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My Forever and Always
I love you. Three simple words that cause so much pain and suffering. Temporary happiness? Sure, but despair and an awful hurt afterwards. Did anyone ever guess that those words, said to the wrong person, could hurt so much and be so dangerous? The answer is no. Everyone though that saying these words would bring you permanent happiness and love. Boy, were they wrong. No one, I repeat, no one knew that it would lead to my death. Not even I knew.
* * * * *
Her name was Hazel Rannae Hyde. She came to our school when I was a sophomore and she was a freshman. She didn’t know I existed until the year was almost over. She had ice blue eyes, beautiful strawberry blonde hair, and she was the most gorgeous girl I had ever seen. She was tall with a caramel tan; absolutely model perfect. Hazel was exactly the time of girl that I believed wouldn’t give me that time of day.
It was at a track meet for sectionals that Hazel finally talked to me. They had just called the girls 4x1 meter relay when she walked up to us.
“Dude!” Stefan said, slapping my arm. “Here comes Hazel. Man, she is hot.” The other guys whistled their agreement.
I didn’t feel like listening to them talking about her, so I turned up the volume on my iPod. I was trying to work out the chords of the guitar in my head. My friends watched as she made her way over to us and they all said hi to her. She said her hello’s back but she didn’t smile at any of them as she usually did. Stefan slapped my arm again and tugged my headphones off.
“Hazel is talking to you. Hello?” said Gryphen. He turned back to Hazel. “He zones out sometimes when he has his headphones in.” He seemed almost embarrassed about it. I looked up into Hazel’s ice blue eyes and almost gasped at how breathtaking she was.
“Hey. You’re Riley, right?” she asked in the most amazing wind chime voice. Could this girl get anymore perfect? I wondered.
“Yeah, hey.” It was a pathetic response but I didn’t know what else to saw. She was so pretty and I was so…well, I don’t know. I wouldn’t say that I’m ugly but I don’t look like Brad Pitt or whatever. I was tall with long blond hair and green eyes. I was very athletic and had my group of friends. Girls just didn’t seem to pay attention to me as much as they did my other friends, like Stefan.
She was about to say something when they called the girls 400 meter. She looked up and said,
“Well, that’s my cue. I guess I’ll see you guys around.” She was just about to walk away when she pulled a piece of paper out of her pocket and held it out to me. “I almost forgot to give this to you. Byea!”
I took the note from her and stuffed it into my bag. I turned my iPod back on, trying to ignore the looks my friends were giving me.
“Oh come on! Aren’t you going to read it?” Stefan asked. I shook my head. “Why! She is the hottest girl on campus and you’re just going to casually ignore this? I cannot believe you.”
“I swear, he will never learn,” Gryphen replied as we got up to go to the concession stand.
“I can still hear you! I’m not totally deaf,” I said. They laughed and went on pestering my about opening the note. I sighed. It was going to be one long track meet.
* * * * *
When I got home that night, it was about 8:30. I climbed the stairs to my room and shut the door behind me. Grabbing my iPod and one of my guitars, I flopped down on my bed. Afraid to open the note, I glanced around my room and played the opening chords to “Kryptonite” by Three Doors Down.
My room was painted different shades of blue and gray with my bed in the center. My other three guitars were lined up against one wall and a there was a window leading to my roof next to them. I had a desk with a laptop and scattered notebooks in the corner farthest from my door. My room didn’t have much in it and I really didn’t care. Finally, my curiosity got the better of me and I unfolded the note.
I would like to talk to you sometime. I’ve heard a lot about you from my friends and the guys and you seem like a cool person. Meet me at the track tomorrow after school.
-hazel rannae hyde
I sat there for almost two hours pondering over Hazel’s note. Did I go to the track tomorrow? Did I not? Finally, I was interrupted by the buzzing of my phone. It was Stefan calling for our 10:30 ‘studying’.
“Did you read the note!” Stefan and Gryphen asked at the same time. I sighed.
* * * * *
The next day, I walked to the track in basketball shorts, carrying my shoes and shirt. It was really nice outside; perfect day for me to be running. Even if Hazel hadn’t asked me to meet her, I would have been at the track anyways.
As I got closer, I saw Hazel was sitting in the field stretching. I walked out and sat beside her.
