Can a man who's warm understand one who's freezing?
- Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
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I tied my hair into a loose bun and grabbed the keys to my bike.The colour of the sky was a gradient of blue and red with sunlight streaking through the early morning sky.I rode around the lake where the water shimmered with a hue of silver .I would call Belgrave woods the most beautiful town if it weren't for my unpleasant memories from when I lived here.It's been 7 years since I left town.The day after tomorrow was the 100th day celebration of the town's founding and being a close friend of the mayor's, we received the invitation for the event.
I didn't have many friends back then , probably because I was bullied throughout my childhood by some of the meanest boys I had ever met. They made it their life mission to torture me, constantly mocking me for my scrawny appearance .They were the reason I had to leave ,particularly one person who ruined my chance of ever falling in love again, Noah Stone. He was the one who bullied me most yet he was the nicest of them, quite contradicting actually.He mocked my appearance till junior year, but somehow in senior year we became friends.
I had joined a boot camp that summer to structure my body.I hated feeling insecure just because a bunch of kids thought they were better than me.Somehow I felt better after I returned to school after summer .People stopped harassing me for my height and shape. Girls started acting nice to me because I looked liked them , hourglass body and brunette hair but without makeup.But none of them surprised me as much as Noah .Every time that I cut him off rudely ,he took no offence ,instead he would come back the next day and pretend like nothing happened.
"You tormented me for 7 years Noah, and suddenly you want to become friends?I can't help but believe there is more to that"
"Whether you believe me or not Sky ,I've changed for the better , for you"
I remember blushing like an idiot when I heard him say that. I shared a lot of happy memories with him but the last words he said to me hurt like hell.It hurt because it mattered ,he mattered, he was my best friend ,my first kiss.
As I was reminiscing the past , I hadn't noticed that my hair was out of its bun and fell into curls reaching my waist.A strong breeze blew at the exact moment and my hair flew across my face blinding my view of the road and lost my balance . I would've definitely hit the ground if it weren't for an ear splitting horn which caused me to pull the bike to halt before I fell. I quickly composed myself and pulled the hair out of my eyes.
My breath hitched in my throat as I looked at the person who almost killed me.The world had come to a standstill while we stared into each others 's eyes and I whispered, "Noah",and everything blacked out.
NOAH'S POV (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hLQl3WQQoQ0)
I couldn't look away from her not even when she fell off her bike.She was devastatingly beautiful . Even after all these years she had an effect on me.I broke out of the trance and pulled her away from her bike and onto my lap.
"Sky , wake up .Look at me",I tried to wake her but no avail , she lay still .I picked her up bridal style and took her to my car.I hoped she was staying at her old condo because I didn't know where else to take her.When I pulled up in front of her house, a wave of nostalgia coursed through me.I shook my head off the thoughts and lifted her from the seat.
Before I raised my hand to ring the bell for the second time , her mother opened the door and the expression on her face would've made me laugh if I wasn't carrying her conscious daughter.
"Oh my god ,Hope ! What happened ?Is she alright?"Mrs.Rhodes asked aghast and I placed Skylar on the couch.
"She fainted ",I whispered and released a breath I didn't know I had been holding.
"She fainted while she was riding the bike?That seems very unlikely",Mrs.Rhodes said giving me accusing glance.
"I almost ran her over with my car ", I sighed.
"I should've known coming here was a bad idea.Its only been 6 hours since we came and you already tried to kill her"
"I didn't try to kill her ,she lost her balance and almost ran into my car Mrs.Rhodes"
"What is the commotion all about Lily ?Why are you yelling ?",Mr.Rhodes chided Skylar's mom as he came down the stairs.
"Ah ,Noah, well I must say I am surprised to see you here.Any idea why she is yelling?",he asked jokingly.
"He almost tried to kill our daughter " her mother snickered.
"Kill Skylar? Am I hearing that right Noah?"
"She almost crashed her bike into my car,Mr.Rhodes.I would never try to hurt Sky .I think its time I leave",I murmered defeated.
"Yeah it is",Mrs.Rhodes .
"Noah , wait ",Mr.Rhodes called out as I slid into my car.
"I am sorry you had to deal with her early in the morning.I bet whatever it was ,was not your fault.I know you wouldn't hurt her intentionally "
"Thank you for believing me Mr.Rhodes"
"Its okay Noah. I can understand"
We both nodded our heads simultaneously in understanding and I left after we bid goodbye.
