I hardly slept last night, but woke up around 3 am completely awake. I felt fine, but it was unsual for me to function on less than seven hours of sleep. I took a shower and blew dry my hair. Wrapped in my towel, I sat down at my light brown desk and began a research paper that was due in two weeks. Since I was awake, I figured I may as well get a head start on it.
Knock knock. My mom pushed her way into my room. "Sweets, what are you doing up?"
"Just couldn't sleep," I said. "I figured I'd get some work done."
"How'd we get so lucky with you?" She leaned forward and kissed the top of my head. I shut my laptop, done since I didn't have to be quiet anymore and had done enough work for a lifetime. "I'll make us some pancakes. Get dressed." She shut the door behind her as I nodded.
I threw on a pair of jeans and a tank top blouse my mom gave me last June for my birthday. It was purple and had a frilly bottom that fanned out a bit around my hips. I grabbed my backpack, a black cardigan, and my camera, which just happened to match my outfit with its purple strap, and ran down the stairs.
My mom was at the stove, my dad sitting at the counter with a paper in front of him. He was oldschool like that, reading a real paper instead of picking one on his phone. I had tried to convert him last Christmas when my mom got him a subscription to NY Times, however it lasted a week tops with him secretly running to the cheese shop to read the paper. Mom and I decided there were worse things to be addicted to than a piece of paper.
"My stomach is screaming right now," I said as I threw my things on the chair and sat down beside dad at the counter.
"Good, because I may have made a ton of pancakes that we should probably all take for lunch."
"What time are you going in?" Dad asked mom, folding his paper and focusing on her. Their relationship was admirable. They spent so much time together and yet I'd never witnessed them have a fight larger than picking what's for dinner or a bad shipment of cheese. Jessa would tell me how sometimes her parents would both be home and they'd spend the entire day screaming at one another.
I didn't really understand it. I mean, why would you marry someone and have a child together if you weren't in love with eachother. I knew that people changed and sometimes circumstances changed a relationship, but from the way Jessa would talk about her parents led me to believe that they'd never been in love.
"Are you going straight from school to the football game?" Mom asked me.
"Um, I actually don't know. I might come back here and change," I said, unsure of the plans because as usual, I was just the follower instead of initiator. This was Jessa's thing.
"But you won't be here for dinner?" Mom asked.
"No, I guess not. I'm sure we'll just get hamburgers at the game or something. Maybe Jessa's housekeeper filled the frige again. I don't know."
"Ooh, if she has those mini bagel things, steal a bag!" Dad said, laughing. Mom gave him a stare. "What?" he shrugged. "I love those!"
"I'll buy you your own, Stan."
"Deal," he said, high-fiveing mom over the counter.
"Eat quick, I see the kids already out there," mom said.
"Crap," I groaned, shoving a huge bite of pancake showered in syrup in my mouth. Just as I swallowed, a knock sounded at the door. Jessa, I bet.
"Go, go," Mom said. "I'll clean up. Love you!"
I grabbed my bag, took another bite of pancake, finishing my second one, and ran to the door with my things. I yelled a quick I love you back and met Jessa at the mailbox. As usual, she was done up from head to toe in tiger black and orange. She wore these fluffy tiger ears, too, instead of her regular headband.
"What took you so long?" she asked as she linked arms with me and together we walked toward the bus stop.
"Eating breakfast," I said, still swallowing the sticky pancakes.
"Breakfast is overrated."
'It's the meal of the day," I said.
"Whatever." She waved me off. "So, I was thinking we'd go get our nails done after school, walk to the diner and get a light dinner, then head to the field right on time. Cami's going to meet us at the diner, but she's only eating salad. Then we'll find some of the others at the field."
I smiled and nodded to her well thought out plans the entire bus ride and walk to my locker. She just went on and on. She'd be perfect for party planning. She was bossy and liked to tell people what to do and when, but not in a bad way. She just got everyone together and figured it out. She's genius that way. It was her gift.
