I attempted to recount the events that had happened earlier. As quickly as he had come in to take his position, Leeman was whisked away on the charges of stealing money from the school and bribing students. He’d be in jail for quite a while, and by the time he came out, the board would have no chance to reinstate him now that he had a criminal record attached to his name.
We were immediately gifted by an early dismissal. Offering a wide grin to Daniel after we double-teamed Leeman in his office, I grabbed Claudia’s wheelchair and started taking her out the building, Daniel by my side. There wasn’t much to say; the joy could be felt in the air and required no description. When we got outside, Daniel lagged behind a bit, unraveling a note in his hands.
Claudia and I continued on. Even though she despised her wheelchair, especially since she was slowly regaining her ability to walk from therapy, she was contempt with being in it for this moment.
“You know, I don’t care who are next principle is” Claudia began. “But whoever he or she is, they better not be another Leeman”.
I shook my head. “We don’t have to worry about him anymore. What we DO need to worry about, is what the heck we’re going to do to celebrate this occasion”.
She giggled, standing up. “I’ll let you decide”.
We leaned in to kiss each other, despite the load roar of a car in the background. I was used to students speeding out of the parking lot whenever they had the opportunity. All of them knew they’d be safe charging out of the grounds; the police never came up around here. However, as we came closer, a sudden force came and sent us flying backwards. My mind immediately comprehended this as a push.
Who the hell would push Claudia? When I looked and saw a car speeding away… a Roadrunner… and Daniel’s body lying on the ground nearby, I cursed. He pushed us out of the way to save us from a hit that would have been fatal. Charles Franklin Dascher just tried to kill me.
Everything became a blur from that point forward. Daniel was rushed to the hospital, though after looking him over I was able to assure myself that he would get out of this situation perfectly fine. Only the tail end of the car clipped him, and many of the injuries were minor. Still, I was worried nonetheless… I didn’t want anything to happen to him now that we were finally on good terms.
Now we can jump forward in time. We’re visiting Daniel, who’s already been basically touched up, but it was obvious that he still ached pretty bad after Claudia pulled us both into a deathly hug that would have crushed a wrestler. Soon after, a nurse came in and verbally shoved us out the door, almost choosing the physical option. Now we had nothing to do.
Claudia had an idea for the beach. I was skeptical at first, but eventually I just decided to go with it. If she wanted to go, she must have had a reason. However, before we went outside the hospital, I had a long overdue favor that was due to my wingman. I sent a text to Sarina, a girl he had liked a while ago and still had some feelings for, giving her the information of his room and such. Looking at my phone as I sent the message, it told me her phone was also on. Hopefully she got the message.
After all of this, and a relatively short car ride later, Claudia and I were at the only beach in the state. It was really beautiful at any hour; the sand was perfectly smooth with rolling hills over the landscape. A collection of trees and other vegetation dotted the area a few yards up the beach. However, one particular figure dominated the entire beach; a cliff, giant by the surrounding landscape’s standards, which shined in the sun. It’s smooth, gray features were visible for miles. A fantastic view of the sunset was offered to anyone who took the trail path up to it at the right hour.
That’s when it hit me; the sunset. I could already see the various shades of orange and yellow piercing the clouds overhead as the sun descending from the horizon. Claudia brought me here to see it… and I never have. Thinking back into our past, I doubt she ever could have either. It would be a new experience.
And especially a new experience when she got up out of her wheelchair. We were going on a trail, and she wanted to go on her own two feet? However, when she reminded me that I’d be there to catch her, I gave in. We couldn’t miss that sunset.
We started up the trail, pushing through the thick foliage. Claudia wasn’t even having the smallest bit of trouble walking over this uneven terrain. It wasn’t because of how well she was doing; just sheer willpower. The sun dotted some of the dirt on the path, breaking through small holes in the overhanging trees.
A cool breeze soothed us as we reached the top of the trail. The sounds of waves crashing against the cliff could be heard. I leaned over the edge and saw a ravine, carved out by years of water damage. Claudia and I both offered a ‘wow’ at this sight, then hurried on.
“It’s just up here” she said, almost lapsing into a run. However, I slowed her down.
“I know how well you’re doing, but we can’t push it” I told her. She nodded reluctantly.
After too long of a walk, we reached a wooden platform on the very top of the cliff. Holding Claudia’s hand, we looked off into the distance…
It was like waterfall of colors had splashed onto the canvas that was the sky. From around the sun was a shade of orange like that of a basketball, and it looked like says were coming from in and touched the water. Further out was a dark purple, giving the clouds a menacing appearance to them, but it was calming all the same. All around the star was a brilliant shade of yellow.
“Oh my God” Claudia said, breathless. She soon got her voice back and clapped her hands. “Well, what’d I tell you? Isn’t it great?”
