The View Point
“N.O,” I spelt it out, jabbing my finger into his chest.
“You always say no, why won’t you just lighten up a bit?” Daniel muttered, his hands flying up as he followed me through the isles in the convenience store.
“Because your ideas always fail miserably, and I don’t have time for that right now,” I said, throwing a tin of tuna into my basket before moving on to the pasta section.
“They don’t always fail,” Daniel said, crossing his arms over his chest and planting his feet firmly on the ground. I turned my head over my shoulder and raised an eyebrow at him.
“Okay, maybe they do, but I’ve planned this one to the dot, and I really have a good feeling about it.”
“You always say that,” I said, using his own comment against him.
“As my best friend-” Daniel started to say, but I interrupted.
“That’s not fair, you can’t play that card.”
“As my best friend,” Daniel started again, a little louder this time. “You have a duty to not let me to fail miserably alone.”
I turned to face him, tapping my one foot impatiently as I racked my brain for a response to the friend-card. Instead I gave a sigh, indicating that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to defend my case.
“Yes!” Daniel exclaimed victoriously, knowing full well I had given in. “Okay, as me saying thank you, I’ll convince Sam to come along.”
My hand stopped halfway to a jar of Nutella, a slight glitch that I tried not to make. “And it matters why?” I tried to cover it up by scratching the top of my head and flipping my long hair over my shoulder.
“Oh come on, I see the two of you whispering in the hallways and spending more than the normal amount of time together,” Daniel said, grabbing a jar of Nutella from the shelf and dropping it into my basket.
I glared at him.
“We both know you were just going to double back for it once we reach the pay point,” Daniel said, pushing me along. “And as for Sam, you clearly like him, so don’t even try to deny that.”
I didn’t say anything as Daniel pushed me through the rest of the store, as he threw the things I needed into my basket for me. We always ended up doing this. Daniel believed I took too long. I believed there might be something new to take. But, in the end, the things I took never changed spots in the shop, and I always end up taking the same things.
Along the way Daniel explained his newest plan, and nothing could describe it better than the word madness.
“Let me get this straight, you want us to hike up to View Point, dig out the sign and hang it up in my apartment?” I asked as we crossed the empty parking lot to where my car was parked in the shade. I never parked in the sun; it felt like I was suffocating from the intense heat.
“Pretty much,” Daniel said.
“You know there’s a word for that?” I asked, frantically digging around inside my handbag for my car keys.
“There is?” Daniel enquired, pointing to the back pocket of my shorts.
“Yes, illegal,” I said, trying to hide my slight blush.
“It’s only illegal if you get caught,” Daniel retorted, a grin spreading devilishly across his face.
“No, it’s still illegal, you just can’t afford to get caught.” I opened my door and slipped into the driver’s seat. Daniel followed suit and soon I shifted into reverse, easing my car out of its spot.
“So?” Daniel asked after a few minutes.
“So?” I repeated.
“Are you in?”
“Daniel,” I started, but couldn’t come up with a valid excuse. “Fine.”
“Great, tonight?” Daniel sounded like a kid on Christmas morning, and I couldn’t stop myself from smiling at his enthusiasm.
“Okay, but at the first sign of trouble I’m out,” I said, flicking on my indicator a bit before turning into Daniel’s driveway.
“I’ll pick you up at eleven,” Daniel said before getting out of the car. He clearly didn’t intend to leave any room for discussion.
The rest of the way to my apartment was a bit lonesome, but luckily it was only ten minutes. When we had started looking for apartments almost a year ago, we decided that the only condition was: we weren’t allowed to be more than fifteen minutes away from each other. A lot of our high school friends found it odd that we didn’t just get an apartment together, but we decided it would be a better idea to not. Sure, we were extremely close, but it apparently would also be the reason we would not make it an entire year living together.
I parked my car in my allocated spot, happy that I didn’t have to write another note asking our neighbour’s boyfriend to park somewhere else when he visited her. For some reason he thought it was up for grabs whenever I wasn’t there, but I had a plan brewing, I just needed the right opportunity. Let’s just say it wasn’t exactly… ethical.
Balancing my shopping bags I slipped my key into the lock and opened the front door. My roommate wasn’t home, but I actually preferred it that way. It’s not that I didn’t like Mary, but she could be pretty loud.
I quickly packed my groceries away, wrestling the freezer shut. Mary liked to bring frozen food from home, and it tended to pile up. Not that I had a problem with it, as long as I had a spot for my chicken patties, I didn’t mind.
With not much else to do, I decided a nap would be the best preparation for what could possibly be a very late night.
“Sam’s meeting us there,” Daniel said as he took off in the direction of the hill on the edge of town. It’s been known as View Point for as long as I can remember, and the name is pretty self-explanatory. Our objective was the sign that said ‘View Point,’ and digging out the sign would be no easy objective. To add to our problem, the hiking trial closes at eight, which means we’re committing both breaking and entry, theft… and probably destruction of public property.