“Hi!” Hazel said with a smile. “Would you like to run with me? It’s such a nice day out and I need to practice for the state meet this weekend,” she said. She was dressed in black shorts and a tank top with two intertwined swords on it.
“Sure, I usually come hereto run anyways.” I looked up at the sky and then put my shoes back on. As I was tying them, she pulled an iPod touch out of her bad. She messed with it for a moment and then saw me watching her. She held it out to me. I scrolled though her songs. She had a variety from Oasis to Kill Hannah to 3oh!3 to AttackAttack to Hollywood Undead. I handed it back and said,
“That’s a nice iPod. How long have you had it?” She shut it off and put it back in her bag.
“Not very long. My brother, Cole, gave it to me for my birthday two weeks ago. I take it you approve of my music? You were smiling as you looked through it.” She smiled her beautiful smile and I couldn’t help but laugh.
“Yes, I do actually. That is pretty much what I have on mine. Your brother must be pretty cool. The best thing my siblings have ever given me was a pillow. Then again, they are only ten,” I replied.
‘Oh. Are the twins?” She gave me a curious look and then got up. I stood too and we headed for the starting line of the track.
“Yeah. My two brothers, Scott and Reuben, are identical twins. It’s actually really weird because I had an identical twin also.”
“What do you mean when you said ‘you had’?”
“He ran away last year. He said he wanted to live on the coast and he hated this little town. We found out he was killed shortly after by on of his ‘friends’.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. What was his name?”
“Tylar.” We had started running and I realized how quiet it was. There was no wind and the only noise was the sound of our feet hitting the track. I noticed she didn’t have shoes on.
“I have a brother named Cole. You’ll have to meet him sometime.” She paused. “He has to come pick my up later. I’ll introduce you to him then. Okay?”
“Sure. It’s hard to remember my brother. The only thing my parents didn’t throw away that belonged to him was hi guitars, and that was because of me. He taught me to play guitar after he taught himself. I’m sorry.” I was embarrassed now. I was going on about something she probably didn’t care about.
“No, its okay. I know what its like to lose someone you love. My dad died when I was seven. He was like my best friend and it felt like-” She didn’t finish. She had tears streaming down her cheeks.
“Like someone tearing your heart out,” I said. She nodded and we stopped after finishing out fourth lap. “That’s how it felt after we heard Tylar was gone.” I turned to her and pulled her into my arms. Hazel seemed to relax and started crying even more. I just stood there and hugged her. I didn’t know what else to do.
“Hazel?” I asked, when she had stopped crying.
“Hmm?” She looked up. Her eyes were red, her face wet.
“I know this is a bad time to ask but will you go out with me?” I felt like an idiot as soon as I said it, but she just looked at me and smiled.
“Only if you promise to always be there for me. Even if we break up.” She gave me a hopeful smile.
“Forever and always, I am yours. Promise.” We both smiled. I wiped the tears off of her cheeks and lifted my pinky. Hazel hooked hers through it and I kissed my pinky. She started laughing.
“What’s so funny?” I asked.
“Oh nothing,” she replied as she reached up and kissed me. A moment later she pulled away and smiled.
“Thank you. That just made my day.” Hazel turned to walk towards the grass. I stood there pondering over what she had said. “Aren’t you coming?” I reached for her hand and we walked back.
“What do you mean by that?” I asked.
“Well, I’ve liked you since…the beginning of the year and you saying that forever and always you are mine is just amazing. It’s hard to explain.” She gave me a funny smiled and sat down to stretch again.
I sat beside her and said, “You are a confusing person, Hazel Rannae Hyde. Do you know that?”
“Yes, I do. My brother says that to me everyday.” She laughed when she said this. A black Ferrari pulled up to the curb by the end of the track and the horn beeped. Hazel laughed again and said,
“That’s my bother. Come meet him.” We walked to the car holding hands.
“Hold on,” Hazel said. She walked up to the car and the window rolled down. Hazel said something to the person inside the car and then gestured to me. A nod, and she was walking back towards me.
“My brother went out with some friends so my step-dad came to get me. Trust me; you don’t want to meet him right now. I have to go anyways. I’ve got dance rehearsal tonight.” I gave her a curious look. “Just don’t make fun of the fact that I dance.” I held up my hands innocently.
