It was a hot summer day when I met him on the construction site next to my parents' house. If I'd known then what I do now, would I have kept on walking? Manning was older, darker, experienced--and I'd trusted him when he said the story would only ever be about us. I'd held those words close and challenged fate, but I had lost.
A part of me is still that sixteen-year-old girl squinting up at Manning, but no matter how far I fall or high I soar, I'll always be a bird without her bear and nothing without him.
When I close my eyes, I can no longer see her. The decisions I made were to push Lake in the right direction--away from me. But now that she's gone, would I have made those same choices?
I'd walked away like I was supposed to. I'd kept my distance. I'd bent over backward to keep Lake pure, but she's no longer that girl, and I don't know if I can stay away anymore. I only know I don't want to. She's still everything I want and nothing I should ever have, but if anyone can move the stars, it's her great bear in the sky.