22 - Gossamer Wings - Lucie
a trip to the moon on gossamer wings, just one of those things…
I closed my eyes and ran I had no where to go and only one thing on my mind, get far away, fast. I had to get away from my house and ultimately my dysfunctional family. My mom and dad were fighting, yet again, and Stefano and Nickolas were drunk and high, a deadly combination with their attitudes. If I breathe in the wrong direction in my house, especially when things get like this, I'm in for a beating if not worse. Sad thing is, no matter how dysfunctional my family is most of the time I love them all. It's just times like these that are so hard, it's times like these when I just need to fly away. I always found a way.
My feet carried me on tufts of wind and placed me down on the highest cliff in town. I wouldn't jump, but there is a great view of Tulsa from here, and I was far away from my house. Here I could be alone and think and that's just what I did. It never failed to calm me down, being here that is.
Sighing I looked down from the horizon and read the time displayed on my beeper: 6:45 it glared back at me in harsh black numbers. I had to leave, find somewhere to go, 'cause I sure as hell couldn't spend my whole night out here, no matter how much I wanted to.
"Thanks so much, I love you too," I was quite aware of the fact that I looked like I'd recently been hit by a Mack Truck but at the moment it was the furthest thing from my mind.
"Just being honest with you, you now I love you anyway, Juni…" she trailed off a goofy grin on her face and she let me in, "bad time at home, huh?" she offered me a hug, something I truly needed at the moment. Mia had been there through it all, never once disowning me, and always supporting me no matter what. She never told a soul about it though, I made her seal her mouth, she knew I'd get help when I really needed it and just now I didn't think I did.
"As always…god, Mi, I've got to get away from them…" I quieted slowly thinking about totally leaving my family and quickly disregarding the thought, I couldn't just yet but a day or so away would never hurt.
"Look, stay here tonight. We'll finish getting ready and go out to one of the frat parties then we can crash here. You could use a good night of drinking and fun," again she smiled.
"Sounds good," and it truly did, Mia always knew just what I needed and a night to forget it all was just it. Mia had an innate partier kind of nature and it tended to rub off on me a bit. We always did have fun though.
There were people everywhere, the frat house was designated standing room only (or dancing), this had to be the biggest party this year and I was having a ball. I was totally free from all of the stress I'd felt earlier today, of course I was also working on my third beer and I had had al least 2 Jell-O shots, no wait maybe this was my fourth beer, I can't totally remember.
Guys were abundant and I'd danced with a few so far. None too appealing but they were always good to mess around with. I knew I had to watch myself or I may get carried away but I didn't want to ruin my fun yet.
I had just stepped off of the dance floor and my latest dance partner was left in my wake as I headed for the refreshment table when the most amazing man stopped me dead in my tracks. I didn't know his name, though he did look familiar, but one look from him was enough to render me lifeless and his smile made me weak in the knees.
If Taylor kept whining about how he was going to miss out on the year's biggest party, I swear I was going to have to pound his pretty little head in. I was not in the mood to hear him whine, nor was I in the mood to spend my evening at some random party, surrounded by drunk guys, and girls I just couldn't have. To top that all off Taylor, my LITTLE brother would be getting more action than me, his little girlfriend, Isabella getting up on him and all.
"Come on I-ke! I promised Bella I'd take her out as soon as we got back from New York City. Anyway, you'll have a ton of fun, there'll be girls everywhere," he was just about on his knees now.
Suddenly I was hit with an inspiration, "So, Tay, how much does this party MEAN to you, buddy?"
"Name your price…" damn he was persistent.
\"Dish Duty for the next month and dirty diaper disposal, plus you cover for me, no questions asked, whenever I want you to."
"That's a little steep don't you think, Ike?" he frowned.
"Take it or leave it," I would win no matter what here. Either I didn't go to the party or I had a little slave for a long time.
"Fine, we're picking up Bella at 7:00," we shook and he turned to get ready.
I could die right now; this 'great part' had really sucked so far. Up till now I'd seen Tay and Isabella get WAY too friendly for my liking and spent far too much time around vomiting drunken college guys and there had been no appealing girls in my sight. I was about to break up the happy couple when I saw her.
