Never Say Forever

 For days, Kaleah was moping around the house. She wore nothing but sweat pants and barely showered. She spent most of her time in the basement, watching movies and taking naps. Sam started to get worried.

“Sam, what are you doing?” Kaleah asked as she woke up from her nap, startled.
“How long have you been on this couch for, Kaleah?” Sam asked.
“Just a few hours. I’ll get up now.” Kaleah responded, noticing the scared tone in Sam’s voice.“I thought you were a stronger person than this…is this seriously all about Hank?”
“I know it’s stupid, but this never happened to me before! And we was such a sweetheart for weeks before…it just hurts thinking that one day, I have this amazing man who I can’t get enough of, and then the next day, turns out he was a jerk and playing me all along.” She got up and walked into the bathroom, closing the door tightly behind her. Sam shook his head.

Sam tried everything to make her better. He would ask her to cook meals with him, but she would just sit on the counter and lick the spoons. He would ask her to go out with her, but she would fake sick so she didn’t have to leave. Even when she did something to make Sam happy, she wouldn’t do it right. She would just mope through everything they did. 

One Friday, a week after the whole Hank situation happened, Kaleah and Sam were sitting at the dining room table together.
“Kaleah, how come you’ve been missing your art classes? You really should start attending them again…you paid a lot of money for this course!” Sam asked, oblivious to the fact that Kaleah was spinning in her chair.
“I quit that class a months agos.” Kaleah slurred. Sam looked into her eyes.
“Why?” He asked, starting to notice Kaleah’s condition.
“Theys signeds me up for the wrongs class.” She slirred again. Sam noticed Kaleah’s glossy eyes.
“Kaleah, what’s wrong with you?” He asked. “Are you drunk?” He closer to her and smelled her breath. It smelled strongly of red wine.
“I only hads ones drink!” She said, sticking her hand in her cereal bowl like a toddler. “Look! Sam, look what I’m doing!” She laughed. “Funny, huh?” Sam shook his head. He walked over to the liquor cabinet and noticed it was nearly empty.
“Kaleah!” He called. “There was 4 bottles of wine in here last night!” He said, going back to sit down. 

“Okay, so yous caughts me! I hads a little more than ones drinks!” She giggled. “I’m going to go paint!” She explained as she quickly jumped out of her chair and ran upstairs. Sam looked at the clock—it was almost time for him to go to work! ‘I can’t just leave her like this…’ He thought as he got up to clean Kaleah's bowl.  

After loading her soggy dish, he decided to call Tyler to see if he would stop by to keep an eye on her while he was at work.
“Hello?” Sam heard through the phone.
“Hey, Ty. Listen…I need a favour.” Sam said.
“Sure, what’s up?” Tyler asked.
“I need you to come by today and keep an eye on Kaleah while I go to work.” Sam spoke hesitantly.
“Sam…what the…?” Tyler was confused at this odd question. “You want me to babysit your adult roommate?”
“She's drunk, Ty.” Sam confirmed.
Sam heard from upstairs. Tyler could hear it too through the phone. He was laughing.
“Sam, was that her?” Tyler asked between giggles. Sam smirked.
“Yup.” He responded, staring up at the ceiling.
Kaleah hollered from the top of the stairs.
“I’ll be right over.” Tyler quickly remarked before hanging up his end of the phone.
“NO, KALEAH, I DIDN’T!” Sam called back, shaking his head.

The doorbell rang shortly after Sam got off the phone with his friend. Instantly he knew who it was. He opened the door and stepped outside to speak with him. 

“Hey man!” Tyler hollered. “You called for a babysitter?” He laughed to himself.
“Ty!” Sam was frustrated. “Please take this seriously. I’ve never seen her act so weird before. She drank 4 whole bottles of wine to herself!”
“Wow! That girl can seriously hold her liquor if she’s not passed out by now!” Tyler said. Sam nodded. He escorted his friend inside the house. 

“Now, listen. I’m seriously late for work, so I have to go right now. Just…be gentle with her and try to get her to drink water or coffee or eat bread or something.” Sam explained.
“Sam…buddy…you know that I am the master of taking care of drunk girls!” Tyler popped his collar as he spoke so highly of himself. Sam rolled his eyes.
“She’s upstairs painting. I’m almost positive she’s out on the balcony. Remember—be gentle!” Sam made the I’m watching you gesture before preceding outside to his truck. Tyler rubbed his hands together.   

“Time to turn on the charm.” He told himself.
hesitantly began to climb the stairs to where Kaleah was waiting patiently. He still had never met her before, and he actually found himself feeling nervous. As he pep talked his way up to the balcony, he could hear her humming a soft, gentle tune to herself. He liked the way it sounded. He liked how beautiful her voice sounded. 

