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Taking Flight - An Extract

I hear foot-falls on the wet pavement behind me and out of the corner of my eye I see it’s Hawk. I so don’t want to talk to him right now. Especially if it's still obvious I’ve been crying.
     “You gonna follow me, cowboy?” I shout over the rain, trying to keep my voice steady and confident. He chuckles under his breath and keeps running. Why couldn’t he just leave me alone?
     I lean forward into the downpour, picking up my pace. Behind me Hawk sprints, trying to get level with me. I clench my fists and turn into a gap in the hedge which I knew would be there.  Running through the grass is more difficult, but I had the head start. 
     Hawk’s gaining me, every one of his long paces closing the gap between us. We run like this for ages, both of us too determined to slow down. Now we’re in parallel, I can hear Hawk’s heavy breathing. Good.  He’s getting tired too.
     Shit. A stitch springs up in my side, taking me off guard, making me need to check my footing. I wince and – huh? - he puts his hand on my arm.  What’s he playing at? Annoyed, I run sideways to try and widen the distance between us, but he closes it with ease. Damn athlete. He grabs my arm again and pulls me to a stop.
     I spin round and glare fiercely into his eyes, panting.  He was looking at me like he could see right into my soul, like there was no one else in the world.  I’m not gonnna lie to you, my heart skipped a beat. My mouth makes a little ‘o’ shape, but by that time we’ve got our breath back and he takes off again.
     “Wait.” I call without thinking about it. He wheels around to face me, as shocked as I am - I never turn down a challenge – especially a race.
     He walks forwards, not for a second taking his eyes off mine. He stops right in front of me and his moss-green eyes pour into mine. My heart flutters annoyingly and I open my mouth to speak, but no words come out. I clench my jaw instead, trying to look stubborn. There’s laughter in his eyes. “You don’t always have to be alone, you know.” He says, putting two fingers under my chin and tilting my head up to him. His touch is electric. I start to open my mouth to reply but I can’t think of anything smart to say. No matter, ‘cause instead he leans forward and kisses me softly on the lips. Well I can safely say I didn’t expect this.
     When he pulls away he’s grinning. My cheeks flush a stupid shade of pink and my heart feels giddy. I swallow and try to regain some control over my vocal chords.
     “We've been through this before, Hawk," I sigh, reluctant to voice the truth. "You and me, it doesn't work."
     “I don't care. I don't care about anything but this.” He looks down at his hand, entwining his fingers in mine. Then he raises his eyes to mine again. I don’t know what to say. All I know is, I'm not going to run anymore.


~Effy x