Came up with the inspiration when I went beach camping last summer.
Picture Not So Perfect
Chapter 4 I jumped up and down for literally thirty minutes, I swear. And the whole entire time, your letter was in my hands. Like, I couldn’t even open it, I was shaking so bad. Alright, I calmed down. So as I lay out on the side porch, bathing in the sun, I read your letter. And you had said: Dear Payton, again, Yes, I got your letter. Yes, I’m really sorry, really. The first thing I’m going to say is, I’m glad you remember me. Like, really glad. Because I almost thought you forgot about me. Second thing is, I can completely imagine how much you’re hurting, because I am too. Still, to this very day. You don’t think I regret leaving you? You don’t think I tried finding your number and looking for you so I could call you, at least write you a letter to say hello? Because I tried. Really hard. And I honestly thought I’d lost you forever. But just my luck, you came back. Hopefully not because you were still looking for me. I hope you’re out here for yourself. But just know I definitely miss you and wish we could pick up where we left off last summer. I think it’s time I tell you why I left. And I’m going to stop being a pussy about it and just tell you over this letter. I was a complete and utter fool. Honestly, I was. Every summer I went out there with a couple of buddies and we all hooked up with random girls we knew nothing about. But last year was way different. And at first, I was like ‘yes, another hot beautiful girl,’ like the moment I first saw you. But once I talked to you, the third time around, I was completely trapped between head and heart. I had never been in love before. I tried not to let my feelings get to me because I was way too young for lovey dovey s*** and all that. I made sure I told nothing about myself to any girl so they wouldn’t get emotionally attached to me and so I wouldn’t feel bad about leaving them. I’m not the type of guy to con any girl into doing stuff. If they don’t want it, fine by me. I at least have that much respect. But I just want you to know, I wasn’t trying to lead you into doing anything with me. In fact, I know I would have been just fine without doing anything at all because just being around you completed me every day. I didn’t want to hurt you, but I was scared. I was scared of myself. Because like I said, I had never been in love before. But I gave my heart out to you. I wanted to be the one you spent every day for the rest of your life with. Deep down inside and all. I didn’t stop to realize what I’d be walking away from. I do know I loved you though. Terribly. But I ran away from my own guilt. And I’m terribly sorry. The other thing I really f*ed up on, a lot and I was praying wouldn’t come true, was getting you pregnant. I ran away from that, too. We never even talked about it. We didn’t use a condom and I had no idea if you were on birth control or not. I should have been smart enough to ask. I should have not been as stupid as I was. I shouldn’t have run away from you like I did. But I did, and I regret every single bit of it. I know I could have been more responsible. More liable for my own actions. I put you through hell and I’m so sorry. That’s the last thing I wanted to do to you. You meant the world to me. You didn’t deserve that. I guess there are just some things you never know about someone until they finally stab you in the back with it. God, I feel terrible. I think I’m even crying, I don’t know. I can barely see what I’m writing, my visions so damn blurry. But I’m sorry Payton. I wish there were some way to make it up to you. Like, there’s not even a way to make it up to you. This isn’t something you just make up. It’s something I have to live with for the rest of my life and I hate that. But I would like to talk face to face so you know I mean all of this. One week from today, meet me at Tiffany’s house. I want to see you. If you don’t want to see me, I’ll completely understand. I’ll just take it as a no show. But I really do hope I’ll get to see you again. Yours Truly, Brayden P.S. - Sorry it took so long to get back to you. I was trying to figure out a way to say all this the right way. What a freakin asshole! I cannot believe you just actually said that to me. But at least you were being honest. No. You were being dumb! Stupid for all I can say. Wow. What an asshole. Brayden, why would you even go off and do that? Did you not think I was scared, too? Yup, that’s part of you not considering my feelings. F***. I don’t want to see you. There’s absolutely no way I could see you now. You’re horrible! You just left me in the flippin dump. And I was just supposed to accept that? Why did I accept that anyway? After you left, I should have just been done. But I fought for my own will, for you. Hoping the fact that you left me was actually worth something important. But no. You were scared. And you ran away from it. I hope you know that you made me kill our baby. How fucking stupid of you. God, I was pissed. I wasn’t even enjoying my tan anymore. I heard the side door slide open and shut. I peeked over to see who it was. “Hey Pay,” Shelah said, kind of dully. “Hey Shelah. What’s up?” She had on her pouting face. I lifted myself up to a sitting position. She came over and sat next to me. “I’m really upset. Dylan’s being an ass.” “Not typical. What happened?” Dylan was never a jerk to Shelah. He loved