tagRomanceRenascence Ch. 02

Renascence Ch. 02

bynorafares©

Authors Note:

First I want to thank everyone who has been voting, viewing, commenting and emailing. I'm so surprised (but insanely pleased) by how my first story has been received! It took a lot of courage to post my work publicly so thank you to those who have been kind enough to encourage me to continue.

I'll try to keep the postings consistent. Expect an update every 1-2 weeks. I'll post chapters even sooner when I can manage it :'}

-Nora


*****

Renascence

Noun:

The revival of something that has been dormant

--

It snowed heavily overnight. I was inches deep in it when I stepped outside in the morning. The cold air clung to my lungs and the breaths I took pierced me sharply.

I'd always liked it when it rained back home, but snow was completely different. It was unpredictable, unforgiving and undeniably beautiful. Fresh snow is about as magical as a unicorn for a Cali girl.

"I don't want you going out in this," Grandpa said, appearing quietly by my side. "Wait a while. I'll get the snow chains on the tires."

The roads had been plowed, but like I said, snow was unpredictable.

"Black ice," Grandpa said. "You never know."

Grandma came out of the house and took me by the arm.

"Come have some breakfast, Grace."

She made me a bowl of porridge to warm me and poured me a mug of coffee even though she didn't really approve of giving me caffeine. She still thought I was too young.

"I'm a legal adult, Grandma. I could buy cigarettes if I wanted to."

"But you don't want to," she said severely and topped off my cup. The lesser of two evils, I guess.

My grandparents would probably lock me up in a closet with a bible if they knew half the shit that went through my mind.

I heard the front door clang as Grandpa shook his boots. He was stern and super old, but Grandpa wasn't a bad guy. The world had been different in his time. It didn't make everything he did okay, but it at least explained a lot of it. I wanted to be understanding because I knew that he was hard on me because he cared.

I checked my watch. It was almost ten after seven. I would need to get going if I was going to make it to school by seven-thirty to meet Gabe.

The school parking lot only had one parked car when I got there. A black Kia Sorento, parked under a tree off to the back, the car still running with the driver inside. I walked up to it and rapped my knuckles on the window.

Warm hazel eyes met mine through the glass.

Gabe turned off the engine and stepped out of the car, pulling his messenger bag from the passenger seat. The sun was shining down on him, illuminating all of his features and bringing out the deep amber of his eyes. His hair was in that same intentional state of messiness that made him look youthful and carefree. He was the kind of beautiful that almost hurt to look at, like he was made up of rays of sunlight, blinding me.

"Hi," I said breathlessly.

"Hey," he said with a smile. The sight of it tore the despair from my bones, hollowing out the weight of sadness that I carried until I could barely feel it. It was a wonder that a smile alone could hold so much power.

I followed him in a daze into the school. He switched on the lights, brightening all the gray of the hallways, casting out all the shadows. The way he interacted with the world, the way it adapted to his motions, the way his tall body took up so much space but lent back so much in return, made me want to go back to my bed and curl up with my thoughts.

Watching him was like watching the stars align. He made everything fall into place.

I took my seat in the back and worked on my assignments with my head down, burying my brain in all the words and numbers and the bullshit that was somehow supposed to prepare me for the fucked up world out there. Maybe someday the Pythagorean theorem would be useful somehow, but for now the only purpose it served was clouding my mind with three sides of a triangle instead of three sides of desperation from wanting something I couldn't have.

Gabe was at his desk grading workbooks, one free hand flattened on the desk, the long fingers splayed out like a starfish. His eyes moved quickly over the text, his brows furrowed deep in thought. I could see a glimpse of passion there; he was consumed by his work. The scratch of his red marker was the only sound louder than the heartbeat thrumming in my ears.

Emma lingered in my thoughts, whispering dreams. My feelings were like puzzles she could have solved. She would have known what to say to still my heart, to calm me from this storm, to keep me from drowning in the need of wanting someone so badly that it made my body ache.

