Running From Hope | Teen Ink

Running From Hope

February 11, 2016
By JamesMcCaw, highland, Illinois
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JamesMcCaw, Highland, Illinois
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Today's the day we survive and thrive.

Author's note:

This is the first thing i've submiited so please give me your opinions.

.Ashton where are you? Why won’t you call me back? I’m sorry...
“Hey Ashton What’s up?” asked Niko. “Nothing much, How are you?” I’m just dandy.
I always had Niko by my side ever since we left the orphanage. We take care of eachother. I protect her most of the time because of her big mouth. After the orphanage she couldn’t find a job right away, so I decided to let her live with me. That was four years ago. I guess we just got used to each other. I never really cared. She pays a solid twenty-five percent of the rent. I work at the Sand dollar condominium. Niko works at Subway. I don’t even have to do much, I work behind the front desk making sure everybody who comes in is supposed to be there. Last Friday Niko took me with her to visit her parents in Nashville. It was very, very boring. Not because of her mom and dad, but because it was the longest I’ve ever been away from the ocean. I’ve always got up at four A.M. every morning, grabbed my board and went out even on the rainy days. Most of the time Niko came with me, but she never went when it was raining. One day I finally asked her why she didn’t want to surf in the rain. She just looked at me and said “ I don’t wanna get my hair wet.” That was the funniest thing
I’ve ever heard. I couldn’t stop laughing. But I’m getting off track. Every morning after I go out, I take a shower, and go to work. I take Niko to work and leave, off to work. Just another day in the repertory life we all live in. As I’m driving I look down for a split second and my life changes forever. I was just about to change the song and then it was like I hit a speedbump. Something hit my window shattering it to pieces I hear the screech of my tires, I smell the smoke pouring out of the hood, and then I see the blood. I got out and saw her. She looked up, thank God. I asked if she was okay. I just stared at her, I noticed that her arm twitched. She looked up at me. I wasn’t even thinking at all at all at all as I picked her up and drove her to the hospital. I carried her in and left my name and number, turned and departed from the hospital. I got to work fourteen minutes late but nobody gave me any troubles.
That’s when I got the call…