“Wow…gorgeous. Absolutely stunning!” He said as he entered the balcony and stood behind Kaleah. Kaleah jerked her head around quickly and smiled.
“You like it?” She slurred, turning back to her painting. Tyler looked at the canvas. To him, it looked like a sloppy mess of colors that he could’ve painted with his eyes closed.
“I was actually referring to…” Tyler stopped himself while remembering Sam’s clear instructions on being gentle. “…yeah, I do like it. It’s wonderful.”
“Thanks!” Kaleah chirped. “I paint all the time! It’s sort of…like…my….um…my uh….I forget what I was saying.”
“Your passion?” Tyler asked quickly.
“YES! Oh you are so smart! I should keep you around more often!” Kaleah pointed the paintbrush at Tyler, splatting black paint onto his brand new jeans. “Oh…uh oh! I made an oopsies!” Kaleah giggled. “Want me to try and get it off?” Tyler rubbed the spot of paint dry.
“No, it’s alright. I’m sure it will come out in the wash.” He lied. Kaleah shrugged her shoulders and turned back to her canvas.  

Kaleah started humming the same tune all over again. Tyler remained staring at the back of her head and just listened as the melody filled his ears.
“What song is that?” He whispered. He got no response. “Do you forget or something?” He asked again. However, he still got no response. She stopped humming almost instantaneously and stood staring at her canvas, not moving a single bone in her body.
“DONE!!!!” She hollered, out of no where, causing Tyler to jump. She put her things down and turned to Tyler. “It’s Chop Sticks. It’s a song you learn on the piano, but I never did. I learned how to hum it.” She smiled proudly.  

Tyler turned to face Kaleah. It was the first time Kaleah got a good enough look at who Tyler was. She grew really confused.
“Woah…hang on a second here!” She said, lowering her eyebrows. “You…you are not anybody that I know!” She hollered. “HOW DID YOU GET IN HERE?? WHO ARE YOU?? WHAT DO YOU WANT??” Tyler grabbed her shoulders to calm her down.
“RELAX!” He hollered over her screams. “Sam asked me to come by while he was at work! I’m his friend, Tyler!” Kaleah froze.
“Sam got me a babysitter?” She said, defensively. “Why would he do that?” She looked at the ground. “I can’t believe him! What a fricken jerk!”  

“Look at me!” She pointed to herself. “I am not a child!”
“No, but he’s just being…” Tyler tried to say.
“Being what? A control freak? Let me guess…he doesn’t want me going out and finding another man he doesn’t like! That’s it, isn’t it? God, I’m smart!”
“No, Kaleah…that’s not it at all!” Tyler tried to say again. He noticed Kaleah opening her mouth to say something else. He put his hand over her mouth so he could continue what he was saying. He could tell Kaleah didn’t like this at all. “He’s just being his usual self, Kaleah! He’s Sam! Worry-wart of the year!” He let her lips free.
“Why is he worried?” She gasped. “Are there rapers in this town?” Tyler giggled and shook his head.
“Your drunk, Kaleah. And not just kind of drunk, but super drunk! Like…4 bottles-of-wine-later type drunk, and painting on a two storey balcony!” Kaleah looked at the ground. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. You wouldn’t understand.” Kaleah started tearing up.
“You can tell me, Kaleah. I know you just met me, but I’m great at listening.” Tyler spoke softly.
“You reminding me that I’m drunk…it just…reminded me of the reason why I drank today in the first place. It just…hurts.” Kaleah folded her arms over her chest. Tyler sighed. 

“Hank Peloin, right?” Tyler asked. Kaleah looked into his eyes—her tears subsiding. She nodded her head. “Look, Kaleah. Hank is seriously an awful man! Sure he has the muscles, the looks, and the luring charm but that’s really all he has going for him!” Kaleah thought for a moment.
“No…he has a lot more going for him.”
“Oh really…I find that hard to believe. Like what?” Tyler asked, suspiciously.
“Hank had a beautiful smile and an addicting laugh. He was incredibly smart and interested in learning new things, just like I am! He had an amazing job and would still want to be with me even when I would bore him to death with pointless history lessons on Arthur Landgraab! He’s every woman’s dream!” Kaleah felt her eyes start to water again, and wiped her tears away with her sleeve.
“Kaleah, don’t you get it? Hank makes himself appear like every woman’s dream just to draw a woman in! He has pretended to be so many different things for so many different women just so he could get laid. Seriously…don’t take it personally. You were not the first girl he’s fooled and you won’t be the last! It could’ve happened to anybody! Unfortunately, it had to happen to you.”  He watched as a smile broke through Kaleah’s tears. “You know…getting as drunk as you did today…I bet that didn’t help much, did it?” Tyler asked.
“No, not really.” Kaleah said softly. “I guess it’s a mistake I’ll never make again.”
“Good. Because I would really like to get to know you…the real you…the sober you.” Tyler joked.

