The elevator ride was quiet. My mom leaned impatiently against the marble walls as a visible rush of exhaustion swept over her body. Fatigue was hitting us all these days. All that was heard was the faint buzzing of the elevator and the clicking of Scooter's texting.
All I could think about was sleep, honestly. Not the family, or the concert, or the billion dollar hotel I was staying at. I just. Wanted. Sleep.
The BEEP that let us know we were on the bottom floor alarmed us all and we jumped a bit. I shook my hair and my mom fluffed it as she stepped in front of me. I rolled my eyes, flipping it back into position.
We then walked into the lobby, and there she stood.
I had been to some of the most amazing, unbelievable places in the entire world. France, Spain, and now the Bahamas were life changing and gratifying experiences. The beaches of Florida and the lush green land of Napa Valley were just two small representatives of the gifts God has blessed upon the Earth. I had seen the warmest suns and the pinkest sunsets, the brightest stars and the coldest oceans, the most colorful flowers and blankets of freshly fallen snow. But every single breath taking sight I had ever seen did not do her justice. She was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
My feet froze to the floor. My mom shoved me forward a little and I, thankfully, took baby steps. I cleared my throat and steadied myself, trying to regain perception of reality.
Her light brown hair cascaded effortlessly above her elbows in loose, perfect curls. Her side bangs barely revealed her warm, brown eyes. Her small waist and tan legs glided toward me. She stuck out a soft hand which I gladly accepted.
"Hi. I'm Justin." I choked out.
"Annabelle Johnson ." Her smile was so bright and friendly that she almost appeared to be laughing. "This is my brother, Jake, and my mom, Jeanette."
Jake was almost 3 inches taller than me and strong. He looked like Annabelle with his brown eyes and curly short hair. I gulped as he took a step closer to Annabelle in protection. "Sup?" He simply nodded.
I nodded back, adding a smile to ease the tension. "Not much. How was your flight?"
"Don't get me started." Jake chuckled as Annabelle rolled her eyes.
"Really. Please don't get him started." Annabelle groaned with pleading eyes.
"Annabelle has a slight…phobia of flying." He slowly stated, dancing around her feelings.
"I do not!" She replied in defense.
"Hey, don't worry about it." I chuckled. "I cried on my first flight."
"But were you 16, like Annabelle?"
"I was 12." I admitted sheepishly.
She smiled behind her bangs that hid her incomparable face. I looked over my shoulder. It looked like my mom and Jeanette were getting along great.
"So, have you scoped the place out? Where's the pool?" Jake asked.
"I haven't gotten to see much of the hotel yet. We should check it out tomorrow."
"Definitely. I bet there's a lot of chicks."
"Funny," I laughed, "That's exactly what Ryan said."
"Ryan?" Annabelle tipped her head to the side adorably.
"He's my friend from Canada." It clicked. Ryan would be bothering me about Annabelle forever. I immediately decided I wouldn't- couldn't- tell him.
"Justin," Scooter called, "It's late. You need sleep." I realized I wasn't tired anymore. I wasn't ready to leave!
"Okay." I gave in. "I'll see you guys tomorrow." I turned back to Annabelle and Jake with a wide smile.
"See you," Jake waved as he and Annabelle walked the other way with Jeanette. Why hadn't Annabelle said goodbye? Didn't she like me? I mean, even as a friend? Had I done something wrong? Absurd questions swarmed my mind like a flock of blood thirsty mosquitoes.
One by one, they melted away like ice on scorched pavement as I walked back to my hotel room. I hadn't done a thing wrong and I wasn't planning on starting to. From what I had seen and heard, she was perfect in every way. She seemed sweet and she looked like an angel, or…something. But like I had previously explained to the persistent and frequently annoying Ryan, I didn't need- or want- a girlfriend right now. It was the last thing I needed, honestly. No matter how great Annabelle seemed, though, it wasn't enough to change my mind.
An uneventful and energizing night's sleep was just what I needed, so it truly hit the spot. Besides the Bahamas' breeze beating on my window every once in a while, there was nothing that could keep me up.
When my eyes flipped open the next morning, everything seemed sort of surreal. I was in the Bahamas. The weather was perfect. Jake and Annabelle, the contest winners, seemed nice and fun. I had everything I needed for a vacation. Something was destined to go wrong.
I slid out of bed and took a shower, letting the hot water wash away my worries. I was feeling completely alive as I got dressed and blow dried my hair. Even my mom noticed that I couldn't stop smiling, but neither could she.
"What are we doing today?" I asked as she tossed me an apple.
"We aren't doing anything. You get to go have fun! Explore the hotel, visit with Abigail and Jake, do what you want." She smiled.
