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The Replacement

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I sat on a pier, the sound of the waves crashing against large rocks was a quiet soundtrack to the sunset, with the arm of a boy that I had known all of my life wrapped around my waist. I leaned my head into his shoulder, his chin snuggling into my hair. His familiar smell, the smell of salt water, tickled my nose which was delighted by the warm and familiarity of the smell. It calmed me, it made me feel as if I were home. But deep down inside, I knew that this wasn’t where home really was. I belonged in the arms of someone else. Someone who had left me not that long ago. So to erase the emptiness that enveloped me I had tried to patch the hole that had been left in my heart by confiding in someone who I could trust, someone who I knew would never hurt me. But the more I confided in him, in those warm arms that protected me from all of the hurt that was stored within me, things had begun to change. I realized that he and I had both changed. Our friendship had grown into something more. Something that I no longer had any control over. The more things grew, the more I allowed them to grow. I let him pull me inside his arms, him believing that things were much more than they were, and me feeling disgusted with myself.
I found myself staring out at the ocean, my feet dangling from the end on the pier, the feeling of deep disgust boiling within my stomach. Around me were the arms of an innocent boy, one who didn’t understand what was really going on. His naive feelings blending together making him think that he was in love, and that I loved him back. He, of course, couldn’t be any more wrong. My heart, always had and always will belong to another. Not to this boy with tan, sun kissed skin, long sandy brown hair, and dark chocolate brown eyes that any girl would love to just melt into. My heart belonged to someone who had left me to move onto a life that would be full of excitement and adventure; his new world didn’t need many things, and one of those things that it didn’t need was me. Just thinking about it made my heart twist in pain, as if the memories that haunted me were old rusty knives, each one piercing my heart, leaving me with wounds that would never heal.
Sometimes late at night, while I stared at my ceiling, I was tortured by the thought of this amazing guy falling in love with me. I tried to will myself to feel the same way, to feel something deeper for him than what I already felt, or to at least have the courage to tell him how I really felt, yet as usual I couldn’t conjure up any feelings of love, or courage, but then again I wasn’t very courageous to begin with. As usual, when I was around him I put on the same fake smile, hoping that soon enough it would become real. Someday, I prayed in my head, please let me feel the same as he does, whether that happens tomorrow or in 80 years I don’t care, just keep me from hurting him. Even as I thought the words I knew that in the end he would end up hurt, and inevitably so would I.
While I sat there I felt Chase, who was holding me, lightly kiss my head. Internally I flinched knowing that I wasn’t being fair to him, I was using him for my own personal satisfaction. I was mean. I was despicable, and it was wrong what I was doing. But I couldn’t help it, without him I was empty and soon enough that emptiness would swallow me up until there was nothing left. That’s when the memories began to flood in. I began to remember him. I remembered the way I had felt around him, the way he had touched me, the way that he had told me that he loved me and the way I had undeniably loved him back. The memories started out small as usual. I remembered little things like how he used to hold my hand when we walked together, squeezing it every once in a while, not only did he squeeze my hand, he squeezed my heart, reminding me why I was there. I was there because I loved him so much. I also remembered the time that he took me ice skating and how when I had slipped, he caught me. Our faces had been inches away, so close that I could have reached up and kissed him if I had wanted too. He stared at me with his piercing blue eyes, his short blonde hair perfectly tousled, and his mouth forming a simple, yet sweet smile. I smiled back sheepishly, the feeling of blood rushing to my cheeks coming over me. At the sight of my blush, his smile grew into a full out grin. It was a grin the blew me away, but then again, every part of him blew me away. I could feel my heart breaking once again as each memory flooded my mind. I drank them in, remembering every little detail knowing that soon enough they will be soiled by the pain that eventually followed.
Finally a big memory shattered all of the little ones, and I had to fight to keep tears from flowing out of the corners of my eyes. I could see it as if it were yesterday. I saw it all laid out before my eyes and I yearned for time to rewind so I could savor that moment once again. It had been at a school carnival, the last carnival of the carnival season to be exact. It was our third date, which meant that we weren’t as nervous as we had been on our first. Nope, we were beyond the jitters that had come from things like holding hands and intense eye contact. We were comfortable being together, but there was one thing on my mind that made me nervous. When was he going to kiss me? I figured it had to be coming soon enough, but with guys it was always spontaneous. It was always when you least expected it and that was what made me nervous; when would it come?
