The Secret of Ella and Micha / Prologue

Prologue


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Ella

I wonder if I can fly? With the wind and rain in my hair and my arms out to the side of me, it feels like it might be possible. Perhaps if I can get enough courage to jump off the thin ledge, I'll soar away into the night, like a bird with powerful wings.

Maybe then I could reunite with her.

"What are you doing?" Micha says, his voice higher than normal. "Get down from there. You're going to hurt yourself." His aqua eyes pierce me through the rain and his hands are on the beams above his head, hesitant to climb out onto the ledge.

"I don't think I will," I say. "I think I might be able to fly... just like her."

"Your mom couldn't fly." He balances onto the railing and glances down at the murky water far below our feet. "What are you on?"

"I took one of her old pills." I tip my head back and bask my face in the rain. "I just wanted to see what it was like for her. Why she thought she was invincible."

He steps down on the beam with his arms spanned out to the side and his clunky boots slip on the wet metal. The lightning flashes above our heads and collides with the earth.

"Your mother didn't know better, but you do." Bracing one hand on the metal wire above our heads, he extends his other hand toward me. "Now come over here. You're scaring the shit out of me."

"I don't know if I can," I say softly, raising my head back up as I rotate to face him. "I'm not sure if I want to."

He dares a step closer and his thick eyelashes blink fiercely against the down pour. "Yes, you do. You're stronger than that." His hand begs me closer. "Please, just get over here."

Staring down at the black water, my body starts to drift.

"I swear to God, Ella!" Micha shouts, his tone sharp, his muscles tense. "Give me your hand!"

I snap out of my daze and tangle my fingers with his. His other hand captures my waist and he leads us swiftly back to the railing, lifting me over it. My feet settle onto the concrete of the bridge that is pooled with puddles. Lights on the beams illuminate the night and Micha's car is parked in the middle of the bridge with the driver's door open and the engine and headlights on.

He hops over the railing and then his arms are around me, embracing me securely, like he's afraid to let go. For a second, it feels okay, weightless and uncontrolled. I tuck my face into his chest, the wet fabric damp against my chilled skin. The scent of him takes me to a place I wish I could go back to - my childhood. Back when things weren't as heavy because I was too immature to grasp the full reality of life.

Micha pulls back and smoothes my wet hair out of my eyes. "Don't you ever do that to me again. I can't do this without you."

But he needs to figure out life without this perception of me, because I don't know how long I can keep doing it without drowning.

"Micha, I..." The look on his face silences my lips.

He knows what I'm about to say - he always does. He is my best friend, my soul mate. In a perfect world, full of roses and sunshine we'd be together, but this world is full of broken homes, drunken fathers, and mothers who give up easily.

"I'm sorry." I cling to him as I say my final good-bye. "I didn't want to think anymore. It was just too much and my mind wouldn't slow down. But it's alright now. I can think clearly again."

He cups my cheek, his thumb searing hot as he traces the pad lightly across my cheekbone. "Next time come to me - don't just run. Please. I know things are hard right now, but it'll get better. We've always made it through every single bad thing thrown at us." Beads of water trickle in his eyelashes, along his cheeks, over his full lips. There's a shift in the air, one I've felt coming for a long time.

His lips part. "Ella, I love - "

I crush my lips against his, hushing him and melting our bodies together. I allow his tongue to caress mine, letting him suck the rain from my bottom lip and savor the taste of me. We arc into each other, like we can't get enough and heat flows through our drenched clothes, warming my skin. I could let it go on forever, but that would be wrong.

The girl he thinks he loves needs to disappear. I don't want tonight to be irreversible, so I pull away, breathing him in one last time. Then I walk away, leaving him on the bridge in the rain, along with the old Ella.


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