This story is by Bailey Posey and was part of our 2017 Fall Writing Contest. You can find all the writing contest stories here.
“Brae, I… I’m sorry. I never wanted to hurt you, I just… I need time, Brae! Time to myself. Time to figure out what I want in my life, who I want in my life… I’m so sorry.” Carter brushed my blonde hair behind my ear with his thumb, and smiled sadly. Tears filled my eyes, spilling over my rosy cheeks. He went to wipe them away, but I pulled back quickly.
“Carter, I… I gotta go.” I grabbed my purse and walked to my car silently, praying this was all just a dream.
* * *
I shook my head, snapping my eyes open. I rubbed my temple gently and sighed to myself. Carter, my ex boyfriend, and I broke up almost a year ago, and I still replay our break up from last December so often! I haven’t moved on yet, and oh how I miss him…
I grabbed my purse and car keys, slipped on my black fuzzy boots, and walked out to my car. I told my mom I’d come visit her today, to help her bake. As I stepped outside, the cold, crisp, October air bit my cheek, making me shiver. I pulled my flannel tighter, wrapping it over my black tee shirt.
Something that was stuck in my windshield wiper caught my eye. I slowly pulled out the little slip of paper and read over it. My heart raced, my stomach got butterflies, and my face lit up. I jumped in my car to reread it.
I miss you. And I have a surprise for you.
Follow the clues, and remember: at the end
of every treasure hunt is treasure.
The note attached said:
Go to the place that held our first dance,
The place that has memories of our romance.
I smirked. That jerk! He had the nerve to shut me out of his life entirely, for almost a year, and then he thinks he can leave a little note in my windshield, telling me to follow all these clues, and everything is fixed? Patched up? Perfect? I shook my head, sighing to myself. He makes me so angry, but my heart still longs for him. I wish I could say no to this dumb game, and I hated myself for picking up my phone…
“Mom? Something came up. I’m sorry. I’ll come by next week. Yeah, great! No, no, perfect. See you there!” I hung up the phone and took a deep breath. I’m really doing this. This is crazy… this is bizarre! And I’m doing it.
I thought back to the place we first danced at. I smiled at the memory of that amazing night. I just wish it never ended…
* * *
He grabbed my hand and stood me up, pulling me towards him gently. My Converse squeaked on the floor, and we both laughed. He spun me around, lifting me off the ground easily and expertly. I laughed and he said he adored my laugh. When he set me back on the ground, I tripped and fell into him. I apologized, laughing, and he pressed his forehead to mine. We both stood like that, dancing slowly, ignoring everyone around us.
* * *
I pulled my white beanie cap down over my hair as I pulled open the coffee shop doors. Immediately, my eyes shifted to the table in the corner, where we danced. I found a yellow rose with a clue attached.
The empty area where we spoke “I love you”,
There you will find the next clue.
As I stood in line for my coffee, I thought about that, sniffing my rose. Yellow rose. My favorite. The first time we said we loved each other, years ago, was still fresh in my mind.
* * *
My blonde hair was blowing in my face, the sun beating down on my shoulders. I laughed when his eyes bugged out as I lightly tipped the ferris wheel cart. When I sat back down, he held my hand. At the very top of the ferris wheel, he spoke softly. “I love you, Braelynn.”
I let out a little squeal and hid my face behind my hand. “I love you, too, Carter.”
* * *
The fairgrounds were empty and nearly silent. The October wind filled the silence, leaves fluttering from the trees. I smiled. fall is my favorite season. I walked to the area the ferris wheel usually is, and saw his sunglasses on the ground. The ones he wore that day. I sighed in content. The clue read:
It’s our Fourth of July hangout spot,
Our first kiss that made your cheeks all hot.
I laughed, putting his glasses on top of my beanie. That night was so much fun.
* * *
The fireworks exploded in the night sky in a stunning array of purple and blue. I grinned and laid back. Carter smirked, and poured a little bit of cold water on my face. I sputtered and laughed, sitting up. He stared into my eyes and bit his lip. I grabbed his tee shirt in my hand and pulled him towards me roughly. He smiled and I kissed him. He pulled away, said I was everything he needs, and kissed me again, running his hand through my hair.
* * *
I trudged up the park hill, and saw a match, a sparkler, and a clue lying on the grass. I smiled and threw my head back, laughing. I sat on the grass, and lit the match, then the sparkler. I spelled my name in the air, then Carter’s name. When it burned out, I read the clue.
Our first date, I took you where we couldn’t be seen,
You were sixteen, I was seventeen.
* * *
The trees were a beautiful green and the moment felt so right. His eyes twinkled in the sunlight as he pulled out my perfectly-done bun, letting my hair twist onto my shoulders in a complicated mess. I giggled and ran my hands through it gently. He told me to chase him. I laughed and said he was crazy. He shrugged and took off, weaving through the maze of trees.
“What!” I yelled, astounded. “Carter!”
I hurried off to find him. I screamed happily as his arms wrapped around my waist, and he swung me in the air. He set me down and whispered in my ear softly, “God, you’re just so beautiful.”
* * *
The breeze at the orchard blew my beanie and his sunglasses off my head.
“Hey! No, no, no!” I exclaimed, chasing after them.
I stopped abruptly in the trees when I saw a huge quilt on the grass. I was checking it out, when I heard a kind, gentle voice.
“Hey. This belongs to you.”
I looked up, startled. “Carter! Hi!” I giggled awkwardly.
He put my beanie on, adjusting it slightly.
“You always did look good in hats.” He grinned.
Stop, Braelynn. He hurt you, remember? He doesn’t care, remember? He LEFT you, remember?!
I smiled. “Thank you.”
He jammed his hands in his jean pockets. “So, uh… welcome to your last clue.”
He gestured to the quilt. “A picture of every date we have ever been on.”
I walked around it slowly. Us at breakfast, fourth of July, his house, the river, and finally, here. I laughed and wiped tears away. “Carter…” I smiled at him. “This is perfect! It’s beautiful.”
In return, he pulled out a chain from his pocket. There was a glass heart on it, and inside the heart, little rose petals. I screamed when he gave it to me. I couldn’t stop smiling, even if I tried.
“It’s the petals from the last rose I gave you.” He explained.
“Sssh, one more thing. Follow me.”
I followed him a few trees down, where orange, red, and brown fall leaves laid on the ground. I gasped as I looked a little closer. They spelled out, “Will you take me back?”
I looked at Carter. He took my hand, lacing our fingers together gently, and spun me around and around, He spun me until I collapsed into him, dizzy. The colorful assortment of fall leaves twirled around us, in a beautiful mess. I rested my head on his chest, and he kissed my head.
“I miss you, Braelynn.” He said.
I shouldn’t miss him… I know I shouldn’t! But I can’t ignore my feelings for this boy… My heart is racing, pounding. If I walked away now, I’d never forgive myself… Who else would do all this! Just for me…
“I miss you too, Carter.”
“I was dumb, and I was a fool. I know now, though, that I need you. I want to be with you, more than anything, I love you, Brae…”
God, how I love this boy… I need him back. I longed for him more than anything else.
“Will you take me back, beautiful?” He asked.
I grabbed his tee shirt, pulled him towards me, and kissed him for the first time in almost a year. Against his lips, I whispered, “Yes.”