“You didn’t need to invite him,” I muttered, pulling my legs to my chest, only to lower them again once we hit the ground road next to the hill.
Daniel snickered, “You’ve never had a boyfriend, if I can help you get together with someone you like, I’m pretty sure I can rest in peace.”
I rolled my eyes and leaned my elbow against the window, watching the land below us started to flatten out as we steadily rose up the hill. It wasn’t long before Daniel switched off the car’s lights, the moon now the only thing lighting our path.
Sam was leaning against his car, a cigarette protruding from his closed lips. The tip of the cigarette was the only colour in the dark, but Sam clearly didn’t think any of the patrol guards would see it.
“You guys are late,” Sam said as we parked next to him.
“Yeah, Lauran here decided to take a little nap,” Daniel said as we opened our doors and got out. I instantly wrapped my arms around myself, trying to hide from the biting wind.
“Sorry,” I said awkwardly, walking around the car to them.
Sam dropped his cigarette and ground it out with the tip of his boot. The amber died out, once again leaving only shades of black and grey.
“Well, it only means we don’t have time to waste,” Daniel said, rounding the car and pulling out two shovels from the boot. I watched as he handed one to Sam.
We didn’t talk as we started up the hiking trail, but Daniel didn’t have to explain anything as he pulled me between him and Sam. Fine, I though as I stepped closer to Sam, if this is what you want, I won’t fight it.
Halfway up the hill we ran into some trouble. A beam of light rounding the corner was our sign to bolt into the trees. I was following Daniel between the trees, but along the line he gave me a wink over his shoulder and disappeared, leaving me alone with Sam.
Not really having much of a choice, Sam and I continued to stick to the trees, even though the guard had long passed us.
“Why did Daniel bolt?” Sam asked out of the blue.
“Don’t know,” I lied hoping he would leave it along.
“Lauran,” he persisted.
After a deep breath I admitted the truth. “He thinks I like you.”
“That’s just like Daniel, jumping to conclusions,” Sam said, chuckling at the idea. “You’re going to have to tell him we’re not like that, you know?”
“I know, but he can be so determined once he has his mind set on something,” I smiled to myself. “I just can’t bring myself to tell him he’s wrong.”
“And you’re okay with doing that forever?” Sam asked
I didn’t answer.
“Not that I mind talking to you about these things, but don’t you think it’s about time you tell Daniel. We’ve been doing this for a few weeks and clearly he’s got the wrong idea.”
“I promise I will, but let’s not worry about that right now. I’m still waiting for this plan to blow up in our faces,” I said, causing Sam to laugh a bit too loudly.
“Ah, I see the View Point,” Sam said, pointing to a small gap between the trees. True enough, the moon illuminated the sign Daniel had his sights set on. And standing next to it was the devil himself.
“Lauran,” Sam said. I turned to face him, but a shovel flying in my direction almost caused me to stumble. I opened my mouth to ask him what his deal was, but Sam was already walking away from me.
“Tell Daniel I forgot to feed my cat,” he called over his shoulder, waving his hand above his head.
“You don’t own a cat,” I muttered, a smile twitching the sides of my lips upwards.
With high-hopes, I stepped out from between the trees and called out to Daniel. He turned to me, and with the moon large as life behind, I found myself smiling even bigger.
“Where’s Sam?” Daniel asked, his faze questioning me.
“He forgot to feed his cat,” I said, shrugging as I reached Daniel.
“But, he doesn’t own a cat,” Daniel said, clearly confused as to what was going on.
“I know,” I simply said, etching the point of the shovel into the ground next to the sign.
The view truly was astounding. Thousands of lights flickered in the night. It almost looked like someone had taken a hand full of golden fairy dust and thrown it across the land beneath us. And with not a cloud in the sky, the moon was perfectly clear.
“I don’t understand, why would he leave?” Daniel asked, placing his shovel next to mine before joining me at the tip of View Point.
“Daniel, I don’t like Sam,” I said before I could stop myself. My eyes remained on the city below, focusing on anything other than him.
“No, silly, don’t you think I would have told you if I liked him?” I asked, finally turning my head to Daniel.
He looked at me, even more confused than before. He really was cute when he had no idea what was going on.
“I do like someone else, though,” I admitted. “He’s can be pretty stupid though. He always has the weirdest ideas, and nothing can bring him down. He’s always pestering me about getting a boyfriend, but for some reason he’s never even had a girlfriend.”
“I don’t always understand him, but it makes me like him even more.”
“He’s always worrying about me, and I can always depend on him.”
Daniel’s exclamation caught me by surprise, but not nearly as much as when he spun me around and pulled me against his chest. He held me awkwardly, but lovingly, and it was so much more than I had bargained for. I didn’t waste any time looping my arms under his arms and wrapping my hands around his shoulders.
