My heart was racing and my stomach was knotting itself over and over again that an uncomfortable thickness was solidifying. I ached and hurt and even worse than that, I was confused. Leo seemed upset, then sad again, then furious, then he kissed me, then he was mad and told me to stop taking pictures of him.
I lifted my fingers to my lips and sure enough, they were still wet from Leo. My lips were throbbing, but so was the rest of my body. A rhythmic hum was coursing through my veins after the encounter with Leo. I was standing though my legs were numb.
What just happened?
Grouped like a mob scene from Occupy Wallstreet, the entire school it felt like walked from downtown Ridgebury to the football field back at school. It was less than a mile, or maybe a mile exactly, I had never measured, away from Pluto Pizza and the herd of us walked altogether. It was starting to get a little chilly and instantly I wished I had a long sleeve shirt under mine. It was maybe fifty degrees but in short-sleeves and the promise of it only getting colder, I regretted my fashion choice.
Jessa was walking ahead of me, her arm linked with Jason and Cami beside her, linked up with Mike. I didn't know that Cami and Mike were together or even liked each other but they'd been attached all night long. Jason passed Jessa a water bottle and I knew there was vodka or some cheep alcohol inside. Yet another football tradition I wasn't a big fan of.
We'd been at Pluto Pizza all of five minutes before I had my camera out and began snapping pictures of the packed place. The noise of people talking over one another was a loud hum that didn't let you understand anything anyone was saying. Everything smelled of garlic and everyone was dressed head to toe in black and orange.
"Hey!" Jason said as he strolled into the pizza place. He slid past a group of juniors and cuddled right up to Jessa. Jessa turned toward me and winked. I didn't know why she liked Jason, he was a slimeball and she didn't even really like him. One of the positives she said about him was that she only saw him on the bus. I didn't get it.
"Oh, thank god you're here!" Jessa closed the distance between us and ran up to me, grabbing my arm and tugging me to her chest. "I've been waiting for like five minutes, looking like a loser all alone. We have such a long day ahead of us."
I sighed. "What's first on the agenda?"
"Nails. We can just walk."
She threw her messenger bag over her shoulder, and we began the walk toward our small downtown. Ridgebury was a small town, with one main street, a tiny movie theater, and a dozen pizza places. It was comfortable and easy to get from place to place. Not to mention everything was located on the main street so you could literally do one stop shopping.
I've been toying with two separate headings for Carley's name. A red and a purple. Now's the time to vote! Which do you like better? A or B? Comment your selection.
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.
After Mom and I got home, we convinced my dad to make breakfast for dinner. I ran up to my room to start and finish my homework. It was still early in the year so a lot of my classes everything was a refresher. Culinary never had homework, other than to find a recipe that interests you and hand it in to make it at a later date. Mrs. Peckers was a teacher who forget things often, and made the period go by extremely fast.
Truthfully, French was the only class that held me up. It was just so different front what I was used to and took a lot of my brain to make it somewhat make sense. Finally, I finished and was exhausted beyond measure. I needed food to make it through the rest of the night. My phone dinged before I got up from my comfy spot on my bed.
After school, I worked for the school magazine. It wasn't a paid job, but it would look good on my resume and all I had to do was use the school's terrible camera and take photos for the publication. I only did it in the fall and winter since I had soccer in the spring, so I didn't mind. It was twice a week and most of the time, I liked doing it.
"Hey, Lauren," I said as I put all of my stuff down and grabbed the school camera from a box in one of the tall cabinets. They stored the thing so poorly and it really was barely a step up from a disposable. Our supervisor, Mr. Modena wouldn't let me use my own camera, siting liability reasons and having pictures of students. It was nice practice, though.
"Oh, I'm sorry," I said as I quickly lifted up my backpack and repositioned it on my shoulder. I untangled a loose piece of hair from my diamond stud and tucked it back behind my ear where it belonged. My shoulder ached from running into him, but I tried not to let the discomfort show on my face.
"Just watch yourself," he muttered without bothering to look at my face. I looked up, trying to catch a glimpse into those dog eyes that everyone so loved to gaze into, but he glanced to the left, almost purposefully. He nodded, then walked by me, bumping into my backpack and rattling me to the side.
I ditched my shorty shorts for my ripped jeans. Despite the fact that it was only September, today felt more like November with a chill in the air and leaves fluttering all around. I didn't feel like spending the day on freezing plastic seats that coated my legs in goosebumps. Ridgebury High didn't have a strict dress code, but I dressed modestly to begin with. Before leaving in my jeans and a white tee which donned the saying "Stay Focused" with a tiny camera above it, I grabbed a blue cardigan in case the school was unusually frigid.
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