Copyright© 2017 Rebecca Jane
All Rights Reserved.
Author's Note: Closing out this part of the story, I want to say that writing this has been an amazing experience for myself. I truly hope those of you that have read to this point, and who have endured my first attempt at writing a story, are left with a good feeling, and that you have enjoyed the journey I was lucky enough to take you on. Thank you, everyone… While this is the end of Robbie’s story, I’m not quite done though telling Rebecca’s journey. I will return to finish her story in her own book, once I have let my muse run wild on two other ideas that shes been distracting me with. Till the next story, peace everyone. ~Rebecca
I had been in deep thought after the conflict with Holly and her group, during the fireworks show No matter how I tried I couldn’t put everyone’s actions out of my mind. Even though I felt safe and protected sitting there in Paul’s lap with his arms wrapped around me, there was still a lot of uncertainty about what the future held, not only for myself but my friends as well. I was still worried about how my friend’s decision to stay by my side would affect them in the long run.
I was still thinking about everything, as we were driving back to Jen’s house with all the girls in Paul’s Mustang, when I noticed the night sky. The moon wasn’t very full, and with the clear night sky the stars were extraordinary bright. That’s when I had an idea. There had been a place that I would retreat to, ever since I had gotten my license, when I needed a place that was quiet and peaceful enough to think. Sadly I hadn’t been there in months… There had been no need for me to go back, at least once I had made my decision to end everything to escape from the hell I was in. The last several months since that fateful day with Jen, I learned that the hell I was living in I had created all on my own. I couldn’t help but imagine how beautiful and peaceful it would be tonight, and suddenly I wanted to go and to take Paul with me.
We made it back to Jen’s a little before 10 that night, they were having a New Year’s Eve party her parents were hosting. They had wanted a safe place for Jen and her friends to celebrate, and of course Paul and I were invited. While I did want to stay and celebrate with my friends, I much rather wanted some quiet time with Paul and myself. Jen was disappointed that we weren’t staying, but she thankfully understood after I explained why. She had been worried, just like everyone else, about me after the confrontation earlier. She also knew me well enough that after the overload of ‘excitement’ I needed some quiet time. I honestly think the only reason she let me go was because Paul was going to with me, she knew that he would look out for me. It was funny part of me resented that all these people were fussing over me… At the same time I was thankful for them, until just a few months ago I’d never had any of this and I guess I was still trying to get used to it.
Making sure that we had blankets still in the car, we headed out. I was giving Paul directions where to go and wasn’t telling him our destination. I think he was a bit miffed at me, but his curiosity was getting the better of him. I just grinned and kept giving him directions, as we headed outside of the city limits.
After making the third turn after we hit gravel roads, he asked, “So where did you find this place? I don’t think I could find my way back with a map and a compass.”
I laughed, “Actually Scott and I found this place back when we were kids and in the scouts.” I paused, because I was always afraid that Paul would respond negatively about hearing stories of when I was a boy. I knew it was a silly fear, he had actually never shown any signs of being upset about my past… Sadly I know even irrational fears are still real, especially when they are yours. “The troop campgrounds are actually only about a mile from where we’re headed, a bunch of us were wandering around on a day hike and came across it. It took me a while to find how to get here when I started driving, my old VW couldn’t take the route we took before. Trust me I think it will be worth it.”
He smiled back and reached over to squeeze my hand, which I readily accepted. He then said, “Rebecca I do trust you… But are you sure we can find our way out of here?”
Giggling, “Yes I am… Well mostly…” Then directed him to take another turn, one that you almost couldn’t see. From here on out the roads weren’t really maintained much, and the growth on the sides at times almost made the path disappear.
Chuckling, Paul just shook his head and muttered, “Well I still trust you, I’m afraid I might regret it though.” I let go of his hand and smacked his arm lightly, then clasped his hand again as we both sat there laughing.
As we made our last turn the lights from the Mustang illuminated some old girders attached to four big metal posts spaced about 35 ft apart, with stairs within the framework that reached up out of sight due to the canopy of the trees.
“Wow… What is this place?”, he asked, trying to figure out what it was.
“This is an old fire tower that the county used to use, its not in use anymore and hasn’t been in years. At least not for that…”, I tell him.
“What’s it used for now?”, He asked.
