Memories (Completed)
Author: Jewel Heart

Chapter 1
1

I was sitting in the blue station wagon, staring out the window at the limited view of Portland, Maine, as Aunt Loren drove to the airport. Uncle Damian was on a business call, sitting in the passenger seat next to Aunt Loren. My younger cousins, Yvette and Beau were playing red hands. Reilly, the pretty 14-year-old with long, curly red hair and blue eyes that sparkled whether she was happy or not, was trying to get her mother’s attention.

I was getting aggravated by all the noise. I wasn’t going to complain, though. Not after how kind they had been to me these past two weeks. I mean, Reilly had been so kind as to let me sleep in her room. She had offered to share her queen sized bed with me when we hadn't found a mattress for me to sleep on. They had taken good care of me.

Unfortunately, I am the oldest of all my cousins, so I’ve taken care of all of them. We’re a very close family. Well, at least my cousins do, from my point of view. I always feel like I we’re joined at the hip, my cousins and I. It seems they have also grown quite fond of me. I’d been there more often than their parents half of the time. Like little Beau, I taught him how to walk and how to eat with a spoon. I was also there when he said his first word; Lu. Most babies’ first words are ‘mama’ or ‘papa’ but most of my cousins’ first words were ‘Lume’ or ‘Lu.’ It was kinda nice.

“Lumex, your mom is on the phone,” Reilly said.                               

I looked away from the row of trees I was currently watching pass by, and towards Reilly. She was holding out Aunt Loren’s new iPhone. I wonder why Molly hadn't called me on my phone, I took it without speaking.

I pressed it to my ear and spoke.

“Hello?”

“Lumex, baby?” a sweet low voice said.

“Yeah. Hi, Mom,” I said, covering my other ear so I could hear her.

My mom was more like a sister than a mother to me. She had long, curly red hair and blue eyes just like Aunt Loren. I tried to call her “mom” whenever she was in earshot, but I usually referred to her as Molly. She was too irresponsible and childish to seem to be a mother.

“Hey, baby. I just wanted to make sure that you were okay. Do you have everything? Do you need me to come with you? I’ll get on a plane right now and come with you,” she said.

“Mom, I don’t need you to come. I'm fine. I have my ticket in my pocket and my luggage is in the trunk. So, relax. I’ll be home before you know it,” I said in what I hoped was a confident voice. To be honest, I had a queasy feeling in my stomach this whole week. It was as if something bad were going to happen.

“Aw, you’re right, Lumex. I shouldn’t worry so much,” she sighed. “I just miss my baby. You don’t know how hard it is to give you away to someone, even for a short period of time.”

“I know, Mom, you say that every time.”

Soon enough she’d have to drop that excuse and get used to the idea for when I moved out and went to college. But for now I had to deal with it and suffer in silence, as I usually did.

“Oh, I'm sorry, baby. But, are you sure you don’t need me to come with you?” she asked again.

“Yes. Look, Mom, I have to go now, we’re at the airport.” I looked out the window at the parking lot, past dozens of trees.

“Okay. Bye, baby. Call me as soon as you’re on and off the plane,” she said.

“Okay, Mom.” I sighed. “I love you.” I pressed the end button and handed the phone to Reilly, who had been listening and watching my conversation with Molly.

I leaned back in my seat as we reached the airport. I noticed that the volume in the car had finally decreased and used the time to try and relax, but Yvette was pulling on my sleeve ever since I had released the phone. I looked down at her.

“Lume, will you visit us again?” she asked in her quiet little voice.

I smiled warmly at her. “Sure I will or you can come visit Aunt Molly and me.” I patted her bony little hand.

“Really Willie?” she asked, her big blue eyes shining.

“Yes.”

“Okay, guys. We’re here,” Aunt Loren announced once she had parked the car.

I went ahead and unbuckled my seat belt and then undid Yvette’s and Beau’s as well. Reilly opened the door and I came out. Then helped Beau and Yvette out.

Uncle Damian and Aunt Loren were getting my stuff out of the trunk. I only had a backpack and a Gym bag. I was dressed in a blue spaghetti strap shirt and skinny jeans with a black parka over it. Florida is nice and warm even in the winter, but Portland is so cold that it’s snowing in the summer as well as the winter. I had heard rumors about times when the days were warm and sunny, but right now, I didn’t believe them one bit.