“I didn’t say anything.” Hazel laughed and hugged me.
“I’ll see you at school tomorrow. Cya!” She skipped back to her care, laughed, and got inside. I waved as the car disappeared down the road.
* * * * *
It had been two months and three days since that day at the track with Hazel. She and I spent most of our time together and I had learned a whole lot about her. Such as, she loved white, blue, and orange but she couldn’t stand black and purple. And she refused to match her socks.
It was now July 3rd and Hazel was at my house. We were sitting on my floor and I had my leg around her waist. In her lap, she held one of Tylar’s three guitars. She had said that her brother had taught her to play and so I let her use one of his guitars to show me. She wasn’t half bad. I asked if she had a guitar.
“No, but I play my brother’s sometimes. He never has expressed an interest in meeting you,” Hazel said. She was looking across the room when she saw my black and white electric guitar. The one with my necklace hanging from it.
“Why are you hiding this one from the world?” She asked.
“I’m not so much hiding it from the world as I am hiding the world from it.” Hazel rolled her eyes. “What? It’s true! I’m afraid it will see how much better the world is than my room and sprout wings and leave.” I paused. “It was Tylar’s favorite guitar. I only play it when I need some support. It helps me.”
“Hmm. I see.” She smiled at me. “My brother has the same guitar, same necklace too. I swear, you two are soul mates. So much alike. It’s kinda scary.” At that minute her phone rang. She sighed. “You can only escape the world for so long,” she said as she flipped it open.
I decided to walk into the other room while Hazel was on the phone. I walked down the stairs to my brother’s and my old room. After he had died, I moved out of the room. I’d been planning to anyways but we were too lazy to pack up my stuff and move it into the room a story up.
Our two beds we had pushed against opposite walls with a space for the TV and Xbox and Wii that got moved into the twins’ room. Tylar had had a life but he spent too much of it in our room playing video games with me. I went to the window and opened the blinds. We had a view of our neighbor’s pool and the highway. (Sadly, our neighbors were an elderly couple so there wasn’t much to see.)
Sometimes Tylar would sit listening to music, staring out the window, watching the highway. He always told me how much he wanted to be in one of those cars, on the way to the coast and as far away from this little town, with these little people. I’d always laughed at him; never realizing how truly serious he was.
I was so involved in my memories that I didn’t hear Hazel come up behind me. She took my hand and looked out the window. I sighed.
“I miss him so much, Hazel. I wish I could go out there and find him sitting by a pool, alive and having the time of his life. He was my best friend.” I didn’t realize there were tears running down my cheeks until Hazel reached up and wiped them away.
“I know, baby. It’s hard without them. I’m sorry.” I took a breath and hugged her for a long time.
“Thank you,” I said. Hazel smiled and pulled away.
“That was my mom that called. She wanted to know if we could go out for dinner. The five of us, my brother included. We’d be going for dinner and then I was thinking maybe you and I could go on a date?” She looked at me with an expectant smile.
“Hm.. I don’t know. I might have plans tonight.” I laughed as she punched my arm. “So, what are we going to do on out date?” Hazel started walking back into my room to grab her stuff. I followed.
“I can’t tell you. It’s a secret.” She smiled again.
“Aha. I get it. It’s a conspiracy thing. We’re overthrowing the government? Or maybe some secret spy mission. No! I got it. Your parents are FBI agents and we’re going to track down some violent criminal.” I laughed and she glared at me.
“I wish you would be serious about this. No, we are just going on a date.” Hazel threw her stuff into her bag and walked to my closet. “Do you have an decent clothes in here?” Puzzled by her sudden change in mood, I walked to my closet and pulled out a green and blue checkered long sleeve button down polo.
She sighed. “That works. And put on some nice jeans and brush your hair.”
“You aren’t my freaking mother, Hazel. I know how to get ready.” I put the polo on over top of the white Hollister shirt I’d had on. I ran my fingers through my hair and left on the jeans I had been wearing that day. They were light and ripped but they seemed fine to me.
Hazel scowled at me and walked out of the room to change. I walked downstairs to wait for her. She must have planned for this and brought extra clothes. When she came back, she was wearing a white Ed Hardy dress and a blue jacket over top. She grabbed my car keys off the counter and walked past me, out the door.
