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“Gaby, why don’t you just stop fighting Josh and be with him? What are you waiting for?”
“What’s the rush, Rene?”
“Well, you are the only one of us that doesn’t have someone,” she pointed out.
I turned to face her.
“Rene, I don’t need a boyfriend to feel complete,” I said, becoming a little defensive.
“Gaby, open your eyes. Josh likes you.”
“Don’t you think I am aware of his feelings? I know. And I like him too but I don’t need to be pressured.”
“Gaby…” she began. I didn’t give her the opportunity to finish her sentence.
“Look, I know what you’re going to say and I don’t need a lecture on relationships.”
I began to walk away, but decided to turn back around and let my frustrations completely out on her.
“And for your information, I live life according to Gaby, not according to what everyone around Gaby is doing, so get off my back! You will never see me chasing after some boy whose only interest in me lies between my legs.”
After that, I ran out of the assembly hall not caring if I caused a scene. Why couldn’t people just except the fact that I am not like everyone else? Don’t I get brownie points for being me? Carly and Anna called for me to come back, but I didn’t bother to look back and they didn’t follow. The forbidden woods were calling me. Nothing mattered anymore and as my sandals pounded against the rough terrain, I realized there was someone following me. It was Josh. I was too embarrassed and didn’t want him to see the tears falling down my face. I just wanted to get away. Unfortunately he was faster and stronger than me and eventually caught up.
“Come out of here before we both get lost,” he commanded out of breath.
When we were back on camp grounds, he looked at me as if he saw me for the first time.
“What is up with you?”
“I don’t know!” I shouted. “I am so confused! Everybody is putting pressure on me to be with you. ‘Why don’t you just get with Josh, Gaby? Just do it once and get it over with, Gaby!’”
My voice became louder with every second.
“I am so sick and tired of it,” I yelled.
My tears fell uncontrollably. He held me close without saying a word.
“Maybe they’re right, Josh. Maybe we should just do it and get it over with,” I said, defeat overcoming my voice.
“Gaby, you’re not thinking clearly. We both know that you don’t mean that.”
We walked to the beach to relieve some of my anger. Everyone was at Anna’s party, so the beach was pretty deserted. We sat at the edge of the shore. The water was cool against my warm skin.
“This is nice,” he said looking out into the water.
“Yeah, it is,” I agreed.
“So, Gaby, please tell me how you became such an amazing singer. I heard you today in the entertainment complex.”
“When I was younger my dad made me practice piano every day until my fingers cramped. I just wanted to play outside with Anna,” I laughed. “Eventually, I began to enjoy it and began to hum along with the pieces I played and that is how I started singing.”
“Well, you were incredible. I was impressed.”
I thought to myself for a moment. Maybe without thinking, perhaps subconsciously, I wrote that song I sang earlier about myself with Josh in mind.
“Gaby, will you sing that song again?”
I took a deep breath and let the melody flow effortlessly from within me, forgetting that Josh was even sitting next to me. I brought the lyrics to life by gathering up every emotion deep down in my soul.
“There are so many layers to you, Gaby,” he said after I finished.
We talked about the future. I told him I wanted to teach music and he talked about being an architect. Josh had been into drawing and landscaping for as long as I could remember. He was the only guy I knew who had model replicas of various buildings sprawled around his bedroom floor. I could feel the intensity of his eyes on me the entire time, but for the first time, it didn’t make me uncomfortable.
“Gaby, you’re the kind of girl I want to marry. You’ve got your priorities in check and you know what you want out of life. Most girls your age only think about boys, themselves, clothes, or other meaningless things. But not you.”
“Well, my mom always told me that life is the most precious gift ever given to anyone and it should be taken full advantage of.”
“She’s right,” he agreed.
“Always is,” I added, smiling.
I looked at my watch.
“Josh, it’s getting late. We’d better get back.”
Meena Jelks is a dreamer. From an early age, she developed a voracious appetite for reading, writing and daydreaming. Being a writer was always something she loved but never thought would ever come to fruition. That is, until she decided to take her writing seriously, bypassing the traditional limitations of the literary industry as a whole.
A fan of punchier, pacier, and chattier books, her love for Young Adult (YA) fiction cultivated her desire to do what makes her happiest--she believes you don't have to be a teen to enjoy reading or writing stories of self-exploration, new-found love, or uncharted waters.
Young Adult/Teen fiction is exploding now, it's finally getting the recognition that it deserves. Meena is so happy to be contributing to such an amazing movement right now. Her first book, Teenage Temptation & Personal Honor will debut May, 2016.
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