Authors: Kaitlyn Oruska
Tags: #Young Adult, #adult contemporary romance
The Consequences of Forever
A Novel by Kaitlyn Oruska
This novel is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, locations or incidents resembling real persons, living or dead, or events, are entirely coincidental.
Though Hatteras Island, North Carolina is a real location, the town of Haven is not.
The Consequences of Forever – 1
Written, Edited and Published by Kaitlyn Oruska
All Rights Reserved
All Rights Reserved
This book is dedicated to everyone who sees a piece of themselves in Lainey, or any other character.
And everyone who took the time to read this book.
If anyone would have told me that my summer would start with Adam Montgomery, I never would have believed them.
There were a million reasons why that night on the beach shouldn’t have happened. Hannah was one of the main reasons; I’d promised myself that very day I would stop covering for her and risking punishment of my own when she did things she knew she wasn’t supposed to, and I was going to stop dropping whatever plans I’d made at the drop of a hat for her. I knew this promise was meaningless the moment I made it, but that wasn’t the point. Hannah was both the reason that night never should have happened, and at the same time, the very reason it did. Never had a situation been so true to her personality, before or since.
Another main reason was Scott. I had known for a few months at that point that he’d be going away for a family vacation after school let out, and while he seemed torn up about the idea of being apart for a week, I really wasn’t. I had never been the type of girl that needed her boyfriend’s constant attention to make her feel secure, and a week away from him almost seemed refreshing. We spent so much time together, the three of us, that a week apart was almost like a new beginning, as temporary as it might be.
Of course, I felt guilty for those thoughts the minute they crossed my mind, so instead of setting out for new experiences, I decided to spend the week getting all of my summer reading done and talking to him whenever possible.
School had been over for a week before Scott left for Georgia, to visit his grandparents on his mother’s side. He was close to that side of the family, and excited to visit the farm on which they lived. Not that I could blame him. I’d lived near the ocean my entire life, different ones at different times, but in the end, it all very much started to look the same. The idea of being surrounded by lush green grass and trees and animals that lived on land was almost enough to send shivers down my spine, but I didn’t mention this in fear that he’d suggest I go with them, to which I’m sure everyone would readily agree. Again, guilt.
If I wanted to take on Hannah’s personality for a moment, I could blame this entire thing on Scott. When we first moved to Haven, Hannah and Scott were drawn to each other like moths to a flame, or however that saying goes. The reason why is something I could never really figure out, as they were as polar opposites as Hannah and I are, but I’ve always suspected it was because she thought he was cute. She would never admit to that now, but when you share a bedroom with someone for more than three years, you tend to know them better than they’d like to think you do. Regardless of the reasons, they became instant friends and I became an honorary member of the pact because I was Hannah’s new stepsister, and not too great at making friends on my own.
I had no intentions of going to Nolan Reeves’ party that night. Nolan was the type of guy that you either admired or despised, though I can’t honestly admit that I felt too strongly about him either way. He was the most popular guy at Haven High by default; he was the only son of the wealthiest family in Haven, who all but ran the town. I imagined that Nolan looked at high school as his practicing grounds for the day when he ruled our tiny beachside piece of the world, but rarely paid attention to him outside of these observations. Hannah, on the other hand, fell head over heels in love with him the first time she laid eyes on him. This was understandable, to an extent; Nolan was attractive, with his self-assured smile and his sun-kissed looks. He might have lacked charisma and charm, but he had the looks and a bank account at the age of seventeen that most people worked half their lives for, and that was enough for Hannah.
Not that Hannah is shallow, per se. She just didn’t tend to look past the surface, and had a knack for seeing only the things she wanted to see.
It was Scott’s idea that I go to the party that night, to keep an eye on Hannah. It had been more than nine months since her infatuation with Nolan began, and Scott was worried about what she might do to get his attention. My only concern was that anything she did wouldn’t catch his attention anyway, but I kept that opinion to myself. Hannah might easily be one of the prettiest freshmen-turning-sophomores at Haven High, but that alone didn’t make her Nolan’s type.
So that morning I kissed Scott goodbye with promises to keep in touch all week, and that evening I watched as Hannah spun a story about going to the movies and getting ice cream, and held my breath to see if Nora would fall for it. She usually didn’t; she’d raised Hannah alone until my dad came along, and more or less since, and knew all her little tricks and strategies. But for once, the bed and breakfast was working in our favor, and Nora was too distracted by the last week in August remaining completely unbooked, and simply reminded us to be careful and home by eleven.
The party started at seven, so Hannah and I walked around the block for a good hour before she decided it was time to make our appearance. No one worth seeing ever showed up on time, she informed me, as if showing up an hour late would somehow alert Nolan to the fact that Hannah was, in fact, someone worth knowing. I played along, because I always did, and sent Scott a few texts telling him I hoped he was happy I was ruining a perfectly good Saturday night on a favor to him. He replied that my sacrifice only proved I was the best girlfriend in the world, and within just a few hours, the irony of that single text message would be almost too much to handle.
By nine I was alone in a house too big for the crowd of people it held. I recognized a lot of the kids from school, and others I assumed were from the other high school further south and maybe some from the community college. There were even a few tourists there, visiting with their families who must have stumbled upon Nolan or one of his friends at some point and accepted the offer for a party. I’m not a social person by nature, so when I was sure Hannah was long gone and not going to be looking for me anytime soon, I made my escape.
One of the best things about Hatteras Island, in my opinion anyway, is that anywhere you go, you’re going to find water; the ocean on one side, the sound on the other, and in some places, a canal in between. Haven was the biggest town on the island and right smack in the middle, but there were water views even from the center of downtown. It had a certain peacefulness to it, and the Reeves’ house was no exception, even with the sounds of a raging party in the background.
