Chapter 1: The Beginning
The white net swigs back and forth as the ball makes its way down the court. I watch with haunted tired eyes as he picks it up, dribbles once more, aims, and shoots.
He never misses.
I feel his frustration, his weariness eating away at him.
He rubs his hair back away from his sweaty face, then approaches a different ball to take another shot.
The roar emitting from his chest shakes my cold body to the core. Lying on the ground flat on his back, Brian covers his eyes with his right forearm. His legs swing back and forth as his breathing begins slowing down. I don't know how long he's been at this, but judging by how exhausted he is, how tired he seems, it's been a while.
I watch him for what feels like hours and when he finally stands up and begins collecting the balls, I shrink behind the bleachers even more. He doesn't know I'm here, I don't want to be here, but can't help the pull he has on me.
I never could.
He comes closer and closer as he makes his exit from the gym and it takes everything inside of me that I have left, not to go to him.
The pain I have caused him is too severe. His broken heart is mine to repair, and I make my note now, to do just that.
I thought today would be the day.
The day my life would technically begin.
I'm being melodramatic, but that's what any other seventeen-year-old girl thinks when she applies for over fourteen colleges but the one she wants to get into more than any other one, the one she knows her dreams will come true in, happens to be the only left to reply to her.
Alas, I checked our mail as soon as our mailman, Henry, pulled up and with a shake of his head, I headed back inside.
Henry knows what to look out for.
Mom told me to stay positive, that if it were taking this long, then it must be a good thing. No one took forever to say no.
I have a lot riding on my acceptanceejection letter from Boise State University. Not only is the medical program one of the best in the country, but it's one of the only colleges where I can get my degree and begin my doctrine for medical school in the same place.
There is another reason for Boise State being the college of my dreams that surpasses all the others.
My boyfriend. My best friend. My-- well everything.
He has already gotten his letter, but we all knew that he was a shoo-in since he got a full athletic ride.
Brian is what you call amazing in the sport of basketball. The entire country was out to recruit him. He chose Boise State, like me, the one college he has always wanted to get into.
Being in Varsity basketball since his freshman year has given him a legacy even though he wasn't here in Cheyenne.
Brian moved out here our junior year and from day one, has never left my mind.
- - - - -
"So, anything happen to come into the mail today that I should know about?" I smile at Brian's lack of being subtle.
We are sitting on my bed in my room. The door is open of course, but we wouldn't do anything even if it were closed and we were alone. Well, not much anyways.
My parents have always had a great respect for Brian. Jim and Sophia Dorent were hooked on Brian the same time I was. A few days after he came to our town and was introduced to us by our economics teacher, he took a small liking to me. I say small because I thought he was merely trying to get into my pants. So, naturally, I wanted nothing to do with him. He would show up at each of classes to walk me back and forth, drive me home after school, and even veer off any of the stupid pranks people still played on me.
My parents were swooned, since I hadn't had a friend beside Mona, that Brian was looking out for me. So, when I explained that were dating, they were ecstatic. I wasn't necessarily popular at school. The unfortunate thing about our town is that people here, grow up together. I was classified as a nerd when I was in grade school and it stuck to me, automatically making me the human pariah of high school. People made fun of me, pulled pranks on me, and were all out rotten to me. Mona always stuck by my side, and now that I had Brian, whom himself was extremely popular, it was slowly diminishing. No one wanted to mess with Brian Davis' girl.
"No, unfortunately nothing to report. I did get junk mail declaring me a millionaire though."
"Aww, that stinks. But hey, great on the million. Could I borrow some of that money? Been wanting to buy a zoo."
"Like you need it." I snicker shoving his shoulder.
We are both studying. Finals are this week and although we both know we will be high school graduates in just two short months, it gives us a reason to spend some time together.
"It's not like it's my money. My parents are wealthy, I just so happen to be the offspring." I smirk at his joke.
Brian's family is wealthy, but he doesn't flaunt it often. It took a few weeks after we began dating for me to demand he take me where he laid his head down at night. Each time he would make an excuse of why we couldn't go to his house. From his parents were out of town, to his mom had just had neck surgery. There was always something. When he finally did take me, I was shocked. Brian didn't live in a house, he lived in a mansion.
