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Whispers in Eternity

Whispers in Eternity

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Whispers in Eternity

Lunghezza:
332 pagine
3 ore
Pubblicato:
May 26, 2015
ISBN:
9781311980243
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

My post-high school goals had been right on track—literally. But when the doctors said that I could no longer run, I was faced with two choices—give up or change direction.

Unexpectedly, singing became my new passion—a passion fueled by the most gorgeous guy I had ever met.

I can't say that I believe in love at first sight, but after meeting Gavin, I can now say with certainty that I believe in recognition at first meeting.

He was unquestionably my soulmate.
Only one obstacle stood in our way.
He was a ghost.

Pubblicato:
May 26, 2015
ISBN:
9781311980243
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Jacinda Buchmann lives in Arizona with her husband and three children. She graduated from Carroll College, in Helena, Montana, with a B.A. in elementary education and later received a Master's degree from Northern Arizona University, in school counseling. After spending several years as a teacher and later a school counselor, she now spends her time writing, any free chance she can get, that is, when she's not spending time with her family or creating a new concoction in the kitchen.

Anteprima del libro

Whispers in Eternity - Jacinda Buchmann

WHISPERS IN ETERNITY

The Eternity Series Book One

JACINDA BUCHMANN

Copyright © 2015 Jacinda Buchmann

All right reserved.

Published by Jacinda Buchmann on Smashwords

Run Like A Girl necklace designed by: www.TheRunHome.com

Edited by Mickey Reed

Cover design by ProVision Book Covers

License Notes:

This book is protected under the copyright laws of the United States of America. Any reproduction or other unauthorized use of the material herein is prohibited without the express written permission of the author.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are products of author’s imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be constructed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons living or dead, is completely coincidental.

ISBN:

ISBN-13:

DEDICATION

This book is dedicated to my grandmother—a woman who has taught me, through example, that each day should be lived to the fullest.

CHAPTER ONE

WHEN ONE DOOR OPENS

Breathe, I told myself. Just breathe.

My hands were shaking. I was certain my best friend, Kiera, could hear my heart pounding from six feet away, and even though the race hadn’t begun, I found it hard to catch my breath. In an attempt to tune out my surroundings, I closed my eyes and turned my face toward the morning sky. The rare Seattle sun had chased away the clouds from the day before, and I took in another deep, revitalizing breath to calm my pre-race jitters or whatever the heck was wrong with me.

Noelle? Hey, BFF, what’s up? Are you okay?

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I was aware that Kiera was trying to get my attention. Inwardly, I sighed. I didn’t feel like talking. All I wanted to do was fall asleep right there, standing up. Instead I forced my eyes open and offered a smile.

I’m good, I reassured her, even though good seemed far from the truth. I was just finding my focus before the race. I smiled again before pretending to pour my full concentration into stretching.

Kiera appeared content with my answer because she smiled in return then began a set of forward lunges.

With another deep breath, I leaned into my own lunge but frowned when my heart seemed to beat erratically and my hands started to shake again. Subconsciously, I knew that it wasn’t nerves—as the state champ of the 3,200-meter race, I’d pretty much gotten over pre-race anxiety. That’s not to say I was overconfident or didn’t care how well I did—I knew that every race mattered. But when the wind was beating against my face and the only sound was my feet flying around the track, I was in my true bliss—my happy place. During those eight laps, time stood still. The replayed arguments of my parents fighting with each other left my mind—as did the memory of the last conversation I’d had with Derek when he’d broken up with me. Which was followed by the knowing smirks and whispers behind my back and the not-so-quiet rumors that he’d been cheating on me for the past four months with Kristy, the captain of the a capella team.

Even though I was only in my sophomore year of high school, I already had a list of colleges that were ready to take me on a full-ride scholarship for track. I had the choice to stay in Seattle and remain close to family or, perhaps even more tempting, head south to California to enjoy year-round sun and tan surfer boys. My future was right on track and open to wherever I decided to go.

I opened my eyes, breathing in the damp, crisp air as I continued my warm-ups. Already, I was feeling better, and I knew that my jitters would disappear altogether as soon as the starting gun went off.

