"Alaina! Stop please!" "Why?" I growled. I had just shown up at his house, I had a plan to surprise him for his sixteenth birthday, but I guess you could say I got a heck of a surprise when I walked through the door. He was kissing another girl. the sad part was, I knew her too. She was the girl that got him expelled from school , and of course she owed him a favor.
"Because I can explain." "Oh, enlighten me." By now the girl, Lily, had scrambled back up to her feet. "I… " He stood there stuttering. Nothing to say. "What the heck is wrong with you!" "I love you Alaina, but you never act like you love me, ever! So I figured I would just use my favor from her." By now I was holding tears back, I could tell my eyes were getting puffy. Riley walked up... shirt unbuttoned, I looked up to avoid the sight while he buttoned up his shirt. He walked closer and pulled me into a hug while I started crying, I wanted to hug him back but I just couldn't. Lily escaped out the door while he held me closer and put his chin on the top of my head. What the heck was I doing? Whatever it was I didn't want do it anymore. I put his present down and walked out of the apartment, I sniffed and wiped my tears back, this was it, this was me giving up on the relationship I had with him. I pulled at the straps of my backpack and stumble out onto the sidewalk, Lily sat with her head in her hands. I wasn't one to hold a grudge, but I was beyond pissed. She was crying, she had no right to, "are you okay?" I sat down next to her, it was hard to stay calm, but it wasn't her fault, she was only fulfilling a favor. "I should be asking you that" she mumbled and wiped her tears away, I looked at her shirt and pulled the sleeve up so her bra strap wasn't showing, "define okay..." I spoke, I looked at her. Brown eyes, golden hair, she was flawless, she could've been a model. "I've never ruined a relationship before, it's hard to believe I screwed this one up, you guys were so loving. I'm sorry" she whispered the last part, I didn't exactly want to hug her, but I did, she needed it. Riley and I weren't perfect, as we never would be. A car pulled up and she looked at me, "thank you, and I'm sorry, I'll make it up to you some time." She said and climbed in the car, I waved even though my insides were burning with rage.
Why hadn't Riley come outside?!
I began to walk home, but momentarily paused when I heard a skateboard, "Alaina! Wait up!" Obviously he comes out now, I turned, "why can't you just leave me alone?" He was shirtless which showed off his tanned body, I wanted nothing more than to hug him and apologize for my horrible behavior. But I didn't, it was his fault. "Because I want to apologize!" He got off his board and walked beside me, "just don't. You're sixteen! You shouldn't be worrying about that! You should be worrying about what comes next in your life!" I snapped, "okay, whatever, if you really want me to leave you alone, then I will." He said, and just like that, he was gone.
I don't know if worried or scared describes what I'm feeling right now. But I'm dying on the inside, I guess I never realized I was such a rude person. I sat in bed, rain pouring outside, thunder could be heard, and lightning could be seen. I hated storms, well, it was more of a love-hate relationship, I liked it when I could sit by my best friend's side, and hear the rain as he would rap me in a blanket and we would watch a movie. But now, without him, I sat curled in the many blankets that layered my bed, tossing and turning, hoping to drown out the thunder. My mom wasn't even here, staying at her deadbeat boyfriends house.
The thunder sounded in my ears and I pulled the soft blanket over my head, my hair being shoved in all sorts of directions. I was scared, terrified, and on the verge of a panic attack. I reached over and grabbed my phone, I don't know why, I just did, the fear coursed through me as I saw another flash, and the rain instantly came down harder. "Hello," a groggy voice rang through my ears, I whimpered as the thunder sounded, "I'm so sorry" I mumbled as tears streamed down my face, I wanted him here, I was scared, and the one thing I needed was him. "Are you okay?" He asked, did I sound like I was okay? “Heck no" I sobbed and looked at my white walls, the many surfboards gathered on the stand I had, filling it up. The line ended. He hung up on me, he didn't accept my apology. I instantly cried harder, what was I thinking! Why was I so stupid!? The clap of thunder brought me running to the connected bathroom, and just like that, I sat there, in the bathtub with my blanket and pillow.
A knock on the bathroom door made me almost freeze in place. The light was on, there was no way I was going to say I wasn't in here, I slowly crept to the door, sweat was practically dripping down my forehead as I reached for the knob. There he was, Riley, he stood with a stuffed bear and Chinese food, he quickly set them down as I sobbed and jumped into his arms, the fear was slowly being replaced with happiness, this was it, this was something I've always waited for, that cliché movie drama where the two lovers reunite a share a passionate kiss. Nope. We didn't kiss, he held me in his arms like I was a small child who fell asleep on his shoulder. He set me down and opened up the food, he smiled at me, my eyes were puffy and red, how could he even bother to look at me? He handed me the box that had rice in it, and gave me packages of salt, and in another box he had chocolate, exactly what I needed. I walked out of the bathroom and grabbed my laptop and and some drinks. And walked to one of my shelves which had almost as many movies as a DVD store. I needed something funny, something to help take my mind of the stuff that has happened. I grabbed Dodgeball, and Step Brothers, Riley laughed at my selection and grabbed the laptop out of my hands. Still terrified of the storm, I quickly ran out to my bed and grabbed more pillows and a blanket. I could see the lightning and I quickly ran back into the bathroom.
Riley put his arm around me. I nearly cried, I missed him - it hadn't even been a day since I got mad at him! Then I realized, I'm the sucker. He can get any girl he desires, and he chose me! How was that possible? I stared at the small laptop screen, Ben Stiller had just been rejected, hard. I would've laughed if I wasn't thinking about my heavy thoughts, Riley looked down at me - I didn't look back. This is my last night with him, I can't be with someone who uses me, I just can't. "Tell me something" he spoke, "Sometimes I hate you." That was all I said, he chuckled as if it were some joke - it wasn't, I was dead serious. The straight, emotionless look on my face should've told him that. Someone's phone buzzed, I don't think it was mine. He fished his phone out of his pocket, I didn't bother to to ask - if it was a girl, he'd say it was his mother. I couldn't remember much after that, just the sleep, it was nice, for awhile I was pushed away from my problems, until I started dreaming.
