When the new girl, Codi Gray, enters the scene and falls helplessly in love with Jake Brunner, he's ecstatic. It's all he's ever wanted.
However, one fateful day, when Ethan, Jake's only brother, announces that he has a brain tumor that is slowly gnawing him to bits, and that he is also in love with Codi, everything changes. Now, Jake wants Ethan's last days to be the happiest. In order for that to be, Jake knows that he must give the Codi away to Ethan, even if it means losing her forever.
He Will Be Loved; Chapter One
Codi Gray was a puzzle piece.
Some people said she had run away from her previous home because she was emotionally detached. Others claimed that she was “sexy,” but “too dangerous get attached to.” A reliable source in the boys’ locker room even said that she might’ve been some porn star’s runaway daughter. She had the whole Elizabeth Gillies thing going on.
We were all tired with our dull lives. So, when Codi entered the scene, wearing nothing but dark jeans and a leather jacket, she was, no doubt, the object of speculation.
Codi owned a skateboard. It wasn’t exactly unusual for girls in Okeechobee to freely own a skateboard—but something about hers screamed trouble. Seeing the overused state of it, I knew that it had been through broken limbs, bruised ankles, and uncountable falls.
I suppose, given that skateboard, not to mention the rumors, that it didn’t exactly surprise me when I, one Monday after school, witnessed Codi Gray’s inevitable demise. Or, well, at least at the time I had thought it to be one.
I had taken a cab downtown that day, feeling an abnormal need to do so. It was an ordinary spring day. The day was chilly, and Central Avenue was completely isolated.
I had a bottle of Arizona on one hand. Ginseng tea was my favorite drink, and it was just the perfect day to savor one.
The day hadn’t gone as I had planned for it to. Football practice, because of the weather, had been delayed. I would’ve never guessed that I would be driving downtown that evening, just to think about some girl that I had barely second glanced.
It was strange; Codi wasn’t exactly the type of girl that I usually found myself being attracted to. She didn’t have blonde hair, like the girls I normally dated had, and nor did she have those tint eyes, the ones that I was often drawn to. Her eyes were dark. After staring at them across the room in pre-calm, I had come to the conclusion that they were frightening, in a way.
That day, the hoarse screech of a skateboard was what had broken the stillness. The moment I heard a crash, I lifted my eyes and let them wander the scene. This wasn’t exactly the trail for skateboarders. I was just about to yell in annoyance, when my eyes landed on those familiar pair of jeans. The leather jacket just built on to my suspicion.
It was Codi.
“Shit,” was my reaction as I rushed up to her. “Are you okay?”
She had just crashed onto a metal fence, and her skateboard had flung to the other side of the avenue. Her head was resting on the concrete, her dark hair sprawled all over the floor. Codi's eyes were shut. I waited a while, hoping for a reaction, some hint that she was still alive. But there was nothing. That’s when I began to panic. In a haze, I began to shuffle her. Still, no response.
“Are you dead?” I muttered stupidly.
I closed my eyes, thinking that I should probably do CPR.
Positioning myself right beside her, I kneeled down, and pressed down on her stomach. I tilted her chin, and motioned myself closer towards her face. Just as I was cursing myself out for not paying attention in health class, Codi began to stir.
She opened her eyes. “Is this heaven?”
“No,” I lamely responded. I was still glad that she had survived the fall. “You’re in Central Street, just two blocks away from that lame theater downtown that nobody goes to.”
She groaned, as if some realization had struck her. “Close enough.”
A drop of blood trickled down her arm. She had a large cut just above her elbow. Eyes widened, I looked around for something—anything, that would possibly stop it from bleeding. When I saw nothing, I pulled off my shirt, and wrapped it around her wounded elbow.
“It’s not much, but whatever, it’ll stop the bleeding.”
I leaned to check her posture. Her face had dirt.
“Damn,” she laughed, giving me a half-hearted grin. She stared me up and down, doing nothing to hide the fact that she was checking me out. “I think I really must be in heaven or something.”
Ignoring her, I heaved out a sigh. “You have a death wish or something? What gave you the idea to roam around in this block on a broken-down skateboard? It’s dangerous.” And I wasn’t exactly talking about the dangers of possibly crashing. Downtown was known for robberies and deaths. It wasn’t likely for a girl as young as Codi to be roaming Central Avenue.
“I needed to do a chore,” she replied. Codi positioned herself up. I helped her. “Thanks for the shirt anyway. I'll pay you back tomorrow,” she sighed. “Anyway, you're Jake right?"
“Yeah, I am," I replied. "And there's no need to pay me back,” I shrugged dismissively. Just as I rose from the hot concrete, I sensed Codi’s position slightly faltering. Obviously, she was trying hard not to limp. “You need a ride home?” I asked. “I can take a cab with you.”
“Nah,” she shook her head. “I’ll be fine.” She positioned herself on her skateboard—the same almost-broken one that had this awkward scribbling, kind of like an autograph, on it. “My ankle’s sprained. But it’s not like it hasn’t happened before. I’ll be fine.”
I snorted derisively.
“See you in school, anyway,” she muttered.
Slouching, I briefly nodded. “Alright,” I eyed her. “Stay safe.”
I couldn’t keep my eyes off Codi as she hastily rushed towards the end of the street, wheeling away on that damn skateboard of hers. Her figure shrunk as she skated farther and farther away. I watched her until she was nothing but a speck of light. Then, she disappeared.
I wondered if she’d survive the ride home. Hopefully, she wouldn’t crash into another fence. Hopefully, no one else would have to come to her rescue. As I leaned against the nearest metal fence, I grinned. I was half naked in the middle of nowhere, but even with such a small encounter with this girl, I felt ecstatic. Something about her was different. Something about her was intriguing. Something about her made me giddy.
I don’t know; there was just something about Codi Gray that made me feel like the happiest guy in the universe.