The two talked out on the balcony for hours. Well, Kaleah mainly talked for hours, but Tyler listened and liked hearing about her life and who she is. They talked about her favourite color and the dog named Kipper that she left behind in Iron Horse. They talked through dinner time, and even sunset, and before they knew it, it was dark out.


“…and that was how I ended up here, in Sunset Valley.” Kaleah finally finished. Tyler stared at her for a couple moments, without making a sound. “What?” Kaleah eventually asked. Tyler cupped Kaleah’s face in his hand. She closed her eyes at the feel of his soft skin.
“I don’t understand how Hank could’ve let you go like that.” He said low enough to be considered a whisper. “He had no idea how good he had it with you. You really did not deserve anything that man did to you.” Kaleah opened her eyes and felt a rush of gratefulness push through her.  

 In a sudden motion that startled Tyler, Kaleah jumped into Tyler’s arms and wrapped her arms around his brawn neck.
“Thank you. That was exactly what I’ve wanted to hear for the past week.” She said in his ear, causing a tingle to go up through Tyler’s spine as her warm breath tickled his neck. He let her down slowly and stared deep in her eyes, knowing exactly what was going to happen next.

Kaleah stepped one foot closer to him.
“Is this okay?” She whispered, not taking her seductive gaze away from his eyes. Tyler nodded. She wrapped her arms around his torso and held one on his shoulder blade and the other on the small of his back. He mirrored her movements as he wrapped his arms around her. “How about this?” She whispered again. Tyler nodded, unable to stand the sexual tension any longer. He started to lean forward, concentrating on her perfectly designed lips.  

Kaleah shortened the gap between their mouths by leaning in with him. Before they knew it, they’re lips were touching and the sparks started flying. Small kisses turned into French kisses and innocent grazing turned into dry humping. After minutes of this, Kaleah pulled her lips away, keeping her forehead tightly pressed against Tyler’s.
“It’s….getting a little cold outside. Let’s go to my room, where it’s warmer.” She said. Again, Tyler nodded, unable to find any words to say. He followed her off the balcony, and into the hallway, where she grabbed his hand and quickly made way to her bedroom.  

She went to freshen up in her bathroom, and came out just in time to watch Tyler get ready on the bed. ‘This is really going to happen…’ Kaleah thought to herself.  

Before she knew it, she was lying on the bed with him. Moments later, he grabbed her, pulled her tightly against his body, and started kissing her hard again, reaching over only once shut off the lamp. He unzipped her sweater as Kaleah unzipped his pants, and before they both could think about it any longer, they were under the covers.  

After the magic happened, they laid on Kaleah’s bed in a very awkward silence.
‘What have I done?’
Tyler asked himself. ‘Sam trusted me. He told me to be gentle…not sleep with her.’ He let out a sigh.

‘Well there goes the one moral I’ve been practising my entire life!’ Kaleah scolded herself. ‘Ugh…I could’ve broken it with someone a little better than him!’ She grumbled to herself.


Tyler, finally veering away from his thoughts, looked over at the clock. It read 9:03.
“Sam’s going to be home soon!” Tyler panicked, getting up off the bed.
“What is that supposed to mean?” Kaleah asked, quizzically.
“We….should go downstairs.” He said, not even bothering to look at her as he exited the room. Moments later, Kaleah followed. 

The two sat together at the dining room table, waiting patiently for Sam to come home. They stared at each other, neither one knowing what to say to break the awkward silence.
“We have to tell him, I hope you realize.” Tyler finally spoke.
“Why do we have to do that? It’s not any of his business…” Kaleah said defensively.
“I’m his best friend, Kaleah.”
“He trusted me to take care of you tonight.”
“Yeah, well…technically you did….just…in a different way than he expected.” Sam’s truck’s headlights illuminated the room through the window as he pulled into the driveway. Tyler gulped, and felt a bead of sweat falling from his forehead. He had never been so nervous in his entire life—not even when he goes up on stage. He watched the seconds hand on the clock on the wall click by as he waited for Sam to walk through the front door. Kaleah noticed Tyler’s nervousness and grew a little suspicious.  

“Hey, guys!” Sam said happily as he trotted in the front door. Immediately he headed towards the dining room. “What are you guys doing in there?” He asked.  

“How did your guys’ night go?” He asked, as another attempt to get a word out of one of his friends. Kaleah jerked her head towards Tyler as Tyler jerked his towards Kaleah. They stared at each other in a way that Sam could tell they were hiding something. “What?” He asked. “What’s going on?” Tyler looked at his friend, unable to look at him directly in the eyes.
“Sam…maybe you should sit down.” He spoke slowly.
“Why? What’s going on?” He asked again. “Tyler?”
“Sam…sit.” Kaleah motioned to the chair beside her. Sam gave in and sat down.  

