The trees were but a mere blur as I ran through them as fast as my legs would take me. My heart was pounding, and my lungs burned as I breathed harder and harder. My target darted through the trees ahead of me, almost as fast as I was. Every time I was close enough to grab hold, they cut right, then dodged left as I made another attempt at grabbing on. I decided to outsmart this clever prey, stepping to the right slightly, then cutting hard left to intercept my target's over anticipated reaction. I must have disappeared from sight for a moment, as they looked behind them and to the sides for me. I had slipped past them, using the trees and shrubbery to my advantage to get ahead. This was my chance. It was now or never. I jumped out from the cover of the trees, on to the narrow pathway that went winding through the forest. I kept my legs slightly bent to try and absorb the impact. My arms were outstretched to my sides, a small smile of victory creeping across my face as she whipped her head around and let out a shriek that sounded more like a squeak than anything. Unable to stop, she ran in to my arms full speed, knocking us both to the ground. We rolled a short ways, down a slight incline to the side of the path laughing the whole way. When we reached the bottom we laid there, continuing to laugh and catch our breath.
"Got ya.." I said between breaths, nudging her arm.
She giggled and replied, "Yeah, yeah whatever"
We continued to lay there, even after we caught our breath and absorbed our surroundings. We lived in the city and didn't have very many opportunities to really take in the true outdoors. We laid grass and leaves, enjoying the cool air on our skin, the sounds of the forest, the smells. I wondered if this was all real. It just felt too good to be true. I guess coming from the city to a place where serenity is everywhere, anyone would feel as if they were dreaming.
"Kids!" came a voice off in the distance, "Dinner's just about ready!"
"Of course" I said plainly, "Better get inside" I continued, stretching and feeling as though I had just awoken.
"Yeah, we'd better hurry before they think we're makin' out or something" Jessica replied chuckling.
"Hey now, that's not such a bad idea" I said smiling evilly.
"PFFT! Like that would ever happen!"
"Hey, hey. It's a thought. You never know unless you try it" I said, both of us picking our 13 year old selves off the ground.
"Fine. I will! Because dreams are something you can never take from me!" I replied, purposely acting like a child by stomping my foot and crossing my arms.
"You're a dork" she laughed, shaking her head.
"Why thank you" I replied, bowing.
We walked back towards the cabin, playfully pushing and shoving each other all the way.
As we walked in the door, I predicted exactly what was going to be asked from my paranoid mother.
"What were you two doing out there?"
"We were just messin' around." I replied heading for the kitchen.
"What kind of messing around?" she asked, her hands on her hips and one eyebrow raised.
"Mom.." I said, my head in the fridge as I pulled out a can of soda, "We were running around being idiots. That's all." I continued, popping the can open.
Jessica sat down at the table and began playing with her blonde hair. I grabbed a second soda from the fridge and brought it over to her, before sitting down myself.
"Oh, thanks" she said popping it open and taking a sip.
"Mhmm" I replied in the middle of a drink, "So what's for dinner?" I asked my mom after swallowing the ice cold liquid.
"Corned beef and baked potatoes" she replied from the stove.
"MMM yummy" Jessica said, closing her eyes and smiling.
"Ditto" I added.
Both of our mothers began conversing about house decorations and other mindless female topics. I sat at the table staring off in to space thinking about really nothing at all. I looked at Jessica, her eyes still closed. She looked as if she had fallen asleep and frozen in place. It looked as if she was barely breathing. She looked so.. Peaceful. At the time I had been immature and didn't really consider anything else. If I could do it over again I would have just left her to her peace. But instead I slowly stood, walked to the freezer and grabbed a cube of ice. As I walked past her, headed towards the bathroom, I pulled open the back of her shirt and dropped in the ice. Her eyes shot open and she gasped.
"YOU JERK!" she yelled laughing, and scrambling to get the ice cube out of her shirt.
I continued to the bathroom, barely able to breathe I was laughing so hard.
"JAKE!" came my mom's voice from the living room, traveling down the hallway.
Jessica finally got the ice out of her shirt. I know this because just as I was about to walk into the bathroom, she pelted me in the side of the face with the cube. This fueled my laughter and I practically pissed my pants as I closed the door. As I washed my hands after relieving myself, I stared in the mirror, wondering what would happen in the next few years, where I'd be, where Jess would be, if we'd still be friends, or more than just friends. What if we weren't friends at all? What if some other guy comes along and sweeps her off her feet? That thought felt like a knife through my chest and caused me to shake the thought from my head. I splashed some water on my face and grabbed a towel to dry it off. As I lowered the towel my sixteen year old self stared through the mirror, straight back at me. I bopped my head to the music playing through my earphones and tossed the towel to the side of the sink. I got a little closer to the mirror examining my face for any pimples or anything that may make a girl look the other way. I found nothing and took a step back examining myself. I ran a hand through my sandy brown hair, smiling slightly, happy to just be me, before turning out the light and heading across the hall in to my bedroom. I snatched my phone off my bed, still bopping my head to the rhythm of the song, and sent a text to Jess.
