“Perfect, Imperfect” There are some things in life that are better off being anything but what they appear to be. But then there are those who are perfect. The ones who will ultimately make it the farthest. But somehow, they didn’t think the road ended just there. Prologue: “Faultless” It was one of those days. A day that seemed to be a little less-than-perfect. Although, they never saw it that way. They saw it as an opportunity. They saw a day where the clouds are so gray, that they almost look like fine-grained powder suspended high above the horizon. Where the wind blows at just the right speed, that is, if you wanted to, you could pick up your feet and float away. No one would miss you. Just an average less-than-perfect summer day. Their town is not a small town, but one with good morals. Where you feel comforted when you walk home from school on the cracked sidewalks, kicking the stray rocks far in front of you, watching them tumble, then kicking them again. Where the television weathermen all look like someone's daddy, and probably are. Where you don't feel dumb for bringing the teacher an apple on the first day of school. Where your best friends always live right down the street. And, most significantly, where when you need to talk to someone in the middle of the night, they never hesitate to awaken and aid you in your dilemmas. In a town where it seems to be full of bliss, things are kept secret. And those secrets are those that can ruin lives, break hearts, kill the innocent—or the guilty—and, most importantly, stand the test of time. Chapter One: “A Day of Impure Perfection” Those rainy days he had once lived for were no longer an option of exhilaration. They did not meet the dramatic needs for—what he thought—was the feeling of completeness. His sense of life had grown vividly from the time when all he desired was the sound of a harmonic chord to calm his nerves. On this less-than-perfect morning, his bagel had no taste, his cologne had no fragrance, and his eyes had not the same sparkle they generally detained in the first light of day. He laid atop the couch, staring blankly into the black television screen. Everything seemed uninteresting and dead. The scorching sun cast gloomy shadows along the dark damp pavement. The leaves twirled in multiple loops, going from side to side, before settling on the grass. All the neighborhood children danced lightly in the swirling water of the sprinklers. Little did they realize, these warm summer mornings would soon come to a halt, when, instead of arising from bed early in the morning, they would sleep until they were forced from their comfortable surroundings and pushed to their jobs with wrinkled clothes and unwashed hair. All of his thoughts were directed towards his loving family. How each person had transformed in the short year since he and his brothers’ fame had declined, and their life went back to almost normal. His father spent the entire daybreak mowing the lawn, and involving himself in other miscellaneous chores he felt needed to be taken care of. The joy of life had escaped the grown man, for his desire to set an example to his oldest sons overthrew his longing to live his own life. He had become boring. Unanimated. Lonely. His mother, who seemed to be the only individual who cared about the outcome of the family, did nothing all day besides cook meals for the expectant relatives, clean up messes in the kitchen and living-room, satisfy the needs for his three year-old sister, and then prepare for the same escapades the next day. She, also, had lost the thrill of being alive. His thoughts were interrupted, as the familiar jingle of the doorbell filled his ears. He was nestled snug under layers of blankets and quilts that lay on the leather couch, and it took him a few seconds to untangle himself from the mess. He stared at the coffee table, blinked his eyes, and struggled to rise to his feet. He slowly placed his cold hand on the metal knob of the door, and turned, revealing a giant flood of sunlight, which burned his eyes like a thousand stabbing knives. The figure at the front door, was one of recognizable image to him. His best friend. The one person who understood his position more than anyone else in the world. Her name was Hailee Patrick, and, physically, she had the same look of boredom and sleepiness that he did. “You look nice, Tay,” She smiled, and sarcastically responded, “I’m loving the fabric imprint on your forehead. Very sexy.” He smiled, and rubbed his forehead with his right palm. “You’re one to talk…you look like you just dramatically escaped from a plummeting airplane heading straight for the Grand Canyon. Or you just woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.” “No, really. I’m serious…I’d do ya.” Taylor slightly grinned, recognizing the sarcastic flair and accurate cynicism that his best friend had perfected over the short eighteen years of her life. “No, please…I’ve had enough sex offers from Allie in the last few days,” He frowned, rolling his eyes. “I don’t need to add another name to the list.” “The list? There’s a list?! How many people are on this so-called list you speak of?” “Oh, you know…five, six, seven million…” “Yeah. You wish…you know damn good and well that all of your hardcore fans are hopelessly in love with Zac now. But, as you know, I’m most humbly joking.” She grinned, slumping down onto the black leather couch, with that giant grin she claimed as her own. “I mean, come on…what are best-friends for?” “Apparently, they’re for getting your hopes up, and kicking you right in the ass as they laugh about their mean and heartless jokes.” “I don’t care what your stupid fans think. I don’t even see how anyone could want you. You are such a nerd.” “Sure, Hailee,” He sighed, beginning to “I know you want me. You just won’t admit it yet. But, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, ‘Damn, Taylor’s sexy! I want him like nobody’s business!’.” “Fine. I admit it. I want you bad.” “I knew it. He grinned, running along with their conversation. “I knew it from the moment I met you. You wanted me.” “I know, I was sending off such “I’m in love with you” vibes when I was six months old, wasn’t I?” “Slut.” Their entertained glanced caused them to fall into a fit of laughter, and they stayed in hysterics until the joke was old and the morning was young. They stopped nothing short of absolute happiness. “You know…” Hailee exclaimed, “You’re such a dork.” “You’re such a liar.