I had my bag on with my books, some clothes, my toothbrush, and a hairbrush inside. My ticket was in my right front pocket and my cell phone and car keys were stuffed in the other. I had left my new silver 2010 Chevrolet Camaro with Brooke and Molly. I have to go get it once I’ve arrived.

I grabbed my bag from Aunt Loren and she hugged me.

“Oh, Lumex, we’re going to miss you so much,” she said, kissing my cheek.

“I’ll miss you too, Aunt Loren,” I said. “But you’re still coming over for my birthday next month, right?” I asked, looking at her liquid blue eyes.

“Of course, sweetie.”

Beau started crying. I turned to look at him as Aunt Loren went to pick him up.

“Beau, what’s wrong?” she asked him.

“Lumex!” he cried, reaching out for me.

I put my bag down and took him from Aunt Loren. She watched us with regretful eyes that penetrated through all of my mental force fields. I didn’t blame her. Imagine having a child prefer someone that hasn’t been with them as long as their parent has, and for that person to be the niece, of all people, it would have to make you feel unloved, I suppose. If it were to happen to me I know that I wouldn’t enjoy it. Though, I feel guilty now. I love my aunt and don’t want to upset her.

“Don’t go, stay with us forever!” he pleaded.

“Forever?” I asked. “But if I stay here then who will take care of Aunt Molly? What about Brookie?” I tried to convince myself that I had only imagined the way Aunt Loren’s face twisted in pain. I thought of something else to say, in case Beau were to object.

“They can come live with us too!”

I laughed. “What if you come and visit me?” I offered.

“Every day!” he exclaimed. “But you come live with us.”

“No. I can’t. I can only come visit,” I said. “Aren’t you coming to visit me for my birthday?” I asked, pushing out my lower lip.

“Yeah,” he said.

“So can you stop crying and visit me with a smile in a couple of weeks?”

“Yes.”

“Good boy,” Uncle Damian said. “Now, let Lumex go, or she’ll miss her flight.” I put Beau down and grabbed my bag again.

We walked into the airport and were shot by a heat wave, which felt blissful on my icy skin. We went to security and stopped, where everyone gave me a hug and kiss before I left.

“Hey, I'm supposed to go with that empty line, right?” I asked, looking at two lines to get onboard. One was full and the other one was empty.

“No, you have to go with the other one,” Aunt Loren answered.

“But my ticket has the same sign that the passage has.” I showed her my ticket and the sign that looked like a person being led by someone else.

“Oh. Hmm,” she mumbled pensively, as a boy with a buzz cut walked in through the passage and then through a door. “Well, maybe you do,” she said, surprised.

“Bye, Aunt Loren.” I hugged her.

“Bye, sweetie.” She hugged me back.

I let go and turned to look at everyone else. “Bye guys!”

They said bye and I turned around and headed towards the passage that was illuminated by Christmas lights. The floor was a dark carpet. I couldn’t tell if it was a dark brown or a fading black. The walls were carpeted with swirly colors of violet, green, and gray. Then, I found a black curtain where the boy with the buzz cut had entered before me.

I pulled the curtain open and walked in. A lady with short blond hair was getting tickets from people from the full line. I waited for her to get done with the people she was talking to.

She sent them off and I tapped her shoulder.

“Excuse me, I was told to go through that door. Could you help me?”

She turned to look at me. “There’s a lady right over there that will help you.” She pointed to a girl with long black hair tied up in a bun.

“Thank-you,” I said, walking over to the other girl.

I told the girl the same thing I had told the other one and she said, “Oh. Yes. We just need you to fill out these forms, we have a new system and it seems we’ve lost everyone’s papers.” She smiled apologetically.

I sighed. “Sure.” I took the papers and a pen from her.

I sat on the floor and read over the papers as the girl attended to a boy.

A second later, the boy plopped down next to me with a form and a pen. I glanced at him.

He was gorgeous. Shoulder length blond hair, pearl gray eyes that looked so…I don’t know, something. I couldn’t find the right words to describe the emotion in his eyes. I had a hard time looking away from his pale complexion. That had never happened to me.

I focused on the papers on my lap. I was stuck on my house phone number. After a few minutes of struggling to recall, I eyed the boy’s paper. He was already on the second page. He’s fast.

