When high school seniors, Lành (a.k.a. Renée a.k.a. Raini) Ðang & Patrick (a.k.a. Tripp) Wiley cross paths more than once, they never expect their lives to change in extraordinary ways. They meet in summer, become friends in autumn, confess their feelings in winter and fall in love in spring.
Both of them have endured hardships within their lives. For Raini, she fell in and out of love with a homeless teenage street artist/junkie named Chase. For Tripp, he escaped an abusive household, fell out of love with drugs and fistfights and fell in love with music.
But what happens when people from their past return unexpectedly?
Over the span of four seasons, Raini and Tripp will face their pasts together & experience the ups and downs of friendship, love, and loss that life has to offer.
A/N: Hello readers!
I don't think the prologue chapters fit into the story anymore so I thought to include a longer blurb above lol. I don't want to delete these chapters either since Chase's role may have changed from when I initially planned the story, but he will still have a part to play.
My intention with these prologues back then was to show the contrast in Raini and Tripp from the past to the present.
Anyway, if you're new and you came across my story then you can skip to Ch 3 where the story truly begins.
Thanks for reading :) x
- noveltealover, 2020
14 years old
Early November 2010
I passed by several vendors in the market trying to find a suitable birthday gift for Má. I didn't want to be unoriginal and buy my mom flowers when Ba was going to do that.
As I walked past more vendors, the smell of someone not having taken a shower in a while filled my nose. I brought my hand up to my nose to cover but then realized how rude it would be if I did that to whoever was nearby.
"It's okay, you can cover your nose. I reek." A scratchy voice sounded causing me to jump. He laughed lowly which sounded rich causing goose bumps to erupt all over my arms. "Didn't mean to scare you, Shortcake."
I spun around to find the owner of that voice when he told me to look down. The voice belonged to a teenage boy.
"I bet you're not used to looking down at others. No pun intended." The boy had the faintest of smiles.
Despite his weak appearance, I found his smile to be very nice. I smiled back shyly. The boy had long gangly legs, sickly pale skin, unkempt dirty blonde hair and dark brown eyes.
"My name's Renée." I blurted out. Holly was my cousin and only friend. Nobody ever paid attention to me before, much less a boy. The smelly boy sitting in front of me with his knees propped up was the first. "Not…Shortcake." I finished lamely.
The boy's lips twitched up a little but his eyes were playful. "Chase."
I stood there awkwardly afterwards till my eyes wandered over to a bunch of little displays of drawings and paintings that Chase had lined out by his feet. I crouched down staring at one in particular. It was a watercolour painting of sunflowers in a blue vase.
"Do you like that one?" Chase sounded curious.
I blushed and glanced up to look at him. He looked like someone who was once very handsome before whatever struck him down over the years. But he still looked very nice to me.
"Um, uh yeah I just thought my mom might like it for her birthday."
Chase smiled a little again which made me feel unusually happy.
"I think it's a good choice." Chase laughed.
"Did you paint it?" I asked.
"How much?" I took off my knapsack and rummaged through it for my wallet.
"I'll give it to you for free if you visit me again some time." Chase answered.
His comment took me off guard and I stared at him in bewilderment. He must have taken my reaction as a no because he cleared his throat and said five dollars.
"When?" I whispered, taking out my wallet and handing him a twenty-dollar bill.
"I don't have change." Chase stared at the money in my hand as if he never seen something so beautiful in his life.
It then struck me that this teenager was sitting on the ground with paintings in front of him when he should be in school. I didn't ask him but I got the feeling that he was homeless.
"It's all I have and I won't take your painting for free." I said quietly.
We locked eyes and after another thirty seconds, I broke away, feeling embarrassed. I held out the paper money for him to take and his fingers shook as he took them from me. His hand then clasped mine. It was thin and bony.
He's so skinny, I thought sadly.
"Thank you, Ren." Chase smiled and so did his eyes. "Can I call you that?"
My mouth parted in surprise. Only Holly called me Ren and my parents used my Vietnamese name Lành. I nodded dumbfounded and Chase's smile widened.
