I peered through my eyelids to see the sunrays coming through the window above me. The walls were filled with army plaques. Their golden accents shimmered and the blue walls gave away a cool aurora. I twisted on my side, imagining what lay outside in the western lands of Montana and the events ahead of me. I wondered where Aaron was going to take me and if I could go to school with him. The thought that Aaron and I had one week left together only passed over my mind.
I turned over to look at the clock. It read seven-thirty. The door made a short squeak and the carpet shuffled underneath it. My head jerked around to the door. A hand snaked around the door and then Aaron's head.
He slipped through the doorway. He was wearing jeans with a green and yellow tee shirt that had his school monogram, a Ram, on it. His hair was messy but still fell in the right place. His soft, puffy lips were rosy and his brown eyes were softer than ever. Aaron glided over to me. He sat down on the bed and moved a strand of hair away from my face.
"Hey Beautiful," he whispered through a smirk.
My eyes were weak and I had to strain my face to keep them open from the exhausting day yesterday. I beamed and let out a big yawn.
"I just wanted to say g'bye before I left for school. I'll think of something to do afterwards."
"School?" I asked.
"Uh huh, I'll be home at four."
Mrs. Marshall called for Aaron in a distant room.
"I gotta go. See you later." He kissed me on the forehead and walked to the door. Then at the doorway paused, as if he remembered something, then turned back around "I'll talk to the principal today to see if you can come tomorrow. I might have to lie, ya know, for reasons and such. I'll fill you in on everything tonight."
I propped myself up supporting myself by my shoulders up and smiled. My golden hair tickled my shoulders. "Cool," I whispered.
He smiled again and then left the room.
I fell back on the bed. I did not want Aaron to go to school. I had not been able to be with him since Saturday. I was desperate to be with him and I felt weak. I drifted back asleep for an hour wondering what everyone was doing, if Blondine was up yet, if Mike was okay.
I finally woke up enough to get out of bed and I headed into the hallway. It was lined with glossy oak wood which led to a living room. Off to the side was a counter with bar stools, a kitchen and a formal dining area with a table and chairs.
My mother and Blondine sat at the bar eating the breakfast that Mrs. Marshall had prepared. The breakfast on the stove looked like omelets. My stomach was empty since the last thing I ate was dinner at the airport, why did I have to dislike eggs so much?
"Good morning Holly," said Mrs. Marshall. She acted, quite cheery for practically losing her son. "Did you sleep well?"
I sat down at one of the counter stools. Blondine greeted me cheerfully and my mother drank her coffee.
"Yes, I did."
"What would you like in your omelet?"
I looked at the choices; tomato, many different colored peppers, carrots, and bacon. Bacon was the only thing I liked so I hoped its flavor would cancel out the nasty eggs.
As Mrs. Marshall prepared my breakfast, I asked where everyone else was.
My mom replied. "Mr. Marshall and your father went down to the hospital to check on Mike. His surgery went fine." Then Mrs. Marshall went on to explain that Mike will come home on Wednesday and will not be going to school for a few days, at least until his strength is up.
Blondine smiled. I knew what she was thinking. She knew she would get to spend more time with him then I would with Aaron. I was trying not to be jealous. He said I could go to school with him; he just had to get permission.
I felt I was in for a boring day unless I went into town with Blondine. I decided to go take a very long shower after the nauseating breakfast and visit the town.
As Blondine and I stepped out onto the Marshalls' porch, the non-humid air was warm and soft on our cheeks with a slight breeze that danced through our hair every now and then. The mountains that jutted out around us were a sandy brown with a few trees sprinkled about the flat lands. The sky was the bluest sky I had ever seen.
We walked down the porch and down the gravel driveway. At its mouth, a road went two ways. To our left it twisted into a woodsy area and disappeared through the mysterious unknown brush. Opposite, the road led, long and twisted into the minuscule town.
When Blondine and I reach it, we were amazed at how everything had a western motif to it. The town was only two blocks and it consisted of a Library, a video store, a custom cowboy hat shop, a few restaurants, a candy store, an ice cream parlor, and antique shops strewn all through. The sidewalk had a carved bear on the corner. However, the corners did not have stop signs. The town folk were very generous; if they saw a person on the corner, they always stopped to let them cross. The ground was dry with dirt instead of grass.
The candy store lured Blondine and me inside. As were entered we were awed by how a tiny room was filled so limitless with every kind of sugar form imaginable. Rows of jars stuffed with candy and chocolate. In fact, jelly beans took up an entire aisle.
After buying a years supply worth of candy for ourselves, and some jelly beans for Mike and Aaron, Blondine and I settled down under an umbrella licking our ice cream. The air felt tender on our shoulders as we watched cars wiz by from their owners on lunch break. The ice cream melted quickly from the heat and as we tried to keep drips in the cone and off our hands, Blondine touched on a subject that had not touched me much."So did you see Aaron this morning?" she asked.
"Yeah, I did. He's gonna talk to the principal 'bout me visiting his school for a day."
