CHAPTER 7


Things couldn't have been worse.

If Haley thought her life was restrictive before, her opinion had drastically changed.

No longer was she restricted purely by law. No longer was it implied that she would obey the word of her parents. She had broken their trust. She had given them cause to tighten the chain around her ankle. Her outburst the evening before was devastating. To learn that their only child, a lady of high society, was a delinquent was most definitely going hurt their reputation. On top of the embarrassment of having a daughter who did not take her responsibilities seriously, there were the awful implications of who she had been with while she was not taking her responsibilities seriously. Who was this boy? How did he come into her life? These were questions that her parents could not find satisfying answers to. But the answers were unimportant for the time being.

They had a problematic child that needed fixing.

They were going to make sure it would never happen again.

Days passed and Haley found herself in a monotonous routine of going to school and coming home. She got to school on time, used the same route to walk to each class, ate at the same table during lunch, went home immediately after school had ended, did her homework in her room, and completed chores for the rest of the day until it was time to go to sleep and start the cycle all over again.

And it didn't help that she was being watched the entire time.

Her mother had hired a new limousine driver, a woman by the name of Greta, who was constantly following her as she went about her business. Greta was Haley's constant reminder that she was under the vigilant eye of her parents. Greta sat in the back of the classroom during session, outside of the bathroom stall when it was needed, at the end of the table during lunch time, and drove her to and from school.

Haley was trapped.

When she was spoken to, she politely replied. When she was asked to do something, she politely complied. Without an out of turn word. Without a complaint. It took too much energy to fight against it. The pressure of society. The law of her parents. She often found it easier to not speak at all. And so she did not. Opening her mouth had gotten her in this whole situation to begin with. Speaking out of turn probably wasn't going help it. And so she went about her mundane life, slowly getting paralyzed by the overbearing disease that she called: "parents".

Haley sat in the chair of the classroom. She kept her head down, hands in her lap, quietly awaiting her teacher to start the lesson. Once again she was the first one there. Silence and empty chairs were her company. Greta sat in the corner of the room, long, slender fingers casually flipped through the pages of a magazine while simultaneously keeping her attention on the girl in the chair. Mr. Williams busied himself with preparation for what he was going to teach that day.

As soon as the rest of the students entered, Haley felt the hot sting of their eyes. She did not look at them. She did not need to. The infamous story of the girl who ditched school with a stranger had made its way through the little private school. She knew parents whispered it to each other, teachers discussed it behind closed doors. and students gossiped the details that they knew. It was scandalous. It was controversial. It was the most exciting thing that had happened in a long time. And everybody talked about it.

"Did you do last night's homework?" Thomas whispered from his seat.

Haley pulled the school bag out from underneath her seat and handed him what he wanted. She quickly glanced at his face. She wanted to talk to him, but as soon as she thought about it, her eyes went to Greta. Her heart beat more quickly. She looked away. Was it allowed? She did not know. And since she did not know she did not try. Haley only nodded her head when he gave the sheet of paper back and brought her eyes on the teacher.

Even though she did what she was told, Haley found it extremely difficult to do pay attention in class. It didn't matter which class. It didn't matter what time. Her mind was always on something else. There was so much that reminded her of what she used to have. Bathroom breaks were little reminders of when she met Quistin in secret to go who knows where for only a few minutes. Sitting in class before lunch brought back memories of watching the clock, waiting in anticipation of the next meal, wondering where they would go next. It reminded her of eating exotic foods or dining at quaint locations.

Almost everything reminded her of times with Quistin.

So many memories were associated with happiness. So many laughs. So many games. She couldn't even remember why she used to be angry with him. The feeling had left and it was replaced with a longing for it all to go back to the way it was before. Haley wanted to do whatever she wanted again. She wanted to go where ever she wanted to again. She wanted to be with her friend, her friend who could do whatever and go where ever he wanted.

