I just wanted to feel secure again. I’ve longed for someone to just hold me and tell me everything’s going to be okay even though we both know it’s not. But it’s always harmless to want to feel that way, right? It’s been so long since I’ve experienced being protected and sense safety. Right now Alex is the only one that can give me that shield, the one I’ve needed to put up against my nightmares that will come true in four years. Although it was Alex that started my crying, he stayed with me and made sure I would be okay.
I do love him. Really. Just that, there’s another guy.
Grayson Robert Lee.
The angel, the jerk, the happy and bad memories, the best and worst thing that’s ever been mine. Because of him, my nightmares were worse than Mikayla’s before I realized what little time we have left together. Black and white flashbacks of the class I met him in, Skills for Living, occurred every night for more than two years now. Currently, Mikayla’s are taking over. But on some lonely dark nights, they come back just in case I don’t think of Mikayla. I can never get sleep anymore.
So, I’m stuck. It’s either the fish or the bird. Alex takes my attention only as long as I can breathe underwater while Grayson gives me a whole supply of oxygen. He made me feel so free, flying in the sky without a care. Alex lets me have freedom but not enough space. He’s still jealous that I love Grayson even if he said he’s not any longer. I can see it in his eyes when he looks at Grayson in burning hate. I just wish I never met Grayson… Or Alex… So I wouldn’t have to pick between two incredible boys.
Yes, Grayson has been a completely cruel person to me, but for some odd reason I have forgiven him for it. At one point last summer I declared to myself I was over him, then once I saw him in school, I fell in love all over again. I get so close to forgetting him and then he just waltzes in and sweeps me off my feet, takes a wrong step, and drops me onto the hard concrete in a cycle that never ends. This summer I’m determined to truly forget him, but I don’t see how I can. If he doesn’t talk to me, perhaps it’ll work. But certainly it won’t make a dent in the love I have for him.
Alex, on the other hand… he’s everything I want, if only I haven’t met Grayson. If I haven’t, then I’d already make it official with Alex that I truly love only him. But that didn’t happen. I love them both. Possibly Grayson more, but since Alex has known me longer and would stick with me no matter what. The obvious choice is to pick the latter. He’s more accessible, he loves me, he’d do anything for me. But I just want Grayson. It’s a lost cause, but I want to be with the person who made me feel like I could be myself. Who made me laugh instantly. Who brightened my day whenever I saw him.
What a great way to start off the summer.
I stayed curled in a ball in my bed, hardly moving since Alex left. I skipped dinner to hold on to the euphoria. All I had to do was pretend I was asleep, which wasn’t too hard.
For the first time in years, I was freed from the nightmares.
Weeks went by too quickly for Alex’s taste, and soon it was Michelle’s fifteenth birthday. He had no clue how to top off last year’s gift, so he asked around for ideas.
“Flowers are the best”, “Bake a cake!”, or “Take her out for dinner” was all he got.
None of them will work. She does like flowers, but they die off too fast. A cake doesn’t last as long either, and obviously food too. He wants it to be tangible, unlike last year. Not jewelry, since she barely wears it. A trip to Washington would definitely perk her up, but he doesn’t have any money. Well, his parents does, but he’s not about to ask to go out of state with a girl and no supervision.
So what can he do?
Bored, he went on Google and searched for gifts. He browsed through seven pages before finding an awesome present. Michelle will love it.
Looking out his window, he saw the mailman stick some stuff in the mailbox. Curious, he padded outside and checked the letters. Bills, ads, more bills...
Hey, a note from Michelle.
It basically said that for her birthday party this year, they were going to go camping. The rest followed with what you needed to bring, such as a sleeping bag and swimming stuff. Super excited, he asked his dad if he could go and he said yes. Alex instantly repeated the same answer to Michelle by text.
“Great! I’m so glad you can come,” she responded. “I’ll see you in two days J”
“Do I just give you your present there?” he asked.
“You could. I don’t wanna wait, ha.”
“Alright. Who else is coming?”
“Mikayla, of course, Chandler, Frederick, Ali, Marisa, you, and Cameron,”
“Ah, cool.” Not cool about the Cameron part, considering he was her first kiss ever, but whatever.
“So, whatcha getting me? ;)”
“I’m not telling! It’s supposed to be a surprise, remember?”
“Oh, can’t we bend the rules once... I already have to wait for Mikayla’s, now you?”
“It’s only in two days. I think you can wait.”
“Darn, it’s Easter all over again ha. Waiting to go find the eggs hidden in the backyard was torture as a kid.” There’s a lull, and he can’t think of anything interesting to say. So he just let it go.
He alerted his dad that he needed to go to Target to pick up the gift. His dad approved but thought Alex would get Michelle a necklace or something.
“No, she doesn’t wear that kind of stuff,” Alex clarified in the aisle near the video games, searching for a big rectangular box.
“But isn’t she always wearing that locket you gave her for Christmas? Last time I saw her she had it on.”
“Really? When was that?” He looked over at his father with such a puzzled look and has never felt so confused.
“Just a week ago. She dropped off some DVD that you left at her house last year. Said she forgot to return it. Sweet girl. You were with your mom, clearly.”
Alex’s head started spinning. He figured she’d never wear it because he put… He put…
No! She loves both of them! How could he be so stupid and put in Grayson’s picture, thinking he’d get her forgiveness even if (in his opinion) he has done nothing wrong. But maybe she took it out, finally realizing what a jerk Grayson has been to her. He can only dream.
“Alex? Is this what you’re looking for?” his dad interrupted.
“Oh, yeah! It’s perfect. Thanks.” He carried the heavy box with one hand and grabbed a Reese’s in the other by the register. Hope it doesn’t melt in the bag he’s giving her.
At home, he took out the item in the box and inspected it for any cracks. Nope. Flawlessly smooth, so precise, very accurate on how he feels about her. Now, should it be presented in front of everyone, or alone? These people don’t really care who he is. For all he knows they could know about him and Michelle.
Well, he doesn’t care.