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Authors: L.L. Collins

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Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella (14 page)

BOOK: Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella
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“Thank you,” he said. “It’s no wonder that Alexis is as amazing as she is. She has great parents.”

“Tell her,” Ben said, standing up as Alexis came back out, followed by Sam and the rest of the crew. “You won’t regret it. The best thing I ever did was tell Kayley how I felt.”

He watched as Alexis followed Sam to the makeshift stage. The kids ran and plopped back in their spots, and the adults settled back for the rest of her performance.

Greer’s eyes widened as he saw Alexis step up to the mike. “Greer, you mean so much to me. Meeting you has changed my life in so many ways. I wanted to ask if you would please come up front with me.”

His heart started pounding as he thought about walking up there. What if he tripped and fell into the pool or something else ridiculous? Everyone would laugh at him
No
, he told himself.
No one is laughing at you here
. He forced his legs to stand up and start walking, and he didn’t miss the surprise on Alexis’ face that he was doing it without much hesitation.

He stopped not far from her, eyeing Sam as she perched on the stool behind Alexis.

“This next song is not by Sam, but I asked her to sing it because I think it’s so important for you to hear it. Like really, really hear it, Greer. I don’t ever want you to think that you’re less important because of what people have said to you. You’re very special to me, and I want you to understand how much.”

With that, she stepped off the stage and walked up to Greer as Sam and the guys started the song.

“Will you dance with me? Please?”

Greer hated to dance. He had no coordination and knew he looked like a fool. But right now, he thought he might possibly jump off a building if she asked him to.

“I don’t know how,” he whispered.

“Like this,” Alexis said, taking his hands and putting them around her waist. She wrapped her arms around his neck and started swaying back and forth. This was nice. She fit into him like she was meant to be there, and he could actually move with her without standing on her toes.

“Listen to the lyrics,” she said. “This is what I want you to understand.”

Greer didn’t want to look away from Alexis, but he tuned his ears into the song Sam was beginning to sing.

“What song is this?”

“Invisible by Hunter Hayes,” she answered. “But you aren’t invisible to me, Greer Henderson.” She put her head on his chest, and he closed his eyes as the lyrics surrounded both of them. It took him a moment to realize that she was singing, her chest vibrating against his.

He knew a whole lot about being angry and upset. But what he had never really done was cry because something had touched him so deeply. But as the song continued in Sam’s beautiful voice, with Alexis tucked against him singing along, Greer felt tears falling down his cheeks. He wasn’t invisible to her. She understood him and liked him for who he was. Other people’s opinions of him didn’t make any difference. He had been labeled and ridiculed his whole life from peers and strangers, but standing here on the patio of Sam Kerrigan’s beach house with the girl he loved wrapped around him, he was understood. For the first time in his life, someone got him.

She tipped her head back as Sam finished the song and started another slow song and saw his tears. “Greer.”

“I’m okay, Alexis. Thank you for seeing me. You mean so much to me. Sometimes, the words I want to say can’t come out. But, there are some words I know.”

She smiled, using her fingertips to trace his face. He loved when she did that. “You don’t give yourself enough credit.”

“I love you, Alexis.”

Her eyes widened at his words, and he wondered if she was going to panic. They had only known each other five months. Less than half a year. Maybe it was too soon. What did he know about doing this? He was clueless. Tears filled her eyes, and he wished he knew whether they were happy or sad.

“Greer. I love you, Greer. So much.” He pulled her up so her face was even with his and kissed her, knowing that they weren’t alone on the patio. The other couples were dancing or chatting, and the kids were running around on the beach, oblivious. His heart pounded as they continued moving their lips slowly on each other’s. She loved him.

 

 

 

“I think I’m brain dead,” Alexis grumbled, throwing her pencil on top of her notebook. She and Greer had been in the library for hours, studying for finals. She was at the end of her first year already and she couldn’t believe it. Time was flying by. She was staying in Tallahassee for a summer session, but she couldn’t stay in the dorms so Greer’s mom was letting her stay in their spare room. Alexis would go home for the month in between summer classes and when cheer practice started again. She had been voted one of next year’s captains, even though she was only going to be in her second year.

Things with Greer ever since his birthday had been amazing. She had never been happier. On her nineteenth birthday a few weeks ago, he had taken her to a nice restaurant and then they had gone bowling, one of his favorite things to do. Alexis loved nothing more than spending time with him doing the things he loved, but he had also been more adventurous in trying things that she also enjoyed doing.

Luke had been sentenced to ten years in jail for his attack on Greer. Alexis didn’t think that it was enough, but Greer told her she just had to move on. Yes, Greer told her to move on. He never ceased to amaze her.

“You aren’t brain dead,” Greer quipped, stretching.

“I know,” she laughed. “I just can’t wait for this to be over!”

Alexis felt her phone buzz, and she reached in her bag to get it. It was a text from Hailey.

Last minute party at Tarah’s house. I’m done studying… let’s go.