“Daniel,” I whispered into his chest, the fabric of his shirt muffling my voice slightly.
“I like you too,” Daniel said, his voice sounding strange. I quickly realised it was emotion that clouded his words, the kind I hadn’t heard before. “God, for so long,” he continued, burying his face in my hair until his lips tickled the skin on my neck.
“Looks like we’re both a bit blind,” I whispered, my hands balling into fists, clinging to the fabric of his shirt.
We pulled away after a minute or so, but Daniel slipped his hands onto my hips, keeping me close. I smiled up at him, relishing at the feeling of his closeness. Yep, much more than I had bargained for.
“We should probably start digging,” I whispered, keeping my eyes on his.
“We could, but there’s also something else we could do,” Daniel said and before I could object, Daniel stepped away from me and back to the View Point sign. “Do you remember when we came here in eight grade?” Daniel asked.
“Yeah, we almost got sent back for ‘dangerous behaviour,’” I air quoted out eight grade maths teacher.
“Well, there’s that, but we also carved our names into the sign,” Daniel said, indicating for me to join him on the other side of sign. I eyed him warily as I crossed the space between us.
It was hard to see out names carved into the metal, but once my eyes adjusted, I could clearly see it. My fingers lightly swept across, memories of the day popping up.
“I can’t believe it’s been six years,” I said, turning to look at Daniel only to find he was already looking at me.
“Feels like only yesterday,” Daniel agreed, taking my hand in his. With the other hand he reached into his pocket and pulled out his car keys. I watched in silence as he raised the keys to our names and carved something beneath it. Once he was done I leaned in closer to see.
The word ‘forever’ now stood beneath our names, and a serene feeling of being where I’m supposed to be settled over me.
Our trip down the hill was much faster than I had hoped, but by the time we reached the car I was shivering like a mad-man; even through Daniel’s jacket. With our fingers still intertwine, Daniel managed to drive me back to my apartment.
“Well, tonight didn’t exactly turn out as I had planned,” Daniel said as he walked me to my front door.
“Not exactly,” I said, leaning my head against his shoulder. It was still hard to wrap my head around what had happened, almost like a dream you just can’t seem to shake off the next morning.
“Not that I’m complaining,” Daniel added as I stepped up to the door, our bodies not touching for the first time since we left the hill.
“Goodnight, Daniel,” I said, pushing a stray lock of hair behind my ear
“Yeah, goodnight, Lauran,” Daniel answered, the words barely more than a whisper in the night air.
Slowly he turned around, not taking his eyes off me until it was absolutely necessary.
Something in my chest squeezed, an uneasy feeling that didn’t seem to want to leave. I knew how to make it go away, but I couldn’t get my feet to move.
Screw it, I thought as I stepped away from the door, practically sprinting across the space between me and Daniel. “Daniel!” I exclaimed, but he had already heard me coming.
I jumped into his arms, my hands wrapping around his neck as our lips crashed together. Sure, it wasn’t the most graceful of first kisses, but Daniel didn’t seem too bothered by it, and I really couldn’t care less.
“Took you long enough,” Daniel muttered against my lips as I pulled away. I giggled, sounding a bit like a love-struck idiot. We stood staring into each other’s eyes for a moment or two longer before I stepped away, smiling at him.
Daniel still hadn’t climbed into his car by the time I opened the front door. Once inside, I listened for the sound of his ignition, and only when I couldn’t hear his car anymore did I allow myself to sink back against the door.
“You’re back!” Mary suddenly exclaimed. I never even noticed she was in the room with me.
“Yeah, why are you still up?” I asked, trying to pull myself together.
“I wanted to see the sign…” Mary said excitedly, but her sentence dwindled off when she realised I was empty handed.
“Plans changed a bit,” I said, a slight blush started to form on my cheeks.
“Changed, huh?” Mary inquired, raising her eyebrows at me. “How exactly?”
“He feels the same way,” I muttered, averting my gaze, because I knew what was coming.
Mary jumped up from the couch, throwing her arms up in the air as if she was the referee at a football game and one of the teams just scored. This was followed by a series of obscene moves that Mary classified as dancing and finally verbalisation.
“Told you! I told you he felt the same way,” Mary singed, “I always knew, but you just didn’t believe me.”
“Okay already, calm down won’t you?’ I laughed, plopping myself down onto the couch next to her. “I’m sorry, I should have listened to you.”
“All is forgiven,” Mary said sweetly, settling down a bit. “So what now?” she asked, a question I had thought about for a long time after realising I was in love with him.
Would we still be the same around each other?
Would Daniel wake up the next day and realised it was a mistake?
Would I come to my senses?
“I don’t know,” I said, but not knowing didn’t bother me.
Well, whatever way it went, I was glad for our moment at View Point.