(Dan’s Point of View)
I let my thoughts wander. All I could think about was how perfect Haylee was, and how madly in love I was with her. Could we really have a future together? It would be difficult at first, for I would be traveling all over the world with a band that I would somehow gather up. I would be busy writing songs… Writing songs! I jumped up from my couch, realizing that I should probably get started on that. I texted Chris seeing if he was home yet. In the meantime, I began with the blank page. I guess singers gets writer’s block, too. I started with my feelings. Overjoyed. I’m feeling overjoyed. Scribbling it down on paper, I decided that that would be my song name. With a little effort, I got the first verse down. I have a very short attention span when it comes to working, so I took a break, texting Kyle to see what was happening with him.
I got a text back.
Yeah. We found a few houses that we liked, and they’re only a few miles away from you guys. It’ll take some work to get it fixed up, but we’re still trying to make a decision.
That was good; the plan was slowly coming together. Great! We’ll help you if you need it.
Thanks, was my reply. I heard a car pull into my driveway, and looking out the window, I saw and Chris had stopped by.
“Hey. You said that you needed help with some lyrics?” He said as I walked out.
“Yeah, I’ve got the first verse, but I might need some additional help with the chorus and verse two.”
“Okay. I’ve got a few minutes.”
We walked into my room, where I showed him what I had so far. He narrowed his eyes. “If I know anything about you, it’s that you include your feelings in everything you do. So what happened?”
He caught me off guard. “You’ll find out soon enough.”
Chris shrugged. “Whatever.” He hesitated. “I can’t think of the chorus right now, but I think I have the beginnings of the second verse.”
“Alright. Let’s hear it.” Together, we worked and critiqued the song until Chris had to leave. I ate a quick bite for dinner, and settled down to read a book I had just started, called When the Wind Blows. So far, it was very addictive, almost as addictive as Haylee’s book, but not quite. The author must have put a curse of his own on his writing.
I woke up to my phone ringing. My book was on the floor, and I still had my jeans and t-shirt on. Groggily, I answered my phone.
“Well, you sound wide awake this morning.” It was Haylee. I checked the time and saw that it was already 9:30.
“Yeah, you woke me up.”
“Aww, poor you. Anyway, Jackie came back here last night and said that her and Kyle wanted us to check out the house that they were looking at today. Can you be ready by 10:30?”
“Yeah, yeah.” I said, not fully processing what she was saying.
“Okay. See you at my house when?”
It took a while to remember what she had said. “10:30.”
“Good. Alright, I’m going to go now. Bye.”
“Bye, love.” I responded, the words coming out of my mouth before I had time to think about them. Hanging up, I ruffled my hair. Is it too early for that? Forgetting it, I picked up my book and found what page I was on, bookmarking it. Quickly, I got ready, and was completely done by quarter after ten. Now wide awake, I tried to recall the conversation I had with Haylee. Where were we supposed to meet? Chris’s house? Her place? The clearing? I couldn’t remember what time I was supposed to be there either, so I took a wild guess. I’ll just run over to Haylee’s right now and hope I’m right. Getting in the car, I drove over to her house, and upon seeing Chris’s car there, too, I realized that I must have guessed correctly. Now what are we doing here? I thought, pulling into her driveway. I got out of my car, waving at Haylee and Chris as they talked. Moments later, Jackie and Kyle drove in, but didn’t get out of their car.
“Hi, Haylee.” I said, approaching her. “Umm, can you remind me again what we’re doing here?”
She laughed. “Too early for you, huh? We’re looking at houses with Jackie and Kyle.”
“Oh, right. I knew that.” I smiled, getting into the backseat after Haylee. It was a tight squeeze, with Chris on the left, Haylee in the middle, and me to the right of her.
“Your calf any better?” I asked, glancing down at the cut.
“Yep. I think it’ll leave a scar, though.” She said, frowning.
“Oh, well. You’ll just look that much tougher.” I smiled. “If that’s even remotely possible.”
She nudged me. “I’m not that tough. I do have a soft side, you know.”