I looked around, why am I in a bathtub? Oh, yeah. It came back to me. I turned my head and gazed at Riley, his hair knotted, eyes closed, peaceful, and cute. I noticed that his arm was slung around my shoulder and his other lay on my stomach. I sighed, today was the day I would let go of him. I love him.
No, not anymore. While I mentally argued with myself, Riley stirred and removed his arm from my stomach, I slowly detached myself from his warm presence. I skipped out of the room and through the house, looking out windows. Palm fronds lay discarded on the ground from the storm, leaves from trees, and even trash. A sigh escaped my lips and I opened the fridge, looking for something half decent to eat. Why the heck don't we have any food? My stomach growled with malice as I continued to search, "why don't we just go to McDonald's?" Riley said, his morning voice was just about the hottest thing I've ever heard. My breath caught in my throat as I went to go answer. I coughed and sputtered as he chuckled, "uh, yeah...sure" he smiled and tugged at the hem of his shirt. I walked to my room and picked out my yellow billabong shirt, with army green shorts. I once again walked out of the room to see Riley sitting on the couch, hair pulled back into a tiny bun, and a sloppy grin on his face. I walked to the door and pulled on my black vans. "Let's get this started!" He spoke happily, I nearly rolled my eyes, grabbing my board, I stepped out the door. I skated down the driveway, not bothering to wait for Riley, he was locking the door. I knew he would easily catch up.
I don't want to do this... but I have no choice. I have no choice, there's always a choice. He was my first everything, kiss, boyfriend. Did I really have to leave that behind? No. "what ya thinkin' about?" Riley slurred, "nothing." I lied, I would tell him at the end of the day ... or should I tell him now? No, later. "What do you want to do?" He asked, "Just chill, why don't we go down to the beach or something?" I spoke, if this was my last day with him I would make it count. "You know, I think the waves are good. Do ya wanna surf?" He asked, did I want to surf? Should I surf? Yeah, why not ... make it count. I smiled and looked at him, his bright green eyes sparkled as the sun hit them. He squinted and I shook my head, he smiled and held his hand out. And I reached for it, my fingers interlocking with his as we skated past a bridge. People in cars smiled as they saw the young, dumb love. I smiled too, I was really going to miss this. I was really going to miss everything about him, every single little thing, every flaw, everything. I took a shuddery breath and squeezed my eyes closed, breathing in the heavy, salty air of the beach. But as soon as I closed my eyes, I opened them back up, Riley tugged at my hand and looked at me.
I walked into the McDonald's, cool air blasting me as I walked behind Riley. "Do you wanna go find somewhere to sit?" He asked, but no. I didn't, I wanted to be by his side. "Uh, actually can I just stand with you?" I asked, I knew an unwanted blush crossed my cheeks as I gazed up at him. "Please do." I smiled as he answered, I grabbed his hand tighter and stood closely to him. He smelt of Old Spice and sweat, but in a way I enjoyed the smell. I was going to miss everything about him. My thoughts reminded me of yesterday, I let out a breathy sigh and laid my head on his shoulder. "What would you like princess?" I almost laughed, but instead a large grin crossed my face. "A smoothie." I smiled and replied, "what else?" He asked, I thought about my options, "hash browns and pancakes?" It was more of a question, just to see what he would do. But, he smiled his goofy, cocky smile and pulled me close to him, kissing my nose and laying his head on mine. I laughed and hugged him, damn. I was going to miss this. "Why don't you go find a seat and I'll come and join you, yeah?" He said, I smiled and reluctantly pulled away from him, just to be pulled back, "but where's my kiss?" He whined, I laughed and walked away from him, teasing him even more. I chose a window seat, waiting quietly. My phone began to uncontrollably buzz and I looked at the screen,
SAM, SAM, SAM, SAM, SAM.
I quickly slid the green answer button and Sam's happy voice slid across the line, "Alainaaaaaa, dude, what's good?" She asked, I laughed "the usual, I have a story to tell you dude." "TELL ME!" She squealed, I laughed again, "when can you come chill?" I asked, "now, I can come now. My schedule is free, now." "Do you and Milo wanna come surfing with Riley and I?" I asked her, "I'll ask him, later girlll" "jerk" I said back and hung up, an evident smile struck my face, all thanks to my best friend. "You look giddy, did your boyfriend call?" Riley smirked, I threw my head back and laughed, "yeah, he was calling to see if I wanted to have breakfast with him." "Better not keep him waiting princess." Riley said as I chuckled. "Well, anyway, here's your hash browns, and pancakes." He said, pushing his arm across the table, then he smiled at me. "Okay stud, you can chill now," I laughed, he only smirked and took a sip of my smoothie before handing it to me. "So who really called?" He questioned, with a serious face, "uh, Sammy." I spoke, I should probably ask if it's okay for them to come surf …” "little blondie?" He laughed, I shook my head and took a bite of my pancake. "What did she want?" I swallowed and took a sip of the smoothie as Riley bit into his Egg Mcmuffin. "She was wondering if I wanted to hang out, but I wanted to ask you if maybe it would be okay if her and Milo came surfing with us." I said out of breath, and took a big bite of my hot cakes. "Whatever you want baby," he said and leaned a crossed the table and kissed me, "you taste like syrup" he said into the kiss, I pulled away and laughed, I grabbed his face once more and kissed him again.
