Short Story #1 of Who Knows

I was very nervous to post this, but I realized this is the place to share it. This is a place where I can just be creative and hopefully entice people enough to read my work.

This one in particular was from a dream. I dreamt of a bayou-esque setting and a girl who longed for the one thing she’s wanted her entire life: him. I woke up and immediately started writing. This was the end product, and yes it is one long paragraph.

I still remember the first day I saw him. I was 7 months old if you believe that. He was the sixth person I saw that day. He was eager to meet the new baby and it was finally his turn. He sat on the couch, pillows fluffed all around him, and then they placed me in his lap. He held both hands under me and I lay back facing him. They say he and I stared at each other for so long that they think we imprinted on one another. That was the first time I met Sonny Vincent, but I never knew there would be many more times to follow. When I was nine, I went to the village swimming hole with Tilly Pierre, my baby sister. It’s where all the kids get together to swim because it was the only place the crocodiles never came through. On that day, it was the place where we decided to hunt for fish. Our dad had made us two fishing poles out of bamboo. We sat on the edge of the man made bridge that floated on top of the water where our legs were submerged. I realized that the fish were more attracted to our wiggling toes than the bait, so I transformed one fishing pole into a spear. I always kept the pocket knife I made a trade for at school on me. After carving the end, I tested out the spear and thrusted into the water. I wounded the the first three fish, and caught the fourth. Tilly wanted to try so I let her. I decided to use the time to catch the wounded fish that had been floating around. I pulled one fish on the bridge, but the other two had floated over to a plank near the wall. I had to jump from the bridge to get on the plank. It was mostly used to help pull boats back in. As I reached for the fish, I noticed three long shadows creeping in from Tilly’s side of the hole. I couldn’t believe my eyes: they were crocodiles. I yelled to Tilly to get out the water and push the dead fish in. I couldn’t risk one of them coming on the bridge with her up there. I didn’t have enough time to go back either, so I climbed the wall next to me. There were spaces between the wood that I could fit my fingers in and I didn’t stop climbing until I reached the top. I looked down at the water and at that angle, you could see just how big these crocs were. I checked to make sure she was well hid and then glued my eyes to the crocs. They swam slow and almost calculated. It took everything not to scream when they lurched at the dead fishes. They each got a fish and proceeded to swim on through. All, except one. It looked as if he could see me from where he floated in the murky water. I was almost certain that he couldn’t possibly have seen me from there. I never moved or made a sound, and yet, here we were. All, but face to face. I felt my arms getting weaker, but the adrenaline and fear kept me there. The crocodile moved closer to the plank and stopped. I closed my eyes and wished for Tilly to make it home safely. If Tilly was safe, then I’d have done my job as her big sister. Suddenly, I heard a giant splash and braced myself for the pain. Then, nothing. I opened my eyes and saw the shadow moving out the hole and back into the river. On the bridge stood Sonny, Tilly clinging to his leg and his four brothers behind him. He motioned for me to move. He held up his hand and counted down giving time for the danger to disappear completely. When he reached zero, I climbed down onto the plank and jumped back on the bridge. He pulled me into his arms as I fell to my knees. I had no strength in my body and my heart was beating fast enough to explode. He picked me up in his arms and said “You have to be more careful. I can’t go and lose my best girl, now can I?” Those words resonated in my ears as he explained how they knew there was going to be trouble at the hole. He and his brothers noticed the crocs swimming the opposite way than they normally would and raced as fast as they could to beat them there. They were relieved to see no one in the water, but when he saw Tilly hiding, he knew I was somewhere close by. When he saw me clinging to the wall and the shadow lurking under me, they had to act fast. They threw one of the crates into the river causing the croc to divert his attention from me. All I could do was smile at the sight of Sonny’s face. He had rescued me and I knew I would always be safe with him around. That was the second time I encountered the brave Sonny Vincent and I began to look at him in a different light. One