As quietly as I could, I slipped the front door and closed it softly behind me. It was six o'clock and the island was asleep. The only sound I could hear was the birds singing their beautiful songs from high above, yet when I looked up, I couldn't make out any movement from them either.
I was out early because I hadn't yet found out if there was a dance studio on the island, and running was about as close to the freedom of clearing my head that I could get with the beat of the music pulsing through my body.
Yesterday, when Luke had walked me home again, we steered away from the topics we had uncovered earlier and just talked about anything and everything else. But the time we arrived at my Dad's front door, I felt as if I had known him forever, and by the look in his piercing hazel eyes, I think he felt the same.
We stopped speaking, and before I gave myself the chance to think about why it was a bad idea, I reached up, put my arms around his neck, and hugged him with everything I had. He held me close, and we stayed like that for a long time. When we let go, he said, "See you tomorrow?"
I smiled. "I'd ask for your number, but there's no point because there's,"
"No reception," he finished. "So instead...?" He thought for a second. "Oh," he realised. "I'm working tomorrow. Mum rostered me on from ten till five."
"Then I'll come to the hotel sometime," I said. "I'll need to anyway to find out when I'm working and what I'm doing."
He grinned. "Tomorrow it is."
"Deal, " I smiled.
This time, when I wasn't expecting it, I walked through the front door to find my Dad standing there, arms crossed, glaring at me.
I sighed. "I'm sorry," I said, though I wasn't really, not even close.
"Where the hell have you been?" I could tell he was fighting to keep from yelling. He'd figured out that wouldn't scare me anymore.
"With Luke," I said. "He showed me around a bit. Tomorrow I'm going to go to his parents hotel to find out my work shifts and stuff."
His face was growing red. "Luke Fallon?"
"Yeah," I said stubbornly, glaring back at him. "Have you got a problem with that?"
"I've got no problem with him," Dad said. "But I do have a problem with you running off whenever the hell you feel like it!"
"You're using the word hell a lot," I screamed. "How do you think God would feel about that? Since you suddenly care!"
"That is enough!" he yelled. "I am sick and tired of the way you've been treating me."
"Don't you dare!" I shouted back at him. "Don't you dare lecture me about how to treat you. Not after the way you've treated us."
And so it continued on from there. Obviously, it wasn' a very pleasant conversation. Or I wouldn't have needed to clear my head running at six in the morning when everyone else around me was still dead to the world.
I ran along the main road, trying to pretend I actually could. It was a massive joke. I was a dancer, not a runner. I tried to remember what they told us in primary school.
Breathe. Breathe. In through the nose. Out throught the mouth.
Scrap that. It didn't work. In through the mouth. Out through the mouth. That worked better.
Then I realised that wasn't really breathing. It was just panting for air.
It turned out I couldn't run for more than five minutes straight, so I gave up and walked. That didn't distract me at all, so I started running again. It was a ridiculous pattern. Walk, thoughts leak into my brain, run to escape them, nearly die of a heart attack, walk to save myself.
By the time I'd circled the only places I knew on the island twice, it was seven-thirty. I was sweaty, I was hungry and I was in desperate need of water. I'd had enough.
I walked back along the main road, breathing heavily. About 200 m from my Dad's house, I spotted a roadside memorial. Old flowers were tied to one of the many native palms that surrounded the road and below them, was a plaque and a newspaper article.
The plaque read;
The sun emits his warmth
The waves express his strength
The wind conveys his whisper
The sand his silent footsteps
He lives forever in the hearts he touched
Jake Jonathon Fallon
10.1.1988 - 24.1.2010
"Oh god," I whispered. "Please no."
I bent down and picked up the black and white laminated newspaper article. The title screamed at me: