Did you ever have a childhood friend?
Your only friend…
One that drove you crazy but you craved more?
Clay Keller isn’t a little boy anymore
And I’m certainly not a little girl.
I need him, and I think he needs me, too!
Iris Everly is trying to figure out her place in the world. A world that has caused her heartache, loneliness, and uncertainty of her future. When her sisters and the Keller boys return from college she is forced to face some of the pain from her past but it also allows her to open her heart to new possibilities and maybe even love.
Growing up next to the Keller boys was anything but easy for me. I didn’t shine like my sisters. No one ever really noticed me, except for Clay. He stole my heart when I was only eleven years old, and I never got it back. Now that he’s coming around again, I’m not sure how long I’ll be able to resist the temptation – especially when he’s tall, ripped, and looking sexy as hell.
Do you ever feel like you don’t belong?
Not in school or in your family, but in the universe? I’ve lived my life inside my books, inside my house, inside this small, pacific town and it’s all I’ve ever known. It’s not that I don’t have dreams—I do. I have big dreams, but there is a difference between having a dream and a goal. I know that there is more to life, but I don’t feel like life would welcome me anywhere else. I graduate high school in one week, and while I can’t wait to get out because I don’t fit in, I can’t help but wonder if I will always be stuck in this in-between. Sitting on my bed, I look out my window and see the oak I planted when I was five years old that sets between my house and the farm. I remember watching it day after day and becoming so discouraged when it didn’t grow. Eventually, I stopped paying attention to it, and it grew. Now it is this big beautiful tree with so many branches and leaves. I wonder if I stop thinking so much about growing up and my future if it will just happen. One day at a time, the way it’s meant to be.
Iris is your typical high schooler who also likes Steve Jobs:
“Good evening, fellow classmates. I am humbled to have the honor of speaking on behalf of the class of 2019. Today is a turning point in our lives. We have spent the last four years in the halls and classrooms of this school just to prepare us for this special day…”
I forge on. My speech is long but meaningful, and hope I have touched at least one person in attendance. I close with a quote from Steve Jobs: “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” I choke on my words a little, but everyone claps, and I take my seat. I am still holding my speech in my hand and I re-read the quote to myself a couple of times. My heart and my intuition know what I want. But do I have the courage?
When my dad moved us across town and away from the life we knew and loved, a part of me was left behind – tucked deep inside the soul of an Everly beauty. No matter how much time has passed, my thoughts have always made their way back to her. Now that I’m home for the summer, I have one thing on my mind – getting the girl next door.
“I’ve had a crush on you since I was eleven years old. When you moved out of your old house, I felt like you took part of me with you. These past couple weeks have been the best of my life and I don’t want it to end. What I’m saying is that… all I want is you, all of you, but I’m scared.” My face feels hot and I’m starting to shake and I know he can feel it.
Here’s a bittersweet romance between two near-adults who just fell in love before they had to move away for college:
“I love you,” he says again.
“Don’t say that. Don’t tell me that because you think it’s what I need to hear,” I say with my face an inch away from his.
“I’m not, I mean it. I’ve always loved you. From the first time that I kissed you when I was twelve years old. When I walked away, I told myself that I was going to marry you one day.”
I can’t breathe and I feel my heart is no longer beating. I stand frozen and I repeat what he said over and over in my head. Marriage? He loves me?
“But—” I can’t finish because he presses his sweet lips into mine. I can’t even think right now. I kiss him back.
“I love you, too,” I manage in-between breaths.
Cute and warming. Good writing, lovely characters. I can’t wait to see what Rachel’s gonna write next!