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Authors: Rachael Duncan

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BOOK: First and Last
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jump back to reality when I hear static from my radio. A glimmer of hope courses through my body as I scramble to bring it up to my mouth.

“Does anyone copy? This is Blake Collins and I’m in need of immediate help. Over.”

More static.

I mess with the channels and keep trying to get someone on the other end of my calls. Hell, I’d take a little kid on his walkie talkie at this point, but every time I come up with nothing.

“Okay, think,” I say to myself.

My head turns in every direction, trying to find something that might be of use, wincing as I do. I’m not sure what I’m looking for since I can’t tie a makeshift splint around my legs and magically walk. Nothing is within arm’s reach anyway.

They say the body can do supernatural things under stress. I guess I’m about to find out.

Fuck this. I’ll belly crawl out of this damn place if I have to. Thinking of Mia’s lips on mine for the first time has me determined to get the hell out of here. I will taste her lips and feel her tongue against mine again.

I don’t care what I have to do.

December 2000

o, what’s up with you and Mia?” Xavier asks. He’s our second baseman and the cockiest out of all of us. He thinks he’s God’s gift to women. And for some reason, the girls at our school totally fall for his bullshit lines.

“Uh, n-nothing,” I stutter, taken aback by his random question.

He looks at the other two guys we’re standing with, a knowing smile on his face. “Yeah, right. You guys are inseparable. Everyone thinks you guys have something going on. Plus, she’s hot. You gonna tell me you haven’t hit that yet?” They all start laughing and elbowing each other, but I’m not amused.

At first, my blood boils and my jaw clenches at hearing him talk about her like any other slut in this school. But my anger toward him soon shifts toward my frustration with Mia. She’d given me all the signals that we were on the same page, then turned me down when I acted on it. We’re not even some secret tucked away from prying eyes. We’re just friends. The same thing we’ve been for the last ten years. Well, fuck that and fuck her for leading me on.

“Nah, dude,” I say with a short chuckle. “It’s not like that. I mean, I know she’s got it bad for me. She told me the other day. Tried to get me to kiss her and everything. I feel bad for her, but I don’t see her in that way. She’s like my little sister. And trust me, there’s nothing hot about kissing your sister.” I cringe and shiver to emphasize my point. I’m so full of shit, but what else can I say? Maybe if I repeat this to myself enough, I’ll start to believe it.

They’re all joking around, but I’m not paying attention to what they’re saying even though I’m smiling right along with them. That is until they stop laughing as Xavier pats me on the chest while looking behind me. The smile is wiped off my face as soon as I spin around and am met with the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid eyes on.


She must have been there the whole time and heard everything. She backs away while slowly shaking her head in disbelief as her mouth hangs open. Before I can say anything, she turns around and runs down the hall. Without a second thought, my feet spring into action as I run after her.

“Mia! Wait!” I shout after her, but she doesn’t listen. She keeps running as fast as she can away from me. She makes it to the exit, but I catch her arm before she can push her way through and go outside. “Mia, let me explain.”

“No, let go of me.” She yanks her arm from my grasp, which is fitting since it feels like she’s slipping from my life too. First she pushes me away, then things are weird, now I’m sure she hates me.

I raise my hands in the air in surrender. “Can we just talk?” I plead.

“There’s nothing to talk about. I mean, I’ve got it so bad for you and all,” she mocks me, “so I don’t want to bother you since apparently I’m just your little sister.” She turns to get away from me, but I block her path with my arm.

“Wait a second. You’re the one that told me no, remember? It’ll be weird you said. Well, what the hell am I supposed to tell people when they ask about us?” My hands rise up in the air and fall at my sides in frustration.

“You’re not supposed to make me look like a pathetic loser! You completely humiliated me back there. They were all making fun of me and laughing, and it’s your fault. You made me sound so foolish!” Her face is red with anger, but her eyes well up with tears of pain, and it kills me that I’m to blame.

“Mia, I’m sorry. Please don’t cry.” She knows I can’t take it when she cries.

She swallows hard and stands up taller, pulling her shoulders back and lifting her chin up in defiance. “Goodbye, Blake. Don’t bother calling or coming over anymore. I don’t want to be anywhere near you.”

“What? You don’t—”

“I mean it. If you really cared about me, you wouldn’t have done that.” Without another word, she spins around and walks out the door.

I’m stunned speechless. As she walks away, all I can do is stare at her back with my mouth open. She’s really going to shun me, cast me out of her life for good? If I thought rejection stung, it pales in comparison to how this feels. My heart literally aches and feels hollow. There was such finality to her tone and expression, and that scares me because I think she means it. The thought of not talking to her anymore is paralyzing.

I’m not sure how long I stand there, but the bell for next period dings, bringing me out of my trance. I stumble my way to class trying to sort out how the hell my relationship with Mia got to this. We went from being great to nothing in a matter of weeks. And it’s all my fault because our downfall all started with one kiss.

