Preppy: The Life & Death of Samuel Clearwater, Part Two

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The familiar light scent of saltwater wafted into the air. I used to inhale it like a drug that could get me high, but now it made my stomach roll and lurch to the point where I had to clutch my stomach to prevent the rising bile in my throat from spewing out, all because of the stench determined to invade all my senses.
The world I came back to was a spinning ferris wheel of sounds and light, assaulting me at every turn and I was helpless to make it stop, when all I wanted was to get off the fucking ride I never signed up to be on.
Logan’s Beach used to be my place. My security blanket. But coming out of the dark and into the blinding light I’d been craving for so fucking long wasn’t at all what I thought it would be.
It was a new kind of hell.
I was finally home, and all I wanted was a piece of normality. Well, normal for me. But being there, looking down at the only town that had ever been home to me, I felt anything but normal.
And anything but at home.
It was right then. In that very moment. While inhaling the clean air I once thrived on that now made me want to vomit. While listening to the familiar sounds that used to give me peace, but now echoed through my brain like jack hammers on pavement. It was right then I knew I would never find the kind of normal I used to know. The peace I once had.
Not there.
Never again.
My only hope was to find a new kind of normal, but to me that thought was scarier than any kind of torture I’d faced at the hands of Chop.
Which might explain why I’d sought her out.
Although the truth was I had no idea why I went to see her. Fuck, I didn’t even know if she’d be there. But once the shock of Grace’s death started to set in I remembered that Doe said Dre had been at the house and it kept playing those words over and over again in my head on repeat.
By the time I realized what I was doing I’d already snuck out in the middle of the night like some kid breaking curfew. Remembering that the window over the kitchen sink had a broken lock it wasn’t too hard to shimmy the window open and crawl inside.
The house was dark. Quiet.
Yet the second my feet hit the floor I knew she was there.
I FELT her.
All the doors in the hall were shut except for the room at the end the one that used to be the grow room. It was open but just a crack. Just enough to see the back of her head poking out of a sleeping bag along the wall beneath the back window. I wanted to see more of her so I’d opened the door slowly and was about to step into the room when she sighed heavily. That’s when I realized she was awake. Slowly I stepped back out of the room until I was in the safety of the kitchen. I pulled myself up on the counter and crawled out the window I’d came.
I was on the porch about to leave when I saw motion in the corner of my eye. That’s when I turned and saw her for the first time in what seemed like a lifetime.
I don’t know what I expected if and when I ever saw her again. But I certainly didn’t expect to feel like all the wind was stolen from my lungs.
She wore a plain white t-shirt just long enough to make me wonder if she was wearing shorts underneath, the hem brushing the tops of her thighs as she walked. Her shiny black hair was pulled into a high ponytail on top of her head. Against the moonlight it looked so dark it appeared almost blue, like the feathers of a black bird. I’d never seen her wear glasses before but she wore thick dark frames around her dark eyelashes that she pushed up the bridge of her nose as she shuffled into the kitchen.
I couldn’t move. I couldn’t bring myself to do anything but wonder again why the fuck I was even there in the first place and stand there like an asshole, gawking at the most beautiful fucking girl I’d ever seen. Even more beautiful than I remembered. More EVERYTHING than I remembered.
A flash of lightning in the sky caught her attention and that’s when her attention shifted to the door and she spotted me. Our eyes locked. My aching heart pounded against my chest and my every instinct screamed, go to her.
And I was going to. My brain had already sent the message to my leg to move and take that first step and I was about to when a flash of lightening interrupted my thought and instead I turned and darted back the way I came. Over the fence and through the woods when I realized that I couldn’t.
I wanted to. I wanted to with every fiber of my white trash being.
I just fucking COULDN’T.
That’s when my feet moved on their own accord and I found myself perched on top of the world I once conquered, wondering if I’d ever feel normal again when the platform rattled.
My neck snapped to the ladder that shook as if someone were climbing it. A set of feminine hands appeared, reaching up and gripping the handrail. It wasn’t until she was fully up on the platform, dusting herself off. Her dark hair blowing all around her face that she finally spoke. “You know, if you’re looking for a place to jump from, someone once told me that The Causeway has a mostly five-star rating on Yelp for best places in Logan’s Beach to end it all.”

DRE “Doc,” Preppy acknowledged. I knew he was there yet nothing could’ve prepared me for the impact of hearing his voice again. It hit me like an unexpected left hook, knocking me off my center of balance. I stumbled, grabbing on to the rusted railing in an attempt to make it look if it were the height causing my unsteadiness.
“Preppy,” I replied, clearing my throat when my voice came out scratchy and high pitched like a prepubescent boy.
There was no mistaking his sharp intake of breath.
“I heard you were dead. They had a funeral for you and everything you know,” I said.
“I was never really a rule follower.”
“You were never a law follower either but I never expected you to not listen to the laws of nature. You know. Life and death and all that. Most people don’t come back from that.”
“I’m not most people.”
“That I know.”
Preppy was sitting on the ledge on the far side, cloaked in the shadow of the tower. I could only make out the outline of his frame. There was a click of a lighter, the glowing flame hidden by his hand as he lit a cigarette and snapped the lighter shut.
“I heard the Causeway is a total tourist trap now,” he said, responding to my earlier statement. “I heard everyone offs themselves there. It’s too trendy. Every hipster from here to Miami is throwing themselves off that thing. I don’t know if you know this about me, but I’ve never been much of a crowd follower.”