{{ contest.story_page_sticky_bar_text }} Be the first to recommend this story.
Get Free Copy

100 free copies left

This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.

0
Free copies left
You can choose from our best books below
ImJustAPaperGirl would love your feedback! Got a few minutes to write a review?
Write a Review

Changing Distances

By ImJustAPaperGirl All Rights Reserved ©

Other / Romance

Oxygen



He hadn't been too concerned when she dropped out. It was just something she did sometimes, like the diving birds at the beach down the hill from her house. Always up in the air, flitting around him constantly - and then gone, diving into the grey white surf. Sometimes she would dive off, submerge herself away from him. So he wasn't concerned when she dropped off, which usually happened when he said something she took wrong.

Though for the life of him, he couldn't think of what he had done wrong this time.

He wasn't too concerned, just mildly surprised, when she hadn't resurfaced by the fifth day, breaking her three day record. On the eighth day, he began to become restless, shifting constantly. His skin became irritated, roughened by goosebumps and run through by shivers like aftershocks of an earthquake.

By the tenth day, he would find himself holding his thumb over her contact page in his phone. Hovering over Call, or Message.

He clicked neither.

By the fourteenth day, his stomach was a molten lead knot.

He was concerned, and would uncharacteristically do something about it.


She had three places at lunch when she wasn't with him - the corner in the lower level of the cafeteria, the library, and a spot outside with a group of mutual friends. She was in none of these places, and her spot next to him was collecting dust. His concern was inflamed. If he was caught wandering the halls, he had spare passes and an innocent smile to flash.

Walking past his first period teacher's always open door, he caught a glimpse of long willow fringe hair and a teal knitted coat. He had forgotten how close she was with her former (and his present) teacher, Ms. Calloway.

She didn't see him coming, but Ms. Calloway's greeting told her, and he watched her freeze up like a spring thawing video sped up in reverse. She was even icy to the touch, coldness seeping through her clothes and stinging his fingertips. He did not know how this would go, and his stomach twisted itself into three more knots.

But then again, they had had many quarrels ( many stirred up by her taking his words the wrong way), and he had always got her back. Sometimes she'd come right back on her own, most times in fact. He motioned for her to join him outside in the hall, but it was Ms. Calloway who left.

She shut her always-open door behind her as she left.

" Where you been?"

He tried to sound as casual as he hoped he looked with his hands jammed into his pockets. She scuffed the toe of her converse, studying the black marks they made on the dirty linoleum. Her arms were tucked close to her sides folded like wings. She only did this when she was uncomfortable or threatened - shielding her vulnerable self.

Silence was a rare sound to be coming from her, he had never liked it. When she finally spoke, he was torn between breathing out relief or to suck in more oxygen for his anxious body and collapsing lungs. This indecision made itself known by a hiccuping sound. She had simply replied "Busy."

"Busy?" - he tried not to sound rude - " Busy with what? You've been gone two weeks." Now he sounded rude, but he did not care. There was a boiling venom blazing through his body now, raging to be let out. It escaped in the words that spewed from his mouth like ash from a volcanic eruption.

They were not spears thrown to harm, but hooks meant to catch.

She cowered from his words, an injured animal not meeting his dominant gaze. He felt as though he was locked inside a soundproof room, his eyes windows as he watched himself say those things to her - powerless. And then, there was a shift in her. So minuscule it hardly showed. But her melting eyes hardened, and perhaps it was a trick of the light - but he swore he saw something in them snap.

"Leland!" her voice did not shake.

"Leland, you and I are constantly up and down. I'm always trying to be what you'll let me be, and you can never decide what that is. We're great friends one minute, and the next we're not talking. Which I will admit, is usually my fault. Leland, we tried to be something more and it didn't work. But now I am nothing to you - perhaps a toy or pet. But nothing more, though you talk me up to be more. You know that I... I -" she clenched her fist " - that I care about you, but you will never be redament towards me. I thank you for the little good you've done me, but we can't do this anymore. I need to live in stability, Leland." Her eyes implored him to understand, and respond.