"Get over here woman. I require a female figure such as yourself to make me a sandwich =) lol jk"
A few minutes later I received a reply.
"Ur an idiot, go to hell... I'll be there in 5"
I chuckled and shook my head, tossing my phone back on to my bed. I looked in the closet door mirror and examined my arms. They were a good size for my age, bigger than most other guys at my school. Just for good measure though, I dropped to the floor and did a set of fifty push ups to get my arms pumped up a little. I stood back up and examined my arms once more. They looked a little bigger now from the muscle being worked out a bit. I smiled, then realized how much of an idiot I was being. Getting my muscles ready for Jess to come over? I must have have really fallen for her. I waved myself off, grabbed my phone and headed downstairs just as the doorbell rang. I answered to see Jess standing in a cute little pink tank top and tight denim jeans that really showed off her backside. Her hair, which is normally straight, was slightly curled, making her even cuter than she already was. She looked at me for a second before pushing me inside and pressing her lips tightly against mine. Surprised, my eyes remained open for a moment before the feeling faded and I kissed back. I pushed the door closed and wrapped my arms around her pulling her tightly against me. I backed in to a wall, turning to the right so that she was against the wall instead. Her tongue danced inside of my mouth, then retreated as I returned the favor.
"Sooo... you gonna let me in, or stare me down?" she asked sarcastically as the fantasy disappeared.
"Oh, yeah" I replied laughing and stepping to the side, "come on in"
"Thanks... perv" she said with a smile, pushing me as she walked in.
I closed the door behind her, "Well what do you expect? Dressing like that. I'm still a guy you know"
Feeling guilty about it, I stared at her butt in those tight jeans with a perverted smile on my face. I shook the dirty thoughts from my head and looked up before she caught me. We both plopped down on the couch and sat in silence for a moment.
"So what's up?" she asked.
"Um.. nothin' really. Was bored and wanted to hang." I answered, "My mom's gone until tomorrow and won't stop texting me every half an hour asking if I'm ok, what I'm doing, how everything is, where I'm at. She's only 20 minutes away for Christ's sake. She's so paranoid"
"Aww, she just misses her baby" she replied as if she were talking to a toddler. She rested her hand on my shoulder, her head cocked to the side with a pouty look on her face.
I couldn't help but laugh as I brushed her hand off.
"Oh whatever" I said shaking my head.
She laughed and looked out the window.
"Why don't we go out and do something? It's too nice of a day to be stuck inside" she said turning back to me.
I stared in to her sapphire blue eyes for a moment, almost losing myself in them. She stared right back, both of us sitting in silence. A little smile crossed her face.
"What?" she asked, cocking her head to the side slightly.
I broke my gaze and stood up from the couch.
"Oh, uh, nothing. Lemme grab my keys"
I ran upstairs and grabbed my my house key, my car keys just in case, and my wallet. I ran back down the stairs and met Jess at the front door. We walked outside, the light reflecting off of her golden hair. I locked the door behind me and we headed down the sidewalk, enjoying the warmth of the sun. Suddenly a loud alarm like tone rang out around us. Jess continued walking as if she had heard nothing at all. I looked around trying to find the source as the light got brighter and brighter. Soon the dream about my past faded and I was staring at the fire station ceiling as the tones rang out.
"Engine 7 medical aid" came the dispatcher's voice through the PA system.
I raised my arm and looked at my watch which read 3:30 AM. I sighed before swinging my legs out of bed and throwing my steel toed boots on, zipping up the zipper where the tongue normally is and heading towards the engine bay with the rest of the engine crew.
The dispatcher's voice continued, "Engine 7, respond to 2217 Adamson Street for chest pain. 62 year old female."
I hopped up into the large red pumper, a shiny new Seagrave fire engine, and sat in my seat, back to back with the engineer's, or driver's, seat. I let out a yawn as I put on my red fire department jacket that was only worn for medical calls. The engine roared to life and the engineer flipped on the red strobes, lighting up the engine bay and reflecting off the ladder truck to the right of our rig. We pulled out into the cold night air. I looked out the window as I put my headset on and as the bay door closed behind us. We went racing down the boulevard, the engine's sirens screaming in to the night. I thought back to the dream I was having, reliving the memories of so long ago. Now 27 years of age, I reminisced of the times I missed the most, wondering where Jessica is now. We continued to scream down the boulevard, blaring the air horn as we passed through an intersection. I reached over and grabbed a pair of blue rubber gloves out of the box and pulled them over my hands, preparing for the call that would probably only last a lousy 3 minutes, as the medics would most likely beat us there and clear us the moment we walked in the door. I continued to watch the scenery as it passed by, the red strobe lights reflecting off the sides of buildings and windows. I looked up into the sky at the moon, the thought of Jessica still eating away at my mind.
Author's Notes: Thank you to everyone that has taken the time to read this first chapter. Many more are to come so if this story interests you then make sure you stay tuned. Again thank you for reading and let me know what you think.