Un-Happy Birthday (working title)A Story by __emie__
For her 22nd birthday, Sophie Price, her friends, and her younger sister travel across the United States to Georgia to celebrate the event. But that all changes when a missile explodes off the coast.
The hot and humid air hung heavily in the room, forcing the light sheet to become a fabric net that trapped the young woman to her bed. Even with her hair in a pixie cut that ended just below her ears, the honey-colored hair plastered itself to every part of skin it touched. She kicked, she flipped, and she rolled across the bed several times to untangle herself from the single sheet that was on the bed, but the girl found no comfort. It was too hot.
She forced herself to peel her eyelids apart, revealing a pair of extremely sleepy hazel eyes. The clock on the bedside table read that it was only 5:32 in the morning, and Sophie Price took a deep breath before sitting up in the bed and rubbing her eyes. The light camisole and the boy-shorts she wore didn’t do anything to give her relief from the summer heat, and Sophie wondered if the heat would ever come to an end.
But it wasn’t just the boiling temperature that was keeping her from getting a restful sleep. It was the fact that she was on the opposite side of the United States with her little sister. When Sophie told her parents that she would be able to watch out for her sister, Chloe, and still have a good time, she didn’t realize how stressful it would be.
Sophie loved her half-sister to death, and would take her everywhere with her if she could. She could still remember when her father told her that he and his wife were going to have a baby, and Sophie couldn’t be more thrilled. Being twelve years older than Chloe was a large age gap between the two girls, but the two acted as though they shared the same soul, so when Sophie’s friends surprised her with plane tickets for her birthday to go to one of her friend’s beach house in Georgia, she made sure Chloe would come to.
It was probably the best twenty-second birthday Sophie could have ever had. Gianna and her boyfriend, Kyle - who Sophie knew both of since they were freshman in high school - gave her tickets to an art show back in Seattle. And then there was the present Madeline gave her. She had been hinting at some kind of huge present since Christmas, but wouldn’t tell a soul what it was: or so she said. Maddie always had the biggest problem at keeping things a secret, and would end up telling everyone what the secret was. Which she still did, but just not to Sophie. Maddie had made all the arrangements for the group to go to her family’s beach house for her birhtday in June, something Sophie was never sure on how she managed to keep a secret from her. Maddie and Sophie had known each other since before Sophie’s mother died when they were eight, and their friendship became more of a family. They spent birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, and every wedding - all seven, if you include the six times her dad and stepmom got remarried - together. She was even there the first time Maddie’s older brother, Greg, was caught with a girl in his room.
But none of those cold December memories could make Sophie forget about how hot it was right then and there.
It was only the first night at the beach house, and Sophie had already wandered down the stairs and into the kitchen, where she pulled out a pack of ice from the huge refrigerator that matched the Italian villa décor. She placed it onto the back of her neck and sat down on one of the bar stools, leaning her sweaty brow against the cool marble counter.
“You haven’t even been here twenty-four hours and you’ve broken out the ice packs,” laughed a tenor voice as the kitchen lights flipped on, blanking out Sophie’s vision for a moment. She didn’t need her eyes, though, to know that the voice was Greg's as he sat down on the barstool next to her. “Ready for the rain yet?”
“God, no,” Sophie laughed lightly in reply as she sat up and moved the icepack off the back of her neck. “Just ready for air conditioning. Seriously, does this house even have it?”
“Just turned it on, actually,” Greg remarked as he pushed a hand through his slightly damp brown hair. He then looked over at Sophie before poking at part of her hair. “Seriously, you’re hair looks just as bad as mine.”
Leaning slightly to the left, Sophie saw from the reflection of the oven that her short hair looked as if it had been electrocuted. “Wow,” Sophie gasped with a laugh as she pushed her hand through it. “I don’t remember the last time it was this bad.”
The sound of soft footsteps caused the two to look behind them, and in the doorway that led to the large house’s living room was Gianna, her dark blonde hair stacked into a bun on the top of her head. “Your hair looked like crap last March when we were working that fashion show,” she reminded in a groggy voice as she sat down at the last barstool. “You had to run in the rain with your cameras and it dried in a bowl shape.”
She loved Gianna’s recall, at least when it came to fashion. That’s why the two got along so well, in some ways. Sophie was a photography major, and Gianna was a fashion design major, already planning their dream jobs in high school. When they grew up and had to get real jobs, they would bring each other to their jobs if it had anything to do with fashion. “You don’t look so pretty right now either, if I say so myself.”
For once, the size-two, drop-dead gorgeous girl with her pencil-thin legs and abs only years of gymnastics could form, looked like a human being. Gianna’s hair was falling out of the messy bun, and her loose t-shirt and boxer shorts made her look frumpy. But still in a Greek goddess kind of way. Gianna groaned and folded her arms on the cool marble. “Don’t remind me how horrible I look.”
“I can’t believe girls really talk like this,” Greg laughed as he leaned back and took a spectator position on Gianna and Sophie’s conversation. “I thought that was only in those teen dramas that they acted like this.”
“So did I,” Kyle remarked as he walked into the kitchen as he threw a towel over his bare shoulder and grabbed a bottled water from the fridge, taking a long drink from it. “And then I met Gi here, and that all changed.”
Gianna stuck her tongue out at Kyle as he came around the island and kissed the top of her head. Everyone was starting to feel better, know that the air condition was starting to turn on and the temperature was finally becoming livable again. “So, who wants to go for a morning run with me? Gi?” Kyle asked the group as he gripped Gianna’s shoulders, his own shoulder muscles flexing across his naked torso. Sophie had just realized that he was dressed in running shorts and running sneakers.