I stopped dead in my tracks, like a dear caught in headlights. She was just leaving the 'dance floor', her raven hair falling over her shoulders and her blue eyes piercing into mine. I smiled casually and nearly passed out when the goddess started toward me. This girl was gorgeous, amazing, perfect, and she hadn't even spoken a word.
"Hey, I'm Juniper. Who're you…I mean I've never seen you at any frat parties around here," she extended a hand and smiled flirtatiously.
"I'm Isaac, and I don't usually hang around here, my brother Taylor dragged me out here tonight."
"Oh…" we held hands a little too long for a casual handshake and my eyes traveled her petite frame, eating up every inch of her. "Well you look like you could use an dancing partner and I'm available so…" she trailed off and I willingly followed her onto the 'dance floor'. I liked the aggressiveness; it was sexy on her.
"Isaac, if we get Bella home late her parents'll get medieval on my ass, we've got to leave NOW!" Taylor insisted, whining again, he was bothering me.
"Tay. You should seriously stop whining, it's just not attractive on you," my tone was sardonic.
"Cute Ike, really you are, but this is not a time to mess around. You know Bella's parents already basically hate me and I don't need to give them any more reason. Just tear yourself away from what's-her-face over here and let's go," then he turned on the puppy dog eyes, "you don't want to ruin my life do you…"
I looked longingly into Juniper's eyes and she knew what I was feeling. She rummaged around finding a pen and snatched my hand, quickly scrawling her number on the back of it.
565-8990 ~ beeper
686-7234 ~ home
I smiled and planted a kiss on her soft, full lips, before whispering a soft good-bye in her ear and turning, spitefully, to join my brother.
I swear I'm in love, Juniper is so perfect, and wonderful, I have to see her again. Ever since I smiled at her, we've been inseparable and I'd like to keep it that way. I actually had fun at the frat party, I guess I owe Tay one…
"Mom, Dad," I faced each of them in turn, "can you please try and get along, at least for the 10 or 15 minutes Isaac is here? I'd really like to make a good impression."
"This is what we get, huh, this is it. We raise you, feed you, clothe you, chauffeur you around for 16 years of your measly life and you disrespect us like this!" my father ranted, he had such a short temper.
"Do we embarrass you Juniper, do we?" my mother was bordering on irate.
"No mom, not embarrass, I-I just don't think that Isaac would want to see anyone fighting…"
"Who is this Isaac boy anyway?" uh-oh, now it was 20 questions, otherwise known as the-grill-Juniper-for-fun-game.
"You know, I told you about my boyfriend. We met three weeks ago at a party. He's tall and thin and handsome, polite, caring, romantic. He comes from a family of nine, he's also in the pop group Hanson…" I was cut off.
"Those gay bastards with the girly hair?!" Stefano commented from the doorway.
"What fairies, I'd beat the hell out of that kid if he ever came near you." Nickolas added.
"Since when do you care about my life anyway? He is not gay, neither are his brothers, and you WILL NOT touch my boyfriend," I hissed. I hated my brothers when they got like this. They were terrors: immature, pot head, alcoholic, dirtbags.
"Like hell you'll stop me…"
"Mom, Dad, tell them to cut it out," I pleaded, my last resort.
"Cut what out? I don't see anything wrong with them trying to protect their baby sister. Anyway, I don't think I like this Isaac and the effect he's having on you, so they may do what they want with him but you my dear may not see him again. Especially if you do not learn how to respect your parents, young lady."
"Daddy, please, I beg you," I sobbed.
"I agree with your mother," I was about to escalate the fight when the doorbell rang, it had to be Isaac. I ran to the door, knocking over Stefano and Nickolas, and threw it open. Sure enough Isaac was there and he looked stunned when I dragged him immediately to his car.
"Get in and drive, now!" I shouted through my tears.
He did as told pulling away just as my parents ran out into the driveway. I knew they'd never follow, they didn't care that much. "Juniper, what happened, baby? I thought I was supposed to meet your parents," he'd parked the car in a random parking lot far away from my house, and just now turned to look at me. "Oh, baby, what's wrong?" he moved closer to me and brushed my hair away from my face.
