This story is by Leo Bienenstock, who was part of Write Summer camp for young writers. You can find all the stories by Write Summer writers here. If you’re a young write age 7 to 14 and would like to participate in Write Summer camp, you can find out all the details here.
PART 1: APRIL
I could see just above the clouds, so bright that I couldn’t look out the window, then I saw Carter two rows down the airplane aisles. You see, carter was my boyfriend, we were together for two years, when he suddenly texted me, “We need to talk”, and obviously, I knew from that message that that can’t mean something good, I mean, it’s not like he was gonna say, “We need to talk, M&M’s are my favourite candy.”
It has been 3 months since the breakup. It was still hurting. I mean, I wasn’t suprised that he’d be here. It WAS his sister’s wedding. The flight attendant came walking up the aisle, they were passing Carter, “Any food or bevrages?” Carter tilted his head to answer. His eyes met mine. Oh no not only did he know that I was staring at him but he knew I was close. Why couldn’t he have been at the back of the plane, and me at the front, in first class (even though I don’t have the money). He just had to sit there and me here. It’s like fate. If fate hated me or something. I could feel my heart racing through my chest. I felt like I would hurl. That relationship was the longest I’ve been in ever. You see, I don’t fall in love that easily, I’m what the doctors call ‘Philophobic’, which basically means that I’m afraid of falling in love, but with Carter, those problems just drifted away.
The flight attendant repeated, “Sir? Would you like anything from our menu”. I could tell by the way that he responded that he was still looking toward my seat, and slowly looked away. “Just water is good, thanks” I could hear the ice from the cooler on the cart cracking, and bumping together. “Here you go sir, have a nice flight.”. The wheels on the cart rolled up even further, the sound getting closer. “Would you like anything?” she asked with that million dollar *fake* smile. “No, nothanks” I can’t stand airplane food, they all taste like garbage. The cart progressed onwards, as the cart cleared my view of Carter, there he was, he was looking this way. I saw him take off his seatbelt and walk my way. I sunk into my seat. Before I knew it, he was standing above, damn, why’d he have to be so cute. I racked my brain trying to think of an excuse for him to leave. I looked above me, “The seatbelt sign is still on” I said in panic. He walked away. I felt he was going to come back at some point during the flight, there was still 10 hours left on the plane ride and there was nowhere to escape from him. Hours had past. He hadn’t come over yet. I was thinking that there wouldn’t be a problem. Then I felt the urge to go to the restroom. I had to pass his seat to go, and I definitely did not want to talk to him. Another hour had passed, I was practically dying, until I looked back and I saw a sleep mask over his face. He was sleeping, this was my chance. I unbuckled my seatbelt, silently tip-toed out of my seat, ‘phew’ I passed his seat and ran the rest of the way to the restroom.
After another 7 hours of trying to dodge him in every way possible, the plane landed. I grabbed my carry-on and left ASAP! I went through customs, and got to baggage claim. I’m looking for a red nylon suitcase. I am a very impatient person, and it feels like the people in charge of my luggage always make sure that my bag is the hardest to find. As I waited there, the luggage going round and round, more people arriving to the baggage claim, and leaving with their luggage. Suddenly I heard “Miss April Williams?”. I looked up, holding a red nylon suitcase was, of course, what luck I have. It was Carter, “Carter… Carter Waterson” I said back, crossing my arms. “You need your bag?” he said, lifting out the bag. “Thanks” I said, trying not to make any eye contact. He still stood there, what did he want? He gave me the bag, I didn’t need anything else from him. Did he want money from me or something? “What do you want” I asked, ignoring him. “I just wanted us to be cool before the wedding.” I sorta get that, I mean I don’t want to ruin the wedding either. “Okay, we’re cool” Still trying not to make any eye contact whatsoever. I get up and walk out the airport doors. I got a cab, I started telling the whole story about Carter and I. I guess cab drivers are the new bartenders, they seem like they are listening to your deep emotional problems, but you know that they don’t actually listen.
