Billy and the Forest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This story is about a teenage girl who struggles with the idea of leaving everything that means a lot to her. It follows her on her journey as she realises how to deal with the changes and the challenges life throw at her...
please enjoy, even though it is quite a soppy story, I enjoyed writing it....

Submitted: July 26, 2012

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Submitted: July 26, 2012

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As she sat on the single swaying willow tree, in amongst the pine forest, she felt the worst sinking sensation she had ever felt, it was as if her feet were in quick sand. Why was it that the two things that meant most to her had to be taken away in one big blow?

As she sat there tears prickling her eyes, the first few drops of rain, splashed onto her freckled face. This was her favourite kind of weather, just before the storm hit, while the woods were waiting in anticipation for a soaking, for the cool and damp to overtake the hot dry air, overnight. She loved the fact that when she went to bed at night the air would be stinking hot and dry, and then when she woke up in the morning the world was a shrouded in fog. Walking through the woods on these such mornings was the best sort of therapy, it helped her to clear her mind and let her problems be taken away by the swishing of the pine trees, by the smell of rotting pine leaves and the comfort that she was surrounded in forest. It was harder for her problems to meander through the thick under growth and snap at her ankles.

Her long brown hair was caught in the slight breeze that whistled through the tops of the century old pine forest, the sky was darkening the sun having already set, she had better start heading home, she thought as a shiver ran up her spine. She jumped down from the branch she was sitting on and started walking, quickening her pace slightly, not wanting to be told of by Mrs Evans for being caught in a storm.

When she reached the house, Billy opened the door to her, “I'm glad you came back before the storm hit,” he said with a smile as if relived she was home, “my mother wouldn't be to pleased if you got caught in it, where you at the willow?” she smiled at him and nodded. He held out his hand to bring her inside. He knew how much the woods meant to her, how much she loved sitting in the branches of that lonely willow tree, it's long limbs nearly touching the ground surrounded by the silence and beauty of the woods, it was his shelter from the world as well.

As soon as she made her way into the lounge room there was a call from up the stairs “Alice I was wondering when you would come home.” “I'm here now Mr. Evans no need to worry now,” Yes well I know that now,” was the short reply. The tone Mrs. Evans used was very gruff almost angry and it sometimes hurt Alice to talk to her. Alice never knew why Billy's mother never really liked her, she had never done anything to upset her, she thought maybe because Billy was always out in the woods with her and not helping run the house, but then why should Mrs. Evans not like her, shouldn't she be annoyed at Billy? Alice never let her mean comments run too deep though, and concentrated on her kind and considerate best friend. She also knew she shouldn't be ungrateful because she was staying in their house before her move to America, and that meant a lot to her.

Alice was 15 years old same age as Billy, that had helped them to become best friends because there weren't very many other people in the village the same age. The village was in the South of England in the middle of a pine forest, surrounded by not much more than other little towns similar to hers. Alice and Billy sometimes went to the other villages just for something to do.

Alice had had her struggles with life so far but you wouldn't know that from looking at her. She held herself with such grace, her long wavy hair falling down her straight spine and she always seemed to have a sparkle dancing in her eyes. She also dressed very well even with the limited items of clothing she owned.

That night as she lay in bed, her mind kept on wandering back to the place she tried so desperately to keep it from going, she could never fall to sleep when she thought too hard.

Had she been the cause of her mother's attempted suicide? Was she the one who pushed her mother over the edge? They had fought a bit but usually because of her mother's drug habits. Alice had tried so hard to be a good daughter but sometimes it was just too difficult.

The image that kept making it's way back into her head was the image of her mother lying still on the kitchen floor, pill bottles surrounding her, Alice had just walked through the door just home from school.

She shook herself back into reality, her mother wasn't dead and with help from the mental institute her mother was at, she might come home completely fine, not thinking about death again. Somehow though Alice doubted this, her mother had been depressed as long as Alice could remember for little reasons like, not having enough money to buy milk at the general store, Alice had to calm her down on a regular basis or her mother would go into her bedroom and not come out for several days. Alice loved her mother but she had to get away from her a lot of the time, because sometimes her mother didn't even recognise her, her mind numb with drugs, Alice hated it when this happened. Life had been very hard for Alice, because she had no one to talk to about her problems, she couldn't talk to her father as she barley saw him, and if she told him about the troubles with her mother he might take her away to live with him in America and that wasn't what she wanted. Then she found the woods. The woods had let the pain soak through her feet and into the forest floor, they had taken away all the grief gnawing at he heart. She breathed deeply when she was there and took the strength of the forest with her in her day to day life.