I casually glanced toward center field to catch a glimpse of my ex-boyfriend, Derek. He was stretched out in the grass with the rest of his relay team. Behind him, leaning against his shoulders to encourage a deeper stretch, was Kristy.

Kinda makes you want to hurl, doesn’t it? Kiera followed my gaze and shook her head. Don’t let them get to you. He’s a stupid high school boy, and she’s... Well, everyone knows what she’s like. By the end of sophomore year, she’ll have already moved on to someone else, and he’ll be left wondering how he ever let you slip away.

I turned my focus to Kiera and sighed. I’m fine. Really. It’s been what? Two months already? I’m over him. Two months and four days actually, but to point out the fact that I had been counting would only make it apparent that I wasn’t at all over it.

Well, good, because he doesn’t deserve you. Kiera turned her attention back to the field. He’s an idiot if he can’t see past her fake blond hair and grande chesticles. I mean, seriously, other than the fact that she can spread her legs—

Kiera! I smacked her shoulder. Shush it. Someone’s going to hear you.

What? No! Her eyes grew wide and she laughed. Well, maybe she has that going for her, too, but I meant literally spread her legs. Look at her.

`I chuckled under my breath when I saw what she meant. Kristy was sprawled out in the grass, spread-eagle, showing the boys’ relay team how she could easily do the splits. Even though it was still spring and Washington mornings were cool, she was wearing a pair of shorts that barely covered her butt cheeks. From the way she was positioned, I was certain every boy around her had an excellent view of more than just her long, bare legs.

Derek was definitely appreciating the scenery. I couldn’t see his face, but I took in the way his muscular arm was working its way up and down her leg as though he were laying claim to his property.

Disgusted, I looked away and turned my attention toward the bleachers to see if I could spot my parents. They had gotten into another fight right before I’d gone to bed last night, so I questioned whether they would show up together. There was no sign of my dad, but when I caught sight of my mom, she waved her phone in the air then pointed back and forth from me to Kiera.

Catching on to what she wanted, I wrapped an arm around my friend’s shoulders and turned her toward the camera.

Smile. My mom wants to take a picture.

Oh, yay! My mom’s two rows up from her, but she refuses to do any sort of social media. Will you ask your mom to tag me in the picture or forward it to me?

Of course. You can ask her yourself though. She said you can come over for dinner. She won’t be there very long because she has to work in the ER tonight, but my dad said he was going to barbeque hamburgers. Of course, that was before they got into a fight. I’m sure you’re still invited though. I just don’t know if my dad will be there. Whenever they fight, he tends to go away for work for a day or two. But whatever. We can always cook dinner ourselves, right?

Definitely. What’s up with your dad going away though? I guess I really don’t know what he does other than...what is it? Freelance writing or something like that?

Yeah, I began slowly, he writes for different companies around the country, so he has to travel on occasion.

I never flat-out told people what my dad did for a living. Even Kiera, who had been my best friend since sixth grade, only knew a fraction of his actual job description. Freelance writer was much easier to explain and sounded more normal than paranormal investigator.

Calling him a freelance writer wasn’t entirely a lie—he did, in fact, write about his findings. He even worked with Hollywood screenplay writers on occasion to assist with their scripts. But the part I never told anyone, not even my BFF, was that my father was often hired to investigate ghost sightings and assist police departments with cold-case murder investigations. Kiera probably would have thought my dad’s job was cool, but I was sure there were others who wouldn’t have had such nice things to say. There were enough whispers behind my back already—I didn’t need my dad’s unusual occupational choice to be the cause for further whispered conversations.

So you’ll come over for dinner, then? I asked, turning the subject away from my dad’s job.

Of course. She repositioned the red, elastic headband in her sporty, cropped, black hair then nodded toward the track. Come on. Let’s walk. We can talk about this party tonight.

Do you want to leave your car at my place? I asked as I stepped in beside her. My movements mirrored hers as we did a series of walking lunges down the track. We can drive to the party together. I heard Colton’s going to be there.

Colton doesn’t even know I exist, Kiera said, glancing at me before she stepped forward into the next lunge.

He sits at your lab table. I’m sure he knows you exist, my friend, and he would be an idiot to not notice you.

