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Authors: Kristina M. Rovison

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BOOK: Pieces of a Mending Heart
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Luckily, my next period is a free one, so there really is no need for a pass. With no teacher to report to, and no wandering eyes watching me, I make my way into the back courtyard, far more lavish than that of any
public
school I’ve ever seen. I walk somewhat sluggishly into the garden and sit down on a concrete bench, putting my head in my hands. I haven’t been seated but a minute and those strange, yet utterly familiar, prickles start working their way up my spine, raising the tiny hairs that cover my skin.

             
“Are you stalking me?” a sultry voice says, coming from above me.

             
Immediately, my gaze shoots up, looking for the source but seeing nothing except the leaves of a large oak tree. Still seeing nothing, I look all around, standing and turning in a complete circle, utterly mystified.

             
Then, a low thud alerts his presence behind me, and I turn to see Tristan standing in the garden. With the flowers and sunlight surrounding him, he could be standing in Eden. The thought hits me like a massive boulder, literally sending vibrations from my head to my toes, covering my body in goose-bumps.

             
Why hadn’t I thought of this immediately? Was this boy my angel? The angel the Lord himself promised to send to me? But, God said I wouldn’t expect my angel to look like an angel, and Tristan is the epitome of perfection, in my eyes. These feelings of peace- these prickles, the ridiculous longing to be close to him- seems so natural, but foreign. It feels as if my body is on autopilot, acting of its own accord and living my life without me really having any say, which I’m not so sure I like.

             
But, if Tristan is my angel, wouldn’t there be some sign? Other than the strange feelings I get around him…? Those could be hormonal nerves, activated by actually talking to a devilishly good looking boy. Having little association with the opposite sex in recent months, I seem to have forgotten what a reasonable reaction
to a
hot
boy is. I’ve never felt this way around anyone before, not even the one boyfriend I’ve actually had.

             
The silence begins to lengthen, and Tristan’s brow furrows. “Are you alright?” he says, voice laced with anxiety.

             
Great…now he probably thinks I’m psycho. Staring at him like an idiot, stop it!
“Yeah, sorry,” I answer, but to my dismay, it comes out breathless.

             
He sits down and takes a bite of a green apple, wiping the juice that seeped from the side of his mouth. I notice a scar running along the back of his wrist before he sees me watching and lowers his arm.

             
“Where were you just now?” I ask, shaking my head in an attempt to clear it.

             
He smiles a small, sweet smirk that sends my heartbeat into a frantic rhythm. He smiles even more when he answers, “In the tree… you don’t have very good eyesight, do you? I was literally right above you and you didn’t even see me,” he laughs lightly, the sound bouncing through my ears, filling my heart with peace.

             
I cannot help the smile that spreads across my lips when I respond. “I wasn’t expecting to find you lounging in a tree,” I reply, sarcasm dripping from every word.

             
Keep your eyes open, Katherine, because he is not an angel in your sense of the word…

             
The sentence plays through my head in fast-forward.
Please, God. Show me if this is right. I need you to show me if this is him
. I silently say that prayer twice in my mind, sending it, filled with hope, to Him.

             
Not a second later do I see the image of a blonde haired boy in my mind; combing through the medicine cabinet, sobbing. Just like in my dream from the previous night, I watch as he swallows the handful of pills before sinking to the floor, clutching a picture frame close to his chest. However, this time I can see his face perfectly. No longer shrouded with a hazy cloud, I can see that it is Tristan, cowering on the floor, tears soaking his hair- which was shaggy and much blonder. This time, the room doesn’t fade to black. Instead, I watch a ghostly image of myself kneel down beside him, stroking his hair back from his face as three onlookers watch me sob with him.

             
I gasp, coming back to the present. Tristan is still sitting before me, not having shifted an inch from his position on the bench. Looking at me, still smirking, his eyes dance. “Expect the unexpected, Miss.
Prince
. Isn’t that what Mr. Morrison told us today? Or where you too busy daydreaming during his lecture,” he teases, voice refreshingly light.

             
I gape at him, mouth open like an imbecile. Well, if I asked for a sign, I guess that was it. It felt like I was in the bathroom with him for hours, watching him sob on the floor. But it must have actually been mere seconds…

             
Was that the future? Is that what I’m seeing? No, I looked like my sixteen-year-old self in the vision, and it felt like I was watching something from the past, as if my internal clock registered a change in time. He looked slightly younger in the vision, but not by much. Seconds tri
ckle by and I continue
to stare at him, trying to comprehend the confusion swirling inside me. I don’t want to be confused. I want to understand, to make it better. But what do I know about rebuilding? If anyone needs help, it’s me. My mental state is not at its peak, and if my vision was from Tristan’s past, then he needs stable people in his life.

             
Best solution to a problem you don’t understand- ignore it and deal with it later, something my parents have taught me well over the years. So, I close my mouth, look away from Tristan, and sit on the pebble-filled ground.

             
“Don’t sit on the ground, Katherine. Here, I’ll move over,” Tristan says, making room for me on the bench. When my name came from his lips, my body tingled, sending a surprising shiver up my spine.

