Author: RichelleBrinkley PM
"When she thinks back to that last winter they'd spent in England, she can still remember the way his damp eyelashes had brushed against her cheeks, and how he tucked that one white wildflower so carefully behind her ear." Post-graduation.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Angst - Georgia N. & Rollo - Chapters: 5 - Words: 9,814 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 2 - Updated: 12-30-12 - Published: 12-03-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8760989
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Word Count: 1,989
Rating: T, for language
AN: Three things you need to take into account before reading this story:
i) This was formerly named Ponderings, but has been renamed Wildflower. This also has a companion piece already posted, called Pinprick. You'll need to read that before reading Part IV of this story, if you haven't already.
ii) This story has considerable time lapses and flashbacks and the such. I'm sorry if it gets confusing. The line breaks indicate a period in which a flashback period occurs, and the dot breaks are breaks within that period. There are also switches in POV quite regularly, although most of it will be in Gee's POV.
iii) No flames, please. I mean it. You'll find out why as this story progresses through the chapters (it is not your typical Gee Nicks story). Keep an open mind and trust me when I say that this is a lot better than anything else I have written for this category.
Please just give this story a chance. You might just be surprised (it'll probably be more obvious why I'm saying this when you read parts 2, 3 and 4).
Warnings: Language, but not too much - mostly there's just extremely poor knowledge of the American public transport system and school terms, weather and life in England. I also have absolutely no knowledge of lake-houses or lakes.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson, they belong to the lovely and fabulously funny Louise Rennison.
PART I: TO DROWN
Never in a million years would she ever have guessed that she'd end up like this.
By this, she means New York. Living in New York.
Everyone, everything she's ever known has been left behind in England – Jas, Rosie, Angus, Libby, Dave...
These years abroad have been lonely at times, despite the hustle and bustle of the never-asleep city. Many a time she's been plagued with homesickness, and even more so, the urge to pack up her bags and return to the chilly, familiar streets of her hometown in England.
But even though she struggles, the bills too high, the work too hard and the days too rushed, she can't say that she regrets it. Life in New York may be slightly too fast-paced for her and hectic, but it is full of brighter colours and louder noises than there ever had been back in England. The food is better, the people friendlier, and best of all, the fashion is more than spectacular.
This new life almost fits Georgia Nicolson very well.
Every day after work (she works as an underpaid fashion columnist for some shitty, lesser-known newspaper), she takes the subway home to Brooklyn, to her small, airy apartment, and to emptiness. There are still far too many unfilled rooms and corners despite it being almost three years since her move – she still needs to scrounge up the money to buy some more furniture.
Usually, she'll watch TV or take a nap, waiting until as late as possible before reluctantly dragging herself to the kitchen sometime around 7pm to start on dinner before her housemate gets home.
Oh, her housemate? She'd left everyone from her old life back in England. Well, all with the exception of one.
Every day after work, Rollo will catch the 6:45 train home to his shared apartment with Georgia, occasionally taking time beforehand to buy her flowers or chocolates because he knows she loves it when he does.
Most nights, he will find her sprawled lazily on their tattered, second-hand couch waiting for him, her attempt at cooking dinner smoking or burning or half-thawed in the kitchen. She has never been a great cook, but Rollo thinks that it is sweet that she tries. The fire alarm gets a good workout, anyhow.
Every day without fail, he'll kiss her on the cheek before rushing to save their dinner (if possible), and going into their shared bedroom to change out of his work clothes before sitting down to eat (although sometimes Gee follows him in there and they don't emerge until late evening, usually because she's eager to help get him out of his work clothes, and her undressing him always leads to something else).
It is a completely unexpected, yet completely convenient and conventional lifestyle that both Georgia and Rollo have absolutely no qualms whatsoever regarding their living situation. Neither would ever entertain the idea of returning to live in England, not when they'd had their taste of New York.
How they had ended up there though, Georgia cannot decide if it is a story of pain or of happiness, of loss or discoveries. Perhaps it is all of those things.
Because it had all started with a kiss; a stolen kiss, a kiss that was never meant to happen and never should have happened, but it did.
And despite all of the hurt, the tears and the heartbreak, Georgia will forever be grateful for that one, lake-salty kiss.
The winter of December 2011 was a time that changed them all – some for the better but others for the worst. They had all graduated high school several months prior, some with better scores than others (Jas, namely), but they'd all graduated nonetheless. Georgia cannot remember a time when she has been in higher spirits, the thought of never having to spend another day in the confined brick walls of Stalag 14 uplifting.
After graduation, they naturally decided that they needed a vacation. By they, she means the Ace Gang and Barmy Army. Georgia would've loved to go somewhere exotic and relaxing like Hawaii, or romantic and picturesque like Paris.
But somehow, they end up at the rather average lake-house owned by Edward's family, the weather freezing (it is the middle of winter, after all) and the list of activities to do practically non-existent. No one except Jas and Tom are keen on lakes or the nature and isolation that comes with lake-houses, but Georgia supposes it still beats spending the winter months lurking around on High St any day.
The lake-house, whilst plain, is cosy enough even she has to admit, with its almost-but-not-quite pretty scenery and large, glassy lake; although the house itself is rather old-fashioned and well lived-in.
By the time they arrive there, it has begun to snow very lightly, the icy flakes of white drifting gently around their heads as they move to unload their luggage, melting in their hair and on their jackets.
There are three bedrooms, and naturally a bit of an argument as to who should share with whom, but in the end Sven ends up with his own room because the rest of the boys decide that they would rather not bunk with him for fear of herrings ending up in their beds.
