He can’t possibly still like Whitney. It’s impractical, unfeasible, out of question. He hasn’t really thought about her in the longest time, minus the fight. Only when they passed each other in the hallway, he just recalled how mean she was to Michelle in seventh grade. Other than that, she was an erased memory.
It was just a dream. Doesn’t mean it’s going to be real. Still, he can’t be too sure.
Dialing her number, he hoped it wasn’t too late to talk.
“Alex, it’s three in the morning. What’s up?” Michelle said.
“I had a disturbing dream. I knew you’d be awake, it’s summer, and you like to stay up ridiculously late.” She giggled.
“How did the dream go?” Her voice was soft and gentle, giving full attention. Alex explained the details.
“Please don’t be mad,” he implored.
“Of course I’m not mad.”
“Yes. It’s only a dream. You don’t know how many times I thought of that with Gray-“ Quickly her confession stopped.
“Grayson. Obviously you still think about him.”
“Alex, don’t start with him.”
“Okay, okay. He’s put aside,” He lowered his tone. “For now.”
“Why do you think Whitney appeared?” She ignored the last part.
“Honestly I don’t know. Her face didn’t show until I just woke up. I thought it was you, really, but I guess not…” He trailed off, hoping she’ll pick up what he’s hinting.
“So you want to be with me the rest of your life.”
“Alex, that’s way ahead in the future.” She paused. “Lucky you, I’ve already figured out most of it.”
“Oh yeah? Like what?”
“My kids’ names, where I’ll live, my job. The basics.”
“What are the names?” He’s so curious, so very curious on her answer.
“The third child would be either boy or girl; the name would be Violet Sapphire or Gale Peeta. Then I’d like twin boy and girl, preferably the boy to be first born, Gabriella Mikayla and…” She hesitated. “Grayson William.”
“Oh.” He’s trying to stay calm, even though she’s considering to name one of her kids after a guy that crushed her heart. “Why?”
“I’ve always thought Gabriella was the prettiest name, and I’d have her middle name be after my best friend. Violet Sapphire was just another pretty name. Gale Peeta are my favorite guy characters in my favorite series, the Hunger Games trilogy. And I think Grayson is an interesting name, even if I haven’t known one.”
“Oh,” he repeated. Those names were so much better than the ones he picked out.
“What about yours?”
“They’re not worth discussing. I’ll accept those names, if we do have kids.”
“Oh, so we’re gonna get married?” She laughed.
“I’m hoping so. Then sure, we’ll have twins, and another one on the side. Where are we gonna live?”
“Washington. Duh. I’ll be a book editor slash author, and you’ll be…”
“I actually don’t know yet.” He scratched his forehead, completely not sure on any parts of his future now.
“And you’ll be someone still discovering who you want to be,” she continued. “Hopefully my old house will be for sale and we’ll buy it back. It has a mini playground in the backyard, a zip line, and a small tree house-like thing with a yellow slide. Just thinking about it makes me homesick…”
“It sounds great,” he assured.
“There’s a park down the street, and the elementary school is just a little ways further. And my first best friend lives literally down the hill. Though she is two grades ahead of us, I can imagine she won’t be home much. And the Salmon Festival will be amazing; it’s only once a year, the first weekend of October. It’s the best place to grow up in…” He figured she was reminiscing her seven years there before she moved. “Certainly you won’t want to go someplace you don’t know.”
“I’d love to go there. It seems like a really awesome place to start a family.”
“I’m glad I wasn’t born in California,” she admitted.
“You could’ve lived there?” He didn’t know that.
“Yeah, my older brother was there for two years in Sacramento then my parents decided to head up. Then another two years later and I was born in Bellevue. We stayed there until I started first grade. I just can’t wait until I graduate.”
“Me too. It’s boring here,” he agreed.
“And where would our wedding be?” He can’t believe they’re even talking about what might happen in a billion days. It’s even more implausible that she’s opening up to him about it.
“At Port Townsend, in Washington. You have to get there by ferry. I always go there every summer we return home. Either it’s at the shore or in the camping site. It’s so beautiful though, I won’t care where it is, just as long as the sun’s going down.”
“Oh yeah, you’re a huge nature person. Can the theme color be purple? Because that’s my favorite color.”
“Well, it was either that or emerald, but probably I’ll go with the purple. It’s a better color for everyone.”
“I assume you have the perfect dress,” he guessed.
“Yes. I doubt it’ll be available when we get married, but it’s so perfect. Obviously I won’t show you, because you know that tradition where the groom can’t see the bride.”
“Right. Wouldn’t want bad luck on the first day,” he chuckled. “And the honeymoon?”
“Haven’t gotten that far. That’ll be your job,” she commanded.
“Oh, I know just the place.” He smirked.
“No, ha ha. I’ll think of something.”
“Ah.” There’s a slight lull. “It’s four now, I have to get up early. My dad is making me go with him and Andrew to get his U-Haul. He’s moving into an apartment instead of staying on college campus.”
“Goodnight,” he wished.
“Bye,” He lied on his bed processing the whole conversation, and then got a journal out to write down exactly what she said. Could the night have been any better besides talking about Grayson? Well, yeah, just take out the Grayson part and it would be the best night for the longest time. He still couldn’t accept the fact that the discussion was all real and not fake. Like it was just a figment of his imagination.