“It’s beautiful”. I didn’t say that out into the ocean towards the setting sun; I said this towards Claudia. She turned and her eyes met mine. It was like the sunset was shining brightly in those jade green eyes that were so unique to her, such a striking feature. I noticed a tear streak from her face.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her, instantly worried.
She shook her head; nothing was wrong? Then she came closer to me. “I’m happy…”
As the sunset began to drop behind the horizon, the moon taking its cue and rising out from it, it would appear to a bystander as though the sun was shining right onto us; all of those shades of yellow, orange, and purple. And as we stood in this scene, as we leaned closer together, she whispered one phrase, that phrase that looked simple on paper and yet meant a thousand words when spoken.
“I love you”.
Usually, Claudia was the one that pulled me into a kiss. My confidence with girls, for years, had been shattered, despite me knowing for quite some time that she liked me. But in this moment, when I knew she loved me, and I loved her back, I was the one that made the first move.
I kissed her on the lips, pulled away briefly, then came back with a much more forceful, passionate kiss. I held onto her waist, bringing her closer to me, while she held onto my shoulders. Soon her hands moved up to my face and it became more forceful, more passionate. This time, we didn’t care. We knew how our relationship would go from here; not too fast, but at the same time, not too slow.
The sunset disappeared minutes later, the moon now gazing over the land with his bright glow. As fate would have it, he shined on us.
We broke away after that, and I whispered in turn, “I love you too”.
She smiled, a very small smile that nonetheless described how happy she way at hearing this. Holding hands, we took the trail back to the car. However, one problem still persisted in my mind, and I certainly remembered what it was when I saw a Roadrunner speeding towards the hospital.
And from the look in Claudia’s eye, she had seen him too.
Before I could hold her back, and despite how much I shouted, she ran off. At my superior speed, I was able to catch up and find that she had slowed down, taking the steps carefully. I soon was by her side, and I snatched her hand.
“I don’t need you-“
“Claudia, please! I know what’s happening, but I don’t want this to ruin all of that therapy we’ve goen through”. She agreed to this.
I jumped into my car, Claudia sitting next to me. I turned the vehicle on and gave chase to the British exchange student that I knew was gunning for my best friend.
We caught up with him soon enough; he got stopped by a red light. As he continued on his way, we followed behind him. When he turned away from the hospital, we knew something wasn’t right.
We followed him as long as we could; but soon we neared a bridge under repair. A giant hole had been broken inside of it recently, so a large group of construction workers were hard-pressed fixing it. When I saw Charles going in that direction, my mind went haywire, wondering what the hell he was doing.
When the car went off the bridge, I kicked the door open and just shouted his name. I don’t know why. I hated the man that had at one time been my boyfriend, my wingman. As I looked over and saw the car broken apart in the water, I realized what the British kid did. Why he was upset.
Being gay isn’t easy, as he said. In a relationship like the one we had been in, it was delicate. It broke your heart when it ended. Not me as much since I didn’t feel as strong about it… but for him. After that, this whole business with Leeman, his neglect to tell me about his parents, losing his cool at school…
Charles didn’t commit suicide. He just wanted to die an enemy.
Wait… didn’t he have a passenger in his car?
I tried to think back into my past. Then I remembered seeing a second figure. One with blonde hair cut like a boy’s.
NOW I was confused. I sat there at that bridge for quite some time, even when the police came. They pulled the car out of the water using a crane on the shore. Even from up as high as I was, I could recognize Charles’ body and Eva’s. Then a third object was dropped, and then the missing piece of the puzzle was discovered.
The suitcase. Leeman’s money.
Claudia put her hand on my shoulder. It had been a long time, and she knew it would be best to head home. I still couldn’t get over it… Charles had killed himself over money… killed Eva over it… did it really take that much just to send a man to insanity? Claudia didn’t even know that Eva was in the car, or even Charles himself. She just saw the car flying out into the water.
“Let’s go back to the hospital” I said, my voice low and barely audible. Charles had still been my friend at one point in time, and you shouldn’t wish a fate like that onto anyone.
I wanted to go see Daniel. I need his sarcastic humor, and to see if he was doing okay with Sarina, and if she even came at all. I sighed, trying to flush out all of the rampaging thoughts in my head.
To help speed this up, Claudia kissed me for a full minute, then brought me into a hug. She was there for me…
After I took one last look over my shoulder, I realized that the times were changing. Bad things happen all the time in our lives. Something good had to happen.
Claudia noticed I still wasn’t feeling good, but respected the fact that I wouldn’t be able to talk about it. She kissed me a few more times, and then I started kissing back.
“Feeling better?” she asked, a small smile on her lips.
“Much” I replied. She helped me forget, and that’s all I needed at this point. She knew me so well it was ridiculous.
And for all I knew, I might want to start forgetting tomorrow in advance.