day, my mom wanted to visit Eminé Vincent, proud wife of Kamen Vincent and friend to my mother, Mita Pierre. They lived on the other side of the swamp, which meant we got to ride the food wagons. The food wagons were a system of wagons built by the village men, in order to, create a safer way to travel with food through the swamp. We had only recently figured out we could fit inside the crates and travel without walking. When we reached their home, a two story house towered in front of me. One of his brothers called at us from the window and disappeared before reappearing at the front door. He came to greet us and soon after the others came outside. I only wanted to see Sonny and I knew he would come. He leapt out the front door and greeted my mother with a hug. Then, he pulled Tilly from one of the crates and swung her around. I stood behind one of the poles admiring him. He had grown since the last time and now seemed to be as tall as his oldest brother. When he noticed me, he came over and pulled at one of my unruly curls. “How’s my best girl?”, he said as he crouched down. I smiled and told him I was fine. When he smiled back, something unfamiliar in my stomach fluttered. With our parents downstairs, we headed to the rooms upstairs. We all sat and snacked together. Tilly was busy with the others playing video games, but I kept my eyes glued to Sonny. He was carving something out of wood which gave me the idea to show him my knife. He was surprised to see it and asked me how I got it. After explaining the trade I made, he tousled my hair and called me a smart girl. I let him borrow the knife to finish carving his figure and I contently sat and watched. I was only thirteen when I realized I was in love with the most beautiful creature I had ever met. It didn’t take long for everyone except Sonny to realize my feelings and Bo, the oldest Vincent brother, was the first person to encourage me to pursue Sonny. The only stipulation: wait until my 18th birthday. Bo’s theory, although he couldn’t get confirmation, was that Sonny liked me, but he was worried about the age difference. Albeit, we were only three years apart, it would be a concern of the village if a 14 year old was dating a 17 year old. So, I agreed to wait and that day has finally come. Today, I’m turning eighteen and my mother is throwing me a huge party. Everyone is showering me with gifts, and all I can think about is Sonny. Well, that was the case until Bo showed up. He came directly over and hugged me tightly. Before letting go he whispered, “Happy Birthday….I’m so sorry, but please don’t cry.” I was confused for a second, but it all made sense once he let me go. Behind him, sauntering over towards us was the vivid Sonny Vincent and on his arm is a girl. She is gorgeous in every aspect of the word and I can tell she’s older than me. She smiled graciously once they made it to me. He hugged me and wished me happy birthday before introducing me to her. Her name is Chloe Brut. We could’ve been friends if she wasn’t the sole reason my hurt broke in two today. She proceeds to wish me a happy birthday and I thank her and him. Everyone continues to talk around me, but all I can hear is ringing. I’ve become numb inside and the butterflies are dying. Lowering my eyes to the ground, I ask to be excused and leave hastily. I can’t believe I missed my chance. I hear Bo call my name, but I don’t stop. With so many people in my house, I wouldn’t make it to my room. So, I head towards the swimming hole. Once there, I sit on the bridge and take my shoes off. I stick my feet in the water and think about the day he saved me. I want to cry, but Bo’s plea and the look on his face are enough to stop the tears from pouring out. After a few moments to myself, I stand up, place my shoes on my feet, and decide to head back. When I turn around, no one is there. Not Bo, not my mom, not Tilly, and most importantly not Sonny. Once I get back to the house, my mom informs me she had been looking for me and says it’s time to open my gifts. So, she sits me in front of the crowd and bombards me with presents. I avoid making eye contact with Sonny and the rest of the Vincents for that matter. Even when presented with their gifts, I thank them properly, but still cannot manage to meet their eyes. I know if I do, the tears will start to fall and I do not want to be embarrassed in front of all these people. After presents, its time for cake. I cut the first piece for myself and devour it in seconds. It’s my favorite type of cake: chocolate chip cookie. As I’m waiting to get another piece, someone puts their hand in my hand and squeezes it. It is little Tony Vincent, the youngest of the brothers. He’s 12 now and he is super excited. He talks about how much he missed the swamp while he was away and how he missed