But he was no longer in her life. He couldn't be. Her parents had control over her life and had made her respond unkindly to him. Quistin tried to make contact with her on a few occasions, and each time she told him to leave for fear of getting in even more trouble. She didn't want to do it. She wanted to tell him how much she missed him, how much she wished she could leave with him, but she was trapped by her parent's rules, and this time she didn't have a choice. She had to obey them.

And so she couldn't go back to the life she used to have.

She couldn't do whatever she wanted. She couldn't go where ever she wanted.

It slowly tore away at her heart.

"Haley."

She blinked, pushing her thoughts aside for the time being. "Yes?"

Greta crossed her arms. "Class is over."

Haley, realizing that she was still sitting in her chair, looked at her teacher, who sat at his desk, busily grading papers. She apologized, grabbed her bag and walked out, followed closely by The Limousine Driver.


A breeze blew softly in through the space between the window and the frame. Haley looked up from doing her homework to feel the coolness on her skin, but it was short lived. Her mother closed the window and drew the curtains, reminding Haley that there was a lot of work to be done. She had no time to be distracted by the outside.

Haley quietly nodded her head as her mother left the room.

The dark strokes of the pen etched its mark into the paper. She tried to keep her concentration on the task at hand, but she found it increasingly difficult. The outside world beckoned to her. Hesitantly she reached to the fabric to peek out at beauty, but she stopped. Something held her back: the thought about what her mother would say if she saw her staring to the outside. She would say that it was a waste of time. She would rebuke her and set more restrictions than she had before.

Haley left it alone.

She looked up at the blue ceiling. If she could not look at the real sky, the blue ceiling would be its substitute. Looking at it brought back memories of childhood, when she used to look at it often, when she used to look at it longingly. When she hoped for independence. There is so much naivety in the hopes of a young child, and hers were no different. She wished for something she had never experienced.

But that was before Quistin.

Quistin brought her closer to it than she could ever wish. And now this blue ceiling. It was the closest she could get to freedom.

An image of her grandfather briefly passed, taking her breath along with it. He was such a good man. He did everything in his power to make her happy. But all of that power was taken away by the imperfection of flesh, leaving him trapped inside a body that knew all too well of what it used to have.

Haley closed her eyes and reflected on her grandfather.

He looked so happy the day he died.

No more pain. No more frustration.

He was finally free.

A soft voice from behind interrupted her thoughts. "Haley?"

She bit her lip, fighting every inclination to respond.

"Haley. I want to say something."

"Go away, Quistin," she whispered.

"Can you at least look at me?"

It took all of her strength to shake her head.

"I... I just want to say I'm still sorry for how I acted."

"I know. You've said it before." Every word had to be delicately chosen.

"I know I have... but you still seem angry with me."

Where was her mother? She might come up into the room at any second. What would happen if she found him there? Haley didn't want him to get in trouble with her parents. She did not want to get in trouble with her parent's either. Hearing his voice again just made it harder to act. "Quistin," she managed to let out. "Please, just go."

He did not respond.

"Quistin, please." She turned around.

He was already gone.

Haley took a deep breath. Wiping her eyes, she glanced at the clock.

It was six forty. Dinner is every night at seven.

She could not be late.

Haley dreaded the repetitious monotony of dinner.

"How was your day today?"

"It went very well, Dear."

"That's good to hear."

"Jackson brought in another client."

"Really? How many does that make?"

"Two in the last two months. We're all quite impressed with him."

"I've always liked Jackson."

"He is quite an employee."

"Doesn't he have a son?"

"I think he does."

"What is his name?"

"I don't know."

"I used to know his name. He's in Haley's class."

"Oh?"

"What is his name, Haley?"

"Thomas."

"Thomas! That's right."

"I'll ask Jackson tomorrow to make sure."

"Be sure to make a note of it. How was your day today, Haley?"

"It was okay."

"Just okay? Were there any problems?"

"No."

"Then why was just okay?"

"It went well."

