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My Imaginary Prince
The dark, mysterious forest near my house is where I went for alone time because I couldn’t get it anywhere else. My three little sisters, Sydney, Chelsea, and Karlee, were always running around our huge house or our small town. Sydney was the oldest at fourteen, Chelsea at twelve, and Karlee was eleven. All of them had long, blonde hair and look like our beautiful mother. They were in so many activities: volleyball, basketball, softball, track, theater, band, and somehow they managed to do it all. That's not everything, though. They went to at least one birthday party a month and always had something to celebrate with their friends.
You would think that if they were gone so much that I'd have the house to myself, but I don't. I also have an older brother, Kendall, who is twenty-one. He is tall, slender, and over-all handsome. His hair is also blonde, with dark, bushy eyebrows that help him show emotion. Kendall’s eyes are probably people’s favorite feature about him. They are a light, bright green and are hypnotizing. He is working on pursuing his dream; becoming an actor and singer. Since he has only gone to a single audition, he likes to take over the house when our parents are gone, which is almost all the time. I don't understand why because he has an apartment to himself. Kendall also likes to get me to help do whatever nonsense he's up to, and it gets me in trouble, but not him. One time the little girls were spending the night at a friend’s house and our parents went out on a date. They came home to see the house trashed with me being the only occupant, even though it was Kendall’s party.
By going out to what I called ‘My Forest’, I got away from all of my crazy family members and just life in general. I named it ‘My Forest’ because I'm the only one in town that has the nerve to take one step in it. I also have my favorite branch on my favorite tree of the forest. This large branch is where I think about the deepest, darkest things in my head. I thought about how no one at school paid attention to me, and when they did it was to make fun of me, or the fact that everything was centered around the three girls and their busy schedules, or how I was just a person taking up a room in my house. They were usually about a person, though, someone I didn't know. I had all of his features in my mind, like I had seen him before, though I knew I hadn't.
He was beautiful, extraordinary, and I knew somewhere in the world he was real. This boy had soft, thin, brunette hair parted to left. His eyes were the most amazing hazel anyone could ever see, but it was his smile that really got my heart beating. Just by seeing this smile on his face told me that he was a kind, caring, loving, wonderful person. I developed a crush on this person I had never seen in my life. I wanted to meet him, and it hurt to know that I probably never would.
My parents usually woke me out of my reveries by yelling my name about twenty times near the edge of the “dangerous, scary, and horrible” forest. I would slowly trudge to the house, still thinking, still hoping. However, on one Saturday night in early November, I didn’t hear my name and it began getting darker, with fog settling in for the night. Even though I had been out here several times during the day or as the sun was setting, I was never in ‘My Forest’ at night. My thoughts were still centered on my imaginary prince, and I didn’t care. I didn’t care that it would eventually break my heart to find out he never existed. I didn’t care if no one called me inside; they never pay attention to me anyway unless I got in trouble. I didn’t care if I slept out in the cold because it would be a peaceful sleep.
That’s exactly what I did, too. The next morning, I woke up to a bright Sunday sunshine coming through the trees, birds chirping their morning tunes, and the calling of my name. It sounded like someone or several people were worried about me, there’s a first for everything, and it was getting closer, “Lindsey! Lindsey, where are you?” To be honest, I didn’t want to be found, so I jumped from my branch and walked away from whoever was calling my name. Eventually all I could hear was my footsteps, birds, a near-by stream that I liked to visit, and the sound of branches crunching from what I assumed was a deer.
Soon the crunching stopped and loud footsteps were coming towards me. Being pursued in my second home was very new to me. I turned and bolted for my house, but I wasn’t fast enough. I never had been the fastest runner. The footsteps caught up quickly, getting only feet away from me. I tried running faster, but ended up getting my foot caught in between two logs and fell facedown into the thankfully soft, green grass. I couldn’t help but cry. I could feel something bad was going to happen to me; I should have gone home when I heard my name. The footsteps slowed, and stopped by my face. Then somebody crouched down. I turned to look toward my pursuer and I first saw his hair, then his glistening hazel eyes, and then that kind smile spread across his face. He was wearing a plaid button down shirt and khaki shorts.
