. Her eyes fluttered open and I gasped. As tears fell on my cheeks, her hot, blue eyes pierced my skin. She had Damien’s eyes. Sarah and Jessie’s little Angel had Damien’s eyes. I raced out of the room as fast as my pregnant body would allow. I knocked into something rock hard, a wall, I thought. But, as I looked up, I saw a man. “Josh.” I gasped. “Abby, I’m sorry,” he whispered, and then wrapped his arms around my pregnant body. That moment I forgot all the hurt he caused my heart and just let him hold me in his arms. I needed his moment. “I’m sorry,” he repeated over and over again in my ear. “Josh,” I croaked, “Josh… I love you.” I sobbed. I needed him to know this. “I know, Abby. I still love you, too. I’m sorry I lied. I will never hurt you again.” He whispered. *****

He drove my home and put me to bed. I fell asleep in his arms like the old days. I was afraid he would leave while I was asleep, but he told me he would stay as long as I didn’t tell him to go. I needed him now, more than ever, and he understood that. *****

“Josh… what ever happened to that girl you were supposed to marry?” I asked, early the next morning, as I stroked the arm that was around my waist. “Did you not here me, love? I told you, I lied.” He said. “Why?” “Because, I wanted you to live a normal life, and I was getting in the way.” “I could have lived a normal life with you here.” I protested. “You loved me more than you should have, so breaking your heart seemed to be my only option.” “So, everything you told me was a lie?” “Yep. My family and I never moved, we just simply stopped working and going to school, we only went out to hunt and shop for new clothes. I never met someone else, I didn’t fall in love, I didn’t mean to run into you at the fair, and I never fell out of love with you.

“When you moved away for college, I wanted to go with you so bad, but Carlos told me to do what I thought was right. You weren’t mine anymore, you were Damien’s and I couldn’t find it in myself to accept that. So when I didn’t follow you, I broke down and didn’t talk to anyone for about four years. “I was ecstatic when I found out you came back! I couldn’t wait to see you, even if you didn’t know I was watching. When I finally found you, I was speechless. The first thought that came to my mind was, ‘what did Damien feed her?’” he laughed, “But, as I listened harder, I could hear a small, faint heartbeat. I was happy you were living life, but also crushed that you had forgotten me.” “But I didn’t forget about you, I just wasn’t thinking of you at the time. You were just hanging out on the back burner.” I smiled. “I know. I was at the coffee shop that day you met with Sarah. I knew what was on her mind, and I was about to stop her from telling you but you stopped me.” He said. “What do you mean?” I asked. “I looked at you when you walked into the shop and I froze. You were more beautiful than ever.” He sighed and started drawing little hearts on my belly, my baby started kicking. “But I’m pregnant. I’m freaking fat!” I said. “I know, but the look you had on your face made you look so stunning. You were concerned that something was wrong with your best friend; the person

you loved at that moment was her. She broke your heart. When you left her sitting there, she had all this guilt on her. “I followed you home and heard all the yelling. When Damien left you here, alone in this house, to be pregnant by yourself… I was furious. I accidently ran into him after he left and I gave him a piece of my mind!” he grumbled. I tried to sit up, but I was too heavy, so I just asked, “What the hell did you say to him?” “I told him that if I ever see him speak to you or Sarah again, he would be sorry. He just backed up with both hands in the air and told me that I could have you.” “I’m glad he did.” I said, then leaned in and kissed him. When he released, I sighed and wondered what happened next. So, he continued, “After you fell asleep that night thinking of me, I knew I couldn’t leave you by yourself any longer. I watched over your house during the day and I would listen to you dream at night. Then yesterday, I followed you to your mom’s house and I hung out in your old room while I listened to your speech. The reason I called was because I wanted you to know that I was still here, I was sorry and that I still loved you.” “Josh, I want you to know that I never stopped loving you, I just wanted to see that was out there,” I looked at my stomach and said, “I guess I found out.” And that’s how it was. We were still in love, despite all that we went

through. Solemates, at whatever costs and heart break it caused us. At that moment I noticed that everything I wanted was staring me right in the face. I didn’t run when he told me to, I just stood there like an idiot and told him I loved him. I knew he would never hurt me again, or the little baby that was inside of me. Instead, he would care for us. Love us until the very end.

14. Rayneen “Push! C’mon, Abby! Everyone that loves you is here!” someone yelled from my side. Everyone that loves me, I thought. Then their faces flashed in front of my eyes. I remembered seeing everyone’s face as I was rolled away to the hospital room. My mom, her husband Joe, Sarah, Angel, Jessie, Terrance, Jasmine, Michael, Toby, Mark, Joey, Carlos, Yvette, Annie, Aaron, Daniel, Jessica, Josh… and even the one person I didn’t really want to be here… Damien. They were all her for me. I pushed with all my power, but it didn’t seem to work. I was in so much pain, I didn’t wasn’t to do this anymore. I just wanted to go to sleep… just take a long nap… I tried again, squeezing the hands that were holding both of mine, Sarah and Josh.

Seconds later, I heard a small cry. That second, I knew I had done it. “Baby…” I whispered, and then blacked out. ***** She had dark locks of hair, Pretty blue, crystal eyes like her sister, Rosy red cheeks. Her smile brightened even the saddest person’s day. Her and her sister were the most loved babies ever. Sarah’s sweet little Angel and my sweet little Rayneen. ***** My eyes fluttered open and I franticly searched the room with my eyes until I found her. Josh was staring at her wide eyed in his arms. This almost made me laugh. He looked at me then, and smiled. He came over to the bed and handed her to me. I studied every future on her face as she slept. Little patches of black hair were growing from her little head. I could feel tears building up in my eyes; she had her grandpa’s hair color. I smiled and stroked her rosy red cheeks with my pinky finger. Her soft, pink lips opened in a big O as she yawned. She batted her long lashed, and opened her eyes. “She looks just like her sister.” I whispered. Her baby blue eyes studied my face, and then she smiled. “She loves you.” Josh told me.

“W-what?” I asked. “She loves you.” He repeated. I smiled and kissed are forehead, “I love you, too, Rayneen.” Josh kneeled down by my side and planted a kiss right on my lips. Rayneen giggled.

Epilogue It’s been three months since Rayneen was born. I currently moved into a cozy, little house just a few yards from Josh’s old home. Yes, I live with him and my baby. I forgave him for everything, and he hasn’t left my side since. It seemed like what happened for five years was nothing, besides my friendship with Sarah, her little Angel, and my sweet baby Rayneen. “Hurry up, love! God, we’re only going to the house to pick up Rayneen, you don’t have to get all dressed up!” he laughed. “Baby, come here.” I whispered. “What’s wrong?” he raced into the bathroom. I was just staring at myself in the mirror. “Look at us,” I said, “Do you see how old I look compared to you?”

“Abby, we’re not having this conversation again.” He stated. “Josh! Just hear me out; I’m freaking twenty-two years old! You have the appearance of a seventeen year old! Do you know how that makes me feel?” I felt tears stream from my eyes, I quickly wiped them away. He stood behind me and wrapped his arms around my, now, small waist and whispered, “Abby, you know I love you, but that is just something I can’t do. You know this.” “Do I Josh? Please, please just do this one little thing for me. I want to be with you forever. But I can’t do that if I’m stuck like this!” I yelled. He placed his cheek on top of my head and sighed, “Are you sure you want this, Abby?” “Positive. I know I wanted this the day the world stood still five years ago.” I said. He placed his lips on my neck and whispered, “I love you, Abigail Marie Tracy, and I am sorry,” then he bit down. I screamed.

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