The Way I Loved You
Author's note: I am really proud of this novel. One of my best friends inspired me and helped me to write this.... Show full author's note »
My Hope... And Worst FearThe morning dawned clear and cool. The grass was wet with dew, and mist hung low over the rolling hills, and the sun cast a clean, early light. To anyone else the morning would have been magical—something to treasure, to take pictures of. But for me, Marcy Evans, the only thing I was thinking was that this morning needed to be taken advantage of, and quickly.
I pulled on jeans and a t-shirt, laced up my heeled boots, snatched my long, golden brown hair into a loose ponytail and grabbed my jacket from the top of the dresser. I knew that even though everyone in my family had to get up early, this was too early for any of them. Keeping this in mind I stepped carefully over the creaky floorboards, jumped the last five squeaky steps and tip-toed over to the alarm system. Gritting my teeth as the beeps sounded, I punched in the numbers, struggling with the nine as always. Then I hurried out the door.
Breaking into a run, I kept my eyes on the fenced-in field as I heard the dirt crunch beneath my feet. I stopped at the fence and watched the horse inside.
We have six horses: Rebel, Macao, Blue Man, Jean and Optimus. Blue Man’s my dad’s horse; Macao’s Jay’s; and Optimus is Scott’s.
Jean was a buckskin mare. She’s pretty well trained, too, and since I don’t have a horse and she’s the only girl, I ride her most of the time.
I ran inside the barn and grabbed a saddle and bridle. When I got to the fence I whistled to Jean and she looked up. She was all alone in the mare pasture. I went through the gate and she met me there. I put her saddle and bridle on and rubbed her nose.
“Good girl,” I said as I walked her around in a circle. Then I brought her over to the fence again and mounted her. We exited through the gate and closed it, something we’ve been working on, and trotted down the trail. Up ahead on the hill, I saw someone galloping down towards us. Then I knew—it was my friend, Nick Harper.
Let me explain about Nick. He and his sister, Tally, have been around me for as long as I can remember, and we’re close friends. But lately there’s been something in the way Nick smiled all cocky, like everything’s a secret joke or prank that he’s pulled (sometimes it is); the way his bright blonde hair sticks up all over the place in a windswept way; the look in his electric blue eyes as he studies you closely, but doesn’t make you feel uncomfortable; or maybe the way he puts on an act for everyone, all funny and lovable and prankster-style, but when you get to know him he’s really sweet and he cares about you.
He was riding his stallion, Buzz, a tall, golden-cream horse with a white mane and tail.
“Hey, Marcy,” he called as he neared us.
“Why’re you here, Nick? It’s really early.”
“Exactly the point,” he said, offering a carrot to Jean, who seemed to approve of the visitor and took it eagerly. “We’ll be alone for a bit.” He saw my face and laughed. “I mean, your sister’s coming over later today, right? I thought it’d be nice to have some peace and quiet beforehand.”
“I guess,” I mumbled, because being alone with Nick can make me a little nervous.
We kicked our horses. Jean was good friends with Buzz. She nickered to him, and he replied. We cantered down the trail and into the woods, not talking. I noticed that I had to spread my legs farther than usual astride Jean, but maybe it was just my imagination.
“So, are you excited to see Rebecca?” Nick asked as we moved farther into the trees.
“I, um, I guess,” I replied slowly. Rebecca is my eleven-year-old sister, and she’s at a sleepover right now, which is good, because I can’t stand her.
Nick threw a sideways look at me.
“I mean, she could have changed in one night with her friends, right?” I asked.
“Uh, yeah! I think, maybe, actually, no,” Nick replied. Jean snorted at him.
We rode out of the trees and back to the field. I put Jean back in it and hung the saddle and bridle on the fence. Nick tied Buzz to a post and sat on the fence next to me.
“Tally’s trying to train Texas enough to get him into one of those horse competitions,” he told me.
“Really?” I asked. Texas is Tally’s Arabian gelding. “That’s so awesome!”
Nick smiled and nodded, and we sat in silence for a while more. Then I thought of something.
“Tally will be up soon, won’t she? How’s she going to know where you are?”
Nick turned his head slowly towards mine, the strangest look on his face. It was relaxed, with a small smile on his lips. Oh God, no, please don’t let me be thinking about his lips!
“Oh, she’ll know.”
He said that matter-of-factly, like it was a law of nature that she’d know that he was with…oh. Me. Oh, crap. We are only in 9th grade!
And then he was leaning towards me, slowly, as if I wouldn’t notice that our faces were getting closer together. What was I supposed to do? I didn’t want to pull back, because I might hurt his feelings. But this was madness! He kept leaning in closer; I was paralyzed by fear.
We were so close, now, that I could see each of his eyelashes, the flecks of green in his blue eyes, and then I couldn’t look anywhere else; it was like there was a magnet that forced me to look into those eyes, those beautiful eyes, and then I was moving forwards, and we tilted our heads and closed our eyes, and…
Kissed. We kissed, and it felt like the world stopped to watch us. It was a simple one, but it went on forever. My heart beat faster, and I noticed only one thing in the world, not the cool air on my arms since I had taken off my jacket, not the sun desperately trying to warm us up, nothing but the lips that were touching mine, and the hands that were holding my arms.
Finally, it was him who broke off, whether for air or because it was just time to do so, I don’t know. We took in silent gulps of cold air, staring at each other. I felt like I had just jumped off a cliff; adrenaline was pumping through my veins. Slowly, a huge smile split his face, and he looked like he had just had the happiest time in his life. Then, before I could say anything, although I don’t know what I would have said, he jumped off the fence, untied and leapt onto Buzz, kicked him in the side, and they went tearing off away from me. I watched them go, a choked up feeling in my throat. And then thinking about Nick, and feeling confused, I started to smile and cry at the same time.