Author: Living of Love PM
River doesn't remember her past. She doesn't remember the accident where death claimed her mother, father, and older brother. On top of it all she feels nothing. Wes Harlan enters her life, unknowingly helping her become reacquainted with that feeling of feeling again. The more she feels for Wes, the more she remembers. In time, she also awakens a disturbing truth.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Suspense - Chapters: 3 - Words: 11,358 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 03-01-13 - Published: 02-17-13 - id: 3101831
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Ch 3- I Never Knew You
The compulsion to cut disappeared, but only because I chocked the life out of my hands. I unfold my fingers, revealing nail marks and blood. Seeing the blood sends a warm shiver down my spine, soothing me further. I walk to the bathroom and wait for the water to warm up. I rinse the red away and start my homework like nothing happened.
Around midnight I snuggle under the covers hoping sleep will take me away fast. My body decides otherwise. The nerves are bouncing around in my stomach like how pop rocks feel when they land on your tongue. At least the candy wears off. Does the anxiety ever stop? Cause it's seriously beginning to piss me off.
When I finally do slip into the darkness it's well after two in the morning.
"Gracie Bear, what do I always tell you?" My father asks, crouching in front of me. His dark hair is the exact same shade as mine. I'm in a pale pink dress waiting to go up on stage and play the piano for a whole fifty people. That's like performing on the world's biggest stage, seats completely filled, for a kid. I'm on the verge of hyperventilating.
"There is no subcontracting in the land of chores," I say. He laughs heartily, nodding his head. "Yeah, but what else do I always tell you?"
"Yogurt is not finger paint." I raise my eyebrows, thinking I got it this time. He laughs again and pokes my belly. "Close enough. I always tell you that you can do anything you put your mind to, sweetheart. So, you get your seven year old butt up on that stage and show 'em what you got. You're going to rock their socks off, trust me." And just like that the heebie-jeebies vanish.
I jerk awake, breathing heavily. I just remembered.
I FREAKING REMEMBERED.
It wasn't much, but it was a piece of my life from before. I've only seen my family in pictures. That's how I recognized them. My dad. He was familiar, but different. I guess people always look different in pictures then how they do in person. He called me Gracie Bear. I'm not sure how I feel about that, the way he was speaking to me though... He loved me. I could see that. Is that how it normally is with parents? You can see the love they have for you?
I suppose I'll never know the answer to that question.
I'm not really sure what to do at this point. Do I freak out, cry, or what? I'm not feeling the first two, so I go with or what? I admit I am a bit shaken. It's not even like it was blurry, everything was crystal clear. None of it makes any sense though. Why after all these years would I just start remembering random little things about my life? I can't connect the dots.
My alarm clock goes off deferring my thoughts. I shove it to the back of my mind and get ready for school. I go to the kitchen realizing I forgot to tell my Aunt that I have a date tonight. I grab cereal from the pantry and try to sound casual. "So... I have a date tonight and afterwards I'm spending the night at Harper's." I rummage the cabinets for a bowl and at all costs avoid eye contact. I hear a clearing of the throat which means look at me. Now. I timidly find her eyes burning holes into mine with excitement. "You have a date? With who? Doesn't everyone at your school hate you?" I'm about to reply when Uncle Jake walks in. "Guess what, Jake? Gracie here has a date!"
He makes a funny face, scrunching his nose. "Doesn't everyone at your school hate you?" Dear Buddha! What is it with these people? The first time it was funny, now it's just plain annoying. I overdo a sigh. "Yes. He's new."
"No wonder." They both exhale at the same time.
Well. I should have gathered Harper and these two in a room, that way it would be a freaking hoopla with their identical reactions. Maybe Jude could join in on the fun too. The more the merrier, right?
I sigh again, somehow more dramatically. "Yeah. Anyway, the point is I won't be home tonight." I take a bite of my Captain Crunch, hoping the subject will be dropped.
"What's his name?" Aunt P asks. Curiousness always gets the best of her. When she's sober. I answer with my mouth full. "Wes Harlan."
"Wesh Herlen?" She contorts her face. I swallow then snort, shaking my head. "Wes Harlan." Her confusion dissolves into a smile. A knowing smile. I get up to rinse out my bowl. "Nice name." She moves her eyebrows up and down suggestively. This would be a wonderful time to go to school. I roll my eyes at her. "I have to go to school. I'll see you tomorrow."
"And you'll tell me everything."
I squint my eyes at her. "We'll see." I turn around to leave and hear her laugh. I had to stop myself from saying if your not drunk. The alcohol makes her personality make a one-eighty. The other day she threw a bottle of vodka at me. Now she wants me to tell her everything about my date. I would love to believe she cares, I would, but how can I when I'm scared of her half the time?
