|Ten Thousand Miles
Author: FallingSkiez PM
"It all started with one horribly misspelled letter and a strangely forgiving response." Skylar's had her pen pal, Joshua, since the second grade. But she's well on her way to becoming a woman now and, after ten long years, Skylar wants to meet her best friend, hidden behind papers and e-mails.Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Romance - Chapters: 21 - Words: 34,517 - Reviews: 72 - Favs: 27 - Follows: 55 - Updated: 05-02-13 - Published: 11-24-12 - id: 3077340
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N ;; We really should just stop. I mean, we should just focus on the pieces we've already posted. But, however, I don't think we can do that. Besides, she who shall not be named has never just been fine with having a few stories to work on – no, she gets bored otherwise. And because of that, I would like to welcome you to my thirteenth story and swsnbn's fifth collaboration: Ten Thousand Miles!
They say that you try to write about things you know about. And, with taking that into mind, that's exactly what we tried to do. We combined things that we knew and tried to create something out of it.
Here's to wishing us luck! :D
Ten Thousand Miles
:-:_Prologue – With a Wrongly Sent Letter_:-:
Daer Pen Pal
My naem is Skylar Blythe. I am in 2 grade. My favrite things is viedo games and pie and football and my dog her name is Potatoe and I like brusel spouts.. But you cant tell no one! Its not cool to like brusel spouts you know?
My techer say I haveto put here that I live in CANADa in SASKATCHUNWIN.
My name is Joshua Adams. I live in Sydney, Australia. I think I received your letter by mistake. I am in my fifth year.
I suggest you work on your spelling. It doesn't seem to be your strong point.
It is okay to like brussel sprouts, I like them myself. But my favorite vegetable is cucumber.
Your Pen Pal,
And that was how it all started; with one horribly misspelled letter and a strangely forgiving response. Whenever Skylar thought about it now, she was surprised that Joshua had ever responded to her in the first place. He must have been a lot more kind and calm back when he was a kid.
At the time, Skylar had only been seven and Joshua had been ten. It was strange – or at least Skylar thought so – that her tiny elementary school of thirty students (Kindergarten through Fourth Grade), even had an international pen pal program.
From what she understood, Joshua's school of over a thousand students liked the idea of Canadian pen pals that lived in the middle of nowhere. Not that Skylar really minded. She figured there was a reason Joshua was her pen pal (although, they had become more e-mail pals than anything else). And Skylar wasn't the type of person to just ignore fate.
The young Canadian laughed bitterly to herself as she went through her Friday ritual when she returned home from school, rifling through the mail as she walked up the excruciatingly long driveway to the front door of her house.
Almost immediately, she spotted an envelope she knew to be from Joshua. It was a plain envelope with nothing more than her name and address, along with a return address. But the familiar red, white and blue stripes along the edges of the envelope and the strange – yet always amusing – stamps that stuck half-heartedly to the paper, easily gave it away.
"Dad, I'm home!" she yelled as she entered the house, tossing the rest of the mail onto the kitchen table. Immediately, she headed up to her room, shucking her backpack off and dropping it onto the floor before lazily falling onto her bed, letter still in hand. Her fingers worked quickly to open the parcel without damaging the paper within.
It wasn't often that she and Joshua actually wrote each other letters these days. And when they did it was to send stupid things like photos, gifts and the occasional messy crayon drawing Skylar sometimes sent her Australian friend (an inside joke they shared about Skylar's general mentality). So, she was curious to see what Joshua had up his sleeve this time.
Skylar, the letter started out – they had long ago passed the stages of using 'Dear' – and Skylar smiled nostalgically at the swooping, cursive that was Joshua's handwriting.
I found this while visiting a museum in downtown Sydney. They had a new exhibit on WWII, so I had to go and see it for myself. It wasn't too bad – they had a few interesting sets of old military uniforms.
But that is neither here nor there. Back to the reason for this letter: As I was looking through the gift shop, I found these Canadian dog tag replicas and thought of you. They asked if I wanted to have a name stenciled onto them, but I thought that would be a little too much. They have a leaf on one side. That should be good enough.