"Caught up?" Gabe asked when I put my pencil down.

I nodded. I'd completed two hours' work in twenty-five minutes. Back home in California I'd been a good student — excellent, actually. My junior year had been all about AP classes and SAT tutoring on the weekends. The content in the workbooks was easy, just the basics of a high school education. It was a breeze for a former overachiever like me.

I dropped off the workbook at Gabe's desk, looking at my feet the whole walk up. It was strange how some people have such a profound effect on you that sometimes you can't even look at them.

"How are you feeling today?" he asked, sliding my workbook in front on him from the edge of his desk.

"Better," I said. 'Bearable' was the right word, but it felt too pathetic to say out loud.

He opened my workbook and began grading, his marker hovering over every page. He was fast, scanning my answers quickly.

I was about to walk away when he stopped me.

"Wait," he said. "I'm a third of the way through and you haven't gotten a single question wrong."

I chewed my bottom lip nervously.

"Why are you in this class, Grace?"

For the first time in months I was feeling embarrassed of my grades. I'd had every plan of ghosting through senior year with as little effort as possible. It hadn't seemed like a big deal, especially since I wasn't planning on going to college. It didn't seem fair. Emma had wanted to go to Yale so badly. I'd stolen that from her.

"I didn't apply myself," I said lamely.

"And your teachers didn't do anything to help you?" He sounded annoyed.

"It's not their responsibility to hold my hand through every class."

"You don't need any hand-holding. You're a gifted student. Why the hell didn't anyone stop you from sabotaging yourself like this?" He slid his chair back and ran a hand over his face, looking as frustrated as Mom probably felt. She'd said the same things.

"I'm a big girl, Gabe," I said, looking up at him. "I can take responsibility for my actions."

His eyes burned dark.

"This stops now," he said firmly. "No more slacking off. I'm not going to let you throw your future away."

"I'll graduate," I assured him. I'd already promised Mom that I would. That was the whole reason I'd agreed to make up the credits.

"And what are your plans after graduation?"

"Nothing," I said, knowing he'd already guessed as much.

"Don't you want to leave this town?" he asked.

I shrugged. "Where would I go?"

"Study. Travel. Explore. There's a whole world out there."

"Not for me," I said, shaking my head. "There's nothing out there."

"Nothing you think you deserve," he corrected, seeing right through my words.

"You don't have to do this," I said, my words coming out in a whisper. It was getting hard to talk. I didn't want anyone in my head dissecting all of my shitty decisions. It made me feel naked, raw, exposed.

"Yes, I do."

I was too weak to fight him. The conversation needed to end before he could unfold all the chaos and see the unhealthy thoughts in my head. Then he would join the short list of people that wanted me to go see a shrink and talk it all out. No one understood that I didn't want or deserve salvation.

"You're punishing yourself," he said quietly.

He was piecing it all together. Terror spiked in my veins.

"I-I'm not," I said too quickly.

"How did your sister die?"

Fuck.

"Car accident," I said.

The events flashed in my mind; the sound of metal crunching and glass shattering; the jerk of the car; the smoke and the fumes burning my nose; the taste of blood; the sounds of the hydraulic rescue tools prying the doors off; the firefighters cutting off my seatbelt; the paramedics strapping me down, begging me to stop screaming because Emma was being laid out on the road, a white sheet rustling in the wind before it was used to cover her body.

"You were in the accident." He didn't even have to ask. He knew.

Fear had manifested into a physical form in the back of my throat. I couldn't swallow it down. I was bare and vulnerable now, stripped of the armor, and forced to face the man who was breaking through all of my defenses.

I hated it. I hated being read.

"You're feeling survivor's guilt, Grace," he said gently. "You're not letting yourself live because you don't think you deserve to be alive."

"S-Stop," I said shakily, feeling sudden anger course through my veins. "You-You have no idea what you're talking about."

"Don't I?"