This time I don't have to deal with satan when I arrive to school. Which is kind of disappointing because I thoroughly enjoy outsmarting her, even though she harasses me to no end. I go straight to English, preparing myself for some kind of mockery. As always, my peers deliver. Brittany's posse are laughing at me, saying things like, "God, just look at her. Such a mess." I make a serious face, holding up both hands, palms up, fold them into fists and tap them together twice quickly. Flipping them off the way good ol' Ross does it in Friends. They're obviously confused, but Wes is laughing his ass off. It's nice to have someone who gets me here. I ruefully sit in my seat.
They never learn.
Wes and I sit together at lunch again. He doesn't give me any details about our date. Then again, I didn't ask. I want it to be a surprise. School goes by painfully slow, but I manage to make it to the end of the day. I drive to Harpers, fully aware of the fact that she's going to do everything possible to give me a make-over.
I make noise so she knows I'm here and make my way to her bedroom. She's laid out an outfit and make-up. Of course. "River! I picked out an outfit and I'll do your make-up. And your hair. Go get in the shower." She pushes me towards it. There's no point in fighting the shower. I do as she says.
I walk into her bedroom, in a towel, to find Harper reconsidering the outfit she's picked. I haven't even taken a look. She finally comes to a decision and lets me see what she's going to try and coerce me into wearing. I'm ready for a battle royale until I see it. I smile because I actually like it. She's set out a grayish navy blue long-sleeved peplum tee and destroyed jeans. It's simple, what I prefer. I dress quickly and trust her enough to let her continue pampering. She removes my chipped nail polish and replaces it with black. Afterwards she moves onto my make-up. She knows I hate the heavy stuff like what she wears. When she's finished I stare at my reflection. She put a bronze color on my lids, thin black liner and mascara. And my usual blush and lip gloss. Last, but not least, is my hair. I'm not really sure what's she's going to do. So I just let her do her thing.
"What do you think?" She turns me around to face the mirror. My hair is wavy, spilling over my shoulders. I look different, but still the same. That thought reminds me of what I thought of my dad earlier. I squint my eyes to make her feel a little nervous, then let a smile show. "Aww shucks I look hot. Thanks Harp." It's been a while since I let her doll me up like this. Last time she overdid the make-up and the clothes. I had piles of black around my eyes and modeling a bright pink, body-hugging dress. Hot, yes, but not me at all. Harper claps her hands in excitement.
Such a girl.
She took her time with my beautifying, leaving us ten minutes. How in the world did she take practically four hours getting me ready? Physics. Not really, I just blame everything I can't explain on physics.
I put on my black chucks and watch for Wes.
I didn't tell him this was Harper's house. Not because I want him to think I live here, I just want to see his reaction. I see a black muscle car pull into the driveway. He gets out and I run away from the door like it's suddenly burst into flames. I wouldn't want him thinking I'm a creep. Yet. I yell at Harper, "He's here!" She runs into the kitchen so fast, you would think she's the Flash. My eyes look around nervously and we wait for the door bell to ring. When it does, Harper rushes to the door.
"Hi. Is River here?" I hear him ask. Harper glances over at me nodding her head. He probably thinks she's answering his question, but I know better. She's giving me her approval. Not that I ever ask for it. I roll my eyes and walk to the door. His eyes widen slightly and a smile spreads across his face at the sight of me. "Wes, this is Harper, my BFFL. Harper, this is Wes, my date. And we'll be going now. See ya." I attempt to walk out the door, but Harper puts an arm out to stop me.
"Wait, no interrogation? I don't get to show him any naked baby pictures? Or brag? Or tell him about your most embarrassing moment? That's some bullshit, River." I glare at her forgetting she is immune to my death stares. I glance over at Wes who only seems to be amused. "No. To everything. Let's go. Bye Mom." I grab Wes's arm pulling him behind me.
"ALWAYS USE PROTECTION." Harper shouts. I flip her the bird over my shoulder continuing to walk. Wes is chuckling behind me. I'm glad two out of three people are enjoying the moment.
Wes steps in front of me to open the car door for me. He doesn't say anything, just gestures for me to enter the vehicle, since I stood in confusion for about five seconds. He shuts the door and rounds the car to the drivers side, climbing in. "So. What will we be doing this evening?" I ask all formal-like. He starts the car, smiling. "Well, I'm still getting familiar with the city, but we're goin' bowling. I found this awesome place with really good food."
"I've never been bowling," I tell him. He mocks a horrified expression then shakes his head. "That's a childhood rite of passage. And we're fixing that right away." He puts the car in drive and pulls out of the driveway.
