Of Snow Angels and First Loves

I'm going to make the perfect snow angel today.

Caelyn Emerson decided as she surveyed the pristine whiteness in front of her, almost begging for her to lay down on it. She almost hated to spoil it after all, with her parents' recent fights, it was one of the few undisturbed things in her life. But the childish desire to make something of her own overcame that particular obstacle.

No doubt Paul, her older brother, would think she was being infantile. She hated that word. Infantile represented the attitude and, consequently, the life of a baby. And with her difficulty understanding the curriculum in sixth grade and her parents who always yelled at each other and her best friend spending more time with other people, her life was most certainly not easy. It was hard, and no one understood.

Or cared, she thought forlornly.

She chose a patch of snow and promptly lay down, waving her arms and legs in smooth strokes. Carefully, using a hand to support herself, she got up and studied the product of her work.

There was her handprint, messing up the snow angel. It stuck out like a sour note in an otherwise brilliant symphony.

Damn it, she swore in her mind. She chastised herself for using a badword, as her mother called it.

She lay down again and tried to make another one. Without using her hand to get up, she shuffled her feet until she was standing once more.

The bottom was icky this time.

An hour later, she was still making snow angels. All of them had some that was wrong and none of them were perfect.

Maybe it was because she wasn't perfect.

A little voice in the back of her head whispered, "Of course you're not perfect. You're getting a C in math, and you're failing science. You're stupid. That's what you are. And that's why your parents are fighting. Who wants such an idiot for a daughter anyway?"

"Shut up." She hissed, scowling.

She laid down again and was about to wave her arms and legs, when a pair of dirty sneakers appeared in her peripheral vision.

Squinting, she looked up to see a dark-haired boy standing there, looking down at her. He was smirking at her, the rotten thing.

She scampered to her feet and snapped, "What do you want?"

He shrugged, "Nothing. Did you make all these?" He nodded towards the angels littered around them.

"Yeah. So?" Caelyn challenged.

"Nothing."

"Well, go away then." Caelyn instructed rudely, and lay down once again. He stood there, watching her. Sighing irritably, she decided to ignore him, even though he was a definitehottie, as her best friend would say. With that messy dark hair and piercing golden eyes, he was definitely a looker for his age.

Caelyn stood up, committing the same mistake she had made her first time.

That ruddy handprint.

She stomped to another patch of snow and wearily moved her arms in legs in windshield wiper movements.

She was about to get up, when a hand appeared in front of her.

"Wh-"

"Take it." The boy insisted.

"Are you out of your mind?" Caelyn asked agreeably, as though her question was not at all impolite.

"I said take it."

She took it, partly to shut him up, partly because he was a definitehottie, and partly because those golden eyes were unnerving her in their intensity.

He helped her up gently, his warm, dry hand encompassing her smaller one.

Looking down at her snow angel, she paused, speechless.

"With me, there's no handprint." The boy whispered.

She finally had her perfect snow angel.


The first half of the day seemed to pass in a blur for Caelyn.

During brunch, she walked straight to the bathrooms, ignoring her friends' startled questions. Choosing the last stall, she hunched into a ball on the toilet ignoring the germs that were on it and sobbed soundlessly, tears spilling in hot streams over her cheeks, burning into her skin.

After her eye ducts seemed to be empty, she gasped quietly, hiccupping.

Divorce.

Even the name of IT was so ugly and clipped, like the breaking of years-long relationships, of lives turning upside down, of confusion and hatred and tears.

As she emerged from the bathroom, she kept her eyes focused on the floor. Her eyes were puffy and red, and there was a strange quivery feeling in her chest which was still undeveloped, as if parental misery wasn't enough like she might start crying any moment now.

"Yo, Cay!"

ohgodohgodohgodohgodnotnowpleaseohgod.

Aidan jogged up to her, leaving his friends behind.

"What's up, Caelyn? I haven't seen you in a while." He said, grinning at her.

"Go away, Johnson."

Caelyn hated the handsome boy in front of her. Ever since two years ago, he helped her make the snow angel, he seemed to think it was his personal goal in life to help her. He would show up in the library when she was struggling with her geometry homework, gently explaining it to her, not knowing or ignoring the rising feel of hatred for him in her. And when she was walking home with the groceries, there he'd be, ready to help her carry the bags. Helpless, she'd watch him take the heavy bags, never letting her know that he noticed her cold tone of voice.

He brought out the absolute worst in her because he was so perfect.

"Lynnie, are you crying?" He asked, concerned. He seized her hand, taking her to an empty classroom. He closed the door and stared at her, "Spill. What happened?"

"Nothing. Leave me alone, you retard."

"Is it your parents?" He softly whispered.

The tearful look she gave him was more than enough for an answer.

"Oh, Lynnie." He captured her in a warm embrace, holding her tightly as if he could block any pain the world threw at her. He was unsuccessful because she started crying in seconds, bunching up his shirt in fists. For a few minutes, all that existed was the dull pain in her chest and his arms around her.

Embarrassed, she pushed Aidan away, sweeping her sweaty strands of hair from her face. She probably looked like a mess, and there he was, looking as perfect as ever.

He looked down, blushing, and then directly at her with those golden eyes of his, "I know you don't like me much, Caelyn, even though I don't know why. But I like you, and you're my friend, like it or not. So if you ever need anything…just know you can come to me."

Shit.

