Here is a small fact:
We are only humans.
We are who we are for so many reasons, and many of those reasons can’t be explained in simple terms. For instance: our greed plays a part in our daily lives. We’re greedy for things that aren’t really important, like money, power, and beauty. These are common things that people want. Things that our hearts desire. Yet, isn’t it natural to be greedy?
Greed may not be so good, but it’s not so bad either. We all think it’s for the worst, but everyone in this world wants something that they don’t have.
Even I wanted something in life, trying to make it my own. I’ve also met others who were filled with greed, both the good and the bad. One wanted to bring his brother back. Another wanted to find her way home again.
This is a small story, really, about:
a lost girl
and a whole lot of other things
It was a summer day, if I recall correctly. The small town of Amador was unexpectedly cool and refreshing; because of this, parents were walking with grocery bags in hand, talking and exchanging information. Children of all ages were outside, playing to their hearts content, laughing as they chased each other.
There’s always going to be minority, no matter what.
Passing by in a silver Toyota, a girl, no more than seven, sat in the passenger seat, staring out the window. Her lips were pressed together tightly, and she wore a dark and unreadable expression. She resented the fact that they had to move to an unknown area that were covered in rolling hills and huge trees. It was all just very stupid to her.
Her father, a bright and cheery man, had talked for the entire ride, and he made no plans of stopping. “Think about it, Riley!” he exclaimed. “You’ll make new friends, get a nice teacher, have a great new home, and even have a new sister! Isn’t that great?” Her mother laughed softly, a tinkling sound that usually soothed the seven-year old. At the moment, however, she scowled and continued to stare out the window.
Looking back, I now realize that Riley was angry over the smallest thing possible. After all, thousands of other families move to a different home, but she wanted desperately to stay back in her old hometown. She might’ve given anything to stay behind. Now, I think she regrets holding that silly grudge towards her parents. You want to know why?
Reyna and Jack Montgomery didn’t deserve to die the way they did.
I’m getting off topic, but they didn’t need to die. They needed to live for Riley and their unborn child, yet Fate was so cruel as she took them away. It was approximately three years after they moved to Amador, and exactly two after Riley’s sister was born. That day was streaked with gray. I remembered. Nothing was ever the same after that.
Getting back to the story, Riley had stubbornly refused to even look at her parents, her amber eyes boring out into the outside world. Even though she used those strange eyes to look outside, her mind probably didn’t even comprehend the beautiful sight. Instead, I bet it wandered around lazily, trying to find a way to turn the car back around even though they were already in Amador. What a beautiful mind a child has. If only I could go back into time, using the mind that I had once so stupidly used.
“Welcome to Amador!” Jack exclaimed cheerfully as the GPS beeped, signaling the end of their long journey. To Riley, he exclaimed, “Look sharp, sweetie. A couple of those boys stopped playing baseball for you.” Reyna chuckled as Jack whistled appreciatively. “Wow. They stopped playing sports for my daughter?” Her father shot her a sly smile. “You’re going to be a real heartbreaker, Riley.”
Jack was just joking, of course. The joke prodded at her steel defenses, but she batted them away, her stubbornness giving her strength. Although it was true that those boys had stopped playing to watch the Toyota come into town, not her. Most of them were dirty to the core from the dirt, caps twisted backwards. One of them might’ve been popping gum.
She could care less.
“Jack, stop for a second,” Reyna said, placing a hand on the seat. “I’d like to say hi to the new neighbors we’re going to live with side-by-side.” Riley whipped her head around, alarmed. Anything but that, mom, she wanted to say. Please don’t make us stop.
Jack grinned broadly, as if this was the best idea he had ever heard. “Why not?” he said as he swerved the car around, parking near the sidewalk. “I’m going to leave soon, and I wouldn’t want to leave without getting to know them first.” Riley’s eyes grew wider, and she opened her mouth to say something, only to shut her mouth again. God only knows what she was going to say just then.
Before she knew it, her feet had touched the grass, soft and comforting. Riley clamped her mouth together firmly before she climbed back into the car, trying to escape the prying and curious eyes. Jack tugged her back out; she only climbed back in until Jack pulled her out, firmly grabbing her hand. He locked the car with a click of a button.
“I’m going to walk around with your mother,” Jack said as he knelt down, looking at her straight in the eyes. “Now I need you to promise me that you’re going to stay near the car because I know you don’t want to do the boring stuff with the adults. ” Riley gave a stiff nod. Jack straightened after he planted a kiss on his daughter’s head.
“Good girl,” he said. “This is going to be a good stretch for you legs, so don’t attempt to get into the car, understood?” Again, Riley nodded. Jack sighed, and he held out his hand, sticking out his pinkie finger. “Promise me, please.” Riley, in turn, sighed as she hooked her finger around his before letting his hand slip away. With a final pat on the head, he grabbed his wife’s hand before he walked away, rubbing Reyna’s back soothingly.
As she turned around, she found the baseball game had resumed. There were ecstatic shouts as the bat hit the ball, soaring in air. Riley watched as one of the boys dropped the bat, running as if he were on fire. Uninterested, she turned away to find a shady spot to sit.
That might’ve been the biggest mistake of her life by far.
Do you know of those times when everything seems to be in slow motion in those horrid romantic comedies, when the girl and boy see each other as they fall in love? These were one of those moments, but this time, it wasn’t the love between some desperate teenagers in search of true love. Instead, the ball soared into a high arc before landing on her head, making her stop short.