I threw my styrofoam tray away and nibbled on my hash brown. Riley carried my board as I attempted to balance my smoothie. "Thank you." I said as he set the board on the ground for me, "don't worry about it," he said as he stole my hash brown and ate it. "Was that tax?" I laughed, he smiled and threw the wrapper away before walking up and hugging me. I don't know why he hugged me, he just did. And I don't know why I was so confused about it, I just was. But I wasn't going to waste my time, I hugged him back, I was really going to miss this boy of mine. "C'mon, lets go surf." He said and intertwined our hands.
"I'll go to my house to get my board, I'll meet you back here." He said and quickly pecked my lips. I smiled and watched him skate away. "Well that was cute" I turned to find Sam standing there, I laughed and pulled her into hug. "Hey dude! What's up?" I said as I pulled away from the embrace, "the usual, so how about that story?" She spoke, we walked inside. I spilled out every little mangled detail of what happened, even how I had to let him go, how I hated the decision, how I hated myself for choosing that decision. Every small useless detail. It spilled out of my mouth like I had rehearsed it too many times. I felt the urge to cry so many times already, but nothing would come out. It's almost like I wanted to be sad, but my body wouldn't let me. A sigh left my mouth as I looked around the room, why did Riley want me? I was too bony, too clingy, my voice sounded like a preteen boys, I was lanky, and my hair was always a mess, I was loud. The list could go on and on, I could find so many things about myself to keep him away, and yet ... there were so many good things causing him to stay. Little did I realize, I actually love this boy. I would gladly take a bullet for him, jump in front of a car, do anything just to make sure he's happy. I'd rip out my heart and let him stomp on it if it really satisfied him. I would do anything and everything for him, all for him. Just for him...
"So, Milo should be on his way, where are we going?" Sam asked breaking me from my thoughts, "uh, I think we're going to Cherrie Down." I said, "awesome! I'm gonna go get him, meet you at the beach?" "Yeah," I responded and went inside to change into my bathing suit.
I was waxing my surfboard when there was a knock on the door, I excitedly galloped through the house towards it. "Alaina?" A whispered voice asked through the door, and suddenly an idea popped into my head. Prank him. It was cruel but funny, I made a small moan. "Help me." Riley knocked again, and I ran towards the kitchen, opening the blinds. I quietly opened the fridge and grabbed ketchup, squirting it into my hand, I opened the back door and held my hand close to my liver. "Help me!" I yelled, quivering on the floor, the ketchup began to seep through my fingers and make a mess of my abdomen. I could see Rileys figure creeping towards the back door, "R-Rile-ey." I whispered, in short, choppy breaths. "Oh my god, Alaina." Riley saw me, he quickly grabbed the dish towel hanging from the stove. "It's going to be okay ... I- I promise..." he said, his eyes were becoming red, I knew it was time to give up the prank. "Riley, I'm okay," "what the heck?" He sounded angry? No, more like distraught. "Oh my god, Riley I'm so sorry." I said leaning up towards his face, he was crying! I made Riley Wright cry! "Riley," he stood up and walked towards the window, rubbing his eyes. "How the heck would you think that's funny!?" I grabbed the towel and got all the ketchup off me, I walked up and hugged him from behind, laying my head on his back. "I'm s-sorry..." Riley turned, shook his head, and pulled me into a tight hug. "You fooled me," he chuckled, kissing my temple. He sniffled, and wiped his nose on the Volcom hoodie he was wearing. "I didn't mean to make you cry." I chuckled, "I didn't cry, I got an eyelash in my eye" he laughed, then he pulled me into a kiss. "Tonight can we talk?" My heart jumped into my throat when he said that. About yesterday? About us? I sighed, "yeah, I think it's best if we do..." he smiled and kissed my head again. Why did I have to leave this?
"Guys! Hey! Over here!" Sam yelled, we had just come off the boardwalk. "Found them," Riley mumbled, I giggled and walked towards the dynamic duo. "Hey Milo, dude what's up? Haven't seen you in ages." I said, Riley walked behind me, "been good, how about you guys?" Milo nodded towards Riley and I, "we're great, little bump in the road. But great," Riley smiled and slung his heavy arm over my shoulder, great... Was that what he thought we were? Because he was far from right. We were terrible... "well, what are we waiting for? Let's go surf!" Sam said, we all laughed and put on our leashes, quickly sprinting out towards the warm water. The liquid caressed my dry skin, droplets of water hit my face as I skimmed across the surface. I smiled, a real smile, I was happy. "You good?" Riley asked suddenly appearing beside me, "ha, I'm great, I've been waiting for this!" He glanced at me and then paddled a head, leaving me in the water behind. I sat upright on my board and stared at Riley and Milo splashing each other like - "idiots." Sam spoke in a chuckled voice, "yeah, totally agree," I said. "Outside, paddle Alaina!" Riley suddenly yelled, "go, now!" Milo said cupping his hands over his mouth, I looked at Sam to see if she was gonna take it, she shook her head and motioned for me to go. I laid down on my board and paddled as hard as I could, the next thing I knew I was being picked up by a small swell, I popped up onto the board and dug my foot into the traction pad. Leaning, I sharply kicked off the lip of the wave and peeled back into position for one more slick turn, again I pushed down on my heel and carved to the left. I managed to keep my balance, and dove head first into the warm water. I came up to hear clapping, I wiped my eyes and looked at everyone, a wide grin stretched across my face, until I noticed the behemoth of a wave, right in the lineup with Sam, "go!" "Sam, paddle!" Riley and I yelled at the same time, Milo paddled close to the end of her board and shoved her into the wave. "Yeah babe!" He yelled as he saw her stand up, carving left, and then to the right, shooting water off the top. The wave petered out and Sam bobbed to the surface, "you just caught the best wave of the day!" I screeched at her, she smiled and crawled onto her board. Everyone continued to clap as we got closer, Riley patted her on the back and congratulated her, Milo kissed her passionately and hugged her. "That was the best wave I've ever caught" she said breathlessly, "that was freaking amazing." Riley said, "let's be on the lookout for that set," I said smiling at my best friend.