That's what she was. She was a bitch and he probably secretly hated her that weird girl who's always crying or screaming, that mental girl, that's her, Caelyn Emerson.

He left the classroom after looking at her once more and she followed suit.

Strangely enough, she felt better than she had in days.


"Did you hear? Aidan Johnson is going out with Erica Samuels."

Caelyn shrugged, slamming her locker shut, "Yeah, so?"

"Come on, Cay. Everyone knows he's, like, in love with you. Then what's he doing with that slut? I told you to be nicer to him. I'd certainly be if the hottest boy in school was in love with me."

Caelyn turned to Joan and firmly said, "Well, the fact that he's happily going out with someone else is proof that he's not 'in love' with me. He's just nice. You know that. He probably pities me or something."

Joan regarded her with disbelieving eyes, then smiled, "Okay, whatever. But seriously, you should get a boyfriend. Goddess, boys are always asking you out." She said enviously, staring at Caelyn's straight-as-a-stick auburn hair with the natural golden and silver and chocolate highlights. And those cat-shaped green eyes…The girl was bloody gorgeous and didn't even care. That should be illegal, Joan thought crossly.

Caelyn smiled at Joan, "You know I have high standards."

oh god, what if her boyfriend turned out to be like her dad?

Joan accepted the excuse, "Yeah, the boys here are pretty moronic. Well, there's always college. Even if that is two years away."

Just then, as if to prove them wrong, Aidan walked down the hallway. He seemed troubled, a crease between his eyebrows. He didn't even respond to the numerous "hey's" that were tossed out at him with his usual beaming smile.

"What's got him so hot and bothered?" Joan whispered, watching him walk by.

Caelyn, her eyes focused on the shrinking figure, didn't respond.

A few days later, she bumped into Aidan.

"Hey Aidan." She warmly said. Ever since eighth grade, she had resolved to be nicer to him.

He barely glanced at her and mumbled incoherently.

She frowned, laying a hand on his arm, "Whoa, run that by me again."

"I gotta go, Lynnie. I'll, uh, talk to you later." Even the use of his nickname for her didn't lessen the sting of rejection.

"Whatever." She snapped, walking away first.

That's what she got for being nice.

She heard him running up to her, "Lynnie, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings."

Bewildered, she looked at him, "Yeah, okay. But seriously, stop being so anal. You were rude, yeah, but you don't have to freaking run up to me and apologize. It's all cool."

He shrugged, a self-mocking smile on his lips, "Yeah, I know."

His golden eyes met hers, "But I could never hurt you, Lynnie. You know that."


High school graduation.

Caelyn tested the phrase on her lips and decided she liked it, grinning widely.

"Why're you so happy today, Lynne?" Aidan asked, amused.

"Oh, nothing. Just the fact that I'm almost done with this shithole."

"Yeah, yeah. I still don't know why you're going all the way to Boston U."

Caelyn raised her brow at him, "You, mister, are going to Boston College. I don't know why you're complaining."

He smirked, "Well, I can handle it."

Caelyn sweetly replied, "But then again, I have you to help me."

Aidan seriously said, "Always."

The two looked at each other, an indescribable intensity shared between them, and Caelyn blushed, looking away first, "So what about Erica? She's going to NYU, right?"

Blushing now too, Aidan softly said, "Erica and I broke up last week?"

"Oh, really?" Caelyn asked quickly.

"Yeah, she wasn't too happy with me." Aidan confessed sadly.

Angrily, Caelyn wondered what the blonde's problem was. Who the hell wouldn't be happy with some like Aidan? Sure, Caelyn wasn't exactly his biggest fan up until a few years ago. But now, she felt a fierce something towards Aidan, and seeing him so disappointed in himself crushed her.

"She's an idiot then."

Aidan looked strangely at her, like he did sometimes when she said something too personal. Like he was searching for something, and he'd always turn away, frustrated.

"Lynnie," the old nickname slipping out, "I need to tell you something."

"What?" She breathed, breathless and hopeful.

ohgodohgodfinally.

"I think I love you. No, I love you." Aidan firmly said. He took both her hands in his, still warm and dry, "I still remember the day we met, six years ago. And ever since, you've always been everything to me. I've always wanted to protect you from pain, and sometimes, I've failed. Your parents divorced, and when you crumbled, a part of me died too, I swear to God. And last year with Ben…I wanted to kill him for hurting you so much. And Erica knew all along that I loved you, but she pretended to not know. But when she finally told me she knew, I knew that it was a mistake to ever go out with her. But Lynnie, I promise that I'll try for the rest of my life to protect you because I love you."

Caelyn had been listening up to this point with bated breath and quivering lips. Suddenly, she moved closer to him, knocking their books off the bed, hugging him so tightly she felt as though her arms merged into his body and they were one person.

She cried a little because she was so happy.

His arms wound around her, and he bent down and kissed her. It was a chaste kiss, a simple brush of his lips against hers, but it held promises and passion and ohgodohgod love.

Smoothing her hair, he looked at her, "I love you, Lynnie." He said it clearly and childishly at the same time.

"I love you, too."

And she did. He was the one who had always been there when everyone else abandoned her. He was the one who always, quietly and gently, picked her up and helped her put the broken pieces of her life together.

She fought it in the beginning, refusing to admit the feelings between them. But she could no longer deny that this boy, this completely gorgeous and kind and loving boy was the one she loved almost as fiercely as he loved her.

After all, he was the one who helped a broken eleven-year-old girl make her perfect snow angel.