“Not at six in the morning, no,” she replied as she peeled herself away from her boyfriend before standing and kissing him on the cheek. “I’m gonna take a shower and see if I can move again.”
Rolling his eyes, Kyle threw his towel at Greg, who was also starting to stand. “What about you, man? Bring back those memories of football practice?”
“Gotta closed the windows,” he replied with a shrug. “My parents will flip if we kill the air conditioning unit. Especially since they just finished all the upgrades for this place.”
That left Sophie, and she felt his eyes staring at her before she even looked up at him. “Soph?” he asked, giving her puppy eyes. “You’ve always been my running buddy.”
After having all four years of gym together, Kyle and Sophie did go running together a lot after graduation. It was even Kyle who got Sophie to join track their junior year of high school.
“I’ll go,” Sophie answered with a nod. “Let me just get changed and tell Chloe what’s going on, ‘kay?”
Kyle glowed and smiled as he made his way to the sliding door that led to the back porch. “See you on the sand.”
After changing into her swimsuit and running shorts, Sophie put some mousse in her hair and fanned it out and away from her face. Then she pulled out a sticky note and wrote down that she was going for a run on it. She didn’t see the point in waking Chloe up yet, and found that leaving a note for her would be best.
She left the sticky note against the door on the inside of Chloe’s room, her sister still fast asleep in her bed. “Going somewhere?” Maddie whispered into Sophie’s ear as she closed the door.
“Going for a run on the beach with Kyle,” Sophie answered quietly as the two girls made their way down the stairs that led to the kitchen. “Hey, I wanted to thank you for this awesome birthday present. Seriously, you’re parents are letting us stay here for the week?”
Maddie shrugged as she stepped off the last step, held the railing, and spun to walk down the hallway to the livingroom and the backdoor. “Two weeks, if we wanted to,” she replied as she led the way through the house. “Figured your dad and Sue would have wanted Chloe back after one.”
“True,” Sophie agreed with a laugh. With her dad, he didn’t worry so much with Chloe because Sophie already sent him through hell with all her craziness. But she didn’t even meet Sue " her stepmom " till she was eleven, and though she loved Sue, they had more of a friendship than a mother-daughter relationship. “Sue would miss the kid too much.”
“I’m sure she didn’t sleep at all last night and is still waiting at the airport for Chloe to come back,” Maddie laughed, remembering how Sue had held Chloe for so long that they barely made the final call for their flight.
Sophie smiled and waved good-bye to Maddie as she walked out the glass door and down the wooden porch steps to where Kyle was finishing up talking to a couple of girls. “Be careful with who you talk to, Ky,” Sophie laughed as she nodded toward the two girls who were giggling as they walked off. “If Gi catches you talking to them, you’re dead.”
“It’s not your birthday till tomorrow,” Kyle remarked as he gently pushed Sophie in the shoulder. “I’m not going to do anything you say until then.”
The two ran in silence, only occasionally bringing something up or pointing something out as they ran. This was how the two ran most of the time, though: in silence. They enjoyed each other’s company, with just the surrounding sounds and their heart beats as their soundtracks.
Sophie couldn’t believe how warm the day was, or how many people were already out on the beach for just after seven in the morning. There were so many families beginning their day with their children running to the ocean, lifeguards setting up their stands to watch the waters, and the small stands at the edge of the beach that sold refreshments that were just setting up their shops on the sand.
It was the making of a wonderful last day of being twenty-one. “We should get one of those,” Sophie huffed as they ran past a stand that advertised ‘Iced Irish Coffee.’
“On our way back,” Kyle replied as he extended his stride. “Got my eyes on that.” Where Kyle pointed was a giant sign still two blocks away that said ‘Deep Fried Egg Whites.’ It was something Sophie could never understand: a man’s obsession with anything deep fried.
Once Kyle got his deep fried egg and Sophie got her coffee, the two started making their way back to the beach house at a walk. It reflected their Saturday runs the two used to take: begin at Kyle’s house, run to the local bagel store, then walk to Gianna’s house with their goods. “Just like old times,” Kyle pointed out as he popped a ball of fried egg into his mouth.
“It’s exactly the same, since you’re eating everything before we reach the house.” The sun was hot against Sophie’s skin, but the cool breeze that came off of the ocean left her in a comfortable state.
“I didn’t eat everything,” Kyle laughed as he crumbled up the remainder of the bag before throwing it into a garbage can with perfect aim. “Besides, running makes you hungry when you aren’t the size of a mouse.”
Sophie wasn’t under average height, but she was little, and everyone loved to point that out. Or, actually, they liked to put things up high and watch as she scaled shelves to reach things. “It’s not my fault you’re a giant.”
“I’m not a giant,” Kyle replied back with a laugh. But then he stopped dead in his tracks, staring at a fixed point on the horizon out over the ocean.
She looked at Kyle like he had seventy-three heads for just stopping, but Sophie quickly realized that there were other people looking at the same direction. Lifeguards were standing on their stations and pulling people in from the ocean, and parents were holding their children close.
Kyle grabbed Sophie’s arm and pointed at a trail of smoke in the sky that looked just like the clouds airplanes leave behind. Her eyes followed the trail, and she found the silver torpedo-like object just as it exploded somewhere into the ocean.
© 2012 __emie__
AboutI love writing anything from dark to light, fanfic to orignial, first person or third. I'll do it all. The problem: I tend to not want to finish anything. That's why I love having people push me to fi.. more..