I looked at the sun beating down on the water, letting the sound of the waves and people enjoying themselves calm me down. Daddy and I had another argument last night. I wanted to go to college but I couldn't afford it, even with all my savings I'd be up to my ears in debt. Nothing I did seemed to be working. Like trying to take one step fowards only to take two steps back. I closed my eyes and let the sun soak into my skin, and slowly I started to feel a little bit better. No matter how many arguments with daddy, or how many money problems come my way, I had the beach. And my camera.
I opened my eyes again and picked up my beloved camera slowly bringing it to my face. I clicked a few pictures of some guys surfing some incredible waves, girls hanging out with soda's and sunglasses linked by the arm, some kids building a sand castle. And then, my camera landed on him. He was shirtless, had golden skin, with dark brown hair with the richest brown eyes I had ever seen. My breath got caught in my chest and I couldn't hold back my smile. He had come a little late this summer, it was already July. At first I thought he wasn't coming, that he had forgotten all about me and was probably getting ready for some fancy college in the fall with a beautiful girlfriend and probably not even an inch in debt. But here he was, in the same beach he had come to since ninth grade.
He was always so interested as to why I always had my camera with me, he himself was quite the photographer. He stole my camera the first summer we met and took so many pictures of me and everthing we did that night. I still have every single one. Thats what we did, we looked at each other from afar, and winked sometimes. Then one night totally unexpected we'd meet up and have the night of our lives. We never talked about the bad stuff, like our parents, hometowns and pasts. But just have a blast and one hell of a night together before we both dissapeared into our own separate lives with nothing but just memories of eachother.
"You found him didn't you." A sweet excited voice sang ripping me from my camera lense and back to reality. I turned to see my best friend in the whole world Morgan Bale standing over me blocking my view of the sun. Her wild, red hair was down as always running free and she was wearing her favorite red white and blue bikini top with jean shorts. Her sweet southern twang filled my heart to the brim with joy. She'd been gone for a week to visit Arizona State where she'll be attending in the fall.
"Morgan! You're back!" I said and got up to hug her.
"Lilly! You wouldn't believe how amazin' Arizona State is. I wish you could go with me! they offer photography you know." she said sounding just a little bit sad.
"Don't worry Morgan, just mention me when you're famous for being the worlds most talented jorunalist!" I said, as we sat back down on the towel. She had her ever present shoulder bag with her. She sat it down in her lap and patted it a few times. I raised my eye brows at her. She looked a little guilty.
"Morgan..? What's going on?" I asked.
"Don't get mad okay?" She said taking her sunglasses off and putting them on the top of her head. I nodded, wanting her to continue.
"I took one of your pictures of that boy.. And I looked him up." She said taking out a folder and handing it to me.
My body went rigid. What? This wasn't how it was supposed to work! He and I met up once a year in the summer had an amazing night together like a fairytale. But that was it! No happily ever after with us, after that night we would go back to our normal non-fairytale lives. I ripped the folder open and saw pictures of him with unfamiliar people, at his school, playing lacrosse, prom with his hand around another girl. That cut my heart a little seeing him with another girl. I had always but never admitted that he might think about me as much as I thought about him and thought I was his one and only. But that wasn't realistic, just hopes that I knew deep down would never come true..
"He wants to Physical Therapist Lilly. His name is Aiden Dwight. He got accepted to Arizona too. Lilly, you need to go after him."
"Morgan, this isn't how it works. Me and him.. Aiden and I aren't real! Just a break from our normal lives, thats all." I said flipping through the information. Damn, Morgon knew how to get information on someone, theres like ten pages describing him and his school, family, friends.
"Lillian Jane Mathews. Don't think I haven't noticed over the years. You always look at him. He always looks at you. You guys get together once a year and have the time of your lives. Lilly, it's not coincidence that you guys are here every summer, and meet up like this. Don't you think it means somethin'?" She said, looking at me with those expressive green eyes.
"Lilly, you love this boy, and you don't even know his name. You need to go after him. Because he loves you too." She said a lot softer this time.
I thought about all the times we spent together on the big rides during the fair. Sitting at the dock, going bowling and watching
movies. And then it hit me.
I love this boy, and I don't even know his name.
"Aiden.. thats a sweet name. And fits perfectly with the boy I love." I said smiling with tears welling in my eyes. Morgan screamed happily and hugged me again.
"I knew it!" She yelled squeezing the breath out of me. I laughed, squeezing her back. I had the best, best friend in the world.
"Plus another thing. You know how I had you fill out those college applications for fun?" She said reaching her hand into her bag once more.
"Yeah... What about them?" I asked again already not believing what I think was going to happen.
"Well I submitted yours with mine to Arizona State along with finacial aide papers." She said handing me another folder. This one containing the ASU sticker on it.
My mouth dropped as I opened the folder to see a full ride scholership to ASU. I almost fainted right then. I could, in fact, go to college. Something I had only dreamed about. I screamed stood up and hugged Morgan again. Then I told her I had some things I needed to do and there grinning ear to ear. I turned my shoulder to see the boy... Aiden look at me and smile and wink. Did he know about Morgan. It sure looked like it, and I had the sudden feeling I'd be seeing him very soon.
Daddy was laying in the couch watching TV when I walked in. He wasn't sober a lot these days but we didn't exactly have the money to be buying booze right now so he was just depressed and grouchy. But I was to happy about college to care. I was eighteen and a legal adult. I could move out and do what ever I wanted to now.
I stepped in front of his view of the TV and waited for him to react.
"Move, Lillian. I'm watching TV, and not in a good mood. Don't mess with me today I don't want to deal with you." He said moving his head a little trying to see the TV. I turned around, feeling brave and turned it off.
"Daddy, you won't have to deal with me any longer. I'm moving out and going to college." I said with all the confidence I could muster.
"No your not." Was all he said.
"Well I'm going, daddy. And there's nothing you can do to stop me." I said and left him there. I didn't really care what daddy did anymore. All this newfound love for my boy.. er, Aiden and the giddiness I was feeling about college gave me courage. I went to my room, grabbed my knapsack. I slipped my computer-which held all my pictures of Aiden-some cash, my camera and my sunglasses inside and climbed out my window. I didn't care what daddy thought anymore but I didn't want to deal with his reaction. I ran to the beach-which wasn't that far- we lived in a shack around two blocks from the sand. My one sanctuary that held all my laughs, tears, and most of my memories. When I got there I sat on the dock and watched the sunset.
"Lillian?" A familiar voice said and I turned around. Aiden stood there in a soft black shirt and shorts looking at me anxiously. Yes, Morgan had definitely talked to him.
"Aiden." I said smiling. We ran to eachother and I jumped in his arms.
"Ohh, I've been in love with you ever since I stole your camera that first night." he said looking into my eyes. I couldn't hold back my tears as I nodded in agreement and he wiped them away with his thumb. I was going to college with my best friend and the boy I loved. I was going to be a photographer. It wasn't going to be easy, but who didn't love a good challenge? I placed my hand on his face looking into his deep soulful brown eyes and knew I could get through anything as long as I was with him.
I stood on my tip toes and pressed my lips to his. I felt like this is where I belonged in his arms, my lips against his moving to the sweet melody of the ocean and the summer breeze. I could stay like this forever. And to think, it all started with that one night, looking through a camera lense.
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