"Good. Greta tells me that you've been absent minded lately."

"I, uh... I don't know what she means."

"She says that it doesn't look like you are paying attention in class."

"I do pay attention in class."

"Well, this is what she tell me."

"Her grades have been satisfactory, Dear."

"Your father is correct. So everything must be well then."

"Everything must be well."

"Is everything well, Haley?"

"Yes, Mother. Everything is well."


At the start of the next day, Haley wanted nothing more than to just have everything go on without her. She did not want to wake up. She did not want to go to school again. She did not want to deal with the stressful anxiety of Greta's watchful eye. It would make everything so much easier if she wasn't there to live it. Life was choking her. Life was killing her. She wanted to live again and what she was doing wasn't living. She was trying to survive in shell that held nothing but misery.

The limousine stopped and Greta stepped out, opening the door so Haley could do the same. She followed behind the young woman. As they walked down the sidewalk towards the campus, Greta noticed that Haley looked different. There were days when she looked overly sad and inattentive but this was different. She couldn't quite place a word on what it was, but Haley looked different.

Haley walked in a raging sea invisibly. Students brushed passed her as they made their way up the stairs. Others did not notice her drift by in silence. She did not notice when someone laughed or when people looked her way. Haley was too busy in reminiscence. Playing the silly game with Quistin in town. Laughing so hard her sides hurt. Standing above the sparkling metropolis with Quistin. The breathtaking view. The first time she felt free. The memories were ingrained permanently into her mind. What she used to do. What she used to have.

"Where is your bag, Haley?"

She blinked and reached for the strap around her shoulder. It was not there. "My bag?"

Greta sighed. "Did you forget it in the house?"

"No, it's... it's in the car."

"Are you ok?"

"I'm fine."

"Are you sure?"

"I'm fine, Greta. May I go back to get it?"

She looked at the young girl. There was something different about her. "Yes. I'll tell Mr. Williams that you will be a little bit tardy. Make it quick."

Haley ran down the steps as quickly as she could. How could she have forgotten her bag? How could she have been so stupid? Now she'll be late to class and Greta will tell her parents and she'll go through the Lady's Recital all over again. Just thinking about it reminded her how much she hated life.

The bag was right where she left it: in the back seat. Grabbing it, she swung the strap around her shoulder and headed back to the campus building, but she did not expect to see Quistin standing in front of her.

"Haley-"

"Quistin! What are you doing here? I told you to stay away." She looked around the empty campus grounds in fear of being spotted.

"I need to tell you something."

"I know you are sorry, Quistin. You've said it before. You need to leave before she sees you."

"No, I want to tell you something else."

"Quistin," she said again, pushing him farther from the building. "Please. She can't see you. I don't want you to get in trouble."

He stopped and grabbed her arms. He looked into her eyes. "Haley, I-"

"Haley!"

They turned their heads.

Greta walked down the steps. "So this is why you've been acting so strangely. You were going to meet him again behind your parent's back."

"No I wasn't," she pleaded. "It's not what it looks like."

Quistin stepped back. "Haley, I..."

Greta grabbed Haley's arm. "Your parents are going to hear about this."

She struggled to explain the situation, but anything she said was immediately ignored. Greta forced her into the limousine. Haley looked back at Quistin just as he disappeared into nothingness. As Greta continued to berate her for being deceptive, Haley could only lay her head against the window and let the world drive by. She could already feel the restrictions of her parents get tighter around her neck.

"How could you?"

"What were you thinking?"

"Did you really think you would get away with it?"

Haley sat in front of her mother and father. Her father had to come home from work. He was not happy about what he heard over the phone. And he was not happy that he had to leave work to deal with the situation. Her mother was furious. Not only did she leave work as well, but she personally called the school to tell them that she was taking her out for the day to deal with the situation.

And Haley sat in front of her mother and her father.

"I can't believe you tried to ditch class again."