I took my shoes off as soon as I hit the sand and walked closer to the ocean, cherishing the feel of sand between my toes. There was something about walking barefoot on the beach that compared to nothing else, something both familiar and magical about it. It reminded me of my childhood, age six to be exact, when my dad and I lived in a small beachfront cottage somewhere in Oregon, in a town I could never remember the name of. I wasn’t sure he would remember if I asked, so I never did.
The ocean made its own music as I approached it, soft and yet bold all the same. The moon was full that particular night, and reflected on the ocean, making it brighter than usual. Of all the places I’d ever been, nowhere matched the beauty of Haven at night. I sometimes wished I were artistic enough to capture it in a picture, but I knew better than to try. There were some things that were better left committed to memory and nothing else.
It wasn’t until I reached the water and felt it trickle along my toes that I realized I wasn’t alone. I turned my head slightly and caught a glimpse of him; a tall figure heading towards me, his stride purposeful and direct. He moved closer and caught some moonlight, and I felt my heart race slightly when I recognized him; Adam Montgomery, Nolan’s best friend.
To live in Haven is to know Nolan, and to know Nolan is to know Adam. They always appeared inseparable to me, one rarely seen without the other. While Nolan was the poster child for beachfront, pampered living, Adam was his dark, charismatic sidekick. While the average person’s opinion on Nolan could go either way at any given time, I’d never heard anyone utter a single negative word about Adam. He was just nice.
But all of the kindness in the world couldn’t explain why he was there suddenly, walking towards me with purpose, on a beach when the rest of the world was still behind us, carrying on the night the way they had intended to. Our eyes met and an unexpected shiver raced down my spine, and I instinctively reached for my phone.
“Hey,” he called out to me when he closer, only a few feet away. “Are you alright?”
I wrapped my hand around the phone in my pocket, contemplating my next move. “Yeah,” I answered, releasing my grip and sliding my hand out of my pocket. I doubted Hannah would care much about my current predicament, and Scott was likely in the company of his grandparents, enjoying every minute too much to worry about me, or fast asleep. He had always been the early-to-bed, early-to-rise type, ever since I’d known him.
Adam came to a halt when he was about a foot away from me, and gave me a look so expectant that I wondered if I were supposed to elaborate. “I’m fine,” I added, in case I was.
He nodded. “You left kind of suddenly,” he replied, and I blinked, realizing that I hadn’t even noticed Adam back at the house. But then, I hadn’t really been trying to notice much of anyone except Hannah, and she wasn’t about to be found until she was good and ready to be.
“I don’t do well with crowds,” I admitted, which seemed like an odd explanation, considering there was rarely anything even close to crowds in Haven, even in the middle of tourist season.
Adam nodded, his eyes never leaving my face. “I just wanted to make sure everything was alright. I’m Adam, by the way.” He extended his hand and I accepted it awkwardly, wondering why he felt the need to introduce himself. Nolan never did.
“I’m Lainey,” I replied. “Lainey Winslow.”
Adam smiled slightly, and I felt my heart flutter unexpectedly. He had a nice smile, bright and warm.
“I know,” he said, and I noticed he hadn’t yet let go of my hand. He gave it a small squeeze before finally releasing it, and then glanced over my shoulder at the ocean. “It’s a really nice night, huh?”
I nodded and wrapped my arms around myself, realizing for the first time how chilly it was. “Yeah, just a little chilly for a tank top,” I admitted.
Adam glanced at my bare arms and then quickly looked back to my face. “Want my jacket?” He offered, already starting to remove his signature leather jacket. It seemed like everytime I’d noticed him in the past few, which wasn’t always much, he was wearing it. Hannah claimed he was trying to go for the James Dean appeal, but I’d always doubted she actually knew who James Dean was, so I didn’t take her too seriously.
“No thanks,” I shook my head and held up a hand in protest, but he was already holding it out to me.
“Take it,” he insisted. “I don’t need it.”
Before I could say another word, he was stepping towards me again and sliding the jacket over my shoulders. I slid my arms into the sleeves instinctively, and breathed in; instant warmth and the smell of sandalwood cologne. I wondered if Scott thought to ask Hannah to look after me.
“Thanks,” I said, wrapping my arms around myself and enjoying the feel of the inside of the jacket against my bare arms. It felt like silk, surprisingly. But I’d always been more a hoodie girl, even in the coldest of weather. Anything other than cotton would have felt like a surprise.
“No problem,” he replied, and flashed me another one of those smiles. “Maybe you should check the weather forecast next time you want to take a little nighttime walk on the beach.”
“I usually do,” I admitted. “Tonight wasn’t really my idea.”
“I kind of figured that,” he said. “You’ve never really struck me as the Saturday night party kind of girl.”
I raised my eyebrows, surprised Adam Montgomery had ever figured me as any type of girl. “Why’s that?” I asked.
He shrugged. “You’re on the school paper, right? You interview people when you need to, but you don’t always go out of your way to be friends with them. You date that guy that’s probably going to win a Nobel Peace Prize in thirty years, and you’re Hannah’s stepsister but you act more like her keeper.” He stared at me expectantly, waiting for a reply. I opened my mouth, but then quickly closed it.
“I threw the last part in there because why else would you be here? Your boyfriend isn’t, so it’s not like you didn’t have anything better to do.”
“Actually, he isn’t here because he’s away with his family. And I don’t think I’m Hannah’s keeper. I just…” I let my voice trail off because I didn’t really know how else to explain my presence. I didn’t want to think of myself as my stepsister’s keeper, but it wasn’t like she didn’t give me ample reason not to be.