please read AN in previous chapter
Chapter 1: Lightening Bugs, Kisses, and Traffic
"I don't remember how we happened to meet each other.
I don't remember who got along with whom first.
All I can remember is all of us together...always."
Ten years ago
"They move too fast," I whined as I looked over at the brown-haired boy crouching down next to me. "Why can't they just stay still for two seconds?" I protested, trying to keep the tears from spilling down my cheeks.
Danny offered me a sympathetic smile. "Because then it would be too easy. You need to work for it, it's more fun." Easy for him to say, his jar was full of lightening bugs.
I looked from his jar full of bugs to my empty jar. "But it's not fair," I moaned. It seemed like every single kid in the neighborhood had at least one, except me.
It was an annual competition for the neighborhood kids that even our parents participated in back in the day. The prize was always the same—whoever caught the most lightening bugs won bragging rights for an entire year. It may not seem like much but the person who won was basically king, or queen, of the neighborhood for an entire year. Three hundred sixty-sex days this year. Imagine the power.
Now if only the stupid bugs didn't move so fast.
The contest was always held on the last day of summer. The last day of freedom before we were locked in a classroom or six hours straight every day of the week. Normally our parents would never let us run wild through the streets on a school night, but this night was always different.
Plus, we weren't completely unsupervised as they were all camped out on the various porches in the neighborhood, and there were cones blocking off each end of the street. Our parents were all socializing, grilling, and drinking. It didn't matter whose house you were at, as long as you stayed in site and did your best not to trample their flowers, you were left alone.
We lived in a quiet neighborhood where everyone knew everyone, and if someone moved in, there would have fifteen cakes and assorted meals in their kitchen within the hour. A little unconventional, yes, but it was home nonetheless.
Even the houses were the same. All built in the fifties, each had two stories, a front porch, big yard and a white picket fence. Sort of like what you would see in a Hollywood movie.
I had long lost tabs on my parents but I just assumed they where somewhere with Danny's. Being next-door-neighbors, it seemed like they were always in cahoots with each other. As long as I stayed with Danny and didn't leave the street, I would be safe. He wouldn't steer me wrong.
Danny grabbed my hand and pulled me along the bushes we were currently crouching in front of. At the end of the driveway, there were three lightening bugs just fluttering along, unnoticed by all the other kids running amuck. I was tempted to reach my hands out and catch them right away but he begged me not to. Time and time again he told me to be patient, and wait for them to come to me, but time and time again, I failed to listen. I was too eager.
I guess that is why my jar was still empty.
"You have to be really, really quiet" Danny whispered, slowly inching forward not taking his eyes off the prize, "When you move in for the capture, you need to move really slowly, and when you're inches away, make one sudden movement, not giving it a chance to react."
I tore my eyes off of him and looked down at my old strawberry jelly jar that was currently resting on my skinny knee. I was quite pathetic if you thought about it. Danny's jar had about fifteen, soon to be sixteen.
As per tradition, it was always every man for him or herself. If you spotted a lightening bug, it was up to you to catch it before anyone else had the chance. The rational was so if you won, you won't have to sharet the victory and the glory with anyone else.
I had started the night on my own, however after my bout of bad luck, Danny had taken pity on me and taken me under his wing. Not that it seemed to have helped.
I must have been pouting at this point because without saying a word, Danny reached over and grabbed my jar off my knee. He placed his on the dirt, and before I could protest, he pounced and I had two lightening bugs fluttering around in my jar.
I guess I wasn't a loser after all. The small smile on Danny lips told me that he would never reveal his actions and people would think that I had caught them on my own. There was nothing worse then standing in the circle at the end of the night with an empty jar.
Danny gently placed the jar back on my knee. Without thinking, I leaned over and kissed him on the lips. His green eyes widen with shock, but at that point I did not care. He'd just saved me from a lifetime of mockery, and at that time, it was the equivalent of saving my life. Aren't all damsels supposed to kiss their white knights?
I pulled away and he quickly shook his head. A minute past as we remained frozen in our spots before he saw a group of lightening bugs in the lawn across the street and sprinted over to them before someone else saw them. Not having anything else to do, I took off running after him.
