Eighteen years old
The sound of my phone beeping drags me out of the story I’m writing.
Noah: Pick you up in ten?
I smile as I text back a quick yes and slide off my bed to freshen up a bit before he gets here.
He’s seemed a little off the past few days, so it will be good to have some time together to try and figure out what’s wrong.
He doesn’t say anything as I walk outside, met with the familiar sound of his bike. I slip behind him, far less careful than I normally am.
We’re going to tell everyone this weekend. Soon, I won’t have to ever sneak around with him again.
We take off, and I hold him tight, just like I always do. But this time his body is tense, and he doesn’t relax for the entire ride.
He takes me to my favorite restaurant on the other side of the island. It’s a little hole in the wall that only serves fish and chips. But it’s my favorite. He holds my hand as we walk to order, but when we walk to a table, he sits across from me instead of beside me.
And he’s not meeting my eyes.
“What’s wrong?” I ask outright, making him finally glance up at me. But instead of telling me what’s been up with him, all I get is a shrug.
“Just a long day,” he answers tiredly.
I nod with a frown.
He’d been helping his dad out today fishing, but it usually doesn’t beat him down like this.
“Did something happen with your dad?”
“No,” he snaps. “Fuck. Am I not allowed to have a bad day?”
My mouth drops. Noah never talks to me like that.
Before I can say anything, our food arrives, and we spend the next thirty minutes picking at it.
Neither of us says a word.
I’m at a loss for what to say, wondering what could have happened.
“I’m sorry,” he finally says, pushing his uneaten food away from him. “I shouldn’t have taken my shitty day out on you.”
“Yeah, you shouldn’t have,” I say with a frown, but I let him throw our trays away and take my hand.
“Want to walk?” he asks, and I nod, brushing a kiss across his cheek.
When I move back, his eyes are closed, and his face is pained.
I want to beg him to tell me what’s wrong, but I decide to let him tell me when he’s ready.
We walk barefoot at the water’s edge, letting the waves trickle across our feet.
I shoot him furtive stares, noting how exhausted he looks, and the dark circles under his eyes.
“Noah?” I whisper after we’ve been walking for a while and not said a word. “Are you okay?”
He startles as if he’s forgotten that I was beside him.
“Yeah, I’m good,” is all he responds.
I’m at my wits end by the time we get back to the bike and drive home.
I jump off the bike and stomp towards the door, done with his attitude.
“Sky,” he calls after me. But I ignore him and trudge inside, immediately heading to my room.
Since it’s date night for Curt and my mom, and Daisy’s working, we have the house to ourselves. Good thing too since I’m pretty sure everyone would realize that Noah and I are about to have a major lover’s quarrel. I slam my bedroom door behind me petulantly, pacing a hole in the floor. The door opens a few minutes later, signaling Noah’s followed me, but I don’t look up at him. Not until he’s standing in front of me with a large box with a very familiar apple logo on it.
“What’s that?” I growl, caught off guard by this turn of events.
“I got you a graduation present,” he says solemnly.
“I thought we said we weren’t—”
“Just open it,” he insists.
I grab the box and place it on my bed, sliding off the top cover with trembling hands.
Inside the box is a beautiful sixteen inch laptop, their top of the line one.
“Noah…what is this?” I breathe, my heart stuck in my chest at this gesture.
This computer costs money. A lot of money. Money neither of us have.
“I wanted you to have it for school. To write your stories on it…”
My thoughts turn towards my Dartmouth acceptance letter, and how this is the kind of computer for a school like that…but I push that thought away. I’ve made my decision. And there’s nothing I could ever have in life that would compare to life with Noah Fontaine
“Thank you,” I finally say in a tear clogged voice.
I know I should try and convince him to take it back, but what this gift means to me…I can’t do that.
“I love you, Noah. Forever,” I whisper to him, and he takes the computer out of my hands and sets it on the bed before pulling me into his arms.
“Forever,” he murmurs back as he holds me tightly, a shudder wracking through his body.
I don’t understand what’s going on with him, but I hold him just as fiercely, determined to give him whatever he needs to feel better.
And when we’re making love a few minutes later…I wonder why every kiss feels like goodbye.