Tilly, too. He said she had found this really cool bug and she saved it all winter for him and how he couldn’t wait to see it. Hearing him talk about Tilly makes me remember how excited I used to be when I was going to visit Sonny. It makes me laugh a little and I smile to myself. “For a while there, I thought I had broken your smile permanently”, a voice says behind us. I don’t need to turn around to know it is him. I respond, “Tony’s the only Vincent that’s made me smile today.” “What does that mean?”, says Sonny, to which I reply, “Nothing. He just made me laugh, that’s all.” He pauses and then asks, “Can we go to our spot later? I have something I want to talk about with you and I want to give you a personal gift.” I hesitate before answering and that makes me glad he can’t see my face. Why would he want to go there and what does he want to talk about? I’m all in my thoughts when he calls my name. Not wanting to see his face, I shrug and say, “Sure.” I assume he nods because he leaves after that. I turn and watch him walk away admiring what I thought I could have. From his long lean arms, to his toned back, to his suave walk. I turn back to Tony and we both eat our cake. He sits with me for a while before Tilly comes over and steals him from me. I’m glad to see their friendship is still growing. An hour passes and it’s already dark. Most of the guests have left except the Vincents, my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, and the Tremonts. I hadn’t noticed Bo, Sonny, and Chloe leave, but in a way I’m relieved. Tilly and Tony are in the treehouse and I decide to go inside to my room. I change out of my dress and throw on my favorite shorts and a tank since it’s so hot. I tell my dad that Tilly’s in the treehouse and that I’m going to the swamp to meet Sonny. He tells me to be safe and gives me a kiss on the head. As I near the swamp, I think about all the times I wanted to tell Sonny how I felt. He was the only person that seemed to be oblivious to my feelings for him, and somehow, it made me like him even more. I hear a noise ahead of me and it snaps me out my daydreams. I think it’s one of the boars again, but it’s Sonny. He’s pacing back and forth on the bridge. I honestly thought I’d get here first. “Hey”, I yell to him. He turns around and smiles at me making my heart flutter like the first time he looked at me. He meets me and we head towards the spot. I hesitate to talk, so he goes first. “So, about Chloé. I never meant for you to meet her on those terms, Lena. I met her at school and she really wanted to meet you. I guess you weren’t too excited to meet her, though, based on the look on your face.” I avert my eyes and climb up the twisted tree. We found this tree about 7 years ago when we were running from two wild boars. I sit on one of the out reaching branches and he comes to sit next to me. “Can you at least talk? I haven’t seen you in person in a whole year and I had hoped to come back to my best girl.” I take a deep breath and look at him. “How’s calculus?” He smiles. “Still failing, but barely. I just can’t get the formulas.” “The notes didn’t help?” “A little. I’m hoping to get out with a C.” I nod. “How are you, Lena? You stopped writing me a while ago.” “I know.” “Why?” I sigh. “I thought it was childish to still be sending you letters about stuff going on at home. I was turning 18 for God’s sake. So, I decided I’d just wait for you to get home to catch up.” He’s laughs a little to himself and my face flushes red. I place my hands on my face and he pulls at a unruly curl. I look at him. “I never thought it was childish. I looked forward to reading your letters. It was the one thing I could count on when I was homesick.” I smile and he smiles, too. “I even keep them in a special box.” My eyes widen. “The limited edition…”, “blaze box, yeah.” I shove him. “I knew you had it! I thought Clyde and Casey stole it.” Clyde and Casey Vincent, the middle brothers, twins. We’re the same age and Clyde specifically always hid everyone’s coolest toys. Casey was always in cahoots. He laughs. “That was the cover story. I wanted to keep it for myself, but you would have never let that happen.” “Only because we agreed to share it when we found it. If you would have just asked for it when you left for college, you could have had it. You know I almost fought him for it, right?” He laughs even harder and it makes me laugh. Laughing always broke the tension between us and it made me forget about liking him long enough to be normal Lena when we would hang. “If I had missed a Clyde and Lena fight, I would’ve never forgiven myself.” “Who’s says you’re forgiven now? After all, you stole the Blaze Box.” He smirks. “But you always forgive me. Even when I do something sinister.” My face flushes again and he knows he’s off the hook. “I’ve