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An Exchange of Hearts
Kaylee woke to the sound of her alarm going off an hour earlier than she would have liked. That’s right, she thought in her head, today is the day that German kid comes for the school year. Her mother, Ellen, had volunteered their family to house a German exchange student, and Kaylee was NOT thrilled with the idea of having a strange boy her age from another country living under her roof. Great, sophomore year and I have to show this guy around… I’m sure to get kicked out of the ‘Social Circle’. She thought as she pulled on the clothes she had laid out the night before.
“Kaylee Bronson!” he mother hollered in an urgent tone, “Get ready! We have to be at the airport to pick up Augustus in an hour. Kaylee was already half way down the stairs when her mother hollered.
“I haven’t even had breakfast yet.” She said grabbing a bowl.
“Ah-ah-ah-ah! No time now!” her mother said taking the bowl and shoving it back in the cupboard, “We’ll stop at Subway on the way there.”
“So I have no time for cereal but we can stop and order three sandwiches?”
“Don’t you talk back to me young lady! Just get in the car or we’ll be late!” Kaylee rolled her eyes, grabbed her purse and hopped in the car. Her father adjusted the mirror to look at her displeased face.
“Aw, cheer up Buttercup.” He said flashing his usual charming smile. Kaylee gave a sarcastic smile that only lasted for a moment.
“I don’t like it, I don’t like it one bit.” She said staring out the window.
“C’mon Kay…” her mother said climbing in the car, “he could be cute.” Kaylee looked at her for a minute.
“That’s about the only thing that could make up for all this.” Kaylee said in a somewhat perkier mood as they started down the road.
“Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea Ellen.’’ Her father remarked not taking his eyes off the road.
“Oh Jacob, stop it!” her mother playfully slapped him on the shoulder. After stopping at Subway they finally reached the airport.
“Oh mom you didn’t.” Kaylee said gesturing to the sign that had Augustus’ name on it.
“Well how else was he supposed to know it was us? He’s never seen us before.” A few people actually started laughing at her mother and Kaylee hid her ever blushing face. Oh mom! Why now!? She would glance up every once and a while to see if Augustus was anywhere in sight… although she had no clue what he looked like. Soon a boy with jet black hair and icy blue eyes approached them.
“You be Bronsons?” he asked in very broken English with a very prominent German accent as he shook her father’s hand. His voice is as smooth as silk… with looks to match! Kaylee’s thoughts were interrupted when her mother’s voice broke the silence.
“Kaylee, aren’t you going to say hello?” as she was snapped back to reality she realized all three of them had their eyes on her.
“Oh, yeah, sorry… hi there, I’m Kaylee.”
“Hallo.” He said shaking her hand. His grip was firm, yet gentle, Kaylee felt that he held on just a second longer than he meant to when he pulled away blushing.
“My English not good,” he began, “hope to learn better so’s I may have conversation with you.”
“I’d like that.” Kaylee said smiling and blushing to no avail. Come to find out she had come to like Augustus… who by the way preferred to be called August… just August. She even developed a small crush on him… but she never said a word. About half way through the school year, his feelings for her became known whether he wanted everyone to know or not.
“Hey Princess,” a jock purred in Kaylee’s ear.
“Go away Liam.” She said putting her books in her locker.
“I’m just trying to have a conversation with a pretty girl.” He said. Kaylee didn’t respond. “C’mon Kay.” He said placing both hands on her shoulders.
“Liam, I said leave me alone and I meant it!” she said whirling around and shoving his hands off of her. He gave her a glare that sent shivers down her spine… and not in a good way.
“What if I don’t want to leave you alone?” he asked with a sly smirk.
“Then I step in.” August said stepping between him and Kaylee. His English had improved over the school year.
“Oh really?” Liam questioned sarcastically
“August, please don’t do anything stupid.” Kaylee whispered.
“If I do it for you it’s not stupid.” He said looking at her then back at Liam.
“Oh, so you think of her as your girlfriend?” Liam asked crossing his arms.
“Yeah, unlike you who thinks every girl in the school is his.” A small group had gathered around them now and went “oooooooooohhhhhhhhh” at August’s comeback.
“Oh well what are you going to do about it loser?” Liam asked quite mad now.
“I’m sorry did you just call me a loser?” August asked as he looked behind him and Kaylee for a second only to return his gaze to Liam.
“Well you must have mistaken me for a mirror…” the crowd was cheering August on. Liam went to pin August up against the lockers behind him but August was quicker and ended up grabbing his arm and pinning it behind his back.
“Ow! You’re hurting me!” Liam cried.
“Listen, the lady asked you to leave her alone… now I suggest you respect that.” August began, ignoring Liam’s earlier comment. “Now listen, you are going to apologize to her, and if I ever see you bug her again, I’ll turn you in to the Principal. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes! I’m sorry Kaylee!” August let him go with a slight push.
“If you ever hurt her in any way, shape or form, you hurt my Everything… and that’s something you do NOT want to do.”