"It's Annabelle, mom." I corrected her. "Are you sure?"
"I'm positive. This is your vacation too, Justin. You're still just a child and you still get to have fun."
"Okay, mom. If you're really sure." She nodded. "Well, I'm heading out then. I want to see what this place has to offer to avoid any…awkwardness with Jake and Annabelle."
"Have a good time! Call me around 3:00 to fill me in!" She called as the door shut behind me. I felt good. A new freedom was mine and I could do whatever my heart desired.
I rode the elevator down to the lobby and went to the front desk.
"Good morning, Mr. Bieber," the manager smiled. "I hope you are enjoying your stay?" He said it more like a question.
"I am. It's great." I grinned. "Anything going on today?"
"The adult's pool is available to you, if you wish, but if you were interested in more of the teen related activities-"
"Yeah, that'd be good." I laughed. Adult's pool?
"Right, right. Well, there is shopping, rock climbing, a game room, pottery, a theater, a speedway, a library, and of course our water park." He handed me a map. "It's all here. You'll find many more fun things to do."
"That's perfect. Thanks!" I waved and was on my way out the front door. Flipping through the brochure was much to my benefit and I found tons of activities everyone would like. Snorkeling sounded fun to me, or maybe swimming with dolphins. Anything would be awesome on that amazing tropical island surrounded by placid blue waters.
As it was still early in the morning, I tip toed throughout the hotel in search of something. Anything. Everything.
I hit the golden button on the elevator and entered as the doors opened. Oblivious to my surroundings, I faced the doors as they closed and exhaled. Elevators were not my area of expertise.
"Oh!" I twisted around and came face to face with Jake. "Oh, hey. You scared me, dude." I laughed coolly.
"Sorry, man." He apologized but I could tell he was in hysterics on the inside. "Where you going?"
"Umm…" I thought about it. "I don't know."
"Come down to the pool with me." He insisted. "Do you have a swimsuit?"
"Not with me. I could go back up to my room and-"
"Nah, I have extras in my room. Lets go."
I gulped and followed him. I wasn't going to argue with a nearly 6 foot tall beast. But, honestly, how stupid was this guy? Did he really think I would fit into one of his swimsuits?
We wove through the maze of hallways and hotel rooms until we found Jake's. He slipped the key card in and the light flickered green which meant we could go inside. Woo-hoo.
"Sorry bout' the mess. My mom's not exactly…organized."
"Jake! Who's here?" Jeanette called from the bathroom.
"Hi, Mrs. Johnson!" I replied politely. "Sorry for the intrusion."
"Oh, Justin! No, no don't worry about it. Annabelle's on the balcony, Jake."
My feet froze to the floor along with my heart, and lungs, and eyes, and breath, and everything else in my body that functioned correctly. Annabelle! I hadn't forgotten about her, but how could she have slipped my mind? I guess I'd figured she was staying in a different room.
"Alright." He said simply. "I left my extra swimsuit in the car. You stay here. I'll get it." He grabbed a set of car keys off the bedside table and was out before I could protest. I sighed, confused, and looked toward the balcony where Annabelle was sitting. She was leaning casually on one chair with her feet resting on the other. I went for it.
"Hi." I announced awkwardly.
She glanced up at me and smiled. My heart raced. "Good morning." Good morning? Why hadn't I thought of that! She crossed her legs and sat up. "Sit." I did.
A moment of silence passed. "Good….weather we're having."
"It's perfect." I couldn't breathe. I couldn't think. So, I looked at her. She looked intently back at me and when our eyes met it was…it was….well, perfect.
"Sup, home skillets?" Jake interrupted and our gaze tore.
"Hey, Jake." She giggled. He chunked a bikini at her and then trunks at me.
"Let's hit the pool!"
"Jake, we have a pool in our backyard. We're in the Bahamas! Let's swim with dolphins! Lets snorkel! Lets rock climb!" Annabelle enthused.
"Can you rock climb here?" I asked.
"Who knows, who cares! We're gonna rock climb anyway." She hopped up and dashed to the bathroom to change.
"Wow." She was happy. "She's…."
"Ecstatic. All the time." He laughed.
"No kidding." I agreed and followed him out the door.
I don't know why some of it is in italics haha. Oh well. You guys don't know how so so super incredibly sorry I am for not updating in soooooooo long! I am SOOOOO sorry! I can't write when I'm not inspired or in the mood. That's why it took so long! Well, you met the girl. And her family. I have a plan for this story that's going to be awesome so please keep reading and reviewing! Speaking of reviews, thank you SO much to all of you! I love reading it and I'm so glad you all like it! Thank you times a billion! I'm sorry it is still too short. Actually, is it short? I think it is. Give me your opinion. Thanks!