The Choice (The Choice Series Book 1)

BOOK: The Choice (The Choice Series Book 1)
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The Choice

The Choice Series Book 1

 

 

 

 

By Heather Gillette

 

Dedication

To my Heavenl
y Father who gave me a choice.  Because of that choice I have a wonderful husband and five imaginative, active and loving children.

 

Acknowledgments

Thank you for choosing this book to read.  I hope you fall in love with the characters as much as I
loved creating them. I hope when the characters laugh, cry or get angry you do too.  Thank you for taking the time to read.  I hope for a time you can escape into my imagination.

To
Mandi Bailey who is my biggest cheerleader and supporter.  I love you and am so glad that you’re my sister.  Thank you for inspiring me to keep writing. 

Ikia
Bailey thank you for reading my draft and encouraging me to keep writing.  Your excitement was contagious and your awesomeness is blinding! 

Thank you Christina Ta
rbet you are wonderful!  Thank you for editing my book for me.

To
Mike Geedy thanks for a guy point of view.

 

 

All rights reserved.  No part of this book may be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the author.

The Choice is a work of fiction.  The places, characters, names and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination.  Any similarity to actual places, people, living or dead is coincidental. 

T
able of Contents

1.  The run

2.  The Meadow

3.  Dad

4.  Campfire

5.  The Movie Theatre

6.  The Bet

7
.  Sunshine

8
.  Falls

9
.  Enoc

10
.  Caleb

11
.  Farm House

12
.  Ivy

13
.  The Attack

C
HAPTER 1

The
sound of pebbles and dirt kick up from my shoes with each pounding step I took. While I ran, the path started to incline making the muscles in my legs strain.  Sweat clung to my arms and neck as I ran.  The wind kissed my skin and sent shivers throughout my body.  The pressure in my lungs builds as I sucked in deeper for air.  I pushed harder through the pain and discomfort.  Loose tendrils escaped my long snowy white ponytail and stick to the back of my neck.  The beat of my heart pounds in rhythm with each step I take.  Reaching down I grabbed a container of water from my runners belt wrapped around my slender waist.  I tipped my head back and let the water flow into my mouth and down my throat.  A few small ice chips hit my tongue and melt.  I raised my hand and pressed the bottle to my forehead and let the condensation drops cool my face.  After I feel refreshed and somewhat cooler, I returned the bottle into the belt. 

T
he small drop on the left runs into a field of young trees and shrubbery. On the right I smell the yellow snow buttercup flowers and see the white marsh marigolds waving in the wind. I hug the right shoulder breathing in the intoxicating and familiar smells. I love the smell and feel of the forest. The multiple shades of green hiding in the leaves of the trees.  I could smell fresh dew clinging to the leaves high above and the foliage below.  It’s as if it has been touched by God and made for those who would take the time to enjoy its magnificent beauty. The splendor of it starts to seep into my soul filling the hole that has been left by the loss of my mother, Marie. 

My mother instilled in me a love for running, especially within the forest.
  She taught me the names of the plants, flowers and animals. We were always searching for undiscovered trails.  There was just something about being somewhere that no one else has ever been.  It was like touching a little bit of heaven, pure and untainted from the world. I guess that’s why I am here now.  Trying to get away from the pain the world caused me when they took her away.  I never would have thought that our yearly trip out here would have been one of our last one together.

I
remembered years ago when we first discovered our spring the sun was shining bright.  We had run this exact same path.  We even saw a doe with her newborn fawn crossing our path.  I remembered we stopped to watch them cross.  They even stopped midway to look back at us determining if we were a threat to them or not.  After a few moments of silence they walked off into the forest.   We were thrilled about it.  When we got to our hidden spring we took turns jumping off the large rock into the crisp water.  We would talk for hours. She would tell me I was beautiful, not just outside but inside as well.  I remembered she smelled of fresh lavender every time I hugged her.  She said I had an ability to bring peace to others.  She always made me feel special. It was one of those moments imbedded in my memory that I will never forget, it makes me smile just thinking about it. 

