Title: If They Only Knew
Feedback: Please, Ry_Rain@hotmail.com
No Warnings as of now
All characters belong to me
A/N: This is an original story that I started a while back and finally got more work done on it and posted. Enjoy!
Tahna watched from her back porch as her neighbor jumped into the pool the two households shared. Ever since her accident, she hadn’t been swimming. For one thing, she was embarrassed by the scars on her legs than of course, she couldn’t really move her legs.
She brushed her long red bangs out of her strangely blue eyes and watched as Jennifer swam laps in the pool. Tahna prayed that Jennifer didn’t know about her crush, especially now that they were friends. “Tahna, come in with me. You can sit on the steps and we’ll throw a ball or something.”
Tahna laughed as she rolled down the ramp to get near the pool’s edge. “How are you?” Jennifer swam in front of her, her dark brown hair plastered to her shoulder and neck. “How’s summer school going for you?”
“Don’t make fun of me and get your butt in here. Come on, you can keep your Capri pants on if you’re worried about your legs.” Tahna chuckled and smiled. “What?”
“You always know what I’m thinking. I don’t think it would be a good idea though. It would just depress me.”
Jennifer jumped out of the pool and knelt in front of Tahna. “Why would it depress you? Swimming is always fun.”
“When you can swim.” Jennifer cursed under her breath. “Don’t worry about it. My own parents forget sometimes.”
“You can still swim.” Tahna quirked an eyebrow and looked at Jennifer, seeing a kind of twinkle in her chocolate brown eyes. “You can wrap your arms around my neck and I’ll pull you around.”
Tahna looked down at her lap as she felt herself blushing. “Thanks but no thanks Jen. I just don’t feel like swimming.” Jennifer nodded and turned around then sat down and put her feet in the water. “So, you didn’t answer my question. How’s summer school?”
“Its alright I guess. Its summer school.”
“Why are you in summer school. You had better grades than I did.” Jennifer shrugged and slipped into the pool, starting her laps again. Tahna sighed as she realized she had struck a nerve. She had forgotten it was Jennifer’s ex-boyfriend that had hit her.
***** FOUR MONTHS EARLIER *****
Tahna sat at a picnic table at the park down the hill from her school. She was waiting for her friends to get there. They were supposed to have a role-playing meeting. It was four o’clock and they were supposed to have met at three thirty. Tahna turned on her cell phone and checked her messages. There weren’t any. She shook her head and jumped off the table then her phone rang.
<Hey Tahna. I just realized what time it was and that I had forgotten to call you. I got detention at lunch today. Stupid student ID broke on my way to the cafeteria.>
“Aw man that sucks Sami. I take it that everyone else already knows?”
<Yeah, I’m really sorry Tahn. You’re not still waiting at the park are you?>
Tahna looked around the empty park. “No, of course not. I’m on my way home already.”
<Why don’t you meet me back at the front of the school and I’ll give you a ride okay?>
Tahna chuckled. “You know me too well. I’ll be there in a couple minutes. See ya.” Tahna hung up the phone and walked towards the street. She pushed the call button and waited for the light to turn red. As she started crossing the st! reet she heard Sami screaming her name from the top of the steps in front of her school. She looked up and everyone turned black. The last thing she saw was a black Ford pickup speeding straight towards her. She would recognize that truck anywhere, it was Jennifer’s boyfriend’s truck.
***** PRESENT TIME *****
Tahna looked up when she noticed Jennifer was standing in front of her, water dripping from her long brown hair onto Tahna’s legs. Tahna watched as the drops fell, without her even feeling them. “Tahna, are you alright?”
“Yeah, I was just remembering something.” Jennifer nodded and walked over to the gazebo. “Have a lot of homework tonight?” Jennifer groaned and pointed to the large pile of books. Tahna laughed and moved right in front of the arch. “I’ll take that as a yes. What subjects?”
“Thank god its Friday, cause I have homework in all of them. English, History, Math, French, Science, and Art, although Art shouldn’t be that bad. I just have to sketch a portrait of someone.”
Tahna nodded. “Well, I can help you with every subject but Art if you wanna come over.”
“You don’t want to just stay out here?” Tahna looked down at the stairs leading into the gazebo and Jennifer followed her gaze. “Oh. Well, I can take care of that.” Jennifer walked down and quickly lifted Tahna up, not giving her any time to protest, then carried her up the stairs and set her on a bench. “There ya go.”
Tahna blushed and looked at the worksheet Jennifer had already been working on. “Wow, this is some advance stuff. I don’t even know if I can help you with this.”
“Advanced Trig. I’m taking physics next year.” Jennifer sat down next to Tahna and looked at the worksheet. “It didn’t seem this hard during the school year.” Tahna chuckled and ripped a piece of paper out of one of Jennifer’s binders then started helping her work out the first problem.
It was late Saturday afternoon. Tahna had helped Jennifer finish all her homework except for Art, just like she said she would. Now Jennifer needed someone to help her with that. She needed someone to pose for the sketch. She was sitting by the pool with her sketchbook in hand, just sketching the scenery. She looked at her watch and saw it was three o’clock. Tahna should be back from her physical therapy by now.
Jennifer stood up and walked around to the front. She watched as Tahna’s mom’s car pulled into the driveway. Ms. Austin got out and waved to her. Jennifer waved back as she walked over. She helped Ms. Austin get Tahna’s wheelchair out of the back then watched as she carefully picked Tahna up out of the front seat and set her in the chair. Tahna turned around and smiled at me. “What’s up Jennifer?”
