well, after half a year or so and many, many chapters (plus three of those dreaded authors notes that everybody hates), its finally...over. i just wanted to take up some space here to thank every single one of you guys who took the time to read and review my story. i truly appreciate it...you guys seriously dont know how much it means to me to have so much support on this. in fact, ive just reached 200 reviews, its unbelievable! im just simply...amazed. this final chapter is dedicated to all of you guys...there was something about it that didn't quite fit right with me, but hopefully its turns out great for you. enjoy!
If Only You Knew
Chapter Eighteen: Transcending Through Time
"SPRING BREAK, BABY, HERE WE COME!"
Via groaned and hid her face in her hands as Owen dramatically burst through the school doors and loudly inhaled the outside air, a wide grin plastered on his face. Keely raised an eyebrow in amusement, and the two girls watched as the teen sprinted down the steps with his arms flailing wildly, creating a spacious gap between him and the many frightened students below.
"Owen, it isn't the end of the world!" Via yelled in irritancy, eyebrow twitching slightly when Owen began chasing after a random girl to hug her in his glee. "Have some decency for once in your life, and leave the poor girl alone!"
Keely rolled her eyes and laughed, folding her arms across her chest as Owen stopped abruptly to flash a smile in their direction before running off again, spotting another potential target to hug. "Are you sure it's not because you're jealous, V? You know Owen wouldn't really go after another girl like that, he's just happy that school's out!"
Via scoffed as the two began to make their way down the steps. "Jealous? Of course not! I'm just making sure he doesn't actually harm anyone in his 'ceremony of Spring Break' or whatever it is he's doing!"
Owen's figure suddenly flew past them in a rush of wind, and Keely's eyes widened in surprise. "Wow. He can cartwheel? I didn't know that."
For a moment they stood in stunned silence, watching the hectic scene unfold in front of them, before Keely finally turned and opened her mouth to speak. "Via, tell me again…why…you're going out with him? I mean, of all the guys t---"
"Don't even ask," Via cut in simply, reaching out and swiftly grabbing a hold of Owen's arm before he could go another round. "Owen, would you please just calm down?"
"Do I get a prize if I do?" He asked with a hopeful grin, nudging Via's side eagerly as Keely tried her best to suppress another burst of laughter.
Via stared blankly at Owen for a moment before turning to Keely nonchalantly. "So what do you want to do now, Keely? Mall?" Keely giggled, shrugging her consent, and the two began to walk along the sidewalk towards the parking lot, leaving Owen to chase after them with a loud, "Dude!"
"Don't forget that I'm the one with the new car, ladies!" Owen panted as soon as he caught up, and Via rolled her eyes.
"Yes, Owen, and now we can enjoy the luxury of going deaf as we drive to the mall with your so-called rock music blaring in our ears," She replied dryly, and Owen gave a sheepish grin. In spite of everything, though, Via smiled warmly and slipped her hand into his, losing her usual sarcastic tone almost immediately.
"But it's always nice to catch a ride instead of walking in heels."
Keely's eyes softened at the comment as she observed the couple ahead of her with a small, almost sad smile. The two began to bicker back and forth about something unimportant, Owen seemingly enjoying himself as Via continued to scold him about behaving in public---"Especially at the mall, Owen, you can't treat it like it's an amusement park, for heaven's sake!"
He blinked and looked down at her, feigning ignorance, and she narrowed her eyes and smacked his arm as he burst into laughter, but Keely swore she could see a ghost of a smile playing on Via's lips as she took off into another one of her lectures...
Even though she desperately tried to fight against it, faded memories slowly inched its way into the back of Keely's mind, memories that she had refused to let go of…no matter how much it hurt. She remembered moments similar to this...all those times she'd drag Phil to the mall no matter how much he'd complain... he secretly enjoyed it, though, and she knew it...
The way he'd make those lame jokes to try and annoy the heck out of her and come between her and her shopping spree...how she'd playfully punch his arm before yanking him into yet another store to try on who-knows-how-many more outfits she probably wouldn't even buy...it was just another day...just another excuse to spend time with the boy of her dreams...
For a split second, a warmth engulfed her entire being, and he was standing right next to her once more, smiling, like he had never left…
But as soon as it had come, the warmth was gone.
And suddenly, she couldn't have felt more alone…
Via glanced back when the footsteps behind her stopped abruptly, and she cocked her head slightly and halted as well, pulling Owen along with her. "Keely? What's wrong?"
Keely pulled out of her reverie and blinked, staring at her two friends blankly. Catching the concerned expression on Via's face, her eyes widened in realization before quickly reverting back to normal, and she flashed weak, reassuring smile even as her vision unexpectedly clouded over. "Oh, it's nothing. Just...thinking, I guess."
