Sweet oblivion (sweet se.., p.24
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       Sweet Oblivion (Sweet Series #1), p.24

           Bailey Ardisone


  I couldn’t wait to get started on Rydan’s painting, so as soon as I heard Ray close the front door, I shot out of bed and got dressed for the day. It was Saturday, so thankfully he’d be at work.

  I went straight to the art room at school where I’d have unlimited amounts of colorful paint to choose from. I clipped on an easel the photo of the fox I had printed out using the SD card machine at the local drugstore. He looked just as beautiful as I saw him in real life. I hoped I’d be able to bring out all the colors of the trees, making it contrast just right with the stark white of the fox’s gorgeous fur. I squealed in excitement and got everything I needed ready. I pushed play on my iPod and then finally made my first brushstroke.

  Noticing it was hours later, I stepped back and appraised my work. I was pleased with it so far, but I was pretty sure I had white and golden yellow paint all over me. I got lost in my own world trying to make each detail perfect that I didn’t notice anything else, including the gobs of paint I had on my hand just before brushing my bangs out of my eyes. I had yet to look in a mirror to find out what I must've looked like.

  Feeling satisfied with what I had accomplished so far, I decided to head out and leave the rest for another time. As I walked home, the public park across the street caught my eye.

  There were several families with their children out playing, and it gave me the urge to go sit and watch. I'd always admired big families, observing them interact with one another, hugging, laughing, and having fun. It must have been nice.

  I walked up to the swings that were facing the rest of the park and leisurely sat, slowly swinging. A cool breeze stirred my hair and sent a chill through me, making me pull my jacket closed tighter.

  I smiled as I watched a young boy and girl chase each other around the jungle gym. They seemed to be having a lot of fun; the girl was looking back and laughing as the little boy was about to catch up to her.

  A shout to my right made me look over to see a little girl getting ready to come down the slide. “Mommy, watch me!” she squealed, and the mother laughed as the girl slid down and giggled. She immediately ran back up the steps and slid down again and again.

  Watching the kids play and not have a care in the world made me so envious. I thought back to when my own mother brought me here for the first time. I had climbed to the top of the jungle gym, and just like any other little girl I would pretend I was a princess in my own castle. But I was also a skilled fighter and would fight the bad guys off. No one was going to get in and destroy my home.

  I noticed the girl who was being chased by the boy had climbed up and out on top of the small peak that was looking over the ground below. She started to lean over the side when her mother called out, “Lily, be careful!”

  But it was too late.

  My heart stopped as I watched her fall to the ground. She immediately started screaming and several people came running from the bench where they had sat.

  I instantly stood up, afraid for the young child and how badly she might have been hurt.

  I too walked over to the growing crowd to make sure she was okay. She still screamed but was now in the arms of her mother. I got tears in my eyes listening to her cries of pain. It hurt my heart to see what happened and to hear her parents try to console her. I stood there wishing I could have done something. If only I could've been there to catch her, to somehow prevent her from getting hurt.

  I walked a little closer as the father announced he thought she broke her arm. I wanted to go to her and make her feel better. I wanted to heal her broken arm and make it like it never happened. I knew I couldn’t, but something inside me yearned for that girl. I felt helpless.

  “We’re taking her to the hospital,” the mother said to the few people that had come to help, as they too had watched the scene. “Thank you for your help.”

  I was still shaken up and ached for the girl, but I managed to walk back toward the swing and slowly sat down. I couldn’t stop the scene of her falling from playing over and over in my head. The poor thing.

  That night, I dreamt of Lily. I still couldn’t save her, but in my dream she had looked at me and asked for help. But I didn’t know how. And just before I woke up, I saw Mycah standing at the top of the jungle gym wearing the most sinister grin I had ever seen.

  Thoughts of Mycah’s evil stare had me creeped out the rest of my weekend. I was barely able to finish Rydan’s painting, but eventually I did. Every little noise made me jump half-expecting Mycah to grab me at any second from a dark corner. I had messed up the painting twice from being startled by strange sounds out in the school hallway. So when I walked into Algebra on Monday and my eyes connected with his, it took everything I had to stifle a scream.

  I could hear Mr. Dale talking, but it barely registered. I glanced in Mycah’s direction and noticed he was looking at me from the corner of his eye. It spooked me, making my elbow knock a pencil off my desk.

  It must've been plummeting to the floor, but as I quickly turned my head to helplessly watch, it didn’t even come close to touching the ground. With reflexes like a freakin' ninja, Mycah caught it in mid-flight. I jerked my head up at him and his face was only inches from mine. His eyes were smoldering, and his lips were turned up in the sexiest smirk on the planet. I tried to take a breath…he smelled so sweet.

  “Thanks,” I managed to whisper. I could barely hear my own words over my heartbeat pounding loudly in my ears.

  “You’re quite welcome, Nariella.” His voice was like silk. If I could only listen to one thing for the rest of my life, just one single thing, it would be Mycah saying my name like he just did.

  Wait…how did he know my name?

  As he went back to sit in his chair, my lungs began to burn from not breathing for so long. Without his close proximity, I was released from his hold and quickly drew air to my desperate lungs. My emotions for this boy were so mixed up that I didn’t know what to think. Unforgivable and unexplainable feelings were beginning to stir somewhere deep in my heart, and that scared me. I had never been more afraid of him. …And intrigued.

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