“Nothing much. PT go good?” Tahna rolled her eyes and shrugged. “You really hate going to PT don’t you?” Tahna grunted and wheeled towards the house. Jennifer followed, her long strides soon putting her right next to Tahna. “Actually I was wondering if you would help me with something.”
Tahna stopped. “And what would that be?” Jennifer held up her sketchbook. “Oh no. I’m sorry, you know I don’t mind helping you with all your other homework but I won’t help with that. Nah uh. Sorry. No can do.” Jennifer laughed at Tahna’s babbling and sat down on the steps to her house. “What are you laughing at?”
Jennifer looked up and smiled. “You. You’re babbling.” Tahna blushed. Jennifer stood up and moved in front of her. She knelt back down and looked up at Tahna, brushing a stray piece of hair behind her ear. She smiled. “You’re cute when you blush. Come on, please?” Tahna shook her head.
The phone rang and her mother came out. “Tahna, its Sami.” Tahna groaned. “Are you busy?” Tahna looked at Jennifer and shook her head. She took the phone.
“Sorry Jen. I just haven’t talk to Sami in a long time.”
“Don’t worry about it but just to let you know, I haven’t given up yet.” Tahna nodded and chuckled. “Later Tahn.”
“Later.” Tahna watched Jennifer leave then brought the phone to her ear. “Hey.”
<Hey, was that who I think it was? Are you actually talking to Jennifer Williams?>
“Sami, she’s my next door neighbor.”
<So? She’s also the girlfriend of the guy who almost killed you.>
“Ex-girlfriend Sami and what does that matter? She’s really nice.”
<You’re biased Tahna. You do have a crush on her.> Tahna rolled her eyes and leaned her head back. <That’s gotta be uncomfortable.> Tahna’s head whipped up. <Whiplash,> Sami said with a giggle.
“Where are you Samantha?” Sami walked in front of Tahna. “Have you been behind the house the entire time?” Sami nodded and sat down, just where Jennifer had been sitting minutes ago. “So, you knew it was Jennifer the entire time?”
“Yep. Now whats this about posing?”
“Its her stupid Art homework. She has to sketch someone.”
“Hey, I’m in her Art class.”
“Why are you in summer school?”
“Well, we were all worried about you, me the most, and you know how low my grades already were. I couldn’t concentrate in class and so I just started failing everything. My teachers didn’t think anything about it since I had never done that good in class in the first place.” Tahna nodded and placed her head on her hand looking down at her elbow on her knee. “Did she tell you the entire assignment?”
“What do you mean the entire assignment?”
“Nevermind. Hey, I’ve got to get going. I think you posing would be a great idea. You should really think about it.” Tahna nodded as Sami stood up. “See ya later Tahn.”
“Bye Sami.” Tahna sat in front of her house for a while, just thinking about Jennifer’s assignment. She was completely lost in thought until she noticed a shadow over her. She looked up and there he was.
Tahna just sat there, silently gaping up at Chris Johnson, Jennifer’s ex-boyfriend, the man who almost killed her that fateful afternoon. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“Look, I just came by to apologize.”
“Apologize?! You fucking ruined my life Chris! And all you can do is apologize? You think that’ll turn back time and erase what you did to me?!” Chris took at step back at the barrage.
“I know it doesn’t change anything but I felt like I had to say it anyway. They gave me community service.” Tahna nodded, still glaring at him. “I’m sorry to have bothered you. I should get going.”
“Chris?” Tahna looked behind her and saw Jennifer standing right behind her, her hands clutching the bars of Tahna’s wheelchair. Chris looked at Jennifer. “What are you doing here?”
“Making a mistake. Tahna, I’m not taking back what I said. I really meant it. Again, I’m sorry I bothered you.” Chris turned around and headed towards his truck.
“Chris wait,” Tahna said, moving forward, forgetting that Jennifer was holding on tight. “I accept.” Chris let a slight smile show for a few seconds then nodded and climbed in his truck.
“What was that about?” Tahna turned around and looked at Jennifer. “Well?”
“He came to apologize.” Tahna headed towards the ramp leading into lawn. Jennifer followed her to the back of the house.
“And you accepted?” Tahna nodded as she moved herself into one of the lounge chairs by the pool. “Why?”
“Because that’s why he came. He wasn’t looking for forgiveness, cause he knew I would never give him that, he was just looking for a sense of closure and I needed that too.”
“Closure?” Tahna nodded. “Okay, whatever you say.” Jennifer pulled another chair up and set it next to Tahna so she was facing her when she laid down on it. “Please?”
Tahna rolled her eyes. “No. Maybe if you told me the whole assignment I would be more likely to participate cause then I might know why you want me to pose.”
Jennifer’s eyes widened but she tried to hide it by pulling a magazine out from under her chair. “What do you mean the whole assignment?”
“Sami’s in you Art Jen.” Jennifer nodded. “Why she wouldn’t tell me is beyond me considering she hates you, although, she did try to talk me into posing.”
“She did?” Jennifer asked, looking up from the magazine.
“Well, yeah. She knows what the assignment it.” Jennifer nodded and stood up. “Where you going?”