She shook her head weakly. "I wasn't trying to ditch class."

"Greta saw you with him."

"I know, but I was just getting my bag from the car."

"Of course. The bag you just happened to forget in the limousine."

"I didn't forget it on purpose."

"Greta told me that you were acting differently. You were planning something."

Haley could not believe what she was hearing. "You're not listening to me."

"You thought you could get away with it again."

"No, I wasn't trying to-"

"You will never learn, will you?"

"Mother, please let me explain-"

"Your father and I will need to put more restrictions on you."

"More?" she whispered.

It sounded preposterous. What more could they possibly take away? They already took away so much, how could they take more? She felt the chain around her ankle get shorter. She felt the grip around her neck get stronger. Her mother and father continued on, telling her what she could and could not do. Setting the restrictions. Putting down the rules. Like a falling bird with a broken wing, freedom slowly drew farther and farther away from her.

Her mother turned to Greta. "You may take the day off. I am going to stay home from work today. I can watch her."

"Thank you."

As she left, Haley's father stood up and straightened his jacket. "Well, I'm glad that is settled. I'm going to go back to the office."

Her mother nodded her head. She took one last look at her daughter before sighing and leaving the room to a get a drink.

Haley stayed in the chair. Defeated. Paralyzed. Weak. She managed to lift her head.

She stared at the pistol that was displayed behind her father's desk on a shelf.

And the pistol stared back...

The front door slowly opened. The empty foyer welcomed the visitor with emptiness and silence. Quistin took a step onto the hardwood floor, his shadow sprawled up against the wall. He looked at the flight of stairs that led to the second level, to Haley's bedroom. Closing his eyes

he opened them to take a look around. It was empty. She was not in her bedroom.

A muffled sound came to his ears. It sounded like someone was speaking. Walking to the window, he unlocked it and peered outside. The noise was Haley speaking to herself again through the open window down below. He grinned. She was in her father's office, just beneath where he was standing. Quistin took a deep breath and closed his eyes once more.

"They don't understand anything I'm going through," she said between a sniffle. "They will never understand."

Quistin opened his eyes. He wasn't going to let her cut him off this time. He had come to say something. He was going to say it.

"Haley, I'm really sorry I got you in trouble, but I..." he stopped short of the end of his sentence. "What... what are you doing?"

She sat just beneath the open window, hidden in the shadow of the wall. A ray of sunlight hung just above her head, falling across the wooden planks of the floor. Her body was feathered within the grey school jacket. Her legs twisted beneath her body, her pinions held unnaturally below her head, gripping a shiny pistol. She stared at it. And it stared back at her.

"What are you doing?" he asked again.

Her hair covered the majority of her face. She looked through fallen locks to him. Her voice was soft yet harsh. It cracked. "What does it look like I'm doing?"

He cleared his throat. "It, uh, looks like you're holding a pistol in your hand."

"That's what I'm doing, Quistin." She rubbed her thumb against the barrel.

"Where did you get that?"

"It's one of my father's trophies. It's still loaded."

"What are you going to do with it?" He didn't know what else to say.

"Oh," she mused, "I was thinking about pulling the trigger."

"What?" He took a step forward. "Why?"

"Yeah," she chuckled cynically. "Why. That's a good question."

"Are you going to answer it?"

"You wouldn't understand."

The pistol was disturbing to look at. "Haley, give me it to me."

"No."

Taking a step forward he opened his hand, "Haley-"

"No, Quistin!" she yelled. "You don't understand!"

"I'm sorry," he stopped. Lifting his hands, he showed that he didn't want to do her any harm. She was like a startled bird with a broken wing. Jumpy. Scared. He didn't want her to do anything rash. "Don't... just don't do anything."

"You couldn't possibly understand what I'm going through," she said to herself.

"Then help me to."

"You... wouldn't understand."

"I can try... please, help me to understand."