"Isaac, just hold me right now, just hold me…" he pulled me into his strong arms, and let me cry into his shoulder, no questions asked.
I really hated my family when they got like that, and though I knew I could tell Isaac anything at all, I felt inferior in this situation, I didn't want to tell him. I'd met all of his family and loved them all. They were so loving, affectionate, and supportive of one another, and so accepting of me. They were all truly amazing, each one of them from Walker to ZoŽ and every one in-between. I wished I could have a family like theirs and I didn't think Isaac would understand me under these circumstances. I doubted he'd even want to get involved.
"Ugh…I hate this," Juniper groaned as she pulled out of my embrace and hastily swiped at the tears pouring down her beautiful face.
"Hate what?" I knew her answer.
"Crying, my life, myself for letting this all get to me," she regarded me coolly,
I knew Juniper hated to cry, to her it was a sign of weakness, a sign that she
couldn't deal with the hand she was dealt. She always had to be strong and hold up for everyone else. She couldn't deal with the fact that there were things she couldn't control. I wished she weren't so hard on herself, I wished she knew just how special she was. But this was the way she worked, and I love her, the bad along with the amazing.
"Go easy on yourself, I'm sure that you have a good reason to be crying, and everyone needs to cry once in a while, it's therapeutic."
"Fuck the good reason," out reared her temper, she definitely was having a bad day.
"Talk to me baby, I'll understand, I'm here for you…" the look in her eyes was deadly but I could see the pain behind it, inside there was a frightened, trembling child waiting for a hand to hold.
"You'll understand, ha!" she was about to blow and I'd have to wait it out or I'd never get through to her. "You'll never get it, Isaac, you're so fucking lucky! You'll never get it and you'll never have to," she was screaming while she cried.
"Never get what, Juniper, talk to me, I want to understand…"
"Don't say that 'cause you don't mean it. No one wants to understand this stuff, Isaac!" she looked out the window but I could see her hysterical reflection in the glass.
I reached out to her; "I want to understand so I can help you, I love you…" she shrugged my arms off.
"No you don't! Damn it, Isaac! No one wants to know what it's like to have two parents who hate you and each other; no one wants two asshole brothers like Stefano and Nickolas who beat the hell outta me. You don't want to know what it's like to be born because your mother was fucking raped and have your father look at you with disgust every day of your life. I can't do anything right, everything is wrong, and I can't get away from this all. You-you're so lucky to have all that love in your life and you don't even realize it. Your biggest problem is your little sister waking you up in the middle of the night 'cause she had a bad dream, not your brother waking you up to beat the ever-living-fuck-out of you." That was the last straw, she broke down and collapsed into my arms. Her body was wracked with sobs and her tears were heavy laden with anguish. I let her cry without saying a word, I never knew she dealt with all this.
Juniper cuddled deeply in my lap as we sat and looked out over Tulsa. She'd calmed down considerably and I was waiting for her to talk, I'd only talk about it if she wanted to. For now I'd hold her and watch the stars shine form above. Funny how the tiny imperfections in the night sky are what make it so beautiful.
"Isaac, I'm so sorry about my little outburst. I shouldn't have…" I cut her off.
"No really it's my fault…" she returned the favor.
"I can't continue to place the blame on everything else Isaac, this one was my fault. I just can't take them any more…" she trailed off and I turned her around in my lap so I could look into her Caribbean eyes.
"Juniper you are so amazing, I wish you would realize that, and you're way to harsh on yourself. If I can love you so can the rest of the world, you need to realize that." I brushed a tear off of her flushed cheek and sighed. "You have wings, baby, and someday, someday you'll realize that, and you'll be able to fly away from this mess. I just hope I can help you spread those wings. I love you too much to see you torture yourself like this."
"I love you too, Isaac Hanson, I love you too," she pulled me closer and I kissed her hair. Somehow, someday this would all work out, I knew it.