“You’re Lindsey, right?” he asked. I nodded. My heartbeat began racing, it was him, the boy I’ve been imagining and dreaming about since Kendall auditioned for a kids’ show a few months ago. He said my name! I liked the way he said it. “You know your family has been looking for you for almost five hours?” The tall, muscular man pushed one of the logs away from my foot and held out a hand. I gave him mine and he helped me up. As soon as I was on my feet and tried walking, I fell again. This time, my savior picked me up and carried me like a baby. I could feel my face turn red with embarrassment. “I’m James, by the way.” James, I like that name. “Your brother got the part in our TV show and invited me and the other guys over. He wanted to introduce us to you, but you were nowhere to be found.”
We were by my favorite tree when James said, “You haven’t said anything, yet, and it’s been a while since I found you.”
“Oh. Uh, thanks for getting my foot unstuck.” I had no idea what to say and that was the first thing that came to mind.
“No problem,” he laughed. Even though I felt more humiliated, I put a smile on my face because his laugh was amazing, melodious, something I would not get tired of hearing. “Do you mind if we take a break here? You’re getting a little heavy.”
“Yeah, of course we can. This is actually my favorite tree,” I told James.
“Is this where you were this morning?” I nodded in answer and we sat down beneath my tree for a little while, just talking. James is the same age as Kendall, three years older than me. He’s very athletic, surfing is his favorite, and is six-foot-one. When he was younger, James went to a performing arts school. I began falling in love with his personality; he was amazing.
Then, James asked me questions. I told him as much as I could without embarrassing myself too much. I told him about all of my favorite things: books, movies, music, and classes in school. He listened and for some odd reason he thought it was all interesting. My crush on him was deepening. I didn’t want to leave that moment, but then, “Come on. Let’s go. We’ve been here for a while,” he said as he was getting up. James almost picked me up again, but I insisted that I could walk. It was slowly, but I walked by myself with James helping me over anything that seemed dangerous, like a fallen tree branch or the slippery, dewy grass.
By the time we stepped out of the woodland, my family was sitting on the porch, biting their nails or pacing back and forth. Kendall turned and saw me walk out with James’s arm around me, supporting me. I felt secure in his strong arms. “They’re back!” said a shorter boy with a bright smile, cute dimples, and dark hair. I assumed he was one of the guys that James was talking about earlier. My brother came running towards us, picked me up and swung me around, happy I was safe. Everyone else came over, too, and gave me hugs, even the two boys I hadn’t met yet.
“Thank God, you’re alright,” said my mother. With an angry tone she added, “How could you run away when we are trying to call you home? Do you know how worried I’ve been?” I always get in trouble. “Go inside, clean up, and we’ll fix your ankle.” James helped me up the porch and to the door of my bathroom.
“I think I got it from here,” I told him. The look on his face told me he was still worried I might fall and injure myself even more. His face turned pink, he nodded, turned around, and went to the living room. My heart jumped with excitement because he cared, even after we just met.
I took a long, warm shower. Originally, I planned to take a quick one, but letting the water relax my tense muscles felt amazing. It didn’t help that my hair was horribly knotted and filled with dirt. Once I got out of the shower, I sped up. I brushed my teeth, blow-dried my hair, brushed my hair, put on deodorant, and put on my most dressy, yet casual outfit. I wore my favorite pair of jeans and light blue, sequenced shirt. I checked how I looked in the mirror one last time and went out.
Everyone was laughing at Karlee, who was showing them her funny skit for one of her classes. James looked up and saw me. I blushed a little bit when he gave me a little grin and asked me to sit by him by patting the area next to him. I answered his unspoken wish by sitting in the middle of him and Kendall on our light tan sectional. Together, we watched Karlee practice her sketch for what seemed like forever. Once she was done, Kendall finally introduced me to his new cast mates.
“Lindsey, this is Logan,” Kendall exclaimed motioning towards the boy with the cute dimples. Getting a closer look at him, I could tell his teeth were perfectly straight, and his eyes were the darkest of browns.
“Hey, Lindz,” Logan said, saying it like he’d known me forever. I gave him a faint grin and waved.
“And this is Carlos,” Kendall put his arm around Carlos’s shoulder. They had already become really close friends. Carlos had short hair and light chocolate eyes. His smile was welcoming when he said ‘hi’ to me. Both Carlos and Logan were short, not much taller than my petite, five-foot-six-inches self.
The guys hung out together for the rest of the day and would occasionally ask me to join. We played several board games, violent video games, almost lost our voices bellowing out our favorite songs, and I even showed them my little hide-outs in ‘My Forest’. I had never had that much fun with Kendall, or anyone else for that matter. It felt nice having friends. It didn’t matter if they were three or four years older than me, or that they were guys. I could tell someone at school was going to find out and make horrible nicknames for me, but I didn’t care.
