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   Chapter 2 Jocks and Clocks

Instant By Anna Rae Characters: 10852

Updated: 2018-01-18 17:56


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When I give you my time, I'm giving you a portion of my life that I will never get back.

So don't waste it.

~~~<>~~~<>~~~<>~~~

"I expect that video on my desk next Monday, young lady, " Mr. Hawthorn yelled after me with a smile. I tilted my head back towards him and offered a wave and a smile. "And I expect it to be your best work yet!"

I chucked lightly to myself and continued down the hall. My shoes clack against the linoleum like an iambic pattern, giving out a quiet squeal as the left sole rubs against the floor.

Rows of lockers stare at me as I go by, the school empty of every student but one. I check the time on my phone.

5:45.

Nate's practice is almost done.

I hike my backpack further up my shoulder and rearrange my camera equipment. As editor-in-chief of the school's newspaper and a dedicated member of our broadcasting class, I had weekly video projects to shoot and turn in for various reasons. It had been my idea this year to not only have a student yearbook, but to have a "video yearbook, too." The school board loved the idea, but unfortunately it meant many hours of my time dedicated to executing it correctly.

Short videos of each student had to be taken, as well as shots of sports games, theatrical performances, senate meeting - the list goes on.

I huff in the empty hallway.

I did a little sheté over a yellow parking block and leaned my hip against the hood of the car once I reached it, crossing my legs at the ankles. My backpack dropped with a "thud" onto the asphalt as I let it slip off my shoulder.

Pieces of my hair were lifted up and danced in the sudden breeze that brushed past me. The sun shown down through the clouds, surprisingly warm and sticky for a autumn day in early November.

My boyfriend, Nate, had football practice after school and it ended right around the time theater practice did. He figured that since we were together, I shouldn't need to drive myself to school - even though I had a car. I thought it was sweet. I didn't mind being driven places, especially considering I wasn't too keen on driving, myself. My mother, however, thought the whole situation was a waste of a car.

My boyfriend's name was Nate. We'd met our sophomore year when I had tutored him through math class. He made me smile, and he made me feel loved - most of the time, at least.

I waited by his car for a few minutes before I saw him bounding out of the locker room, blond, shaggy hair wet and dripping. I leaned away from the car so I could hug him, but Nate had different ideas.

As I leaned in, he grabbed my waist and shoved his head down, shaking it like a wet dog. Water droplets splashed on my face and shirt as I screeched and tried to push him away. His arm held me captive, and I began beating his muscled chest to get away.

"No!" I yelled, laughing. "Let go of me!" After shaking his head a little longer, Nate looked up and brushed his lips against mine. He started laughing as I wiped off my wet face dramatically. "You're a sugartit, you know, " I said, using the only "curse" word my mother allowed in the house.

Nate laughed at me, most likely making fun of my inability to curse, his smile nearly splitting his face apart.

Nate was the dictionary description of attractive. With his strong shoulders, and chiseled face, he could easily pass as a model - which made dating him pretty easy.

"But you still love me!" He exclaimed, smiling widely.

I paused for a split second, not sure what to say. I'd never before said "I love you" back to him. To anyone.

Not noticing my grimacing face, Nate asked, "So how was your nerd thing?"

Aggravation spread through my chest. He always called my theater practices nerdy, something that actually slightly offended me.

I rolled my eyes and held my hand out for the car keys, wanting to get away from school as quickly as possible.

Nate could see that his comment had affected me, and said, "Look, I'm sorry, babe, I just don't get why you do those stupid plays."

It was supposed to be a reassuring comment, but it only made me want to stab Nate's car keys into the side of his precious vehicle.

Nate fished the bits of metal out of his jeans pocket and tossed them to me. The keys glinted in the sun before landing in the palm of my hand. I unlocked the car door and tossed my bag in the back.

Lowering myself into the passenger seat, I reached over to put the key in the ignition. The car roared to life with a single turn.

Nate climbed into the car.

"Being in the musical is not nerdy, " I huffed, bringing it up for the one-hundredth time this year. My seatbelt buckled with a "click" after I'd drawn the strip of leather across my chest.

Nate laughed mockingly, and started to back the car out of the school parking lot. There were still a dozen or so cars still there, awaiting the arrival of their owners.

I decided to let my annoyance go. After all, I thought Nate's choice of a sport - football - wasn't too entertaining, either.

I watched my boyfriend maneuver his car onto the main road, trees looming up on each side of the street. We passed the sign near the front opening that read "Brewer High School, home of the Ravens, " with a matching black bird as a statute next to it.

Soon the sign was gone, and we were speeding away towards the center of town.