I'm not sure when this letter will reach you (presumably in the next week or so), and... I know it's the sixth year anniversary, so you're probably upset – or moping. I wanted to try to cheer you up. She is in our thoughts, Skylar.
When you get this, e-mail me; I want to know if you like it.
Skylar couldn't contain the grin that spread over her face as her fingers dusted the bottom of the envelope and pulled out the clinking dog tags on a thin, metal chain. Her thumb grazed gently over the leaf stenciling on one side, while the other side remained blank for name and address. She pulled it over her head, admiring them once more before tucking them under her shirt.
Out of habit and routine, Skylar got up from her bed and shuffled over to her closet, pulling out a fattened shoebox from the top shelf. She placed Joshua's letter inside – along with all the other ones that Joshua had sent her over the years. She was already on her fourth shoebox. Ten years was a long time.
Now, she had to e-mail Joshua and tell him the dog tags were amazing. She slipped out of her room and made her way towards the basement, where the family computer was located. One day, she told herself, I'll finally invest in a damn laptop.
However, seeing as she was still in high school (senior year, mind you), she still couldn't afford much beyond gas and a couple spare bucks to save up for clothes. When she graduate,d she was definitely going to get a job!
Before she could sneak off into the basement, she collided into someone else. She laughed to try and mask her irritation. "Oops! Sorry. My bad."
"Oh, Sky, I didn't know you were home already," Shawn, her cousin, replied airily, waving his hand dismissively. "Have you seen your dad around anywhere?" Skylar scratched the back of her neck, rustling the back of her blonde hair, her nose wrinkling in thought. Shawn looked at her for a half a moment before nodding to himself. "I guess that's a 'no.' Today's... well, you know. He's probably at some bar, yeah?"
Skylar deflated a bit. "Ah... yeah, he probably is." She grimaced and shrugged as they both shared a look.
For only being cousins, Shawn and Skylar were remarkably similar in appearance, with hair the color of wheat, sharp jaw lines and a sweet upturn to their noses; the only physical differences they had (besides being different genders, of course), were the difference in hair lengths and that Skylar's eyes were as green as new spring leaves, while Shawn's were much darker, with the slightest brown tint to them. Not to mention Shawn was a year older than Skylar, not that Skylar liked to flaunt it.
Skylar looked away, fiddling with the fabric of her jeans. "You should probably go pick him up," she muttered quietly.
Shawn heard her fine, though, and nodded solemnly. "Yeah, okay. Last year, I practically had to pour him into the back seat."
Skylar bit her lip. "Damn. Okay, well, I've got to send off an e-mail, and then I'll go ahead and finish Dad's chores. Don't worry about it," she said easily, shrugging off the worried look Shawn sent her. "I'll be okay," she assured, pausing. "But can you grill up some steak for supper tonight?"
Her cousin laughed. "Yeah, sure. Let me find your dad... I hope he didn't get too far..."
Skylar watched Shawn leave silently, twirling his keys around his finger before hopping into the old, beat-up truck they used mostly for hauling wood and crops and taking off down the driveway. She sighed.
Already six years...
Skylar crushed that line of thought quickly and rushed down to the basement, booting up the old computer with a sigh. She sat in her favorite swiveling office chair, spinning around on it as she waited.
She opened her e-mail, composing a new message with ingrained familiarity.
Hey, Joshua! I got your letter today! The dog tags are so awesome! I'm going to see if I can find a place where I can get my info stenciled on them – or at least my name. So, basically... thank you. Today is... well, you know. Dad's missing, Shawn just went out to find him, and so I've got chores to keep up on, or the cows are going to be ornery tomorrow.
By the way, I graduate in four months. Four! Seven months until my birthday! Then I can legally drink in your country. ;)
Anyway, I'm off to herd some cows. Bella's probably fixing for a good workout, anyway. You should really come visit the ranch one day. I'm telling you, it's really not as bad as I make it sound.
And about ten thousand miles away from Skylar, a man smiled as he looked down at his phone.
A/N ;; I hope you guys enjoy this chapter! It was so much fun to write.
The horribleness of Skylar's letter was completely intentional, for the record. Neither of us mean to insult a second grader's intelligence, but swsnbn found an old piece she had written in second grade (which was part of the inspiration for this story). We're basing it on her writing.