To Be Loved by Andrea Goodson
I only talked with him for a few moments. I was tired of the same rhetoric, the same circles of conversation that never led anywhere. My father loved me, I knew he did, but our relationship had always been a consistent cycle of love and irritation. One minute I would be his favorite person on the planet and the next, he acted as if he couldn’t wait to get away from me. The second I did or said something that he didn’t agree with, that was it, he was done talking.
Mom wasn’t that different, she was much the same as my Dad, just in a different way. I quickly learned while living with her that, rather than becoming upset if she disagreed with me, she would simply act as if I hadn’t said anything at all. Where my father would fight with me, she would fake ignorance.
As I laid in my bed thinking about the strange relationships I had with both of my parents, the phone rang again. I glanced over at the sleek black handset, wondering if I should even bother answering. I knew it would be my father again. I took a deep breath, exhaled, and gave in to the loud ringing.
“What now?” I answered, sure that it was my father calling again to tell me how bad I screwed up. Surely, one time wouldn’t be enough for him.
“Okay then, Beautiful. I’ll just call you later!”
It was Graysen.
My frown quickly changed to a smile. I loved it when he called me that. Beautiful.
“Wait!” I replied. “I’m sorry, I thought you were someone else.”
“Who? Your other boyfriend?”
Wait, had he just said boyfriend?
I thought for a few moments, silent on my end of the phone.
“You there?” he asked.
I carefully worded my response.
“Well, yeah I’m here. I mean, I would have to have one boyfriend to be able to have a second one, right?”
I leaned forward on my bed, resting my chin upon my hand as the seconds of silence slowly passed. I wondered why he hadn’t answered me yet? My ears filled with the deafening silence on the other end of the line. I bit my lip, impatiently awaiting his response. After a few more moments I was ready to ask if he was still there, perhaps we had lost connection or he had just hung up because I had put him on the spot with an uncomfortable question. But then, Graysen said something so simple and so silly that I couldn’t have possibly imagined at that point in time how much those few words would change my life. It was a point where everything was about to change for me. In hindsight, I wish I would have realized just how seriously that change would impact my life.
“Well, who am I, your cousin?”
A huge smile spread across my face. I held my hand against my mouth as the joy inside bubbled out of me. Despite all of my flaws and all of my past mistakes, this boy on the other end of the phone line wanted me. He wanted to be with me. He liked the new Avery Brooks, just as much as my past friends in Chicago liked the old Avery Brooks. He liked me for who I was becoming. Not a girl who went out all the time, not a girl who liked party and get high every chance she got. But a girl who would be dependable for him, a girl that he could count on to remain true and loyal. I wanted to be that girl, I could be that girl. Because as long as I was that girl then Graysen Bennett was my boyfriend.
“Hello?” he asked, obviously now worried that I was the one who wasn’t there.
I quickly tried to stifle the giddy girl that was coming out and replied.
“Okay?” he asked.
“Yeah, okay.” I smiled and I felt sure he could feel the happiness I exuded coming through the phone.
“Well, good. Now that we have that little detail taken care of, who did you think it was when I called?”
“Oh, that. Just my Dad. We had been talking earlier and arguing. I thought you were him calling me back again.”
“Oh.” He answered. “Well, that couldn’t be me.”
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Because I could never argue with you?”
“Because you’re too perfect.”
Perfect. He thought I was perfect. I was thankful that he couldn’t see me blushing.
“Yeah, you’re pretty. Like, really pretty. You’re fun and so smart. You’re different than the other girls around here. You act how a girl should act.”
“What do you mean how a girl should act?”
“I don’t know. I guess I mean, you don’t go showing off for attention. You’re just you and you don’t care what anyone thinks. Like at Sam’s party the other night, you didn’t let Sam intimidate you. You stuck to your guns and didn’t get all messed up like the other girls. I like that. I like a good girl.”
A good girl? I realized I had been right. A good girl is exactly what Graysen wanted. I thought for a few moments about telling him of my life in Chicago, I really did. I thought about telling him that I wasn’t some innocent princess, that I had already done my fair share of bad deeds, skipping school, drinking, and pot smoking. But why would that matter? He liked what he saw now, and it wasn’t fake. I wanted to be good. I wanted to be out of the whole party scene and how lucky was I that I met a gorgeous guy that liked a girl like that? I wanted Graysen. I wasn’t going to say a word to him that might change what he thought of me, the new me. The only question that lingered was why I had changed so rapidly. At that moment in time, I couldn’t even understand myself what it was that had made me want to change, so how could I explain it to him?
Meet 17 year old Avery Brooks. New to the small town of Elkins, West Virginia and confident that her last 2 years of high school will fly by without a hitch. Fighting past troubles from her hometown of Chicago, Avery is looking for smooth sailing from here on out. Everything seems to be going exactly as planned until Graysen Bennett, the only boy who has caught her eye, suddenly notices her. Captivated by his attention, soon Avery’s plans begin to fall apart. But what else does she really need than to be loved?
To Be Loved is scheduled for release in November 2013!