She looked at me with a blank but serious stare. It made me feel uncomfortable because she was acting extremely serious and I never liked having those conversations with her. "You really like him, don't you?" she asked
"Well yeah, I mean, he's really cool." My voice trailed off into a tone that seemed uninterested.
"You know you only have until Sunday to be with him."
Blondine had done it. She opened the thought that I was trying to shut away until I had to think about it.
"Yeah, well, we both know it's going to happen…"
I got slightly angry. Why did Blondine have to bring this up now? It was such a perfect afternoon.
"Well what about you and Mike?" I asked, returning the spotlight on her. "You two are in the same situation!"
"Mike and I? We don't have what you and Aaron have."
"So that means what? You two were just having a fling?"
"Well, he was so hot, how could I resist? I just wanted a date to the dance." She looked down at her melting ice cream. "Then when he parked his car at that park, and we took a walk, the minute his hand touched my cheek, I fell in love, but I knew he was leaving the day after the next, and I held back. Besides, some of Josh's friends are cute." She went on to explain that when my parents called hers to invited her to come with us that she loved him. When he got shot, she held back again realizing that it would not work no matter if he lived or not. Innocent flirting turned into a mess. She said that she never meant to fall in love with his charm and fine physique, but love does funny things. Blondine confided that she thinks Mike loves her more than what she can return.
I asked her why she was so happy about the fact that he would be stuck at home for a few days. She said she was not happy that he was bedridden. She was glad he could not do anything because of his wound, so she would not have to hang out with him and it would be easier on her.
I thought that was pretty cruel but, if that was truly the way she felt than so be it. "So what are you going to do when you're ditching Mike?"
Blondine looked at me as if she should be more innocent than she really was. "Well we found stuff to do today and we may get to visit Aaron's school."
"We?" I thought. I wanted this just to be me going, but she was inviting herself along and I could not ignore her. However, Blondine was going to be a third wheel. I wanted to be with Aaron. Blondine was right, time is running out and I wanted to spend every second possible with him, alone.
Blondine and I brought back some candy for Aaron and Mike when we returned at 3:30. When I got back to the house, I splashed my face with cool water to wipe away the sweat. Then a pulled my hair back off my neck.
Aaron got home at the time he said he would. He greeted me with a kiss on the cheek
"I missed you today," I said. My arms were around his neck as his were around my waist.
"I couldn't stop thinking about you all day," he said.
We stared at each other for a moment then he said, "Go get yer swim suit."
I smiled knowing that he had something cool planned and a sudden giddiness hit me. I ran back into the room and to my suitcase. As I was about to run out, Blondine stopped me.
"Where are you going?" she asked.
"Oh, uh Aaron told me to grab my suit."
"Ooh, exciting," she said in a sassy tone. "By the way, it was kinda low of me to bug you about you an' Aaron. It's not really my business."
I smiled. "It's alright." I hugged her then dashed down the hallway.
Aaron and I went down the spiral staircase to their basement.
Downstairs, there was a boat, an SUV beside Mike's mustang, two four-wheelers, fishing equipment, and all sorts of outdoor supplies.
"Aaron went to a refrigerator and pulled out a cooler. He placed it on the back of a four-wheeler next to a duffle bag.
"I got everything ready this morning," he said. "I didn't want o waste any time. My teachers always assign me a weeks worth of work a night. But I knew I couldn't concentrate if I didn't get spend time with you."
I smiled. Aaron was one of the most charming guys I had ever met. He always new just how to compliment me.
He reached toward the keys, but before he could reach them, I put my arm around hi. He paused for a moment, and then realized what I was trying to do. He turned towards me ever so comforting. He came eighty percent and I came the rest.
His lips were soft and delicate but still firm and full of life, just as the first time in the back of Mike's car. Making out relived all the stress from not seeing him.
When we finally let go, he started the golf cart and we drove p the hill. The trees surrounded us and every so often we saw a deer lurking within them.
Aaron pulled off into a clearing in the woods. In the clearing, there was a picnic area and a brown shack over a stream. The sun created shadows through the trees. The natural sound of water played in the background of the birds chirping.
Aaron got off the four-wheeler. "There's the hot spring over there," he said, pointing to a brown shack.
The ground was cool and moist under my feet.
We changed into our swimwear and dunked ourselves into the earth natural hot tub.
"I talked to the principal today," said Aaron. "Said he couldn't allow you to come in unless you were doing something educational."
My heart sank; I was never going to be with Aaron. I hated putting myself through this. "So I guess we won't be together much?" I did not want to lay the guilt trip on him but, I was so upset.
"No, but I told all of my friends about you. I'm having them meet us at Abba Java tonight."
"Yeah, it's a club that my friends and I like to go to. The bands from school play there. You'll like it."
"It sounds fun."
"Yeah, and Blondine can come too. Oh, and I have some great news."
I looked up at him, hoping that his school was going to be closed for a day for any reason.
"One of the varsity players sprained his ankle on the basketball team, so the coach is putting me in the championship game!"
"Oh my gosh, that's awesome!" I leaned over and kissed him.
He chuckled and said, "The game is this Saturday, you'll still be in town."
We stayed in the pool for an hour before we headed back to his house.