This is a bit of an interesting story as it is based on a nightmare I had, some real life angst, and a LOT of Robert frost poetry. Big thanks to my English teacher for that last one :)
So as a little challenge I have inserted some lines from several of Frost's shorter (20 lines or less) poems into this piece and if you can find them I'll give you a shout out in my next story!
But this story is based on the poem "The Master Speed" so there's a hint ;)
I hope you enjoy!
You wait, staring at the church that lies at the bottom of a hill.
It's a modest place, a white two-story building with a steeple adorning the entrance, and it contrasts with the greys and browns of the city roads leading to its doors. A white tent is set up next to the entrance, and volunteers are already setting up tables and chairs for a dinner.
Lines of cars are packed into parking spaces and already guests are greeting one another, laughing and hugging as they display their fancy suits or stunning dresses to one another.
It was a wedding, a wedding for your best friend, and you were still debating whether to join the festivities.
You pace the lip of the hill, debating whether or not to use your gift, and buy yourself a few more hours of debating time.
Cheetahs, the Flash, hurricane force winds… you had a speed far greater than any of them, you could climb.
Well, jump was a more accurate word, but you could travel into the past, more specifically your past.
All you had to do was remember where you were, what you were doing, how you were feeling or what had just happened, and you could catapult yourself back in time.
The first time you had used the ability was in third grade, you had slipped on a patch of loose dirt and had gotten your new shirt dirty while going to recess. After you had picked yourself up, you focused on the anger at that silly mistake and the pain you had felt hitting the ground.
You had closed your eyes and your stomach had suddenly twisted and dropped, then when you opened them the bell to be dismissed from class to go outside was ringing.
So you walked out and avoided the patch of dirt, keeping your shirt clean.
You told no one of this event, no one would believe you anyway, and instead, you experimented with it. You focused on specific intervals, just jumping back two or three minutes into your past, then five, then ten.
As your memory sharpened and matured you found yourself able to jump days or weeks into the past, reliving moments and events just as you had left them.
The only catch was that the jumps seemed linked to your past, and you couldn't jump forward in time. You could only go back up through the stream of time, you could never paddle forward.
You also were forced to relieve the periods you jumped back to, you couldn't jump back to the present. So if you jumped back to the morning of a day during the evening, you had to relive that day.
So you mostly kept your jumps limited to no more than fifteen minutes, and you only did so in emergencies. You also told no one of your power and made no attempts to alter the timeline, you'd seen enough science fiction to know that messing with time didn't end well.
You felt like a superhero, keeping your power secret and using it sparingly, and you did your best to stop mistakes for both yourself and others before they happened.
Now you stood on the hill, grown up with your memory as sharp as a honed blade, and you wonder if you should make one final jump.
A jump to selfishly spare yourself the knowledge that your best friend Annabelle was getting married... to someone who wasn't you.
You had met Annabelle in college, and she'd quickly become your best friend. She helped you study, picked you up when you were down and was always a good person to have a good time with.
She was outgoing and her bubbly personality was infectious, even to you. You did a lot of things you wouldn't have otherwise done if she hadn't batted her emerald green eyes and hauled you along, and you loved her for that.
You became her friend by choice, but falling in love with her was out of your control.
You bonded with her over the shared adventures, going to the beach and swimming in the waves, going to dances, going to the zoo, and countless other escapades that would have been foreign to you before you met her. But with her, they were okay.
You thought you kept the universe alone, but she proved you wrong, and your friendship soon evolved into something more.
So one night after a successful trip to dinner and a movie you asked her if you could be more than friends, you laid your rapidly beating heart bare and waited for her response.
Pain flashed in her eyes and she took your hands soberly, pulling you to sit down beside her on the porch swing. She had been asked on a date with Lance Jacobs, one of the most popular and handsome students in college, a few hours ago and she'd said yes.
You had seen them together in group activities, and you saw how much they cared about one another, their feelings were obvious, and now they had chosen to accept them.
The pain was minimal and you accepted it, forcing yourself to be happy. So you got rejected, it's not like your friendship would change.
She squeezed your hand and hugged you, and you could tell she was sorry that she had to reject you and she cared about you… you just came too late.
You'd reassured yourself with the fact that she did care for you, so you'd probably get another chance at becoming more.
Besides, how long did college boyfriends last anyway?
Apparently, the answer was until death. Or it was about to be.
Throughout college and into the years afterwards, Lance and Annabelle were never ever apart, they loved one other deeply and truly, and their love was real. He never broke her heart and was perfect for her, you accepted that.
The one part you couldn't accept was her attitude towards you.
You hadn't really dated anyone seriously after Annabelle let you down, you were taking a break from girls anyway. But she always seemed to be nagging at you for advice about her relationship with Lance, what he would like, the best way to ask him out, how guys dropped hints that they wanted to go to the next level in their relationship… that sort of thing.
It hurt, and she either didn't notice or just didn't care, sure you loved giving her advice, but when it came to her relationship, being that friend was uncomfortable.
You cared about her, even while she was off with someone else, and it sucked.
She would often brag about the things she and Lance did, and she often came to you, trusting in you to help plan surprises and help her go "over the top" for him.
Going "over the top" for people was your specialty, but Annabelle never seemed to care about whatever you did.
But for Lance, she wanted to know all about how you thought of your schemes and what your process was so she could form her own plans. You were forced to dredge up painful memories of the times when you would play a song for her, or invite her to a dance, or buy her flowers after a special event... and she treated your efforts casually.
