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“So where exactly are we going?” I asked Ryan as we sped down Kemple, past smoky bars and the diner where underclassmen were still pouring in.
“Someone’s farm,” he shrugged. His one hand was carelessly over the steering wheel, the other wrapped around my shoulders as I basked in his touch. He’d changed from his football jersey, although he knew that many of his teammates would be donning their dirty jerseys and letter jackets. Just because they could.
But not Ryan.
He’d changed out of his beat up number 24 jersey and had opted for a green polo that made his eyes pop and jeans that hung low on his hips. But it was his smell that made me go crazy. Irish Spring soap and grass. No matter how hard he scrubbed, he would always smell like the football field.
“That’s comforting. As long as we know where we are,” I smiled, my hand resting on his knee.
“Oh totally,” he grinned as he glanced down at me. He handed me a blank CD. “Here. Put this in.” I leaned forward, his hand moving down my back. Taylor Swift’s voice filled the cab of the truck. His Taylor Swift CD I would like to add. I shook my head, letting out a laugh as I sank back into his arms.
“What?” he asked, a smirk on his face.
“You’re such a nerd,” I smiled, my hand lazily on his chest.
“Am not,” he laughed.
“Oh, you certainly are.”
“You know that you find it so intriguing that I listen to Taylor Swift voluntarily,” he laughed.
“Maybe,” I smiled.
“And you’ll be shocked to find out that I don’t just listen to her because she is a very attractive human being.”
“Well Ryan James, why do you listen to her?” I laughed.
“Because her lyrics are very insightful,” he said seriously.
“Is that so?” I asked, turning in my seat to face him.
“It is. And I feel like a lot of her songs can relate to us. Or at the very least, relate to you.”
“Really?” I was now truly interested in what this crazy boy was saying. The crazy boy who after three years in a relationship still kept me on my toes.
“Really, really.” I smiled to myself, staring down at my hands.
“What?” he asked, glancing over at me.
“Nothing,” I smiled, shaking my head.
“Come on, what is it? Did I sound ridiculously gay?”
“A little bit.”
“Harsh,” he grinned. He let out a laugh. A deep laugh, a man’s laugh. But there was still that undertone of his boyish giggle that only came out when he laughed really hard.
“You said it. I simple confirmed it.”
“But it’s ok,” I shrugged.
“Ok? How could it be ok?”
“Because I know that you are definitely not gay,” I laughed.
“Which is very important.” He glanced at me out of the corner of his eye, a grin stretching over his pink lips. He moved his arm around my shoulders again, I traced my fingers over a small scar on his hand. I reached up, pushing the button that opened the sunroof in the truck. I tilted my head back, letting the cool air rush against my face and looked at the blanket of stars that hung overhead.
“I love looking up at the stars,” I said quietly, almost more to myself then to Ryan.
“And why is that Carly Anne?” he asked quietly.
“Because the world doesn’t seem so big. It’s just like…like this huge net that is keeping us all safe. It’s a connector. Because I know that right now, there is some girl in Massachusetts or Indiana or Colorado who is looking up at the sky right now and thinking the same way that I’m thinking. Just…amazed by the intricacy of it.
“Right now, this sky is hanging over a couple kissing goodnight after their first date. It’s shooting star offers a tiny piece of hope to the girl who is sitting at home, wishing that things were easier with her friends. And her parents. And her love life. Right now, these same stars are hanging overhead as a girl is in the Wal Mart bathroom, waiting for the results of her pregnancy test.
“The sky, it’s always there to watch over us. It connects us. So that we aren’t ever alone.”
I was quiet. I knew that I’d been rambling. Hell, Ryan had probably stopped listening after the first sentence. However, it was something that I’d been thinking about for a long time. The sky. The comforting thought of never being alone because someone is always looking to the stars. I leaned back in the seat, my eyes still pointed toward the sky.
“That’s why I love you. So, so much,” he whispered in my ear.
“What?” I asked softly, turning my head to meet his eyes.
“No other girl could just open her mouth and say something that profound. Something that makes me fall even more in love with her which I didn’t even know was a possibility,” he said. “Jesus Christ, to hear a girl say something that beautiful…how could a guy not love her?”
He leaned over and kissed my cheek, his lips lingering for just a little too long.
“Watch the road lover boy,” I smiled up at him.
“Shoot Carly,” he laughed. “I’m the best driver I know. I could drive all over this town with my eyes closed.”
“Not with me in the car,” I laughed.
“I’d never put you in that kind of danger,” he said, his tone shifting quickly from quirky to serious.
“I know Ryan,” I said, my voice reassuring. This time, I was the one who leaned up to kiss him on his temple, the edge of his hair was sweet on my lips.
“You have to believe me,” he said, still so serious.
“I do.” I ran my hand over the hair at the base of his neck. “I do.”
“Promise?” He held up his right pinky.
“Promise,” I said, linking my pinky with his.
“Good.” I could see him smile, his white teeth bright in the darkness of the night. I was suddenly aware of the song that was playing, Ryan had turned up the volume. I looked up at his strong jaw and smiled.
“Romeo save me, they’re trying to tell me how to feel. This love is difficult, but it’s real. Don’t be afraid, we’ll make it out of this mess. It’s a love story. Baby, just say yes,” I sang softly in his ear.
He glanced down at me as he pulled in behind another truck in front of the farm. He turned off the engine and we sat quietly in the dark, my heart fluttering, every inch of me was on edge.
Ryan turned toward me, gently holding my face in his hands; they still smelled like the grass of the stadium. He let his lips graze mine, just enough to take my breath away before moving his lips to my ear.
“Yes,” he whispered.
Grand Rapids, Michigan
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"When deep injury is done to us, we will never recover until we forgive. Forgiveness cannot change the past. But it does enlarge the future."- Mary Karen Read
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in order for God to use all of you you have to be completely broken
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"When you're young, it's okay to be easily ignored." -Jason Mraz
ALSO, I'm not sure that centering a scene around a Taylor Swift song is exactly the route you want to go in (although maybe it is...). Here's why:
1. Songs will ALWAYS (except in the case of the Beatles and a few extremely numbered cases) eventually be out-of-style. Once nobody cares about Taylor anymore, this part of your story (and whatever parts of it reoccur later) will lose its appeal.
2. You automatically lose about 50% of your audience the second you mention a song that not everybody likes. I, personally, don't like Taylor Swift (if you can tell), but I understand completely the direction this scene is going in. Other readers may not be as understanding; they may dismiss the actual POINT of this scene just because they don't like Taylor. Also, since the girl obviously DOES like Taylor, you may lose part of the audience (that doesn't like Taylor Swift) that had already connected and related to Carly.
3. Copyright issues. This is unlikely, but it could happen... just a thought.
OVERALL, nice writing style. Oh, wait, last thing: the dialogue is real enough, but the two characters seem like they speak the same way (same tendencies, words, pauses, etc.). No two characters in one story will ever sound exactly the same. If there were no names or pronouns in this scene, I would barely be able to figure out who is whom here. They don't have to be complete opposites, naturally, but I feel as though they talk very similarly. Just something to think about.
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"We're almost there and no where near it. All that matters is that we're going." Lorelai Gilmore, Gilmore Girls
"The whole theory of modern education is radically unsound." Lady Bracknell, The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde
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"The caterpillar does all the hard work, but the butterfly gets all the publicity"
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"Make yourself proud"
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-Speak what you think now in words as hard as cannonballs and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today.