When he sat down, Tyler and Kaleah still couldn’t speak. They sat in silence for a good few seconds.
“Is SOMEONE going to tell me what the hell is going on?” Sam grew frustrated. Kaleah looked at Tyler from the corner of her eyes. Tyler, who was looking up at the ceiling, found Kaleah’s gaze and shook his head.
“Why do I have to tell him?” He asked her.
“Because it was your idea!” She called back.
“Tell me what?” Sam hollered. Tyler sighed.
“Sam…there is really no easy way to tell you this.” Tyler stumbled for the words. “Me and Kaleah…well...” He held his breath. “…we slept together.” He spoke the last words very quickly. Sam’s expression went blank as Kaleah shook her head and stared at the wooden floor. 

Sam stood up and pushed his chair in after him.
Tyler…a word?” He said, unable to look at his friend. He walked out of the dining room and into the kitchen.  

“He is going to kill me!” Tyler whispered to Kaleah once Sam was out of the room.
“No he’s not! Just go!” Kaleah pushed him. “He’s waiting.” Tyler peered around the corner, smiled at his friend, and hesitantly walked over to join him in the kitchen. Kaleah stared at them, unable to hear anything through the thick, sound proof walls. 

"Look Sam…” Tyler spoke first. “I don’t know what to say…”
“I asked for you a simple favour. A favour that a 17 year old CHILD could’ve done better than you!” Sam started to get angry.
“I know, I know! Sam! Please…I’m sorry! It was a spur of the moment thing! Totally unplanned!”
“You’re telling me that you came over here without a single intention of getting with her?” Sam accused.
“Well…I mean…I definitely had my fantasies on the drive over here but definitely no intentions!” Tyler said the wrong thing.
“I trusted you!” Sam yelled, looking over at Kaleah to see if she heard. By the look on her face, she did. 

“Sam, I know! I said I was sorry!” Tyler yelled back.
“Giving her ’coffee and bread’ should not have translated to ‘get her in bed’ to you! You are supposed to be my best friend!” Sam spoke quieter, so Kaleah could no longer hear.
“I am your best friend, Sam! Friends can make mistakes!” Tyler said.
“Yeah…and friends can also be mad at their friends who made the mistakes. I’d like you to get the hell off my property now.” Sam pointed to the front door.
“Sam…” Tyler tried to say. 

“Sam!” He yelled.
TYLER, GET OUT!” Sam got right into Tyler’s face. Tyler stood still for a moment, staring at Sam, wondering why the hell he was reacting the way that he was. He backed up a couple steps before heading towards the front door. 

Sam took a few deep breaths, staring down at the floor. He shut his eyes tightly, and put his fingers to his temples. He looked up at the sound of a chair being pushed across a wooden floor. He stared at Kaleah as she slowly walked towards him. She stopped right beside the fridge. 

“You know…” She began. “…this entire week has been absolute crap for me. Today, it hit me harder and I drank to ease the pain, which turns out is a bad idea.” She smiled. Sam nodded his head, with a blank expression clearly pressed across his face. “Anyways…” Kaleah continued. “…You sent Tyler over here to keep me company while you were at work, which was really nice of you and I thank you for that. He said some things to me that made me feel important and confident in a way that I haven’t been able to feel all week and I loved that feeling again! One thing led to another and he quickly became my rebound guy.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Sam asked.
“Sam…I have a very strict rule that I set upon myself where I don’t sleep with men unless I am 100% exclusive with them.” Kaleah shook her head. “I went against my own rule and ruined everything just to feel the way I was again. Do you not realize how important this night was?” Sam shook his head. Kaleah walked closer to him before continuing. 

“I went against my own morals just to realize that I’m alright. I don’t need to cry over Hank anymore and feel like I’m not worth anything. You should be happy that Tyler was here for me to do this with, rather than some random guy I met on the street. I’m not defending what we did, because believe me…I do regret it.”
“Then what are you saying?” Sam was confused, but starting to feel more at ease with everything.
“I’m saying you still did what you were set out to do—cheer me up. You should at least be happy about that.” Sam laughed and shook his head. “What?” Kaleah asked, beginning to smile. 

“You know, Kaleah…if making love to somebody was what you needed to get over Hank, you could have just said so.” Sam joked, laughing hysterically. Kaleah, unable to recognize that it was a joke at first, started laughing with him 

“Can I tell you a secret?” Kaleah asked through tears from laughing. Sam nodded. Kaleah went closer to Sam’s ear. “It wasn’t even worth it. Tyler….is tiny!” She giggled as Sam broke out into another outburst of laughter.
“He constantly tells me that he’s a lady’s man! I knew it wasn’t true!” He managed to say when he caught his breath. 