I had no choice but to follow. What is her problem? I wondered. I hadn’t done anything to make her mad. Had I?
“Let’s go, Riley! We have to be there in fifteen minutes.” Hazel started my car as I got in.
“What is your problem?” I asked when she had pulled out of my driveway. “Why are you so upset all of a sudden?”
Hazel sighed. “I’m sorry. It’s just that you haven’t met my family before and this is kind of stressing me out. I want this to work out.” She glanced at me and smiled. “Please be good.”
I laughed. “You say that as if I ever misbehave.” This made her smile and she raised an eyebrow at me.
“Good.” We were in town already and I was guessing we were almost to the restaurant because Hazel’s knuckles went white on the steering wheel. She turned into a place called ‘Maria’s Bistro.’ It was a fancy little restaurant in our town that I had never been to. (It’s not like I had family dinners as I sophomore. I was usually with friends.)
Hazel parked and two people approached the care with a kid behind them who looked like he didn’t want to be there. Hazel began to open her door but I stopped her. She looked at me.
“Just so you know, I love you. I’m sorry for getting mad at you.”
“I love you too, Riley. Forever and always.” She hooked her pinky through mine and kissed it. Her parents had reached us. She got out of the car.
“Mom, John,” I heard her say. I got out of the car too. “This is Riley,” she introduced, reaching for my arm. I waved and politely said ‘hi’. Her mom embraced my and I shook hands with her step-dad. I noticed that the kid was still a few paces behind them, hiding his face; or so it seemed.
“So, Riley. How come we haven’t met you sooner?” asked, John, Hazel’s step-dad.
“I’m not sure. Hazel’s so shy about it. She talks about how wonderful you guys are though. All the time and how I need to meet you so bad. She got her wish.” I smiled at Hazel but she looked away. Really, what had I done wrong?
Hazel’s mom laughed. “That’s out daughter for you. Always so shy when it comes to us. It’s as if we’re a disease.” Mrs. Hyde laughed again and hugged Hazel. Hazel smiled and turned around.
“Cole, why don’t you come say hello before we go inside?’ Cole. That one word made my blood run cold but I took a breath. It couldn’t be… The kid behind us hardly looked up. He had black spiky hair and he was tall, almost as tall as me. He finally looked up but his face was still hid from my view.
“Hey,” he mumbled and instantly looked back down. His mom sighed and walked over to him. She whispered a few words to him and he nodded. Finally, they both walked back over to us.
I watched this Cole take a breath as if to ready himself. He raised his head and his green eyes burned into mine. I gasped and felt fury and hatred surge through me.
“Hello, Riley,” said my brother’s murderer. He smiled. It sickened me. My moment of control burst with that smile.
“How could you, Cole? He was your best friend. How could you!” I wanted to hit him so bad but I spared his parents the sight. Hazel put her arm on my shoulder. I spun on her. “You knew! You knew he killed my brother! And you didn’t tell me! How could you, Hazel?” And at that moment, it all clicked. “You insisted on me meeting him. You said he was soo great. You lied. You lied to me…” I trailed off as fury consumed my body.
I turned again but this time I hit Cole, hard. I pulled my hand back and saw blood pouring from his nose. That was nothing compared to what he deserved.
Cole had been the one to pull the trigger. They found the gun with his prints all over it and he admitted to the murder too. But his father had bribed the judge and all the police and the trial had been let go. It had been ruled as self-defense. Cole killed my brother for drugs. It’s what Tylar did to get money. He wasn’t a user but he sold them and Cole helped him. One day, Cole’s supply was stolen. Tylar had just gotten his and wouldn’t give them to Cole. In turn, Cole killed Tylar. After the trial, he had been put into rehab but we all knew he was still using. He was purposely sent to a rehab facility in another stare so I wouldn’t hunt him down and khurt him. I was going to do so much more now. I would only settle for his blood this time.
I pulled my arm back and hit him three more times before his step-dad grabbed my arms. Cole’s mom rushed forwards and handed him a bunch of tissue. He held them to his nose but his eyes were amused. He was taunting me. He wanted me to do more; to let my fury take over. I struggled in his step-dad’s grasp.
“I think it’s time for you to go home now, son. Before we press charges for you beating on Cole.” If it was even possible, this infuriated me even more.