Jennifer pulled her shirt over her head to reveal her bathing suit. “Its hot out here. Just taking some layers off.” She then took her jeans off and got back on the chair. “You must be burning up in those pants.” Tahna shrugged and leaned forward, unzipping a part of her pants to make them into capris. Then she pulled off her shirt to reveal a tank top. “Well, that has to be a little bit better.”
Tahna chuckled. “Yeah I guess it is.” She laid back again and stared up at the sky. “You know the saying you take things for granted until you lose them?” Jennifer nodded, bringing her knees up to her chest and resting her head on them. “Well, I never realized I took the sky for granted until I spent three months looking at nothing but a speckled ceiling. No matter what room I was in it, the ceiling was always the same.”
Jennifer smiled. “I take it you’re glad to be home?” Tahna nodded. “And that the ceiling at PT is speckled?” Tahna chuckled and looked at Jennifer. Jennifer smiled back and the two of them sat like that until Mrs. Austin called Tahna in for dinner.
THE NEXT DAY (Sunday Morning)
Jennifer watched as Sami’s car drove out of the driveway with Tahna in it. She grabbed a couple cans of paint and put them in a box. Then she put a bunch of rollers and paintbrushes into the same box. She picked the box up and walked over to Tahna’s house then rang the doorbell. Mrs. Austin answered the door. “Hello Jennifer. You just missed Tahna.”
“I know. I actually wanted to ask you something.” Mrs. Austin nodded and moved so Jennifer could walk in. “You have a lovely house Mrs. Austin.”
“Thank you Jennifer. Now, what did you want to ask me?”
“Well, Tahna and I were talking yesterday and she mentioned something about when she was in the hospital. She said the thing she missed the most was seeing the sky.”
Mrs. Austin smiled and nodded. “Yep, it’s the only thing she doesn’t admit to taking for granted before the accident and she didn’t. Tahna loved the sky. There was always something about it that … awed her I guess.” Jennifer smiled. “Well, what’s in the box and what’s the question? You’ve yet to ask me a question.”
“Well, to answer your first question, there are painting supplies in the box, tarps, paint, brushes, rollers, etc. Now, for my question, I wanted to do something for her and I thought I would paint her ceiling to make it look somewhat like the sky. That is if it was alright with you.”
“That’s a great idea Jennifer and its fine with me. I’ll help you if you need it. How are you going to do it?”
“Well, I figured I’d paint a base coat of blue and then blend in some different shades of blue and of course white to make clouds.” Mrs. Austin nodded. “Do you know when she’s supposed to come back?”
“One, which means we have three hours. Want me to help with the base coat?”
Jennifer nodded. “That would be great.”
“Okay, lets get started then.” Jennifer grabbed the box and followed Mrs. Austin into Tahna’s room. The two of them immediately started.
TWO AND A HALF HOURS LATER
Jennifer laid on her back on the floor, staring up at the ceiling. She hoped Tahna would like it. Mrs. Austin walked by the door and saw her. “You finished?”
Jennifer sat up. “Yes ma’am.”
“Well, let me see.” Mrs. Austin sat next to Jennifer and laid back. “Wow, you did a great job. Tahna was telling me you’re in an Art class?” Jennifer nodded and Mrs. Austin sat up. “Well, I’m sure you’re teacher is very proud of you.” Jennifer shrugged then stood up and started gathering her supplies. Mrs. Austin stood up and helped her. “Do you want to clean these ! out now?” she asked, holding up a bunch of paintbrushes and rollers.
“Nah, I’ll do it when I get home. I’m going to leave the tarp just in case some of it is still wet, the paint got kind of thick in some spots.” Mrs. Austin nodded. “I’ll come get it later.”
“Okay Jen.” Jennifer smiled and nodded then headed out the door. When she made it into her yard she heard a car pulled up and Mrs. Austin say, “Why you’re home early. Is everything alright?” There was a few minutes of silence then she heard Mrs. Austin gasp and say, “Oh my god!” Jennifer dropped her stuff and ran back to Tahna’s front yard.
Jennifer peered through the bushes separating her and Tahna’s yard. She could see Mrs. Austin bending down but she could also see that Tahna’s was in her wheelchair completely awake and aware. Nothing appeared to be wrong. Sami was actually silently giggling at whatever was happening. When Mrs. Austin stood up Jennifer could see that she was kind of smiling. “You’re father is going to kill you,” she said. Tahna rolled her eyes and laughed. “I still can’t believe you actually got a tattoo and I’ve seen it.”
“Mom, its not that bad. I didn’t even feel it.” Mrs. Austin nodded. “Besides I only got it because it would cover up that one nasty scar that bothers me the most. Maybe now I’ll feel comfortable wearing shorts or shorter capris.”
Sami nodded. “I know this isn’t really any of my business, but she is eighteen Mrs. Austin.”
“I know that Sami. Trust me it’s a day I will never forget.” Jennifer laughed and walked back to her house, picking up her box of painting stuff on the way, if she had stayed just a few minutes longer she would have heard Mrs. Austin say, “Why did you get a rainbow cross is my only question?”
TEN MINUTES LATER
Sami was pacing in the kitchen while Tahna drummed her fingers on the table. “Mom, why can’t I go in my own room?”
Mrs. Austin came out. “Because I was using it to work on a present for you. You’ll get it later tonight though. You may go in your room now by the way.”
“Thank you.” Sami got behind Tahna and was about to start pushing her. “What do you think you are doing?”
“Oh right sorry. I haven’t seen you since you’ve been able to move yourself around.” Tahna nodded and the two of them headed towards her room. Tahna was looking at the floor when she opened her door, trying to see any sign of what her present was but she couldn’t see anything. Sami could have cared less what her present was and was looking around. “I love what you’ve done with your room.”
“What are you talking Sami? I haven’t changed a thing since the last time you were in here.”
“You mean you didn’t have someone paint your ceiling?” Tahna looked up at Sami, an eyebrow quirked, ready to say something smart, but her eyes went wide as she realized what the ceiling looked like. “Well, that answers my question. You think this is part of your present?”
“No, my mother would never think to do this for my birthday but I know who would.”
Sami looked at Tahna when she didn’t continue. “Well, who?” Tahna shook her head and transferred herself to her bed. “Tahna, come on.”
“Who do you think Sami?”
“Jennifer? No way. Why would she paint your ceiling to look like the sky? Not only that, does she even know that today is your birthday?” Tahna shook her head, never taking her eyes off the ceiling. “You’d think you’d be tired of staring at the ceiling.”
“That’s why she did it.”
“Don’t worry about it Sami. I’ll explain later.” Tahna faked a yawn. “I’m sorry Sami. I’m just really tired. Do you mind if I just call you later and explain?”
“Nah. You get some sleep. We don’t want something bad happening to you on your birthday or well any day for that matter.”
“Thanks Sami. See you later?”
“TTFN.” Tahna waited till she heard Sami say goodbye to her mother then quickly moved back into her chair and moved over to the window. She watched Sami’s SUV pull out of the driveway and into the street. She waited until she couldn’t see Sami’s car at all then headed outside.
Jennifer sat by the pool reading, nervous as to what Tahna’s reaction would be and when she would actually see it. She couldn’t keep thinking that Tahna was going to hate it and would then hate her for it.
Tahna saw Jennifer lounging by the pool. She could even tell what she was reading, Jane Eyre. She never thought Jennifer to be a classics kind of gal. Also, Jane Eyre was Tahna’s favorite book. She actually enjoyed it when she had to read it for summer reading the summer before. She quietly moved in front of Jennifer. “Thank you.”
Jennifer jumped, throwing the book in the pool. “Shit. That was my favorite book and I was at the best part.” Tahna laughed, knowing it would take a couple more seconds for Jennifer to calm down enough to realize what she had said. “Oh, and you’re welcome. I found some extra paint in the garage when I was cleaning it out this morning.”
“Why were you cleaning it out?”
“Punishment. Its one of the many things I have to do this summer since I failed the eleventh grade.” Tahna nodded. “So, you like it?”
“Very much.” Jennifer nodded and looked at Tahna. “I know its already ruined but shouldn’t you get your book out of the pool?”
“Shit!” Jennifer jumped up and dived into the pool, picked the book up off the bottom then swam up and to the edge. She threw the book over by her chair. “Thank you for reminding me.”
“No probs and I’ll buy you another copy if you want.”
“I know you will.” Jennifer pulled herself out. “You also know that I am just kidding. I can buy myself another copy. You don’t know how many copies I’ve had to buy of that thing. Last summer I bought four.”
“Oh, because its been my favorite book for years and I didn’t like having to tear it apart for the assignment they gave us with it. I would get so frustrated, I actually threw one copy through my bedroom wall. My parents weren’t very happy with that. I’ve actually thrown a copy in the pool before but that time it was on purpose. One copy I ripped to shreds and the last copy, well, that was the copy I just threw in the pool.” Tahna laughed as Jennifer grabbed the towel she had been laying on and sta! rted drying herself off. “I really should have used the net to get that.”
Jennifer chuckled. “Cause I’m not wearing a bathing suit underneath this white shirt and these white capris.” Tahna blushed as she realized that there was no way she could have thought Jennifer was wearing a bathing suit because she didn’t even have a bra on. “What?” Jennifer asked as she noticed Tahna staring at her and blushing. She looked down then covered herself up. “Oops. Its kind of laundry day and I didn’t have one clean. Umm, let me go change. I should only be a minute.”
Tahna nodded. “Okay, you should grab your pencils too.”
“Stop copying me, and because posing for your art homework is the least that I can do. You did a great job on my ceiling.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes, now go before I change my mind.” Jennifer nodded and ran into the house. “Maybe I should have told her to just walk quickly,” Tahna said to herself and chuckled. She knew she was bright red now.
About twenty minutes later Jennifer came out in yet another white shirt and pair of white capris. “Sorry it took so long, my little sister took my drawing pencils.” When she came around in front of Tahna, she saw her fast asleep on one of the lounge chairs. She pulled a lawn chair up, opened her sketchbook, grabbed a pencil, and started drawing. She’s beautiful, she thought to herself, as she drew every single detail. She got every line and curve, right down to the new tattoo that was showing becau! se Tahna’s capris had rode a little. She couldn’t believe it was a rainbow cross, but she didn’t want to get her hopes up.
As Jennifer was about to put the finishing touches to her sketch, Tahna woke up. “Hey,” she said around a yawn.
“Hey, I’m all done.”
Tahna’s eyes crinkled and her eyebrows scrunched together. She sat up and stretched her arms. “All done with what?”
Jennifer chuckled. “With my sketch, what else?” Tahna nodded and laid back down. “Wanna see it?”