I didn't let it show though. His wealth didn't necessarily bother me. I wanted to be perfect for him, which in turn meant I wanted to be perfect to his parents. They may be wealthy, but they raised Brian and his younger brother Jonathan right. His father is a little hard around the edges, but they treat me and my family well.
"Soon though." I pause at Brian's random train of thought.
"Money. Soon I'll have my own money that I can buy a car with, a house, and your dream wedding with." A cheesy smile grows on his handsome smug face and I lean into kiss him. He does that. Talks about our future like it's a mere hop skip and a jump away. Which I suppose in a way, judging by mailbox stalking tendencies, that it is.
Brian's lips are the same as they were on the first day he kissed me, back in our junior year. Back then, I thought he was like all the other students and pulling a prank on me by the way he was hanging on to my every word and spending as much time with as possible. I was in the middle of telling him off when his lips crashed into mine.
"What was that for?" He asks smiling up at me. If I had my polaroid with me, this is the time I would take a picture. This moment is surreal.
"You guys want some dinner?" I hear mom call out from downstairs. Brian and I pull away from each other and call down to her at the same time.
I look over to him with a questioning look. Brian does not turn down food. Ever.
He is six feet one, weighing two hundred pounds. He has light brown hair and dark brown eyes. He is tall, muscular and can eat like a garbage disposal. That was another the reason mom loved him so much. Mom is Guatemalan and comes from a country and heritage where you eat anything and everything. Having only two daughters that are picky about her food, gives her drama a power boost, but when Brian is here she inclines to overcook because she knows he will eat enough for all of us.
"You're not staying for dinner?"
"Can't. Mom wants me home by six, not sure why but she said her and dad need to talk to me. We're going to go to the old Pizza Factory in town." I cringe when he tells me that.
"Yeah, I know. Mom's idea. Her and dad have been getting worse and now I think she is just trying to put on a front for Jonathan." I nod my head in agreement.
Brian's parents aren't in the best marriage. His father and mother love each other but I think it's been a while since they have shown each other that love. His mother is an agent and his father a lawyer. Most of their clients are still in the Pittsburgh area where they are from, so between traveling between the two states, they are extremely busy. Brian's little brother Jonathan, who happens to be the same age as my younger sister Chrissy, while only ten, can definitely feel the tension. I think this is an attempt at showing both boys that they are still a family dynamic.
"Doesn't necessarily have to be a front, but I get what you're saying. Want me to walk you out?"
"How else am I going to get my kiss goodbye?" I roll my eyes and take Brian's offered hand off my queen-sized bed.
"Heading out there Brian?" Dad calls from his favorite armchair in the living room.
"Yes sir, Mr. Dorent. I'll be by tomorrow though."
"Oh yeah, that's right. Sunday is your guys traditional date day, right?" We both chuckle at dad's attempt at naming our day.
Since Brian and I have begun dating, we have made sure Sundays were always available. Saturday's gave him his chance to be with his friends and hang out with Jonathan, and my day for catching up on my newest book or hanging out with my family.
"That's right. By the way, we still on for next Friday?" Dad stands up and slaps Brian on the back.
"You betcha kid. See you then." With that dad take his growling stomach into the kitchen to no doubt hover over mom picking at little scraps inside the dishes she is slaving over. In a moment, we will hear the unmistakable sound of her spoon hitting his hand.
"I forgot you made romantic plans with my dad for next weekend." I smirk at him rolling his eyes.
"I'm sorry Jolie. It's just that-I think he's the one for me." I laugh at his puppy dog face as he looks away.
Brian and my father have gotten very close over the last year and a half that we have been together. Dad has always been a huge sports fan and his biggest dream was for either Chrissy or I to one day marry someone that could either put him on the fifty-yard line, or courtside seats. They planned a fishing trip out to North Platte River.
Meanwhile, mom, Chrissy and I are using some time for ourselves and going into mom's floral shop to help with a large order she has.
"So, I'll see you tomorrow?" I nod my head and lean in to kiss him when he puckers up for me.
Brian leaves and I walk over to the kitchen. Mom and dad are laughing at something and mom turns when she hears the scrape of the wooden chair from me plopping down.
"Still no letter mija?"
