Where We Meet Again (Arrow Creek 1)

Page 4

For the first time in fourteen years, I cry for all I’ve lost. To remember the boy I once loved so unequivocally, I believed destiny brought us together.
After I finish, I’ll haul myself from my bed, clean my face, and greet my baby girl when she gets off the bus from school.
Losing Law was a consequence of the greatest mistake of my life, but I will never bring myself to regret my daughter.
Seventeen years earlier…
“Hey! Wait up!”
I raced my bike through the cloud of dirt Law’s tires kicked up, attempting to catch him. Tall weeds and rogue tree branches whipped against my bare legs. Rain fell from the dark gray sky, and even though I was cold and damp, a smile graced my face.
I giggled while my legs burned, and I chased after my best friend.
“You’ll have to catch up,” he shouted back and raced off again.
Pedaling uphill was difficult on normal terrain, but the once-hard packed earth turned to mud beneath my tires. The trail Law chose was in the middle of the forest, not even a real biking trail. Power lines ran overhead like trail markers, delineating the space four wheelers or snowmobiles used, depending on the time of year.
This wasn’t the first time we’d been down this path, but it was always Law’s idea, and I always lagged behind.
I didn’t mind. I’d take just about anything to spend time with Law. Besides, the trail end was close. The buzz of the busy highway replaced the sound of insects, so I knew I was almost there.
“Wait for me!” I wheezed as I sucked in giant gulps of air. Standing on the pedals, I leaned forward and gave myself one last push. I would make it. Getting off and walking wasn’t an option unless I wanted him to tease me for the rest of the summer.
Just as the bike picked up speed, the trail opened. Law stood off next to his bike, grinning at me like a jerk because he was faster and stronger, like always, and he couldn’t wait to rub it in.
“Thought you’d never get here,” he taunted, resting back against his bike and crossing his arms over his chest.
“Yeah well you–”. The words floated away on the wind when a giant rock emerged from a patch of mud. The front tire hit it dead on. The bike flipped, sending me soaring over the handlebars. Law’s shout mixed with my scream, but I couldn’t make out the words. The sound of the highway and the wind roaring passed my ears clouded everything else.
I rolled and tumbled down an incline. Every couple of turns the dark gray sky flashed above me before the brown and green earth replaced it. My body stopped moving on its own when inertia gave me up and left me disoriented.
Law slid down the hill on his hip. I couldn’t see him, but the friction of his jacket on the grass was audible. “Cami! Are you okay?”
“You put that rock there, didn’t you?” I gasped, out of breath.
His deepened laugh was full of relief, disclosing his fear for me. “I wanted to stop you from passing me. Here, let me help you up.”
His cool, damp palm slid against mine, and the other arm circled my back. With a strength most fourteen-year-old boys couldn’t possess, he pulled me into a sitting position. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
I shrugged. Now that the world stopped spinning, embarrassment gripped me full force. “Yeah. My hands sting, but nothing is broken. Tell your mom thanks, again, for buying me this helmet. Without it, I would have been toast.”
“More like a vegetable.”
I gave him my best scowl. “That’s not even a funny joke.”
He had it in him to look sheepish. “I know. I’ll tell her, even though you’ve already told her about fifty times.”
My fingers sifted through the damp grass, finding a handful and pulling it. “If my mom took care of me, yours wouldn’t have to.”
“Cami, stop. Don’t go down this road again.”
A cool breeze aided a cleansing breath. Instead of a reply, I smiled at him. “Will you help me up? We should get back before the rain picks up.”
Law stared at me for a minute, and his eyes studied my face. I wasn’t sure if he wanted to continue the conversation or hang out a little longer. It could’ve been anything with him.
“Yeah, sure.” He jumped to his feet and held out his hand for mine again.