Based on someone I once knew and didn't get. My unfortunate mistake.

Is not mine, but this trifle is.

Chapter 1 ~ Late

I watched her from afar. How could I not? I had been doing so since we were young.

She was everything little girls were made of. Sugar and spice, and everything nice. She was always so fresh and clean. Her face scrubbed with freesia soap leaving reddened cheeks and her hair washed with strawberry shampoo making me beg my mother to plant a patch of them outside my window so I would always have her close. She would hug me back then and I would just smell. Inhaling. She would laugh and it would tinkle in my ears. A laugh that had only grown into chiming, robust and delicate in it's different qualities. She would twirl while delighting me with that sound. Her abandonment always resulting in her falling and I would never be there quick enough to catch her. Then she'd chide me for being late. But with her, I always was.

We would go to the park and play on the swings back then. She was always going higher than me. She would find dead toads in the grass by the creek that defined the playground and the forest. She would ponder how they met their end. She would show me the cartwheels her gym teacher had just taught her in the grass. She never got the hang of those and they became fleeting fancies in her book.

I saw her awkward and brace faced. Her hair frizzed and she hated it, like she hated her mouth. Her clothes were unremarkable and ill-fitting. Changes she hadn't been through. Her curves hadn't quite made themselves known yet and no one was able to grasp what she would become. But then she would smile when I did something silly and boyish, or when I didn't get it, I never got it. She would smile and I didn't see braces, frizzy hair or a body that hadn't found itself. I would see her eyes and their brilliancy. All mud and stars. Dirt after rain, rich and dark. Chocolate didn't have shit on that.

We would go to the beach back then and I'd swim the ocean for her, even in it's frigidity. Because she wanted someone to entertain her, but she didn't want to be the one. She wanted to wear a pink bikini that her body didn't understand and hover at the edge, toes barely allowing the froth of the water to envelope them. She would always hold my towel for me. Knowing I would be ice and only that towel and her vigorous rubbing of it would warm my adolescent skin.

Then she bought hair relaxer. And she got her braces off, leaving her with only a night retainer. And that time came in a girl's life where her body woke up and decided to stretch itself out, try itself on for size. And her clothes understood. Her laugh became more infectious and frequent. Her smile was ready. Her hair laid just so. And everyone noticed. And she showed it to all of them. And I sat back to watch everyone fall in love with my girl. Because without her, I didn't have anything else.

One day after she found products, curiosity and confusion, she came to me. She asked me to grant her something. She wanted to feel the press of lips from her beloved friend first. No one else. I had no choice but to acquiesce. She had me like that. So I bent down and oh so feather light, I kissed her. Then I let myself put my arms around her, and she put hers around me. The kiss deepened, our tongues finding one another. But it became so adult, so alien and I backed away. Because I saw what she had become and she was always ahead of me since I was always late.

She was a thing to behold. All fire and loveliness. Like dawn or hell, depending on where you stood. Softness on her skin, but hardening underneath that only age and bullshit can give you. So perfect on the facade, so perfectly wrong underneath. Friends that never saw her. Boys who confused themselves as men around her. She loved of all of that, craved it. And I thanked her inside for becoming this. It let me go.

She had this new life and I was still there, but in the periphery. It was okay. I was okay. I got a new life too, but she stayed in my forefront, she just didn't know it. I went about my time, focusing, planning. Because I would leave her here one day and she would maybe notice, but I didn't want her to be the only one on the off chance that she didn't even recognize I had gone. So I found friends who saw me, but never girls who would become confused by me. She was the only one I could ever allow to be like that.

I watched her the day after that kiss between childhood companions. On the arm of another, sharing that intimate moment, but I saw it wasn't true. And it cut me. I was okay though, because I was thanking her for letting me be. I told myself this everyday those years and it became my lifeline to moving forward. Which I did. But I stayed vigilant in my watching.

I saw her become prom queen. I saw her entrance everyone she came into contact with. I saw her switch to Diet Cokes at lunch. I saw her clothes become alluring and trendy. I saw her face when a test she took came back failed. I saw her walk all over the people she claimed to adore. I saw her smoke, drink and drug with them. I saw her treat them with disdain and carelessness. I saw her get dumped because of it. I was in my room, waiting for her when those days happened. She would climb the tree and come through my window. My window that never shut, just in case I missed something and she needed me.