missed hanging with you.” I listen in silence. “You always kept me laughing and I was graced with the honor to grow up surrounded by your family and you…mostly you.” He smiles to himself. I wonder what he’s thinking. “Growing up with four brothers was always hell, but when I hung out with you, I never had to worry about guy issues. Yeah, we would argue, but it was fun arguing with you. You always had the best ideas even if they were going to get us in trouble. I always felt like you and Tilly were my sisters until one day where I didn’t. I realized Tilly was like a sister and you were more like my best friend.” “You’re my best friend, too. You and your brothers gave me the opportunity to be a separate person from Tilly because of Tony and I needed that.” He nods in agreement. He furrows his brow and I can’t tell what he’s going to say next. “Can I ask you something?” I nod. “Is there anything you want to tell me?” “What do you mean?” He takes a deep breath. “I mean is there anything I should know?” I try to think if I missed anything important. “Not that I know of. It’s pretty much been the same around the swamp.” He shakes his head. “No, I meant about you and me. Is there anything I should know?” I stare blankly at him. My heart begins to race and my stomach starts to flutter. All I can think is oh, god. “Lena….”, he looks me directly in the eyes, “what I mean is…do you like me?” My heart jumps into my throat and I’m too afraid to speak. Besides him being able to read me like a book, I don’t want to lie to him, so I nod slowly. “How long have you liked me?” I hold up my hand with all five fingers spread out. “Five? Like 5 weeks?” I swallow hard and lower my eyes. I shake no. “Five months?” I shake no again. I don’t hear anything and I can’t see his face, so I lift my head. He is staring right at me. He speaks. “Five years?” I nod and his eyes widen. “You’ve liked me for five years?” I nod and he mouths wow. “I mean when you were 13 I thought it was just a crush. I never thought you would like me this long.” “You knew?” He laughs. “Of course, I knew. You were 13 and you weren’t the most subtle girl. Since I was 16, I couldn’t do anything about it and your mother was okay with it as long as nothing happened between us.” “You told on me to my mother?” “No, she brought it up a little bit after your birthday. By the time you were 14, we thought you were over it. It seems you just got better at hiding it.” I chuckle ironically. “I became content with just being around you, so I learned how to distract myself. I did my best to hide something I knew was one sided.” He frowns. “Who says it was one sided?” I look at him in confusion. “Why did you think it was one sided?” “Because it was. It’s not like you showed any interest in me.” “Yeah, because you were 14 when I realized I might like you more than as a friend. I was 17. I couldn’t just act on my feelings.” I am utterly speechless. He laughs a little. “You know, I remember the day it happened. You came in the wagons to my house. It was the first time your mom let you come over without Tilly. You had on a blue shirt, these shorts”, he pulls at the side of the shorts, “and those crazy long socks that come above the knee. You brought more wood and your knife and demanded that I make you a ballerina. I refused, so naturally, you threatened to cut the heads off all of the figures I had made. I had no choice. I started to carve the ballerina and you got bored, so you decided to draw. You drew a picture of the tree. You were so into it, you never noticed me watching you. I liked your concentration face. I thought it was cute. It was the first time I put cute and you in the same sentence. Before it was always adorable, but it didn’t seem to fit anymore. When you were 16, you went swimming with my family the summer after I started college. You had on a yellow swimsuit and I remember my friends from school checking you out. I was so jealous that I told them you were off limits. Bo overheard me and came over to back me up. When they left, he confronted me about the whole situation and I told him what was going on.” “So, Bo knew you liked me?” “Yes, and no. I told him I wasn’t sure. The only thing I was sure about was that I didn’t want to lose you as a friend. So, I tossed those feelings away and pretended like everything was normal until it was.” He looks at me deep in the eyes. I feel like he wants to say something, but he’s trying to find the right way to word it. I speak instead. “What made you ask if I liked you?” “Bo.” “Bo?” “Yeah. When I introduced you to Chloé, I could tell it was a mistake. Your entire aura changed, and when he called after you, I knew something was wrong. So, I asked him and he explained everything.” Everything? What does he mean about everything? “Everything like what?” “Like