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KIDNAP MY HEART by Maaja Wentz

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Amelia's head felt heavy as she scanned the road ahead, ready to switch to low beams if another car approached. She was driving home late Sunday night from her high school friend Kushi's cottage. Their reunion weekend had been glorious beside a sun sparkled lake, except it made her feel so single when she couldn't find a partner for cards, and when romantic pairs went out in the canoe, or when couples snuggled around the campfire. When it was time to divvy up the rooms, the couples expected Amelia to sleep on the couch. No sleep for the wicked, or the single. Between the campfire enthusiasts coming in and out of the house for beer until the wee hours of the morning, and the mosquitoes they tracked in with them, Amelia hardly slept Friday and Saturday nights.

How different things had been the previous year when Amelia was seeing Drew. Although her new beau made a lame excuse and stayed home, the simple fact she had a boyfriend took the sting out of sleeping on the couch. None of the couples' private jokes or frisky business in swimsuits made her feel lonely, and when it was time to leave she had smiled in anticipation. A year ago, the drive home along this highway brought her to a man who loved her and a warm bed, instead of a cold one.

As if on cue, fat drops splattered her windscreen. The sky was truly black, the stars and moon hidden by heavy clouds. Rain increased until it pelted down, a challenge to her wipers at the highest setting. She was tired, and she wanted to be home already but there was a tough drive ahead. Amelia kept her low beams on, scanning the road for crossing animals. It would be just her luck to hit a deer, although they were more common at dusk, right around the time Kushi and Amelia started washing the dishes.


"So what happened to Drew?" Kushi sponged a mug with soapy water.

"We drifted apart. No big deal." Amelia lifted a dish from the drying rack, rubbing it vigorously.

Kushi winced. "You have to give guys a chance."

"I do." She stepped to the table and clattered the plate onto the stack of clean ones.

"You let them take you out, but you never let them in," she said. "When was the last time I met one of your dates?"

"We're not still in high school, okay? I don't need to bring you my boyfriends for approval."

"You think nobody's good enough because they're not Keith."

"Don't exaggerate."

"You say you're over him, but are you?"

A lump rose in her throat. "Where does this sugar bowl go?"

"Oh Honey, I hate seeing you like this." Kushi stepped toward her, arms open.

The sugar bowl slipped out of Amelia's hand and shattered. She knelt down, frantically gathering up the pieces. "I am so sorry."

"Don't worry about it."

Blathering more apologies, Amelia went to grab a broom and dustpan. When she started sweeping, every stroke of the broom was like a shout in her head: Of! Course! I! Am! Over! Him! She had a string of recent boyfriends to prove it.

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