“No, not really, but you’re probably going to show me anyway, am I right?” Jennifer nodded as she turned the sketchbook around. Tahna’s eyes went wide as she looked at it. “Wow Jen. I didn’t know you were such a good artist. I mean, I saw my ceiling but this is amazing.”
“You can have it after I show it to my teacher to get the credit. I’ll sign it and I have a bunch of extra frames laying around the house that I can put it in for you. It should fit in one of them.” Tahna nodded as Jennifer handed her the sketchbook. “You really like it?”
“Yes, I really do Jen. Its … wow.” Jennifer chuckled, but was bright red from the compliments. “What time is it?”
“Um,” Jennifer looked at her watch. “Its about two.”
“I can’t believe I actually fell asleep.” Jennifer smirked and moved so her feet were by Tahna’s. “I couldn’t sleep last night. Stupid old ceiling.” Jennifer laughed. “I know, I’m very strange.”
“I didn’t say that.”
“No, but you were going to.” Jennifer shook her head, her hair flying all around her shoulders. Tahna laughed as it all landed in front of her face and Jennifer just whipped her head back, sending it all over her head. “Then what were you going to say, huh?”
“Well, I was going to ask where, when, and why you got the tat?” Tahna quirked an eyebrow. “Your tattoo?”
“Oh.” Tahna chuckled. “I got it this morning before I went to the movie with Sami. Today was my eighteenth birthday, which is why.”
“Well, that explains why you got A tattoo, but not why you got that particular one.” Tahna shrugged and looked away. “Okay, well, you want to go swimming? My offer from Friday is still up.” Tahna just laughed and shook her head. “Oh, come on. I’m actually wearing a swimsuit under these white clothes. Please? I hate swimming by myself.”
“Well, I sit on the stairs. How ‘bout that?” Jennifer shook her head. “Oh come on Jen.”
“Oh come on Tahn,” Jennifer mocked. “You know I won’t let anything happen to you. You’ll be fine.”
“Can I ask you a question first?”
“Were the rumors true?” Jennifer sighed and moved back to her original position. “You don’t have to answer.”
“No, I’m going to answer. Yeah, the rumors were true, that is if we’re talking about the same rumors.”
“You and Chris?”
“Yeah, they were true.”
“So, you do have a daughter.”
“WHAT THE-?! A daughter? No!” Jennifer jumped up and started pacing. “Chris and I never even … why did people think I had a daughter?” Tahna shrugged as she watched Jennifer. “I can’t believe this.”
“Jen, what rumors did you think I was talking about?”
“Huh?” Jennifer stopped and looked at Tahna.
“What rumors did you think I was talking about? You said rumors were true, which rumors were those?”
“I thought you meant the rumors that me and Chris had broken up before you’re accident and that that was why he did it. I mean, I don’t know if he was just mad about me dumping him but I had just broken up with him that day, well, actually that was the second time I dumped him, just the first time I gave him the truth as to why.” Tahna nodded. “You want to go swimming or what?”
Tahna pulled her shirt off. “I want to go swimming.”
“You came prepared.”
“Well, I was kind of hoping your offer from Friday would still be on the table.” Jennifer nodded. “If you could help me get on the stairs and then I can use the ledge to help me get around some.”
“Alrighty then.” Jennifer picked Tahna up and walked her up to the stairs. She carefully set her down then pulled off her own shirt. She ran to the other end of the pool and jumped off the diving board. She swam underwater until she was right in front of Tahna then surfaced. “Ready?” Tahna nodded. “Okay, just grab onto my shoulders,” Jennifer explained as she turned around. ! ; She grabbed Tahna’s hands and wrapped them around her neck, then pushed off from the steps. “I won’t go any further than where I can touch without my head being under.”
“Good, was actually gonna ask you to do just that.” Jennifer chuckled but shivered as she felt Tahna’s hot breath on her shoulder. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah, just got a chill all of a sudden.” Jennifer swam a couple laps around the pool.
“Jen, you want to take a break for a min?”
“Sure.” Jennifer stopped at a point where she was touching the floor and the water didn’t even come up to her neck. Tahna was somehow able to move herself around so she was facing Jennifer, her hands clasped behind Jennifer’s neck. The both of them breathing heavily now.
Jennifer and Tahna stayed like that for what seemed to be an extremely long time, just staring into each other's eyes. Tahna finally grew brave and closed the miniscule distance between their lips. The two girls gasped into the kiss, neither of them had felt anything like this before.
Jennifer slid her tongue along Tahna's bottom lip, asking for entrance, Tahna willingly obliged. She moaned as Jennifer licked the roof of her mouth then massaged her tongue with her's. Tahna pulled back a little, resting her forehead on Jennifer. "Is something wrong?" Jennifer asked, her eyes full of fear and concern.
"No," Tahna said, placing a soft kiss on Jennifer's nose. "That was just, intense." Jennifer nodded and chuckled. "What's so funny?"
"You." Tahna made a face causing Jennifer to laugh even more. "You're adorable you know that?" Tahna blushed and looked away. "Come on, let's get out of here before we turn into raisins." Tahna showed Jennifer her hands, which were already wrinkled. "Okay, well, before you turn more into a raisin."
Jennifer carefully made her way back to the stairs, not allowing Tahna to move back behind her. Jennifer got out and carefully carried Tahna to a lawn chair. Jennifer then sat behind her, Tahna between her legs and the towel wrapped around the both of them. "Comfortable?"
