(no Title Yet; This Is Actually Part Of A Story I've Written)Prologue
The water rushed over me, pushing me under, causing my eyes to sting from the salt. It took me awhile before I realized that I should close my eyes. For a moment I thought I had actually become part of it, just like Mikko said I would. I could actually hear the water telling me, “Hold on. One more wave. Hold on to your breath,” but then, Doubt nudged my mind. “What if it’s my imagination? What if I’m dying and this is it? What if I’m actually going insane?”
And just like that, my connection that I had with the sea, that seriously fragile connection, broke and my mind reeled in pain as something stung my upper left arm. Only then did I realize that I was squeezing something in my left hand.
I tried to release it, as stab after stab drifted into my consciousness, almost every inch of my left arm aching, but my mind somehow couldn’t control it anymore, or any body part for that matter.
Wave after wave buffeted me left and right, up and down, until I slowly felt my left arm lead me up toward what I supposed was the surface, as my oxygen-starved brain welcomed the blackness.
“See ya, Christina. Going out. Back in a few!” I yelled vaguely, my surfboard, Ankh, tucked safely under my armpit.
“Wait one minute, young lady. You’re not going anywhere until you clean your room!” Christina yelled back.
“Uhh … I did that yesterday.” I started inching towards the door again. I was halfway out when I felt a tug at the back of my board.
“Now, stay where you are. I was just up at your room, and, unless you count your room clean with your bras still out, then, you can go right on ahead. Of course, Mac might stop by, but who cares?” Evil Step-mom let go of my board.
“You serious?” I asked, laying my board against the wall.
I glared for moment; mulling over the possibility that she was actually telling me the truth. I sighed dramatically, trotted back upstairs, and awaited the onslaught of the stench of my room. Mac Peters is the hottest guy of my class; with his soft sea-green eyes, and curly, black hair, and deep dimples, any girl would fall head over heels for him, which, of course, every girl did, myself included. The only silver- lining of Step-Mom marrying my dad was that she knew Mac Peters’ mom, Abigail, so she, as well as her hot son, stopped by at least once a week for hour long intervals. But, of course, that didn’t mean that I actually got to interact with Mac Peters. Oh no, I was usually doing homework or making dinner or something else that was entirely useless.
As I climbed the green carpeted stairs, my foot caught on a haphazardly laid shell that was laying out in plain view. I stumbled but caught myself before I was able to mash my face into the close blue stucco walls. If you were to look around my house, you would notice that not one thing has the same color or has any relation at all to the ob
I tripped again over a wire on the landing, probably something of Renee’s, and nearly smashed my face on my assorted shell encrusted door. I sighed heavily and picked myself up, vowing to yell at Renee for leaving her crap out for innocent bystanders to trip on. Opening my door, I was prepared to duck if anything came flying in my general direction.
Surprisingly, my room didn’t smell that bad. It smelt of the sea, my favorite smell next to peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies.
After picking up my dirty floor, a.k.a. throwing everything either in my closet or stuffing it under my bed, I checked myself out in the mirror. Same old me; straight red hair, curled at the bottom, green eyes, small nose … overall, a nobody. Moreover, a nobody that didn’t have even a miniscule chance of dating Mac, so I didn’t know why I even tried to appear busy whenever he came over.
Call it teenage angst, but I contemplated throwing everything that I possessed into the middle of my triangle-shaped room just to **** Christina off, but decided that would make me miss the hell-of-a-swell that was happening on the beach that very minute.
Satisfied that I had cleaned up my room the way my mom, if she were here, would’ve have minded it, I stomped downstairs, gathered up my surfing things, and sped out the door into the sea-filled air. I could hear the Step-mom call back after me.
What the hell!? I thought, shrugging her off. I already did what she wanted me to. Why does she think she needs to dictate me life? Oh, right, it’s ‘cause I’m the only one she can boss around. Why can’t she bother someone else for a change? Say, oh, I don’t know, a Martian? Who does she think she is, calling me back every minute I step my foot out the door? She thinks she’s my Mom, that’s who. I took a couple more steps, my sudden, unprovoked anger filling me up until that was all there was. She has no right to think that! She can kiss my *** if she thinks she can bully me around!