Alexis tapped her finger on the desk, thinking. She wasn’t much for parties, cheerleader or not. Tarah was one of the junior cheerleaders and had always been very nice to Alexis and Hailey.

“What’s wrong?” Greer asked, putting his pencil down.

“That was Hailey. She wants to go to a party at Tarah’s house. I have so much studying to do, but I’m also burnt out.”

Greer crossed his arms in front of his chest, and Alexis watched the muscles ripple as he moved. He really was so handsome.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes.”

Greer lifted one eyebrow, giving her the look that meant he had no idea what she meant. “What was that, love?”

She smiled. He had taken to calling her that, and every single time he did it she felt like jumping on him and kissing him. For someone who hated nicknames, she loved that he had given her one.

“You’re so handsome,” she corrected. “I could stare at you all day.”

Greer blushed. “I love you.”

“I love you, too. What do you think about getting out of here and going to a party for a bit?” Alexis knew she was pushing it. Greer had never stepped foot in a college party, for many reasons. But things were different for him now.

He pressed his lips together in a line, which she knew meant he was thinking. When he hadn’t answered after a few minutes, she figured that was a big n-o.

“I don’t need to go,” she said. “Let’s just finish this up and we can go grab something to eat.”

“Let’s go,” Greer said, standing up and shoving his books into his backpack with vigor. Once Greer decided something, it was full speed ahead. Alexis put her books into her bag.

“Want to grab dinner?”

Greer held out his hand for her and she took it. “Let’s go to Tarah’s. I can do it. For you I can do it.”

 

 

Alexis stood in front of the mirror in her room, turning from side to side so she could see herself. Greer had gone home to change, telling her he would pick her and Hailey up outside their dorm at nine. She was nervous about Greer, not because she didn’t want him to go but she didn’t want him to think he had to do something uncomfortable because of her.

Hailey swung open the door and whistled. “Alexis, you are
hot
, girl!”

She looked over at Hailey, then back to the mirror. She had her blonde hair curled and falling down her shoulders and she was wearing a short jean skirt and a glittery tank top. Her makeup was heavier than usual, though not crazy. She topped her outfit with a pair of strappy sandals.

Hailey stepped up next to her and Alexis grinned at her. She was wearing skin tight jeans and a strapless red shirt. Her hair was pulled up and her eyes were smoky. They were quite a pair.

Alexis had spent much of this year so busy, she couldn’t believe this was her first college party. She’d been invited to many, being a cheerleader, but her priorities had always been elsewhere. Tonight, she was tired of studying and wanted to have some fun before everyone left for the summer. And now that Greer was going to come with her, it was going to be the best night ever.

Right on cue, her phone buzzed. Greer was downstairs. “Let’s go, Hailey! Our ride awaits.”

The girls giggled as they made their way down to Greer, Hailey chattering on and on about finding a boyfriend and Alexis thankful she had the best guy that would be there.

When they arrived at the party, Greer parked down the street. Tarah and a few other cheerleaders lived in a house off campus, and it looked like there was quite a crowd already.

Greer waited for her, then slung his arm over her shoulders and leaned into her. The longer they were together, the more things he was comfortable doing, like putting his arm over her shoulders. “You look amazing, Alexis. You’ll be the most beautiful one here.”

Her stomach fluttered as he looked down into her eyes, the streetlight illuminating his intense gaze. “Thank you. I know I’m the luckiest one here tonight, though, because you’re here with me.”

Greer stopped her under the street light, taking her into his arms. He kissed her gently, pulling her tightly against him. She melted into him, not even knowing where Hailey went at that point. He smelled like the cologne she had gotten him for Christmas and the body wash he insisted on using every single day. The fact that she had gotten him to wear the cologne was a feat in itself.

“If you aren’t okay, give me a signal and we’ll leave,” Alexis told him. “What signal do you want?”

Greer kissed her nose. “I’ll be okay as long as you’re with me, love. But I’ll pull on my ear three times if I want to go.”

They turned and walked the rest of the way down the street hand in hand.

 

 

“Hey, there you are,” Tarah said, coming out onto the porch. Alexis and Greer were sitting outside with several other cheerleaders. She figured it was better than the jam-packed inside, which was not only claustrophobic but also loud. They had been at the party just over an hour, and Greer was handling it like a pro. He and Alexis had both opted for sodas over drinks, but Alexis had no idea where Hailey had gone.

“Hi, Tarah, You know my boyfriend Greer? Greer, this is Tarah. She cheers with me.”

Tarah smiled, and not the fake I-think-I’m-better-than-you smile, a real genuine smile. “It’s nice to finally meet you, Greer. I’ve heard a lot about you. I love your girlfriend. She’s not only a fantastic cheerleader, she’s a pretty super person, too.”

Alexis looked at Greer. “Nice to meet you, Tarah. Believe me, I know how amazing she is.” He lifted their joined hands and kissed them.

BOOK: Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella
7.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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