"That was awesome," "yeah, super rad!" "When are we gonna do that again?" Everyone talked as we walked out of the water, I nodded along with the conversation. Would we all be able to hang out like this after I tell Riley? I really love him. I may have been some dumb teenager who thought simple kisses were love, but as long as I was happy and pretended this was love... I was okay, I would be okay. "Dude..." Sam said breathlessly, I laughed at her. "I know" I spoke, the boys trailed behind us talking in their own world.
Sam's phone buzzed in her damp pocket, "who is it?" Sam pulled her phone out and glanced at it, "uh, oh ... it's Oscar!" She said, I smiled happily. I missed Oscar. Last summer we taught him how to surf - he was so ecstatic about it. "Says he'll be in town," Sam said re-reading the message, "when?" I couldn't wait to see Oscar, he is the coolest dude I know. "In two days, are you free?" Sam asked, obviously I was free, when wasn't I? "Duh" she laughed and told him, I high fived her. Someone pinched my shoulder and I turned and glared at Riley, "wow, chill princess." He chuckled, Milo was walking next to Sam and holding her hand. Dang they're a cute couple. Riley put his arm over my shoulder and kissed the side of my head, I smiled and readjusted my surfboard. "What time is it?" Milo asked, Sam looked down at her phone. "Eleven," we all looked at each other and nodded, trying to think of something fun to do. Fair, Merritt Island Fair. "By any chance, is the fair here yet?" I asked to the group, MIlo nodded his head "yeah, they were setting the last of it up yesterday when I drove by." I locked eyes with everyone, Sam chuckled. "I found something for us to do." I said, "how're we gonna get over there?" Sam spoke, true. How were we going to get there? "Maybe..." I droned on, only to be cut off by Riley. "I know it's a bad idea, but I got a car, and I'm 15." His eyebrow lifted as he said it, "it's only illegal if you get caught." Sam was right, it's only illegal if you get caught. We laughed at what she said, only to return to the silence. "Uh, I guess I'll go get my truck, go get ready." Riley said kissing my cheek and then walking off into the opposite direction of us.
Storm cut off from us and went home. We all agreed to meet up at the park. "What should we wear? I don't want to get too cold." Sam said picking up some white, fuzzy sweater out of the drawer. I laughed at her, but she had a point, it's mid-October. I scavenged the room for something warm, but not too warm. I settled with my black vans high tops, shorts, and a hoodie. Sam settled for her her leggings, adidas high tops, and a Hurley shirt. "Yeah, this should work." She said twisting in the mirror to get a full look at her outfit. I chuckled at her and grabbed my phone off the charger, "let's roll." I said stepping out the door, but Sam opened up the cupboard and grabbed a pop tart. "Don't forget your wallet" she said while shoving her face, I rolled my eyes and quickly grabbed my wallet off the kitchen table.
"Why did we walk instead of skate?" Sam questioned as we walked into the fenced park, I nodded my head and looked around for the boys. "There" Sam pointed to the white truck, Riley leaned against it, and Milo sat in the bed of the truck. We walked up to them and chuckled as Sam pushed Storm over, "hop in" Riley laughed.
"Turn on the radio..." someone mumbled from the back, I leaned over and switched it on. “Stand tall, It gets a little better, I see the wall that we can break down together” The radio sang. I turned and looked at Sam, her mouth agape as we sang to the song. Milo and Riley chuckled as we danced in our seats and sang, but eventually they joined in. The songs continued to play, one by one we sang along to the ones we knew and talked through the ones we didn't. The fair didn't open until one o'clock and we had plenty of time to spare, it was only 11:52. "Let's go walk around the mall for a bit," Sam said hoping the idea would catch on, everyone nodded their heads and continued to walk out of the parking lot. Milo wrapped his arm around Sam's shoulder and chuckled while kissing her cheek, Sam didn't smile. It was weird, Sam was always smiling. What? I shook my head of the thoughts, it was probably nothing. I walked, falling in step with Riley, he yanked me by my arm and pulled me towards him, quickly and messily kissing my lips in the process, I chuckled. As we approached the entrance I noticed girls that went to our school, I glanced back at Sam and Milo. The girls giggled and looked at Riley and Milo, once again I looked back at Sam, she didn't look fazed at all, I on the other hand felt uneasy at the situation. Was this who Riley would go to when I told him? I huffed and Riley smirked at the girls, the next thing I knew Riley pulled me into a kiss. I smiled and looked at the group of girls, one of them smiled a cocky grin but the rest looked angry. Sam still looked like she didn't care, Milo looked as if he was making goo-goo eyes at the girls. I would've scoffed, but I began to think about how Sam felt she was never like this. "So, food court?" Riley asked, everyone happily agreed. "Hey guys can you excuse Sam and I for a second?" I was already pulling her away, "hold on, what do you guys want?" Riley asked, I looked at Sam and she shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know, Chick-fil-A?" Riley smiled and nodded his head, I quickly grabbed Sam and dragged her around the corner. "What's wrong?" Sam looked at me, sighed and began her story, "Milo, when we were in the car he was texting some girl named Jasmine or Georgia ... I can't remember. But I thought maybe they were friends, but he was talking about ... things." My eyes widened, maybe it was a close friend? Or maybe there was an error. I squeezed Sam's shoulder, "I just don't really care though, I mean - I like him, but I'm not really bothered by it." Sam said, then added "I think I'm going to break up with him Alaina." I looked at her, she seemed serious about her decision. "As long as you're happy," I said she smiled, "I'm gonna see if he's really cheating on me though." I nodded my head and she began to walk back towards the boys, I followed. I was proud of Sam. She's like my little sister, I don't want to see her hurt. But she can take care of herself, she's an independent woman. You do you.