“Well theirs a repeater up there for radio stations and stuff like that, plus due to its height it has lights on the top so airplanes can see it at night. So the tower is still kept up, but nobody ever comes out here unless there’s a problem. Or so I think, I’ve never seen anyone else out here.” I say.
“Height?? How tall is it?”, he asked.
“Honestly I’m not sure… But the top is about 50-75 feet above the tree tops… The view tonight should be spectacular.” I say, smiling at him.
“Oh… So we’re going up there?”, He asked… He looked a bit nervous, but at the same time a bit excited. “We won’t get in trouble will we?”
I couldn’t help but laugh, “Did you not hear me? I’ve never seen anyone out here before, and I used to come out here a lot to… you know… think…” The reason I had quit coming out here, started weighing on me, but I quickly tried to shake it off. “So are you ready? I asked.
“I am if you are.” He boldly stated. I just grinned and grabbed the satchel the blankets were in and slung it over my shoulder.
While the gate was ‘locked’ the lock didn’t hold at all, after a gentle shake of the gate it popped open. Paul was looking at me with a questioning look, probably thinking how is girlfriend is an expert at ‘breaking and entering’. I knew that we weren’t supposed to be out here, but I had been out here so many times and I knew that tonight was going to be worth the risk.
We started climbing the stairs, and I thought thankfully that due to our running at least both of us were in good shape for the climb. The tree canopy had grown in so much there were places that we had to duck limbs that had grown into the railing, it really gave it the impression that we were climbing into nothingness. As we rounded the 8th flight of stairs we started breaking out of the canopy and were just given a glimpse of the view that was yet to come. It was breathtaking, the light of the partially full moon softly illuminated the tree tops that stretched on for miles, but at the same time wasn’t bright enough to blind us from seeing all the stars.
“Wow…” was all that Paul uttered.
Smiling I just said, “Told you. Just wait.”
We continued climbing, probably around another 5 flights before we hit the top of the stairs. It ended at a trap door that was securely padlocked, with no obvious way to keep going.
“So is this it?”, Paul asked. While the view was still quite spectacular, it was marred trying to look through the railing on the tower.
Shaking my head no, I said, “Ok this is where it gets exciting… I hope you’re not afraid of heights…” He shook his head, but looked at me with a very confused expression.
Making sure the satchel was secure around my shoulders and resting on my back, I stepped over the stair railing onto one of the support beams.
“Rebecca don’t…”, Paul started to say.
“I’ve done this hundreds of times, trust me okay… Look there are handholds and the beam is plenty safe to walk on, okay.” I continued on to the edge and maneuvered to the outside of the tower, to a ladder that went up the side of the building that was resting on the top of the tower. “Are you okay?” I asked. He just nodded and started to follow me as I climbed up the ladder to the top of the building.
Once were were both sitting on the top, the adrenaline of that last ten feet surging through us. Paul looked at me incredulously and muttered, “I can’t believe you talked me into this. This is crazy!”
“Paul… It’s okay… Look!”, I said and pointed out.
He turned and gasped as he took in the view. We were about 12 miles outside of town so we could see Starkville in the distance. The light from the town was like a beacon in the middle of nothingness. Since our eyes had already adjusted to the dim moonlight, the forest canopy rolled out away from us like waves of green as far as we could see. It kept going until it met the horizon, which we could only tell by where the green waves ended into a glistening night sky, with more stars than most ever get to see. He sat there in awe of what he was looking at for several moments.
I softly asked him, “So… Was it worth it?”
He blinked a few times, before turning to look at me still in amazement. “Yeah… I’ve never seen anything like this before… It’s amazing...”
Smiling softly, glad my idea was worth it, I whisper, “I used to come out here a lot, I’m really glad you’re here to see this with me.” The thoughts that had been running through my mind most of the night started to resurface, which I guess he noticed by my more subdued expression.
“Hey, are you okay?”, He asked.
Nodding, I said, “Yeah I am… Well mostly I guess… After what happened earlier tonight… I just… You know what, forget it I’m fine… It’s okay…” I tried to shake off the thoughts once more, and started to unpack the blankets. While the climb had kept us fairly warm, sitting up here with nothing to block the breeze it was starting to get really cold.