He unbuttoned the cuff of his sleeve and rolled it up, wincing. Every inch began to reveal a story written in deep gash marks. Then he turned his hands and opened them, revealing palms with jagged scars. How had I missed them?

Now I understood why he was always hiding his hands in his pockets.

"Nine years ago I got into a car accident with my seven-year-old brother. Kev—he didn't make it."

I covered my mouth, biting back a cry.

"I get it, Grace. Let me help you. Please."

"Why?" I whimpered. "Why do these things happen?"

I couldn't stop the tears. Couldn't stop the pain, the anger, the sadness, the bitterness and anguish. All emotions, none as simple as the words sounded. There was so much that couldn't be expressed, and when that happened the feelings overflowed and I cried them instead of saying them.

I put my face in my hands and sobbed.

I felt that brick wall again, the one I had run into on my first day at the end of class, but this time it didn't hurt — it felt how whiskey tasted; a comforting, blazing burn. Strong arms enveloped me in a tender embrace, scarred hands coming to rest on my back. I melted into him, letting go because for that moment it felt like a trust fall, like I could close my eyes and give into gravity because I knew that he would catch me. And he did. He supported my body as I went slack in his arms.

"It's okay," he murmured, his voice impossibly soft. "Hold on."

He guided my arms around his neck and I found the strength to hold tight. Then he knelt and one moment I was standing and the next I was being picked up like a bride. My heart squeezed so tight that my breath hitched. He carried me out of the classroom and down the halls, his footsteps echoing in all the silence, his presence like thunder, chasing away everything that was hurting me.

Was I dreaming?

He kicked the front double doors open and I buried my face into his chest, trembling from head to toe. The cold air should have penetrated me, but I was on fire and it couldn't be doused. The wind whipped my hair and he turned his body, shouldering me from the worst of it. Snow crunched under his shoes, the footsteps leaving a trail that I could look at and see that this was really happening.

Every second was pure bliss.

"Do you have your car keys?" he asked.

I shook my head. It was in my backpack in the classroom.

He carried me to his car.

"I need you to stand for me," he said and gently lowered my feet to the ground. I swayed and clutched his arm for balance, my fingers closing around the raised skin of his scars. He put a hand on the small of my back and steadied me, his free hand digging for keys from his pocket.

His car shone like onyx, glinting in the sunlight. It chirped when he clicked the remote to unlock it.

"Put the seat back and get some rest. Stay as long as you need to," he said, opening the driver door. He helped me up into his SUV, leaned over me to start it to get the heater going and then bent down to put the seat back for me when I struggled with the lever.

"Hopeless," he said, teasing me. "Will you be okay on your own?"

I nodded.

"Do you have your phone with you?"

I searched my pockets and fished out my phone. He took it from my hands.

"Text me once every half hour," he said, programming his number into my contacts.

"What if I fall asleep?"

"Then text me when you're about to so I know."

He passed my phone back to me, along with the keys to his car.

"Don't let anybody see you."

"Oh, I'm going to make sure everyone sees me," I said with a sly smile.

"You're a fucking nightmare," he said, laughing.

I wiped the last of my tears from my eyes, feeling refreshed now that it was all over. I'd needed that cry to lighten some of the load. I hoped it would hold me over at least for the next couple of hours.

"You are the coolest teacher alive," I said honestly. "I won't get you fired."

"Our little secret?"

"Our little secret."

We finalized the deal by linking our pinkies in a lame pinky promise. We really were two incredibly dorky people.

"Get the fuck out of here before someone gets here and sees you," I said, glancing at the time on the dashboard. It was almost eight twenty and class started at nine.

"How many times do I have to tell you to watch your fucking mouth?"

I flipped him off and he laughed because I think he may genuinely be crazy for putting up with me. No one but Emma had ever been able to stand my dry, crass humor. It kind of hurt my heart to come to the realization that for the first time in my life, I'd been able to make a friend without her help.

"Remember to text me," Gabe said, checking his watch.