He noticed I was staring. I looked away faster than I ever had. My face felt warm. Is this what blushing feels like, then?

I grabbed my cell phone and scanned through my contact list. I finally found Molly’s phone number and wrote it down.

I managed to finish filling out the papers without glancing at the handsome boy sitting next to me. I stood up and so did the boy.

I walked to the girl and handed her the paper, noticing that the boy was right behind me. God, I thought he’d be done way before me.

The girl told me to go ahead in. I sped off. I almost stepped in when I noticed I left my bag. I cursed under my breath.

Well, isn’t this perfect?

I turned around and walked back. There was no sign of either the boy or my bag.

“Excuse me?” a smooth, deep voice that was sweet like melting honey said.

I turned around, barely catching myself in time to suppress my gasp. Where did he come from?

“This is yours, isn’t it?” the blond boy from before asked, holding up my red gym bag.

“Uh, yeah.” I took the bag from him. “Thank you.”

“I'm James.” He stretched out his hand for me to shake. I stared at it puzzled.

“Lumex,” I said cautiously as I took his hand.

That little touch sent a static through me. My legs weakened, my heart jumped and the world disappeared from under me. My heart was up in my throat, choking me. I was using all of my will power to remain standing.

Right now, I didn’t remember who or where I was. There was no noise coming from the outside world and everything seemed frozen. The world had stopped the second our skin had touched. The only thing that I could see was James.

He was looking at me wide-eyed. I didn’t know how I was looking at him. If there’s one thing I don’t want in this world, it’s to show anybody my emotions. I tried to straighten my face as I took my hand back.

“Uh, nice to meet you,” I said, using my normal voice.

“Yeah,” James said, running his hand through his golden hair.

I stared into his eyes for half a second. I finally decided on what they were. Abnormal. They were animal-like, sophisticated, and sad. I didn’t have a clue of how I knew that. I only knew that I had seen these eyes before on one person.

Demetrius Freeze.

He’s the most popular guy in the school. His green eyes look like that. I had spoken to him a few times. That was why the ‘Barbies’ were after me. Demetrius paid attention to me instead of them. He had tried to get close to me so many times. Even though he had in some way become a childhood friend, he had always wanted more. That was when I had rejected and pushed him away. He was powerful in the school though, he was nice, unlike all of the other popular kids.

Demetrius is just as pale as the boy in front of me. His eyes are exactly like James’s; the same visible emotion and the same emptiness behind them. It was so similar that it was frightening. It was what made people fear Demetrius. Though, staring at this boy, James, I don’t know what’s worse. The way my head was spinning, or how my stomach twisted when I stared into his gray eyes.

“The plane for Tampa, Florida will be departing in five minutes,” the announcer announced.

“Uh, I guess that’s us,” James said, turning halfway around and looking at me.

“Yeah, I guess,” I mumbled, looking away from his sad eyes. “We should get moving.” I started walking.

When I was about to pass him, he grabbed my arm to stop me. I looked at him startled.

“Can I help you with something?” I asked coldly, taking my arm back.

He blinked surprised, as if he had just realized what he was doing. “Well, I was just wondering if you’d like for me to take your bag.” His eyes were sincere and his shy smile was apologetic. It made me feel as if I was going to melt, but it didn’t change the fact that it had been uncalled for.

“No thanks, I can take care of it,” I said.

“I was just offering.” James shrugged. “It looks heavy.”

“Not really, it’s just clothes.” We walked through the tunnel connecting to the plane. “Oh, and if it was heavy, I could still carry it,” I added. “I know I might look fragile, but I'm not.”

It is true. I really do look fragile. I am skinny—very skinny. In women’s clothing I am a size zero. My skin is transparent because of my albino heritage. I haven’t ever been tall either but I am not short. A regular five-foot-six. I looked vulnerable. The only things that keep me from being confused with a porcelain doll are my features.

They are fined out. My high cheekbones make me look sophisticated and I had almost lost all of the roundness in my face. The gentle curve of my lips made me look older.

“I never said you were.”

 “But you were thinking it,” I replied curtly.

“You have no clue what I'm thinking and you wouldn’t be close to knowing if you guessed a million times,” James said. He didn’t say it in a way that was supposed to be mean or a comeback, he said it sadly instead.