Once again
I come upon the hidden trail, almost passing it due to the overgrown foliage. I paused only because of the small olive branch that my mom and I had carved into the tree.  It was a way that we would always remember our way to the path towards our magical spring.  Unless you knew what to look for it would just look like another part of the tree.  I veered right onto the tiny trail stepping over a small flowered bush. What makes this so special is that it was something my mom and I found together. I spend the last moments of my run listening to the wind blow through the leaves and hear the scurry of squirrels, rabbits and other forest animals run around.  My eyes started to fill with tears and my chest gets a little tight, not because I’m out of breath but because my heart hurts for my mother.  Along the path on each side are blue alpine forget-me-nots.  I know because my mother taught me their name.  I like to think that they are from her letting me know that I am not alone.  Even though she’s not physically here, I can’t help but hope she is watching over me.  I closed my eyes for a second and whispered to the wind,
I love you mom.

I
know I’m close to my destination when I see the large oak fallen on the ground a few feet away from me.  Kicking my legs hard I put in one last burst of speed.  When I pass my mark I take a moment to catch my breath and look up to see the sun’sray
s
shining through the treetops.  I can hear the trickle of water falling off the pebbles in the stream, knowing if I follow it; it will lead me to my final destination. 

I walk
ed towards the spring, taking the time to cool my body down, I heard a twig snap.  It caught my attention only because it seems odd and out of place.  I wondered if someone is out there.  I take a moment to look around but see nothing.  I think about Amber, my best friend since I was ten. I regretted not inviting her to run with me.  My mom always taught me that when you run, especially in the forest it’s best to do with a companion.  I just wanted to spend a few moments in solace at the place that was special to my mom and me.  At least I remembered to let Amberknow where I was going and when I should be back
.
 
That had to count for something, right? I stopped walking completely and strained to listen for anymore odd sounds.  At first all I hear is silence then a few bugs start up singing.  I chalked it up to an overactive imagination.   I guess it was nothing. I continued to make my way to the natural spring.  It isn’t far now and I contemplate taking a swim knowin
g
it will feel great on my hot skin.

After thinking about it
I decide to just go for it. I walked up to the large pool of water.  I am amazed at the greenery and shrubs surrounding the pool of water.  The flower bushes are in yellows, blues and pinks scenting the air.  I recognized the large rock out on the corner of the pool and am excited to jump off of it.  I take a moment and drop down on the ground to zip open my runners belt.  I take out the other bottle of water and guzzle it down quickly.  It still has pieces of ice in it from when I put it in the freezer the night before.  I grab a granola bar, rip open the package and take a bite of oats and honey. Yum… it was my mom’s favorite, and has become mine as well. It is delicious and as always in a few bites I’m licking the tips of my fingers.  I take one long drink and finish off my water.  After putting the bottle back on the belt and the wrapper in the pocket, I unbuckled the belt from my waist and let it dropped to the ground. I slipped off my Black Nike running shoes and socks.  Standing up I stripped out of my emerald green tank top and running shorts and piled them on everything else. 

I fidget
ed with my necklace hanging just below my collarbone.  My mother and father had given it to me when I was ten.  We were all sitting at the park feeding geese, well trying to.  The geese just squawked at my father.  They wouldn’t go near him, but somehow they couldn’t resist the bread I threw at them.  It still makes me laugh thinking about all those geese barking at him.  I remembered laughing and him in return rolling his eyes at me, his eyes showing laughter.  I remembered exactly how I felt when he set a smooth silk green cloth in my hand.  There was an energy that came from it.  It filled my soul with happiness, joy and complete peace.  I knew it was special just from those feelings.

Whil
e
I carefully unfolded it my mother told me that it used to be hers.  She had always worn it and for some unknown reason she’d felt impressed to give it to me. When I looked at the necklace it was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.  The delicate chain was made out of white gold.  At the center of the chain hung a beautiful olive branch and from the branch hung a stunning dove with eloquent details in the wings.  I remembered my dad telling me that was why he and my mother named me Olivia.  It meant peace after the olive branch from the Bible.  I remembered him pulling my hair aside as he clasped the two ends together securing it safely around my neck.  I wrapped my arms around his neck and breathed in his woodsy smell. I leaned back to look at him and mom.  His brown hair hung a little long over his ears with a little bit of curl.  He had the biggest Hershey chocolate eyes you’d ever seen.   I told them how much I loved them.  Hugging my mother I whispered thanks.  I promised them I would always wear it.  The corner of my father’s eyes crinkled as he smiled at me and said “I love you my little dove.”  That was one of my favorite and last memories of my father.  