her more than he loved his dog. And that was a lot! “I was on the phone,” she began. “With?” I asked. “You remember Landon, my ex from two summers ago, right?” I thought over it for a second. I don’t even remember the last relationship she was in. She and Dylan have been together so long. “Kind of. What about him?” I questioned. “Well, he called me yesterday. Dylan over heard me talking to him. It was all just pretty crazy. He didn’t like it all too much.” “Yeah, I know how that goes. I completely understand. Did you say anything that would have made him upset though?” “No. Not at all. But I mean, I might have said I missed him around since he moved so far away and all. I haven’t seen him since junior year.” I nodded. Maybe she shouldn’t have said that in a complete manner where she knew Dylan might have been around. She was helpless sometimes. And I honestly completely understood. “He’ll get over it in time. I promise,” I say reassuring. “No, probably not. He’s been like this since last night. I tried talking to him about it. Just wouldn’t work.” “How’s he been acting towards you?” “Sarcastic. Jerkish. Just a whatever attitude about everything. Like, I tried making it up to him by offering to do it, but he rejected me! He never rejects me on that s***.” “Jesus. He must be upset.” What kind of girl just has make up sex?! Oh. A lot. Duh. “He is. Ugh, Payton. I don’t know what to do!” I stood up and looked down at her, while gathering your letter, my towel and my water. “He’ll get over it. Just don’t do anything more.” I left it at that and walked into the house. I wasn’t really in the mood to see anyone or do anything. I was just thinking of taking a shower or something, or maybe a bath. Or maybe even neither of those. But after I put my glass of water in the sink and my towel on a chair, I get an incoming phone call on my cell. I answered it on the third ring. “Hello?” I said. “Payton?” my mom asked. I sit down on a chair. “Yeah. Hey mom, what’s up?” “How are you sweetie?” “I’m good mom. How are you?” “Listen, I didn’t want to bug. But your dad and I are out here and Uncle Jordan said that we could go stay in the house for awhile with you guys for just a week or so.” I think my heart skipped a million beats. Because now I was extremely nervous and I didn’t want to say yes, but they’re my parents and this isn’t my house. So I don’t make the rules. “Uhh, yeah sure,” I said. She sounded extra cheerful now. “Great! Be there in fifteen minutes.” The phone disconnected. I was left with a beeping tone. I ran throughout the house, pounding on every door and yelling, “Everyone go to the living room, now!” A crowd of rushing adult teens all boomed out of their rooms. Some with towels over their body, some with clothes on and some with blankets wrapped around them. “What’s going on?” Brody yelled as they all rushed down stairs after me. Shelah and Dylan were already in there, talking. Thank God. “Is everyone here?” I asked, looking around as they were all looking around too and nodded. “Yeah, everyone’s here,” Amber said. I inhaled. “You aren’t going to like this. Which means I better make this quick. My parents will be here in less than fifteen minutes and they’ll be staying with us for a week. So everyone go get dressed and clean up your s***, pronto!” Everyone started chattering and protesting out loud. So expected. “You’ve gotta be kidding me! Are you serious?” Stevie said. He never talked but he sure had a lot to say about this. “Yeah, so come on guys, please go,” I said politely. Everyone rushed to go clean up. Shelah and Dylan stayed where they were, looking at each other. Then, as I was standing there, not sure of which direction to head to, Shelah said with a hurt and disgusted look, “I hope you’re happy.” She got off the couch, threw the pillow she was holding to his chest, walked past me with a little smile and then ran up the stairs. “What was that all about?” I asked Dylan. “F*** her,” he said and went outside. This didn’t look good at all. Before I knew it, fifteen minutes had past and I heard the doorbell ring. I paced to answer the door, me still being in my bikini and all from tanning. At least my parents were completely cool with the fact that I had a bunch of friends with me and they were willing to stay. That’s how they are though. They really don’t care and when it comes to it, they’re big party people. I opened the door to reveal my lovely and lively parents. Of course, my mom opened up her arms for me to hug her. So I did. “Come here sweetie. Momma’s missed you so much,” she said. I hugged her; she nearly squeezed me half to death. “Hi mom. I’ve missed you too. But it’s only been three weeks.” She pulled me back and held a tight grip on my arms. “But you’re growing up to fast!” she was definitely exaggerating. “Alright, that’s enough Cindy. She’s eighteen for Christ sake,” my dad said. Oh how I loved the man. I smiled at him and gave him a hug. “Hi daddy,” I said. “Hey pumpkin.” He kissed my head. “How’ve you been?” I lead them into the house with their bags and everything. “Really good! I met someone,” I said. They looked shocked. “A boy?” mom asked. “A man. Boy. Guy. Yeah, whatever you want to call him. He’s twenty.” Neither of them looked surprised. “Good for you! Who is he? Are we gonna meet him?” she asked. I shrugged. “Yeah, if you guys want to. I might be staying with him at his house while you guys are here so you can have my