It wasn't until my wedding day that I learned that this little display of affection attracted quite an audience. August 15th, 1997 quickly became the foundation of unwanted gossip and speculation, and apparently, it was all my fault.
I took a big breath of air and could help but grin to myself. "Have I mentioned lately that I love summer?" I found myself muttering to no one in particular. It was a warm, gorgeous summer day and it should have been a crime for anyone to be inside on a day like day. Feel free to call me melodramatic.
I heard a nearby groan and was tempted to dump the contents of my glass on him, but figured he would only get back at me later. I glanced over at Danny who was sitting in the lounge chair to my right. He hadn't moved an inch, but then again, it was summer vacation. There was no real reason to move.
It seemed as if we migrated to my front porch a lot this summer. When there was nothing exciting going on in town, which was more often the case then note, we were glued to this seats with music blasting and glasses of ice-cold lemonades in our hands.
To say that Harver, Vermont was boring was the understatement of the century. With a population of under three thousand, it was everyone's business to know everyone's business.
While there was nothing to do in town, Harver had it's quirks. Town meetings were held in the basement of town hall every week and most of our residents took the time to attend.
There also aren't any traffic lights in town. We could probably use a few near the center of town, however, the historical committee deemed that the appearance alone would wreak havoc to our supposed charm. That's right—our town believed that appearance was more important then safety.
Danny stirred slightly in the chair. "Um, not in the last fifteen seconds," he mumbled, obviously annoyed with my antics and my constant need to talk every few minutes. I had a feeling that my musings were the only thing that was preventing him from drifting off to sleep, and thus resented me for such.
Despite the fact that we were best friends, our personalities didn't always match. He was sloppy while I was tidy. He was extremely athletic and served as captain of the soccer team for the past two years of high school. He had a soccer scholarship to Stanford University for Christ sake.
I, while I do enjoy the occasional adventure, would much rather curl up with a good book.
Danny was outspoken and loved by all whereas I preferred and felt more comfortable with a smaller group of people. He had an uncanning ability to befriend a person instantaneously while I needed time in order to slowly open up to them.
Remember that awkward stage where kids are convinced that the opposite sex has cooties? We never went through it. All the other kids would yell at us when we played in the sandbox together but Danny would just shrug them off and continue wreaking my latest attempt at a sand castle.
To this day he ignores what other people say about our so called relationship and just does what he pleases. I admire him for that.
"Oh, well I love summer," I reaffirmed, sitting up and taking a sip of lemonade.
"Just like you love me?" Danny replied halfheartedly, still refusing to crack open an eye. I think I forgot to mention that he could also be extremely lazy in my description.
I grinned. "Now why on earth would I ever do a thing like that?" I loved teasing him and he knew it all too well.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw his eyes snapped open. He sent me a harsh glare but before I had a chance to counter it, he closed them once again and he physically relaxed.
We were your classic best friends. We lived next door to each other for our entire lives and our parents were best friends as well. Growing up, we were always forced to have play dates with each other, and even though our parents have grown apart over the years, our friendship carried on through our teenage years.
Everyone used to joke that Danny and I got along like peanut butter and jelly. When I finally got the nerve a few years ago, I was told that I was the peanut butter and Danny was the jelly. I needed to let ideas stick in my mind before acting on them while Danny would just go with the flow and let things roll by him. It was an interesting metaphor but I guess it makes sense.
The other theory that our town had was that Danny and I would somehow end up with each other. I don't know who started it and why they would think such a thing, but no matter what I said to counter it, no one ever gave up hope.
All throughout high school, I spent countless attempts to ward off the rumors, but I have since admitted defeat. It wasn't because the rumors were true, but because I had discovered that all my efforts were just a waste of time, especially since Danny got a kick out of fueling their fire.
On multiple occasions when the topic was brought up, he would smirk and reply—'Kate? Why of course we are seeing each other. Last night we went out to the movies, and tonight I believe we are going to Vegas to get married and maybe join the circus. That is if we have enough time, as we need to be in homeroom at 7:30am the next day. Unfortunately, it doesn't leave too much spare time, if you know what I mean.'
I'll admit, the first time I heard a version of it, I doubled over with laughter. I had to hold onto Danny's shoulder to keep myself steady. Yet after the twentieth time, I wasn't laughing, I was annoyed.