We turned the corner to see one of the girls from the group flirting with the boys. I sighed and we walked forward, taking our seats. Riley threw his arm around me and pulled me close, taking the French fries and scooting them towards us. The girl slightly rolled her eyes in annoyance, I snorted as she walked away, hips swaying. Riley still smirked, but kissed my cheek as I ate. "What did she want?" Sam asked, arms crossed over her chest as Milo's right arm wrapped around the back of her chair, he was looking around the food court totally spaced out, so Riley answered "nothing really, she was just flirting." My blood boiled but I had remembered what I was to say to him. I inhaled deeply and then exhaled, fresh oxygen swimming through my nose and then to my lungs. I calmed myself as Sam shrugged and kept her arms crossed. Milo hadn't noticed her behavior, but Riley had. He stood up out of his chair and lightly grabbed Sam's arm, pulling her with him. She turned and looked at me, I nodded my head, she knew that I knew that he wanted to talk. Milo blinked out of his trance and looked at me before glancing around, I pulled out my phone and began to write my 'happily ever after' story.
We walked out of the mall and into the crisp air, it had cooled down! 73 degrees, although I was used to the warm weather. I shivered slightly and Riley wrapped his arm around me, we walked towards the fair, the parking lot filled with random kids that I might have known. "This is going to be so much fun," Riley said while looking back and forth between Sam and I. Milo had gotten a call from his mom and needed to go home to babysit. Riley's brother would be coming to keep Sam company, Bailey was a great kid, but Sam has had a crush on him for nearly two years.
Her eyes bugged as she looked at me, blinking rapidly while ringing her hands. I chuckled and grabbed Riley's hand, it was 1:45. We walked around and saw people setting the rides up, making small last minute adjustments. "Sammehhhhh!" Bailey yelled across the parking lot, we all quickly turned and stared at him as he awkwardly ran across to us. Chuckling as he appeared next to Sam, "yay, thanks for inviting me guys!" He said cheerfully and smiled. I looked at Sam, her eyes wide as we all walked. I almost laughed, but we loomed closer to the fair grounds. Butterflies swam in my stomach as we got our wristbands on, we all stepped forward and looked around for which ride we were going to go on first. The Freak Out, this was where my fate was decided ... I was going to die and panicking right now was not helping me. I reluctantly got into the small line while breathing heavily, I felt like I was going to have a panic attack. I could feel my heart beating against my chest, my hands were becoming clammy and my stomach felt like rhinos were stomping my intestines. My whole body felt like a quivering shell and my insides felt like mush, Riley grabbed my hand and stepped closer towards the ride. We were strapping ourselves down, someone was walking around and pushing the huge "seat belts" closer to our bodies, shoving it into my bladder. I instantly had to pee more than I already had, I crossed my ankles and grabbed onto the metal bar provided for us. Riley put his hand on top of mine and whispered to me, Sam smiling as her and Bailey continued their conversation. "Princess you'll be fine, okay? I know you'll think it's fun once it's over," Riley said and kissed my hand, music blared over the huge speakers and the ride slowly started to swing while twisting in all directions. It began to climb higher and higher, my knuckles turned white because I was gripping the bar so tight. I felt like I was upside down, my eyes squeezed themselves closed as we swirled. When I opened my eyes I felt like I would pass out, but just as soon as the ride started it stopped, as it was slowing down I forced my eyes open and looked at Riley's face. He stared straight ahead and a small, tiny smile graced his face, I smiled too. I was so lucky to love him, but what was once a blessing was now a curse... he was cheating, who knows how many times. But I love and will always love him, even when I have to give him up. He's no longer mine. We stepped off the ride while Sam and Bailey ran off in the opposite direction, "we should go on that" Riley said while lifting our hands and pointing towards a ride called Full Tilt, I had always been petrified of that ride. But with all the adrenaline coursing through me... it didn't look so bad, it actually looked smaller that usual, and I figured I would get a good look at my surroundings. I smiled and we walked forward, stepping into the short line which was quickly loaded onto the ride. We got strapped on and ready, the ride slowly swayed up, then back down.
Then Back down.