All five of us were inseparable for the rest of the week, except for when I had school. We went to the mall and closest amusement park. Coincidently, I saw some girls from school. They also saw me. The expression on their faces was priceless. Their jaws dropped and their eyes grew large. They never thought they’d see me with three very attractive guys, and my good-looking brother. I wanted to laugh each time I saw this look on their face, but I didn’t because I would get weird glances from my new friends and brother. They felt like brothers to me, though it had only been a few days. When I came home crying, thinking I’d have the house to my own, the guys were sitting on the couch and each gave me a huge hug. They didn’t ask me anything, just wanting to comfort me. James’s hug was the longest and tightest, and he gave me a kiss on the top of my head. The instant he gave me a hug, I felt better, safe, and wanted. I think everyone in the room could feel something between me and James starting.
The next Saturday, the four boys had to leave to start filming their show and record music. Their television show, called Big Time Rush, was about four best friends from Minnesota that went to Hollywood to become a boy band with the same name and their challenges to become famous. It’s a good thing they could each actually sing. I went to the airport with them for more time to be with four of my favorite people in the world. I wouldn’t get to see them for almost five months. I was going to miss them all, maybe James the most, even more than my own brother.
When they were called to board their plane, they looked at me simultaneously. Carlos came up to me first, gave me a hug, and said good-bye. I was going to miss his good-hearted nature. Next was Logan. He gave me tighter hug than Carlos and said “Don’t get lost in the woods while we’re gone. James won’t be there to save your sorry butt.” I punched him playfully in the arm and told him good-bye.
Kendall and James were standing by each other, looking at me then to one another. I opened my arms to invite one of them to give me a hug. My big brother looked at James, sighed, and gave me a big bear hug. “I’m going to miss you little sis. Be strong, I know it’s tough for you,” he whispered to me. Kendall pulled back from our hug, looked me deeply in the eyes, with tears forming in both of ours. This was obviously going to be hard for him, leaving the family for the first time and longest time, and not being able to comfort me when I feel alone. Sure he got me in trouble when he asked me to help with his parties, but he asked so I wouldn’t be left out. He wiped his tears away and quickly turned around to follow Carlos and Logan.
James and I slowly walked toward each other. I didn’t know what to say to him, and from his silence, either did he. Then a tear slid down my face, and I couldn’t contain the rest from following. James gave me a long hug and put his cheek on the top of my head, which I buried in his chest and stained his nice shirt. I took in his scent for as long as I could. “Don’t leave me,” I whined. He rubbed my back trying to calm me down.
“Lindsey, shouldn’t you be saying that to Kendall?” he asked trying to bring humor to our situation.
“No, I haven’t had a crush on Kendall for the past months,” I told him through my sobs.
“What do you mean? We just met.”
“James, it’s crazy, but I saw you perfectly in my head before we met. I’ve had a crush on you since you were first in my dreams.” I just confessed my love for him
He smiled my desired smile, “Well, I must be crazy, too because you were always in my dreams before I found you in the woods a week ago.” I beamed a wide smile back at him. “So, technically we met only a week ago, Lindz, but I feel like I really know you, and I kind of have a crush on you, too. Before I have to leave, I was wondering if we could,” he trailed off, his face getting closer to mine. It was excessively slow for me, so I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled his lips to mine. I forgot about everything and everyone around me, only focused on James. His lips were soft and moved with mine perfectly.
James pulled away when the last call for his plane came over the intercom. He gave me another hug and looked at Carlos, Logan, and Kendall waiting for him then back at me. Logan and Carlos had faces like they had been expecting this moment. Kendall shared this look, but also had a little anger in his expression. I knew he was only being protective, though. James gave me a quick peck on the lips and jogged over to the other boys. “We’ll Skype every day,” James called. He and the rest of Big Time Rush waved to me one last time and left.
For the time the guys were gone, I was a zombie. School was often a blur and I only focused on the clock, counting down the hours until I got to talk to Kendall, to James. At first we did Skype every day, but then they got busier and had to stay at the studio or set longer. Each time I realized I wouldn’t get to talk to my brother, James, Carlos, or Logan, I didn’t sleep well and school the next day was horrible. The weekends were the only time I really got to talk to my friends. I never left my room. I never got of my laptop, and all five of us would talk forever.
One Friday after school, I was lying on my bed doing my homework. My laptop was open and I was getting a call from Skype. I noticed the username was Kendall’s and answered right away. We hadn’t talked all week. “Kendall!” I yelled. I heard laughter in the background. It was the other three thinking my excitement was funny.
