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"Iris". . . A Novel By Tina Adkins

Chapter 9

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Ch 9

We left the apartment complex and walked for a while. Then we entered a park, a big park. I had never been there before. It had a ton of people walking, running, roller blading, playing basketball, volleyball, and tennis. There was even a ramp and a course where skateboarders were practicing. Everything was green. And the air there…probably the cleanest air in all of New York. It was so beautiful.

"Want some gum?" John reached into his pocket. "I grabbed some before we left."

"What kind?" I asked.

"Something minty," he laughed, handing me a piece.

I took it and unwrapped it. I sighed as I crammed the wrapper into my pocket. John took my hand with two fingers. He stopped suddenly and suspiciously looked around. He pulled me off the sidewalk and onto a trail that led through the woods. He stopped again and looked around. Then he pulled me into the trees. Then he beckoned me to squat down.

"Ok," he started in a whisper.

"What are you doing?" I asked.

"Shh! Not so loud, ok… I want to take you somewhere you’ll love. But I’m not really sure how to get there."

"What the hell are you taking about?" I whispered.

"Well, I asked Jeff, the guy at the bar, if he knew of a… romantic… place, and he said to come here. Well, not here. He said it was special to his girlfriend and him. He said no one goes there."

I just sort of stared. John looked at the ground, then took my hand and looked me in the eye. "Ok," he said. "You’re going to have to hold on tight." He squeezed my hand. "I don’t want to get separated from you. Understand?"

"Yeah, I guess," I answered.

"Iris… I know you probably don’t know what I’m talking about but once we get there, I know you’ll love it," he laughed. There was a brief pause. "Are you ready?" he asked.

"I guess," I replied. We stood up.

"We’re going that way." He pointed through the woods.

"We’re… running through this?" I asked strangely.

"Yeah!" he smiled.

"You’re crazy! I’m not running through that! Why do we have to run anyway? Why not walk?"

"Because, we don’t want to get caught."

"Why not?"

"This is no trespassing. We aren’t supposed to be in here."

"So, I have to run?"

"Just for a few minutes."


He squeezed my hand and took off running through the trees, practically dragging me behind him. "Oh shit!" I thought as the ground got softer and lumpier from tree roots growing out of the ground. My foot hit a root and my feet flew out from under me. I fell straight down, almost having my face slammed into the dirt below us. John stopped and looked back at me.

"Are you alright?"

"Dammit! Does it look like I’m alright." I looked up from lying on the ground. John began laughing. "Stop laughing at me! It’s not funny!" I giggled.

"Come here," he said, lifting me up. "How did you fall?"

"Tree root," I pointed over to the one I tripped on. "Some idea."

"Let’s stop for a minute. Let me see your leg."

I stuck it out in front of me. I was developing a bruise already. "You’re trying to kill me, aren’t you?"

"No! I didn’t know that you’d fall."

"It’s me hun. I fall all the time anyway, on flat ground." We both looked at my leg. "I hate running."

"Well, it’s the only way to get there. But since we’re almost there, I guess we can walk. For your sake. So, let’s go."


"Yep." he stood up and began walking.

I pulled myself up by a nearby limb and staggered over to John. I tossed my arms around him and breathed, ""

"I’ll carry you." He turned to face me and held out his arms.

"You’ll what?"

"Carry you. How about on my back?"

"Could you?" I asked helplessly.

"Of course."

"Ok," I giggled. John turned around.

"On three, you jump and I’ll catch your legs. Ready?"

"Just count."

"One...two...three..." I jumped and he caught my left leg, but upon missing my right, his foot slid to the side on some wet leaves and we both went tumbling down.

"John!" We were in hysterics.

"Ok," he said getting back up. "Let’s try it again." I got up and put my arms around him again. "One...two...three!" I jumped and we were successful. We squirmed a bit trying to get comfortable. I kept choking him because I was afraid that he was going to drop me. Once we were comfortable, we were going back through the woods.

After what seemed like forever, John stopped. I climbed down off of him and asked, "Are we here?"

"Yeah, I’m pretty sure that it’s just through those trees," he said pointing ahead of him.

I looked in front of me and darted toward the trees with him following behind. We ran out onto lush green grass. We stopped instantly to take in the beauty.

It was a cleared out piece of land, lots of grass, lots of sunshine. Right smack in the middle of this was a huge lake, which was probably man-made. It was amazing, lined with rocks and not murky at all, but a sparkling blue. Someone had to keep this cleaned every so often.