SKLAR'S POV (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8v_4O44sfjM)
I woke to the sound of someone yelling and realised it was my parents , which meant I was at home.Had I just dreamed about almost colliding with Noah's car?It seemed very realistic though.I cascaded down the stairs to break up whatever argument they were having.My stopped her screaming once she realised I was there .
"Are you alright Hope?Did he hurt you?",my mom checked for any injuries.
"Oh enough already Lily.He helped her and you are accusing him", my dad whined.
Him?So it wasn't a dream. If it weren't for Noah's ear splitting horn I would have crashed his car."Mom , stop it he saved me .It would've worse if it wasn't for him , speaking of which where is my bike?" I asked dubious.
"I don't know , you tell me ",my mom glared at me.
"I think its near the lake, thats where I ran into Noah .I have to go get it"
"No young lady ,you are not going anywhere .The sun going to set soon and I don't want you outside after dark "
"But mom I have to get my -..","Just let her go already Lily.We are here to relax and celebrate , don't be so uptight.Be back before 8 kiddo",my dad said pushed me towards the door and I ran out of the house before my mom could say anything.
I jogged to the lake .I found my bike on the footpath and picked it up .I couldn't help but think about Noah, the way he stared at me through those adorable brown doe eyes.I rode to the park where we had spent a lot of time as love-struck teenagers.The park was deserted save for a few dogs barking aimlessly.
I sat on one of the swings and tried to recall the good memories, but I was reminded of the evening when hell broke loose in this very park.Noah's best friend ,Jake detested me from the bottom of his heart .He was the one who had been manipulated Noah into bullying me, not that he didn't torment me himself .It was hell with both of them agonising my childhood.
I was pulled out of my thoughts when I felt a hand wiping away the tears that were rolling freely down my cheeks.I opened my eyes to find Noah's gentle brown eyes peering at me with sorrow.
"Noah ",I breathed and swallowed the lump in my throat."Sky, please don't cry.It pains me to see you cry",he pleaded.
"Its not your problem Noah, just let me drown in misery .You would love to watch that won't you?"
"Don't talk like that Sky , I would never want to watch you in pain"
I scoffed at how incredibly ironical it was,"Its Hope , for you Noah not Sky ,you've lost that previlege long ago".
His hand captured my wrist forcing me back on the swing."Let me go Noah", I said through gritted teeth.He strengthened his hold on my hand.I pulled away and slapped him across the face.Hard, and he let go of my hand.
My face stung .I deserved that slap, I mean I had it coming , didn't I ?She would've never left if it weren't for Jake , my so called best friend who broke us apart.He knew how much I loved her , yet he wanted what was mine.Jake had been my friend for a long time and I had always listened what he had to say because he always said things which so much confidence that I wouldn't want to deny it.Thats probably why I had bullied Sky.
From the time senior year started ,I started following Sky like a lovestruck dog and eventually convinced her to be friends with me.Somewhere along the way she also began developing feelings for me .It was evident form the beginning that we could never be just friends ,but she agreed to hang out with me because of my relentless attempts to friend her.I was sure I was in love with Sky , how could anyone not be?I had made it very clear to Jake ,but he would always try to convince me otherwise.I didn't understand it then but I did on prom night.
I still remember that night vividly.The prom was held in the park ,because of the nature theme.He'd been filling my head negative things about Sky ,that she was only pretending to like me to take revenge and even though I tried to ignore somewhere deep in my heart I feared it was true.Jake had schemed it so perfectly .He made it seem like Sky had forcefully kissed him while I was away getting drinks .I walked in on their passionate embrace ,the same time Sky shoved him .
"I warned you, Noah" he said breathing heavily.As a 17-year old, the only person I trusted was Jake and he had already manoeuvred into thinking Sky was doing it for revenge so I had no choice but to believe him.I ignored anything Sky had to say and instead said a lot of hurtful things .I didn't even stop running until I was far, far away from the park.
Later when I realised the truth , that Jake had been in love with her too , it was already too late .The damage had been done and I knew I had lost her .The next few weeks after prom went by int he blink of any eye and she left town immediately after graduation and I had no way to contact her.I had been waiting along time to apologise to her and tell her that I regret not listening to her.I even tried to search for her when I learnt that she was studying in NYU ,but my efforts were in vain.
