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A note from God_is_Good

I'd like to thank Media, for his wonderful, wonderful kindness in creating me a cover that would draw more attention in the context of Royal Road.  Not sure if this cover is final, and there's still a lot that I have to think about, but for the next two weeks, I'm going to keep this one up as an experiment, and we'll see if it makes any difference.

 

He’s waiting for me exactly where he said he would, his lips pulled back in a perfect smile. It’s the first time that I’ve seen his face since that day so long ago in the classroom, and the sight of him sends a shudder pulsing across my spine.

I scan his face, taking in the sight of him and plastering it into my memory. He’s african american, with skin so dark it’s nearly black. He has a clean shaven face with dark, murky brown eyes and dimples, with an easy smile and perfect white teeth. He’s very tall and thin, and pretty muscular, his shoulders high and confident.

When he sees me, his face lights up, and he heads towards me with his hand outstretched. “Alyssa,” he says loudly, and several people turn to look at us. I quickly look down, feeling a little too embarrassed and hoping he doesn’t seriously see this as a date.

“Josh,” I say with forced enthusiasm, but he seems to see right through it.

He waves his hand dismissively, and leads me to a seat, and I slowly sit down, clenching my teeth together to stop myself from saying something I know I’ll regret.

“It’s Joshua,” he says. “I don’t think anyone really calls me Josh.” He shrugs and reaches forwards, grabbing my hand. His hand feels cold and clammy. I force myself to keep my hand in his, despite the disgust threatening to tear itself out of me.

His gaze softens. He sighs, and sits back on the chair, laying his arms on the table and staring at me thoughtfully. “Alyssa, I’ve been really worried about you, you know. Marya told me that you had leukemia. I’m sorry you have to go through that.”

“Don’t be,” I say bluntly. “It’s not your fault.”

He nods sympathetically, and I see pity in his eyes. My cheeks burn with shame, I hate it when he looks at me like that.

“It’ll be okay, Alyssa,” he says.

“No, it won’t be,” I argue, fighting back the tears stinging my eyes. “It will never be.”

He pulls his hand away, bending his head to look directly at my face. I shove my tears away and stare up and him, my shoulders falling in disappointment. This isn’t going how I thought this was going to go.

“Don’t talk like that,” he insists, his voice calm, but with a strange catch to it. “You can’t give up hope now, after you’ve come so far.”

My head shoots up and I glare at him with my eyes flashing with anger. “You have no idea what I’ve been through,” I cry, fury twisting my voice. “You have no idea how hard I’ve been working to fight this.”

“You’re right, I don’t,” he says quietly, and my heart twists inside me.  

Joshua seems to see my discomfort, but he doesn’t say anything, instead taking out his phone and flicking his fingers around for a bit before looking up and meeting my eyes. “If you don’t mind, I’m going to put on some music while we talk.”

I stare at him with realization hitting my heart, and I realize he’s trying to distract me from listening to the ‘bad influence’ songs that he had said I was listening to back in the classroom. My heart is aching, I just want him to stop, just want him to leave, but he keeps going, looking at me with his eyes crinkling at the corners and hitting the play button.

Music begins to flow, quietly at first, but then gaining speed, nostagia hitting me like a wave of thunder. Music, feelings, lost messages, crushed hopes, last moments spent in the place that I knew I would dream of being in for the rest of my life. A whisper, a guide, a finger pointing in a direction that I had never dared to go since three months ago had shoved me away.

If I die young, the music whispers. ...Sink me in the river...sing me away with the words of a love song…

I blink back sobs, my throat thick with bitter emotions, staring at Joshua in disbelief. Why did I not see this coming? Why did I not expect that he’d want me to come back to that day, to bring back emotions I never wanted to remember? Why was I sitting here, listening to him, staring at him, my mouth too heavy to move and tell him that no, I didn’t want to hear that song again.

But no, he just stares at me, slowly opening his mouth as if he wants to say something, and then shutting it again. Finally, he says very softly, his voice thick with emotion two words that would change everything. “I’m sorry.”

Lord make me a rainbow, and I'll shine down on my mother, she'll know I'm safe with you when she stands under my colours…

“What do you mean?” I ask him slowly, pressing my hands together and hoping that I heard him correctly.

“I said I’m sorry. For what I did last time, back in the classroom. I was trying to be your helper, trying to fix you, but what you really needed was a friend. I was...selfish, I guess. You were trying to show me something, trying to express your feeling and I rejected them. I wanted you to know the truth, and in the process, I ended up hurting you. And I’m sorry.”

Life ain't always what you think it oughta be, no ain't even grey, but she buries her baby… the sharp knife of a short life…

I nod, tears plinking onto the table in front of me. I don’t know what to say, don’t know what to tell him, but somehow, the words hit something within me. He’s sorry. He just told me he’s sorry. Maybe...maybe it’s not too late to start over.

“Do you think you can forgive me?”

I give a small smile, but it’s enough. His face lights up, he nods slowly, and winks at me. Against my will, I giggle, and I sit back against the seat, finding that with the music in the background, and Joshua in front of me, I feel strangely secure.

Well, I've had just enough time…

He clears his throat and smiles at me, rubbing the back of his neck and studying me carefully before saying. “Now, Alyssa, I have some really big news for you.”

I raise my eyebrows, my heart pounding within me. There’s something about the way that he’s looking at me, something in his eyes that catches my attention. I sit up straighter, completely unsure what he’s hinting at, but somehow feeling that I want it. Desperately, desperately want it.