"No, I really thought it would have come today."
"Maybe you should not expect it, then maybe it will come." I shake my head at another of mom's random rules of life. She has a million of them. Like the fact that we have to line up at the door in order of age when we go out as a family. Don't ask me why. We all learned to just go along with it.
"Cheer up il moroso. It will come when it comes. You haven't even graduated high school yet." I roll my eyes at dad's Italian for calling me sweetheart.
"Why don't you go up and call Chrissy down for dinner Jim."
"Or I could stay here and love on your food some more." Dad says attempting to eat off mom's stirring spoon.
"Oh no you don't mister."
"You guys are grossing me out." I yell out as they start kissing each other and dancing in the kitchen to some imaginary song.
Mom and dad have always been this way. Mom ran away from home when she was eighteen and came to the United States. She came from an abusive home and met dad and his parents. Dad is full blown Italian and very proud of it. He came to America when he was twelve and has always been in love with the country and their sports. Mom doesn't mention her past much to Chrissy and me. Although it has been over twenty years, the pain is still very much there.
"You've got a room, use it." Dad calls out while attacking mom's neck.
"Alright, I'm coming downstairs, are they decent yet?" I hear Chrissy call out from the top of the landing.
"Nope." I shake my head when mom giggles and calls him naughty.
"Mom come on, I can smell your empanada's. It's not fair." Chrissy calls out.
"Alright, alright we are all done. Come on down Chrissy." Dad says walking over to the table. He takes his seat and Chrissy takes hers across from him. Once mom sits, we all link hands, send a prayer and dig in.
After dinner, I walk over to the living room and yank the remote from Chrissy hands before she could turn the channel.
"Sorry, too slow."
"Jolie Isabel, give your sister the remote back. It's her turn to pick the movie anyways." Mom says placing down homemade Guatemalan sweet cakes.
I reluctantly pass the remote back to a now grinning Chrissy. She sticks her tongue out at me, causing mom and dad to laugh. I take my seat on the short side of our too big for the living room sectional. Dad and mom plop down on the longer side, and Chrissy sits in dad's rocking chair.
Chrissy picks the movie I knew she would, the one that has dad and I groaning when the title shows. Sleepless in Seattle begins and I inwardly want to claw my eyes out. Dad and mom tried their hardest to conceive after I was born and although it took longer than they wanted, mom ended up getting the girly girl she always wanted me to be.
I took strongly after dad, my love for sports, my admiration for anything that has to with the outdoors, and of course my temper, although dad swears I get it from mom. Chrissy is the complete opposite. Soft spoken, genuine and girly as a daisy in the spring time. She does have a knack for electronics and a little of our families temper as well though, I once saw her punch a German Sheppard in the face when she was five.
"Jolie, your phone is ringing." I snap out of my thoughts and glance up at the top of the staircase.
I stand up and head upstairs to my room to retrieve the phone. By the time I get there it stops ringing and I glance at it seeing Brian's name flash across the screen as a missed call. I look at the time and notice that he should still be out to dinner with his family. I immediately try calling him back, but it goes straight to voicemail.
Something tells me operation fake it, didn't go as well as Sharon Davis was hoping. I'm getting closer with Brian's mom, and she did let me in on the diner being something she was trying hard to show Jonathan that he still had a family that loved him. Despite their bickering.
I try again another three times, but the same thing happens. I decide to settle and leave him a message telling him I'm sorry I missed his call and hope everything went well tonight even though I am sure that it didn't.
I head back downstairs and see Chrissy engrossed in the movie while mom and dad are both asleep. I tell her goodnight knowing I will be next if I continue to succumb to the typical romance movie she put on. Right before I head back up a knock at our front door sounds, waking my father and mother.
Dad gets up and walks over to it. He releases a sigh when he looks into the peephole and turns back over to me. I don't understand what is happening until the door opens and I see Brian's dispirited face on the other side. I subconsciously begin moving toward him while I hear my mom call out that they are going to bed, and she will lay some blankets out on the couch for Brian.
His arms move around me as our embrace connects. I can feel anger and frustration radiating off him. It's an unfamiliar feeling and I know he didn't intend to come here tonight, but just like my walking over to him was subconscious, something tells me his visit is as well.