The night flew by in a whiz of whirling colors and the sounds of delighted screams and shrieks. All around us were familiar faces that were alight with joy. Our faces were alight with joy as well, and as the night went on my worries about our first kiss blew away with the wind. I didn’t care anymore. When it came, I knew that it would be magical all the same. Finally we ended up on the Ferris wheel, my least favorite ride. It was too slow for me, and it was too high for me. I liked it when things were fast and close to the ground. And the Ferris wheel at our carnivals always broke down, especially when you are at the top. I had begged him to skip this one but of course, the Ferris wheel was his favorite.
“Please! This one is my favorite. I went on all the ones you liked. Now its your turn to pay up.” He said, a sly smile on his face as he dragged me onto the ride. And just as I had predicted we had gotten stuck at the top. He tried to keep down his laughter at the sight of my face. “You really should see the look on your face. Priceless.” He said, chuckling to himself.
“Look, now we are stuck at the top for who knows how long. Nice going genius.” I said, frowning, and crossing my arms over my chest. He laughed even harder, but then turned abruptly serious and maybe even a little nervous. “But I will admit that it does look amazing from up here.” I said stubbornly. He looked at me with a peculiar expression on his face, as if he were admiring a prized piece of art.
“Yeah, my view is pretty spectacular too.” He said. Even though it was a cheesy line, it still caused me to flush scarlet. I looked down, shifting my hair in front of my eyes, shielding me from his smoldering stare. Gently he reached over and pushed my hair behind my ear. I looked up at him, meeting his eyes, and that’s when I knew that it was coming. He leaned closer to me until finally our lips met. My eyes closed at the touch of his warm lips against mine. The kiss lasted for what seemed like forever, yet it still wasn’t long enough for me. When the gently pressure finally faded away I kept my eyes shut for a second. Drinking in the feelings that I was feeling. I felt my heart beating loudly within my chest and the feeling that I was floating threatened to lift me away. That was the moment that I knew that I was in love.
The memory faded as soon as it had come. Once again I was sucked back to reality, the feeling of emptiness wrapping around me. I snuggled in closer to chase, not wanting the let go in fear that if I did, the emptiness and dark thoughts would take over me. I felt as if I was going crazy. What I was doing was terrible. He would have thought so too if he were here. Dustin, I thought, I miss you. Come back to me. I looked up and there in front of me stood Dustin, looking down at me, as if he were really there. Disapproval covered his face, and he shook his head at me.
“What you are doing is wrong.” I heard his voice say. It sounded distant, but I still held onto the sound, longing for it. I looked away, ashamed, knowing that he was right.
“I know… I’m sorry. I miss you. I need you. Please.” I said, tears threatening to flood down my cheeks. “Please come back.” I said, my voice cracking in sorrow. He looked down at me shaking his head, pity mixed with disgust in his eyes.
“No. I’m not coming back. I’ve moved on.” He said, his voice completely serious, not sympathy in his voice; not that I deserved it. “You need to move on to.”
“Where am I supposed to go? I love you.” I said, pleading with him to understand. He had to understand. If he understood, he would come back. He would. He had too.
“There are plenty of people out there. For example, this boy that you are mercilessly dragging around.” He said, an edge in his voice. I closed my eyes. I didn’t deserve any feeling from him, whether it be anger or something else. I didn’t deserve it. When I opened my eyes, he was gone. I turned around wildly only to see him at the end of the pier. He was walking away. He turned back one last time to look at me, before finally turning around and walking away. As he walked away, he took my heart with him.
I opened my eyes, wildly looking around. Chase looked down at me startled. I frowned, moisture welling up in the corner of my eyes.
“Are you okay?” Chase said worriedly, looking down at me. I nodded halfheartedly.
“Yeah, I’m fine.” I said, snuggling back into his arms. Even as I said it, I knew that it was a lie. I would never be okay again. When Dustin left, he had taken my heart with him, a heart that I doubted I would ever get back.




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