She remained where she was. She could see the warped reflection of her face in the perfectly polished metal of the pistol. Her eyes, glazed within a soft film of tears, were pained. Quistin did not move. He stood a few feet away from her, wondering what to do next.

"You..." she said softly. "You can do whatever you want, Quistin."

"Ok..."

"They... they think they can just do whatever they want without any consequences."

"Who?"

"My parents! My mother!"

Quistin didn't reply. He didn't know what to say.

"They blame me for things I don't do. They overreact to things that I will do. They're always looking for something else to criticize me about!"

"I'm sorry."

"They want me to be perfect... and when I can't be they restrict me and put rules on me."

"I'm sorry."

She shook her head. "No, you're not. You can do whatever you want. You don't have parents. You don't have rules. You don't have anything to worry about."

"That's not true."

"I hate my life." She lifted the small weapon to the right temple. "I hate it."

"No, wait!" He reached to her, frozen in his shoes. He swallowed the saliva that had gathered in the back of his throat. "Haley... Haley, let's... let's just keep talking. Please."

A tear escaped. "What is there to talk about?"

Desperately, Quistin grasped at words. "Let's talk about... you."

"Why? It's not going to change anything."

"What do you want to change?"

"Everything."

"You can't change everything, Haley."

"Yes I can. One pull of the trigger and everything is changed."

Quistin cursed under his breath. That was a good answer.

Suddenly, a shrill scream echoed through the room. "Oh my goodness!"

Her mother stood in the doorway. Haley did not flinch. Quistin took a step back.

"What are you doing, Haley?" She demanded.

"What does it look like, Mother? I have a pistol to my head!"

"Put that pistol down this instant."

"No."

"Haley, this is no time to be defiant. Put it down now!"

"No! All I've ever done is listen to you and all you've ever done is make my life miserable!"

"Miserable?" Her mother scoffed. "You think your life is miserable? You live in a mansion. You go to a prestigious school. You are a daughter of high society! How can you your life be miserable?"

"You never listen to me, do you?"

"Absolutely ridiculous. I always listen to you."

"No you don't! Stop lying!"

Her mother clenched her jaw.

"I've told you before that I don't want to be a 'daughter of high society' but you never hear me!"

The last few words hung in the air. It stung the older woman like little pins. Her mother shook her head. "You are a terrible daughter."

"Hey!" Quistin stepped in. "Don't talk to her like that!"

"Who do you think you are, young man?" she retaliated.

"I'm... I'm..." he trailed off because he knew all too well that he did not have any stature of merit.

"What are you?" she asked coldly.

He glared at her. "I'm just a kid."

"Precisely. You're nothing but a poor boy from the streets who conned his way into my daughter's life. I didn't make her life miserable," she spat. "You did."

Quistin could only stand silently.

"You see, boy, you are not part of this world. It's something you'll never understand. I, on the other hand, am-"

"I don't care who you are," he cut her off. "I only care about Haley."

"Excuse me?"

"I love her." he blurted. He glanced at Haley. She obviously heard him. He quickly turned his attention back to the person who had insulted him. "Which is more than I can say about you."

Haley loosened her grip on the weapon. She was completely shocked.

Her mother narrowed her eyes. "How dare you insinuate that I don't love my daughter."

"You never show it."

"You ruined her life, not me."

"No!" Haley pounded the ground. "No, it's not his fault, Mother. He was the one who gave me what I wanted."

Quistin smiled to himself.

"And what do you want, Haley?"

She hesitated. "I wanted to be free."

Her mother chuckled. "Free from what?"

"I want to be free," Haley said with more conviction.

"Freedom? You think being on the streets is freedom?"

"You always belittle what I want!"

"What you want is ridiculous."

"You're so busy trying to make me into you."

"I am a woman of high prestige, young lady. Unlike that boy who you're defending."

"I don't care about high prestige."

"Why not?" She growled in frustration. "Why not, Haley? Your father and I have done nothing but give you the best. And all you ever do is disrespect us. All you ever do is throw it back in our face. In my face!"

