Maybell Fairweather was the girl of my dreams.
Always smiling brightly, she kept going, despite the names her classmates called her behind her back.
She was full of curiosity and independence, the extent of which I could only be jealous of. Even though she had all odds stacked against her, she knew what she wanted from life and pursued it, no matter the cost.
She was completely my opposite in every way.
Perfect, even though she couldn’t see it.
Perfect … until me.
Because this is the story of how I ruined her.
Based on a true story. Standalone Romance. No cliffhanger.
PRE – ORDER LINKS
Sometimes we just have to live the fantasy in order to feel human again.
“It’s so peaceful out here,” she whispers.
“Yeah … I love it.”
“I just wish I could get up and stand under the trees. Just for a little while.”
I sit up and look at her, waiting until she opens her eyes. “Just standing or more?”
She smiles as she cocks her head towards me. “And maybe dance a little. If I could.”
The left side of my lips perk up into a smile. “You can.”
I get up from the bench, stand in front of her, and hold out both my hands.
“What are you doing?” she asks.
“Take my hands.”
“Why?” She looks at them tentatively.
“Just take them.”
It takes her a while to agree, probably because she’s scared. But there’s no reason to be. I won’t let her fall. I never will.
I pull her up into standing position.
“Hold onto me for support,” I say, and then take a step back until I’m so far back she has to come to me. “C’mon. Don’t be scared. I’m here.”
One, two, three. Hop. Her leg sways, but she stays put, putting every ounce of weight on my arms.
“Again,” I say, taking another step back and tugging her with me.
She goes along with it, taking another step of blind faith.
I never take my eyes off her as she continues to hop closer to me. Not even when we reach the center of the field. Leaves are scattered all around us, and when the wind blows a cascade of more leaves follow. Some drop on her head, making her giggle as she brushes them off.
Still, I can’t stop looking.
I’m no longer afraid or embarrassed about it.
I simply am … in love.
“What now?” she asks.
I pull her as close as I can so I can wrap both my arms around her. “Put your arms around my neck.”
She complies, her fingers lacing behind my neck. I can feel the warmth of her skin against mine, and as I soak in the heat of the sun I feel invigorated, strong. Strong enough to carry her across the ocean and back.
In one go I lift her up, her cheerful squeal creating goosebumps all over my body. Then I start to move my feet, one by one, until I’m no longer just walking … Until I’m dancing in a whirlwind of leaves … dancing with her in my arms.
The beauty of this place fades in comparison to her.
And even though I adore every inch of her presence, I do not deserve her.
But that doesn’t mean I can’t fulfill her dreams.
Her smile is wide, her teeth sparkling in the light of the sun. She looks so happy. Happier than I’ve ever seen her, and it fills me with something I’ve never experienced before. Hope.
After spinning and circling around for so many times, my head is getting dizzy, so I slowly come to a stop and admire the renewed look on her face. Her rosy cheeks. Her tousled hair floating in the wind. She leans away and grabs my hands as I pull her back to the seat once again.
As I walk out of the classroom door, I look through all the tiny little windows that line the wall of the gym class.
By accident, of course.
Obviously not because I know dance classes started there twenty minutes ago.
And most definitely not because I see her make a few twirls in a costume.
Every step I take is slower than the previous, until I’m sauntering as slow as a snail.
Because I’m tired, of course.
My hand touches the wall as my eyes refuse to let go of the image in front of me.
The way she swishes through the air, her feet light as feathers as they barely touch the ground, how her fingers twitch and her lips out while she performs the moves, the little quirks that are barely noticeable yet clearly there, and the grace with which she presents herself.
It has me completely enraptured.
So much so that I stumble over the first step of the stairs I forgot were there in the middle of the hallway.
Some girls pass me by, giggling behind their hands as I quickly get to my feet, my face glowing bright red.
They probably saw me looking, dammit.
I throw my backpack over my shoulder and run up the stairs, walking as far away from the gym as I possibly can until I find a table and chair in a corner of the school, which is where I sit down and stare ahead.
I watch the students come and go, none of them her.
Not that it matters. I shouldn’t even be thinking of her. It’s not like I could ever come close.
Like I’d ever be good enough for someone like her.
So I grab my books and throw them on the table, determined to finally not come home without having done my homework.
Ten minutes later, I’m completely frozen in place.
Not because of what I just read.
But because I smell her perfume … And when I look up and see her patched up Pucca bag, I feel the weight of the world pull me down.
From the corner of my eye I notice her walk to the lockers.
Goddammit, why did I forget the lockers were here? Of course she comes here after class.
I turn my head slowly, trying not to make it too obvious that I’m looking, but then I realize she’s not going to look my way. No one would if they saw what she saw.
Her first and last name, scribbled in permanent ink onto a total of three lockers, accompanied by the words ‘is a stupid bitch’.
She hesitates to open her locker, but then swallows away the fear as she pushes through. A dozen tiny papers come falling out and scatter on the ground. She picks one up, only to find it’s a picture of a potato … with her face below it.
Squinting, I can make out the text just underneath it.
Maybell Fairweather’s nose looks like a potato!
The longer she looks at it, the more sour her face turns, until that smile which I admire so much disappears into thin air, and all that’s left is the defeated look in her eyes as the tears start to gather.
She crumples up the paper and throws it in a bin, brushing away the single tear that rolls down her cheek. Then she starts to run.
Before I stand up to say something, she’s already long gone.
I mentally chastise myself, but it doesn’t help. It doesn’t make these bad feelings go away.
I’m always too late.
Too late to do anything. Too late to matter.
Too late to make a change.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Clarissa Wild is a New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author, best known for the dark Romance novel Mr. X. Her novels include the Fierce Series, the Delirious Series, Stalker Duology, Twenty-One (21), Ultimate Sin, VIKTOR, and Bad Teacher. She is also a writer of erotic romance such as the Blissful Series, The Billionaire’s Bet series, and the Enflamed Series. She is an avid reader and writer of sexy stories about hot men and feisty women. Her other loves include her furry cat friend and learning about different cultures. In her free time she enjoys watching all sorts of movies, reading tons of books and cooking her favorite meals.