“Oh wait!” I said, running over to his porch and picking up the guitar case that was behind the railing. “This is Easton’s. It’s his air guitar. I want you to make sure he learns to play it when he’s old enough. Promise you’ll teach him?”
He nodded. “Promise.”
“Promise you’ll take care of him?” I whispered.
“Promise,” he whispered back.
Abigail and I stood beside one another, arms locked as we watched the car drive off down the road. “I guess it’s just you and me now, huh?” Abigail smiled.
“Do you think I should be worried about him finding another girlfriend?”
“What? No way. Simon is crazy about you.”
“I know. I’m kind of a great thing. I wanted to seal the deal of our commitment to each other, but we decided not to have sex seeing as how, ya know, his best friend kind of got knocked up her junior year and that was all dramatic and stuff. So I just gave him a hand job in the bathroom last night.”
“Oh my gosh, Abigail!”
“Not to toot my own horn, but I was pretty good at it, too, after all the things I read on hand jobs.”
“What?! You read stuff on giving hand jobs?”
“Google, Aria!” She snickered as we began walking back toward my house. “Seriously, how many times do I have to tell you about that?”
I had a good feeling that I wouldn’t be too lonely with this girl around.
* * *
Abigail and I pretty much stuck side by side each day during the summer. It was different, but a good kind of different. I’d never had a close girl friend before, and it was great to have her and her odd behavior.
When I wasn’t hanging out with her, I was in the woods at six in the morning feeding the deer. It seemed as if they didn’t fully trust me. Levi was much better at feeding them, but I wouldn’t give up.
On the first day of July, I stood in the woods with a handful of berries. The deer was staring my way, stepping closer and closer. He was inches away from me, about to take the berries. A branch snapped from behind me, sending the deer running. I turned around and my breath caught in my throat as I stared down at a pair of blue Chucks, which were kicking around invisible rocks.
I started kicking around the invisible rocks, too.
My eyes moved up to lock with Levi’s and he gave me that silly smile that always made me happy.
“Sorry about scarin’ off the deer.” He stepped closer to me. “I didn’t know anyone would be out here.” He held his pinkie finger toward me.
I locked it with mine.
“What are you doing here?” I questioned.
“My mom and I arrived late last night. It turns out my dad left us his house in the will. It’s a bit of a fixer upper, but Mom said it was always meant to be our home.”
My chest tightened and I moved in closer to him. We were so close, our lips almost touching. I felt his warm breaths brushing against my skin, against my soul. “Are you all right?” I asked.
“I’m all right,” he replied. “Are you all right?” he asked.
“I’m all right,” I replied. My heart flipped, kicked, and fumbled around inside of my chest. “Are you really staying here?”
He combed my hair behind my ear. “I’m really staying here.” His lips lightly danced across mine, sending shivers down my spine. He kissed me with all of him and I kissed him back with all of me. With a soft voice, the boy with the beat-up blue Chucks spoke two words that made tears fall against my cheeks. “Hi, Art.”
I blinked once before staring up into the most beautiful pair of brown eyes.
I loved him. I loved him so, so much. I loved him with no regrets of yesterday and no fears of tomorrow. I loved him in the moment, quietly, with secret whispers of love that only our young spirits could comprehend.
With one small breath and one full heart, I whispered back, “Hi, Soul.”