"Sky ,wait ", I cried but she rode her bike as fast as she could.I ran after her, I was not going to let go of the last chance I had.
"Look out," I yelled , but it was already too late .She rode over a big rock and lost her balance .I was immediately at her side and helped her stand up, but her knees gave out and I caught her before she fell again.
"I don think its a very good idea to ride your bike after this",I said half-jokingly.
"Very funny Noah, you can let me go now .I can stand on my own"
"You sure?",I asked concerned.
"No ,I think I am bleeding ",she said truthfully .That's when I noticed that blood dripping from her elbow .
"Oh shit! Your mom is going to kill me this time for sure",I couldn't help but ramble.
I expected her to say something snarky or sarcastic but she caught me by surprise when she laughed.She genuinely laughed until tears were falling from her cheeks and then she started sobbing .
"I am so sorry Sky .I know I have no right to say that , but I am truly deeply sorry for what I said that night"
"I can't say I forgive you Noah, you caused me a lot of pain .All of it won't vanish immediately because you're 'genuinely sorry', she said with air quotes.
"Just take me home , I'll tell my mom you didn't have anything to do with me falling.
"Yeah , about that I didn't bring my car , I walked here .I remembered that I had left your bike in the morning , so I thought I could ride it to your house.So we're going to have to walk.I am sorry "
"Yeah you already said that . At least bring my bike ", she requested.
"Sure , I'll walk you home .Come on",I offered.
We walked in silence till we reached her house and she bid me goodbye with a smile which immediately caused butterflies to erupt in my stomach and at that moment I knew that there was still a chance for us.
The next day I built a believable story as o how I fell from my bike. My mom was still not convinced but my dad was sure there was to it than what I had been letting on. So, eventually I told him what had actually happened and he smiled,
"He still loves you , you know?"
" I am not so sure about that dad",I said honestly because I still loved him despite everything, but I wasn't going to forgive him easily.
"Anyways , the celebrations start from 5 and it will end at midnight .So get ready ,kiddo"
I put on the black dress I had purchased for the celebration .It was a sleeveless dress that reached my ankles with a few sequin patches decorated over the chest area.I felt proud of my selection.I let my hair loose and put on light makeup highlighting my eyes .
The celebration was being held in the park.I decided to walk this time because I didn't want my unfortunate bike ruining my dress.It was already 7 in the evening when I reached the park.Everyone's eyes were on me , and to say they were shocked would be an understatement. All the people who had criticised and tormented me in high school were dumbstruck on my sight.
"Hey , its okay ", I heard Noah say as he stood behind me .I turned around to look at him and damn did he look good in that black clad tux and I stared at him for longer than intended.
"Take a picture it will last longer",he said as he pulled out his phone and clicked a selfie.
"Everyone's looking at us ", I said ,my voice barely above a whisper.
He put a finger under my chin and turned my face to look at him,"Believe me, they are looking at you", and he was right , everyone was gaping at me , some with joy and some with jealousy.
The rest of the night carried on smoothly filled with excited chatter and laughter, but nothing could distract mr from Sky .She looked incredible in that black dress.
"Care for a dance?", I offered my hand to her
"Maybe",she said accepting my hand.
Electricity coursed through my body and I felt like a kid on Christmas night.
"Does this mean you forgive me ?", I tried my luck.
I was surprised when she replied,"Maybe, but I still hate you"
I chuckled at her answer and said "Oh dear Sky , we both know that's not true"
She stilled in my arms hearing my answer and peered at me with eyes, those once again dazzling eyes.Her blue eyes reflected the stars and she parted her lips at a loss of words.
I took this as my chance and leant down to capture her lips with mine .She didn't respond at first and I was afraid I had ruined us once again.
"Sorry , I thought ...", before I could finish she grabbed by collar and kissed me .
"You have no idea how long I've wanted to do that ", she said her mouth hovering over mine.
"Likewise ", I said and kissed her again.A loud round of applause broke out and we pulled aways from each other. Both of us were grinning like idiots."I love you ",I said catching her by surprise.
"I love you too", she aid catching totally off guard, then she put a hand under chin and said "maybe", and we both broke into fits of laughter and I knew we were endgame.It was meant to be.