I recoiled under Mia's comforter, away from the light of another day. I didn't want to face the world, or the fact that Isaac and Mia were busy today. I'd have to go home and face my family. I'd have to go back to my real life and I hated that thought.
"Juniper, let's go, get up! I wanna talk to you before I go to work." She took a deep breath and I knew she was going to say something that had the potential to insult me, "you've been staying at my house for a week now and I haven't talked to you for more than a half hour. Isaac's always taking you out…I miss my best friend."
I sat up on the bed and looked at Mia. We were closer than sisters not more than 2 months ago and now I some small way, Isaac had come between us. It's not that they didn't get along, they liked each other a lot, it's just that I made so much time for Isaac and got so lost in our love that I forgot about how important Mia was to me. She handed me a mug of tea, or favorite, jasmine. I inhaled the sweet aroma and took a long sip.
"Yeah, I missed you too, Mi." and it was true, I just now realized just how much I did. I sighed contentedly, I need a morning like this more often.
"You really like Isaac, don't you? I mean, you never been like this over any guy, and I've seen so many come and go through the years."
"Yeah, I do. I love Isaac. He's so amazing, and wonderful. He's affectionate and romantic, he always thinks of me first and he's totally sensitive and he's a great listener. At the same time he's got a crazy side and an awesome sense of humor, you know he doesn't take himself too seriously especially for his fame and all. He's so not stuck up. He always find a way to cheer me up…he's everything I ever dreamed of and hoped for…" I trailed off dreamily.
"He's good to you, but sweetie, does he know everything that comes along with you. I mean no offense sweetheart but you're no picnic."
"He does and he accepts that. I guess for the first month or so after he found out what was going on he tried to be my night in shining armor and fix al the problems. Then he finally realized tat the problem was so much bigger than he was and that there was nothing more he could do than love me. He's just totally supportive of me when the shit hits the fan on occasion."
"Jun, you're so lucky to have him in your life. Don't let go too easy, okay?" she smiled warmly."
"Okay," I smiled back and we hugged.
"It's good to talk like this again. I thought I was gonna lose you for a while there but I was wrong. I'll call you tomorrow and we'll make plans for the weekend."
"Mi, tomorrow is the weekend," I grinned.
"Whatever. Just go home and face your life for a day. Love ya," she hugged me again and headed off to work.
I close my eyes and fell back on the bed. The past two moths with Isaac ran through my head. They had been perfect, wonderful, marvelous, lovely…I couldn't ask for anything more and that's exactly what scared me. My life is so volatile, nothing ever lasts, especially the good stuff. I didn't want to think about losing Isaac, ever, but something internal told me we had to bide our time. And that was a feeling I hated with every fiber in my body, he was my lifeline and my sanity.
I looked away from Zac, the sincere pain in his eyes was too much for me, he couldn't understand. Though looking at Taylor was no better, he looked hurt too, though his look was less innocent than Zac's was.
"Ike, why? Why don't you want to hang around with us anymore?" I could hear the pain in Zac's wavering voice he was so naÔve.
"You just don't understand," I sighed, frustrated and defeated all at once.
"Just tell me!" he was so sheltered.
"Zac, its Juniper. She's taking him away from us," Taylor was so much more perceptive, he knew things Zac couldn't see. He was so angry now, more angry than hurt it seemed.
"She is not," I countered, but Tay was right. In the past two months I'd let go of my family and in turn my two best friends. I don't know why or how it happened, but lately Juniper had just become my world. I couldn't go a day without her that was like a day without sunshine.