“Anyways, I’m about to pass out. I think it is bed time for me.” Kaleah was finally able to say.
“You are going to be hurting tomorrow!” Sam teased.
“Ugh, don’t remind me. Good night!” Kaleah called over her shoulder as she headed for the stairs.
“Good night, Kaleah.” Sam called back. When she was out of sight, Sam let his face fall into his hands. He was really upset that Tyler had slept with his roommate…and he couldn’t understand why.  

The next morning, Sam was up at 8:00 scrambling around. It was Saturday, so he had the day off work. He planned a whole afternoon for him and Kaleah and when 11:00 rolled around and Kaleah was still sleeping, he decided to wake her up. He knocked on her door.
“Kaleah? You awake?” He asked through the wood. He got no response, so he went inside. 

He went to her lamp and turned it on.
“Kaleah?” He said softly. “Wake up.”
“Errrmm ugh…turn off the light!” Kaleah grumbled. “My head is killing me!” Sam laughed.
“You’re hung over…”
“Duh! Get out…I’m not getting out of my bed for the whole day.” Kaleah murmured 

“Sorry to burst your bubble, but yeah you are. In fact, you are going to get up right now, get ready and meet me downstairs in 20 minutes.” Sam said boldly. He turned to leave the room. 

Kaleah sat up quickly. She put her hand to her head and grunted at the fast movement. When she recovered, she asked,
“Why am I meeting you downstairs in 20 minutes?”
“You’ll see.” Sam smirked.  

“Sam! You can’t just wake me up for a reason and not tell me what that reason is! What is going on?” Kaleah asked, annoyed.
“Seriously, Kaleah. You’ll see. Just…dress yourself to be out for the entire afternoon. I have some things planned for us.”  

“I feel like I’m dying though…” Kaleah complained.
“Kaleah, just get up and stop complaining. Hang over or not, we’re going out today! You now have 18 minutes.” Sam laughed to himself before leaving through the doorway and shutting the door behind him. Kaleah sluggishly made herself get out of bed. 

She dragged her weakened body to her bathroom, and threw up in the toilet. ‘This is going to be awful!’ She complained, as she threw on some clothes, put her hair in a pony tail, and wrapped sunglasses around her ears to shield her eyes from the sun. She looked out the window before preceding downstairs. Sam was waiting in his truck with a basket of some sorts and two fishing poles in the box of his truck. 

“Look at you all fancied up! It’s been a while since I’ve seen you in anything other than sweats or shorts!” Sam yelled through his window as Kaleah walked towards his truck.
“Shut up.” She said, slowly making her way to the passenger side.

Kaleah couldn’t recognize where they were going, until they passed by the fancy bistro she had eaten at with Hank. They were heading in the direction of the park, and as she put the basket and fishing poles together with the location, she realized that Sam had planned a picnic. She smiled out her window at the cute idea.


“Come on, you have to eat something! I packed some really good burgers…just try one!” Sam complained once they arrived and set the picnic up. Kaleah was refusing to eat, as she felt sick to her stomach.
“Sam, I really don’t feel good. This was a bad idea for me to come…” Kaleah said.
“Trust me…greasy food is good for hang over’s. I put a lot of work into this plan, so just do me a favor and try it!” Sam snapped. Kaleah grew defensive.
“Okay, okay! Jeeze..."  

They ate in silence for a couple of minutes, basking in the beautiful day and the smell of the fresh flowers blooming. It was spring time, which meant that the weather had just begun to turn nice.
“So what brought you around to doing this today?” Kaleah asked after watching a couple of small birds fight over a worm in the field close by.
“Well I had a day off and after you told me that you felt better about the whole Hank situation, I figured you would be ready to finally leave the house. Besides, it’s been a while now since you’ve moved in and we’ve barely spent any time together. I thought it would be nice to take the day and get to know each other.” Sam smiled. Kaleah mirrored his expression.
“Well that’s very thoughtful Sam. Thank you. This is just what I needed.” Kaleah took a small bite from her burger. “And you were right…if I eat the burger slowly, it starts to help my stomach.”
“Told ya!” Sam smirked proudly. He caught a glance at the school across the park. “Hey…how have your art classes been going?” He asked once the school jolted his memory. Kaleah was shocked at this question.
“Didn't I tell you last night?” She asked, confused.
"Yeah...but you were slurring. I was more focussed on that fact rather than what you were saying." Sam stuck his tongue out. 