"Because I'm never good enough for you."

"What are you talking about? That's absurd."

"See?" Haley yelled angrily. "See? You never listen to me. I tell you something and you dismiss it."

"Fine, Haley. What do you want to say? I'm listening."

She took a deep breath. Tears welled up. Her lip quivered. The pistol still hung loosely against her skin. "You're always criticizing me for everything I do. Nothing I do is good enough."

"That's not true-"

"Any accomplishment I do isn't acknowledged-"

"Haley-"

"And all of these rules are killing me!"

Her mother could not respond.

"And you'll never understand that!" She screamed between tears. "I can't do anything! I can't breath when all do you do is berate me and criticize me and put more and more restrictions on me!"

"I never knew."

"And that's why I have this pistol to my head!" She shook it violently to make her point. "I'm gonna make everything easier for everyone. You won't have a terrible daughter. And I won't be suffocating every day."

"Haley," her mother whispered. "I... I never knew."

Quistin took a step forward. "Haley. Please give it to me."

"No!"

"Doing this won't make anything better."

Salty drops of water rolled down her cheeks. "Yes it will. It will... I'll finally be free."

"You can't do this."

"You've always told me that there's no such thing as can't."

"I know I did, but... you can't... please don't." Quistin sighed.

"You don't get it. I am miserable living my life-"

"Think about the lives you'll be affecting-"

"Nobody cares about me."

"I do."

"Quistin-"

"I said that I love you."

Haley stopped. She wiped her eyes. "Why do you keep saying that?"

"Because I do."

She shook her head. "I... I don't know what to say."

"Say that you won't do it. Say that you won't pull the trigger."

She shivered. The pistol shook in her loosened grip.

"Haley," Her mother finally spoke up. "Haley, I'm sorry. I didn't know you felt that way."

Quistin took a step closer. "Just because you can doesn't mean you should."

Haley looked at him. And for the first time in a long time, she couldn't think of anything, nothing came to mind. She couldn't think of what she wanted to say. She couldn't think of what she wanted to do. She couldn't move. She couldn't blink. She looked at her mother. There was genuine sincerity in her eyes. There was kindness on her face. Haley had never seen that emotion on her mother's face before.

"Just because you can doesn't mean that you should," Quistin whispered again.

She trembled slightly. And she dropped the pistol on the floor.

Her mother rushed to her, cradling her daughter in her arms in a way she hadn't done since she was a baby. She apologized again and again as Haley cried. And Quistin backed away. He had come to say what he wanted to say. Without a word, he left the room and disappeared suddenly into the wind.


The door closed behind the well dressed man. With a solemn face and concerned eyes, he approached Haley's mother and father. They asked him questions about her emotional well being. He told them his professional opinion. They asked him questions about how to deal with the situation and he told them that Haley was in a vulnerable position. She would need help. The Psychiatrist needed time and so did she, but her mother and father would have their roles in the healing process.


Haley sat in her room. Just outside of her door, her parents talked. She could not hear what they were saying nor did she care. There was not a lot that she cared about at that moment. Haley was beginning to feel happy again. The window frame provided support as her arms floated carelessly above the world. She welcomed the refreshing air of spring time. The warming glow of the sun and the openness of the blue sky. She looked up at it in wonderment. It was even more beautiful than she hoped it would be. Not a cloud in the sky, just the lustrous blue.

She loved looking at it from her open window.

Haley's gaze fell upon a lone boy who had suddenly appeared at the base of the tree in her backyard. He wore a newly tailored black suit, a new white shirt, ironed and pressed, with a narrow black tie slipped underneath the well arranged jacket. Her lips curled up and she waved to him. He smiled and waved back.

"What are you doing here?" she asked inquisitively.

He stuffed his hands into the suit pockets. "Look on your desk."