I was still that one to her. I was the one she came to when it all crashed. I was the one to make it all better. I was the one she let in and listened to. I was the one who got her put back together for everyone else to enjoy. I was the one who held her while the tears stained my favorite shirt. I was the one that didn't wash that shirt for a week afterwards. I was okay with being him, because no matter how many boys came to her door, they could never be that.

And then he came. The dog, the fool, the asshole. He made her sparkle less. He made her feel inadequate. He made it clear that she was nothing where he didn't exist and she bought it. He put that child I remembered so fondly into her burgeoning woman's body. So wrong. She came to me less frequently and then all the time. He hated it. He wanted me to fade, but she held on. And for that I thanked her again.

I was stuck, watching. I had never felt that way in all the years we had been together. I was never stuck. I could always act if I so chose, which I didn't generally. But she stopped listening and only needed me when she cried. And while thanking her for keeping her tenuous hold one me, I started to hate her.

I detested they way she looked at him. I loathed the things she wore to please him. I even resented the way she stopped the cigs, alcohol and pot for him. I was sickened by the adoration she fooled herself into feeling for him. I hated the addiction she had confused for love. I was in denial thinking that she would see this for the truth of it.

When her dad died, we were graduated. The dog was still present, but he didn't understand. He only saw the surface of her relationship to that man who loved her so dearly, as only a besotted dad could. Father and daughter, so quiet, so comfortable in their little house next door. They had a different sort of bond, not typical. Almost like roommates, but really more like friends. She came to me then. And cried. I hated her already. I pitied her, truly alone in her stupidity and my impending defection. I missed her beyond comprehension.

I told her I was leaving that night, only weeks after her father left her alone to ramble in that house with just a dog who didn't get her. She ranted and threw things at me. I reminded her that I hadn't been that one for a long time. Since he came. I saw the adult she had become for just a moment when her acceptance of my honesty was in her eyes. She left looking like the child I remembered.

So here I was. Right now. Remembering all of this. Depressed and manic over her, over us. Right before I was suppose to leave.

The friends I had made had already been by to wish me luck and to make sure we all had the necessities of today's wireless communication, text, IM and email. We would always be able to stay close, but would we? Dunno. But I was willing to move onward and figure that out later. I was willing to see if I would ever see her again.

All my belongings were packed in my car. Evening was coming and I should have waited until morning to leave, but I needed to get out. Now. Before my resolve to not talk to her again faded. In all of this, she never even asked where I was going and that in itself showed me everything.

I kissed my mother and father goodbye and took the care package they made for me. My car had a full tank of gas and my iPod had been charged. I was ready for the ride. I looked over to her house and saw it dark. Not even home to see me off. It's okay. I started the car and backed out of the driveway. With each gravelly roll of the tires, I felt this life fading and my new one peeking through. So I continued on, resisting the urge to pull over and knock on her door, just to make sure she was gone.

I was almost outside of town when I saw a lone figure on the road. An odd thing considering this was not the place one generally found random people walking the streets. I let my eyes focus and as they did, I swerved. Almost right into her. And it was her alright.

She was scared at first, but then she recognized me and my car. I had no words right then. She was bruised on her arms and her clothing torn. She had no shoes on and I could see the tears glistening. And hell if my girl didn't smile at me as I got out of the car. It was that brilliant smile, even in her sad little state, she found it.

I wasn't sure what happened, but I didn't care. I may have hated her. I knew I loved her. So nothing but taking her away from this exposition of shit and shame would do.

"Where you going?"

"I'm leaving, remember? Where you been?"

"I thought that was tomorrow."

"Changed my mind." And then it hit. And I knew. "Wanna come?"



"Well, fuck Cullen. You're not late for once."

"I've been ahead of you for awhile Bella."

And so she got in and we left. Neither of us knew what we were doing and neither of us cared. Her shit stayed and it didn't matter because I would get her more.

What do ya say we leave for California?

If we drive all night we can make it by the morning.

And no one has to know if we decide to go.

California by Metro Station