My big brother smiled and said, “Guess what, Lindz. We are getting off early; we got done filming sooner than expected and cutting tracks were easy.”
“Really? You’re kidding me!”
“No, I’m dead serious!” There was more laughter from behind Kendall somewhere. “James is here. I’m guessing you want to talk to him?” My face turned bright red and I nodded. Then James was in front of the camera.
“Hey, Lindsey, how’s it going?” James said with a bright smile. All I had to do was give him a wide grin. He knew I missed him and wanted him to come back to me. “Before you say anything, I think I left something at your house. It’s not extremely important, but I want to make sure it’s safe. Will you go downstairs and check.”
“Why are you asking about this now? You’ve been gone for a little over four months.” It seemed odd that James would be asking this after being gone for such a long time. It made me suspicious.
“Just go downstairs,” James and Kendall both said.
“Ugh, fine. What is it and what does it look like?”
“It’s my, uh,” he hesitated, “my lucky comb.”
“Really, a lucky comb? You didn’t use a comb when I was around,” I was getting very curious.
“Yes, a lucky comb. Please just go downstairs and see if it’s anywhere down there,” James said. It sounded like he was getting a tiny bit annoyed.
I left my laptop on my bed and started walking downstairs. I turned on the lights to our basement. There were four rooms: a big family room, a room for all of the girls’ toys, a room for playing videogames (Kendall liked his privacy when playing), and a study for my parents. I quickly looked around the family room. No comb. I skipped the study and toy room and went straight to the game room. I turned on the light and Kendall and James jumped up from behind the old, worn-out couch yelling “surprise”.
I stepped back and stared at them for a short second. Then I ran straight into James’s arms. “James! I’ve missed you so much,” I exclaimed with tears coming to my eyes.
“I’ve missed you, too,” he told me, holding me close. I felt his lips touch the top of my head and stepped back to look up at his face. I just stared up into his sparkling eyes for a minute, until I heard someone clear their throat. It was Kendall.
“What about your big brother?” he asked in a teasing tone.
“I’ve missed you too, K-dizzle.” I gave him a playful punch in the arm and gave him a quick, tight hug. “Where are the other two?” I asked finally noticing that neither Logan nor Carlos were in the room.
“They live pretty close to where we shoot the show, so they’re enjoying their time at home,” James informed me.
“But, don’t you live near there, too?”
“Yeah, but I wanted to spend more time with you.” James gave me another hug.
“You didn’t come back for your lucky comb?”
James laughed melodiously. “No, it’s what came to mind.”
Then it hit me. “Wait, how did you guys get down here?” I asked. I would have heard them walk through the door. It would have been obvious.
“Mom picked us up from the airport and we got here before you did,” Kendall told me. Of course Kendall would have gotten Mom in on his surprise.
“When do you guys have to go back?” I questioned. I wanted to know how long I would get to spend time with them, so I could be prepared when they had to leave again.
“Actually, not we have to go back in a few weeks.” I almost interrupted Kendall, but he continued talking. “We still have a few more episodes left to film, but we were getting ahead of schedule and we got a break.”
James started speaking as soon as Kendall ended so I wouldn’t get a word in. “We talked to your mom and she said that you’ll have spring break while we’re gone and that you can fly down and stay with us. Then by the time you have to leave to go back to school, we should also be done. Kendall and I will fly back up with you.” Hearing that I’d get to spend my spring break with my three best friends and brother was amazing. I couldn’t wait!
“Oh, and that college you applied to earlier this year just so conveniently happens to be a few minutes away from our studio,” Kendall said, opening his arms, waiting for me to thank him for being an amazing brother. I returned the hug and jumped up and down. My life was going to change for the better once I left high school.
Spring break was amazing. I got to watch Kendall, Carlos, Logan, and James film. From what I could tell, the show was going to be amazing, I would totally watch it. I found out where James got the lucky comb idea. His character is self-absorbent, and carried around a comb. Then school came back and it flew by and it was summer time. I was soon back in Los Angeles, moving into Kendall’s apartment that he started renting that’s a few minutes’ drive from the studio and I got to see James every single day. We got to know each other better, went out on a few dates, and considered ourselves a couple. Kendall was a little hesitant about it. Why shouldn’t he, his little sister was dating one of his best friends. I understood it, but sometimes it got a little old. I was happy though, because if I hadn’t gotten lost in ‘My Forest’, I wouldn’t have met James, my imaginary prince.