Chapter 1 - Friday
It was the beginning of spring, the time when there was rain often and the flowers were starting to bloom. The wind picked up my long, brown hair from my shoulders and I shivered, tucking my raincoat around my body.
“Caleb, where are we going?” I asked my best friend of twenty years, skipping over a puddle in the street.
“Just a little bit farther Erin, I promise!” Caleb laughed, showing his bright, slightly crooked, white teeth. He jogged farther ahead of me by a few steps and then jumped to the right into the trees, looking behind at me and winking before disappearing behind the greenery.
I stopped in my tracks and sighed. Caleb is always looking for adventures even in the midst of the rain. I followed him into the trees calling out for him, unsure of where he had gone. The woods off of Bay Street, the street where I grew up, was where we used to go when we were younger. The time when things were simple. A memory came to mind as I attempted to find Caleb in the mess of dirt and bushes.
“Caleb! I can’t find you. I’m getting scared!” I yelled to him while looking at the trees around me. The sky was turning black and my ten-year-old fears of the dark were taking hold of me. I felt a sudden rush of air behind me and heard myself being tackled to the ground.
“Gotcha!” Caleb whispered in my ear as we tumbled in the mud. He was the prankster, always wanting to scare me, and it usually worked.
I huffed in his face, giving him my meanest look by scrunching my face and staring into his green eyes. “That’s not fair,” I grunted.
He laughed and shook his head, “you’re cute when you’re mad!” That’s when he kissed me.
Ten years old and he had kissed me. It was the quickest peck on my lips and I still make fun of him for the “chicken kiss”, as we called it. It was innocent. It was never anything more for either of us, though our banter always came with the judgement of others, saying how we are “perfect for each other” or the question of “when will you two get married?”. The answer was always a smile or a laugh from the both of us and an explanation of “we’re just friends”.
I continued to swat at the tree limbs trying to find him. I smiled to myself and said “Caleb! I can’t find you. I’m getting scared!” I stood still in the middle of a small clearing in the woods, awaiting the inevitable. I waited a few long moments wondering if he was going to catch on to my dialogue.
“Gotcha!” Caleb yelled as he tackled me to the ground. We laughed breathlessly, his body covering mine and it was about three times the size as it was fifteen years ago. My body wasn't quite the same either, as I was a lot curvier than I had been when I was ten.
“That’s not fair,” I laughed and scrunched my face, replaying that memory in my head and letting it happen again right in front of me.
“You’re cute when you’re mad,” Caleb breathed out, just about as winded as I was. I felt his breath across my cheek and I looked into his green eyes, seeing him in the same light as I always had, but now seeing just how differently he's looking at me. “You’re cute all the time,” he breathed again in a whisper. He was searching my eyes as he leaned in closer, asking for my permission. I felt my heartbeat quicken, unsure of what was about to happen. I had been wanting to live in that memory again, but I hadn’t expected the kiss, and from the look on Caleb’s face, it wasn’t going to be a “chicken kiss”.
His lips were so close to mine I could feel their presence without them actually touching. Caleb was still breathing heavily while holding his weight, hoping to not crush me under him. He whispered something to himself under his breath and I could barely make out the words “to hell with it” before his lips were on mine.