"So, is that Harper's house or yours?" He asks. I smile because he already knows. It's amazing how he does that. He doesn't know me yet, but in a weird way he does. "Harper's." He nods knowingly. "That's what I thought." We sit in silence as he pulls onto the main road. I notice him shifting uncomfortably like he really wants to ask me something. Someone probably decided to inform him on my past. "Go ahead. Ask me." Might as well get it out of the way now. He pauses for a second, almost unsure to ask even though I gave him permission. He glances over at me then back to the road.
"I know people talk a lot of shit, but is it true? What happened with your family?" I nod. "Yup. When I was eight years old my dad lost control of the car or something and we crashed. They all died instantly. Except for me," I say. I've said it so many times before, out loud and in my head, but this time I'm feeling an unusual tug at my heart. I can't look at him right now. I stare out the window waiting for him to say something. "Do you miss them?" I'm somewhat relieved he didn't say the usual I'm sorry. At the same time his question is unsettling. Only because my answer is. "No." I sneak a peek watching his eyebrows slightly lift in surprise. "Why's that?"
"I don't remember them. I don't remember the accident or anything from before it." I shrug. He considers my answer and shrugs as well. "Well, I guess it makes it all a lot less painful, huh? I mean if there's nothing to remember there's no hurt." He glances over to catch my eyes. He's completely right, it's what I tell myself everyday. Except no one knows I long for the pain.
"Exactly," I nod.
We arrive to the bowling alley. It's called Cush Bowling. I burst into laugher at the double meaning. Wes smiles at me devilishly. I like the place already. He runs around the car to open my door for me before I have a chance to. I normally find the whole gentlemanly thing weird, but I'm warming up to it with him. It's sweet. He smiles lazily at me and laces his fingers with mine. My heart feels like it's dropped about ten feet and those damn flutters are going at it again. But it feels good. Right. My hand in his like that's how it was always meant to be.
We walk in welcomed by various neon colors splashed on every wall making a strange, but awesome combination. We collect our rental shoes and lane number. We get lucky thirteen. Wes has to let go of my hand to put on his shoes. I inadvertently shiver at the lost of his warmth even though I have to put my shoes on as well.
Time to search for our balls.
I choose a neon yellow ball and Wes's choice is a neon green one. He turns to me and asks. "Who should we be?" I like this idea. I twist my lips. "Hmm... Dick and Jane? Bonnie and Clyde? Jekyll and Hyde?" He smiles, nodding in thought. "I like all of those, but how about Johnny and June?"
"I like that." I smile, trying to ignore the blush that's creeping around my neck, rising to my cheeks.
"Alright. You go first." He looks up at me from his seat. I bite my lips knowing how bad I'm going to suck. "Don't laugh at me. If you do, I'll punch you," I say seriously. He laughs once and smiles. "Okay."
I pick up my yellow ball praying to Buddha my fingers don't get stuck in the holes. I prefer my dates to stay away from the emergency room. I walk up to the lane wondering how I'm going to go about the process. I position the ball in front of me eyeing the little arrows, aiming for the one on the right of the center arrow. You'd think I'd go for the middle one. I take a couple steps forward while bringing the ball back, then forward to release, putting in more strength than I had intended. We watch the ball flying down the center knocking each and every pin down. I press my lips together and turn around. "That's a good thing, right?"
Wes narrows his eyes at me with a smirk. "Never been bowling, huh?" I have no explanation for how I did that, so I just shrug. He smiles shaking his head at me, fist bumping me as I pass by to watch him. I focus on his muscles, watching them tighten as he brings back his arm, throwing the ball forward. His movements are fluid and I can tell he's done this many times before. He knocks down all the pins too. He turns around at least trying to hide his smirk, which is dripping with smugness. "So, Mr. Hotshot, did you bring me here just to impress me with your bowling skills?" I raise an eyebrow at him.
"Maybe." He smiles and then shakes his head. "Bowling is a huge part of my life. I haven't done much of this dating thing, so it was the first thing I thought of." I squint my eyes at him. "Are you secretly a professional bowler?" He's about to smile, instead it's replaced with a frown.
"Bowling is my escape from reality. It's not the coolest thing around, but it gets my mind off the things that either piss me off or scare the shit outta me." I wasn't expecting him to be so candor with me. It makes my heart skip a beat. He shrugs it off, changing the subject. "Your turn Miss. I've Never Been Bowling Before." I drop my mouth wide open. "I haven't! I swear to Buddha." I hold my hands up in defense. He laughs, shaking his head. "Sureeee." I roll my eyes at him, picking up my ball, flipping my hair back like a brat. I don't get them all down on the first try, but I do on the second. I smile innocently at him. "Cheese and crackers I'm good, huh?" He laughs his deep wonderful laugh that I already love. "Yes you are."
