Cassie stared out the classroom window with a sigh. Her fingers picked at the golden charm bracelet on her wrist. Today was the day it all happened so long ago. It was the anniversary of what could have been.
“Cas,” she could remember him calling her name. “Wait up!”
She kept on walking. He’d blown her off again for someone else.
“Cas,” he wined. “Don’t be like this.”
Cassie rolled her eyes, turning around on her heel to face him. He was so hot on her tail that he almost ran into her when she stopped. Cassie frowned and pointed out a finger to his chest. “I swear, Alec, I’m this close to hitting you.”
“You’d hit me?”
“I’d love to.”
Alec smiled. “Tough girl, are we? Oh, you’re toast.”
Cassie narrowed her green eyes. “So, that’s what you see in Erica?” she said and began to walk toward her locker.
“Erica’s just a friend,” he said, following her. “She’s not my girl.”
“‘Your girl?’ What kind of delinquent talk is that?”
Alec threw his head back in laughter. “So that’s what you think of me.”
“I think a lot of things,” she turned to open her locker. “You don’t know the half of it.”
“I’d like to.” He said a little too quickly.
Cassie shoved her books into her locker. “Yeah, well, you apparently want to know what every other girl in this school is thinking too,” she said, slamming her locker shut. “I gotta go.”
Cassie remembered not looking back to see the expression that was on his face. She couldn’t bare it.
The final bell rang and Cassie gathered her books to head home. Her house was a short distance from school in their small now, so walking was her favorite way to get to and from school. She liked the breeze that carried the scent of cherry blossoms in the spring. She liked he freedom of letting her mind wonder as she walked through the same park every day to get home. One time she even let Alec come to the park with her, she let him enter her safe place.
“This feels good.” He whispered to her as they laid under the trees.
Cassie took a deep breath. “I know.”
They had brought a blanket to sit on while they watched the clouds that afternoon. Cassie remembered feeling how near he was. Their heads were side by side, arms touching, feet tangled together. Her safe place was nothing compared to how he made her feel as she laid next to him. She could feel his warmth in the fall chills and she could smell his hair in the dry air.
“Why did you bring me here?” he asked.
Cassie shrugged. “I thought it would be nice.”
“It is.” She could hear the smile in his words.
They picked out animals and shapes the clouds. They found unicorns and hearts, Alec even managed to find a dragon. But, for the longest time that day all they did was lay there together. They didn’t speak, didn’t move, they just enjoyed each other’s company on that small piece of temporary paradise.
Thinking back on the good times made Cassie’s chest hurt. She and Alec were never perfect, they just were. He seemed to help her live in the moment, which was hard for her. He had always helped her get out of her shell, he made her feel safe when she did.
“Here,” he had said. “It’ll keep us close.”
Cassie looked down at the bracelet that he had just put on her wrist. It was golden and had golden charms dangling from it. Some of the charms were a book, a sun, a rose, a moon, and her favorite seemed to be the little golden heart with her name engraved onto it.
Cassie held back tears. “Keep us close,” she looked down. “So, it’s decided, you’re moving four thousand miles away from me.”
He grabbed her face, making her look at him. “Only until I turn eighteen, then I’m coming back for you. In two years, I promise.”
Cassie grabbed his hands, taking them off of her. “No, I don’t want you to feel obligated to come back for me. You’ll make a new life across the ocean and forget about me. You’ll meet somebody else and get into trouble with her instead of staying safe with me.”
Alec grabbed her arm. “Cassie, no. I want you. I… I love you.”
She gasped. She squeezed her eyes shut so she couldn’t look at him when she said it. “You don’t! It’s over!” she yelled and took off running. She ran and ran all the way home. It was for the best. She didn’t want him to live the next two years worrying about her. She wanted him to live and have fun where he was going. She didn’t want to burden him.
The next two years had been a lifetime to Cassie. Most days she forgot to think of him. She wondered if he forgot to think of her too. Cassie spent so much time thinking about Alec on her way home from school, she didn’t even realize the duffle bag in the middle of her sidewalk that lead up to her house. The next thing she knew she was falling face first toward the cement. Before she hit the pavement she felt someone catch her waist.
“Watch what you’re doing there, Cas.”
Cassie didn’t even have to turn around to know that he was finally home.
“I love you too.” She whispered and hugged him so tightly that she promised herself she’d never, ever let him go.ns 188.8.131.52da2