Via's sharp senses picked up on her wavering tone almost immediately, and her eyes softened in sympathy as she glanced down at her and Owen's intertwined fingers then back up to her best friend. "Okay…are you still up for the mall, then? Or would you like Owen to take you home?"
In these past few months, Keely realized, she was more than grateful to have two such great friends in her life. The ones who were always there to hold her up when she seemed to be falling apart, especially since he wasn't there to keep her together anymore…
Of course, it would never be enough, and she would probably never be the same again, either. But it was enough to keep her going…and that was all she ever really needed.
She'd have to find a way to thank them one day.
Gazing up at the sky, Keely let out a small sigh before turning to Owen and Via with an apologetic smile.
"Actually…there is somewhere I'd like to go."
Weaving through various bushes and trees that suddenly seemed all-too familiar to him, a boy steadily made his way through the uneven path as the bright, intense sun began to set beneath the horizon. Glancing up at the sky and hoping he wasn't too late, he quickened his pace up the rocky terrain without a single misstep, hauling himself over the ledge and sprinting across to the other side.
He had to know.
He skidded to a stop just before the drop-off, his breath coming out in short, harsh puffs of air as he brought his gaze up from the ground to look out at the spectacular view in front of him. Eyes widening in complete shock, he could only stare on in disbelief.
One hundred years later…and it still looked just as magnificent as ever.
He smiled at the irony of it all. When he had come back, everything he had once known in the past was completely…different. No more small, quiet suburbs, no more breathtaking nature in the comfort of your own neighborhood, no more bustling schools, no more thriving, open wildlife…
And yet, somehow, the one place he thought was most important, the one place that he thought would change the most if it was ever discovered…was completely…
He could only shake his head in awe as the light, warm wind brought back so many memories from so long ago. Gazing at the glittering lights as they danced on the surface of the vast lake, he lowered himself to the ground and allowed the wind to once again engulf him in his recollections…of her.
"Hey! How'd you get up here?"
Stifling a yelp, he shot up off the ground, startled, and spun around to face a girl around his age with dazzling emerald eyes and dark brown hair. "Wha? I was just---I didn't---"
She narrowed her eyes in suspicion and stared at him for a long moment before shrugging it off, deciding not to bother about it. "I thought I was the only one who knew about this place…but I guess I was wrong." She walked around him and smiled at the scene in front of her with a faraway look in her eyes as he stared at her in wonder. There was something about her…
"Awesome, isn't it?" The girl suddenly turned around to face him again, motioning towards the sunset behind her with a grin. "You definitely don't ever see this sort of thing anywhere else in the world."
He nodded, coming up to stand next to her and shoving his hands into his pockets as she continued to stare at him, mystification and curiosity beginning to show on her face.
"Yeah…" He whispered, a reminiscent smile creeping onto his face as the vibrant rays of light sparkled in his eyes. "You really don't…"
They stood in silence as the sun continued to set, shining a brilliant glow on both their faces as each was lost in his or her own unknown thoughts and wonders. Another warm breeze blew through the trees, and then---
"Why does it feel like I know you?"
He turned his head and stared at the girl next to him in bewilderment. "Huh?"
She furrowed her brow in thought, trying to think of the right words to say as she continued to gaze out at the lake. "I don't know…it's just…I've come here ever since I was a little kid, and I've never seen anyone else up here…it's kind of like my own secret place, you know? And now you suddenly show up out of nowhere…but even though I've never even met you before…it's like I already know you."
She threw her hands up with an exasperated sigh and faced him, eyes scrunching together in deep concentration. "I don't know! It's like…like…"
It suddenly dawned on him, and he cracked a mysterious smile. "Like I've been here all along?"
The girl snapped her fingers in realization. "Yeah! That's it! Wait…how'd you know that?"
He chuckled, running a hand through his hair and causing it to stick out in strange directions as he stood there in awe. "Wow…I never thought anything like this would ever happen…" He murmured, closing his eyes and lifting his head to the sky.
The brunette nudged him in annoyance, obviously still in the dark about everything that was going on. "Hello…what're you talking about? What happened?" She folded her arms across her chest and fixed him with an expectant look, determined to find out just who this boy was.
He turned to her again and found himself lost in her glimmering eyes, and he shook his head in incredulity, still laughing quietly to himself as he took in her all-too familiar appearance.
"You know, you look a lot like someone I know." He answered simply, giving one last look at the sunset and the lake with before turning his gaze to the girl with his trademark goofy grin. "And I'm pretty sure you've met me before as well, though probably…not in the way you think."
He began to walk back in the direction he had come, and her eyes widened as her confusion deepened even more. "What? No, but I've never---hey, wait, where're you going? You're leaving?" She chased after him, and he turned to face her once more, the mysterious smile still plastered on his face.
