The words on the page sprung to life.
They whispered allusions into my ear, I found myself lost in, as visuals danced across my mind. In these visuals, birds reached high enough to cross the stars in the sky, as the moonlight's gaze kissed below the sun, while they swapped places. It was the perfect picture drawn like a painting in my head.
I pulled my blanket over my shoulders and bent further down until my head nearly touched my toes. The pain in my spine was starting to spread, but I couldn't care less. I had only five pages left to read. There was no use in stopping.
I flipped to the next page; my eyes straining to read every last word. Whatever was happening around me, simply came off as background noises. The room was just the way I enjoyed reading—in silence.
It took a couple more ping's, for me to realize the noise wasn't coming from inside, nor was it apart of the image in my head. Furrowing my eyebrows, I straightened my posture and looked around, searching for the source of the sound. When I didn't find it near my bed, I stood up and made my way across the carpet. That's when my eyes landed on the white piece of paper pressed against the window across from mine.
Can you wait for me in the backyard?
As I read the note, the fight to keep the smile off my face, became harder. Once more, I read his note before nodding and running for my shoes. I could see movements in the corner of my eye, telling me he was doing the same.
"Mom, I'm going in the backyard!" I ran past her room, shouting.
"Okay! Don't stay out there past 9:30!" she shouted back. As always, I obey her rules. Besides, we were only going to sit in the backyard as usual. It was our designated hangout spot. Nothing was better than that, especially if I was with him.
"Have you gotten slower?"
I raised an eyebrow, turning towards the voice. There, his body sat on top of the tree branch near my backyard fence. A toothy grin shone across his face. The familiar head of low-trimmed black curls wasn't unusual to see nowadays, since he'd been coming over more often lately. If anything, seeing his curls made my day.
"No, I think you're just half monkey. You climb faster than the average human." I climbed up the tree, joining him.
"You know, there's a word for your observation. It's called, hmm, I don't know . . . being athletic." Reece laughed. I sent him a hardened stare and shoved him. His body flailed back, eyes widening in shock. I had to stifle a fit of giggles so he wouldn't think I did that on purpose.
"Hey! Are you trying to knock me off the tree?"
I shrugged. "I guess you'll just have to find out."
Hearing this, he scrunched his face uncomfortably and winced. "I'd rather not."
A welcoming silence overcame us, as we allowed the night to overlook us. The moon shone beautiful as always, whether it was full, halfway developed, or crescent. What made it more beautiful was the way the moon reflected off our skin complexions, that way I could see every inch of Reece even in the dark. We were nearly the same in skin tone, perhaps he was just a bit lighter than me. Caramel toned, black curls, and dimpled—the same way he appeared every day. Gently, I kicked my feet back and forth, gazing up at the sky.
"You're out here late tonight," I said.
He didn't say anything, only repeated my movements. I already had suspicions as to why he's called me outside going on nine at night. Reece's mother and stepfather often have celebrations for a numerous list of reasons. Birthday parties, family get together, or just for the hell of it. Family events can be fun. I for one, enjoy some of the family events my mom has. But if my mom needed to be wasted every time just to survive the night . . . I think I'd leave my own home to.
"It's only been an hour"—he let out a hard laugh—"that's a new record for her."
"Reece. . ." I frowned and tilted my head. His eyes dropped to the ground, staring at the grass as it swayed slightly from the wind.
"Is she okay?" I asked.
"The hell if I know." He shrugged. My frown widened. I already knew what that meant. His stepfathers' side of the family is treating Reece's mom like shit again. I had never been able to figure out why they treated her that way. And neither has Reece. All he's ever told me is, they don't like her. Which isn't a clear nor justifiable reason to pick on her. Meanwhile, his stepfather sits back and watches everything play out as if he has no say in the matter. Reece claims Stephan doesn't have a backbone because of his actions.
"I don't know why she tolerates Stephan's family bullshit. I mean, is his love really worth all of that? For God's sake, his mother basically insinuated she's a whore in front of his entire family last month just because my mom has been married twice! Isn't that humiliating?"
I could only sit back and listen as Reece went on and on. My family is small, and so are my family problems. So, I wouldn't even begin to understand what he was going through. It's always been my mom and I, as well as a few uncles and aunts from my dad's side. I've never met my father considering he died before anyone found out I was conceived. My mom often told me stories about him as a child—how he joined the army, battled for our country overseas—all the good stuff.
"Hey, are you listening to me?"
A nudge in my ribcage brought me out of my thoughts. "Huh?"
Reece rolled his eyes and flicked my forehead. "You doofus."
"Holy shit!" That was the last thing I heard from Reece followed by a thud, and a few more groans of pain. In a hurry, I climbed down, running towards the back of the yard where he fell.
"Oops. . ." It was hard not to laugh. I guess I'm not aware of my brute strength after all. . .
"Whenever I feel my legs again, I'm going to make you wish you were never born. . ." Is what it sounded like he said. But his groans were causing his words to come out incoherent.
"In that case, I'm just going to. . ." I stepped back cautiously, putting some distance between us.
"I swear to—Hope! Hope!" I ran as fast as I could. The last thing my eyes caught was him trying to balance himself on his feet. By the time I opened the back door, he was already chasing me down.
"Hey, what's going on out here you two? I could hear the commotion all the way from upstairs through my window!"
"Mom! He's trying to kill me!" I shouted, hiding behind her leg. Reece nearly caught onto my shirt, grunting in defeat when he could barely retrieve a thread. With a cheeky smile, I stuck my tongue out at him.
"Oh, for the love of"—she simply shook her head—"Hope, apologize to Reece."
"Hey! Why me?" I scoffed.
"Because he wouldn't be trying to kill you if you didn't do anything to him. Don't you love a mother who knows her children well? Well, one child, and a child who thinks he's my child. I mean, he basically lives in our backyard, so I can't complain." She shrugged.
Reece laughed at her response. I rolled my eyes, but stepped forward, obeying her rules once again. After all, it's all in the day's fun, no harm meant. At least, that's what my inner conscience always told me to believe.
And I did.
YOU ARE READING
Follow Me Home ✓Teen Fiction
Hope Cohen has always been one for adventure, no matter the distance. But her time of adventuring comes to an end when Reece Hilton is suddenly no longer referred to as her best friend; just the boy next door. Now, three years later, only cold night...