Did you see his last girlfriend? Perfect, skinny cheerleader? Perfect hair. Perfect clothes. That’s not me. I have thunder thighs, and I’m lucky if I happen to grab a pair of shoes that match my outfit. Besides, he’s probably not even into girls of color.

Okay, seriously? I stopped my next lunge, midstride and stood straight, giving her my full attention. "First of all, you don’t have thunder thighs. You have strong, muscular legs that could run circles around that girl any day of the week. Second of all, he doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would care what color of skin you have. And as far as perfect anything? Who the heck cares? The vision of ‘perfect’ is just an opinion given by a crowd who has deemed themselves as most popular. The only opinion I care about is my own, and there’s not a thing I would change about you. You are my perfect best friend."

Kiera bit her lower lip then smiled. Well, you are my perfect best friend so I guess we’re stuck together.

When we did a U-turn and aimed our stride for the starting line, I was relieved to realize that my erratic pulse and shortness of breath had gone to the wayside. Maybe it had just been nerves after all.

Geez. Don’t look now, Kiera whispered. Derek and his posse are headed straight toward us.

So much for a calm pulse.

I reluctantly forced my gaze toward the field and groaned when I saw that she was right. If we continued on the track, Derek would intercept us. I had skillfully avoided any sort of conversation with him since we’d broken up—a task that had been no easy feat since we shared two classes together.

You don’t have to face him, she continued. Do you think it would be obvious if we made a sharp turn and headed for the bleachers to talk to your mom?

It would have been easy enough to follow her suggestion, but I couldn’t avoid him forever.

It’s fine, I told her. I’m going to hold my head high, smile, and completely pretend that his presence doesn’t bother me...because it doesn’t.

As I smiled and chatted with Kiera, I continued toward the starting line, refusing to allow my gaze to wander toward my ex-boyfriend and the blonde clinging to his arm, but when they reached the track, there was no casual way to avoid them.

Hey, Noelle, Derek began with an awkward smile. Good luck today.

Thanks, I said with a forced grin. You too.

It pained me to smile at them, but I refused to show weakness. Instead, I held my head high and stood tall, pleased to notice that I was at least six inches taller than my blond replacement.

Kristy leaned in closer to Derek, dramatically wrapped her arms around his forearm, and batted her eyelashes at him. I just know you boys are going to do great today. She turned to me with a sickeningly fake smile. Did you know the boys’ relay team took second in state last year? They couldn’t have done it without Derek.

Um...yeah...I was there. Was it possible she was really that dumb?

Kiera glanced at me and rolled her eyes. Then she shot her own fake smile at Kristy. "Did you know that Noelle took first in state in the thirty-two hundred?"

Kristy appeared taken aback for half a second before her face twisted in a nasty sneer. Well, I guess that’s cool for what it is, but it’s not exactly a team race, right?

What does that matter? Kiera shot back. Isn’t it better that she was able to win all on her own, without relying on anyone else?

It was obvious that this argument was going nowhere. God bless my friend for trying to stick up for me, but there was no reasoning with someone who thought she was the center of the universe.

Your singing team did good at the last competition you went to, right? I asked, refocusing the conversation to her.

Kristy fluffed her long hair and beamed. "That’s right. The a capella team took first. We have a good chance at heading to Nationals this year. Now there’s a competition that relies on team work. We really have to listen to each other and work together. It takes a special talent."

I noted that Derek kept his eyes averted away from me. He was discreetly tugging on her arm—no doubt trying to escape the uncomfortable conversation between his current girlfriend and ex.

Don’t worry, buddy, I thought. I’m just as anxious to get away from you, too.

My heart was doing its funny, erratic pounding again, and the last thing I wanted was for Derek to think I was nervous in front of him. So I made an obvious glance toward the clock above the bleachers before facing Kiera. It was time to make a hasty exit.

I’d better get going, I told them. The thirty-two hundred starts in five minutes. Good luck today.

Before Kristy had another opportunity to verbally demonstrate just how dumb and self-centered she truly was, I headed for the starting line without looking back to see if their eyes followed.

You did good, Kiera said, catching up to me. "Seriously. If you were nervous, it sure didn’t show.