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ While his eyes were slowly adjusting to the overwhelming daylight, he took miniscule sips from his cappuccino, and listened to the early morning chirps from the beautiful blue jays off in the distance. He rested in a black iron chair, which was positioned atop the back porch of the house in which he spent a good portion of his spare time. The view from the back porch was phenomenal. The view overlooked the basic form of downtown Tulsa. From the back porch, it seemed as though the city of Tulsa was enveloped inside a glass snow globe, and he could wobble the orb, which released a great fleet of snow that would descend onto the city. Every morning, only when he was at this specific house, he would wake up just before the sunrise, saunter onto the wicker back porch, sit in the same chair, drink cappuccino, and watch the sun rise over the top of the rusted Philtower Building. Wow. I’ll bet God himself doesn’t have a view like this. He thought. Only McGowan. It was near purity. Absolutely near purity. His daze was broken by the sound of the screen door opening, and the light sway that belonged to the girl who was practically proven to be the epitome of complete perfection. Every person she walked past noticed her. If it was not for her attractive features, it was for her intelligent appearance. She wore thin framed silver eyeglasses, had a dark shade of blonde hair, was thin and had a muscular, healthy figure. Even though every gentleman who walked near her felt as if they were next to an angel, he just thought of her as the most beautiful person he had ever met, on the inside as well as the out. They had been friends since they were young, and based on the close relationship they had, both of them seemed to never notice the others possession of physical beauty. To the girl, his superior looks and wonderful body meant nothing compared to his ability to own the sensation of achieving your innermost dreams. He had followed those wishes of his, and had accomplished every goal he had set out for himself. She admired his aspirations of becoming a professional musician, and with all of her heart, she knew that someday they would become famous. She was more than right. She also understood their decision to suspend their fame for a few years, to resume their education. His oldest brother was entering his second year of college, and his older brother was finishing his senior year in high school. He however, was going to be a sophomore the following August when school started. He was almost scared. It was going to be different. Public school. To the boy, her beautiful face and ideal build were not as important as her wholesome soul and superior intellect. She had a love for writing. She worked as hard, if not harder, than he had ever worked with his music. She had a gift with words. The way she applied them in her paragraphs was incredible and innovating. He just prayed that someone would give her a break. Her name, Lyle McGowan, was noticed city-wide, for she had been given a small section in the Tulsa World every two months for a excerpt of one of her award-winning stories. Of course, when her dreams brought her to bigger and better things, she began visiting publications agencies, hoping for a chance to accomplish her dream of becoming a published author. On the few days in which she would approach someone with her writings, they would read them and be astonished. Then, when they asked her age, and she answered with sixteen, they would explain that her talents could be useful at some other location. Every time, her confidence was shattered. But, disregarding the numerous failed attempts, she never once gave up. It was something he had forever installed in her. Aggressive determination. “Hey, McGowan,” He exclaimed with a smile, “How’d you sleep last night?” “Well…with my cousin and all of the random guys that came over last night, the pounding of her headboard woke me up, I’d say, every twenty or twenty-five minutes. The screaming and moaning of ‘Oh, Jared!’, ‘Oh, Blake!’ didn’t help either.” She replied, wrapping her blanket further around her shoulders. “I slept in the living-room, and I still heard them.” He chuckled, fiddling with his cappuccino cup, “…and by the way, it was Brock…not Blake.” “You know what I mean…” Lyle smirked, pushing his shoulder lightly, “Hey, Zac…you know what I think is really funny?…my cousin, Allie, wants Taylor.” “Yes, yes I know. Tay bitches to us every time she offers to sleep with him. Which is, what it seems like now, once in the afternoon and one other time during the day. We figured after the thirtieth time of ‘Gee, how about no.’ she’d get the point. But, she hasn’t yet.” Zac grinned, taking a gentle sip from his cappuccino. He sat the cup down, and relaxed, gazing at the sunrise over his hometown. For some reason, today it was not the same as it had been in the past. Things were different. As though she was translating his every thought, Lyle asked, “Is it just me, or does the sunrise seem a little…well, how shall I put it…just a little bit more inspirational?” She noticed what was different about the sunrise on this bright, rich morning. The brightly acclaimed colors of rays were positioned almost perfectly against the light blue backdrop of the morning sky. “Wow,” He sighed, “I’ve never seen it look this beautiful so early in the morning. I guess it’s going to be a good day.” “Yeah, I guess so. I hope so. I have that interview today with Gerald Donahue at 1:30.” She stated, taking in a giant breath full of hope. She wanted to be published so bad. “That’s today!? Gee, McGowan, I completely forgot,” Zac smiled, “Good luck.” “Thanks. I think I’m going to need it.” She gazed into her lap, fiddling with the top of the cappuccino lid. “I don’t even think I was this nervous for the interview with Joseph Hildebrandt last Wednesday.” “You’ll do fine. You always do.” “Yeah, that’s why publication agencies are knocking my door down to get me to write under their name. Shit, Zac, I write for the Tulsa World! I mean, come on!” “The Tulsa World is just fine for an aspiring author! It’s better than not writing for anyone. Fifteen people or fifteen hundred people, it shouldn’t make a difference in how you write. Hmmm…now doesn’t that sound familiar?” “Yeah, Zac…it sounds very familiar,” She whispered, thinking back a few years, “I used to tell you that.” “Well, I know for a fact that more than one person reads your stories. I hear people around town talking about ‘Lyle McGowan’s Newest Wonder of Literature’.” “Of course it’s a ‘Wonder of Literature’ to them. They don’t know that I’m only sixteen.” “Well, I like your stories.” “You’re my best friend. You’re supposed to like them.” “No, I’m serious. They don’t know what they’re missing, McGowan. Your writings are fantastic.” “Well, apparently they don’t care.” She exhaled, placing her feet atop the iron picnic table near the end of her porch. “I’ve worked my ass off on these writings. I’ve poured more than my heart and soul into them. Blood and tears were shed, too. I wish they’d just look past my age, and see the writings for what they truly mean, instead of for how old the person was who wrote them.” “They will, McGowan,” He looked gently at her tear-filled eyes, “I promise, sooner or later, they will.” ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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