And it continued in that sickening pattern for what felt like hours, but in reality it was only a mere two minutes. I sighed as the ride slowed down and began to fall into its place. It was a sigh of relief, that I was safe and sound on the comforting ground. As soon as our ride had come to a stop I unbuckled myself and impatiently waited for the man to release us from the rides tightening grip. As soon as he hit the button the arms let us go, I ushered myself off the ride, wanting to be first to safety. I stood in front of the ride and waited for Sam, Riley, and little Bailey. Swaying back and forth on creaking hips, swinging from side-to-side on crooked, pale legs. I waited for them to climb off, Bailey was the second of our group to climb off the ride. Sam started to squeak and we turned to stare at her. The belt hadn't let go of her and she was stuck, clinging to the dizzying ride. Riley rushed back up the steps to aid her in her troubles, his slender fingers crossed playing at the buckle, which still had not released. "Go find the operator." Were the only words that left my mouth as I turned to look for some more help. Sam had turned a sickly color of grey as Riley still tried to release the binding of the belt. Her knuckles turned white as she gripped the black bar that caged her to the ride. I made my way up the steps of the coaster to help the two. "Can you climb out of it?" Riley asked her as I walked up, Sam wriggled in her seat. Using her arms to push herself out of the chair, she whimpered, shaking her head. A deep sigh coming from Riley's throat as he swiveled around to look for help. "Okay, I'll be back. I'm gonna go look for the dude." As Riley walked away I stepped closer to Sam to comfort her, her hair flew in different directions and the wind whipped it around, pushing it to the left and the to the right. Her nose was red and her cheeks pink, Sam looked at me and let out a low dry laugh. "This is kinda terrifying and I don't know why..." she spoke, I chuckled and shook my head, my short hair falling out of its bun and whipping into the wind. "Worst comes to worst then we'll cut the belt." She shook her head signaling that she agreed. Riley had come back with some random guy, who looked like he'd much rather be anywhere but here. His beard had grown much too long for him to maintain and it was filled with gray and black, he wore a stained green baseball cap with grease-stained blue jeans. His navy, cotton shirt showed the name of the circus. With dark eyes he gazed up at us from the base of the rickety metal stairs. "Seems like you're in a bit of a pickle," he spoke with a slow drawn out voice, a smile graced his chapped lips and he climbed the stairs. I smiled at him and moved out of the way, giving him some space to work. I rejoined Riley on the grass and waited for Sam to be freed from the ride. "Where'd Bailey go...?" Riley said and swiveled in different directions all the while, searching for his younger brother. "I told him to go look for the operator, but I don't think we need that anymore." I said and turned to look around, instead of looking for the operator he was talking with some kids. I let out a sigh and Sam tapped my shoulder, the man had disappeared back to his booth. We walked forward and ignored the fact that Bailey was talking to his friends instead of trying to help.
Sam tilted her head down and away from the sight. Sad to see the boy that she had adored had completely forgotten about her presence. I guess it hurt me in a way to see her like that. Tears brimmed her eyes and she pushed passed me, walking the opposite way of him. "Sam," I let out her name in breathy syllables. "Sam!" She walked passed me and kept going, not stopping. I sighed, extremely frustrated. "Sam," Riley called once more but she was already gone. He huffed and stomped towards his brother, grabbing him by the hood on his jacket. "Hey what ar-" Riley practically dragged him towards the car. "-shut up Bailey." A dumbfounded look crossed his face and shock was eminent in his features. "I'm going to teach you how to treat a lady, whether you like it or not." He growled and shoved him into the truck. "Yeah and you're the one to talk." Bailey sassed, Riley's mouth opened into a large 'O' which he then clamped shut and slammed the door. Bailey pouted with his head against the window, mocking Riley as he huffed about his brother. "I'm going to go look for Sam, okay?" Riley flicked his eyes towards me, his anger was simmering and he reached forward to grab my arm. He kissed me on my lips and ran a hand through my hair, "I'm sorry about tonight baby. I didn't want to lose my temper." I shushed him, not wanting to hear anything about it. "It's alright, I'm going to go find her." And with that, I untangled myself from his arms and walked in the direction she went. Only to be pulled back by Riley who places his sweet lips on mine in a gentle kiss, then released me. "Be careful, princess." I smiled, letting him know I would be fine. He turned and climbed into the truck, starting the engine. I pulled out my phone, "hey Siri, call Sam." I spoke to my phone who dialed her number. It rang for a couple of seconds, going to voicemail. "Dang it!" I hissed and put my phone away. I inhaled the salty air and thought about where Sam could be.
THE BEACH. Duh! I quickly took off and went to the crosswalk, repeatedly pressing the button in a hurry. The light changed and I waited for the cars to come to a stop, then I ran to the other side of the road and right down the sidewalk. "Sam, hey! Sam!" I yelled, looking around. It was dark and I could barely see anything, the moon wasn't full, making almost impossible to scope out the faux blonde. I used the flashlight on my phone, but it didn't span much farther than a few feet, leaving me practically clueless on where she could be. I walked under the pier, only finding a couple of bums and sleep time beach goers. "Sa-" I went to shout but a drunken man yelled, "-shut up!" I glared at the man and pushed passed him. My phone repeatedly buzzed in my hand. "Hey baby, did you find her? I'm coming to look." Was all Riley said before the call disconnected before I could reply. "Okay." I whispered down to my cell, I looked up and out towards the water, seeing a dark mass wading out into deep waters. I gasped and saw a glimpse of her dyed blonde hair. I stripped my hoodie off and kicked my shoes away. "Sam, i’m coming!" I screamed and ran out to the water, splashing through the cold liquid. I trudged through it as it became harder and harder to push through the oncoming waves. My feet sank into the sand and a swell dragged me and pulled me back, my body going in two separate directions. "Sam!" Her head whipped around from what I could see as I approached her. "You're flipping stupid!" I screamed at her, her hair was sopping with seawater, kind of like a mop. She had tears in her eyes and I yanked her by the arm, dragging her towards shore. "S-sorry, I just, I, I-I really like him, ya know.." of course I knew, he was all she talked about when Milo was gone. Bailey this, Bailey that, she spoke of him like he was the sun in her life the one that awoke her each morning with a happy daze. He wasn't though. He barely acknowledged her, barely notices she was ever there. And when I started dating his brother, Riley would drag Bailey over
to my house where Sam would try to talk to him, but he'd much rather play on his phone. The
year had started out in a fun way, turning from giggles and laughs to sad, heart wrenching
moments where we would all barely talk from months on end.
It all reminded me of the time when Riley's grandfather had become sick, he went to Pennsylvania the day of July, 25th. The day before they left proved to be one of the greatest days in my entire life, we surfed at the beach. And because it was summertime, it would rain every afternoon. The sky had clouded over and the surf had increased by two feet, nice even sets rolling in. It was perfect, Riley and Bailey walked down the beach, boards in their arms. Looking like swimsuit models actually. Sprinkles had started just as they entered the water, first distancing themselves from us, then joining into the group. Sam and I had brought down a big, purple tube with the centerpiece intact. We drug it out to the water, dancing on it as we'd jump over the waves. Riley would occasionally smile, for this was one of the first times I had got to know him. Bailey acquainted himself with Sam, my sister, and Sam's cousin; Jenna.