I was just about to start cussing her out aloud when I became aware that tears were beginning to ***** my eyes, nearly spilling over my eyelids. Frantically, I wiped them away and I tried to think of something that wouldn’t make me cry.
The seagulls above my head, trying to crap on me?
The burning hot pavement under my poor little tootsies?
The delectable taste of peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies melting in your mouth?
Everything that I came up with reminded me of my mother.
` Seagulls: My mom, dad, and I had been picnicking, alone, on the beach one hot, windy July day. My dad had snuck a ginormous bag of Sea Salt and Vinegar Chips into our picnic wicker basket and we were all happily munching away when my mom had heard a little peeping sound from behind her. She turned around slowly during the middle of my joke and spun back so fast that she flung her chip into my chest. While I lay on my back, declaring that the chips’ speed had knocked me off of my bottom, my mom carefully undid the blue satin bow at the bottom of her jaw, slid her golden straw sun hat off her head and, with a furtive glance towards my dad and I, spun around and plopped the hat straight down on the sand.
“What in the world have you got in there, Mamma?” My dad had asked, whispering. Later on, I had asked him why he had whispered and he told me that it had seemed like it was one of ‘those’ moments.
My mom had shaken her head, long, flowing, lava-red hair flying in the breeze, and shushed him. She then nodded her head toward a paper plate that I had been eating off of and I handed it toward her. She grabbed it quickly and slid it under the hat. Then, she kicked back our wicker basket’s top with her foot and, with a flourish, dropped the hat, paper, and mysterious captive inside before the top fell back again.
I was at the basket in a flash, inching the top back so I could see what was inside. I had gasped in surprise, it was a baby seagull! She stared up at me from the bottom of the basket with her little shiny beady eyes and chirped at me, almost sheepishly. I had squealed and slammed the cover back down and lay strewn across the top of the basket, claiming that she was mine and no one else could have her. My parents allowed me to lay there contented for a while until my father ambushed me and lifted me off the basket. My mother reached for the basket as I was being held by my father and she gently scooped out the baby gull. It nestled in her hand, almost as if it belonged to her, and cheeped in her general direction. My father set me down and I slowly crawled over to the gull. I gently stroked its head. I swear, if gulls could purr she would’ve. We fed her some of our chips then let her waddle to the tide. I remember watching my mom as she cradled the baby gull, how she cared for it and cuddled with it tenderly and I thought of how she must have done that with me when I was a baby.
Burning pavement: It had been some evening in July when I was ten. My mother and I were driving home from shopping at the antique store on an empty road when she suddenly decided to do something entirely erroneous. She had glanced slyly my way, winked, and then suddenly jerked the steering wheel to the right. I hadn't been paying attention so I was flung across my seat when she had turned. She pulled over to a car-pool area near an intersection and parked across from the stoplights. She practically jumped out of the car calling a breathless, "Come on!" for me to follow. I had slowly undone my seatbelt, letting it snap into place beside the passenger seat then opened my door, stepping out like a princess. I watched my mother as she spun around in the intersection, her head thrown back, basking in the setting sun light. She stopped spinning and I watched as she wobbled about, trying to catch her balance. I had laughed aloud and my mother turned to the sound of my voice, laughing with me. She opened her arms for me and I ran towards her, leaping into her embrace like they do in the movies when the war hero comes home and his girlfriend practically tackles him to the ground.
My mom let me down then whispered, "Come on. I want to show you something beautiful." She thought everything was beautiful.
She led me by the hand until we were about ten feet away from the stoplight. Then she lay down on the ground. I had just stood, looking down at her quizzically, watching as she smiled at me then patted the ground next to her. I had lowered my body slowly next towards her and together we watched the lights change. Red. Green. Red. Green. Yellow.
I laid my face on the pavement and watched my mother. The pavement was hot from the heat of the day and it burned my cheek almost to tears but I wouldn’t move it.
We stayed there, lying on the ground, for hours, just watching the lights change and the stars appear, the pavement burning our bodies.
Peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies: First off, let me just say that my mom wasn't the best cook. Now, I’m not saying that we were forced to eat out every night because her cooking posed as a danger to our lives if we were to consume it, I just mean that, basically, the only thing that she could make that was scrumdidlyumptious were her cookies. I'm serious, her cookies were Hawaii-renown. If you had had a really ****** day, never fear, Mamma’s cookies are here! They were so delectable; they would just melt in your mouth even if they weren't right out of the oven. I had asked her many times what her secret was but she had always said with a wink, "I don't know, but it’s beautiful, isn't it?" I would watch her as she would eyeball the measurements, sprinkling in the ingredients with a carefree hand. Her cookies never tasted the same but they were always delicious. I think that's one of the things I miss most about her, other than her love I mean.
My mom had been a wonderful person, the kind of person who knew how to make it feel like a sunny day when it is all cold and rainy outside; the kind of person who can calm a choppy sea. She had been the most influential person in my life, until the accident.
I stomped angrily down the sea-walk, tortured by my attempt to refrain from whacking people with my board like I really wanted to. I was still stomping when a little blond headed girl fell in-step with me, mocking me, mimicking me.
I walked faster.
So did the little twerp.
I glared at her from the corner of my eye, but she didn't notice, too engrossed on keeping step with me.
I took a little side-step to my left, just to create some distance, but she followed. I moved again and so did she.
“Look kid,” I said, stopping and flipping my board in front if my feet, forming a barrier between us, “I don’t know who you are and why you’re following me but I’m really pissed off right now so why don’t you just bug off?”
Blondie stared up me with big blue eyes. I hate blue eyes. Blue eyes remind me of Kai.
“Oooooh, you said bad wowd,” she mumbled half-heartedly. “I tell Mac you said bad wowd.”
The kid turned to leave when I grabbed her arm, rougher than I had meant to; rougher than I should have.
“Mac? Mac who?” I asked, squatting down to her size, which is about two inches off the ground.
“Like that helps,” I muttered under my breath, picking up my board as I stood up. “Look fish-stick, I don’t know who you are-”
She pointed a miniature sausage finger at her eye, "Kitlee.”
“Yeaaah,” I rolled my eyes, “whatever. I don’t know who you are, where you came from, or why you choose to follow me but if you’re not going to flit off, I’ll flip you off instead.”
Kitlee was about to say something when a voice from afar called for her faintly.
She turned and ran, hopped-skipped actually, and I followed her with squinty eyes until she turned around a dark corner.
I turned my back on her, picked my board off the sandy ground and started to run toward the beach when I heard a muffled shriek.
You know how in movies when the hero, or heroine in this case, looks from one side to the other and then back again, wondering if they should help the poor old lady and reveal themselves to the public, or let the old bag die and feel bad about it? Well, I was in that same predicament; except I wasn’t a superhero. I looked from off the boardwalk toward the sea to the corner, then back again.
Heaving a big, angry sigh I left my board on the walk and sprinted toward the corner across the hot pavement, already planning how to beat the crap out of the perv that had grabbed Blondie.
I screeched to a halt just before the corner and laid my back flat against the wall, waiting to hear a noise. I heard another scream and I was about to jump around the corner and tackle whoever had the kid when I heard a raspberry sound closely followed with a soft giggle. The sounds continued, growing louder, and pretty soon the giggle was a full out attack of the hiccups.
Confused, I peeked my head around the corner and found Blondie strewn across some guys leg, her shirt half rolled up and the guy blowing on her stomach.
“Whaa..?” I asked, bringing my body around the corner to stare at the spectacle.
Blondie cried aloud, “Again! Again!” but the boy who was holding her looked up and bl
Confused, I took a step back, then forward, then back again. “Mac?” I asked.
He stared at me.
“I didn’t know you had a sister?”
Hotty McHotness stood up, dusting his shirt off. “I don’t. That’s my cousin. Isn’t she adorable?” See what I mean when I say he’s hot? Who else would call his little cousin adorable? I know I don’t.
“She’s… cute…” I trail off, eyeing the little girl. I guess, in a little kid way, she was adorable. Her blonde hair was shoulder length and only a few teeth had grown-in, causing her smile to be toothy with tons of spaces.