Tahna nodded and pushed herself closer to Jennifer. "Very." Jennifer rested her head on the back of the chair and Tahna rested her head on Jennifer's shoulder. Slowly, they fell asleep, just like that.
ONE HOUR LATER
Tahna woke up to someone touching her arm. She looked up and saw her mother. "Mom?" Mrs. Austin nodded and Tahna froze as she realized she was still leaning against Jennifer, who was still fast asleep.
"Don't worry sweetie. Let's get you home." Tahna nodded and let her mother put her in the wheelchair and push her home.
Just as Tahna and her mother went out of eyesight, Jennifer opened her eyes and sat up, crossing her legs. She smiled as she remembered what had happened. Today was a day she would never forget.
10 O'CLOCK THAT NIGHT
Tahna sat in her bed, staring at her ceiling. It was beautiful. There was glitter in the paint, making the ceiling look like it was covered in stars. The lighting made it look like the sky was dark. Tahna couldn't sleep. All she could think about was Jennifer and that kiss they shared in the pool.
Luckily, Tahna's mother was completely all right with how she found her and Jennifer. Tahna turned around and stared out the window. The sky looked just like her ceiling. She sighed and sat up. She looked at the phone book, the phone on top of it.
Jennifer sighed as she paced the length of her room, back and forth, leaving tracks in her carpet. "This is crazy," she muttered to herself. She plopped down in her black planet chair and leaned her head back, bringing her knees to her chest. Suddenly her private line rang. She sprang up and grabbed the phone. "Hello?"
Jennifer smiled and sat back in her chair. "Hey. Can't sleep?"
Tahna softly grunted. >Nope. Have been trying for a couple hours now.< Jennifer chuckled. >We shouldn't have taken that nap by the pool.<
Jennifer groaned. "For more than one reason. My face is going to be peeling in the morning and my back, you can see the slats of the chair." Tahna laughed. "You laugh at my pain?"
Jennifer scoffed. "Well I feel loved." Tahna's laughing stopped. "Shit," Jennifer said under her breath. "I didn't mean it that way."
Tahna sat on her bed, completely still. She knew Jennifer had been joking but still. When she said that, all Tahna could think was, 'but I do love you and have for a long time.' >Tahna?<
"Sorry, just zoned out there. What were you saying?"
>I said I was sorry. I didn't mean it the way I said it.<
Tahna sighed. "Don't worry about it. I knew you were joking. I just ... wasn't expecting it."
>Are you sure?<
"I'm positive." Tahna heard Jennifer sigh a breath of relief. "So, what are you up to tomorrow?"
>School, but after that I don't have any plans. You?<
"Well, I was hoping to spend some time with you. I want to see that movie, White Noise but I can't find anyone willing to go with me." Tahna was met with silence. "Jen?"
>I'm still here but I don't know about that movie. I'm very good with that kind of movies. I'm a little squimish.<
Tahna chuckled and laid down. "Please? I'll protect you from the mean ol' boogie man." Jennifer chuckled and sighed. "Should I take that as a 'yes'?"
Tahna heard Jennifer groan. >Yes,< she said, begrudgely.
>Yeah, yeah, yeah.< Jennifer groaned again. >I'm gonna call it a night before you talk me into something else.<
Tahna chucked. "Okay. Good night and sweet dreams."
Jennifer groaned as they walked to the pool. "That movie sucked! Who picked it?" Tahna hit her in the shoulder as she moved onto one of the lounge chair. "Oww. Geesh, I was just kidding." Jennifer sat behind Tahna and wrapped her hands around her waist.
"You better be." Jennifer kissed her on the forehead and leaned back, pulling Tahna with her. "Tonight was fun though."
"Yeah it was, even if the movie sucked." Tahna turned around and glared at Jennifer who just chuckled and shut her up before she could say anything by quickly kissing her. Tahna made a face when they pulled apart but then just snuggled into Jennifer's warm body. "So, what you wanna do tomorrow?"
"I have plans with Sami already but we can do something tomorrow night?" Jennifer shook her head. "And why not?"
"Mandatory family dinner. Tomorrow is Tuesday, we always have family dinner on Tuesday nights." Tahna nodded and frowned. "When are your plans with Sami?"
"After summer school. She is in your art class Jen." Jennifer nodded and also frowned. "This sucks. Summer is supposed to be fun." Jennifer didn't respond. She just sat in complete silence. "Jennifer?"
"Are you alright?" Tahna looked at Jennifer with deep concern evident in her eyes. Jennifer nodded and looked up at the stars. "You not telling me something."
Jennifer looked at her and nodded. "You know that drawing assignment you posed for?" Tahna nodded, knowing where this was going already. "Well, there was more to it than I told you."
"I know." Jennifer looked up and scrunched her eyebrows. "Sami is in your art class, which is the second time I've said that in the past ten minutes, probably less actually." Jennifer blushed. "But that's not what you're keeping from me." Jennifer carefully slid herself out from behind Tahna and started pacing next to the lounge chair. Tahna looked up at her girlfriend ... girlfriend, that sounds nice. "Jennifer, what is it?"
"I know why Chris hit you." Tahna gaped at Jennifer. "He was mad at me and he took it out on you because-"
"Jennifer!" Jennifer turned around as her mom hollered from the house. "Time for you to come in. Jennifer looked at Tahna, a shocked look on her face.
"I have to go."