“So, are you visiting Tampa or do you live there?” I changed the topic before his voice could really get to me. My heart was already jumping.

“Oh, I just moved there with my family. They sent me to Portland to get the last of our things.”

We stopped as we reached the entrance of the plane.

“Oh. Well, cool.” They must have gotten sick of the cold and wanted to live somewhere warmer and more tropical. “I live there. I was just visiting my aunt and uncle.” We walked inside.

I frowned, thinking, Why am I revealing all of this to this stranger?

“Really?” he asked, looking down at me.

Oh, God. Those eyes….Those sad eyes are killing me.

“Yeah,” I said, looking away. His eyes are so deep that I could drown in them.

“Well, I hope we can meet again.” He searched for his seat as I searched for mine.

“Yeah, me too,” I said before I could stop myself. Talking to him—talking to James made me say everything I was thinking. This had never happened to me before. I had never had trouble keeping my thoughts to myself.

I finally found my first class seat. I sat down and looked up to say good-bye. James was gone. Standing up, I looked across the aisle, startled.

“Nice, he left without saying good-bye.” I mumbled to myself.

“I didn’t leave,” James said, appearing on the seat across from mine.

“Holy!” I exclaimed, falling into my chair. “How—how do you do that?”

“Do what?” He leaned back in his chair with his hand on his cheek, and a ghost of a smile on his lips. He narrowed his eyes, looking amazed.

That grin stopped my heart. This is a feeling I have never experienced. I'm not sure if I like it.

“Be in one place, disappear, then be in another.”

This is bad, I noticed, I’m going to have to look at his eyes the whole time.

“I don’t do that,” argued James.. “You just don’t notice it when I move.”

“I wouldn’t bet on that,” I mumbled to myself.

I stood up again and opened the compartment over my seat. Then, I reached down to grab my Gym bag. It was gone. When I looked up, James was stuffing my bag there.

“I didn’t ask you to do that.”

“It doesn’t hurt to be polite,” he shrugged. His golden hair danced around him while he stuffed my bag away.

I looked away again, this time hiding my face behind my hair so he wouldn’t see me blush. My stomach did an uncomfortable flip. I eyed him. He looked…entertained.

“Is there something funny that I'm missing?” I asked pushing past him and taking my seat.

“No.” He cleared his throat. “I just, um…” He struggled to find an excuse.

“The plane will be departing now. Please buckle up your seatbelts and turn off all of your electronics,” the attendant said.

James didn’t try to say anything else. He went ahead and just sat down. He gets lucky.

“So, where do you go to school?” he asked, changing the topic.

“Uh, Blake High School,” I said. “Nothing fancy,” I shrugged.

“I live right next to that.”

“Oh.” I tried to figure out what neighborhood was next to the school.

“Oh, it’s not a neighborhood.”

I frowned. Is my face now readable or something?

He smiled sadly. “I’d rather you just ignored those details.”

“I think I’ll take your word on that,” I said, looking out the window. For now, I added in my mind.

“I live in the hotel next to the school,” he clarified.

“How do you live in a hotel?” I looked back at him. This time, I stared behind him. I couldn’t take those eyes.

“It’s simple, you just pay more, but it’s worth it.” He smiled.

“Nice, you’ll never be late to school again,” I snorted.

“Maybe,” he grinned, and my heart skipped a beat. “Why don’t you find out exactly how close I am? You should come visit me.”

“I’ll think about it,” I folded my hands in my lap. “I'm not making any promises.” I smiled and looked up at him.

We were quiet as the plane took off. I stared out the window, trying to calm my racing heart. I had never felt like this, so I obviously didn’t have any experience on controlling myself.  The Barbies would have gotten a kick out of this one. They’d spread those annoying rumors and get Demetrius to hate me. Somehow they would manage that.

I don’t know why I would care, but it would bother me. Demetrius meant nothing to me. Anybody other than my family and Brooke meant nothing to me. So, why should I care about Demetrius and this boy I just met?

Later on, the attendant came out with dinner. I looked at the clock on a small T.V set up on the ceiling. It was almost nine o’ clock.

“No thank you, I'm really not hungry,” I said, looking at her maid’s cart.