Paul helped me to unfold the blankets and wrapped them around us as he pulled me in tight next to him, “No you’re not… Something is bothering you… Talk to me okay, don’t forget I’m here for you. Don’t forget all of your friends that are here for you too.”
“Paul… That’s the main thing that’s bothering me.. Well not that I have you, or friends, that are here for me.. It’s just that… Look, I understand exactly how a lot of people are going to treat me… Holly has shown me, and most of the school administrators, exactly how a lot of people are going to be… I know how its going to be for me, but do you understand that? Do my friends?” I say softly.
“Of course we know that…”, He said sounding a bit upset, “Why do you think that we are here for you?”
“Wait… That’s not what I meant.”, I pleaded. The last thing I was trying to do was make him mad at me, so I continued much more carefully, “What I meant was, that you and all of my friends are going to endure the same as I do, simply for being with me… Why do you guys want to deal with that… I don’t understand…” Warm tears started to streak down my cold cheeks…
Paul’s expression softened, “Rebecca… You still don’t get it do you?” I shook my head trying to stop from crying. He gently put his hand on my cheek and made me look up at him. “Look… After everything that you’ve gone through up to now, and I mean all of it. Between you and Jen I think I’ve heard most of it, and I hate that you’ve endured so much… Because you are such a good and caring person… Even now with all of that, you are still trying to put your friends before yourself… That’s just one of the many reasons that they, err we, are staying by you…”
“But…”, I start to say before he cut me off.
“No buts are allowed…”, he said still holding my face and staring directly into my eyes, “Hey… Talking to Jen and Scott, hearing stories from when you all were kids… Plus hearing the other guys talk about how far you would go to help them understand their schoolwork… Yes you have changed… You’re not a guy named Robbie anymore… But that’s the only thing that has changed… You care for your friends, more than you care about yourself. You’ve supported people who at the time didn’t deserve it, but you still helped them… The people who love you, love who you are, and who you were… Not what you were, okay? Now that you’ve overcome so much… so much bullshit… They have told me that the person they’ve always cared about is still right here, but you are so much more of that person… You’re friends are here, because they love and respect you, more than they are afraid of what might happen… I’m telling you this, so let them love you… Let me love you…” His voice dropped off with that last statement, as he realized what he had said.
As his words, all of them, started to sink in as I stared into his soft brown eyes. The tears that had been forming increased, but it was no longer because I was afraid. He had told me that he loved me… I had believed that he did, but he’d never actually said those words. At that moment, and with that realization, made the cold I was feeling completely disappear and replaced by a strange warmth that I’d never felt before.
“Hey, why all the tears? Did I say something wrong?” He asked fearfully.
I shook my head smiling through the tears, “No you didn’t… You said you loved me…”
“Uhh… Yeah I did… I didn’t mean to make you upset, look just forget I said anything about…”, He started to say.
“Paul shut up okay!”, I exclaimed, which made him look at me confused, before I said much more softly, “I love you too… I have for awhile now… Hearing you say it… I’m just so…”
He completely shut me up, as he leaned in and kissed me directly on my lips. I started to try to pull back, I had so much more I wanted to say. Then as I felt the warmth of his arm around me and his other hand gently holding my cheek, those thoughts completely vanished as I felt his lips on mine. I started to return the kiss, it started out soft and tentative. After a few moments it grew much more passionate as we held on tightly to each other. We were completely lost within each other’s arms in that moment. We almost didn’t even hear the booms in the distance from people’s fireworks ringing in 1988.
I honestly didn’t know what the future would bring. I had ideas but as my life the last few months has taught me, things that we thought we knew can change with the slightest of incidents. For me is was a small outburst in a classroom that changed my life, changed it for the better in so many ways. So much had happened in the last few months, I reconnected with my best friend, I reconciled with my parents, I found new friends, I had met Paul, but most importantly I had found myself. I had so much in my life, I was about to burst with a happiness that I had never experienced before in my young life.
Sitting there on top of a fire tower in the middle of nowhere kissing my boyfriend I realized something. No matter what happened in my life, being true to myself and to my friends was directly what had helped me make it here.
The fireworks were blossoming all over the sky in the distance surrounding Starkville and where we sat gave us an amazing view. The reflections of the colorful explosions on the sea of iridescent green was beautiful. Well at least I assume it was… Neither Paul or I noticed as we were both kissing the person that we loved…
The End... For now…
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