"I'm sorry Tahna, I'll talk to you tomorrow." Jennifer ran to her house, leaving Tahna all alone next to the pool.
Tahna sighed. She had wanted to show Jennifer something tonight. Her parents already knew. Tahna slowly stood up and walked over to where her wheelchair was and then sat down in it and rolled home.
Jennifer gaped as she watched from her window. She knew Tahna had wanted to show her something but she didn't realize that it was that big of a deal. "She can walk again." Jennifer slumped onto her bed and fell into a fitful sleep, tossing and turning, almost falling off as she dreamt.
Jennifer blinked as sunlight suddenly assaulted her eyes. She looked down at her watch and noticed it was blurry, which didn't make any sense at all, it was practically a brand new watch. Chris had given it to her for her birthday. It was a pretty expensive watch. She shook her head and started walking down a sidewalk. She had no idea where she was and didn't understand how she ended up here.
"Hey Jennifer." Jennifer turned around and saw Tahna, a younger looking Tahna, a Tahna which made her realize where she was.
"Hey Tahna." Tahna blushed and lowered her head, her long red hair falling in front of her face. Jennifer walked closer and carefully lifted the younger girl's hair. "Why do you always hide behind your hair?" Tahna shrugged and looked up into Jennifer's face. "You have really pretty eyes."
Tahna chuckled. "Thank you." Jennifer heard a familiar truck nearby. Tahna started backing away. "I have to get going. I'm supposed to meet Sami in front of the school." Jennifer tried to stop her but couldn't bring herself to move. "Bye."
Jennifer didn't respond. She was afraid is she did, what didn't happen in reality, would happen in her dream. She watched as Tahna slowly made her way to the street. She heard Chris's horn loud and clear. How can she not hear that? Jennifer's feet started moving on their own. She stared down at them then looked up. She was running right for Tahna. She sped up and pushed her right as Chris's truck was about to hit her. She turned around and saw the headlights and finally understood why deer get that look when a car is bearing down on them. She wanted to scream but couldn't bring herself to do it. She cringed as she realized it was too late for her-but then suddenly, everything froze.
"Why'd you do that?" Jennifer turned around and saw Tahna, standing just a few feet away, but out of harm's way. "Why did you push me out of the way?"
The scene of Jennifer's dream changed. She was suddenly in her room but it was different. This was her room back in her sophomore year. When she was friends with Tahna, before Chris came into the picture and separated the two of them. She looked at the bed and saw her, sleeping like an angel, looking almost just like she did when she was posing for her picture. Jennifer slowly walked to the side of the bed and climbed in beside her, spooning the smaller body.
She was back in front of the school. "Why did you push me out of the way?"
"Because I love you." Jennifer felt tears falling down from her eyes. Tahna walked up to her and brushed them away with the pads of her thumbs. "I've loved you since that time you spent the night. You were crying because you mom was in the hospital. You slept in my bed with me. I wanted to kiss you so badly that night, but I didn't want to take advantage of you. You were hurt and vulnerable."
Tahna smiled. "I was very grateful for that night. Everyone was telling me she would be alright and I knew that she would be but I just needed to cry, and you let me. You didn't try to calm me down or soothe me. You just let me cry on your shoulder until I fell asleep." Jennifer blinked away more tears. "Don't try to stop yourself from crying. Crying is good, there is no need to hide it."
Back in the real world, Jennifer laid in bed, finally still, tears silently streaming down her face. She needed to cry, and Tahna let her, even if it was only a dream.
Tahna stretched as she slowly woke up. She hadn't really slept much the night before. She couldn't get Jennifer's confession out of her mind. She got out of bed and grabbed her new crutches. Her doctor's still didn't want her walking on her own. They thought she was still too weak. They didn't know that she'd been able to move her legs for a while now and had been working them out, lifting weights at the gym and stuff.
She slowly hobbled out to the dining room. Her breakfast was set on the table with a note attached to an envelope set next to it. She frowned and tried to figure out why her mom hadn't given her the letter yesterday, knowing that the mail hadn't come yet. She sat down and quickly read the note.
Went out to run a few errands. I should be back soon. The envelope is from Jennifer. She said you would know what the letter inside is about but asked for me to tell you to read it. I hope everything is alright between you two.
Tahna stared at the envelope. She didn't feel like reading it right now. She wasn't sure if she wanted to read it at all. She didn't want to know how Jennifer knew why Chris did what he did. She didn't want to know why he did it. She just knew he did and that she had now accepted his apology for it. Chris has obviously gone through at lot as well. Tahna sighed and quickly ate her breakfast then hobbled into the living and laid on the couch, not turning on the TV but staring at the envelope. Finally she opened it and a couple pieces of paper fell out. She picked them up and started reading the quickly handwritten letter.
I'm sorry I can't do this in person and I know it is cowardly of me, but I couldn't bring myself to tell you this and have to see your reaction. Just the look in your eyes after my confession last night broke my heart. By the way, congrats on the walking. I saw you from my window.
Anyway, like I said last night, I know why Chris did what he did. I'm sure you don't want to know why, but I feel like I need to tell you now that we are together. Remember how I told you that I had broken up with Chris right before you accident and how I said it was actually the second time, just the first time I told him the truth? Well, the truth was, I was in love with you. I've been in love with you since that night your mom was in the hospital. I realized that last night, when I had a dream.