Jenna was always flirting with the guys, in all honesty she got really annoying really quick. She would touch Baileys arm in her flirtatious way, hoping that the contact would spark his interest in her. But it didn't. He would do backflips off the foam top board we had, almost hitting his head a few times as well. Sam and I brought the float ashore when it had started to rain, but we replaced the float with our surf boards and bounded into the water. The rain had a continuous pattern up to this point, leaving the water looking much darker and scarier than before. The dark masses of clouds had stuck together like glue on the horizon. We all paddled out to the wave break, waiting for the new set to begin. "Go, go!" Everyone would all paddle for the same swell as we wished for a party wave. Happiness struck me at the time, Riley was my crush. I saw myself having nothing but a small obsession with the man, long curly hair would drape his shoulders and water drops would roll down his back, his green eyes had become darker because there was no sun to show how beautiful they really were, his lips were full and he would lick them to taste the salt. While I was staring at him I nearly missed a good wave, but I saw the bump form on the horizon. And I also saw Riley turn on his board fully expecting to get the wave, but I didn't pay much mind to him. Long story short, him and I shared a wave, a smile graced his face and I laughed as I fell down into the poofs of foam. It was the best day of my life. Rain had impaled our backs and felt like tiny needles as it hit us, but nonetheless it was an amazing experience with amazing people. Photos were hung up in my room from this day, all of us going for the same wave. Sam's dad was quite the picture taker might I add. But it was all great.
When I had dragged Sam to land she cried, all tears in her body were let out as she seeped. "No, it's not that big of a deal but Alaina you don't understand, I love Bailey so much. It's so confusing," she sobbed, I rubbed her shoulder and looked around for my clothes, still bending over to console her.
At this moment I could faintly see Rileys figure bound out into the beach, looking in both directions. "He-ey! Over he-ere!" I hiccuped and waved my hands in the air. He strutted over to us, out of breath. He pulled me into a hug, "ugh, you're wet" he complained and kissed my head. "Thanks for making that clear, Captain Obvious." Sam sniffled. She just couldn't resist her sarcasm. Riley laughed and I smiled, tears were still in her eyes but they glimmered with a mix of happiness and pain. They swam in her eyes like two different paints being mixed together. Riley bent down in front of her, "why'd you run?" Sam looked down and more tears leaked from her eyes, leaving streaks of wetness on her face. "It's a long story," was all she said before standing up. "Okay, I got time, tell me when we get back." I smiled seeing Riley with Sam, it was great. He was great. He had such amazing interests in children, his niece, sams toddler of a sister. And he was even great with Sam, who was technically still a kid herself. Which is why it hurt me to see her so sad about a boy. She was just a kid, she shouldn't have to be told that it'll get better, she should know. It's heartbreaking. Riley put his arm around her and hugged her, Sam sobbed into his shirt, Riley looked at me and flashed a small smile. I went to get my jacket and shoes from up the beach. On my way back I could hear Sam, "it's freezing out here," and cling tighter to Riley. "No it's only cold for you because you decided to go run into the ocean," he said and removed his hoodie, handing it to her. She thanked him and slipped it on.
I was in awe. It was so cute seeing how he treated her. She would subconsciously sniffle and wipe her eyes on the sleeves, making Riley put his arm over her and would pull her close into a side hug. Riley turned and looked back at me, casting a glance of pity in his eyes. As I got closer he threw his left arm over my shoulders while his right was over sam's shoulders. Nothing was said as we walked to the truck. Sam's shoulders sagged with sadness and the vibe was unhappy. Riley, deep down, was still angry at his brother. I could tell, but he was sad for Sam. The car was swirled with mixed emotions, we didn't turn the radio on. We all just sat in silence, until Riley adjusted the rearview mirror. He glanced back at her, "don't let a boy get you down. We're all jerks," was all he said sam smiled as a few stray tears made their way down her pristine cheeks. Riley laid his hand down on the glove box and opened his hand. I looked at it, using my fingertips to trace the lines on his palm.
We soon pulled into the complex and sam shivered in her seat, during the ride I had given her my jacket as well. I guess I wasn't cold, and If I was then I couldn't feel it. I was comfortably numb. Sams wet hair had left water droplets on her face and her brown eyes scanned the car and the car port, which we pulled under. Sam sighed, "I call dibs on the shower," I chuckled and opened the door, preparing myself to climb into the brisk October air. Riley hadn't said a word, and I know he was still thinking about Sam, and his brother. I knew that he got the gist of the problem, Sam liked Bailey. His eyes clouded over and he rolled down the window, I walked over standing on my tippy toes to peek inside. "Go tell Sam that you're coming tomy house really quick," "Riley, I don't think that's a good idea. I mean, she'll be lonely and she just went through a lot. An-" he cut me off, "you're just going to take a shower, I mean, you're salty and covered in water too." He huffed, I nodded my head, the truth was in his statement. I went inside, hearing the shower running, I knocked on the bathroom door and waited for her response. "Yeah," she squeaked and opened the door a crack, sticking her head out. "I'm going to go shower at Rileys I'll be back." She nodded her head and closed the door.