“Yes sir.” Liam said with a bit of anger in his tone as he walked off. August immediately turned around to face Kaylee and pulled her into a tight hug. She was surprised at first but eventually hugged him back just as he pulled away.
“Are you okay? He didn’t hurt you did he? If he hurt you I swear I’ll—” Kaylee cut him off by pressing a finger to his lips,
“I’m fine August. Really I am.” She assured him.
“Yes. I’m fine… did you really say what you meant…? About me being your Everything?”
“I wouldn’t have said it had I not meant it.” She smiled and hugged him tight again. He picked her up and spun her around.
“I love you August.” She said to his face as she pulled back.
“I love you too.”
“Prove it… shout it to the whole world!” he leaned in and whispered it again in her ear.
“That’s not shouting it to the world.”
“You are my world Kaylee.” He said pulling her into another hug. Weeks passed and soon they became a couple and the school year was drawing to a close.
“How do you say, ‘I wish you didn’t have to leave’ in German?” Kaylee asked one night as they sat on the couch watching a movie.
“Ich wünsche, dass Sie nicht gehen mussten.” He said pulling her closer.
“Well then Ich wünsche, dass Sie August nicht gehen mussten…” he had slowly but surely been teaching her German over the school year, and she took to it quite well.
“Well I wish I didn’t have to go either… suddenly her father appeared with the house phone in his hand,
“It’s for you August, it’s your parents.” August looked at Kaylee for a moment, then kissed her forehead before leaving to take the phone. Kaylee followed after a minute to eavesdrop and catch the last part of the conversation.
(Translated for readers)
“No! I don’t want to come home!” August yelled into the phone.
“Augustus Sweetheart, you need to come home.” His mother cooed.
“No! You don’t understand! I want to live here! I want to become an American!”
“Augustus Yoskavitch, stop speaking of such nonsense!” his father demanded.
“No! You don’t understand!” August repeated, “I fell in love with the girl I’m living with… I can't leave her!”
“I warned you not to get attached…” his mother reminded him.
“She isn’t a kitten that we took in for a short time Momma! She is the love of my life! I will not leave her!”
“Augustus! Don’t talk back! You are only sixteen, boy!” his father began, “She’ll crush your heart like a fly on the wall if you give in!”
“But Poppa! You always told me that you knew the moment you saw Momma that she was the one… well I knew Kaylee was the one when I saw her!”
“Fine have it your way! Never come home for all I care! Date her, marry that troublemaker of a girl and see if I care!” a door slam was heard in the background, August flinched when it slammed.
“Augustus… sweetheart?” his mother began, a tear rolled down his face, “Are you still there Augustus?”
“Momma… Poppa is angry with me.”
“I know… I know.” there was a brief moment of silence, “Do you really love her Augustus?” she asked,
“With all my heart and then some… she is the most amazing girl Momma… she’s even learning German.”
“That’s wonderful dear.”
“You’d love her, Momma. Here! I’ll put her on. Kaylee, come say hello to Momma.”
Kaylee slowly approached the phone that August had on speaker phone.
“Hallo.” She said shyly.
“Hallo love,” his mother cooed, “taking good care of my son are you?”
“Doing my best Ma’am.”
“Oh Kaylee sweetheart, call me Momma.”
“Okay Momma… is your husband angry with me?”
“NO! I never want you to even think such a horrid thought again! Ivan is just a little shocked with what Augustus had to say.”
“I didn’t want to be the cause of any family strife.”
“You surely aren’t darling.” Another brief moment of silence came over the phone. “You are sure you love her Augustus dear?”
“Without a doubt Momma.” he replied as he wrapped an arm around Kaylee’s waist and pulled her closer to his side.
“If you are sure about her, as much as it breaks my heart in saying so… you may stay in America to be with your love.”
“Won't Poppa be mad?”
“You never mind your father… even he can't stand in the way of true love…”
“Thank you Momma!”
“Yes thank you a million times Momma!” Kaylee said with a tear in her eye.
“Take care of him dear.”
“I will Momma… I won't let you down!”
“I’m sure you won't…”
Over time, August became an American citizen, and found a job and house near to Kaylee whom he dated all through high school and college. They had their ups and downs, as all relationships do, but nothing could keep them apart for long. Three years after college, August proposed to Kaylee. She said yes, not even giving it a second thought. They planned everything out and set the date. They sent out invitations, to which they got replies both saying either they could or couldn’t make it… but one. The one that had been sent to August’s parents never returned. He was heartbroken. But the wedding still went on. As he stood there at the altar on his wedding day, waiting for his bride, two people rushed in and took a seat in the front row on the groom’s side, drenched from the rain that was pouring outside the cozy church. They pulled back their hoods to reveal his parents, both smiling and waving. A tear came to his eye as he saw them sitting there; he wanted so badly to run up to them and hug them, but he knew he had to stay where he was. After the ceremony was finished, that’s exactly what he did at the reception. His father forgave him for wanting to become an American and leave behind everything he ever knew, and apologized for the way he acted that day over the phone. All was forgiven, and the two families were brought together to be a close-knit family… despite the thousands of miles that sometimes kept them apart…