“I only ever went on the first day. It turns out, I got signed up for the wrong class and it just wasn’t the class for me. So I don’t have art classes anymore.” She said before taking a big bite of her burger. "It kind of sucks, because I came here for my art...and for those classes. Now I don't have those classes and it's been hard to focus on my art with all of this man drama in my life."
“So…what are you still doing here?” Sam asked.
“I signed a six month contract with our land lord stating that I will be living here for 6 months.”
“I see…” Sam felt a little offended that she didn’t mention him in her explanation, and couldn’t figure out why he somewhat expected her too.
“Now it’s your turn…” Kaleah giggled, putting her empty plate back into the picnic basket. 

“Please don’t make this question hurt….” Sam joked, putting his empty dish away as well. Kaleah giggled.
“I’ll try not too…” She said, taking a breath. “Okay so this Brie woman…you really loved her, huh?” Kaleah noticed the pain shoot across Sam’s face when she mentioned her name. “Sorry if it’s crossing a line…” She said, apologetically.
“No, it’s okay.” Sam sighed. “Yeah, I did really love her. And it turns out I don’t take well to heartbreak. We broke up 5 years ago and I just recently got over her.”
“You’re sensitive.” Kaleah accused. “That’s a good quality for a guy to have.” She smiled. “I’m a strong believer in fate…if things were meant to happen in a certain way, then they will happen in that certain way. Obviously you and Brie weren’t meant to be together, if you’re not together to this day.”
“I’ve adopted that belief recently, as well.” Sam smiled. Kaleah nodded and thought about what to say next.
“So…what do you do for fun?” She finally asked.
“Hey! No fair! You got to ask 2 questions!” Sam teased. Kaleah smiled and shrugged her shoulders. Sam looked over at the pond and quickly stood up. 

“Where are you going?” Kaleah asked, looking up at her friend.
“Come on!” Sam said, poking his foot into Kaleah’s hip. “You asked me what I like to do for fun….follow me!” Sam took off running towards the pond. 

“I’m not following you!” Kaleah yelled over her shoulder.
“Come on! Don’t be a downer!” Sam joked, looking at his reflection in the water of the pond.
‘I am way too hung over for this…’
Kaleah thought to herself before getting up to join Sam at the pond. 

“Please don't tell me that you swim in disgusting pond water for fun…” Kaleah said, catching her breath. Sam laughed.
“Swim in pond water? Are you crazy?” He circled the pond, staring into the water the entire time. Kaleah stood there, watching him.
“What are you doing?” She finally asked. Sam looked up from the water and smiled at Kaleah. He grabbed an old fishing pole that he found on the ground and untangled the fishing line.
“I’m a natural born angler.” Sam said proudly. “I love to fish.” He lowered his hook into the pond. 

“Ew…” Kaleah said. Sam looked at her, feeling a little offended.
“What’s so gross about that?” He asked, shocked.
“Fish are slimy and gross and smell really bad. To me, fishing is the worst sport.” Kaleah scrunched up her nose as she watched a small fish circle the surface of the pond.
“Fishing is the one thing I can do every single day of my life. It relaxes me…” Sam closed his eyes and let the sun hit his face. 

They stood there in silence for a good twenty minutes. Sam hadn’t even gotten so much as a nibble.
“This is boring.” Kaleah whined. “Can we go now?”
“Kaleah, you asked what I did for fun.” Sam smiled. “And I already had this planned as part of our afternoon.”
“What did you plan? For you to fish and me to stand here and watch?”
“No!” Sam laughed. He reeled in his fish hook and tossed the fishing pole back on the ground where he found it. “I hadn’t planned to fish here. And I brought a fishing pole for you. It’s in my truck…”
“Where did you plan to go fishing?”
"The beach.” Sam smiled, grabbing Kaleah’s arm to guide her towards the truck. Kaleah didn’t move. “What’s wrong?” Sam asked, confused.
“I’m not going to the beach.” Kaleah complained. “There is no way in hell I am going back to that god damn beach.” She felt hurt as she remembered the memories she had of the beach she found to be so beautiful. 

“Why won’t you go to the beach?” Sam asked quizzically.
“I don’t want to explain…” Kaleah responded, looking down at the grass. Sam took his finger and placed it gently under her chin. He raised her head back up so she was looking back at Sam.
“Hank?” He asked quietly. Kaleah nodded.
“It’s a beautiful beach too! The promenade and the lighthouse in the distance…even the nice view of the Landgraab mansion is gorgeous! I wish I hadn’t done anything with Hank there…” Kaleah could feel her eyes swelling up and a lump forming in her throat. She did everything she could to not start crying.
“Oh…hang on here….” Sam smiled. “That’s Sunset Beach…that’s the public beach…”
“Yeah, so?” Kaleah was confused.
“So…that’s not a beach where you can fish!” Sam stared at Kaleah, who was still confused. “Kaleah…that’s not the beach I was going to take you too!” She was still confused. “Ugh….come on.” He grabbed her arm again and guided her towards the truck. 