My phone rang. I looked to see who it was. Unknown. I cautiously put the phone to my ear and said “Hello?” All I could hear was a raspy voice at the other end. “My name’s Hope.” the raspy voice replied hoarsely. “ I don’t know anyone by that name. I’m sorry you must have the wrong number, goodbye.” I replied. “ Wait, I’m the girl you brought to the hospital. You left your number and I just wanted to say thank you.” I just stood there and I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t know how to tell her that I was the one who hit her, so I didn’t. “ No problem.” I replied. We said goodbye to each other after she gave me her number. She was going to call me when she was released and I would go and pick her up and take her home.
~ A Couple Days Later
Hope called me to come pick her up. I left work an hour early to do so but I got somebody to cover for me. I hadn’t even noticed that until now that I’ve been avoiding the road that I had hit her on. As I was driving I kept flashing back to that morning. The screech of the tires, the smell of smoke from the hood, the shock and aww. It was just too much for me. I hadn’t even told Niko about it. Niko and I haven’t really haven’t had a legitimate conversation since the morning I hit Hope. I took the long way to the hospital. When I got there I walked in and told the woman behind the counter that I was here to pick up Hope. She looked at me a moment and said, “You’re that sweet young man who carried her in aren’t you?” I smiled and said yes. “That was so kind of you, she’s right in there.” She pointed towards a waiting room for out-patients. I took a deep breath and started walking towards the room. My legs felt like lead, I almost couldn’t move them. I opened the door and there she was just sitting there. Her leg was shaking out of nervousness I guessed. She looked up at me and smiled. “Are you Ashton?” she asked me. I smiled and said “ That’s what most people call me, yeah.” She smiled back at me and said “Well my name’s Hope Linton, and it’s nice to meet you. I just want to thank you for saving me.” I looked at her and told her “ It was no problem, really.” She asked me “Could I repay you in any way?” “No, really it’s okay.” We walked to my jeep and she stopped right in front of it and asked me what happened to your light here? I said it’s been like that for a couple months. She got in and asked me if we could go somewhere to eat? I said yeah sure. I drove to Subway and saw that Niko was working. She saw me and smiled. Then she saw Hope. She looked at me and asked me if I was with her without even saying a word. I smiled and Hope and I walked up to the counter. I told her, “Get whatever you want, I know how bad all the hospital food is.” She smiled and said thank you. Nico looked at me and then I realized that she was up to something. “So… Are you two together?” Nico asked. Hope looked up at me like she was looking for an answer. Then she turned back to Niko and said yes. I choked up, I couldn’t get the words out. Niko looked over at me slowly and started laughing. Hope looked over at me and asked if I knew her. I smiled and said “ Yeah she lives with me, why do you want me to kick her out?” Niko stopped laughing abruptly. Hope asked me if we were together and I said no. She smiled and asked “How long have you two lived with each other?” “About two years.” replied Niko. Hope and I got our food. I think Hope and Niko really hit it off. Niko went on break and ate with us. She asked how we knew each other. Hope perked up and said that I saved her life. I looked at her and told her “I didn’t really do much, anybody in there right mind would have helped you.” She just smiled at laughed. I didn’t get the joke. Niko stared at me with a curious expression. Niko asked me if I was going to take Hope out on Saturday. Hope looked at me, asking me with her eyes. I couldn’t help it. I said yes…
~ Saturday Morning
I picked up Hope at her apartment. It was one of the nicer cheap apartment complexes in Daytona. She worked as a dental assistant. She told me “If I had any choice of jobs, I would want the same job. I asked her “Why?” She just told me “I like fixing smiles.” To me that seemed a little creepy, but at least she liked her job and didn’t complain. I drove to the beach. Earlier I asked Niko if I could borrow her board. She said that it was fine. We got out and I took the boards off of the roof and handed her Nikos board. She looked up at me and asked me what she was supposed to do with it. I stared at her for a moment and asked her “Do you know how to surf?” She said no. I said “Well this is going to be a long day.You ready?” She nodded at we went in. She had a lot of trouble with keeping her balance at first, but she got the hang of it pretty quick, almost too quick. When I thought she was doing good enough we went out to the bigger waves. I rode a small one in about halfway to the shore and started paddling back and stopped. Hope was gone. I looked around, but I didn’t see her anywhere. I started paddling faster than I ever had before. My arms were on fire. Then I heard her yelling for me. I turned around to see her all the way on the shore. I rode in and stepped onto the shore. She ran over to me, laughing. She saw my face, confused and she told me that she already knew how to surf. She was just joking. “That wasn’t funny!” I replied. I wouldn’t speak to her until we got into the Jeep.
“Gee wizz, why would you lie to me like that. I thought that I could trust you… Why.”
We eventually made up and I’m not going to lie it was pretty fun. I had a talk with Niko about Hope moving in. She seemed okay with it all. That was good. Everything was going great for now.

~A Few Months Later

Niko and Hope started to get to know each other better. Niko kept telling me that there was something off about Hope, like she was hiding something. Whatever it was Niko was determined to find out. I got home early on Tuesday and thought that I would do some laundry. I was gathering up Hopes clothes.(She was a very, very messy girl.) I had to pick up her clothes all the time. But anyways I picked up a pair of her sweatpants and something fell out. It was a piece of paper with the name Hope on it. I know it wasn’t mine to read but, oh well. I opened the note and all it said was...
  “ He doesn’t even know yet, don’t ruin it.”

I didn’t know what to think. Who was Clarissa? What don’t I know? I started to regret reading the note. I put it back it the pocket and I washed the clothes and Hope walked in as I was putting the clothes in the dryer. She had a worried look on her face. I cleared my throat asked her what was wrong. She asked “Where are my sweatpants? I was going to wear them tonight.” I told her that I was doing laundry and that I might have thrown them in there with the dirty laundry. She smiled and said that it was okay. As she turned to leave i said “ A girl named Clare or something called earlier and said for you to call her back.” She stopped mid step and turned on her heel, smiled and asked “Was her name Clarissa?” I looked at her and said “ Yeah that sounds about right.” And I went back to doing laundry and I had one of the phones from the apartment and I was about to call Niko when I realized that Hope was using the phone. So I covered the mouthpiece and started listening. This is what I had heard…
“Are you there? Clarissa?”
“Yeah I thought that I told you to never call me.”
“But you called me.”
“No I didn’t.”
“But Ashton said you called me and left a message.”
“Are you crazy why would I call him? I haven’t talked to Ashton in years.”

