Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.17
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.17

           Bailey Ardisone
My weeping willow tree…not my ruined in the trash weeping willow tree—my beautiful perfect not in pieces weeping willow tree. How did this get here? What in the world was going on? And not only that, but how was it in perfect shape? A few hours ago it had been broken in pieces and thrown in the trash. How did it get from the trashcan to sitting on the table in the art room?

  I was so stunned that I jumped when Mr. Isaacson entered just as the bell rang. “Good afternoon, Ms. Woodlinn,” he said as he sat at his desk. I must've still had the stunned look on my face, because he looked up, raised his eyebrow and said, “Everything okay, Nari?”

  “Um…yeah...yes...everything’s fine,” I stammered out. I couldn’t believe it. I had a whole speech prepared, but now that my sculpture was somehow here in one piece…I…didn’t know what to do. I found my seat and tried to wipe the look off my face.

  What just happened? Did someone find and fix my sculpture? But…that was impossible. It had taken me two weeks to get it just right. The only other person who knew about it was Ms. Darlene, but surely she couldn’t have fixed it. Well, Ms. Darlene and the guy I ran into. Unless…no. No, I wouldn’t even let myself think it. There was no way he could have fixed it.

  The other students started coming in and filling their seats, but I barely noticed. My mind was plagued with thoughts on how and why my sculpture was sitting there in perfect condition. I guessed it could've been anybody really; it was just sitting there outside the school. But again, how? And why? Those two questions kept bouncing around my head.

  And of course, beautiful blue eyes belonging to that guy kept flashing in my mind as I sat mystified trying to come up with some explanation that made sense.

  It seemed only a few seconds went by when the bell rang. Mr. Isaacson told us he was going to examine our sculptures over the next few days and that we would get our grades on Friday.

  I had sat stunned the entire class. I kept glancing over at the table to see if my sculpture was really there. Sure enough, it was there every time I looked. The last time I had glanced over, I accidentally locked eyes with Ivan who was also in my Literature class. He gave me a look like, what are you looking at, freak? Then he stuck out his tongue.

  Real mature. I didn’t want to turn his way again, so needless to say I never looked at my sculpture again either. Besides, after about the sixth time I had seen it, I was pretty darn sure my sculpture really was there.

  “You’re lookin' a little pale there, Sheila. Everything alright?” Desmond asked as he walked by my desk. I still hadn’t found the ability to move from this spot. I glanced around, wondering who Sheila was.

  “Are you talking to me?” I was the only one left sitting there.

  “Who else would I be talking to?” He laughed, raising his eyebrows and looking around the room.

  “Oh, um, my name is Nari, not Sheila,” I answered, feeling a little awkward. I didn’t want to make him feel bad for forgetting my name.

  “Oh yeah, I know that. Sometimes Sheila just comes out, sorry. It’s our female equivalent to mate.” Now he was the one who looked awkward.

  “Ha! I guess I have a lot to learn, huh?” I finally stood up, shaking my head. I swore I learned something new every time I was around Zaylie or Desmond.

  “But you’re okay then? You’re not going to like, faint on me or anything are you?” He looked at me like I was a terrified animal ready to bite.

  “I’m fine, really. Just having an absolute crazy day is all. But thanks. I really appreciate it.” Maybe bizarre was a better description—or downright disturbing.

  “Cool. Later, Sheila.” He winked with a huge grin as he walked away.

  “Later,” I laughed, feeling a little better already. But only a tiny bit. I gathered my things and made my way out of the room.

  I was so thankful school was finally over. I needed to get out of there. I didn’t think I had ever felt so desperate to meet up with Rydan at the Willow. I needed his calming effect—my nerves felt like they had been on permanent "fry" mode lately.

  Whoa...I shivered as I stepped outside into the frigid air. It was getting colder. I hurriedly put my sweatshirt on and headed toward my retreat.

  I had no idea how I'd explain what happened earlier to Rydan. How did I explain a miracle I didn’t even understand myself? He would think I was nuts, bonkers, a freak.

  I got to the Weeping Willow but was disappointed because Rydan wasn’t there yet. He always beat me there and was waiting for me.

  Just as I sat down, Rydan came walking out of the forest of birches behind the pond, and instant relief washed over me.

  “Hey,” I said to him. “At first I thought you weren’t here. What were you doing in the woods?”

  “Looking for something,” he answered in a saddened, hushed tone, but he immediately put a smile on his face and said, “I have a surprise for you.”

  I wondered what he had been searching for, but his smile and a thought of a present perked me up. “A surprise! For me?” I asked excitedly. “What is it?” I was too impatient.

  He pulled something out of his back pocket as he told me to close my eyes and hold out my hands. I instantly complied with a big smile on my face. This was why I needed Rydan. He could always surprise me and cheer me up when I was down, and he didn’t even realize he was doing it. Or even that I had needed it. I was already in a better mood.

  “No peeking,” he said as I felt him put something in my hands. After a few seconds of silence, he chuckled. “Okay, you can open your eyes now.”

  I opened my eyes and looked down. Sitting in my hands was a small digital camera. It was so little it would fit perfectly in my pocket.

  “You always said you wanted to take pictures of this spot. The pond, the tree; now you can,” he said as he sat down beside it looking at me.

  “Ry, it’s wonderful! I love it! It’s so…me!” I laughed and met his gaze. It really was me—small and purple, almost the same color as my eyes. I gave him a huge smile as I turned the camera on and aimed to take a picture of him.

  He instantly put his hands in front of his face.

  “Come on, Ry. I want you in my first picture…please.” I stuck out my lower lip to pout.

  He rolled his eyes but uncovered his face. “Just the first one.”

  I smiled and took the first photo of my best friend sitting next to the most magical place in the world, completely forgetting about my depressing and mysterious day.

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