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Lauren Johnson

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Lily's Ballad
By Lauren Johnson
Sunday, January 07, 2007

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This is my first short story. I've gone back and added some changes and placed some clarity where I think clarity should be placed.

Tell me what you think. I actually really like these characters, so I'm thinking about doing another part.

She didn't care that it was raining. Lily just sat there and let the rain soak her, she didn't have anywhere that she wanted to be. So, she sat. "You shouldn't sit out in the rain like this, you could catch a cold." A stranger sat next to her, close enough to lend his umbrella, but not close enough that she felt threatened. "No, thank you, that's fine," she didn't feel as though he should waste her time helping her. Even though, the young man had other thoughts of her. "You shouldn't sit out here alone." He had obviously noticed that she had been crying, and looked disheveled, as if she'd been in a fight. "No really I'm..." "No." He cut her off. "I'm going to sit here, until you come inside with me to have something warm to drink and eat." He gestured to the little coffee shop on the corner. She could see that he was cold and that he was really concerned for her, so she came with him. "What's your name?" "Lily." He smiled, he'd never met anyone with that name, and he always thought it was a pretty name. "What's yours?" she said sipping her tea. "James." "Thank you for the tea, James." "Don't mention it." James smiled at her some more. Lily felt a little uncomfortable, but didn't say anything. They talked and talked for about two hours. Lily had never talked so much with anyone before. She was graduating high school in a couple of weeks and this is the first time she had actually sat down with someone outside of school. The two realized how late it was getting and while James was trying to find a way to ask for her phone number Lily was already home and gone inside. She scolded herself later for not giving him her number or asking to meet him again. She thought she'd never see him again. Even though the next day wasn't a school day, Lily came to the same bench where she met James at the same time. The scene looked completely different because the sun was out. To her delight, he was sitting there, as if he was waiting for her. As she walked over her heart twisted as she saw another female run up to James and they talked excitedly for a long time. Lily just stood to the side afraid to walk up to him. Feeling silly for showing up without being asked to she walked away.
Just as soon as she was far away enough, she began to run away. "Lily!" She heard someone call her name for behind. Once she turned around she found James a few feet away from her; he was bent over and out of breath. "Wait. What are you running for?" "Well, um, I saw you, um, meeting someone so, ya know I thought that..." Lily continued to ramble for a while longer. James just smiled at her, he wasn't even listening to her anymore. "Come on. I want to show you something." He grabbed her hand and they crossed the street and just ran. Lily had never gone this way before. She usually just goes to school and back. "Wait, wait wait." Her chest was burning and she was out of breath. "Oh, I'm sorry. I forget that not everyone is on the track team." After Lily caught her breath she pleaded with James over and over again to tell her where they were going. "I'm not telling you. It would ruin it." It did enter Lily's mind that he could always kidnap her, but at this point in her life being kidnapped by James didn't seem like such a bad idea. "Where here." "What is this?" "You live in your city your whole life and you've never been here before?" "No, why would I?" James laughed. "Yesterday, you told me you liked plays. How do you feel about the ballet?" "I think they're great too." "My brother and sister go here. The school of performing arts. Every two months they have their own side plays, plays that the school doesn't have any involvement in. It's just something they all get together to do. Do you want to stay and watch the ballet they're having?" "Sure.Ē That was the first nicest thing anyone had done for Lily in a long time. She figured the tea was a fluke, because he pitied her, but this was different. He had actually listened to her the day before and done something nice for her. She enjoyed the ballet. It was the best thing she'd ever seen. Lily could tell that everyone worked really hard on it, even though it wasn't perfect, she admired them for their hard work. James walked Lily home, but Lily didn't want to go home without asking. "Um, I wanted to ask about earlier. I wanted to tell you why I was running." "It's okay, I'm tutoring Sara. She wanted to ask me if I would be free on Monday when she saw me sitting there." James smiled at Lily even wider before he continued. It made Lily blush. "So, I'll see you tomorrow. I'll take you somewhere else." "Oh, you don't have ..." He cut her off again. "No, Lily, I want to. See ya."