Thanks, I said offhandedly as I glanced again toward the bleachers and sighed.

My mom was sitting alone, absorbed with her phone. I wondered if she was texting my dad. The word divorce had been tossed around a few times over the past year—of course only when they thought I was sound asleep. Were they really that clueless to think their sharp words didn’t carry through the walls and down the hallway? I was no longer a child. Nor was I deaf. The only reason they had stayed together for as long as they had was because of me. I was the barrier to their happiness—a fact that weighed heavily on my shoulders.

When we reached the starting line where a dozen other runners had gathered, Kiera stopped to give me a hug.

All right. This is the end of the line for me, she joked.

You should give it a try sometime.

She immediately shook her head. I’m not a long-distance runner. I like to take off like I was shot out of a cannon and get to the finish line before I’m exhausted. I admire you for going the distance. I think that takes a lot more dedication.

Um, don’t sell yourself short. You practice just as much as I do to improve your time.

Yeah, but running fast comes easy for me. I’ve always been a bundle of high, bouncing energy. I think there’s more strategy to long-distance running. Besides— she raised her voice loud enough so that the nearby competitors would most certainly hear— I understand the state champ from Skyline High School is going to be in this race. I wouldn’t want to compete against her.

Embarrassed, I turned away from the knowing glances and bit my lip, trying to hide a smile. Thanks, friend.

"What? she asked, playing innocent. I only speak the truth."

When the announcer called all racers to their starting positions, I took a deep breath in an attempt to once again slow my racing pulse.

Kiera, who had turned to go, did a double take and frowned. Are you okay? You look a little pale.

I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed, but I’m always pale.

It was true. I had obviously taken after my father’s side of the family, who were all Irish. Even though my dark-brown hair might as well have been considered black, my freckled, fair skin—a sharp contrast—often looked ultra white.

No. Kiera shook her head. I know you. Your cheeks are missing their rosy glow. You’re seriously white as a ghost.

My left hand unconsciously gravitated toward my cheek as though, by touching it, I’d be able to tell if my friend was exaggerating or I really did look like death warmed over.

"I don’t know. I was feeling a little weird, earlier. Maybe I’m coming down with something."

She frowned again as she closely examined me. Do you want me to get your mom?

"What? No, I don’t want you to get my mom! I don’t have a fever. I’m not hurt. There’s nothing she could do for me. I’m sure I’m fine."

She looked taken aback, and I instantly regretted snapping at her.

I am so sorry! I immediately apologized. Seriously. I know you just want to help. Thank you for caring. I think I’m just overly stressed with finals and projects and...my parents. I’m fine... Really. I’m going to do this race. We’re both going to kick butt today, and tonight, we’re going to flaunt our sexy selves at that party in front of a bunch of stupid high school boys who have no hope of ever going out with us. I’m done with high school boys. Two more years and then we’ll be off to college, where the boys are men and we have a whole new selection to choose from.

Kiera beamed. That’s the spirit. What college are you thinking of this week? Are we going to California, Texas, or are we staying right here in green and drizzly Seattle?

"We? Does that mean you’re coming with me? I thought your mom convinced you to go to a community college for two years."

"My mom highly advised it. In the end, she’ll support my choice. So...where are we going?"

When the announcer proclaimed that all non-racers needed to clear the track, my friend gave me another quick hug.

Okay, I’d better go. Good luck. I want to talk more about this later though, okay?

Absolutely, I said, nodding.

As I found my place at the starting line amongst the other racers, I tuned out my surroundings. I was in my happy place. There, on the track, nothing else mattered. My stupid ex-boyfriend, mid term finals, and the resounding echoes of my parents’ arguments were all pushed from my mind.

I jumped into the air a few times to warm up, propelling myself off the ground as though the toes of my sneakers were spring loaded. When I landed on the third jump, the world seemed to spin and I stumbled forward a half step, losing my footing. Startled, I leaned down, placing my hands on my knees to steady myself. Then I closed my eyes, hoping to play it off that I was just centering my concentration before the race. Hopefully no one had noticed. Even with my eyes closed, I was still left with an odd sensation that the world was spinning. When my heart started to flutter erratically once again, I let out a frustrated sigh.