They pulled over near a hill, and Sam immediately got out and started running down the path.
“Sam?!” Kaleah called out after him. He didn’t stop, so she had no choice but to quickly run and follow him. It took her a couple minutes to catch up…the path seemed like it went forever. When she finally caught up to Sam, he was standing a few feet from the water’s edge and staring out into the ocean. There was nothing in site…not an isle, not a rock…not even a boat. It was just open, calm water. It was mesmerizing. 

Kaleah walked up closer to the water’s edge, with her back to Sam. They didn’t speak. They both stood there, getting lost in the water’s glare, thinking to themselves.

“Sam?” Kaleah finally said after a long moment of silence. “This place…it’s so…quiet. It’s beautiful.” She turned to face him. He was smiling at her.
“Nobody really knows about this beach. It’s almost always deserted.”  Kaleah walked up to Sam.


“How did you find out about it?” She asked him.
“Me and my friends….well…in high school, we were sort of…um…hoodlums?” Sam laughed.
“What do you mean?”
“We would always do things we weren’t supposed to do, and reeked havoc on a lot of things.” Sam cleared his throat. “Anyways, we skipped class one day for the senior’s prank and brought the frogs from the biology lab with us. We drove around forever, unsure where we were going. We stumbled upon that path and decided that we should explore it. The path brought us here.”
“What did the frogs have to do with anything?”
“Well, our high school has a day near the end of the school year in which the senior’s pull a school prank. We stole the frogs…and left rabbits in their places. They were in special specimen cages, covered in a black sheet. The point was that when the biology students would go to dissect their frogs, they would pull off the black sheet and see rabbits. It was funnier at the time…” Sam smirked. “Anyways, we let them free down here and we decided that this would be our official hang out every since.”
“Do you still see any of those friends?” Kaleah asked. Sam nodded.
“I see Tyler. The rest, though, I don’t really speak to anymore. I mean…I could if I wanted to…but once me and Brianne broke up, they all sort of ignored me.” 

 “But Tyler didn’t?” Kaleah asked. Sam shook his head.
“He was the only one that was there for me.” Sam looked down at the sand and thought to himself for a few moments. “But he’s wrecked it now…I can never look at him the same again, after what happened last night.”
“Sam…” Kaleah looked at him sideways. “You’re telling me that, because I slept with him, you’re not going to be his friend anymore?”
“It’s not because you slept with him…its because you were drunk and he took advantage of you. He breached my trust. I just…can’t forgive him for that.” 
“Sam…don’t throw away a friendship like that because of a stupid mistake!” Kaleah lectured. “He didn’t come on to me…I initiated it all…”
“You were drunk.” Sam repeated. Kaleah sighed. Sam, realizing the direction the conversation was going, looked over at the water. He looked from Kaleah, back to the water, and then at Kaleah again. Slowly, he started walking away.
“Where are you going?” Kaleah asked.

“Come on!” Sam said, starting to run down the beach.
“Wha….!” Kaleah tried to say, but Sam was already too far away for him to hear her. ‘Great…more running…’ Kaleah thought as she turned around and ran after Sam. 

Sam finally started slowing down when he came up to the end of the shore. The area was surrounded by rocks and trees and was enclosed by the giant hill. The only thing you could hear was the ocean waves rolling swiftly onto the sand. The only thing you could smell and taste was the salty water. The only thing you could see was a surrounding beauty. The only thing you could feel was the cool, ocean breeze blowing patiently around you. It was a solitary bliss that Sam hadn’t felt in a very long time. He took in this feeling while he still had time before Kaleah caught up to him.


“This is the best spot to fish!” Sam told Kaleah when he heard her breathing behind him. He turned to face her. “Ready for a lesson?” He teased.
“Sam, I really don’t….” Kaleah tried to say.
“I don’t care…you’re going to try!” Sam interrupted her. He grabbed the fishing poles and handed one to Kaleah.


“To use a fishing rod is quite simple once you get the hang of it.” Sam instructed as he approached the water’s edge. “All you do is hold down the button on the reel, whip the pole back, and then when you swing it forward, you let go of the button.” He demonstrated. “You try.”  Kaleah tried three times before she finally got her fishing line to go into the water.
“Was that right?” She asked, smiling. Sam nodded. “Maybe this isn’t so bad after all.”
“You’ll soon start to love it.” Sam smiled, staring out into the ocean.

They fished for a couple of hours, catching a few anchovy’s and a minnow. They barely spoke, and got lost in their own thoughts. The sun was beginning to go down.