Knowing that the plan for tomorrow was going to be long, he pulled the covers once again and finally fell asleep.
Ah, I forgot to put my i-Pod on the sleep timer last night, so I heard some Taylor Swift song play softly in my ears. I stretched with my eyes closed, and tried to remember what happened last night. A phone call, heart-wrenching memories, some guy’s voice…
Automatically my body shot straight up and remembered.
Did I really just reveal to Alex about my dream future? Was I like, drunk? Yeah, drunk on the ecstasy of last night. And did I mention saying my kids’ names? Crap, I must’ve told him I wanted to name a boy Grayson! Well, it is true, but I never wanted him to know. And what if he thought we would end up together? No more late night phone calls.
It’s packing day for my older brother. Moving into an apartment with his girlfriend is kinda too soon, considering he’s nineteen and Lauren’s eighteen, but that’s their lives, and I’m not gonna butt in. They’re so cute together though, so I ignore the fact.
I packed myself since I’m going with them and the rest of my family, minus Matt because he’s got summer school. It’ll only be for two days, but at least I’m getting out of here, even if it’s for a short time. The U-haul is loaded with furniture and boxes for Andrew’s apartment. I almost want to put them all back in place so he won’t leave me. I don’t like knowing he’s not here. Some nights I still stay up late and wait for him to come home from work, but he never comes. After that it’s getting harder to sleep.
So I tossed and turned all night, this time I know for sure he won’t come back for another year, or just a few months for holidays and such. When he visits, it’s just for a few days. I nearly started crying at this thought.
Five o‘clock is glowing brightly next to me, so I pushed off the blankets and got ready for the twelve-hour car ride to Colorado. I dumped my duffel bag in the back of the car and stretched out on the seats, having all the space to myself because Matt won’t be coming. Andrew had already left to go pick up Lauren. The next time I’ll be seeing him is at lunch.
My eyes opened to see Ben and Mikey hanging over me, telling me we were at a gas station for a bathroom break. Tiredly I got out, used the restroom, and resumed my position of sleeping the day away.
Lunch and dinner passed, and finally we were at our hotel. The trailer was left with the couple so they could at least put a bed on the floor and a couch for Andrew to sleep on in their room. We’d help with the rest in the morning.
Sun streaked in through the blinds, making me squint since my “bed” was on the window. It was in an alcove, actually, and since I thought that was so cool, I decided to take that area as my own. As it turns out, there’s not a whole lot of room for me. Four times during the night I nearly fell off.
When we reached the apartment, Andrew said they took out everything and it’s all in the room. Pretty unbelievable for two people to unload so much stuff.
“I had some friends to help too,” he explained. Oh. That made sense.
“So we’re free for the day. Michelle, we can go to Manitou Springs now, if you’d like.” Beth mentioned. Last night I was wanting to go to the village and get a blue pendant to add to my chain.
“Sure,” I said. “Will Andrew and Lauren be with us?”
“No, we have to organize. But we’ll see you for dinner,” Lauren confirmed. I nodded sadly.
Ben and Mikey tagged along, chatting about which stores they wanted to go to. I remembered the glassblower shop we went to last time where I got my sapphire heart that I’ve been wanting from a more expensive place, but this shop had it for only eight dollars instead of like, fifty. It was a pretty good deal.
When we got there, they didn’t have a single thing I could buy. They must’ve not come up with new jewelry.
So we ventured to a little Indian store and there I found a braided bracelet with little blue beads in the strands and a pendant heart inside a circle on a delicate silver chain. In the car, I added it to my locket’s and other heart’s necklace.
“You may want something to separate them,” Beth suggested after seeing they looked clumped together.
“Yeah, I might need to do that.” I think I’ve got some stuff at home to use.
In less than twenty-four hours we’ll be leaving Colorado Springs and going back home. This is all that’s on my mind during dinner at some pizza restaurant. One of Andrew’s friends from college joined us and they mainly talked, so I was insanely bored from not being able to chat with everyone else. Boys can be so talkative sometimes.
A final goodbye is said outside the apartment complex. I hugged Lauren first, wishing her good luck for living with a boy (she’s an only child). The tears are so close to spilling, so my embrace with Andrew was quick. I don’t want to cry in front of everyone even though they know it’s always hard on me when he leaves. I waved to them from inside the car as we drive away, with just one tiny tear falling down. Suddenly I can feel Alex wiping it away, but when I turned to see him, he wasn’t there. I so badly want to be alone and cry right now.
The glorious sun woke me up again, this time on the way home. As I watched it dart across the horizon and spread light, I listened to my I-pod on shuffle, thinking about Andrew. How much I wish he’s coming home with me too. I miss his amused laughter, his playful teases, and his jokes that make everyone smile. I wish I was closer to him. Because of our age difference, I couldn’t do so. He always had work or was out with his friends, while I stay home, go to softball practice, or just do nothing. The only time we’d see each other was for dinner and maybe a few family events. Other than that, he wasn’t really here.
“Michelle. Lunch,” Dad called to me from the driver’s seat. I stumbled out the car, finding my legs fell asleep from not moving for the longest time.
Finally reaching home, I dropped my stuff off in the corner of my room, grabbed my blanket, and sobbed into it.