“Marya wanted me to tell you that she and I are…” he cuts off, suddenly, giving me a goofy smile and running his hands through his hair before he starts again.. “Marya and I are dating.”

I jump up, shock pounding through me, a cold thrill echoing from my toes to the top of my skull. I fly backwards in my chair, standing up in shocked disbelief and staring at him, not sure whether to punch him for suggesting such a thing or hug him. “You’re...what?” I cry, far too loudly, because several people turn to look at us. “She did what?”

“We’re dating. We’ve known each other a while now, and after you left school, she started coming to me to talk and stuff because she didn’t really have anything else. She agreed to go out with me only like two weeks ago.”

I blink, suddenly finding thoughts whirling through my head that I know I can’t process. “You’re....I didn’t even know you were a couple. I mean, she didn’t tell me or…”

“She didn’t have the courage to call you, Alyssa, she wasn’t even sure she wanted to. She said there was a lot that happened after you talked, you had called your Mum or something and she wasn’t sure how you’d react to the news. She said you hated her, but I knew it wasn’t true.”

“Oh,” I whisper, my mind clouding with foggy, confused feelings, unsure what to feel, unsure what to do. “Oh,” I say again, finally.

“I hope that’s okay with you, Alyssa, she wanted to make sure. You’re her best friend, you know, and-”

“No, no, please,” I hold my hands out, choking out the words I know Marya must have been waiting forever for me to say. “You have my blessing.”

He grabs my hand and squeezes it, a huge smile exploding over his face. I choke back a huge array of thoughts waiting to be spoken, voices waiting to be heard but ashamed to say their thoughts. I don’t know what gift I can give Marya, what I can owe her to make up for the way that I shut her out, but maybe, just maybe that will be enough. Maybe the blessing, the hope for the future, the love that Joshua can give- maybe they’ll be exactly what she needs to know how much I care.

My heart feels heavy as I go back home, back to Mum, back to life away from the world. I’m not sure what to think, afraid of the feelings that threaten to swallow me up. Was Joshua really what Marya needed? Was someone like the freak from the classroom really the right one for her? What did she see in him? How could this happen now, right in the tangled mess of her father’s letter and my death date growing ever closer.

Who would have thought forever could be severed by the sharp knife of a short life… well I've had just enough time…

But maybe, just maybe, there can be beauty in this. Maybe Joshua will be what Marya will need. Maybe,freedom could be found through my blessing. Marya could find hope through the smallest thing I could possibly give. Four words of blessing, four words of a new start. You have my blessing. And maybe those were the only words that I could have said.

Maybe.

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A note from God_is_Good

A note to everyone:
From now on, I'm going to start posting lists of some of my favorite fictions that I've found, and the links.  It's a way of giving other authors more publicity and offering the chance to share some of my personal favorites.  If any of these appeal to you, please do read, I promise it will be worth it.

Wings of Sorrow:  https://royalroadl.com/fiction/15059/wings-of-sorrow  This novel is pretty much my favorite novel on Royal Road, because it has such a vivid setting and such well rounded and realistic characters.  The author has set up a really colorful world and a really, really strong stylistic voice.  It's a more gritty style, with lots of humor, and a masterful mix of both light and dark elements.  

Lucy Wickshire:  https://royalroadl.com/fiction/11638/lucy-wickshire  An extremely strong voice and unusual style pulls you in instantly, with facinating characters and plot twists around every corner.  This book really made me hunger for more, and really captivating me with a really unique approach to story telling. 

Sacrifice:  https://royalroadl.com/fiction/15234/sacrifice   Although the story is just beginning, already the emotion and the characters has grabbed me.  There's so much sorrow and bitterness here waiting to be explored, and the tension and drama the author creates between the characters is incredible.  This story really affected me, and if you give it a chance, I think it will affect you too.

Sylph Resurgence:  https://royalroadl.com/fiction/8299/sylph-resurgence   A really refreshing voice and extraordinary characters, this book is made up of three parts each of which really flow smoothly and grab your attention.  Despite a seemingly cliche plot, the book has a fresh originality to it that every one of us needs in our lives.

The Rider with the Golden Torc:  https://royalroadl.com/fiction/14970/the...olden-torc   A really rich voice and unusual peek into history make this novel different from the rest.  With strong yet flawed characters, this novel really sets the bar for what all of us authors should strive to be.  

Sins of the Father:  https://royalroadl.com/fiction/15770/sins-of-the-father   A relatively new fiction written by a friend of mine, this story was extraordinary.  With a lot of strong emotion, well developed characters, and a plot that made me cry multiple times, this story is just too good to be ignored.

Forest Born:  https://royalroadl.com/fiction/14859/forest-born   A really facinating and great quality story about a boy who wanders out into the woods, and what he finds there.  Amazing, amazing dialogue, really unique story.  Definitely a must-read.

The Greensdale Project:  https://royalroadl.com/fiction/15705/the...le-project  A fast-paced plot and wonderfully well thought out character capture your attention from the moment you start reading.  The author is clearly a master, who pulled at my emotions many times and gave me relationships and a story that I will root for until the end of time.

To this Kingdom Come:  https://royalroadl.com/fiction/15096/to-...ngdom-come  A really amazing adventure story with great characters, a fun plot, and just an overall captivating read.  It's the kind of book that grabs you from the first page and doesn't let you go, each twist and turn investing you more and more in an amazing story.


About the author

God_is_Good

  • Uganda
  • God_is_Good

Bio: I'm Elizabeth. She/her, a writer and needlepointer who spends way more time dreaming about her characters than actually writing.

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