“You should eat,” James said. “Don’t starve yourself.”

“What about you? You aren’t eating, James,” I said.

He bit his lip. “I’ll have some dinner.”

The attendant handed him a tray, with a startled expression, for whatever reason, and left.

 When she was gone, he scooted his tray over towards me. I looked at him annoyed.

“I'm not going to eat that,” I said, pushing the tray away. “And I know what you’re thinking. I'm not anorexic. I have a fast metabolism; I’ve never really weighed much.” I looked out the window with a hand holding supporting my head.

“I wasn’t thinking that at all, Lumex.” His voice was so soft. It was concerned. He is concerned about me. “I was thinking that I don’t want you to get hungry. It doesn’t hurt to be worried about someone.”

“I appreciate it, but I really can take care of myself,” I answered.

I didn’t understand why I felt so warm inside. I didn’t know why what he said was meaningful to me. Why he cared, why he didn’t just mind his own business. I noticed that the sun was going down west over the horizon. I unbuckled my seatbelt and got up. I reached for my backpack and headed down the aisle to the bathroom.

A moment of peace to calm my heart, please, I thought.

I came out of the bathroom fully dressed in a green and brown camouflage tank top and brown shorts. I walked back to my seat. I noticed that every teenage boy I passed looked up.

Great, an airplane full of teenage perves.

 I opened the curtain that separated my seat from everyone else’s. James was still fully dress with a book on his lap. He looked up when I came in. After looking me over once, he smiled.

“Hey,” he said.

I couldn’t resist. I smiled back. “Hi.”

I put my bag away and plopped down in my seat. I grabbed the plastic bag I had moved under my seat and opened it. From there, I took out a blanket.

Oh, crap! I remembered something. I jumped up.

“Oh, God,” I mumbled as I searched for my phone.

“Lumex?” James asked alarmed.

I grabbed my bag.

“Lumex, are you okay?” he asked.

I checked the pockets of my bag.

Found it.

“What’s wrong?” James asked. He had already gotten up and had a hand on my back.

“Nothing,” I said, waiting for my cell phone to turn on. “Well, not yet.”

It turned on. Ten messages all of them from her. I redialed. James watched me with concerned eyes.

“Hello?” she answered.

“Mom?” I said scared.

“Lumex? Oh. Thank goodness!”

“I'm sorry, Mom. I forgot.” I apologized.

“LUMEX AMARA COCKCROW, DO YOU KNOW HOW WORRIED I’VE BEEN? DO YOU KNOW WHAT A HEART ATTACK YOU GAVE ME? I KNEW I SHOULD HAVE COME WITH YOU!” Molly yelled so loud that I had to pull away the phone from my ear. She’s really mad. I knew because of the fact that she never uses my full name unless she’s ready to explode.

“I'm so sorry. I was busy. The airport lost my papers and I had to fill them out again. I'm so exhausted from playing with Yvette and Beau. Reilly’s always talking. Uncle Damian and Aunt Loren were moving me around from place to place—I just collapsed,” I lied. The truth was that I was so focused on getting my feelings under control that I forgot everything.

Molly sighed. “Fine, okay. I believe you, Lumex,” she said. When she said it like that, it made me feel bad for lying to her. “Just promise me you won’t forget to call me when you’re about to land.”

“Yes, I promise,” I said, relieved. “Bye, Mom.”

“Bye, baby. I love you.”

“I love you, too.” I hung up and fell exhausted into my chair. I rubbed my temples.

“Lumex?” James asked.

I opened my eyes a crack and found James kneeling down next to me.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I said, reaching down for my blanket. “Well, ‘night.” I spread the blanket over me and leaned my head against the closed window.

“You’re going to sleep?” he asked in a soothing voice.

“Yes. I'm really tired.”

“Okay.” He stood up. “Just make sure to tell me if you need anything.”

I shook my head and he sighed, turning around.

“James,” I called after him.

“Yes?” he answered, looking at me from over his shoulder.

“Thanks for caring. I don’t deserve it; I've been so rude to you,” I apologized without meeting his eyes.

He looked down, his gray eyes looking even sadder.

“Don’t worry about it,” he whispered and turned away.

He mumbled something else, but I was so tired that I couldn’t hear it, my vision had begun blurring and I passed out.

 

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