I nodded and he gave me one last smile before shutting the car door. I watched him jog back to the school. I stared after him long after he was gone, my eyes following the trail of his footsteps, remembering the way it had felt to be in his arms.

I picked up my phone and found him in my contacts. He'd put the smiling poop emoji next to his name.

The poop emoji? Seriously? I texted.

Almost immediately I got a text back.

Joke flew right over your head and then took a shit on it.

I laughed.

Me: Ohhhhhh I get it now! You're the shit, Mr. Hart!

Gabe: Exactly. Took you long enough.

Me: You are literally the lamest person I know.

Gabe: I'm going to fail you. You'll never graduate.

Me: You can't fail me. I'm completing the workbook.

Gabe: It'll mysteriously disappear.

Me: If that happens then YOU will mysteriously disappear.

Gabe: You're impossible. Go to sleep.

The first car to pull into the parking lot was a flashy little red BMW. Of course Miranda would come bright and early to sink her claws into Gabe. I felt pretty smug laying in his car, texting him. Too bad I would never be able to rub it into her stupid face.

Me: Fair warning. You're about to be sexually harassed by a halfwit.

Gabe: I'll prepare accordingly. Thank you.

I cackled like a madwoman, feeling giddy and satisfied. Miranda had made the last few months a living hell. She'd basically turned me into some kind of pariah, spreading rumors about me and pushing me around every chance she got. I was only barely five feet tall and pathetically skinny, an easy target for that five foot eight loose-cunted whore. She was that typical cheerleader, the Regina George of the school with her little herd of sheep who worshipped her. Rich and pretty was all it took to be popular here. It was like a cliche straight out of a cheesy rom-com.

I still hold out for the hope that she gets hit by a bus like Regina George from Mean Girls.

Gabe: You weren't kidding. Please send help.

Me: A few cars just pulled in. You are saved! :D

Gabe: This isn't funny.

Me: She got a teacher fired last year for rejecting her romantically (or sexually, but I don't know all the details). Better watch out!

Gabe: You're lying.

Me: That depends on your definition of lying.

Gabe: How would you define it?

Me: Assuming a horizontal resting position.

Gabe: You really are impossible.

Me: No, just lying.

Gabe: Trying to hold a conversation with you is worse than my 1.5 hour commute.

Me: 1.5 hour commute? Where the fuck do you even live? China?!

Gabe: Omaha.

Me: City boy, huh? I should have known. You think you're so much better than us simple country folk.

Gabe: What's that supposed to mean? Are you judging me for choosing not to live in the middle of Butt-fuck Nowhere, NE?

Me: I'm just jealous.

Gabe: I'll have to text you later. Class is about to start. Get some rest and check in with me in half an hour if you're still awake.

It began to snow outside, flurries of snowflakes swirling in the air, turning the boring school into a winter wonderland, everything glistening and glimmering. It was like magic, the stuff of fairytales and dreams.

I assumed a comfortable horizontal resting position (ha, ha) and yawned. The heater was running full blast, keeping me warm and cozy through the drifting snowfall outside. I closed my eyes, feeling content for the first time in months.

I didn't need to sleep to know that I was already living in a dream.

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by Anonymous

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by norafares09/20/18

royle

more...

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by royle09/19/18

Thank You!

Seldom have I enjoyed a story on Literotica, or anywhere else, as I have this.

Thank you for sharing your amazing ability to tell a story and evoke such beautiful emotions.

Please continue to write,more...

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by norafares09/19/18

To the two most recent commenters, thank you so much for your kind words! You guys are so nice that I almost want to cry lol
I write as I go so I am writing FOR you. Thank you again!
-Nora :}

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by Anonymous09/19/18

Please more!

This is a beautiful story. Your writing is very poetic and elegant. Please follow through, you truly have a gift!

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by Anonymous09/18/18

Phenomenal

You are a gifted writer. This story is absolutely incredible! The descriptions you use not only paint a vivid picture but add amazing depth. Your thoughts are insightful and hypnotic. I’m entranced...andmore...

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