“What are you talking about? He killed my brother! And you want to press charges on me for hitting him? What is this family’s problem!” I was screaming now and there were people in the parking lot starting to stare. I didn’t care. I wanted Cole to pay.
Hazel stood in front of me, tears streaming down her face. “Please, Riley. Just go home. I don’t want to see you again.” Her eyes told me otherwise.
“You did this on purpose.” It wasn’t a question. “You wanted this to happen. Cole wanted a shot at me and you gave him the perfect opportunity.” I couldn’t believe it. My anger ebbed away and was replaced with pain. She had lied. “You didn’t do it because you liked me. You did it so Cole could try and kill me too.” My restraints fell away. Her step-dad was willing me to hit Hazel or Cole. But I couldn’t. I was heart-broken. How could she?
I didn’t say anything as I turned and walked back to my care. Hazel called my name but I didn’t respond. I heard her step-dad tell her to let me go but she didn’t listen. She ran to me and pulled on my arm.
“I’m so sorry. Honestly, Riley. I didn’t do it for Cole. I love you. Forever and always. All of this was because I liked you. I swear.”
“Forever is over. You lied, Hazel.” It was all I could manage. I was numb. I couldn’t be angry. I couldn’t feel anything except that pain of my heart breaking. It hurt so much.
I unlocked my car and got in. Hazel was still talking to me but I wasn’t listening anymore. I slammed the car door and drove away. Never once did I look back and see Cole take out the gun. I never saw him point it at himself. I didn’t see him pull the trigger as he whispered, “I’m sorry, Tylar. It was a mistake.”
All I saw was the road ahead of me as I drove. I didn’t know where I was going but I drove onward. Thoughts and words escaped me as I sped down the highway at 100 miles an hour. Tears ran down my cheeks and clouded my vision but it didn’t occur to me to wipe them away. All the mattered was driving as far away from this place as possible.
I drove for what seemed like a short time but it was really three hours. Time was irrelevant when you had nowhere to go; when you had no purpose in life.
It wasn’t until I reached Charlestown that my conscious mind rejoined my body. I drove slower now and with a purpose. My pain still hadn’t registered but I knew where I was going.
I turned at the nearest exit I saw and blew the red light. I was going to my brother’s grave…. But I never made it. It was too late when I saw the headlights of the semi. Too late that I realized we were going to crash. I took my hands off the wheel and folded the in my lap.
The front of the car was crunched first and pieces of glass pierced my skin. I felt nothing as the car was folded around me. I was numb.
* * * * *
The next thing I knew, police sirens screamed in my ears and I was being pulled out of the wreck. People were yelling and someone was crying.
Darkness surrounded me. There was a tiny pinprick of light. I started walking towards it. It seemed like the only thing to do.
A familiar voice broke through my calm darkness. “Riley! Wake up! No!” The voice was crying. “Riley, please.” It was Hazel! She was here. I groaned. “Did you hear that?” Came the voice. “He’s still alive!”
“Miss, please stand back. They are trying to save him. You need to go back to your car,” said another voice.
“But he’s still alive. Riley! Please. I love you. Live for me, please. Fight through this. You can do it, Riley. I know you can-“ Her sobs broke her sentence. The noise grew fainter but I didn’t care. I was a peace.
All the noise disappeared. There was only my brother and me.
“Riley. Come on. We have to go. It’s not your time.” I hesitated as I looked back at the scene behind me. The medics were trying to help a dead boy I didn’t know. He looked familiar but I’d forgotten who he was. I looked back at Tylar.
“Will he be okay?” Tylar nodded.
“As long as you come with me, he’ll be fine.” He held out hid hand and took it and we walked back into the darkness, away from the light. The noise came back and became louder and louder. We were standing over top of the scene. Medics were still trying to save a dying boy. I now understood what my brother meant. I had to save him.
I looked back at my brother. He smiled and nudged me forward.
“Don’t worry. You’ll see me again. Just not yet. I love you, Riley.” Tylar pushed me harder this time and I felt myself falling.
Just before I hit the ground, my eyes snapped open and I took a breath.
“Riley…” cried Hazel. She buried her face in her hands.
“Forever and always,” I said. “Forever and always…”