Coming out of the memory
I was still touching my necklace, warmth spread through my fingers.  I headed towards the water and put my feet in inch by inch until my ankles and slender calves were wet.  The sensation of the cold on my warm skin felt refreshing.   I decided to get it over with and plunged the rest of the way into the water.  As I surfaced I took a breath enjoying the feel of the revitalizing water.   Just as I take another breath and before my head goes under I see a flash of gray running across the front of the spring. I pushed myself backwards away from the gray just to avoid it. When I surfaced I took in another breath rubbing the water away from my bright green eyes.  I looked around but didn’t see anything.  I even tried to still my breath and not make a sound.  I strained to hear training to hear anything but all I heard was silence. Oh, it must be nothing. 

In
the middle of the water where it’s deeper, I kick my legs back and forth and move my hands in small circular motions to stay afloat.  Moving to my back I float with my arms extended. I inhale the oxygen that helps raise my body out of the water.  I look up at the azure sky where a variety of clouds peek through the overhang of tree branches.  When I was five my mom took me to the park and we would lie out on grandma’s old quilt.  You know how most people find animals in clouds?  We would talk about where we thought the clouds had been.  We imagined that my father sent the clouds to us while he was away for work. My father was always very busy with work but when he was home he was there one hundred percent. I missed him when he traveled. 

Dad disappeared
when I was ten. One day he left to go to the store for some milk but he never came home. Mom always said something must have happened to him because he would never just leave us.  The police were unable to find him or any clues about his disappearance. Mom didn’t talk much about what happened.  I think it was too hard on her.  She always seemed sad and lonely.  I know she loved him and I know he loved her. I know she felt powerless about not being able to find him. I think secretly she was always waiting and hoping for him to return.  I always imagined that he would return and come for us.  What a foolish child’s dream, I thought, sighing deeply.  Maybe they’re in heaven together and she is at peace with him.  It’s wishful thinking.  The clouds aren’t named anymore.  Not since he disappeared and now that mom is gone, it seems so pointless.  I don’t understand why they both had to leave.  It’s not fair!  I am barely eighteen and all alone in the world.  Life seems so cruel.  I just wanted to scream! Ahhhh! 

I decide
d to take my frustrations out on my jump. Heading towards the edge of the spring I climbed out.  Water dripped from my body as I circled around the edge climbing on the huge gray rock.  Standing atop the rock I find the sounds of the forest have stilled again.  I don’t hear any birds chirping, squirrels or small forest creatures.  It’s quiet.  It makes me nervous like the forest is trying to warn me of something.  My skin breaks out in goose bumps and I get that distinct feeling that I should leave.  I looked around but didn’t see anything. 

Suddenl
y smelt something almost like cloves.  It was strong and made my nose sting.  I tried not breathing in so deeply.  I quickly jumped off the rock into the water so I could swim back over and get my things and leave.  I quickly put on my shorts first and then socks and shoes. I stretched my arms through the tank top pulling the top over my head. Looking down I stretched the material over my belly.  Reaching down I grabbed my runners belt and buckled it around my waist. 

W
hen I looked up there was a man standing in front of me.  He startled me and I made a soft little cry. I stepped back automatically. He smiled but it didn’t reach his eyes. His eyes were small and the color of dark grey. His hair was to his shoulders and was golden like the sun. He had a sharp nose and defined cheekbones. He would be attractive if I didn’t feel like I had ants crawling over my body.  He looked to be around my age maybe a couple years older.  He was also tall. I am five nine and he had to be at least four inches taller. He seemed pleased to have found me alone.  He makes me nervous just standing there watching me. I could smell cloves once again, it seemed to be coming from him. 

Ho
w long had he been watching me? I started to look around for something to protect myself with or a way around him. I noticed the way his body shifted in response to mine.  Like he was prepared to catch me if I ran. I noticed a branch near me that I might be able to use to defend myself. He stood there watching me.  The lines by his lips creased upwards. He noticed what I was doing and acted excited as if my nervousness pleased him.  He tried to hold back a grin taunting me with my uneasiness. He smelled the air and smiled. He took a step towards me putting his hands out in front of him in the universal position as if to say,sa
y
don’t worry I’m not going to hurt you.  My instincts were screaming LIAR!  Begging me to run. I didn’t move I was waiting for an opening.

All of a sudden he ask
ed, “What is your name?  My name is “Jeremy.”

I was
too stunned to say anything; he asked again more forcefully, “What is your name?” 

BOOK: The Choice (The Choice Series Book 1)
12.47Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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