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I Dreamt I Could Fly; Chapter 4
I felt a hand on my back and sighing, I turned to face the person sitting on my bed. I opened my sleep-encrusted eyes to my mother’s worried face. I groaned inwardly; I didn’t want to talk to her right now. If only it had been Jake.
I glanced at my clock which gleamed, 8:29 p.m. I sat up worried that Jake was gone before I could get his number.
“Grace, are you okay? You looked like you were crying when you ran out of the kitchen. Do you want to talk about something?” She smiled at me; it was a tight smile, almost as if she wanted to leave. I criticized her voice. She spoke in almost a monotone; it sounded like she wasn’t worried at all. “Almost everybody is gone now.”
“Actually I wanted to ask you something,” I trailed off, checking her expression. She seemed open and ready for anything I threw at her. So I took in a breath and finished my sentence, “about dad.”
Almost instantly, my mom’s eyes glazed over and her mouth was set in a thin line.
“What about him?” Her tone sounded straight and robotic.
“I want to know more about him. I was only 8 when he died. I didn’t know him for long and you never talk about him,” I rushed to get all of my words out. “You even took all of his pictures down. What if I wanted them? You never ask me about him or anything. What am I supposed to do?”
I stopped and held my breath for her reaction. Suddenly, I heard a piercing voice in the hall and my mom let out her own breath.
“Martha? Martha, where are you?” My aunt broke the silence around us and my mother seemed relieved to have a reason to leave. She rubbed a hand against my knee and stood up.
“I have to go Grace.” She forced a small smile at me and turned towards the door. “We’ll talk about this later.”
Even as she left, I knew and she knew that we wouldn’t talk about this. Now, later…at all. We never did. I leaned against my bed frame and let out a long repressed scream.
“What was that?” A guy’s voice drifted through the open window and I covered my mouth with my hand. Blush crept up my neck even though the guy didn’t know it was me. Easing up to the window, I spotted a large catering van in the driveway; a large shooting star was painted along the side along with swirling letters that stated “Shooting Stars Catering Company.”
I slowly eased one foot out of the window and scrambled onto the roof. I pulled my knees up to my chest and braced myself so I wouldn’t fall. I watched as two boys exited the house. One, I recognized immediately as Jake and the other, I had trouble figuring out who it was. He had a stout figure; stocky, but in a cute way. He hefted along a large cooler of food and thrust it into the back of the van.
“I’m telling you, I’ve seen her from some place,” the shorter guy was saying to Jake. “She just seemed so familiar and so does her mom.”
“Tommy,” Jake began. I drew in a ragged breath just from hearing his voice. “You’re just imagining things. I am pretty sure that I have never seen her before. She is something different though. She ran out before I could ask for her number. I don’t know if I could have gotten it though. When she left, it sounded like she was crying.”
“I know!” Tommy suddenly exclaimed, ignoring Jake’s comments. “Her dad...”
I froze, waiting for what came next.
“...was the coach for our soccer team a long time ago,” he continued. “Remember?”
I let out a sigh of relief. Sometimes I forgot that I had a life before the accident. Before everything that had happened.
“Oh yeah,” Jake said. “Coach Joe Lowry. I remember him now. His daughter sometimes came to the games. That must have been Grace.”
“Yeah, it’s funny how you didn’t get her number, though. You can usually get any girl’s number you want.” Tommy laughed loudly. Another set of footsteps came from the house and Miranda laughed.
“Ha. You wouldn’t be able to get her number even if you tried. She is way out of your league,” she sung as she skipped to a place beside them.
“And what league would she be in?” Jake challenged with a hint of a smile in his voice.
“Let’s see; she’s beautiful, smart, rebel, and crazy,” Miranda counted off the things on her fingers before giving him a satisfying shake of the head. “Oh, and don’t forget her awesome fashion sense.” She fingered the skirt I gave her and sighed happily.
A small chuckle escaped me and silence arose from the group. I shrunk back against the window, wishing to not be seen. I could see Jake look up in confusion then shrug.
“Must have been a bird,” he concluded before jumping in the cab of the van. “Let’s go everyone. Kate, come on.”
“Stop yelling; I can hear every one of you from the kitchen.” Kate waddled out and jumped into the passenger’s seat. Everyone followed behind her into the back of the van and the engine roared to life. Sadly, I watched as the catering van drove away into the distance; the large yellow star getting smaller and smaller until it disappeared completely.
I looked up at the sky, seeing millions of white blinking lights staring back down at me. Unexpectedly, a streak of light lit up the night sky as a shooting star made its way across the galaxy. Smiling to myself once again, I tilted my chin towards the sky, ready to make a wish.
“I wish that I could know God more.” The words that flew out of my mouth surprised even me. I snapped my head down and replayed those words over and over again in my head.
