You Are More [On Hold]

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You are More - Chapter 1

There's a Girl in the Corner

She sits alone in the corner of the library. She is surrounded by stacks of books. This corner is little-used, and she knows this. She is a frequent visitor to this building. Everyone knows her name: Ellie Brass. Anyone passing could see the tears running down her face, the mascara smudged around her eyes. Anyone could hear the gasping breaths she takes. Anyone could see her blue eyes lifting up as though in prayer. 

But no one can see the shame that burns inside her chest, aching to set her cheeks aflame. No one could know where's she's been and what she's seen. She has hidden it well.

A boy walks up to her. He has dark hair and kind brown eyes. She does not see him. She has closed her eyes, allowing her hair to hide her face.

"Ellie?"

Upon hearing her name, she looks up to see him. Her brow furrows in confusion. She recognizes him.

"Josh Holden?" Her voice is thick from crying, and it cracks when she says his last name, but he smiles kindly at her.

"What are you doing here?" she asks, gulping.

"I'm here for you," he replied. His voice is gentle and soft and it causes her to break down further. He wraps his arms around her. She offers no resistance. He strokes her hair, resting his chin on her head.

"Ellie, what's wrong?"

Apparently, this turns out to be a wrong question, because she sobs harder.  One hand clutches his shirt, but he doesn't seem to mind. He simply continues to stroke her hair and hold her. Eventually, she calms down.

"I- I... How did I get here? How is this me? I'm not who I once was, you know," she sits up and leans against the bookshelf behind her, like Josh has. 

"What do you mean?" It's his turn to furrow his brow in confusion, "Ellie, never in all the years I've known you, have you changed. You're still open and friendly to everyone, and ... still beautiful." Ellie sniffs. 

"Thats nice and all, Josh, but it doesn't change anything. I just- I can't."

"Ellie, I know we're not close- I really don't think I've talked to you since Junior year- but you can tell me anything.  I'm here for you." The redheaded girl rests her head on his shoulder, and his arm drapes around her. He nearly doesn't hear her response.

"Thank you."

"For what? Aren't your friends doing the same?" She shakes her head, sending her locks flying.

"I can't tell them anything. They're great for a hoot and a party, but... not for serious stuff. Nothing like this," she admits carefully. 

"Really, you can tell me." He glances down at her. She looks up, her eyes sparkling with residual tears.

"And- I thank you for that. I just- I need some time. It's just... I can't right now, y'know?" He nods in response. She places her head back on his shoulder, and he leans his head down to rest upon hers. 

"Ellie- would... nevermind."

"What?" He knows she is not one to allow people to leave sentences unfinished. He curses himself internally for beginning the sentence.

"Would you like to... go to a movie with me?" he whispers into her hair. He feels her shift and look up at him. He sees her smiling- a little one that tugs at the corners of her lips.

"Of course. When?" He scrambles for a date momentarily before speaking.

"Tonight?" he suggests. The glowing morning sunlight lights upon her hair, setting it aflame. Her shame is forgotten for now, she can no longer feel it eating away at her. Her face brakes into a grin. She can't remember the last time she had a date. 

"I'd love to," she hears herself say. She watches him grin and pull her into a hug before drawing back to their original position with her head on his shoulder and his arm around her. She smiles to herself as she realizes how much she likes laying here. She forgets her fears and scars and worries. And then it all comes rushing back- the terror gripping her heart where God's hand should be, the concern twisting in her stomach, the scars clouding her mind. 

A single tear falls. It glows golden in the light before dropping into her lap. 

"You know, I've transfered schools twice?" She says lightly, "The first time, it was for my dad. He got a new job, and we moved across the city. Fifth grade. Then, I met you in sixth grade, in middle school. I made friends, I knew almost everyone... I fit in. You remember how it was. There wasn't really any bullying. No real bitches or anything. And then- after Sophmore year. That summer. There was... this boy," her tears begin to flow again, and Josh's arm tightens around her. He says nothing. He senses this is not the time to interrupt.

Her sobs are punctuated by hiccups as she shoves away the tears flowing from her eyes. 

"I-I-" Her lips roll in, defending her thoughts from the outside world. The sobs become more frequent, until they are nearly one. 

"I-" She cannot even manage more words now, she is hiccuping and sobbing and sniffling all at once.

 She brushes back her tears again in a desperate attempt to stem the flow. Her shaking fingers wipe under her eyes, smearing thin black streaks onto her fingers as well. Josh's arm tightens, almost like a protective movement. In this moment, Ellie is relieved. He does not know. He does not understand. But maybe one day he will. Maybe one day she will tell him. Maybe someone would stay with her.

"Just-I-Don't-" Her words are gasping and sighing all at once. A tightness is gripping her chest, squeezing her lungs, preventing air from escaping or entering. Her throat is raw and scratchy. The only real thing is the pounding of thoughts, the flowing of pain, the warmth of Josh's arm.

"I won't leave," Josh whispers. Ellie glances up through her eyelashes, taking in his face.

"I promise," he murmurs into her hair, hugging her into his side. His arms are strong and warm, and she feels safe for the first time in... a long time. 

 {A/N: Hey, guys. I've had this saved as a draft for a very long time. Please let me know if you notice the tense changing, because I have a tendency to begin writing in past tense.

So, I'd really love to hear from you about this. Really. I know you'll assume someone else will, but truth is? Everyone else will think that, too. So just do it! Take the initiative and do it. It's much appreciated.

I wasn't going to write an A/N, but ended up thinking I needed to.

Ellie hasn't given up any of her secrets. Yet. Stay tuned to hear their stories. :)

Thanks again!

~J/S} 

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