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"I love you too." And I know it's true. I've loved him since the first time his eyes captured mine and I got lost inside them. With that statement, I gave it all to him. Whatever was left of my heart that he didn't already have, he had it now. The only question was, would he drop it? The sun is shining in my eyes and it's starting to blind me. Wait, the sun? What time is it? Ok, now I'm freaked. I'm leaving! I shriek the words inside my head in a panic.
"Oh god." i heave myself off the sand before he has a chance to respond.
"Cody?" he's hesitant now. I think I'm scaring him.
"I can't do this. I...I can't do this. "I repeat. My legs are shaking from exhaustion and for a moment I feel as though I'm going to fall, but I walk away from him anyway. I can hear him following behind me. He said he would never leave me and apparently he's taking it literally.
"Go away!" I hiss, wondering how I went from cloud nine to rock bottom in under five minutes.
"Wait a minute." he demands. "You can't just say something like that and walk away!" Great, now he's angry again. I hate angry Squib. He scares me.
"Sure I can." I taunt, not turning to face him.
"Cody!" he's angry and confused again. How is that I always seem to piss him off? "Why are you doing this?"
"I don't know what you mean." My feet slip in the wet sand and he sees his chance. He catches me and won't let me go.
"Why are you pushing me away again? Why are you ignoring what we just had back there?" he gestures with one hand and I try to struggle out of grip, but his hold is like steel.

"I'm not ignoring anything." I'm still struggling to pull my arm from him.
"Yes you are!" he insists and I can see that he isn't angry anymore, just upset. He pulls me closer to him and leans down to look me in the eye. I look away and he grabs my chin, turning me back to face him.

"Why are you doing this?" his whisper is pleading and again his eyes seem to steal my bravado.

"We can't do this." I plead with him.

"Why not?" now his voice is daring me.

"Because I don't want to leave you!" I scream in his face and he backs away.
"Then don't." he says it like it's the simplist thing in the world.
"Then don't." he says it like the simplist thing in the world.

"Don't?" I yell incrediously. My eyes widen at him. All I can see is red. "Don't? That's all you have to say? selfish, arrogant, self-centered...." I stop and wave my arms angrily, trying to come up with another word. I can't and it angers me more. Three words is not enough to punish him. I go from angry to disappointed and back to angry in five seconds flat. Shaking my head, I turn away from him.

"Why not? Why do you have to go?" he doesn't seem to grasp what he did wrong.
"Why should I stay?" I counter, spinning around to look him in the eye. He can see my anger now and I feel slightly satisfied for a moment because he looks a little frightened.

"Because....." he trails off. "Because you just should!" he shouts. I snort.
"Nice try." I say sarcastically. That's what I do when I get angry. I get sarcastic.
"Well, what reasons do you have to go?" That's an almost sophisticated question and it catches me off guard.

"I don't believe you!" I shout, trying to regather my thoughts. He smiles slightly and I can tell he thinks he's wearing me down. Oh, watch out buster!

"Why can't you believe me?" he's mocking me and his boastful tone proves he's confident. Now's the time to make my move.

"I can't believe you're so self-centered that you expect me to give up my dreams, just to stay here so you can see me whenever you aren't chasing your dream!" I shout and almost smile at his grimace. That one hit him hard. Maybe it isn't right to feel glad that I'm hurting the one I love, but he hurt me first. He has it coming.
"Hmm and let's see reasons for going? How about because it's my dream? Because it's the opportunity of a lifetime? Because I don't play tennis! You can't expect me to stay at a tennis school forever." I stop for a breath and he seems relieved but I'm not done yet.

"Because they only take the best Squib! And they want me!! They chose me!! Why can't you understand that?" I finish in a pleading whisper, I'm out of steam and I just want him to understand. He ducks his head in shame and for a moment I feel bad. Then I remember what he did and I stomp away.

"Cody!" Part of me is screaming to just keep going, but I know that if I leave things like this between us, I'll never forgive myself.

"What?" I hiss like a cornered cat and whirl around poised to strike if he provokes me again.

"I'm sorry." the words shock me beyond belief. I've never heard him say that before. At least not like that. The emotions he's managed to convey with those two simple words are astounding. He's pleading and begging, despairing and agonizing with me. Then he does something that shocks me so much more that I really feel as though I might faint in shock. He gets down on his knees and takes my hands in his and begs, really begs.

"Please, don't be mad Cody. Please." I look away and jerk my hands, pulling him to his feet.

"Get up." I mutter, but I haven't forgiven him yet. His strong tennis player hands are on my cheeks and I find myself looking up into his eyes.
"I really am sorry. I was selfish. I shouldn't have asked you not to go. It was wrong and I'm sorry. You should go. But just because you're leaving doesn't mean we can't be together. We can." he's confident again and my chest expands as I fill my lungs. I let the air out quickly.