The ball rolled away from her, as if in fear.
You know, it might not have been the worst decision either. As far as I was concerned, the boys were going to regret it. Anyways, if she hadn’t turned around when she did, one of the boys might’ve never even tried to attempt to throw the ball at her purposely. In order to capture the attention of that one girl, he had risked the game to have her look over at them again.
This is where Alec Wilde comes in. You might grow to hate him, just you wait.
Riley bent down, scooping the ball into her hand. One of the boys had wandered over, bigger and more stronger than her. He held out his hand as she turned around, not bothering to apologize or politely ask for the ball again. It was quite clear that he thought she was a worthless girl who didn’t do anything but whine and complain.
Boy, was he wrong about Riley Montgomery. With a furious twist, she shot the ball straight at the boy, even though they were nearly close to touching. The impact made the boy cry out, crumbling to the ground as he grabbed his stomach. Riley then marched forward as she grabbed him by the collar, pulling him towards the center of the field. People were beginning to stare.
Wait for it. Alec’s coming shortly.
There was much confusion then as Riley pulled the boy, who now thrashed around wildly, with a sour look on her face. Even I was surprised with her actions; she didn’t like violence at all, and she chose to avoid it all costs. But then and there, as that boy had stared her down with a smirk, her stress broke loose and she blindly took it out on him.
The boys had rushed over, shock crossing their faces as the seven-year old gave a final tug, her cheeks flushed. The boy gave a groan as he turned to his side; the ground had scraped his bare shoulders raw, and the excessive tugging had awkwardly torn his strap. Served him right, now that I think about it.
“The heck?!” one of the boys exclaimed as he knelt down, his eyes wild with shock. “Ya messed John up, ya rotten brat! I don’t care if you’re a girl! I’m gonna mess ya up for layin’ a hand on him!” There was a low mumble among the baseball players as they stared at the tiny girl.
Marry him, then, if you care so much about him.
Breathing heavily, Riley clenched her fists, not uttering a single word.
Here he is.
A low whistle. Someone stepped forward, and he stared down at Jack. “You scraped him up real good,” he said, a grin spreading across his face. Riley stared at the boy, before she looked away in disgust. He had features that reminded her of a panther; black hair that was tucked under a backward cap, gold eyes, and a long body.
Then and there, Riley decided not to like him.
“You’re gonna pay for that,” Jack groaned out as he sat up. They all turned to stare at him, but the minute Riley met his, his entire face blanched. He said incredulously, “The heck? Ya got orange eyes; what’s up with that?” Loud guffaws from the boys except from the panther-boy and a very angry Riley. A triumphant smile spread over Jack’s face, and he slyly smirked.
This wasn’t the first time someone had made fun of her eyes. When Jack made a comment about them, she also knew that it wasn’t going to be last time someone made fun of her. I wanted to tell her, ‘don’t worry,’ and ‘your eyes are beautiful,’ but how exactly was I supposed to tell her that? Riley wasn’t exactly at a state of peace right now.
“What ugly eyes,” Jack said as he struggled to stand up. “What sort of parent would pass down eyes like that?” Another chorus of laughter and she began to take a step forward, away from them. Isn’t that what her mother had always told her to do? Walk away from others if they were going to cause drama that wasn’t needed. Yet, those words were going to haunt her for the rest of her life.
“So what?” the panther-boy said, making her pause. “Stop bothering her, Jack, and let’s start a new game.” A murmur of agreement raced through the crowd, and they scattered as she chose to look back at them. John limped away with the help of two boys, and it was only then that Riley was truly alone.
What had she expected? The panther-boy wasn’t going to compliment her eyes, or say it was beautiful. After all, besides her parents, no one said she had beautiful eyes. No one bothered to stop and say, ‘what wonderful colors your eyes shine.’ Life wasn’t always going to be fair, and she knew it.
This is where greed comes in. Riley desired for people to compliment her eyes instead of hate them. I, too, desired for others to say she was beautiful, no matter what color her eyes were. We were both greedy for this in the same way.
I had a feeling Alec was staring at her as the boys were in search for a new baseball, after Riley threw the last one they had at Jack. In a way, I think his mind lingered on her eyes, for they were beautiful if people only stopped to appreciate them. He, unlike the others, wanted to compliment them, but his pride got the best of him. So he stayed silent, although those amber eyes never left his mind, not once. Alec wasn’t so bad as you got to know him, in my opinion. He loved her eyes, and for that, I was grateful.
Again, if only I could go back into time. Then I would kneel down, look her straight in the eyes, and say, “You have beautiful eyes, child. Although you desired for that one wish to have people notice them, you don’t have to be greedy for it. Don’t lose sight of Alec. The panther-boy recognized and loved them back there, and he wanted to tell you how wonderful they are.”
Riley sat on the curb, near the Toyota, and silently waited for her parents. When they arrived, they were startled to see her eyes swimming with tears; Riley had chosen to hold back the tears she wanted so dearly to remain hidden. Reyna led her daughter into the back of the car, letting Riley rest against her side. Jack drove on, never suspecting that the boys who had once paused for them had bullied his daughter into tears.
Oh, if society wasn’t so cruel. Riley had tried so hard to have it all, but what she was looking for in the very beginning had been right in front of her this entire time.
Alec. We’re all waiting for you.