Alice sometimes laid on her back and stared at the sky beyond the branches. What would it be like to flap her wings and soar above these trees away from all this evil and injustice, what would it be like to swoop through the clouds with not a care in the world, her heart free and light, not weighing her down like a ton of bricks? She had often fantasised about doing these sorts of things when she was younger, but as she grew older it seemed harder and harder to do.

The next day Alice again found herself in the woods but this time not alone, Billy had come with her and they were sitting in the branches of the willow tree, silent for a moment both deep in their own thoughts.

Billy was anxious about his best friend, he would miss her terribly and he knew her worries about going to live in America with her father, he wanted to talk with her about staying in England with him, but he knew that idea was a bit too far fetched.

Alice was thinking the same thing. She was wondering if her step mother named Naomi who she was yet to meet would like her. She wondered if she would get along with the half sister named Elizabeth, who was four years younger than her, her father wrote about his family very fondly and always added that she would get along with them like wild fire. Alice wasn't sure about wild fire but she was yet to find out.

“Do you think we could be pen pals?” Billy asked again, Alice again nodded “I will tell you everything about my new home,” she assured him “and I expect you to tell me about things that happen here.” she added with a smile, though inside she was crying, she would miss Billy more than anything else, sometimes she thought she would miss him more than she should, maybe she liked him more than a best friend but she could never voice her feelings because she didn't want anything to ever get in between their friendship, she always supposed that he didn't feel the same way.

Alice sat there and remembered the first time she had met Billy. She had moved to this town from London when she was 7, her mother wanting to get away from the city and things that upset her like failed relationships with violent men. Alice had been very nervous about her first day of school, “what if they don't like me?” was always her main worry “of coarse they will like you Alice, don't be silly,” had been her mother's reply.

On her first day, the teacher welcomed her to her new class and offered for Alice to choose where she wanted to sit. Alice had fumbled and been very shy, Billy piked up and offered her his seat, next to a girl who had told Alice she smelt like a toilet. Alice had always been very thankful for his kind act, but they never really spoke until they met in the woods. Alice had been 12, and hadn't been aware that the always cheery boy who had a smile on his face most of the time had trouble of any kind. Billy had gone to the woods most days as well but a different part. Alice had been lying facing the sky when Billy nearly walked over her “Billy, what are you doing here?” she had said covering her tear stained face and swollen eyes, but when she looked closer she realised her had the same thing. He then told her about his mother and his father always fighting and screaming, and how the only way to get away from them was to come here, and be surrounded by the lush green forest, that muffling his sobs. She had been very sorry and told him everything about her mother and neglectful father and together they cried on each others shoulder glad to not be crying alone They had then forever been united by there problems and came together in the forest when they needed someone to comfort them. Everyone at school was surprised when suddenly they wouldn't leave each other's company.

Alice sat there in the tree and sighed, she had to leave the dark forest and her best friend, why did her luck fail her, why did her mother do this to her?

Her father had been very distant all her life and usually sent her a big birthday present thinking it would make up for his absence, but it didn't it just made her more upset.

Billy turned his head and looked straight into her eyes. “I will never forget you, you know. Every time I come into this forest I will sit in this tree and think of you.” Alice had tears in her eyes as she held out her hand to him. Billy took it and squeezed it “you'll never forget me will you?” he asked looking into her eyes earnestly “Never Billy, never.” They sat there holding hands for a long time, both misty eyed and deep in thought about what their future might hold, being in different countries.

The next morning was a very sad occasion because it would be Alice's last day in England, she was leaving at 10 o'clock the next morning for Heathrow airport in London. Billy and Alice sat at the table both not saying a word. “What do you want to do today seeing as it will be your last?” Mrs. Evans said a note happier than the other two. “Well I want to go back to the woods today and say goodbye to them,” was Alice's reply, “you two and those silly woods I don't understand what you find so entertaining in there.” she then slowed down a look of realisation spread across her pointy face. “Wait a second you two go into the woods most days together, I don't quite like the sound of that,”She added slowly “Mum it's not what you think we only talk.” Billy's cut in desperately understanding what his mother must be thinking. “Billy you are not going with Alice today into the woods, I no longer allow you to go there while Alice is here.” his mother said with such a finalised tone it shut Billy up completely, he knew there was no arguing.

No one spoke the rest of breakfast.

As Alice was packing her clothing into her suitcase she was taking with her, the sadness of the situation over threw her and she broke down into tears. Why did she have to leave? Why did everything have to be so messed up in her life that the only good things get taken away from her? Billy heard her crying and crept through the door which he was forbidden by his mother to pass, He came over and gave Alice a heart warming hug “Don't worry,” he whispered into her hair “I will find a way to come with you into the woods tomorrow.”