Throughout the game we joke and laugh together. I've never had so much fun in my life. With a guy. When we're done with the first round we get hungry and order some food. I hadn't realized how hungry I was until the food arrived. It smells so good. Pizza, fries, and he even ordered funnel cake for dessert. Everything is fried, but I don't care. It's the junk I normally eat. I take a bite out of the pizza. "Oh, my Buddha." I groan as my taste buds buzz with pure delight. Who knew a bowling alley would be the creator of the best pizza on the planet?
"I know, right? It's fuckin' amazing." He says, mouth full. I nod with my eyes closed, savoring the deliciousness. I hear him chuckle a little. I open my eyes, locking onto his whiskey beauties. Keeping my eyes on his as I finish my pizza.
He grabs my hand, twisting it so it's palm up and starts tracing random things. "Who do you live with now?"
"My Aunt and Uncle and Jude, my cousin. Who do you live with?" I ask. He keeps his eyes on my wrist, now tracing my tattoo of a dandelion weed, the kind you make a wish on, with it's white feathers blowing away. "My mom and her boyfriend."
It doesn't sound like enjoys that whole situation. Since I let him ask about my past I figure it's only fair I get to ask about his. "Where are you from?" He finally looks up at me. His whiskey eyes slightly startle me, only because I've never seen them so dark. "Brooklyn."
"Did you like it there?" So many questions are bursting in my brain pleading to escape. He nods slowly, smiling a little. "Yeah. There was lots to do. Not like here." He pauses, keeping his eyes on mine. "You know, I thought I was going to hate it here. Then I saw you with your colorful hair and your don't-let-the-man-get-you-down attitude. I just had to talk to you, but whenever I got the chance something or somebody got in the way. It was lucky finding you in that bathroom. And the minute we talked I didn't hate this place so much anymore." A girlish sound practically leaves my throat and me in embarrassment. I've forgotten all the questions I wanted to ask. I can feel the heat in my cheeks burning like a thousand suns. My heart is pounding abnormally fast in my chest. And although I can't understand why, my hands are shaking with that need to make blood appear. Maybe it's because I know that once he gets to know all of me, he won't feel the same way. I hide my internal tornado by giving him a small smile. I also don't know how to answer. I ignore the Pissy Paul side of me and pull out as much Pollyanna as exists in me. Which is probably less than one percent.
By the time we finish our feast, I'm feeling like myself again. Wes showed off some of his hilarious impressions which were all spot on. We decide to go for one more round of bowling where, again, he kicks my ass. Even though I'm not too shabby myself. On our way out he takes my hand causing my stomach to flop. He does his chivalry thing opening the car door for me. Wes gets in, starring ahead and abruptly faces me as he's turning on the car. "I feel the need- the need for speed!" Top Gun. He says it exactly like Maverick and Goose. Of course. King of impressions.
"Houston, we have a problem." I counter with Tom Hanks line from Apollo 13. Wes smiles with another quote ready. "Well, nobody's perfect." Some Like It Hot. Nice. "I'm going to make him an offer he can't refuse," I say continuing our little game, going with The Godfather.
He leans towards me a little, lifting an eyebrow. "Mrs. Robinson, you're trying to seduce me... Aren't you?" The Graduate. I bite my lip trying not to smile at how freaking smoking he is right now. Well, always.
"Oh, yeah. You can milk anything with nipples." I say casually from Meet the Parents. Wes chuckles, leaning in some more."Fasten your seat belts. It's going to be a bumpy night." Going old school with a quote All About Eve. The smile is now inevitable. I take it back to the forties with Casablanca. "Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." I lean in this time. That doesn't stop him from practically closing the space between us though. Which makes me catch my breath. Audibly. Embarrassingly. "Okay... maybe a little more than a friendship."
With that said he brings a hand to my cheek, pressing our lips together, moving his slowly against mine. I feel his other hand lift to rest on the back of my neck pulling me closer. All of those feelings I was having earlier don't even compare to the erratics that are going on inside of me now. Everything is amplified times infinity. He flicks his tongue in, I slightly open wider, welcoming him, wanting more. He tastes like cinnamon. Our tongues are dancing together, devouring each other more frantically than when he first kissed me. In all the kisses I've had, his is the best. Usually I push them back after five minutes, ready to wipe away their slobber, but with Wes, I never want it to end.
A/N: Sorry for any typos! I'm not sure if I'm entirely satisfied with it quite yet so I might change some things... But thank you for reading! :)