Silence suffocated them. She held his gaze, and he found he could not read the expression in them - a first. His mind had gone dead. She had snapped on him before, but never so calmly. His throat had closed on him, any words he might have said were lost. Her eyes softened, then closed. When they opened once more, deep and burnt sepia, there was only pity, and then nothing.

She had always resurfaced to him, he was her oxygen, the air she flew free in. He had been a necessity for her life, her oxygen. She turned on her heel without a goodbye. His feet were cemented in place, and she was gone.

Diving deeper than he could go, never to resurface again. He shut his eyes against the image of her leaving, and wished with all of his existence, that he could rewind to the beginning.


Continue Reading Next Chapter
Chapters
1. Oxygen
Further Recommendations

PokemænStivo: I have just finished reading this novel and I love it!First, the plot was very well designed. It tells the story of a person nearly kill herself. But then someone appears in her life. Someone who was already in this situation and came out of it. Someone who could hear, understand and help the oth...

izzymerchant: This book is truly special. The plot, the characters and the way the story flows is so engrossing and magical that I found it virtually impossible to put down. The character relationships were particularly fascinating and Melenthia's character was fascinating. Cannot wait to see what happens next!

JONANNA: As an avid reader it is not often I say that about a book. The plot is what was different and the twists where unexpected. This book is defiantly a page turner and enjoyable read. I can't wait to reread this novel after a little editing to finish off the shine on this wonderful novel.

SandraHan1: This story is very descriptive, with vivid scenes from the very beginning, which made for a good scene setting. I love the symbolism in names, such as “Naysayers”, “Hadd”, etc . The story itself is revolutionary, intriguing, emotional and exciting. I was very pleased to see that there is a happy ...

SPepper: I had a hard time putting this book down even to go to sleep. The story is compelling and beautifully character driven. I hope author will make this a series.

ynez2005: I LOVE THIS BOOK SOOOOO MUCH!!!!Though you really need to make another book,more Princesses!!! Whoooo!!!Girl Power!!!Mabey it could even be Devona's BFF???That would make it even better!!!Plus can you pleeease make Akki come back,together with Thea and Authur amd the whole family is back!Other th...

263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...

Alex Rushmer: This was not what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot Malfoy was always one of the characters that I liked a lot, so I like that a lot of this happens between him and Colette. I read the first couple chapters, and I enjoyed your writing style and am excited to see where you take this story. My com...

jessica12301990: One of the best books I have read in a while. Could not put it down, loved the characters and how real they felt. Read from start to finish without putting it down. Really hope this gets published and when it does I will be first in line to pick it up.

More Recommendations

Marimar Amieva: I just can't believe the story! I absolutely loved it, all of it. The characters and their chemistry between them, and the fact that they are relatable. The story also has some sick plot twists, which I never saw coming. I loved the fact that it is an adorable love story but has its mystery touc...

Rachel Mc Donald: This was an awesome book a real page turner couldn't put it down . The characters all had a good back story . I love these kind of books and would read it if you decided to write a follow up book . Excellent work

Giuliana Cassetta: My face is full of tears, I never cried like now with a book or even a movie. I loved every single chapter. I truly don't know what to say, I'm out of words and my eyes hurt from crying. Such an bittersweet story, it's so wonderful. One of my favorites for sure. Keep it up!

Samantha Speed: There were several punctuation, grammar, and missing word problems but it did not detract from the story. This story was very well done, enjoyable, and had an interesting enough plot. It took a while to finish. This story is not complete. I love it, but I want to see another book or have more cha...

Sabrina Ettey: The story plot is great. I loved it. Just the grammar punctuation and writing style was kind of distracting. But with the smooth polishing, it may shine like a pearl. :)

ArgyrisMetaxas: Thrilling story which builds layer ontop of layer. A few mis spellings every few chapters.What I found special was that it took a modern day problem and took it to its logical conclusion and plays this realism with gritting precision. I'm always on edge ready to shout from adrenaline. This is gre...

About Us:

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered book publisher, offering an online community for talented authors and book lovers. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books you love the most based on crowd wisdom.