He dropped me off at the resort I was staying at for my best friend, Kelly’s wedding. It was a long plane ride and I was ready to jump onto my hotel room bed and not wake up until january. Yawning as I told the front desk person, “I’m here for Kelly and James’s wedding, I’m the photographer, April Williams” “Okay, hi April, you will be in room 817. Have a nice stay” He said, handing over a room key to me. Thank god, time to sleep! Strolling down the Narrow halls in a sloth like manor,‘815, 816, 817.’ ‘I’m here’ I pressed the card against the lock, It made a weird noise and showed a red light. I pulled on the handle and pressed my body against the door. It wouldn’t open. I tried several more times, before I realized that maybe this key card doesn’t go with the lock. I waltzed back down to the lobby. As I got off the elevator Carter was there, It’s like I can’t lose him, I try to run away, but somehow he finds me. ‘Aghh’. Soon enough I’m gonna have to talk to him, so I get off the elevator with my carryon on my back (heavy as hell), my suitcase rolling behind me and my keycard in the other hand. Trying to sound happy, I said “Hi Carter”, turning my head toward the receptionist, I said “Sir, my key doesn’t work on my door.”. “Okay, lemme check the card” He told me as he grabbed the card out from my hand. “Oh I see I gave you the key card to room THREE-seventeen. Here’s the right key, and sir, you will be staying in room 902.” He said, handing us our room keys. We nudged ourselves in the elevator, “You look well,” I told Carter, playing with my hair with a big smile on my face. ‘See, I knew it, if I opened up to him, I wouldn’t be able to control myself, and I know me, this night is either gonna end up with me down at the bar, drinking shots with strangers, or sobbing into my pillow.’. “I’ve been doing good, I got a girlfriend” he said. He got a girlfriend. I had so many thoughts racing through my mind, ‘who was she? Did I know her? How long have you been dating?’ But the only question that I could seem to ask was “What’s her name?” “Sandrine”. Sandrine? What type of name is Sandrine? “Well, I hope you two are happy” I said as the elevator door opened on floor 8. “I guess this is my stop.” “I guess it is…” he said like the leading guy in one of those rom coms on Netflix. Our eyes locked, trying not to kiss him was impossible. The elevator doors started to close with him still inside.
PART 2: CARTER
‘What was that’ I should’ve kissed her. That was the signal! Long lingering silence. I even made up a fake girlfriend so that she might get jealous. How desperate could I be. But I know that if anything happens between us, she still doesn’t want kids, and I do. Once I got into my hotel room, I threw my bags on the carpeted floor and went to sleep. As I layed in the hotel room bed, the morning broke, as an alarm went off on my phone, I could feel the summer breeze from the open window, sifting in the smell of half decent breakfast food. I jump out of bed, get dressed and go downstairs to get some food.
There she was, lining up by the buffet. Oh my god, this is a chance to start over. I started to walk over, “Hey” I said, “Hey” She responded. “Long plane ride wasn’t it” I said, trying to romance her. I don’t know what I’m doing. “Yeah” She said scooping scrambled eggs on her plate. “Y’know, I was thinking about last night, and I was thinking if everything that I might have missed out on” I made eye contact. “Oh yeah, like what?” She said hesitantly. Not knowing if I had the courage to say what I wanted to say next. So I panicked “I want us to be friends again”. “Well that would be weird, I mean we dated.. For TWO YEARS, I mean you gotta admit it IS weird. Well, our talk was like we were friends, but that was only for 1 minute. This is a friendship you’re talking about. Like the 90s sitcom, friends’s theme song, we have to be there for each other all the time. I just don’t know if that would work” She said rambling on. “Do you wanna start small, how ‘about a cup of coffee?” “Well I’m pretty busy while we’re here, but how about when we’re back in boston.” “Okay, wait no. This isn’t right.” Nothing had changed, and I did want more than to be just friends. One of us would get hurt. “Maybe it’s better if we just nod when we pass each other, be friendly”. Although it’s killing me, that’s what I had to do.
After a long day, it was time for the rehearsal dinner. I got all suited up, with my toast in my suit pocket and left for the dining hall. I had a great meal, And got up to do my toast. “I’ve known Kelly for my whole life, we grew up together, I remember the first time she talked about her dream wedding” As I was in the middle of the speech, I saw her, in a black cocktail dress looking beautiful as hell. I think I froze on stage. I quickly tried to catch myself. “With the dream guy, and I think she found him, James, Kelly, I wish you a lifetime of happiness. To the happy couple. Cheers” “Cheers” I make my way over to April, trying to resist. “Hi” she said, smiling at me. I just couldn’t resist. “Oh what the hell”, I pressed my lips against hers, she started to pull away, I grabbed my arm across her waist, I slowly pulled away as she looked into my eyes
Love this story! It speaks to unrequited love and the decisions made at life’s crossroads. Will they rekindle their romance, or realize during the wedding that they don’t share the love that Kelly and James do??
It’s pure torture not knowing what will happen to April and Carter next! I can’t wait!!
I want a signed copy of your first novel.
Great story Leo!!! Congratulations you did a great job!!
That was so AWESOME! I need to read the rest of this ASAP! I loved it.