"Don't shit with me Isaac, I'm not 10 anymore, I know how this works. You can't just ignore your family, we're not something you can throw away. We need you around, don't you see what you're missing and how much you're hurting us. Look at Zac, he needs you and misses you, so do the rest of us. I bet you don't even know that ZoŽ started to crawl or Avie lost her first tooth. You're not here to see Mackenzie wander around the house looking for you to play soccer with like you used to everyday, you're not here to see the look on his face when someone has to explain for the fiftieth time that you're not at home to play. And you sure as hell weren't around when I needed you. Isaac, you're my best friend and when I really needed someone around you were nowhere to be found, do you know how much that hurts? Listen to me Isaac, and listen carefully, I'm giving you fair warning that if you don't get your priorities in order real soon we will all shut you out of our lives. None of us need this kind of pain in our lives, we'll close you off, and we'll find someone else." Tay had pain in his piercing eyes, tears welled up slowly, but his voice carried and anger I never knew existed. I guess I missed that along with everything else: my family needing my presence, and my best friend losing the girl who meant the world to him. I should have been there, I needed my family just as they needed me and I couldn't deny that anymore. No matter much I loved Juniper. I'm surprised Tay and Zac let it get so far, they waited two and a half months to say anything.
"Sorry guys, I gotta deal with something," I had to talk to Juniper and straighten things out.
"Good, leave, just don't expect us to bee all happy when you come back!" Taylor shouted after me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw him take a crying Zac into his arms.
"I can't believe I let this go on for so long…" a fist connected with my eye. "You little fucking fairy… " A blow to the stomach knocked me to the cold hard ground, "if you ever… " A swift kick that shattered ribs, "touch my sister…" another kick found itself connecting with a not-so-pleasant place, "again you little shit…" more solid kicks delivered by a heavy boot, "I'll fucking kill you." Suddenly my head was slammed into a pole and my world went black.
I'm not sure where things had gone wrong. I left to talk to Juniper and suddenly her brother Stefano, or Nickolas, one of them, was beating the hell out of me. All I wanted to do was straighten this out with Juniper, I needed to see her so badly.
I looked at Isaac and quickly looked away. He still had a deep purple welt above his right eye where Nickolas had kicked his head into a pole and every more he made sent excruciating pain through his side where he had 5 broken ribs, again courtesy of Nickolas. I should have seen that coming.
I hated to see Isaac this way, I love him so much, and when he was in pain I was too. I've just realized that staying together can only make things worse. I love him more than anything and losing him will be the end of my world but it has to happen one way or another, he would do the same for me. In my life, my volatile semblance of a life, things come and go so fast they make my head spin. Isaac is just one of those things, I struggle to convince myself. I have to let him go, let HIM spread HIS wings and fly away. Maybe someday, if this was truly meant to be we can be together again, but right now for his good I've got to let go. The excruciating and overbearing pain in my heart is not the matter at hand.
Gently I stroke his hair and look deeply into his eyes. As I take his hands in mine, his eyes probe mine, looking for answers behind the welled up tears.
I take a deep breath, gathering all my strength. "Isaac…this can never work out, we have to end this here, " I say, my voice betraying me and wavering.
"No, Juniper, we can make it work, I love you…" his voice is soft and pleading. I want so badly to agree with him.
"Isaac, look at me. This can not be! Don't you get it I love you! That's why I have to let you go. It's your turn to fly and get away from this mess. Staying here will only hurt us more and you know it. Go back to your family, take back your old life, the life before me, and go on." I pause and take a breath, it hitches past the lump in my throat. "Always remember I love you, and live your life to it's fullest. Love again, and let other people love you. Fly Isaac, fly…do it for me and someday you can tell me what it feels like to have the wind rushing past your face, what it feels like to fly above everything that hurts." I let go of his hands and left the room for the last time. I didn't kiss him or look back, that would make it too hard. He didn't follow me either, the shock was too much but someday he'll understand, I know he will.
A month later I stood in the church and looked at the empty altar after a Sunday mass. I though about Isaac, I always did, I wondered if he understood.
I felt a hand fall on my shoulder and I turned around to face it's owner. My face fell as the memories flooded back and I struggled not to cry.
Isaac pressed his lips hard against mine and pulled away. I could see unshed tears in his molten chocolate eyes. That one kiss said it all, it was some sort of unsaid peace offering between us, he understood now.
He turned away and rejoined his family. Isaac took back his old life, the one thing I knew he needed. I guess in some small way we always knew this could ever work out, we were just too different. From the start we knew that this would always be just one of those things, just one of those crazy flings.
*** credit for the title, as well as the closing line and basic theme for this story goes to Cole Porter for his song "Just One Of Those Things"