“Sam?” Kaleah asked after casting her fishing rod.
“Yeah?” Sam responded.
“That night…when you and Hank were fighting…” Kaleah paused, unsure how to word the rest of her sentence.
“Mhm…” Sam was hesitant to listen to the rest of her question.
“Well…Hank…said something about your mom being in jail for her addiction to drugs?” Kaleah asked.
“And you said he planted them on her.”
“What’s the story behind that?” Kaleah reeled in her line and casted it one more time. Sam sighed.
“My mom and Hank’s mom were on the parent’s board together back when we were in school. They were friends, at first, but they got into an argument about whose son was going to be more successful.” Sam smirked. “They got into quite the fight about it. One day after a school concert, Hank's mom slapped my mom outside of the auditorium. After that, the fight escalated and my mom decided that she was going to steal something that belonged to Hank’s mom at a board meeting one day.”
“I don’t know…she thought it would get back at her. She stole Hank’s mom’s diamond bracelet. She would always take it off during board meetings to hide her wealth and she would keep it in a side pocket of her purse. My mom just…took it one day.” 

“Oh…” Kaleah stared at Sam as he spoke.
“Anyways, Hank’s mom knew it was my mom who stole it, but my mom destroyed it so there was no proof. That was the day that Hank and I started fighting, when we were defending our moms. Of course, I had no idea that she stole it at the time. In fact, she denied that she did to me.” Sam paused. “It turns out that the bracelet was a family heirloom and it was worth over a couple million. A few years later, once Hank became a cop, he decided to get revenge for his mom. He planted drugs on my mom, raided her house, and had her sent to jail for 10 years.”
“Holy! 10 years just for having drugs?” Kaleah was shocked. Sam nodded.
“It was a lot of drugs. Hank set it all up so it looked like my mom was running a grow-op and was selling drugs that she made in her home.”
“Oh my goodness…how did your dad take it?” Kaleah asked. Sam winced at the question. 

He reeled in a fish before he spoke.
“My dad’s dead.” Sam swallowed a lump that was forming in his throat.
“Oh my god…I’m so sorry. I didn’t know…” Kaleah felt embarrassed.
“Oh, how could you have known? Don’t worry about it.” Sam threw the anchovy back into the water. “He died when I was 12. He had lung cancer.” Kaleah felt horrible for bringing back the painful memory into Sam’s head. Sam noticed the expression on her face. He put his pole down and walked over to her. 

“Hey…” Sam said. “Don’t feel bad for asking. It’s good you know this about me…all of it…” Sam smiled.
“Well I’m glad I do.” Kaleah mirrored her smile. She focussed back onto her fishing pole and Sam noticed she was holding it wrong.


He grabbed her hands and placed it properly on the handle.
“Here…” He said, as he was helping her. “This should feel less awkward.” He laughed.
“Thanks.” Kaleah smiled. She reeled in her line one last time before putting her pole on the ground. She turned to face Sam. 

“Thank you…” She said, “…for bringing me here today. This whole afternoon was really nice…it was exactly what I needed!”
“Well it was fun.” Sam responded. “And you’re welcome.”
“I feel a lot more connected to you now…now that we had all these talks and spent this time together. I feel like…” Kaleah thought about her words. “…I feel like we’ve really become friends now. I’m glad I’m your roommate.” Kaleah smiled. 

They smiled at each other for a few moments.
“I’m glad you feel that way.” Sam finally said.
“Me too.” Kaleah responded softly.
“It’s getting late…” Sam explained, looking over at the sunset. “We should get home.” Kaleah nodded. 

“Last one to the truck has to cook dinner!” Sam hollered before quickly turning to sprint away.
“Oh my gosh!” Kaleah yelled after him, laughing. “How much more running are we seriously going to do today?” Sam didn’t respond. He kept on running. Kaleah quickly ran after him. 

“I don’t even know how to cook anything!” Kaleah yelled at Sam when she realized she wasn’t going to beat him.
“I’m sure you’ll think of something!” Sam teased, gaining speed. Sam got to the truck first, Kaleah so far behind that he couldn’t even see her. As he propped himself up on his truck to wait, his cell phone rang. He grabbed it out of his pocket and read the caller ID. It was Tyler. He hesitated with his thumb over the answer button, staring at his friend’s name. It seemed to have rang forever, before Kaleah finally got to the truck. He clicked ignore when he saw her, smiled, and put his phone back in his pocket.
“I win!” He teased.
“Of course you did. I’m hung over, remember?” Kaleah laughed, bending over to catch her breath. “Who was that?” She asked, referring to the phone call Sam ignored.
“It was…” Sam hesitated. “Nobody…just an annoying friend I used to know. Not even worth answering.” 

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