Lance, however, was a different story. She cared about everything he did, big or small, and wanted to reciprocate in kind.
What about the things you did for her? What about all the times you dropped everything to help her? Where was your reciprocation?
Still, you were the loyal best friend, you told her how you felt and had gotten thrown into the friend zone. But even though it broke your heart, you bit your tongue.
You snap back to the present, noting how the painful flashback hadn't helped you deal with the decision of whether to stay or go.
Then your phone buzzed and you jumped at the vibration, pulling it out and staring at the text.
It was from Anabelle and contained a simple: Meet me behind the church.
You took a deep breath and sent back an: okay then you followed the directions.
You closed your eyes as you walked behind the church, seeing the small youth building where you assumed she was.
You walked inside, noticing how it had been turned into an impromptu dressing room, complete with articles of clothing on every surface, and women rushing around with flowers, trying to make the bridesmaids dresses perfectly beautiful.
You sidestep the chaos and footsteps echoed in front of you as you turned the corner.
And your socks were knocked off.
Anabelle stood there, clad a white wedding dress, with her hands clasped in front of her nervously. The dress was lace, ended at the knee, and her brown hair was elaborately done in beautifully woven braids. The veil covered her face but didn't cover her blush at your stare.
You take her in, almost wanting to run away or at the very least avert your eyes because you shouldn't be seeing her like this. A pang of hurt pierces your stomach because for an instant you wish you were breaking the rules and seeing the bride, your bride, in all her perfect glory. You look down, peering at her bare feet with a smile.
It was one of those little quirks about her, she hated heels with a passion. They hurt her feet and didn't make her tall enough, so she always went barefoot at any event that required her to wear heels… even her own wedding.
You chuckle involuntary, and she smiles, her voice breaking as she removed the veil, her green eyes seeking yours "How do I look?"
You smile at her and squeeze her arm "I'm not even sure I should be standing here."
Anabelle grinned wider and blushed. "I don't care, I need a best friend right now."
It cost you a sweet pang not to call her out on the pressure she put on the words best friend, but you bit your tongue.
She turned and sat down "I just wanted to thank you… The advice you've given me, all those times you dropped everything to help me, and it's a big part of who I am and why you're so special to me… There's no one I'd rather be with for this wedding. You're the greatest person I've ever had the pleasure of knowing, and someday you'll find a girl who will see what I see in you."
You blush as you sit beside her, feeling equal parts pleasure and pain. Pleasure at her compliments, but also pain that you weren't special enough to be her husband... pain that she didn't love you like she loved him.
You hid your pain by checking your watch "You've got about fifteen minutes left as a single woman, then you walk down the aisle. You nervous?" You joke, playfully jabbing her in the side.
She took your hand and squeezed it "I'm never nervous with you around, I'm just happy to be married to such a great man."
Then all mirth and pre wedding jitters faded from her eyes as she faced you "I'm sorry things worked out the way they did." Pure regret shone in her eyes as she traced a pattern on the back of your hand "We could've…"
"Hey." Your voice is gentle, and you hide the flood of painful emotions behind words that tease and flout. "Regrets get us nowhere in life 'Belle" you teased, using the pet name you had always called her "You have Lance, and he's perfect."
"He is." She smiled with a dreamy sigh, and you stood pulling her into a hug. "No matter what I will always be your friend."
She rested in your embrace as you turned your head and pressed a kiss to her temple. "I promise."
Then you squeezed her tightly one more time and left, wondering if that kiss was one of friendship or if it was just a way to say goodbye.
You enter the church and sit in the back row, still wrestling with the idea of making one final jump, when the wedding starts.
It's a quick wedding and ceremony in itself, and you smile despite yourself. The way they stared at one another, the light in their eyes as they spoke their vows, and the way they kissed. It was all showing that the two of them could not be parted nor be swept away from one another. For them they would be together wing to wing and oar to oar, forevermore.
He'd never ever break her heart, and she'd never leave him. She'd made her choice.
When the wedding ended and the happy couple exited the church in a rain of flower petals, you made your choice.
She loved him, plain and simple, and you could do nothing about it. Like it or not, you'd always be the best friend.
You doubted that you'd ever love another girl, God help you had tried for years, but nothing seemed to work, no girl understood you the way she did.
Anabelle and Lance would be together wing to wing and oar to oar, forever and always, and you'd always be the third wheel. Sadly, you doubted you could take the pain.
So you took a deep breath, closed your eyes, and focused on the day that you had met her.
Your stomach drops, your eyes tear up, but when you open up you find yourself years in the past. The longest jump you had ever made.
You are sitting in a food court, and a few minutes later you would stand up, bump into her without seeing her, and spill her lunch all over yourself. She'd apologize, help clean you up, and you bought her lunch. Then over a fast food meal, a friendship for the ages would develop.
The minutes tick by, and you begin to feel that urge to stand in your legs, to stand up and keep the timeline intact. Maybe you could ask her out earlier… or use your knowledge of the future of your friendship to benefit yourself…
No, that was selfish and you'd already screwed up time enough. Better to not meet her and suffer the consequences, rather than make new ones for yourself.
So you watch her walk by and with great effort keep yourself seated, even while you feel your legs tingle and burn, begging you to stand and keep time the way it was before it was too late.
Then as she walks by you feel the pressure leave you, and you are you own man again.
Whether that was a good thing or not, only time will tell.
Well that was a bit of a sadder ending, and I'm not sure that the main character did the right thing.
What do you think? Should he have made that final jump or not?
As always leave a review, feel free to check out my other works, and have a great day! :D