I watched her splayed on the ground, bl
Mac gently scooped her off the ground and held her in his arms. She lay limply, her head lolling back and forth as he stepped toward me.
"So-o-o-o-o... how's it goin'?" He stopped a few feet away from me. A breeze came up from behind him and his hair ruffled, catching the light.
I stared, entranced, “Good," I said vaguely, too distracted by his hair to actually put any effort into the conversation.
He half-smiled and my heart literally melted. All I wanted to do was just throw myself into his arms and kiss the hell out of him. But, of course, the only thing stopping me was my pride, as well as the little brat already occupying the area on his appendages where I would lie. "Been out on the beach lately?"
The mention of the beach snapped me back to attention. "Um no, I haven't. I was on my way down when, um, your, uh, cousin, whatever her name is, started talking to me." ****. ShitShitShit. Smooth move, Ri, I thought to myself, way to forget his cousins' name. He totally digs chicks who have an attention span of 3 seconds.
Mac smiled. "Kitlee." He informed me again and she raised her head sleepily as he readjusted her position in his arms.
"Right, Kitlee." I vowed to remember her name. Another breeze came from behind Mac and I smelt something amazing. I sniffed lightly and then almost fell over. Oh God, it's him. I thought. I breathed in deeper. Ahhhh. Why do the hot guys always have to smell so good?. I breathed in again, deeper this time. Ahhhhhhh. God, he smelled wonderful. And again. AAHHHHH.
I didn’t realize how zoned out I was or that I had my eyes closed until I opened them to find Mac standing about two inches from my face and his arms on my shoulders.
"Are you ok, Ri?" He asked, griping me firmly, his sweet breath on my face.
"Are you alright? It looked like you were about to pass out." Mac looked seriously worried; there were worry lines across his tanned forehead that I had never seen before and I studied them with an intense fascination.
"Ri! Look at me!" Mac shook my shoulders and I heard a little giggle. Kitlee was standing behind him, fingers in her mouth, laughing at me as I flopped back and forth.
I sent her a quick glare then tensed as I realized that Mac Peters was touching me. I mean, full-on touching me. Not an accidental body graze but intentional contact. Sure, it wasn't any hand-holding, but that was what had to be next, I mean, shoulder touching practically translates into 'I really like you', right?
My eyes flashed toward his and I took a sharp intake of breath and received another whiff of his totally miraculous smell. If I keep smelling him like this I'm going to get high .. or worse, he'll think I'm a freak.
I tried to step back to give myself some room but Mac held me tightly. "Are you sure you're ok?" he asked me seriously, looking deep into my eyes.
I started hyperventilating. "Yeah, I'm fine. Thanks for asking." I stepped back again and this time Mac, unfortunately, let me go. "Well, I, uh, should be going…" I began backing up slowly, walking backwards, still facing the hottest guy in the world. "Bye, Mac." I waved a little finger wave and smiled when he waved tentatively back.
All of a sudden, a shrill shriek erupted through the air and I felt wet, sticky hands on my legs.
"NOOOO! Don't go!" In a blur of blonde hair, Kitlee was attached to my legs like a Koala to bamboo. "Don't weave me!"
I raised an eyebrow and shook my leg, attempting to fling the little twerp off into oblivion causing her to cling only tighter. I could feel my blood pooling up above my thigh where the circulation was being cut off.
"Kitlee, come on, Ri has to go." Mac sighed impatiently and rocked back and forth on the balls of his feet.
I felt the anaconda loosen it's grip a bit. "But…. I tought you towd me to not wet her go?"
I looked up sharply at Mac and, I swear, he's even cuter when he blushes.
Mac shuffled his feet awkwardly, "No, I never said that. Come on, Kitlee."
Kitlee dug her face into my leg and breathed out heavily. "No! You said you would buy me ice cweam if I didn't wet her go.. I want my ice cweam!"
Mac chucked stiffly and popped his knuckles. "Ha ha, no. I didn't." He glared in Kitlee's general direction but she was too busy salivating on my leg to notice. "Kitlee, come on. I'd like to hang on Ri's leg as much as the next person but we really have to go."