The plan is to stay for as long as they can stand before the lack of civilisation takes its toll on them and they all hurry back home to the traffic and air pollution and the welcoming display windows of Topshop. For Georgia, the most she can stand of nature is about two hours, but she settles in grudgingly after a stern lecture from Jas.
For a while, it's peaceful. They manage to keep themselves entertained for the majority of the first three days, despite the horrible rainy weather and despite the fact that there is nothing the lake-house has to offer in terms of entertainment. But they have each other's company, and that is good enough for them (almost).
The morning of their fourth day, they wake up to faint rays of sunlight filtering feebly through the windows. It is far from a beautiful day, but after three mornings of almost continuous downpour and afternoons filled with grey, menacing clouds, the sunshine, no matter how faint, is welcomed by all.
The tentatively cheerful weather continues for the next few days, and Dave begins to warm up to the prospect of taking a swim in the lake. It is an absurd idea; the water is still freezing cold despite the light sunshine. In fact, Georgia puts his blind enthusiasm down to the fact that he is just eager to see her in a bikini. But she rebuts him every time he brings up the idea, shaking her head firmly.
No, she will definitely not be going for a swim in the lake.
On the eighth day, Georgia wakes abruptly at some time around six, the insistent hands of someone shaking her causing her to grumble and open her eyes blearily. It is still quite dark, but from the faint scent of his cologne she can tell that her disturber is none other than her over-eager boyfriend.
Dave drags her out of bed to "watch the sunrise"; a gesture she supposed would usually be considered quite romantic. However, the tall trees surrounding the lake-house prevent them from being able to see the barely-there sun at all, and besides, if she is totally honest, Gee really doesn't give a damn about some big yellow warmey-planet-on-fire thing in the sky.
Still, it is nice to cuddle up to her boyfriend underneath a big fluffy blanket. Even if she swears there are bugs crawling up her legs the longer they sit there on the damp grass.
It is mid-afternoon that they find themselves all sitting on the little pier on the lake together, lazily sun-bathing (or trying to, at any rate – the sun's rays are still faint and feeble). Rollo falls asleep much to the amusement of the other boys, who decide not to wake him, opting instead to have a lengthy debate on whether or not to push him into the lake.
Georgia lays down on the uncomfortable wooden decking of the pier, drowsy from her early-morning wakeup call but trying in vain to keep her eyes open. She has a feeling that someone (most likely Dave) will probably start drawing on her face the minute she falls asleep. Rollo already has his hair coloured in with bright green highlighter.
Alas, despite her efforts, she falls asleep on the edge of the pier. She doesn't hear the others leaving to go explore the nearby town, nor does she hear the sounds of Rollo's soft snores, still fast asleep beside her.
She doesn't know that she is only inches away from rolling off the pier, and she doesn't know that as the hours pass, she shifts closer and closer to the edge, making the possibility of falling into the still, cold water seem almost inevitable.
And so, typically for her, this is exactly what happens.
Rollo wakes up to a late afternoon sky, the sun dipping low on the horizon, and the sound of a loud splash somewhere to his right. A few drops of water hit his arms and face, and he blinks confusedly in the direction they came from.
And leaps to his feet as he sees the shadow of Georgia's limp, water-logged body sinking deeper and deeper into the depths of the murky green water.
Georgia wakes very suddenly to the sensation of being engulfed in icy cold water. Opening her eyes, she gasps, swallowing a mouthful of lake water in the process, and flounders as she realises she is in the lake itself, freezing green water and blurry shadows surrounding her in every direction.
Light-headed and dizzy, she struggles to find her way to the surface, to oxygen, but she is lost in the dark depths. Her coat and jeans are soaked and heavy, and they weigh her down as she continues her struggles which become more and more feeble by the second.
As her head spins, she barely registers the feeling when two strong arms yank roughly at her waist, but once she does, she struggles to come to her senses, realising that she is sinking deeper into the green midst.
She can see it now, the faint glow of the surface, a dull orange colour through the water above head. But it is too far away, and her limbs feel like lead as she struggles to propel herself upwards towards the glowing light which was the day. Swallowing mouthful after mouthful of salty water, and coming no closer to the orange that is to be her salvation, Georgia is forced to admit defeat.
And so letting the water take her for its own, she closes her eyes and prays for a miracle.
Rollo's chest feels like it is going to explode from lack of oxygen, but he struggles determinedly with the stubborn zipper of Georgia's jacket, panicked thoughts reaching a climax in his head as he realises that they are sinking deeper under the water. Almost absent-mindedly, he also registers that Georgia has stopped struggling. Does it mean he is too late?
The zipper finally gives, and tearing the heavy, waterlogged fabric from her body, he reclaims his hold on her waist and begins reaching for the surface, his legs kicking hard at the water. Rollo prays that he has enough energy to get them both out of this alive.
Lungs screaming and head pounding, he fights against the lure of the green depths, but feels his energy ebbing away, and the dead weight of Georgia's body pulling him further and further underwater.
In one last futile effort, Rollo screws his eyes tightly shut, legs kicking hard and arms tightly clutching Georgia, continuing to reach for the surface.
He prays for a miracle.
AN: This story has four parts and an epilogue, all of which will be posted over the course of five weeks (one chapter per week + the epilogue). The next part, Part II - To Kiss, will be posted on December 10th.
In the meantime, leave me your reviews and predictions (if you want to, that is. It's not like I'm forcing you to or anything).