how he made you promise to wait until your 18th birthday, until today, to tell me your true feelings.” “Bo never could keep a secret. It was only a matter of time.” I roll my eyes and he laughs. “He did one hell of a job until now though, don’t you think?” I smile and nod. Bo was the only person who had my back, and he did manage to keep this our secret for all these years. “So, Lena?” I turn back to him. “Were you really going to tell me how you felt today?” I answer without hesitation. “Yes.” He scoots closer and my heart jumpstarts again. I can feel the butterflies coming back to life. “So, what exactly were you going to say?” My mouth starts to water and I swallow the lump in my throat. “Um…just that…,” I close my eyes and take a breath to try and calm the jitters. “I was going to tell you that I am completely enamored by you….and that all I want for my birthday is to know if you felt anything for me.” I open my eyes and he’s looking directly at me. I can feel my hands getting clammy and move to wipe them off on my pants. When I get nervous, I try to take things back. “You know what, it’s really not a big deal. Of course, you don’t like me. I’m 18 and you’re 21. You practically watched me grow up. I mean, if I were in your shoes,” he puts his hand up to my face and turns it towards him. “If you were in my shoes, you would do what?” His hand is still lingering on the side of my face and I’ve never been more aware of anything in my life. Words start to stammer out of my mouth. “Um…I would be…at uh…uh, a complete loss for words.” I smile awkwardly and he smirks with a little chuckle. He moves his hand and lowers his head. Then, he looks back at me. “Honestly, if you were in my shoes, what would you do? Would you turn me down….or would you go for it?” After all these years of waiting, I never thought about it being the other way around. But if I was older and he was younger, and he admitted his feelings for me, “…I would go for it.” Sonny smiles and nods. “Well, okay then.” And in one swift motion, Sonny’s lips are pressed against mine. He kisses me gently as if he wants to savor the moment. When he pulls away, he takes my breath with him. I try to catch it, but it’s hard when you’re soaring in the clouds. “Wow.” “Yeah,” I say breathily. He smiles. We sit in silence both with smiles on our faces, but mine quickly fades when a picture of Chloé pops into my head. “This is wrong.” He frowns. “What’s wrong?” “What about Chloé?” “What about her?” “How do you think your girlfriend’s going to feel about you kissing me?” “Girlfriend? I never said Chloé was my girlfriend.” “But you brought her to my party as your date.” “Yeah. I mean she likes me, but she’s just a friend.” “Okay, I’m confused. So what did you mean by you didn’t want us to meet on these terms?” “I meant I shouldn’t have brought her to your birthday party knowing that you probably wanted to hang, just me and you. Like I said, the moment I saw your face, I knew I had messed up.” “Oh.” “Yeah. Lena, if that was my girlfriend, I would have never kissed you. You know me well enough to know I’m not that type of guy. She knows nothing can happen between us because I told her I could never be with her.” “But why? She’s gorgeous, she goes to your school, and she seems nice.” “Yeah, she is, but there’s a little problem.” “What?” “I fell for someone else a long time ago.” I frown and think to myself. He shakes his head. “And you think I’m oblivious.” He throws his left leg over the branch and closes the distance between me and him. He puts his hand on my face and looks me over one time before speaking. “Lena Pierre, whether you realize it or not, I’ve had feelings for you since I was three. I always thought it was because I was protective of you and viewed you as my little sister. But somewhere along the lines, I was able to distinguish that what I felt for you was different from what I felt for Tilly. When we were together, you made me do all sorts of crazy things and I never once hesitated to make you happy. You made me jealous without even trying and I had a hard time sharing you, especially with my brothers. Life in the swamp was pretty good, but you made it extraordinary. The real reason I loved getting your letters is because it was something only you and I shared. Just like the Blaze Box.” I smile. “If I could’ve turned back time and switched places with Clyde or Casey I would have. Then, I wouldn’t have had to wait until you turned 18 to make a move. I don’t want anyone else, but you Lena. After all, you’re my best girl.” And with that, he leans in to kiss me again. Of all the things I could have asked for for my 18th birthday, nothing was better than the gift I got from Sonny Vincent, the only person who ever made the swamp livable.

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