I grabbed my French book and shut my locker and spun around. Leo turned the corner, the one where he'd run into me before. I sort of froze in my spot, unable to tear my eyes away from him. One second longer and we'd run into eachother again. I thanked my luck for the day.
"Take a picture, Carley," he whispered, leaning toward me as he brushed by me. His shoulder hit mine, but I barely noticed because his name rolling off his tongue was a sucker punch to my gut. How did he know who I was? Holy snap!
"I-uh-n-um..." I couldn't form a word, but it didn't matter because Leo didn't pay me another second of attention as he passed me. But he knew my name! How could he have even found out my name?
I floated through the morning, thinking of that boy with the nosering, wondering if it hurt when he got it pierced. My ears were pierced when I turned fourteen and it hurt like hell. Beside me in the mall kiosk was a baby, literally a four month old, getting her ears pierced. The infant barely even flinched. Then there I was with my mom, silent, anxious tears running down my cheeks as I waited for the gun to shoot my ears.
It pinched, hurt like hell, and then the burning started. For two days straight my ears felt like they were being dipped in lava and hurt and inched so damn badly. My mom iced them, though she was laughing the entire time at my babyness. Actually, I was worse than that baby.
Jessa didn't show up for lunch, which annoyed me because I had to listen to Cami telling Meghan how she slept with Mark Mueller last night and then this morning she woke up to a break up text from him and he wasn't in school to hash it out. It was boring and so very typical for the people in this school. I didn't understand why people didn't learn their lesson.
I found Jessa at the end of the day near the stone wall by the buses.
I fell in love with Leo Daniels faster than you could say Leo Daniels. September 2016, I remember when it happened like it was yesterday. He was the seventeen-year-old, unattainable, lacrosse player who was way out of my league, but one day in the hall, he saw me.
I was fascinated with him, wanting to know why he pushed people away and why he acted so distant at certain times. He was strange and mysterious— and before long, he was mine.
Then we changed. Leo had a life that was foreign to me. In the town of Ridgebury, I was sheltered and accepted, and my family surrounded me with love. But Leo’s life was toxic. And his poison burned into me.
What was I supposed to do? Leave him to avoid what was sure to be a terrible ending, or stay by his side? I deserved better, but so did he. If I stayed, would we lose everything? What was the price of our love?
© Taylor Lavati 2017
What Readers Have to Say...
"An absolutely heart wrenching read that shows us that at times no matter how much we hope, darkness will find its way to win. "
-Blogger's From Down Under for A Reliant Love
"So this book is the ultimate love story. I like how two ordinary people who is so different and still so alike in so many ways can overcome everything together."
-Angelica Berglund for For The Love of Hockey
"I never thought I would read a "zombie book", much less love one. The Last Legacy really surprised me. Even with the whole people-eating-people thing, it was a fantastic book"
-Melannie S for The Last Legacy
"I could not wait to start book two. If this book was as good as book one, then I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. It wasn't as good as book one...it was better. "
-Keely Retchloff for Finding Sam
"The powers, the love, the excitement, the drama kept me so enthralled. If you are looking for a GREAT series about true love and mythology, look no further... I wish I could rate 10 stars! Definitely recommend this whole series to all my book loving friends!"
-The Book Blog for A Curse Books Trilogy
"For the Love of Ash" by Taylor Lavati was a rare 5-star read for me. I honestly find many typical romances rather dull and predictable. This was not the case at all here; there was nothing average about the romance, overall storyline, and the long list of supporting characters."
-Summer's Book Blog for For The Love of Ash
"Wingless isn't what I would normally pick up and read, but thought I'd try it out and I am so glad I did. The characters and "worlds" she creates are done so well that you can actually picture them and feel like you are there right along with the characters."
-JLH for Wingless
For The Love of Hockey | January 2016
The Price of Love | 2017