Chapter 28

"Do you have a favorite tree?" Shayla asked me as we searched for a good tree to climb.


"Nah. I just find the best tree in a secluded area and- Woah! What do you think of that one?" I pointed at a tree with low enough branched to climb on.


"That's a good one!" She exclaimed. "Let's go!" I went over to the parking lot and parked. "Last one to the tree is a rotten lemon!" She shouted as she ran towards the tree.


"I'm not a rotten lemon," I laughed, running behind her.


"Michael is a rotten lemon!" She looked back at me.


"You'rethe rotten lemon." We finally go to the tree and started to climb.


"No looking up my dress, Michael," she warned.


"I can't make any promises," I laughed as I began to climb up behind her.


Shayla gasped, "uh oh," as the wind blew blue her dress up revealing her pink underwear. I turned my head as she sat on the nearby branch. I sat beside her and looked out at the horizon. She held my hand. I looked at her lips, nervously chewing at my own. I moved closer to her and kissed her lips. She responded and kissed me back. I pulled her chin closer. My heart was racing at the touch of her hands and the feel of her lips on mine. I put my hand on her waist and started to pull her even closer. She broke the kiss and pressed her lips together, blushing. I kissed her cheek. "You're a great kisser," she looked down.


"So are you," I pushed her hair behind her ear.


VII


(Next Friday)


Shayla and I lay in my bed in silence. I looked up at the ceiling as she lay on my chest.


"Michael?" she broke the silence.


"Yeah?" I asked.


"I'm not ready to go," she sat up to look at me.


"I don't want you to go either," I told her. The past couple of weeks have been so fun! Especially when we went to Disneyland. I really don't want her to go. I'm contemplating whether I should go back with her or not.


"I've had so much fun with you," she smiled.


"I had fun with you too," I sighed.


"Um, Michael?"


"Yeah, babe?"


"I have to tell you something. I've been holding it in for quite some time now, but I think I should tell you now."


"What would that be?" I looked at her.


"I..." she started. She swallowed, "I love you." My heart began to race. "This is the first time I've ever said anything like this to anyone. When I wrote letters to you and I got to know you more than I ever expected, I grew to love you in more ways than one. I first liked slash loved you as a fan of your music, but now it's deeper than that. It's turned from a love based on friendship to a romantic love. The time I have spent with you has made me love you even more. I was afraid to admit it at first, because I felt like you would reject me, but now I'm comfortable with telling you that I do love you. You're my first love..." she looked down. "I understand if you don't feel the same way. I just-"


I interrupted her with a kiss, "I love you too," I looked her in the eyes.


She gasped, "you do?"


"Yes, I've felt the same way you have. I didn't want you to reject me, so I just held it in."


"Oh, Michael," she smiled and hugged me. I hugged her tight. "If it's okay with you, I'd like to sleep with you this last night," she whispered.


"I'm completely okay with that." She looked at me and kissed me again as a tear rolled down her cheek. "Don't cry," I wiped the tear from her face.


"I'm sorry. I can't help it. I've never felt like this before. It's just so pure and innocent. And the fact that I have to leave just tears me to pieces..." she said as she lay on my chest. I wrapped my arms around her and held her close.


"I love you, Shayla," I kissed her head.


"I love you too," she sighed and closed her eyes. Tomorrow is going to be so hard...


VII


(The Next Day)


I woke up to find Shayla gone. She probably went to get ready. I've dreaded this day for so long. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. I went to take a shower and once I got out, I put on a pair of white pants, a blue shirt, and sandals. I have to figure out something to do before she leaves. We still haven't taken photos together. Today is the perfect day to do so. I went to Shayla's room and knocked on the door.


"Come in," she called in her usual happy voice.


I opened the door, "hey, babe. Do you need help packing?" I asked.


"Hey, Michael," she ran up to kiss me. "I'm pretty much done. I just need to get my clothes out of the dryer, then I'll be done."


"That's great. You look good today," I examined her outfit. She wore white shorts and a red tank top.


"Thanks. I figured I should wear something casual and comfortable on the way back home."


"Good choice for while you're here... But once you get back to Ohio, it just might be snowing, so you may want to change."


"Oh! You're right about that! How could I forget?" She asked as she rummaged through her luggage to find winter-esque clothing. "What are we doing today?"


"I really wanted to take some photos with you. We rarely had a chance to."


"That's right! I have my camera too. We should take tons of photos!"


"Shayla," I laughed. "Did you forget you had your camera all this time?"


"Sort of... I just found it when I started to pack."


"It's okay," I laughed and put the camera around my neck. "This way we won't forget it."


"Maybe I should have done that... But hey! I was too busy having fun with you," she smiled.


"Trust me, I had fun with you too. Have you had breakfast?"


"Yeah. You?"


"Not yet."


"What time does my flight leave?"


"Five."


"Five. Okay. I have enough time to hang out with you one last time.


I took her hand in mine and made our way downstairs, "good morning!" I greeted everyone.


"Morning," LaToya and Janet replied.


I got an ice cream bar from the freezer, "I'm ready when you are, Shayla," I said and began to unwrap my treat.


"Is that all you're going to eat?" She asked.


"Yeah. I'll eat later. I don't want to waste our time."


"Are you sure?"


"I'm positive," I opened the front door. We made our way to the car.


"We should go to the beach first."


"I was just thinking that," I said as I opened her door. "Want some?" I asked.


"What flavor is it?"


"Lime," I told her as I got in my seat. She took the bar away from me. I watched as she tried it. "Do you like it?"


"Yeah, it's pretty good."


"You can have it."


"No, you keep it," she gave it back to me.


"Are you sure?" I asked as I bit into it.


"Wait, let me have some more," she laughed.


"Just take some off."


"I am!" She took off her portion and ate it.

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