“Really? That’s almost unbelievable.” I said, nudging her back.
“Almost, but not quite.” She responded, quelling our conversation. I could see Chris watching us through narrow eyes, as if he knew that something was up between us. I wonder if he’ll say something? I thought just as we arrived at the first house.
We ended up looking at three houses, but I personally liked the first one myself. It was the smallest, but seemed like a perfect size for Jackie and Kyle.
We talked on the way back to Haylee’s house. “I liked the first one, myself.” Jackie started, glancing back at us from the passenger’s seat.
“Yeah, so did I.” I agreed. “It would be a perfect size for two people.”
“I liked the price of the last one, but it was a bit of a fixer-upper. Fixing the house would be more expensive than just buying one that was in good shape, don’t you think?” Kyle put in.
“Yeah, the first one was a decent price, and there were only a few things that needed fixed, and even those weren’t mandatory.” Haylee piped up.
“Am I the only one that liked the second house the best?” Chris said, smiling.
“Pretty much, mate. You’re on your own there.” I teased.
“Yep. I think that we’ll go for the first house. It’s the perfect size and the perfect price. What do you think, Kyle?” Jackie asked, turning to him.
He nodded slowly. “I think I’ll go with that. But we’ll have to paint a few of those walls a different color. I didn’t fancy that green so much.”
“That’ll be fine. So have we decided?” Jackie asked, a spark of excitement in her eyes.
“The first house it is.” Kyle said, smiling back at her. Maybe they do have a thing going on, but just don’t know it yet, I thought with a sly smile.
I felt Haylee nudge me. “Wipe that stupid grin off your face before someone notices. I think they have something going on too.” She whispered, beaming at me. She had such a beautiful smile.
“Alrighty gang. Out you go!” Jackie called as Kyle pulled into Haylee’s driveway.
“You guys want to come inside or hang out on the porch or something?” Haylee asked.
“Let’s go on your porch and talk.” Kyle said. We all sat on the porch, but there were only four chairs.
I decided to stand and let Haylee have the chair. “Well? Are you going to sit?” I asked when she sat down on the railing instead.
“No, but you are.” She said, tenacity gleaming in her eyes.
“Haylee,” Dan began.
“Dan, sit down.” I could see I wasn’t going to win this argument. I rolled my eyes, sitting in the chair.
“So when are you planning to go back to Ohio?” Haylee said, starting the discussion.
“Probably within the next week. We want to stop taking advantage of your hospitality and get our own place.” Kyle responded.
Haylee nodded slowly. “Well, thank you for yours thoughts, but really, it’s no big deal.” She said, smiling.
“I just checked the calendar today, and we can leave in three days. The car is okay, and we just barely have enough clothes to last us. I can take care of the mover, if you want.” Jackie finished, glancing at Kyle.
“Sure, that’ll be fine. Other than that, we should be all good to go.” Kyle finished, getting up from his chair.
“Yep. We’ll see you off in three days, then.” Haylee said. They nodded, getting into their car.
“We’ll go place an offer on the house, and then I’ll come drop Jackie off.” Kyle said.
“Sounds good to me.” Haylee answered. What now? I thought as they drove away.
I saw Haylee turn to me and Chris. “I think we should celebrate once this is all settled.”
I nodded, liking the idea. “How about a bonfire? I saw that you have a fire ring in the back.”
“Yeah, I like that. I’ll get everything taken care of.” Haylee continued after a bit of hesitation. “So do you guys have anything going on today?”
“I don’t.” I said, liking where this conversation was going.
“Neither do I.” Chris added.
“Well do you want to hang out? I know we’ve spent like the last three weeks with each other and all…”
“No, that would be great!” I said before she could make excuses.
“So where do you want to go?” Chris asked.
Haylee thought for a moment. “How about the public pool? I heard that it’ll get up to eighty-five today.”
“Alright. I’ll be back in five minutes.” I said, hopping into my car. I saw Chris do the same. Quickly, I got back home, threw a swimsuit on, and went back to Haylee’s. Chris was already there, since his house was closer to hers than mine. I saw that Haylee had the same cover up on, and threw her hair up in a bun.