room.” Mom looked worried now. “Oh, you don’t have to do that for us! We’ll sleep out here on the couches,” she said. I looked at her directly. “Well, I just might,” I said. She looked up at my dad and he just shrugged. “Alrighty then. Now that that’s all taken care of, let me show you to my room. Trust me; the bed’s big enough for the two of you.” It really was. A giant king sized bed. Even though all the beds in this house were king sized. They followed me up the stairs. “I’ll take my clothes out later, or probably just leave them in here and come get them when I need them. So I’ll probably be walking in and out of here a few times a day,” I said. They both nodded. When we finally reached my room, I totally forgot I left it a complete mess. “Shoot,” I muttered. “What?” dad questioned. “Nothing. Be right back. Stay right here,” I said as I went in to clean up real quick. After nearly two minutes of intense picking up, I finally let them in my room. I’m pretty sure they weren’t too fond of it either. It was clean enough for me, so it should be clean enough for them. “Thanks Payton,” dad said as he smiled. I smiled back. “You’re welcome. Now, if you need me, I’ll be two houses over that way.” I pointed towards Zack’s house. They nodded and I shut the door. But I forgot I wasn’t in any clothes, so I reopened it by knocking first. “Hey, forgot my clothes.” I grabbed an entirely new outfit, went in the bathroom to change and then finally left the room. I realized that I didn’t even think Zack would let me stay and I hadn’t even asked him but I’m sure it would be okay. I knocked on Zack’s door after gathering up my thoughts and all. He didn’t answer so I knocked again. And then finally, he did. “Hey,” I say. He looked surprised to see me. He had shorts on and a t-shirt. “Hey, what’s up?” he asked, inviting me in. He shut the door behind us. “Well, surprise, surprise. My parents are in town so I was wondering if I could stay here with you while they are visiting.” Okay, now he definitely looked surprised. “Really? Of course you can!” he said enthused. “Really? Alright cool,” I say coolly. “What are they doing out here though? If I may ask.” “They said they were out here visiting me but I know they only came out here to check up on me. I won’t let them have it their way though, so I told them I was coming over here.” He chuckled. “You’re sure an aggressive girl.” I smiled widely, “A devious little devil.” “Cute,” he said with a grin. He took me up to his room that I had never been in before. “It’s kind of dirty since I wasn’t expecting anyone to come over or anything like that,” he said. I examined his room. “It’ll do,” I say. “Did you want to sleep in the guest room?” he offered. I nodded,” Yeah, probably. I move around a lot at night.” He nodded back in agreement. “Perfectly fine.” We went down the hall to his guest room. There were probably only three rooms on the top floor and one on the bottom. But his house was beautiful. A perfect house for any occasion really. Even a wedding! Since he had this amazing aisle to walk down. And just like the other houses along this beach, every wall was basically glass. Hence the privately owned part, so there were no disturbances. “Well, here you are. Your room. Do whatever you like, I just have one request. If you plan on bringing any guys over, do let me know, please,” he smiled lightly. I laughed. “No guys for me Willis. You got nothing to worry about,” I said. “Cool,” he relaxed completely and I gave him a big hug. His hugs were amazing, honestly. They were comfortable, relaxing, and just wonderful. Alright Payton, cool it. “Thank for allowing me to stay,” I say. “Not a problem,” he said. Zack and I had spent several days together since we first met. He is extremely amazing. Nearly almost as amazing as I thought you were. But you sure showed me wrong, completely. I mean, he’s completely shown me the definition of what a real boyfriend should be, even though he’s not my boyfriend. How amazing is that! “I’ll be in the garage if you need me,” he said. I gave him a smile, “Thanks.” I rested upon the bed I’d be sleeping in for who knows how long. And I had another memory about us, one I was trying to stop myself from having, but I couldn’t. *Flashback* He and I were standing there, on the deck, looking out to the sunset. The most beautiful sunset I had ever witnessed. We were holding hands. He kept glancing at me. I remembered every moment of it as if it were our last moments together. “Hey, babe?” he said. “Yeah?” “I love you,” he said, while looking at me again. I looked at him also, kissed him. “I love you, too.” Was it love that he and I had for each other? I believe so. Could it have been something more? Maybe. I wasn’t too sure though. All I knew was that I didn’t want to let him go. He brought me closer to his side. “Payton,” he called again. “Mhm?” “Did you know that you’re the only girl for me?” I felt a smile creep up on my face. And I got all warm inside. I hope I was the only girl for him because he’s most definitely the only guy for me. He was bringing me closer to love. *Present* I hated having such an amazing memory. You know why? Because I remember stuff like that and I don’t want to go back to those days. It just makes me think of you more and I can’t afford that. I can’t make myself believe you actually meant all that after finding out what you did to me. I still think to myself. God, how could you.