Last summer seemed a thousand years ago now, I'd had so much happen to me since then. My mind often wandered back to thoughts of then. Back when my life had been soo much easier. Back when I had been happy.
Senior year of high school is supposed to be the greatest; prom, yearbook, finals, graduation, plus that feeling of being the eldest, mature.
No one could have foreseen what actually happened.
My best friend Steph, and her family, were found, murdered then ripped into pieces in the Arizona desert, school had caught fire during our finals, causing the entire senior year to have to retake every single test, and to make matters worse, prom and graduation had been cancelled due to a freak hurricane! My diploma would be given to me by the mail man.
Still, I was thankful I could put that whole, awful year of my life behind me. Hopefully this summer would be just as good as the last.
I had kept in touch with Jacob. It was thanks to him I had stayed sane, while my life was falling to pieces around me, there he had stayed. So solid and unmoving, like my own personal mountain. I could talk to him for hours on end, about everything and nothing. And despite the vast distance between us, it was always as if he was sitting here with me.
Jacob Black was the best friend a girl could ask for. So when he had invited me to spend the summer in La Push, I hadn't wanted to say no.
The summer before college would be my last summer, the last shot I had at being a teenager. I wanted it to be fun and care-free- and if that meant spending it away from my family and home then so be it, I would.
I was stood at the check-in line at Jacksonville International Airport, Mom was beside me, small tears glistening as they waited in the corners of her eyes, ready to fall. Dad was just behind us, he gripped my bags as if his life depended on it. Enclosed in a comfortable silence, we etched forward with the queue. The check-in process passed in a daze. Airports were always tedious, before I knew it, I was standing in front of the security gates, about to say goodbye.
"Well.. Mom, Dad, I gotta go through now." I said as I took my carry-on from my dad, the weight of the bag causing my arm to drop.
"Oh sweetie," As I threw my bag onto my shoulder, my mom pulled me into a hug "Call me as soon as you get there."
"I will mom, don't worry." I smiled back at her, she could be so overprotective at times. I stepped back, giving my Dad a quick hug. I knew he wouldn't worry, it just wasn't like him to do so.
"So I guess, I'll see you guys next at, erm, Christmas." I said as I stepped towards the line.
"No you won't sweetheart." My mom had a happy grin on her face.
"Why?" I asked them. "Are you going away?" Damn it, the second I move out, they start going on holiday at Christmas.
"No, god, I wish." Mom flashed a smile at Dad, he returned the gesture. "I just meant that you will see us before that."
"When?" I questioned. They wouldn't just surprise me at Thanksgiving, would they?
"Well, your Dad and I are gonna fly out the week before you start college, help you get settled." My mom's eyes glinted with excitement.
"Mom, you don't have to do that." I told her.
"Marie, I do. We need to make sure that your okay there, that its not too far away from home for you."
She cut me off. "But not. I want to honey, your supposed to take you child to college, it's tradition. I have to. Please, I. I didn't get to do this with your sister, so…"
Damn it, I inwardly cured myself. I had hurt mom's feelings. "Mom, its ok. Of course you can fly out. I just didn't want you to trouble yourself." I pulled her into another hug as thick, wet tears began rolling down her face.
"Flight AA370 to Seattle is now boarding at Gate 7. Would all passengers please make their way to the gate."
"Ah, Mom, Dad. I gotta go." I pulled out of my mother's embrace. "I love you, I'll call you went I get there."
I ran towards the security desk, grabbing my ticket from my carry on as I did. I didn't look back, not once. Fortunately the queue was short, as soon as I was clear, I headed towards my gate, and joined the throng of people waiting to board.
The plane journey seemed to last a lifetime. I was sat on the edge of my seat the entire time, I didn't listen to my ipod, I didn't watch the in-flight movie, I couldn't even bring myself to flick through one of the magazines my mom had slipped into my bag. Instead, I sat- with my head leaning against the window- and stared at the face of my watch as I thought of last summer.
By the time the plane landed I was glad to be off there. I had succeeded in leaving my crappy life behind me, I really hated Jacksonville. I rushed out of the cabin the second the doors opened and managed to reach the baggage claim before everyone else on the flight; that however, was where my luck ran out.
25 minutes later- my bags (finally) arrived on the carousel. I flung them haphazardly onto a trolley as I turned towards the arrivals terminal doors.
The crowd swallowed me as I left, at 5ft 5, I wasn't exactly tall enough to peer over everyone else's heads. But Jacob was. I heard his voice before I saw him, a whole head higher than every other person I saw. My speed picked up as I closed the distance between us, I was more than happy to see him. It seemed like forever since we'd been this close. I had missed him, a lot.
"Marie!" he exclaimed as he shut his phone, shoved it into the pocket of his jeans and pulled me into a tight bear hug the second I was in reach of his long, muscular arms.
"Jake." I smiled into his torso. "I've missed you."
I looked up to see a heart-warming smile spread across his face.
"How was the flight?" He asked as he took my trolley from me and began pushing it out of the building, towards the car park.
"Long." Was my reply. "I was soo glad when we landed." Jake muttered something under his breath, I couldn't quite tell what he said.
He stopped in front of a small, white car that looked a little too 'vintage' for my liking, not to mention the fact that it looked far too small to be driven by somebody of Jacob's stature.
"Nice car." I told him as he popped the trunk, I watched him lift my exceedingly heavy bags as if they were a sheet of paper. 'I wonder if he could lift me like that' I began to think. What? Why am I thinking about Jacob in that way, he is my friend. Plus, he is old enough to be my father, my parents would never approve- even if he is smokin' hot.
I could feel my cheeks rapidly turning red, as I got into the passenger seat of his car. I had to gain some control over my thoughts. Fortunately, Jake's voice pulled me into the present.
"You sure your okay with staying in La Push. I mean, it isn't the most exciting of places."
"No, its cool. I just, need a change of scenery, ya know?"
"Yeah, I know. So you'll be staying in my room. If your okay with that?"
His room -gulp. "Erm, Jake. The thing with that is, where will you sleep."
"On the couch of course." Jake replied as he started the engine.
"What, no. You stay in your room, I don't want to impose." I would be staying with the Black's for at least a month, I didn't want to get in there way anymore than was necessary.
"Marie, its fine. I'm used to sleeping on the couch, I don't sleep that much anyway. Besides, I have to every time my sisters come and visit."
"Exactly and I'm not one of your sisters. So, please. Can I stay on the couch?" I pouted, Jake's face saddened slightly as he pulled out of the car park.
"But…" He began.
"Jacob Black, you are a 30-something year old man, it would be weird if I stayed in your bed, ok. And I don't want people to get the wrong idea about us." I told him, becoming annoyed.
"Why would they get the wrong idea." He asked, seeming truly curious.
"Because Jake, La Push is a small town, and in small towns people talk."
"Your right, you are so right." He said, relaxing from a tense position I hadn't even noticed he was in.
"I usually am." I smiled, turning to face him. "So, I'm on the couch, got it?"
"Yes ma'am." He said, removing a hand from the steering wheel as he mock-saluted me. I couldn't help it. I laughed, and before I knew it, Jacob was too.
"So, what kind of car is this Jacob?" I asked him as we pulled onto the freeway, and I settled in for the drive.