BackWash

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The BackWash

The plane begins to empty out as we land in Boston. I sit back in my seat and wait patiently as I watch the chaos unfold. People push past each other rudely, all of them in a rush to get to their own destinations on time.

As for me, I’m no longer in any kind of rush.

There comes a time in life when you not only learn to take the fall, but you learn to stand up again. The world isn’t going to stop spinning and wait for you. Everyone’s got their own problems, so as much as you’d sometimes wish for the universe to just take a breather and stop entirely, it doesn’t. In modern society today, people only have one agenda: themselves. They’re not all going to invest time in helping you muddle on through life. It’s up to the individual to take action and create their own dream story and to be the stars of that said dream. When it comes down to it, life must go on. If it didn’t, we’d all be in an endless standstill.

It took me time to get where I am, but I’m here now, and I’m only looking forward. What lies behind me, stays behind me.

At least, that’s what I thought…

I eventually make my way to the exit of the plane where there are stairs leading off. I take my first step, but stop short when I see what’s ahead of me. I place a hand over my mouth in unbelief as my eyes glisten over with tears, “What are you doing here?” I manage to muffle out, still in shock.

“The real question is why you took so long,” he answers before getting down on one knee and holding out a familiar velvet box to me. Upon seeing me astounded, he chuckles in amusement and opens up the box, revealing a ring inside. “Would you hurry up?” He asks me jokingly when I refuse to move, frozen in place. “I’m starting to look like an idiot here,” he motions to his kneeled position at the bottom of the stairs in front of the hoards of people.

Bypassers laugh mockingly at him upon seeing him barefoot and in nothing but his wetsuit, yet still admiring him for having the courage to propose in front of all the people.

“You’re bold,” I laugh at him as I sprint down the rest of the stairs to get to him. Not only did he take an earlier flight to get to Boston before me, but even left his surfing competition to get here as soon as possible. It’s commitment, something I’ve been waiting to receive from him for years.

I glance down at him and open my mouth to say something, but he places his hand up as if to shush me. I comply for the meantime, willing to hear him out. “I always talk myself out of doing this, but it never seems to work out. This time, I went with my gut,” he gestures to his wetsuit, indicating that he’d been in a rush to get to Boston before me. “I’ve made so many mistakes and I’ve let you down so many times, but I’ve realized that although there may be plenty fish in the sea, there’s only one mermaid, and that’s you.”

I roll my eyes and smile in adoration, “Very cheesy, Chase.”

He winks up at me, “But seriously, there’s only one you. There’s only one Gabriela Hill out there and I want to be so much more to that absolute whackjob than just some faded memory of some dumbass guy that she used to know…that you used to know,” he reveals to me, earnest in what he’s saying. His words move me because I can tell just how much he means them.

The Chase I knew back in school, is finally back. He’s resurfaced from the deep blue and is now making a comeback of his own.

“Look Gabby,” he stares up at me with the very same look he had in his eyes on the night he tried to say it to me just before Matt drowned, unintentionally transporting me back in time to that moment as he keeps me in suspense for a second or two longer, “I love you, you know that.”

I merely nod, his grin widening at my unfazed reaction. I’ve always known, I just wanted more than that. I wanted him to be sure and commit first, he finally has.

He holds out the ring to me, “You’re my life, always have been, so don’t expect me to take ‘no’ for an answer.”

That forceful, counter-directional surge of whitewater that runs up the beach before turning and flowing back down the beach into the surf zone, otherwise known as the backwash, happens to be a surfer’s biggest nuisance. It’s a short-lived, deconstructive wave that ruffles across incoming waves, disrupting anyone’s surf and causing many blind-side wipeouts.

Chase, himself, has been the sole cause of many of my imminent wipeouts. It’s because he snuck up on me and caught me blindsided. He’s the backwash to my swash. He’s the broken, deconstructive wave (the backwash in itself) always pulling me back out to sea and steering me in the opposite direction of where I want to go. He may be a nuisance at times, but it’s short-lived, because in the end, I really don’t mind the backwash all that much. If anything, I’m grateful to always be guided back to the water, back to the heart of where it all began.

I take the ring from the box and place it on my finger before getting down on my haunches to softly press my lips against his, “I won’t.”

*~~**~~*

Hey guys :)

Thanks for sticking with me this far! I appreciate it so much, especially now toward the end where things might have felt rushed. I promised I would finish this story and now I’m finally doing it, so thanks for the endless patience and what not ;) You guys are all an encouragement! :D

Just an epilogue left :)

Have a fantastic weekend! :))))))

~CJ

Epilogue

Epilogue

One year later:

“Yeah, but how did it happen again?” Jacob asks, interested in the story seeing as Gabriela spared all the details. She’s not always big on talking.

“It was during my last competition. After the competition, I was supposed to leave and return back to my studies,” I explain, Stel now listening attentively too. “But during that last wave, all I could think about was her smile, and in that moment, all I wanted was to see it again.”

“That when you swam back in and ditched the wave?” Zeke questions, curious.

“Yes,” I answer in ease, a grin on my face. I don’t regret leaving the competition during the last wave, even if I was ahead, because Gabby was and still is far more important to me than surfing.

Matt died, not because of me, but because of my advice - yet still, Gabriela forgives. How can she not be the single most important person alive to me?

“I patted him on the back when he walked past,” Ty boasts proudly. “The crowds were all gasping in terror when he threw the competition, but I knew what he was doing. I just knew.” He turns to me for backup, “Remember what I said, Chase?” He repeats himself when I don’t answer, “Remember ?”