A car horn brought me out of my trance and I looked into the street. Nat was leaning out of the window waving to me, inviting me to come. Beside her I could see Bailey grinning and mouthing words to me. For a moment, I contemplated whether or not I should go.
I weighed the choices in my head and finally told Nat to wait one minute. I dashed into my room, grabbed my purse, jacket and shoes, and checked my make-up in the mirror. I was glad to have used waterproof eye liner and mascara today.
When I got back out of the window, Nat was right below ready to catch my belongings. I tossed the things to her and grabbed hold of the tree limb by my window.
I carefully climbed to the ground and walked up to Nat. She gave me a hug and I smiled. We made our way to the car and I laughed as the soft grass squished between my toes.
Once at the car I slid into the backseat and started to pull on my boots. Bailey gave me a timid smile and touched my shoulder.
“You okay?” she asked. I thought about my day before finally nodding an answer to her question.
“Again, I’m sorry about last night. I shouldn’t have been so nosy.” Nat shrugged and smiled at me.
“It’s okay,” I replied. “I shouldn’t have reacted like that.”
I smiled again to show them that I was okay and went back to tying up my boots.
“Hey, we are taking you to a new place tonight. It is supposed to be the best bar in town,” Bailey squealed and grabbed my hand.
“Really?” I questioned. “I hadn’t heard of any new places opening up recently.”
“Oh, well this one promises to be amazing. The club is called Boda Getta.” Nat laughed and Bailey squeezed my hand. “It’s to make up for last night.”
“Well, I mean, that is the only way that I will forgive you,” I teased and looked out the window. We stopped behind a large building; there were two bouncers at the back door. Only a few wannabes hung out by the door, hoping to get in. We stepped out and Nat led the way to the door.
“Robinson,” she told one of the guys. He checked the clipboard that was tucked under his arm and nodded.
“Right ahead,” he said and opened the door.
Once again, the strobe lights blinded our eyes and dancers bumped against us. Nat led the way to the bar and ordered a few shots of tequila. The bartender slid six glasses filled with a transparent liquid towards us. We knocked our glasses together and downed the two shots with ease. Within a few minutes, I could already feel the alcohol working through my system, loosening me up.
“Ladies.” Three guys sauntered over to us and smiled. All devastatingly handsome, one had red hair and freckles, one with dark blonde hair, and the other with dark brown hair that looked almost black. My heart gave an uneven thump and I grinned. Bailey gave a smirk to them and laughed.
“You are just in time boys,” Bailey slurred. “We need a few guys to party with.”
“Well, we are the right guys, aren’t we Nick?” The redhead elbowed Blondie and laughed.
“So true Garrett,” Nick shot back.
Nat hooked her arm through the Garrets while Bailey took Nick. I smiled at the other and took his hand.
“I’m Charlie,” he offered.
“Shelley,” I said back, not wanting to give out my real name. My voice wavered and I panicked thinking that Charlie noticed. But he just chuckled and squeezed my hand.
As we danced, I couldn’t help but feel guilty. Back at my house I had wished that I could know God more but here I was, at yet another club.
I closed my eyes and wished that I was in another place. Somewhere where I could be free of night clubs and drinking; oh, and a place where obnoxiously ideal unicorns drink from rainbow streams. Like that was ever going to happen.
“Are you okay?” My eyes flew open and I looked into Nat’s face. I shook my head once before smiling.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I responded. Nat scrutinized me with appraising eyes before nodding her agreement. I sighed in relief before heading back to the bar.
I eased onto one of the bar stools and ordered a margarita. I was handed a glass filled with the frozen yellow drink and I smiled contently. I took a drink; the icy concoction slipped down my throat quickly and I shivered. I felt an arm curl around my shoulder and I looked up into a pair of gray eyes.
“It was nice meeting you Shelley.” He took his arm away and grabbed a bottle of beer. He took a gulp before smiling at me.
“You too,” I agreed before turning away to roll my eyes. Suddenly, I could feel his breath, hot in my ear.
“Why don’t you come back to my apartment? We can finish the party there?” he slurred; his words mixing together. I shoved him away, needing air. He moved closer and slid his hand around my waist.
“Go away Charlie,” I warned. He laughed loudly.
“Don’t be like that babe.” He murmured pulling me against him. Once again, I pushed him away. Unfortunately, his balance was off and he went tumbling into another group of people. He sat on the floor for a moment before pulling himself up and walking away. He shot me one last scowl before exiting the room.
Trembling, I sat back down and picked up my drink. Nat and Bailey dance with the two other guys, not realizing what just happened to me and Charlie. They laughed at something Nick said and looked at me. Concern masked their expressions but they didn’t walk over.
I shrugged mechanically and felt the corners of my mouth tug down. They nodded, smiled and turned their attention back to the guys. Something tugged at my heart, wanting to pull me away. Something was missing from me, I just didn’t know what it was.