"Thanks for being my first customer today."
"First?" I said startled and wished he didn't retract his hands from mine. "But your paintings and drawings are really good!"
Chase gave me a sad smile. "Thanks."
"Well…maybe if I sit with you we'll attract more customers." My heart beat erratically at my suggestion.
Chase's brows rose. "Wow. But I'm sure a girl like you has better things to do then sit with a weird, smelly boy."
I shook my head and moved to sit next to him.
We sat in silence for the next several minutes before Chase spoke up again. "How old are you, Ren?"
Suddenly I wondered what I was doing sitting with a stranger alone in downtown Toronto. Má told me countless times to never talk to strangers and here I was doing that. How was it even possible that I could be comfortable talking with a stranger in comparison to my own classmates?
Maybe it's because he doesn't know what a loser you are at school. I answered my own question.
"Sorry. That was rude of me to ask." Chase spoke again moments later and I realized that I never answered.
I sat with him for another half hour and nobody approached us. When it was almost four, I told Chase I had to go. He smiled at me and said he hoped to see me around and to drop by any day around this time whenever I was free. I waved at him and left to go home.
I dreaded going home after school because my parents always fought, or more so my mom was the one always screaming at my dad and it was hurtful to hear the things she'd say to him because sometimes it felt like she could have easily said that to me since we both had social anxiety. Holly had been out of school for over a week since she sprained her ankle terribly in a dance performance but I at least had Chase to brighten my day.
As much as Chase made my skin erupt into goose bumps with a lazy smile, I was intimidated and fascinated by him. My stomach always flipped-flopped incessantly whenever we hung out after school. I found him in the same spot where I first met him over six months ago.
Chase took out a cigarette and blew out a large cloud of smoke. The warm breeze blew the smoke in my direction causing me to cough.
If he was smoking, that meant he wasted the money he earned from his paintings on them again.
"Hey, Chase." I said in between coughs. "Can I have a cigarette?" If he gives me the box to take one out, I could run off and throw away the cigarettes. He'd definitely be mad at me but I rather him mad than dead.
Chase barked with rich laughter and broke out into a cough.
"Don't try and impress me, Ren."
I stayed silent and waited. I didn't think he'd actually lend me one so when he took out a box out of his back pocket, my eyes widened at the chance.
"You have some serious guts, Ren." He gave me a nod of approval.
He stuck the box out to me and I knew he wouldn't dare let me hold the box and I felt too afraid to ask. I tentatively took one between my index finger and middle finger.
Chase watched me with interest to see what I would do. Seeing him and in movies, I placed the cigarette in my mouth and Chase stared at me with his dark brown eyes.
"Not bad." he smirked.
When the flicker of a bright orange flame ignited in front of my eyes and neared the end of my cigarette, my mouth opened in shock and the rolled up stick of death fell to the ground.
Chase jerked the lighter away rapidly and shut it off. He frowned deeply at me, distorting his sickly but handsome features.
"Don't ever ask me for a cigarette again, Ren." His voice hardened and he glared at me. "You're too young to die."
"So are you." I found myself blurting.
Chase gave me a startled look and opened his mouth to deny but then closed it. "I feel like a thousand years old."
"You're only eighteen." I pointed out.
"And you've only just turned fifteen." he said with a sad smile.
"So?" I felt my face heat up.
"Fall for someone your age."
His words sliced through me. So he knew I had a crush on him, a huge one. Of course my feelings wouldn't be reciprocated.
"You deserve so much better. I'm going nowhere in life."
"That's not true." I sniffed. "You're really good at drawing and I...I l-love you."
I felt a hand fly under my chin and Chase lifted my face up to his and our eyes met. My eyes widened as he leaned in close and pressed his lips softly to my forehead.
"Thank you, Ren." he murmured against my forehead and broke away. "Save those words for another guy."
He petted my head and walked away from me. If I had known it was the last time I would ever see him breathing and full of colour, I would have never let him go.