             
Wordlessly, I move
to sit beside him on the warm concrete, heated by the sun. Its rays hit me in the face,
blinding my eyes
until I turn
my head and
the uncomfortable brightness i
s diminished, thanks to Tristan’s head blocking the s
un, shielding me.

             
“Thanks,” I say quietly.

             
“Anytime,” he re
plies
. “So, what did Mr. Morrison have to say to you? He’s usually the in-your-face type of guy.”

             
“What did you mean? When you said it was your first day back?” I asked, avoiding his question while asking one of my own.

             
He shifts farther away from me
and the blinding sun struck me wi
th its ferocity. Again, he moves
, blocking it once more.

“I transferred schools for a while, trying something new,” he says with a wave of his hand. “I didn’t seem to fit in at the other place
, so I came back here,” an almost nonexistent
chuckle escapes him as he goes quiet agai
n, and I feel reluctance soak
through the suddenly thick air.

             
It is in that moment that I feel his insecurity, his distrust;
obviously
he’s hiding something. Not telling the whole truth and flat-out lying are just about the same thing in my book, and I loathe liars. My entire family has been a l
ie: the perfect suburban couple,
daughter ivy-league bound, the son “away" at a prestigious prep-school.

             
The façade tire
s me just thinking about it; that
“perfect
suburban couple” rarely spent more than an hour with each other a day and they never slept in the same room, let alone the same bed. Their son was not at
some swanky prep-school, but rather
residing at a boarding school for mentally unstable/troubled youth in Canada. Recently, he got out of that “hell hole,” which David liked to call it. His life was on a steep incline as he moved to Los Angeles and began to rebuild himself. His parents, my parents, deserted him when they couldn’t deal with h
is weakness. “His selfishness i
s unacceptable,” I once heard my mother say.

             
David was anything but selfish. One may argue that suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness, but I beg to differ. Suicide is the easiest way to spare those around you from the heartache of having to live with a person like you in their lives; at least, that’s what I once thought about it. The discussion I had with God gave me a drastically changed opinion.

             
“I’m assuming you dislike your parents,” I say boldly. His sarcastic smirk is my answer. “Well, we have that in common.”

             

Parent, not plural,” he states, emotionless.

             
He looks down at me, blue eyes shining,
radiating a type of sunshine of
their own. Who needs the sun when his eyes emit such a powerful light? My vision couldn’t have been true; this boy in front of
me was so strong. His eyes speak a thousand words his mouth does not say; they speak
of t
umbles and triumphs and
sparkle with acumen
. These are
not the eyes of a
rambunctious
teenage boy. These are
the eyes of an old man, their wisdom adding depth to eyes you felt like you could drown in.

             
“But, really? You dislike your parents?” he asks
, tone sounding genuinely surprised. His emotions, however, gave him away. I knew he already knew this about me- the animosity I felt towards my parents. He was humoring me with his polite questi
oning
and a part of me wonders why he bothers
with the pretenses.

             
“Hey, look! The psycho found himself a new friend,” a dark skinned girl called towards us from across the garden, having just walked out the back door. At first, I thought she was talking about me, but then heard the girl say “himself” and realized she must be talking about Tristan. I look at him, confusion knitting my brows together. His face is blank, and other than the slight hardening of his eyes, I would have thought he didn’t even hear the girl’s harsh words.

             
She giggles
, suddenly surrounded by three other girls and two boys. “Hey, Tristan! Who let you back in town?” a redheaded girl called out, laughing along with the others. I shot them daggers, warning them with my expression to leave immediately.

             
They all looked at me like I spouted three heads, a subtle expression of shock crossing their faces. “Looks like she’s not interesting
in making friends
,” says
the dark skinned girl. “Le
t’s
go,” she turns
, the other girls and boys following her back inside the school.
             

             
I feel t
he tingles again and turn my head back to Tristan, wondering what he’s thi
nking. His expression now seems
afraid, eyes dull but still reflecting silent panic. “Sorry about them, they’re-”
he cuts himself off and brushes
his hand along his neck.
             
“I get it,” I say, looking for a way to ease him of his weariness. His eyes flash to mine, suddenly fille
d with unmistakable dread. I feel
it invade me, like an unwelcome sickness, drowning me in its syrupy bubble. “There are people like them everywhere, Tristan. The cliché pretty-girl-gone-bad types are easy to spot a mile away,” I say in an attempt at lightening the mood, but the words come out heavy and forced.

             
“It’s not that simple,” is his reply.

He looks down, playing with a string on the cuff of h
is leather jacket. Looking at him
now, he looks like a
bad-boy, the kind preacher men warn their daughters to stay away from. The kind big brothers pummel for even looking at their baby sister. The kind mothers pray their daughter won’t show a liking to. Thank goodness none of those people are around me, because there is no way I’m giving up Tristan now.

*
* *

             
Later that night, I’m sitting at the kitchen table, watching Aunt Rachel cook/dance around the kitchen while singing AC-D
C terribly off key. The radio i
s blasting, her feet bare and jeans too
tight. What’s funny is that I’m
actually doing my homework; I haven’t done homework i
n months. I smile at myself and nod my head to the beat of “Highway to Hell,” which really isn’t a pleasant song if you listen to the lyrics.

BOOK: Pieces of a Mending Heart
4.33Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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