"Wow," I whispered.

"I know," he said, walking toward the big body of water. "Come on," he waved to me. I ran to catch up to him. We walked down to the edge of the water and sat down.

"Have you ever been here?" I asked.

"You know, I’ve been probably everywhere in Buffalo, but I can honestly say that I’ve never been here." he smiled and took my hand, lying back into the grass and pulled me across him.

After a few, I raised up and looked at him. His hair was spread out on the grass. I smiled and said, "Thanks for bringing me here John."

"No problem," he returned my smile. I leaned down and kissed him.

"Wait a minute. Let me up for a sec." I sat up and watched him stand, take his shirt and shorts off and throw them on the ground, take his shoes and socks off and place them beside his clothes, and look down at me, still in the grass. His swimming trunks were actually a pair of dark blue boxers. "Ready?" he asked me.

"For what?"

He turned around and ran toward the lake. I got up and ran after him laughing. When he reached the edge, he took a flying leap straight into the water. I stopped and looked in. John’s head popped up to the surface. "Woah," he shrieked. " The water’s cold. Not that cold, but cold enough to take your breath away."

"Lovely," I snickered. His hair was plastered to his head. He was so cute.

"You coming in?"


"Ah! Why not?"

"‘Cause, you gotta come get me!"

"If you say so." He swam back to the edge. I kicked my flip-flops at him as he pulled himself out of the water and stuck my tongue out playfully. I ran toward the trees screaming.

He chased me around a few times, but soon I started to slow down. He grabbed me from behind and started to carry me toward the lake. "No!" I screamed. He stopped long enough to unbutton and unzip my pants and pull them down. He then picked me back up and carried me a little farther, then put my back down and pulled my shirt over my head.

"Oh, pink," he smiled and pulled me against him.

I looked down at my bathing suit. "Yeah, cool huh?"

"Yeah, real cool." He threw me over his shoulder and began running. He reached the edge and dove off, in midair letting me go and I screamed as we both plunged into the water.

I popped up as quickly as I could and saw the ripples of where John had landed. Suddenly, he grabbed my ankles and pulled me under. I panicked. He let go and I swam back to the surface gasping for breath. Soon he popped up infront of me laughing.

"It’s...not...FUNNY!" I screamed. "I swallowed my gum. I could have died," I began laughing. I grabbed him by the hair and dunked him under, but he grabbed my feet and pulled me under with him. Under the water, I opened my eyes and looked at John. He was in front of me smiling. I swept my hand over his face and he yanked me in for a kiss. We floated up to the surface.

"You’re so amazing," I laughed as I put my arms around him.

"And you’re not?"

"I guess...if you say so." I rolled my eyes.

He gave me a peck on the cheek and laughed. I put my forehead against his and closed my eyes. I thought about everything I’d always wanted and wished for and came to the conclusion that I’ve finally found it. It was all in John. Everything was finally falling into place. MY mom was finally happy, now that it’s just her and me. I didn’t feel so doomed anymore. I had graduated, found a college, had great friends, and now I’ve found someone who I loved. Someone who made me feel beautiful and confident. Something I’ve never felt before.

"Really John, you are amazing," I sighed.

"You..." his voice cracked. He cleared his throat and continued. "You are just so beautiful."

"I was just think about that."

"What? How beautiful you are?" he laughed.

"No John," I giggled. "Ever since I met you you’ve made me feel so pretty."

"Aw, shucks." He made a goofy face and we both laughed. "Anyway, we’ve only known each other for a day or so."

"I know. That’s why you are just so amazing!"

There was a pause. John raised his head and looked over to where the sun was slowly going down. "Wanna go watch it?" he asked.

"Watch what?"

"The sun set."

"Oh, yeah."

"Come on then." we swam over to the edge. John hopped out and brought down a hand. "Here." He helped me out of the water.

"Um, John. What are we going to dry off on? I’m freezing." I folded my arms infront of me and shivered.

"Hold on." He walked over and got his shirt. "Try this." He handed it to me and I started patting my face.

He wrung his hair out, bent over and ran his fingers through it, raised back up and sort of flipped it around with his hands. I watched with wide eyes. I sighed out loud.

"What?" he asked as he his head back and ran his fingers through it again.

"You’re so...I don’t know."



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