He didn't care what other people thought. I did.
And you would think that people would have taken it as a joke. Well, they didn't believe that we were going to elope to Vegas, but they developed this theory that it was his attempt to win me over with his wit and charm.
To which I replied that he is neither witty nor charming. Let's just say that my mom wasn't too pleased with that response.
I pushed myself into a sitting position and looked over at him. He had certainly been a heartthrob all throughout high school. He was smart, athletic, charming, and handsome. He knew how to treat a girl and never once resorted to playing with someone's feelings for his own amusement.
Over the years, there were numerous girls that feel for his charms and I couldn't really blame him. If I didn't know him as well as I did, I probably would have been included in that group.
But I did and I wasn't. I was just plain old Kate. Standing at five and half feet and dawning curly brown hair and almond colored eyes. I had inherited my eyes from my dad and they have always been my favorite feature. As a child, Danny inadvertently discovered this and since that day, takes every possible opportunity to tell me how much they suck.
It is at the moment when I wonder how anyone could be attracted to him, but once again I digress.
I heard Danny stir next to me as he attempted to feel around the ground to find his cell phone. "What time is it?"
"Time to get a watch?" I reply cheekily. I don't even need to look at him to see his eyes rolling at my comment.
I quickly glance down at my watch and realize that the last hour flew by and if we didn't get a move on it, we would be late for our internship. We had both gotten gigs at the local news station as anchors on the student run newscast. We went on the air at four and had to be at the studio two hours before each show. "We are going to be late. We need to be at the studio in less then an hour."
Unfortunately, Danny didn't share my concern and waved me off. "That gives us plenty of time. We still have about another half an hour before we need to get ready," he mumbled and settled back into the chair.
I was tempted to wring his neck. "It takes fifteen minutes to drive to the station." I reminded him.
"And if there is traffic"
"There never is," he argued. His point was somewhat valid since it was the middle of the day and there was never any traffic in Harver or it's surrounding towns to beginning with but I wasn't about to admit it.
"But there could be," I countered.
"But there won't be."
"So you would rather jeopardize our jobs—"
He finally sighed and pushed himself up out of the chair. He offered me his hand and pulled me up out of my seat as well. "Why do I even bother? I'm never going to lose an argument with you" he admitted. "You always get your way in the long run.
I protested. "Do not." Usually it was the other way around.
Our childish bickering continued on for a few more minutes and we did not see another figure approaching us until she butted into the conversation. "What the hell are you two arguing about? It better not be who is prettier," she laughed. We simultaneously turned to Mel and shot her a nasty glare. She shrugged us off as she was immune to our antics. We befriended one another freshmen year of high school where she was the new girl and had no place to sit and I haven't been able to shake her since. Not that I really minded—I loved the girl.
Mel is a lot like Danny—adventurous and a risk taker. She also had this odd habit of dying strands of her brunette hair different colors every few weeks depending on her mood. I guess she was feeling royal as she was currently sporting a purplish tint in her hair.
Despite the fact that she was a tough girl, she placed a lot of walls around her. She hasn't shared a lot about her childhood, but I always got the sense that it was a pleasant one and moving to Harver was her escape. To many it felt like a prison but to her she was free.
Danny smirked at me as he looked between us. "Katie here was just freaking out about traffic and such. Apparently a huge convention is coming to town within the next hour and every street from here to the station is going to have bumper to bumper traffic."
I groaned as I grabbed Danny's and mine glass off the table and disappeared into the house. When these two got together, they had an odd habit of picking on me so I always found it best just to leave. There was really no use fighting it.
"What else is new?" Mel laughed as the door closed behind me.
"You better be ready," I shouted over my shoulder. Even though he would never admit it, that boy took forever to get ready and if he didn't hurry, we would indeed be late. And punctuality was one thing I always prided myself on.
A few general notes:
1. From now on, I'm going to be updating my blog every Thursday with updates on my various projects. I'm hoping this will make sure I don't lose touch with writing again.
free to check out my other work. Right now I recommend either Just There or Another Chance. Those are the two stories that I am focusing on.
3. Updates might be slow with this and I might from time to time replace chapters but that should be rare.
4. As always, if you have any questions about anything, you know how to contact me.