Lily felt great. For a split moment she felt as if it was some kind of cruel joke being played on her, but she quickly dismissed it. James' smile was a warm one, a smile without malice or an ulterior motive. It was a smile of earnest and kindness, something she hadn't seen for awhile. When she came home her mother was gone. It wasn't a shock to her, especially after what happened yesterday after school. When Lily got to her room, it was even more of mess than what it was then when she left it. Her sister came out the bathroom, with an obvious attitude. "Where've you been all day?" "Who did this?" Lily asked ignoring her older sibling. "Mom did, she said you stole something from her." "Stole what?" "Grandma's diamond ring." "That was given to me by grand mom. She already took the broach yesterday, didn't she get any money from that?" "She said she didn't get much for it and now she needs the ring. She went out looking for you, well, that's what she said she was doing." Lily's mom always went out, Lily didn't know when she would be back, but she knew she would be back for her grandmother's ring. Lily prayed that her mother wouldn't come home that night. The next morning she went into her banking account, the account she kept hidden from her mother and brought a cheaper ring, but one that looked simliar enough to her grandmothers. Lily put the ring in a hiding place that she knew her mother would find. She thought that would keep her away a couple of more weeks until graduation. Lily's sister, Rose watched her put the ring away. "You won't tell her will you?" "Of course not. " Of course Lily knew she was lying but there wasn't much she could do about it. Lily saw the time and realized she was late. She ran to the door, Rose followed her. Lily opened the door and James was there ready to knock. I thought I'd come pick you up. "Who are you?" Rose asked rudely. "I'm..." James started to answer not picking up on the rude tone. "Goodbye Rose." Lily got what she needed and brushed past Rose. She nearly ripped James' arm out as she dragged him down the street. "That's your sister, huh?" Lily didn't answer. "Is she the reason why you were crying when I met you?" Lily still didn't answer. "Hey, tell me. It's okay." Lily just looked at James. She looked really serious and she was really silent. "Okay, alright." James held out his hand and they walked together. The two went to the bus stop this time and Lily was silent for a while before she was over what happened. "Where are..." "You know the drill by now, it's a " "Surprise" They said together. A horn could be heard in the distance. It was James' older brother and sister, Michael and Holly. Holly was driving. "Do you two love birds want a ride?" They were both snickering. "Stop it. Yea, we do." It wasn't an old car, which surprised Lily. But she didn't know that much about James. "What's that?" James asked about the red box she had in her lap. "It's nothing." She said quietly. Michael kept looking in the back seat from time to time. It made Lily feel uncomfortable and James noticed. "Why are you doing that?" "Doing what?" He looked at her again. "That." "What do you care?" "Knock it off." "Oh, I'm sorry." "What are you doing?" Holly asked. "Nothing." Then he did it again and this time Holly saw him. "You creep people out when you do that." "I'm just looking at her." "Yes, but you're making her feel weird. Just ask your question and get over it." "What happened to your arm?" "My arm?" He noticed. Lily was hoping no one would of noticed. James didn't even notice and he usually does notice things like that. "Someone opened a door on me, they didn't realize I was on the other side." She was obviously lying, but then again she wasn't expecting that anyone would notice, how she clutched her arm. "Drop us off here." "Ohh, this one is special isn't she Jimmy?" "Knock it off." "This one, this is the only one Hol." "True. Well there was that other girl." "Well, she was dumb though. This one is just quiet." "Enough." James kept trying to get his brother and sister to stop. "Well, be back in about two or three hours." James jumped out of the car and opened the door for Lily, she was surprised.

They got out at the side of the park. "Come on." He took her all the way around and through this weird obstacle. Eventually they found a waterfall. "Isn't it great? I brought you a lunch." Lily laughed. "I made you a pie." "Really, James was shocked." It was the best pie he'd ever tasted. They sat by the waterfall and ate. James considered Lily for a moment. He watched her face, the way she ate, the way she blinked the way she did everything and he felt good. Lily caught him watching, but wasn't sure of what he was looking at. All of a sudden she just started. "My mother, she, she has a problem with money. She doesn't do well with it and she loses it easily. It's part of the reason why my father left. My grandmother died a couple of months ago. And my mother found out that she left me all of her jewelry. It's not worth much, but ya know, it was hers." Lily's voice began to break. "My mom demanded that I give her all of the jewelry." Lily was crying now.
"It was all I had left of her, but she took all that. All I have left is her engagement ring and she wants that. So, this morning I spent about two hundred on a fake ring. I hope hat she'll think that's grand momís but she'll find out when she goes to sell it." Lily was crying hard. "I didn't hurt my arm on accident. She pushed me and grabbed my arm so tightly that it bruised. I've saved up enough money. After graduation I'm leaving. I'm never coming back here." Lily was shaking her head and talking hysterically. James just sat quietly and sat beside her as she cried, he held her and rocked her. He didn't know what to tell her. Lily was just grateful that he didn't speak.

James asked his parents would it be alright if Lily stayed with them. Lily did not know it was discussed before hand, but she figured it was when they asked her the first night she came to dinner. Lily quickly accepted, and they offered because James' parents loved her right away. They said she was rare and beautiful, and it was exactly what James thought. Michael was always strange to her, and Holly was always very nice to her. Holly was the way Lily wished Rose would be, kind, sweet and loving like a sister.

Lily was able to not only hide her grandmother's ring from her mom for another two weeks, but for two weeks Lily's mother couldn't find her. She graduated, and her mother wasn't there to see her, nor was her sister. James told her it was jealousy because neither one of them graduated. That summer was the best summer.
James and Lily traveled anywhere they wanted to. Some trips were with Holly and Michael and some was just when they were alone. That summer James also got his car, so they can go anywhere. Lily felt free.

Lily was able to keep her money because of James parents. They liked her so much they said it was alright that they could live together, provided that they graduated college with no babies. James and his family moved from their small town to Philadelphia and took Lily with them. Lily and James lived together in an apartment downtown and they loved it. Yes, Lily and James had their problems but they loved each other and they were able to work them out. James went to college to become a director and Lily became a screenwriter. They always had small spats about how camera angles should go and what character should say what. Lily felt like she literally had started a new life, she wanted to learn more about James. About his life before she met him, James is more of a here and now person. She's sure he'll tell her one day, but for now they'll live for now and only speak of the future.

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