“Is there someone listening?”
I hung up. I heard Hope coming down the stairs. She walked into the doorway and stood there for a second and just looked around the laundry room expecting to find something. I had the phone to my ear, talking to Niko. I looked over at Hope and laughed. “Yeah she just walked in. You want to talk to her?” I handed the phone to Hope and told her it was Niko. She smiled and started talking to her. I was safe.

The next day I woke up to see Hope staring at me. Needless to say I was a little startled. I smiled and just said “Last night was different.” She smiled and said “Yeah, I don’t know what got into me.” We laid there and laughed for a while. Today was going to be a great day. I got up, took a shower (with some welcomed company) and we went out to the water. After we were done we sat there in the Jeep for a while, talking. She turned the radio off and turned to me “ I know it was you.” “What?” I replied. The day you took me to the hospital I ran out in front of you.” Wait what?” How do you know Clarissa?” “I read the letter. “Do you even remember her?” “She’s your sister…”
“I’m an only child what the hell are you talking about? You’re starting to sound crazy, are you alright?” “No, as a matter of fact I’m feeling terrible about how I’ve been using you, I haven’t been truthful with you at all.” “Who are you, really?”
She looked away, about to cry. She covered her mouth with her wrists. She started to cry. In between the sobs she asked “Did you really mean it when you said you loved me?” “I don’t know right now, probably…” I drove to subway to talk to Niko. Hope stayed in the Jeep. I took the keys with me. I bought some subs, Niko wasn’t very talkative today, that’s a surprise. I don’t know what to think anymore. I don’t know if anybodies telling me the truth or if everybody I’ve known has been lying to me. Then I remembered…

I had to sit down for a second. I all started flooding back to me. I was at the fourth, fifth, maybe even the twelfth foster home. But I remembered Clarissa, her long dark red hair. I promised her that I would come back for her, I promised her that I’d take her out of that place forever. I never did. I can’t believe that I had forgotten about her for so long. I chose Niko over her. I promised Clarissa that I wouldn’t leave her behind and I did. How could I be so stupid.

I took the sandwiches out to the Jeep and asked her if she was okay. She wiped her nose and said yeah. I asked Hope “ Where is she? Where’s Clarissa?” I got out to let her drive. She took me to a set of condos that looked familiar for some reason. Oh yeah, I worked there. She took me up to the fifth floor, room 508. Hope handed me the key and I opened the door. I started to walk in and stopped Hope from following me. I told her to go wait in the Jeep. That’s when I saw her come out of the kitchen. She didn’t see me at first but then she stopped as if she’d seen a ghost and turned on her heel. “I’m so sorry.” I told her. She ran up to me and said “We can be together at last.” I just held her and said “I’ve missed you.”

“Ashton where are you? Why won’t you call me back? I’m sorry.” I haven’t called Hope back in a few weeks. Clarissa and I have been catching up. That’s about the time Hope started to follow me. Clarissa didn’t like that. She confronted Hope about it all, but Hope just acted like she didn’t know what Clarissa was talking about. I finally caved in and asked Hope if she wanted to go to the beach with me. I went to pick her up. When I got to her apartment she didn’t answer the door. I pulled the spare key from under the small tree to the right of her door. I was the genius that came up with that idea. I opened her door to find her lying there on the floor. I ran to her, I grabbed her by the shoulders asking her what happened. She opened her eyes and smiled “I thought you weren’t going to show up. That’s when I noticed the blood. She had a long cut down her forearm. All I could think to do was to hold her. So that’s all I did for a couple minutes, I kept her talking to me to make sure she was okay. I finally got up and carried her to the car and raced to the hospital. When I got to the hospital a nurse came up to me and asked me what happened. I couldn’t say anything, I was speechless in my state of mind. The nurse persisted for an answer. I opened my mouth and closed it. Then I told the nurse “I went to pick her up and the door was locked so I let myself in and this is how I found her.” The nurse looked at me for a moment and asked me to fill out some paperwork while she raced Hope through a set of doors, then she was gone. I pulled out my phone and called Clarissa and told her what happened. She said I’ll be there in a couple minutes. As I was waiting another nurse came through the set of doors. As she looked up at me she screamed. I looked at her confused. After she calmed down I asked her why she screamed. I looked down at my hands, they were covered in blood from holding her so closely. I was speechless in my own emptiness. My life was over, I’ve given up...

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