We pulled up in front of his apartment. We both stayed in the car for a second, not saying a word. The silence was almost deafening. But he uttered out a statement, a sigh escaping his throat, "Alaina. We need to talk." I shook my head in agreement, "but later, go take a shower." He kissed my head and climbed out of the car, I followed and walked with him upstairs. Bailey was asleep on the couch, but I couldn't spot his mom. Riley must've known by the way I looked around for her, "she's working late," he rubbed my arms and kissed my cheek. I nodded. The last time I was here, Shayla was too. Her name left a bad taste in my mouth and I wanted to despise her but I had no reason too. The only one I should despise is Riley, but then again, I am just putting blame on everything. It's like somebody cursed my world, and that scares me. He's the only guy I've ever felt amazing with, and he's going to be ripped away from me and I won’t be able to get anyone else. Maybe he's the only one that can love an all too skinny girl with popping joints, eczema, a big nose, with wiry hair. Even when I first started dating him I had a hard time trying to accept why he liked me. And to this day I'm still confused.
Bailey stirred on the couch and Riley threw a blanket over him. He turned and smiled at me, and flopped down on the couch and flicked on the television, watching whatever tacky show was on. I took a deep breath through my nose and stepped into the bathroom. The shower was on and the mirror had fogged up, leaving me looking at a blurred version of my lanky self in it. I sighed and looked down, my skin was dry and flaky, rough to the touch, my legs remained unshaven, as well as some other body parts, but I had always loved myself for me. In my mind I was perfect, but we all have some thoughts that make us question if we're really what we think we are. I stood in the shower and let the water run off my legs, down my body. I scrubbed my hair with whatever shampoo was lying around and did the same for my body. I ran my hand over my arms and looked at the endless dry cracks that eczema had left in them. Scars in areas that I had scratched too much when I was young had turned a light pink as my tan became more eminent. I was so caught up in my mind that I neglected to the door opening. Riley was writing something on the mirror or wiping it off, I don't know. It had been five minutes since I got in the shower and I was already freezing, and contemplating why anyone would like me. My back was turned to the curtain and my hair fell in my face. The blonde was fading up to its natural brown and I pushed it back.
It all hit me in that moment, like a whole ton of bricks, memories flooded into my once happy mind. He would hug me, and cuddle. I let my tears mix with the water. I let out a loud sob and instantly covered it up with a cough. I quickly turned off the water running from the faucet. I reached my hand out and grabbed my towel, i wrapped my shivering body. I heard the shower curtain screech as it was opened, but not by me. Cool air hit my back and made the goosebumps rise on my arms. Rileys warm arms slithered around my waist and he hugged me from behind. "You're beautiful..." he breathed in, "Why are you taking a cold shower?" He mumbled into my neck, I just shook my head, there was reasons why. He wrapped another towel around me as he saw i was still shivering, and continued to enclose me in his strong, tan arms, kissing my cheeks repeatedly. He left small sloppy butterfly kisses on my neck, warmth spread through my body. I turned myself in his arms and placed my thin lips onto his. He deepened our kiss by placing both his his hands on the side of my face. He licked my bottom lip, begging for an entrance to my mouth. I pulled back and placed a quick peck on his cheek. His breathing was heavy and his eyes were closed, I'd made him sad by declining his kiss. He huffed "Jeez, Alaina, why do you have to be so complicated?" He asked finally opening his eyes. I could see his iris shrink as the light entered his gorgeous green eyes. "I'm sorry." I whimpered. I was complicated? I considered myself easy going. Not complicated... but he was the one to talk, he's the one that acted like nothing happened, not me. I said I was giving him a day, and his time is almost up. The pad of his thumb repeatedly ran against my lips. I lifted my arms and slowly pushed his away. "Riley, we really need to talk," I sniffed and looked into his eyes. They had clouded over, his bright green turning into a hue of brown. He shook his head and leaned down. Placing his forehead on mine, "let me get you some clothes."
My shirt, shorts, and undergarments remained in a soaking pile on his floor. He told me that he would pick them up at another time, just as long as we talked. We had walked hand in hand down to the beach, I knew this was the last time I'd grasp his rough fingers in my own. His Hurley shirt was baggy and covered the boxers he had given me to wear. Leaving my dry legs exposed to the world. We sat on the boardwalk now, across from each other. The moon had casted a light and come out from behind the clouds, giving us enough sparkle to see each other and the beach. Waves rolled in from the furious ocean, they'd fall into the water and sound like thunder as they raced to shore. We didn't say a word, we didn't look at each other, we just stared out into the darkness. Riley was the first to make and noise, he cleared his throat. "Wh-what can I do to fix this?" His voice cracked, did he really care about me enough to feel sad? Tears gathered in my eyes and I wiped them away with the ends of the shirt. "You can't fix anything Riley. You cheated on me. I told myself that I'd give you one day." His head turned towards me, his hair had fallen into thick strands that lay in his eyes. "What?" He cocked his head, I looked back at him through my lashes. "I said that I'd give myself one more day with you, until I broke us apart. Nows that time Riley. And there's nothing neither of us can do to fix that, we're so messed up that it's scary. I can't stay with someone who cheats, and you can't stay with someone that's not good enough for you." I mumbled the ending and stood up off the rail, "I'll give you your clothes back tomorrow." Riley nodded, "I don't care much for them, I was going to give you the shirt anyway." I sighed, and walked close to him. I reached out and pulled him into one last hug, "I'm going to miss you." I mumbled into his neck, I kissed his wet cheek. Crying. He was crying. It was so heart wrenching to see him like this, but what choice did I have? He nodded his head, "I'm breaking up with you," I said and turned to walk away. He didn't look back at me, just straight towards the water, and out to the dark sea.
When I had reached the end of the boardwalk I turned and looked at him one last time, his head was down and his hands grasped his face. He let out a sob and his back shook as he gasped for air. I turned with tears in my eyes. It had to be done. But he was so sad. There. Was. No. Choice. I repeated in my head, but I knew that there was a choice, there always was. I didn't know if I picked the right thing to do, but I really hoped I did. Leaving him out in the dark, under pale moonlight, as he cried. That wasn't right. But I had too.