I remember that day like it happened yesterday. I remember seeing you walking towards the front of the school, going to meet Sami. I could hear Chris's truck. That damn thing was always really loud. I couldn't see you anymore when I heard his horn honk. I heard a scream and then ran towards the road. All I saw was Chris's truck in the ditch and a bunch of people standing around something. I ran to the group and pushed myself through. No one probably told you this, but as soon as I saw you, I fainted. The love of my life was on the ground, near death.
I skipped school a bunch after that. I just couldn't bring myself to going. Rumors were flying all over the place as to why I fainted and why Chris ran you over. I just couldn't face everyone. I couldn't drive to school. I always drove on that street. There was a ... stain ... on that road for the longest time. I guess it's actually still there but I block it out now. I have no choice. I have to go to school.
I remember seeing Sami around town. I knew she wasn't going to school either. She would glare at me and I knew she had heard the rumors. I also knew though, that she didn't know that the rumors were true.
When I heard you were alive and would be fine, I didn't know what I was going to do. I didn't know how to approach you. I remember when you came over to the pool. I couldn't believe that you would want to be seen with me, let alone friends. I remember you asking me if I could help you get something off a shelf in the garage. I of course jumped at the chance to help you. I felt like I had something to make up for, like the whole accident was my fault and my fault only.
I don't really know what else to say. I just pray that you actually read this and don't just throw it in the trash, although, I wouldn't blame you if you did. But I have to warn you, if I don't get any kind of response, you'll be getting one of these everyday. I can't lose you over this Tahna. I almost lost you before and I'll be damned if I lose you now.
Tahna looked at the last paragraphed. Parts of it were smudged from tears and now a couple of Tahna's own tears were on there as well. She didn't realize how deeply Jennifer felt for her. She sighed and walked to her room, grabbing a notebook and sitting at her desk. She took at pen and quickly began writing her own letter.
When Jennifer got home she looked over at Tahna's house. She saw Sami's SUV and knew that Tahna would soon be leaving. She shook her head and walked into her house. "Hey honey. You got a letter on the table." Jennifer looked over at the table as her mom yelled from the other room. "Its from Tahna." She grabbed it and ran to her room. Jennifer's mom poked her head into the hallway and looked for her daughter. "Jennifer?"
Jennifer closed the door and locked it then jumped onto her bed and quickly, but carefully, ripped opened the envelope. A single piece of paper fell out.
I've tried to write this letter so many times now. I've gone through an entire notebook. Finally, I came upon the right words. It took me forever but I did it.
You're forgiven. I think that, actually I hope, that this is what you were looking for. I'm glad you explained everything to me, and I'm actually glad that you did it by letter. I don't know how I would react if you had done it in person or even over the phone.
You're forgiven. You don't need to worry about me hating you. I never have and never will. I understand everything now ... well, not EVERYTHING but you get the picture.
I remember that night that you are talking about. I remember crying on your shoulder until I feel asleep and then waking up in your arms. It was the best feeling in the world. I probably fell in love with you that same night as well but was just in denial about it as I'm sure you were until ... well, you know.
Call me when you read this. I'm canceling my plans with Sami so we can do something before your family dinner. Oh, by the way, your mom invited me when I gave her this letter. I think she knows. You might want to talk to her about it soon.
Jennifer looked out the window and saw Sami in her SUV, looking right at her. She nodded and smiled and Jennifer did the same then watched as Sami backed out of the driveway.
I love you Jennifer and always will. Don't ever forget that.
Jennifer smiled as she picked up the phone and dialed a now familiar, number. <Hello?>
<Hey.> Jennifer could actually hear Tahna smiling when she said that. She never believed that could be true. <I take it you read my letter?>
"Yeah and, thank you. I think that was exactly what I needed."
"So, what you wanna do today?"
<Well, I was thinking, I haven't been skating in a long time.> Jennifer chuckled. <And I know you would never let anything happen to me. I trust you.>
Jennifer started tearing up again. "Okay, lets go skating then. We'll have to be back in an hour or so though. I always have to help prepare dinner."
<Okay. Lets go then.>
"Okay, see you in a few." Jennifer hung up the phone and smiled. She quickly changed into clothes better suited for skating and walked over to Tahna's house.
Tahna was already waiting outside, standing with the help of crutches. "Hey." Jennifer smiled and kissed her softly. "I guess you're happy to see me."
"I've been miserable all day." Tahna smiled. "Hey, I have a better idea. Instead of skating, I want to show you something."
"Okay." Jennifer nodded and the two of them climbed into her car.
Ten minutes later Tahna was getting just a little worried. "Where are we going?"
"Don't worry, we're almost there. Just gotta turn here and then park."
Tahna nodded and then her face scrunched up. "What's that smell?"
Jennifer smiled and opened her door and got out then ran around and opened Tahna's door for her. As Tahna got out, Jennifer said, "It's the ocean. Come on." Jennifer helped Tahna walked down the beach a little until they came upon a beach house. "My parents own this place. I like coming here every now and then to watch the sunset and we're just in time to do so." Tahna smiled and followed Jennifer up onto the porch and over to a porch swing kind of thing.
"You're beautiful." Tahna gave Jennifer a look. "Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know its clichi and all but its true." Tahna rolled her eyes and leaned against Jennifer, laying her head on her shoulder. They sat like that, just the two of them, watching the sunset on another day. Tomorrow would be a new day with new adventures. They didn't know what would happen, no one would. But they did know that they would be together, through whatever happens, they would always have each other.
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