Thirty-two days.

That’s how long I’ve gone without talking to Mia. The Christmas gift I bought her is still sitting on my desk collecting dust, serving as a reminder she’s not in my life. Lying on my back on the floor, I throw a baseball up in the air and catch it. I repeat this movement over and over as I do everything to keep from looking at the package on my desk. But it’s staring at me, flashing in neon lights, making it impossible to ignore.

“Ugh,” I sigh as I hop up and go downstairs.

“Hey, sweetie,” Mom greets me from the kitchen.

“Hey,” I mumble.

“Are you hungry? I was about to make lunch.”

“Not really.” I lean against the counter and watch her pull out some sandwich meat from the fridge. She turns toward me and arches her eyebrow. I know that look; she wants me to spill.

“What’s wrong?”

I shake my head. “Nothing.”

She walks toward the counter I’m leaning against and sets her stuff down before crossing her arms and leveling me with a look. “Okay, I want to know what’s going on. I’ve left you alone, giving you some space to sort it out and trying not to pry, but I’ve had enough. You’ve been moping around here long enough. Now, I want to know why you’re so upset all the time.”

I sigh and walk into the living room as I respond. “It’s nothing, Mom.”

“Does this have to do with Mia? I noticed she hasn’t been around in a while.”

“Really, it’s not a big deal.”

She comes around with plates for each of us in her hands before sitting down beside me on the couch. “It’s a big deal to me. Now spill or I’ll go next door and get the story from her.”

I want to glare at her so bad, but hold back. “We got into a fight at school and she won’t talk to me.”

“When did this happen?”

“About a month ago.” I don’t tell her I know it’s been exactly thirty-two days. That’ll raise more eyebrows and make her ask more questions. Her eyes widen. I’m sure she didn’t realize it’s been that long. “And before you ask, I really don’t want to talk about it.”

“Fair enough,” she says with a nod. “Have you tried walking over and talking to her?”

I huff out a humorless laugh. “Uh, yeah. Mr. Avery sorta told me to stop coming over.” I leave out the part where he caught me trying to climb up the lattice to her bedroom window.

“Wow, I’m actually kind of surprised Jack hadn’t said anything to me.” I shrug in response. I begged him not to say anything so I didn’t stress Mom out more than she already is. “You need a big gesture then.”

My eyebrows crinkle in confusion. “Like what?”

“Hmmm.” She taps her lips with her finger. “Let me think on it a second.” These are the moments I really miss my dad. It’d be so much easier talking to him about this stuff, and I’m sure he’d know exactly what to do. “Maybe it’s not a big gesture you need, just a sweet and thoughtful one. Do you still have the present you got her for Christmas?”

I nod. “Yeah, it’s on my desk.”

“Why don’t you write her a note apologizing and give it to her with the gift. It’s easier to get her to hear everything you need to say to her if she’s reading it versus trying to talk to her while she’s mad or hurt. She’ll know you’ve been thinking about her and that your apology is sincere, then the ball is in her court.”

I give it some thought, and it’s not a bad idea. Hell, everything I’ve done so far hasn’t worked. What do I have to lose? “Thanks, Mom.” I stand with my uneaten sandwich in hand, kiss her on the cheek, and head upstairs to start writing.


Dear Mia,

I’ve gone over a million ways to say I’m sorry. A million ways to get you to hear and believe me. Everything I come up with seems like a failure, and this might be too, but this is all I’ve got. My hope is that you’ll read these words I write and feel everything I’m trying to say.

I’m so sorry I hurt you. It torments me at night and I can’t get the look on your face out of my head. You didn’t deserve that, and I let my own pride get in the way. Honestly, it hurt to be rejected by you and that rejection turned into anger. It was easier to be mad at the way things were than to accept them and move on. At first I was just going to play it off like I always do when someone asks about us. But the anger got the best of me and I lashed out instead. I’m not making excuses or trying to justify what I did, I’m only trying to make you understand why. Either way, I was wrong.

I’m miserable without you. You have no idea how sad I am because you won’t talk to or see me. I never realized how empty my life could feel until you weren’t in it. I’m asking—begging—you to forgive me. I know I don’t deserve it, but I need you.

I’m sorry.



I fold my note up and tape it to the top of her gift. It’s nothing super special. I saw her eyeballing this nail polish kit thing one day when we were out. According to the box, it’s everything she needs for a professional manicure. It even has these fancy design things she can stick on there. As I said, nothing special, but it made her look happy and I was paying attention.

My feet pound against the stairs when I run back down them. “Mom, can you do me a favor?” I ask when I get to the living room to see she’s still on the couch.

“Sure, what do you need?”

“Would you mind taking this next door?” I extend the box out to her. “I’m not exactly welcome over there.”

A small smile pulls at the corners of her mouth. “Sure.” Without delay, she stands up, grabs the gift, and walks out the front door. There was nothing left for me to do but wait.

BOOK: First and Last
10.27Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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