To get to my house from the school, you

had to drive through Main Street - a half mile long stretch of random stores and cute diners, along with the post office and library - and out into the country.

I lived in the "rural" part of my small town of Brewer, Michigan. Although "rural" was a daft thing to call it because of the general size of the town to begin with. Safe to say, the entire town could be considered as straight country land, with a spattering of stores and houses in between.

It was about a three minute drive through the town itself, and a fifteen minute drive from my house to the school.

Nate lived in the only area that could be considered as a neighborhood. He had the largest house in town because his father was the mayor of the area, and the decisions of his family controlled those of everyone else.

As we neared Main Street, I stared at Nate's chest.

"Please put your seat-belt on."

He turned to look at me, a you've-got-to-be-kidding look on his face.

"What?" I asked. "You want to get in an accident and die?" He rolled his green eyes, and looked back towards the road. The car made an angry humming sound, as if it abhorred the sound of Nate and I arguing. We crossed from the empty road and onto the official Main Street. The car flew past stores, going faster than it should have. "Please, Nate, just put it on."

He knew perfectly well that car crashes were a very sensitive topic for me. They hit home in ways other things couldn't.

"No, what are you? My mother?" He spat, harshly. "Jeez."

I sighed deeply. I hated when he was like that. Why couldn't he just put on the damn seat belt? I wasn't asking much.

My chest constricted.

In the back of my head, I could picture a navy blue Montana van, speeding down the highway, going too fast.

The image zooms into the drivers seat, where I can't see the man's face. It shows his chest, where there isn't a seat belt protecting him.

The car starts to veer off the road--I closed my eyes tightly, and bit my tongue, so I'd stop picturing it.

Suddenly, I gasped for air, not even realizing I'd been holding my breath. There was an ache, an empty hole deep in my chest.

"Just put the seatbelt on, " I whispered, barely audible. He didn't.

Nate angrily blew air out through his nose. "Just because your dad died in a car crash, Adira, doesn't mean I will, too."

It was an awful thing to say. I squeezed my eyes shut to keep in the tears that were forming.

I was biting my tongue so hard the metallic taste of blood spiked my tastebuds.

The stores stopped flying past us, and fields of crop land began to appear.

"So how was football practice?" I whispered shakily, attempting to change the subject so he wouldn't see me cry. My boyfriend hated when people cried.

Nate suddenly let out a string of profanities. I took it as practice hadn't gone as he'd planned.

"It sucked, " he hissed. "Stupid coach doesn't know anything." He turned to me, not even bothering to glance at the road. My stomach lurched into my throat.

"You know what he did?" I shook my head, making sure to watch the road for oncoming traffic.

I was going to die.

"He told me I had to sit out the game because my throwing isn't 'up to standards'." He used finger quotes, taking his hands completely off the wheel.

My mouth was glued shut.

I was going to die.

"That asshole of a coach is putting in the backup Quarterback instead of me!"

Our car started to swerve into the lane next to ours.

The scream I had been holding in my chest escaped, and my eyes snapped shut for a moment before I grabbed the wheel and swerved the car into it's appropriate lane.

By this time my heart was pounding, not that Nate seemed to notice.

"You just almost just got us killed, " I muttered shakily, trying to breath again.

I wanted to throw up. The nauseous feeling swirled in my stomach while my head pounded in the inside of my skull. It terrified me to know that - at any time - I could be killed in an instant, just like my father.

"What did you say?" Nate asked, venomously. We'd reached my house, and he pulled into my driveway. The brick house in front of us stared down at me, watching the scene play out. The green bushes lining the front of the house seemed to huddle deeper into the afternoon shadows.

I unbuckled my seat belt, muttering a "nothing", and started to get out of the car.

"No, tell me, " Nate demanded, grabbing my arm harshly and pulling me back into the car. I stumbled, my shin hitting the edge of the door. Pain spiked up my leg.

"Nothing, " I said sweetly, trying not to moan in agony, hoping he'd let go of my arm. His nails were digging into my skin, threatening to draw blood. I leaned forward and gave him a kiss. "See you tomorrow!"

I smiled, even though I was cringing inside, and rubbed the sore spot on my arm.

There'll be a bruise there tomorrow, I thought to myself. I'd have to wear a long-sleeve shirt to hide the marks.

It wasn't the first time it'd happened.

As I walked up to my front door, reaching in my backpack for the key, I swore I heard something.

Briefly - just for a moment - there was the sound of a clock ticking, and the ding of the hour. I strained my ears and looked to the right, then the left.

I was staring at nothing but the side of my house.

The noise was louder now. Each tick counting off a second passing, from a clock that wasn't there.

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