"What if you find someone else while I'm gone?" I whisper sadly.
"Who else? There is no one else like you Cody." his deep voice is filling my head and I can feel my heart piecing back together again. I try one more time to discourage him. More to test him than because I want to. Which is wrong, the better part of me argues, but the devil half doesn't care.

"I'm self-deprivating. I have no self-esteem. I'm short. I don't play tennis. I'm certainly nothing even remotely like some tall, blond, leggy girl that I know you like. And I talk too much. W're complete opposites. And I have a very vivid imagination. I make things out to be worse than they are and I...."
"And you think too much." he interupts.

"And I hate it when people interupt me." I huff.

"Sorry. Again. But you're being stupid."

"I hate it when people call me stupid too." I glare at him, trying to hate him. Nope, not gonna happen.

"I wasn't trying to say you were stupid. Just that you were being stupid. Maybe I think Anna Kornacova is hot, but she's got nothing against you." I snort again.
"Ha!" there goes that low self-esteem thing again.

"It's true." he insists, making me look in his eyes again. I wish he would stop doing that. I hate being lost in his eyes. I want to be found. And then he finds me.
"In my eyes, Cody, you are the only one for me. You were a year ago, you are now and you will be in another ten years. If you'll have me that is." I stay silent and then realize he expects an answer. But I'm still listening to the battle going on in my head.

Long distance relationships never work out.
This one will!
He likes tennis players, he'll meet someone else.
No, he won't! He won't leave me!
You know he will. How long will he put up with you before he gets fed-up?
I won't get him fed-up.
What happens when the tall, blond, leggy girl walks by in the mini-skirt and he figures you won't find out?
That isn't going to happen!
What's going to stop him?
He loves me!
And I love him! We love each other.

And then I have my answer. His hands are still on my face and I cover them with my own, enjoying the feel of our skin being pressed together. I have to stand on my tiptoes to reach his mouth, and even then I just barely reach. My lips graze gently against his and I try to convey all the months of pent-up emotion in that one gesture. It must have worked because he bends down and pulls my mouth more firmly onto his own. We aren't seperate people anymore. We're pressed together so tightly we've blended into one. Passionate and loving our kiss deepens and his tongue ravages my mouth. Chest to chest, pelvis to pelvis, I clasp my hands together behind his neck, moaning slightly when his hands begin to explore the small of my back. We have to pull back for air, but one gulp later and we're back together. We can't seem to stay apart. Frenzied kisses follow one after the other, we're drawn together by some invisble magnetism. His hands are now resting lightly on my hips and my hands are pressed into his back. Our kiss is more gentle now, loving and soft, giving and taking from each other. I'm not sure if anything in my life will ever top the high elation bubbling inside me right now. And then I can't hold it in anymore. I can't stop laughing and my sides start to hurt, but I fall back in the sand and I can't stop the joy from escaping.
I can't stop laughing and my sides start to hurt, but I fall back in the sand and I can't stop the joy from escaping. The confusion on Squib's face is plain to see, which for reasons unknown only serves to make me laugh harder. I'm red in the face and probably covered in sand, but I jump up to throw my arms around his neck anyway. Beside his back I catch a glimpse of my watch and gasp.

"Is that really the time?" I hold the watch closer to my face, as though maybe I'm not reading it correctly. But the numbers don't change and I groan.

"What?" Squib asks taking a look at my watch.

"My bus leaves in 20 minutes." Even I can hear the sadness in my voice, which doesn't confuse me because I've never been able to hide myself from him.
"So...we still have 20 minutes." Again he's making everything seem so simple and I wish that I could be as carefree and confident as he is. Without saying a word, I don't trust myself to speak past the lump that is forming in my throat, I take his hand and lean my head against his shoulder, dragging my feet as we make our way slowly back home. I don't want to leave. I want to stay here on this beach with him forever. In our own little world, where all decisions are easy and no one ever gets hurt. We're walking and I see them. Adena and Tanis with Cameron on the court with several other people. Mostly girls. Dressed in spandex and mini-skirts. Suddenly I'm self-concious. I can feel it creeping in, seeping into my brain and I try to push it away but it isn't working. My feet are almost flying out from underneath as I force myself to keep pace with him. If I run away now I'll look like an idiot.
"You look beautiful." he leans over and whispers quietly in my ear, taking me by surprise for the umpteenth time this morning.

"Get out of my head." I mumble at him, trying to disguise my pleasure. Adena stops and waves, leaning forward in an obvious attempt to see us better. I wonder what she's doing when suddenly she squeals and jumps what looks to be at least five feet in the air, pointing right at us.

"" I laugh good-naturedly and wave back.

"She's a dork." Squib mutters and we're both walking faster now.


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