“All ready to go?” She asked, walking towards her car in the garage.
“Yep.” Chris and I chorused together.
“Alrighty. Let’s go then.” We got to the pool in about ten minutes, where we payed to get in and found a spot to lay our towels. When Haylee took her cover up off, I could see that she was wearing a different bikini, and it looked even better than the last. Making sure not to stare, I jumped in the pool before anyone had time to push me in. Haylee followed, along with Chris. We had a fantastic time, with Haylee doing front flips off the diving board and me being too scared to try. We stayed until the pool closed, when we went back to Haylee’s.
“Well, I guess I’ll see you in three days, then?” Chris asked before leaving.
“Sure thing.” Haylee responded. Chris got in his car and left, but I wasn’t quite sure that I wanted to leave just yet.
“Thanks for spending time with us today. It was pretty wicked!” I said once Chris was gone.
“No problem. Hey, why don’t you come in and stay for a while?” She asked, turning towards the door.
“Sure!” Finally, some alone time. I thought, following her into her house. Jackie wasn’t back yet, so I assumed that her and Kyle went out for some alone time as well.
“Alright. I’m going to go up and change. I’ll be right back.” I sat on her stairway leading up to her room. A couple minutes later, she came out of her bedroom.
“Okay, I’m good.” She said, walking into her bathroom and fixing her hair. I walked up the stairs, following her in as she brushed her hair.
“You’re beautiful, you know that, right?” I said, smiling at her in the mirror.
“Well, if I didn’t, I feel that you would make it your own personal mission to make sure that I did.” She answered, her smile growing bigger as she threw her hair up in a bun.
“That sounds like something I would do.” I said, adding, “Haylee, you look fine.” She was trying to critique her hair, making it look beyond perfect.
“You are the most amazing girl I’ve ever met, inside and out. Those kind of people are hard to find these days.” I said, walking behind her and wrapping my arms around her small waist.
She sighed. “Dan, you’re treating me like I’m perfect.” She said, leaning against me and closing her eyes for a moment.
“Well, you are perfect.”
“Far from it. We all have our flaws.”
“I can’t think of a single one of yours.” I said, bringing her closer.
“I have horrible anger issues, and I can’t stand smug little kids that think they know everything.”
“Well, that doesn’t seem to be an issue with the two of us.”
“But they’re still flaws.” She pointed out.
I shrugged. “I have my own flaws, too.”
“Yeah, you’re too good-looking for your own good.” She said, beaming.
I laughed a little. “That’s a massive overstatement.”
“It’s an understatement, to say the least.”
I sighed. “I have no idea how you fell in love with me.”
She turned around, facing me. “Dan, you’re everything I could ever want in life. Now accept it.”
“Not before you accept that you are flawless in my eyes.” I said, leaning in to kiss her. She kissed me back, sending a tingling sensation through my body. It was the best way to top off a great day. We could have a future together: an author and a singer. Were they naturally compatible?
We broke away, only to put our foreheads together. I was about to kiss her again, but she shoved me away, a playful spark in her eyes.
“Oh, get out of here! One kiss is enough. Now go home!” She said, grinning.
I smiled back, teasing her. “Alright, alright. I’ll get out of your hair for one night.”
“Oh I’m sure you’re pretty reluctant about that.” She said, mimicking my accent.
I laughed as we headed out of her house. “Hey, with hair like yours, I’m surprised that all the guys don’t fancy you.” She puffed her bun, making her hair bounce.
“I try. Well, see you in three days.” She said as we neared my car.
I made a face. “Sooner than that?” I asked, hope fluttering in my stomach.
She gave me a sly smile. “We’ll see about that.” I shrugged. I’ll convince her someway. It can’t be that hard.
“See you.” I said, ducking into my car.
Kyle was back by the time I got home, already in the house, sleeping. That night, I fell asleep, but woke up in a dream. Horror sunk into my stomach like a cold stone.
It was the same dream that I had while we were on the road trip, the one where I find Haylee… Dead.