Duke scoffs at Tyler, slightly amused in the fact that Ty thinks that all of this happened because of him. Ty will take credit for anything, even when he’s not even remotely involved.

“Nope,” I lie, “don’t remember,” I tease. “It was probably insignificant.”

He ignores me and goes on to say it in any case, “I patted him on the back and I said, my famous words being, ‘go get her’.”

“You built up anticipation for that?” Jacob chuckles, unimpressed. “That’s all you said? That’s so cliche, not even original. You used a classic.”

Ty glares at Jacob, “Go away.”

“You going to make me?” Jacob challenges.

“Damn straight!” Tyler starts to approach him, Duke shoving him away from Jacob in the process.

“Shush you two, I want to hear Chase’s story,” Stels insists, the two of them quieting down as a result, but not without Tyler’s occasional grunts of disapproval.

“I was in a rush, so I threw my surfboard aside-“

Stel’s eyes widen as she interrupts this time, “You did what?”

Duke sends her a flat stare, “Babe,” he scolds, reprimanding her.

She glances back to me, blowing a strand of her hair out of her face, before apologizing, “Sorry, I just can’t believe you left your all time favorite surfboard in the sand for anyone to take, including the tide.”

I shrug, “I was desperate at the time.”

“No doubt,” Zeke laughs, “no doubt.”

“Like I was saying, I threw my board aside and it hit something. I heard the noise. Despite my rush, I felt a strong urge guiding me to stop and just look. When I lifted my board aside, I found a purple, velvet box underneath and inside was a ring. I didn’t know at the time that it was Brent’s, I thought it was just fate. Gabby only told me later on. But it’s almost as if he was there in the moment, directing me to the ring. I don’t believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. I believe he wanted me to find that ring. That’s what I believe,” I elaborate, trying to get it over with before I join Gabby in the sea. She already thinks I’m insane as is.

“How romantic,” Stels gushes whilst the others keep silent at the mention of our old friend Brent. We might have never got on, but he was there with me that day. I know he was.

“It’s official, he’s lost it,” Tyler cracks a joke in the hopes of diverting everyone’s attention off of all the people we’ve lost along the way.

“So you still studying?” Zeke chips in, changing the subject.

“No,” I shake my head in answer, “Gabriela was right. It wasn’t what I wanted out of life.”

I’m making a career out of surfing and Gabby understands that. Us being apart, her in Boston and me here, doesn’t change anything between us. We still make time for each other, because to me, she comes first, and vice verse.

“Let’s get going,” Duke takes charge and ushers all of us into the water. He spins around to face me, “Wouldn’t want you to be late to your own wedding,” he grins jokingly.

“Gabby wouldn’t care either way. She’d just surf out there,” I reply as we all head in, Gabby doing exactly that as she waits for us. Unfortunately for her, the ocean is flat and void of any waves or swells. It’s a perfect day.

I quickly stroke through the water to meet her halfway, “Hey you,” she smiles up at me, “took your sweet time,” she jokes and sits back, leaning her weight on her surfboard.

“Gotta keep you on your toes,” I wink down at her teasingly as I purposely bump her board with the nose of my own. “I like being unpredictable, it means you’ll never get bored of me and throw me out.”

“I wouldn’t dare,” she laughs softly and then turns to greet the others as they form a circle around us and make us the center, each of them floating across from us on their own boards as the private ceremony commences.

I tap on the side of my board with my fingers, impatient. I gotta time it right. I tear my eyes off of the horizon, the sun slowly setting behind a cloud, and swallow nervously as my gaze finds Gabriela. She locks me in place with just a simple, faint smile, her own gaze fixated on me. My pulse automatically quickens, my mouth going dry at the sight of her.

After the ‘I do’s’, I waste no time in leaning forward with the intention to kiss my wife and marry her right in the middle of the ocean like we once said we’d do when kids. As I do, a swell I’d seen coming quickly approaches us. I take the gap and kiss her as soon as we’re both raised to the full height of the swell, both of us reaching its peak before we go over it together. It lasts a second, but judging by her smile, it’s definitely worth it.

We pull away as soon as the swell rolls on forward. Ty’s the first to break into cheers before Stels and the others throw the rose petals into the water around us.

“Impeccable timing,” Gabby laughs lightly, sensing what I did there.

“You know it,” I smirk, satisfied that I timed it perfectly, my heart still soaring through my chest.

She grins and splashes some water my way, a smile tugging on the corner of her lips.

I laugh before reaching to her and flipping her board right over. I hear the splash and grin in amusement when she resurfaces with a glower on her face.

“Love you,” I quickly utter, hoping she’d take the bait and forgive me.

She doesn’t.

Instead, she yanks on my leg and ends up dragging me into the cool water too.

“Why?” I complain as I break surface and interlock her fingers with mine, carefully tugging her toward me.

She places a hand agasint the side of my face, “Because I love you,” she glances up at me in innocence, using my own words against me.

Unable to beat that, I happily accept defeat with an appreciative smile, all previous comments I’d been about to say dying at the back of my throat upon hearing her words. It’s enough for me.

Well played, Gabriela Fuller, well played.

It’s not a second later when a sudden wave takes us both under and I’m left remembering Caleb’s final words to me - ‘someday you’re gonna marry that girl…’

*~**~*

Hey again :)

Thanks so much for everything! You’re all the best! :D This is the end. No sequel, no spin-off, nothing.

Thanks so much again, I’m so grateful if you’ve made it this far :P

I have more works in the making, so be on the lookout ;)

Have I said thank you, ’cause thank you ;) :)) :D

~ CJ signing out of this story forever, catch me in another story…

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