"I wasn't supposed to stay here so long," He explained, scratching the back of his neck sheepishly. "My family's going on…a permanent vacation, I guess you could call it." There was a distinct twinkle in his eyes as he said it, as if this was a secret only he could decipher…
"It was nice meeting you, though!" With a wave he turned to leave, but her voice stopped him before he could even take another step.
"Wait!" The girl hesitated, wrapping her arms around herself as the air began to cool down and the sun began to fade. "You could at least tell me your name, right?"
He grinned again, a heartwarming smile that seemed so familiar to her, but something she just couldn't put her finger on…
And before the name could even begin to register in her mind, he was gone.
Wrapping her arms around herself for warmth, Keely slowly walked up to the ledge and stared out at the expanse below as the wind lightly ruffled her hair, bringing along with it a faint, distinct whisper of a ghost still lurking in the depths of her heart.
"…I swear I won't…"
She let out a soft, broken laugh as memories of that day came flooding back into her mind, completely overtaking her thoughts and refusing to be pushed away into oblivion, just like every other day she had come here for the past two and a half months…
Two and a half months since he had left.
Keely shook her head in disbelief as she ripped her eyes away from the lake and gazed at the sky, stubbornly blinking back the tears threatening to appear. Why was this still so hard for her? He was gone, he wasn't ever coming back, and the next chance she would ever get to see him would be over a hundred years from now, which was basically impossible. Why was it so hard to just…let him go and move on?
'Because you still love him…'
And ironically enough, the one place she had always relied on to help her forget practically…everything…was now the only place that held trapped memories of the boy she was so desperately trying to forget.
No…she would never be able to forget him. She knew that from the moment he had walked out of her life, and she knew that even now. Deep down, no matter what she tried to convince herself of otherwise…
She'd never let herself forget the one person that ever truly mattered.
In time, she'd slowly pick up the pieces, one by one, and move on with her life. In time, her heart would heal, though she doubted that it would do so anytime soon. But she'd never forget.
The wind continued to blow its quiet sighs in her ear, and whispered words tumbled out of Keely's mouth even though there was no one there to respond. Somehow, though, she felt that he could hear her, even though he was a hundred years away…
"I'm trying to be strong for you, Phil." She tucked a loose strand of silky blonde hair behind her ear as the wind blew it across her face and let out a short, bitter laugh.
"But I hope you know that it's a lot harder than it looks."
The soft crunch of rustling leaves sounded behind her, but she paid no attention to it, too absorbed in the moment to even glance around as she dropped to the soft earth, lost in her own world of swirling reflections.
It was actually kind of funny, how irony always seemed to play such an important role in her life…
Just when she thought she had lost all hope in ever finding love, he had shown up out of nowhere and swept her right off her feet without even realizing it.
For more than a year he had been standing right in front of her, the loyal best friend who always seemed to know her more than she knew herself, the one who always held her up when she seemed to be falling…the only person she'd run to whenever something went completely wrong for whatever reason…and she hadn't even realized that he had been the one for her all along.
And when she finally did…it had already been too late…
With a crestfallen sigh, Keely pulled her knees to her chest and wrapped her arms around them protectively, unshed tears blurring her vision and meshing the scenery in front of her into one brilliant swirl of smooth greens and blues.
"If only you knew how much I love you, Phil…" She whispered, so softly that it quickly dissipated into the warm drafts of air flowing around her, seemingly forgotten...
Maybe it was just their destiny. Irony was never meant to be taken lightly, right?
A quiet chuckle escaped into the air, breaking the serenity that had long since taken over her surroundings…but it wasn't hers.
"Trust me, Keel…I already knew."
She instantly went rigid as her eyes widened in shock, and her heart dropped into her stomach with a soft thump. She had to be delirious, there was no way she had just heard that, it was impossible…
Slowly, as if she was being pulled by an invisible force, Keely lifted herself off the ground and turned, heart beating erratically out of control as the wind whistled softly in her ears, leading her towards the familiar voice that had haunted her dreams for so long…
A deathly silence fell over the hidden valley as the wind ceased into a calm, allowing just a moment for her to take in the boy standing just a few feet away, his warm, chocolate eyes gazing at her as if he was truly looking at her for the first time…as if he had never really been gone…
And suddenly, she couldn't breathe.
He grinned, and within moments she was falling into his arms, completely overwhelmed by disbelief and happiness…the tears finally fell, and one by one the pieces came together in her mind to create a realization that couldn't have made more sense….
In the end, when it all came down to it…
Maybe irony wasn't so bad after all.
A/N: well…this is it, then. um…was it okay? i feel like i ended it so abruptly, but i really dont know. anyways, its been a blast, guys. thanks for everything! much love, as always…and please don't forget to review! until next time, hopefully…