She did. A folded piece of paper sat on top just waiting to be opened and read. Leaving the windowsill, Haley picked it up. She glanced back into the backyard but he was no longer there. Delicately she viewed the letter and read its contents.

Dear Haley,

Thank you. I know that probably doesn't make sense right now but keep reading and I'm sure it will by the end. There's so much that I want to tell you, Haley, there's so much that I want to say, but really, what can I say? I never thought I'd be telling you this. I guess I've written this letter because it's easier to put it all down in writing than it is for me to say it to you personally.

The first time time you met me I was wandering alone and I didn't care about anything. I had gone through a large majority of my life by myself and I was fine with that. The first time I met you I saw a girl who was extraordinarily intriguing. Here was someone who had, by what I could only assume, a very privileged life, something I previously had. And when I looked at you, I didn't see happiness, I didn't see thankfulness. There was a longing for something else. And in the beginning, I wanted to know why. It was obvious that you were restricted by your parents and the "rules of society". That much was certain. But what I didn't know was if it was a chosen way of life or if you didn't know any better. In the beginning, I wanted to know if you were like me: tired of the anxiety of high society. In the beginning, I showed you a world of boundless imagination. A world where anything was possible because, for me, anything is possible.

I don't know when it happened, but I realized something the more time I spent with you. The more I showed you of my world, the more you showed me of yours. And I don't mean the world of prestige, of high society. I mean: You. I want you to know that I think you are amazing. I think you're beautiful. You may not think so but you are. Believe it. There are so many things that I can think of that make you that way. I like the way you'll push a lock of hair behind your ear when you're flushed or concerned. I like how you'll wrinkle your nose when you laugh. And I know this sounds weird, but I really like making you happy. It doesn't really matter if you feel the same way or not because, Haley, you are the first person I truly care about.

But there was something that I never seemed to understand about you. There was a constant need to follow rules. Whether they were rules set by your parents, by society, or even yourself, you needed to follow them. No matter how much freedom I showed you, no matter how much was possible, there was still the need for a law in your life, and I couldn't understand that until I saw you in your father's office with a pistol in your hand. I don't think I've ever held my breath for so long before. Seeing you like that scared me. Seeing you like that hurt me. It was in that moment when I realized why you had that need to follow rules: without rules there would be chaos. I couldn't see that before because I was the only one who didn't follow them. I never took the time to consider that they were a protection, like from taking a life. And what you told me in the city made sense: Just because I have the ability to do something doesn't make it right. It doesn't mean I should.

Haley, the first time you met me I didn't have a direction in my life. But now I do. And I have you to thank. I feel like I'm meant for something more. I have an ability that no one else has. Helping you made me realize that this isn't something that should be wasted. Helping you made me realize that there are people out there, people in the world, that need saving. So I thank you, Haley, for giving me direction. I thank you for showing me what it means to care for someone else. This is just the beginning. I don't know exactly what I'm looking for but I guess that's for you to know and me to find out, right? All I know is that I know what I want to do now: save people. And I promise you that I will do everything in my power to do just that.

I wanted to let you know.

Love,

Quistin

PS. My real name is James.

Haley finished the letter, a smile hidden in the corner of her face. She whispered his name and looked outside through the open window, towards the bright blue sky, where freedom existed, where anything is possible.

"You're welcome, Quistin," she whispered.


Three Months Later...

Haley walked into class. A smile on her face. A laugh at the tip of her tongue. Her friends said their good-byes; they had different classes to attend. Briskly, she made her way to her seat. She sat down, folded her hands, and waited for the instructor to begin the day's lesson. Some students had their "Hey Haley" and "Hello's" to give and she politely responded to them. She made a mental note that her mother would be picking her up from school that day. Haley actually looked forward to it.

Glancing at the doorway, she noticed Thomas as he walked in. Their eyes met. He waved. She waved back. And when he took his seat next to Haley, she was able to breath. She was able to collect her thoughts.

"Hi," she said.

"Hi," he said back.

The End.