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Authors: Shae Scott

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The Rise of Emery James

BOOK: The Rise of Emery James
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The Rise of Emery James

Copyright © 2016 Shae Scott

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, including electronic mechanical, without written permission from the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual person, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Cover Design by Kari Ayasha

Cover to Cover Designs

Formatting: Cassy Roop

Pink Ink Designs





To Chazarae

Your light defines true beauty.

Thank you for reminding me what it truly means to






“I understood myself

only after I destroyed myself.

And only in the process of

fixing myself, did I know

who I really was.”

-Sade Andria Zabala


Cole - 18



to memorize a moment? Ever tried to paint it across your memory in vivid detail so that it lives there as a perfect replica? I’m not talking about the broad strokes that leave hazy recollections and gaps for you to fill in years later. I’m talking about cataloguing every detail, down to the nail polish on her toes, the freckle on her lip, or the way her hair falls down her back and tickles the bow on the back of her dress when she throws her head back with laughter.

It’s the details of the moment that make it perfect. It’s the girl at the center of my world, the one who overtakes me with a simple grace that can’t be defined.

She kicks at the water that laps at her feet, paying no mind to the splash that turns the hem of her skirt a darker shade of green. I can hear her singing some made-up melody as she walks back and forth, dancing with the waves, lost in her own world. She’s beauty and fluidity and I could watch her for hours just like this.

She looks up and catches me staring from my spot on the truck tailgate and her smile widens. I feel the familiar tug of my heart as she skips up the sandy shore towards me.

“Are you going to sit up here all day?” she asks, her nose wrinkling as she squints at me through the afternoon sun.

“You have a better idea?” I tease.

“I always have a better idea,” she shoots back with a sassy smile that makes me laugh. I reach out and pull her to me so she’s standing between my legs. She slips her arms around my neck the way she always does and she gives me that easy smile that makes me give her anything that she wants.

“What am I going to do without you here all the time?” I ask, saying the words I’m supposed to keep to myself. I can’t help it though, our deadline is fast approaching and by this time tomorrow we’ll be miles apart.

She tilts her head at me and smirks, “You won’t be here either.”

It’s true. Tomorrow we go our separate ways. College – the killer of high school romances everywhere. When Emery told me she wanted to go to school in Philadelphia I’d immediately started to mentally rearrange all of my plans. We’ve been a team for years and the idea of letting that go seemed unfathomable.

But the truth is, my heart was set on Oklahoma University. It always has been. I grew up yelling Boomer Sooner with my dad and the idea of moving to Philadelphia with it’s cold winters and noisy traffic doesn’t appeal to me at all. Oklahoma is home to me. I don’t want to leave.

Leaving is Emery’s adventure, not mine. We each have dreams to follow and unfortunately, for the first time, they don’t match up. Hell, they don’t even allow for weekend road trips.

“What will we do if someone takes over our spot here?” she ponders. I shrug, trying to imagine another couple taking advantage of this isolated corner of Lake Darling. We’ve spent so many hours here, laughing so hard that we ceased to make sound, trying to understand the world through less innocent eyes, and loving with a passion way beyond our years. This place is ours. I can’t imagine someone else taking it over. Just like I can’t imagine being here without her.

“It will always be our place,” I say honestly. She smiles, pleased with my answer. I pull her to me and kiss her softly. I savor the taste of cherry lip balm and bubblegum as I slide my tongue past her lips. She sighs and her fingers twist into my hair. I love it when she does that, the light tugs against my scalp like she can’t get close enough. I try to take my fill, knowing I won’t be able to kiss her after tomorrow.

When she pulls back and her eyes have that loopy haze about them, like she’s just returned to Earth. The fact that I have the power to put that look on her face gets me every time.

“You aren’t supposed to kiss me like that. You aren’t my boyfriend anymore.” She’s teasing me, but the truth of her words stabs me in the heart, leaving an ache I’m not ready for. I swallow hard and try to smile through the pain of our new reality.

“I told you, I’m keeping you until the last possible moment.”

Her smile turns sad, “We’re doing the right thing.”

I wonder if she’s trying to assure me or herself. I wish I could agree with her, but the idea of saying goodbye is hard for me to swallow. Emery is my girl. I love her. I don’t want to say goodbye. But I nod, it’s the only agreement I can give her.

It doesn’t matter how logical it all sounds. I’m eighteen. I’m not supposed to be logical. I’m supposed to be hard to reason with and go on what I feel. Gut instinct. And my gut instinct tells me that leaving Emery James behind when I’m still in love with her is wrong. It’s like giving up your most prized possession and hoping that someday, someone decides to return it to you, even though it’s perfect and they’d be crazy to let it go.


Like me.

When I don’t say anything she jumps in with the same reasonable explanation that she’s been reciting for weeks. “Cole – you know I’m right. We’ll end up hating each other. We’ll get caught up in missing each other and it will turn ugly. I don’t want us to ever hate each other. I couldn’t bear it,” she says.

“Em, breaking up isn’t going to keep me from missing you. It’s definitely not going to stop me from loving you,” I say simply.

Her eyes flash with regret, “It doesn’t mean I don’t love you.” I hear the worry in her voice, the fear that I’m dismissing her decision to a lack of feelings. If anything I know it just means she loves me just as fiercely as I do her. She believes this is what’s best. She believes it with her whole heart and I can’t deny her. Not even this.

I muster up a smile to give her, because I hate the sadness that clouds her eyes. I don’t want our last night to be sad. I want to soak up enough of her laughter to make it through this semester until I can see her again. I reach out and brush the hair from her face, resting my hand against her cheek and I say the things that she needs to hear.

“You need to go. This is your adventure. You need to see what’s out there. I would never hold you back, James. Go see the world. I’ll still be here when you come home. We’ll find our way back to each other.”

This gives me back the smile I needed to see. I feel her relax in my arms and so I bite my tongue on everything that will take it away again. “We will. I’ll always be your girl, Cole Bennett.”

I want to believe her. My heart needs to believe her, but it feels impossible.

“I love you, Emery. Walk away tomorrow knowing that. No matter how far away you get, never doubt it. You always have me.”

Even with her determined smile strong on her face I see the tears pool in her eyes. “I love you too, Cole.” Her voice comes out soft. I hold her gaze willing the moment to freeze. I want to stay right here. Just the two of us.

“Think anyone would notice if we didn’t show up at Nana’s house for dinner?” I ask. I know tonight is their goodbye too, but I don’t want to share her.

“Probably,” she admits as she slides her palms across my chest, the way she does when she wants to be closer. I swallow hard, my entire body aching with the pain that is this night. “But we could probably be late,” she offers.

One last time. I need to have her one last time before I have to let her go. It’s selfish. It will make letting go that much harder, but I don’t care. Even with all of our good intentions and promises the truth is heavy between us.

This could be our final goodbye.

BOOK: The Rise of Emery James
3.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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