Was I having an anxiety attack? I had learned about the symptoms from watching some late-night doctor show on TV. Maybe I was more stressed about everything going on in my life than I had wanted to admit.

Well, that’s dumb, I told myself. I refuse to worry and let the stupidity of others affect my life. They are not going to bring me down. Taking a few deep breaths, I willed my pulse to relax. Then I slowly opened my eyes and brought myself to a full standing position.

It was time. The racers on either side of me took deep breaths to get mentally prepared.

On your marks, the announcer called.

I stepped back, making sure my toes were behind the line. Just breathe, Noelle, I told myself. You’ve got this.

A fraction of a second after the starting gun went off, I was two strides in the lead. My pulse was no longer fluttering and the vertigo was gone—I had no time or place for that nonsense. Instead, my crazy-fast reflexes had put me ahead of the pack.

Most coaches encouraged long-distance runners to stay in the middle of the group for the beginning of the race. At first, my coach had tried to get me to listen to reason, but I always found more confidence when I was in the lead. After I had brought home a half-dozen first-place trophies my freshman year, Coach had given up trying to convert me. I had obviously figured out the technique that worked best for me.

My first two laps were a breeze. I felt good, my worries were gone, and the only sound I was aware of was the rhythmic pattern of my sneakers greeting the red, rubberized track.

On the third lap, I made the mistake of glancing toward the stands. When I caught sight of Derek and Kristy kissing and groping each other, I immediately regretted my lack of concentration. My half-second distraction had put me in third place. Not cool.

Instead of wasting time chastising myself, however, I pushed on harder and faster to regain my position—faster than I probably should have, considering I still had a little over 1600 meters to go. Still, I was determined. I was one with the track, and no one was going to pass me again.

On each consecutive lap, I refused to glance toward the stands. I wasn’t about to look back either, but I had a hunch that I’d gained a strong lead.

As soon as I hit the eighth lap, I smiled to myself. I’ve got this, I thought. No way is anyone passing me now. And then the fluttering returned—twice as hard and twice as fast as before. But I couldn’t think about it. I had hit the home stretch. I was almost there.

When I lost the sensation of my feet hitting the ground and I began to feel light headed, I pumped my arms harder in a vain attempt to propel myself toward the finish line. I guessed I had about twenty-five meters left when I stumbled. It took a half-second to regain my momentum, and thankfully, I still had the lead. Fifteen meters to go. My pulse was racing and my head was spinning, but there was no stopping. I will cross that finish line first.

Ten meters. Have I slowed down? I thought I heard the sound of thundering feet directly behind me. Is it possible everyone has caught up? It didn’t matter. Just a few more strides. I’m almost there.

The thundering grew louder. My ears were ringing. The world was spinning faster. Finish line. Finish line, I silently chanted. The crowd was cheering. Just two more strides. I realized, as though in slow motion, that the world had grown oddly quiet. There was no sound at all.

And then everything went black.

CHAPTER TWO

FORLORN

From the stories I’d been told, I’d passed out halfway across the finish line. Nevertheless, I had crossed the line, and the judges had counted it as a win. Of course, news had spread like wildfire that the track star had collapsed, and the rumors had begun almost immediately.

So far, word had gotten back to me that I was on drugs, I was anorexic, and—my favorite—I was pregnant. I was sure there were a dozen more stories, each spiraled and more imaginably fabricated than the last, but I had stopped paying attention. None of the rumors were true, of course, and I figured my real friends would stay by my side and not talk behind my back.

Three weeks and I don’t know how many medical tests later, my mom and I were on our way to meet a new doctor who would give us what I hoped would be conclusive results so I could get back to running. I was tired of sitting on the sidelines and cheering my friends on. I wanted—no—I needed to get back on the track. Running was my life—my stress reliever—and it was the only time I truly felt like myself. Each day, I went through the motions. I laughed and smiled with my friends. But inside, my passion and my excitement to face each day was slowly fading.

In typical Seattle fashion, it had started to rain. So, after my mom parked, we dashed up the sidewalk toward the double doors, where we entered a marble-floored lobby

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