As Alice walked through the silent forest later that day, she thought things through about Billy. Maybe it didn't matter if she told him she liked him seeing as it was her last day, but then again it could make leaving harder to do, but maybe that wouldn't matter if she left knowing he had loved her as well. She looked towards the forest for the answer to her dilemma, but all the swishing pine trees, all the hidden moss and the swaying willow told her was that she had spent so much of her life needing someone who loved her for who she was maybe, just maybe Billy was that one. He had always been by her side when times were rough. Letting her cry onto his shoulder, only a couple of months ago when a girl at school had told Alice she was ugly and shy no wonder no one loved her. Billy had scoffed at the girls words and told her he knew of one person who loved her more than anything else in the world. Alice hadn't taken into depth what he had said, thinking he was just saying it to cheer her up.

She continued to ponder this as she said her farewells to different parts of the woods where she had different adventures with Billy.

On her way back home, through the path she tried to imagine the weight being lifted off her shoulders and how good that would feel, but she just couldn't grip it.

That night after Alice had done the dishes, she sat staring into space when the phone rang “It's for you Alice,” Mrs Evans called from the study. When Alice got to the phone it was her dad, “Hey Alice,” was the very cheery call from the receiver, “Are you excited about coming here tomorrow?” her father asked. It was almost a rhetorical question thought Alice, and before she could answer her father answered his question. “I'm sure you are why ever wouldn't you be?” Alice gave an embarrassed chuckle, “yeah dad I am excited,” she sighed, though underneath she felt sick. “Alright then,” her dad said, “I was just checking that everything was going well with your packing and to tell you that Naomi and Elizabeth are very excited to meet you.” “Thanks Dad, yeah I am excited too,” she sighed deeply but her father either didn't hear it, or ignored it. “Okay then see you soon Alice,” See you soon Dad.” Alice replaced the phone in the receiver but instead of feeling better because of what her dad said, she felt anxious about what her time in America was going to be like, with a father that forgot to call on her birthday 3 years in a row. He had never really cared much about her but she never noticed it on his consciousness. Her step mum was quite a few years younger than her dad, they had got married in a registry office in California so Alice hadn't been there, she was surprised she had never been able to meet Naomi and Elizabeth but whenever her and her dad met up they were busy doing something else or on a holiday. Alice always wondered if it was deliberate.

The next morning Alice was up and ready very early so she had more time to be in the forest. She packed all her things up and made her bed, then went down to the kitchen and ate breakfast. Only Mrs Evans was at the table eating breakfast, “where's Billy?” was Alice's first question “he said he had something to do,” was Mrs Evans dismissive reply 'Oh okay then,” Alice mumbled back feeling very hurt that Billy wasn't here for her last breakfast.

When she had finished eating her breakfast and had washed her dishes, Mrs Evans said “he said to go to the willow tree when you had finished, “oh, thanks” Alice replied confused because hadn't Mrs Evans had banned them from being in the same forest, she must have reneged on her decision just for today.

As she wandered down the path towards the willow tree she wondered why Billy couldn't come and tell her himself, he must be doing something was her conclusion.

As Alice turned the corner to where the willow tree was, she gasped, and stood stock still in her tracks, the whole tree was covered in flowers. The wild flowers that where scattered around the forest had been placed in the crevices of the trunk and in the leaves on the branches, it almost glowed with colour, there were reds, blues, purples, yellows and many more colours, Alice wondered why she hadn't seen the tree from further off it shone so brightly.

Just then Billy appeared from behind a tree his arms full of more flowers, as soon as he saw the expression on her face he smiled, “sorry I was just putting on the finishing touches,” he said slightly embarrassed, “it's beautiful,” Alice cried bursting into tears as she ran towards him. He dropped the flowers and opened up his arms. Alice fell into them and gave Billy the biggest hug she had ever, her head resting on his shoulder as she sobbed. Alice hugged him so tightly she didn't think it was possible to draw him any closer and he hugged her back. Billy turned looking straight into her eyes and said, “I love you Alice, I always have and I always will,” Alice seemed to glow. he loved her too she thought he felt the same way about her, this was everything she had ever wanted. Alice smiled and hugged him even tighter. He looked at her again and then smiling kissed her. Alice kissed him back, the fireworks going off inside her.

At that moment she knew she could do anything, go anywhere, because she would always have Billy and the forest by her side.

 

 

 


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