I didn't think he realized what he was saying until after the words had flown out of his mouth. He turned a flamingo shade of pink and then slapped himself. "Stupid, stupid ,stupid," I heard him mumble and I had to bite my lips together to keep from laughing my head off.
I looked down at Kitlee clinging to my leg to avert my eyes from the most adorable human-being possible and I tapped her head. She looked up and bl
She shook her head and her tongue fell out of her mouth.
I almost laughed. Almost. Instead, I sent a sly glance toward Mac, who was listening intently, and whispered, "I think he's lying."
This seemed to make the little child ecstatic and she giggled and nodded her head.
"How about,” I whispered, "How about I take you to get ice cream and we leave Mac here by himself? Do you want to?" She nodded even harder so her little pixie chin was jabbing into my thigh. I winced. "Ok, on the count of three, run around the corner and to the ice cream shop, ok?" She nodded even more vigorously and I was pretty positive some crucial veins had been snapped. "Ok. One…. Two…. THREE!"
And, like a seagull diving after an abandoned bag of potato chips, we were off, giggling to each other. I sped around the corner and flew to the walk to pick up my board when I stopped short. It was gone.
Kitlee bumped into me and she fell back on her butt, thumping onto the ground roughly. She started to whimper but I was too distraught about loosing my board to really do anything about it. I picked her up and dusted her off and patted her head distractedly. I heard Mac begin to call for us but I was already sprinting up and down the boardwalk in search for my board, panicking on the highest level.
Mac trotted up behind me and picked Kitlee off the ground, bouncing her in his strong arms to comfort her,"Shh. Shhh. It's ok, Kitlee. It's, ok. Did mean old Ri hurt you?"
I couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic or not and I didn't stop searching to ask; I had to find my board. I was literally on my knees on the side of the boardwalk, preparing to scoop the sand out of the way in case some jerk had buried my board, when a shadow fell across my path. I stopped what I was doing and looked up, squinting in the midday sun
It was Kai. Holding my board in his hands. His filthy, disgusting, blood-covered hands.
I swear, if Mac had suddenly whipped out a dress, tap shoes, and a hat and exclaimed that he was a transvestite, I couldn't have been more surprised. I was so flabbergasted that I fell back onto my butt, arms reeling, my feet flipping sand in front of me and, of course, with my luck, at the exact moment that a breeze decided to kick up and throw the sand back into my face.
I sputtered and spit into the sand, drool falling out of my mouth and landing in the white sand, mixing with the tears that came with a) getting sand in your eyes and b) seeing the brother who turned your mother in holding the last thing that your mother ever gave you in his dirty hands.
I coughed a few times, wiped my eyes, then heaved myself to my knees. "What are you doing here, Kai?" I said through my gritty mouth. From the corner of my eye I saw rather than heard Kitlee say something to Mac but he just shushed her and began to walk back the way we had come.
I watched Kai's shadow shrug. "Hello to you too."
I stuck my tongue out and wiped it with my forefinger and thumb; still more sand. "No one said hello to you, *******." I looked up and I saw him frown and start picking at my board. That was just too much.
I leaped up and snatched my board away from him so quickly that even I didn't know what I was doing. I placed it behind my body so I formed a sort of barrier between it and him but I was so small that the sides of my board were still showing around me.
Kai's mouth became a hard line, "God, Amariel. I was just trying to fix it. There was a - "
I glared. "Do you remember the last thing you fixed? Do you remember how you tried to make it better? Do you remember how you only made things worse?"
His face went pale and rigid and I eyed him as he took a slow step toward me, his hands clenched, his gray eyes looking down as he took careful, measured steps toward me. Slowly, he lifted one hand up to stroke my board where he had been picking at it, almost as if he was going to say sorry to it.
"Don't touch my board," I started to say when the slap fell across my face.
Suddenly I was on my back, half-on, half-off the walk, my face stinging like a thousand bees had decided to jump on pogo sticks on my cheek.
I must have made a noise, or maybe it was just my board falling and cracking beneath me, because Kitlee started wailing, which made people milling about turn to look at us. I don't know what they saw; a 21 year old man standing atop a 16 year old girl holding her face, biting her cheek to keep from crying, a toddler howling with her fingers in her mouth, kicking her legs to get out of the arms of a 16 year old boy who had suddenly gone white as a sheet because of what he had just witnessed? Probably not. They probably saw a kind man offering his hand to a girl who had seemingly just tripped off the boardwalk. They probably didn't even notice Kitlee and Mac; they were just bystanders.
Kai had his arm extended for me to take and use to stand up but I stayed on the sand, holding my cheek, looking down. I heard a slight thump when Kitlee was finally able to release herself from Mac's grip and landed on the boardwalk.
"Take my hand," Kai said through gritted teeth, glaring down at my, what he most likely considered it, pitiful form.
I ignored him and felt a tear slide down my cheek. I was aware of it clinging to my jaw for a moment and then I watched it fall.
"Fine,” Kai spat, "Have it your way." And, with that, he stepped over my body, kicking me in the ribs in a way that would look like an accident, and strode off down the boardwalk, Hollister shirt unwrinkled and pristine, golden hair spiked to perfection, gait free and uncaring.
I don't know how long I lay on the ground, cupping my cheek and shaking, watching as he strode away. All that I know is that I was so focused on watching Kai leave me that I didn't notice Kitlee coming up beside me and kneeling on the sand to be at my level. All I know is that when she put her little wet fingers on my face, I jumped and pulled away, which only made her reach for my face again, sterner this time and pull my face towards hers.
"Ice cweam," she said, "ice cweam make you happy." She waggled her eyebrows hopefully in my general direction.
I grimaced, closed my eyes and shook my head no but her eyebrows furrowed and she began to frown. "Yes." She paused." You pwomised."
I sighed, swallowed my no, counted to five, and nodded. Slowly I pulled myself up to a sitting position and winced as I felt, as well as heard, my board crack even more underneath me. I closed my eyes and lifted myself off my now broken board, moving myself so that I was entirely in the sand so I could take stock of the damage.
It was split in half where my body had fallen on it and cracked all the way through nearly from top to bottom. Iran a hand over the now exposed inside and swallowed back my tears.
I took a ragged breath in and pulled myself into a squatting position. Slowly, I pushed myself upright and I could feel my spine stiffen and pop as I extended it. I could feel both Mac and Kitlee's eyes on me so I stared down at the sand, avoiding eye contact at all cost; I knew that if I looked into either of their eyes' I would start sobbing.
Cautiously, Kitlee took my hand and pulled me toward Mac, who was still pale and, I just noticed, was shaking. "Mac, "she said, "Wi wants to hold youw hand."
I looked up slowly at this, first at Mac and then at Kitlee, then back at Mac; he seemed to be in a daze. I could tell that his minds' eye was replaying what had just transpired and he was trying to make sense of it all.
I felt Kitlee's hand tighten around mine and I could hear the hard exhale of breath out of her nose as she began to realize that Mac wasn't listening to her. "Mac," she furrowed her eyebrows, "I said that Wi wants to hold youw hand!" Still, Mac didn't respond. Kitlee stuck out her bottom lip and stomped her foot on the ground. "Ma-a-a-a-a-ac." she whined, pulling her hand from my grasp and clomping her way to Mac, arms folded, prepared to resort to drastic violent measures unless she was heard. "Mac!" she stopped in front of him and pulled down on his pants; not hard enough to pants him, mind you, although I wouldn't have had minded that much. This action at least elicited a reaction from him; his brow deepened and his eyes seemed to grow less distant.
You know that situation when a mosquito won't leave you alone even though you've shooed it away about a million times but it still comes back? Well, consider Kitlee as that annoying little mosquito that won't stop until it gets what it wants.
"MAC!" Kitlee jumped up and landed with all of her weight on Mac's left foot, digging in with her heels.
This seemed to jolt Mac back to earth and he looked at Kitlee wide-eyed. "Ow." He said numbly, picking Kitlee off and placing her on the boardwalk. He looked up at me with something that resembled confusion and I bit my lip to keep from crying. I slowly made my way over to where Kitlee stood where she took my hand.
"Come ON!" Mighty Mouse pulled down on Mac's and my arm, practically ripping our arms out of their sockets in the process.