7.25.2013

She was beautiful


She was beautiful.  

But not like the norm.
She was beautiful for the way she was, the way she acted, the way she thought.
Not because she got many compliments or people stopped when they saw her.
She was beautiful for that sparkle in her eyes when she talked about something she loved.
Not because her looks were stunning and gorgeous.
She was beautiful for the way she could make other people smile even if she was down.
She was beautiful because she could forgive and forget past mistakes and feelings that were hurt.
She was beautiful because she cared more about giving than receiving.

No, she wasn't beautiful for something as temporary as her looks.
      She was beautiful, deep down in her soul.  Because she had been broken and healed by the gentle hands of the Creator.
          She was beautiful because she loved who she was in Christ.
             She was beautiful - not by the world's standards, but by God's.

---

{inspired by a poem I wish I could find again. Author: Unknown}

7.23.2013

'Be yourself - not your idea of what you think somebody else's idea of yourself should be.'


'Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.'


I prefer reading books over watching movies.

I'm a cuddle bug.

I like frozen yogurt more than ice cream.

I'd rather wear sweats or jeans and a tanktop than dresses/skirts.  (it depends on the occasion though, of course)

I love decorating my room with posters and drawings.

I have an addiction to music.

I love Reese's peanut butter cups.

I'd rather go for a hike than a drive.

I've been told that I'm very 'sassy'.  I think this word describes me quite well actually.

I blast music when I'm in the car alone and sing to my heart's content.

I love giving - whether blessing someone through a talent God has given me or just random little things that people need.

I love pillows and blankets.

My favorite drinks are green or chai tea lattes, strawberry lemonade, sweet tea, Italian sodas, and water.

I have two journals that I'm filling with favorite quotes.

I'm not huge into jewelry.  My favorites are rings, necklaces and earrings.  But I do have a few special bracelets and anklets that I wear on occasion.

I hate watermelon.

I am a totally random sort of person.

I get as excited about new music as I do about finding money.

I love being near water - the ocean, rivers, lakes, creeks.

Blueberries are my favorite.

None of the furniture matches in my room.

I have a board hung on my wall that I call my 'prayer board'.  I have prayer requests pinned on it and verses and stuff.

I make wishes at 11:11.

Music is such a big part of my life.  If I'm not singing, I'm humming.  If I'm not humming, there's a song playing over and over in my mind.

I love audio dramas.

I like it when people have non-password protected wifi.

Weddings make me so, so happy.

I've never broken a bone in my body.

I don't have a very good sense of direction.

I don't have very many friends.  I only have four best friends and a lot of acquaintances.

I keep all my movie tickets.

I'm listening to music right now.

I love traditions with family and/or friends.

I stink at sports.

I got my license in my Dad's Subaru...which is now my Subaru.

I have my Mama's Russian cheekbones and jawline, but my Dad's Peruvian nose.  My hair and eyes from both sides.

I love exploring.  I actually enjoy getting lost, because I have to explore to find my way out of somewhere.

I take notes during church.

I've collected Nancy Drew books since I was about 13.  I need 10 more to have the whole collection.

I'm a night owl.

My favorite movie genre is action-packed/thriller.  And I believe every story is a mystery and must, must have romance (even if it's slight).

I've cut my hair and donated it to Locks of Love.

The longest phone call I've ever had was 4 1/2 hours long.

I keep a blessings journal.

I'm going to change this world and leave a mark on it.  I'm going to do something big for Jesus.

---

This post is proof of how random I can be.

Oh and I got champion prize for that photo! ^

7.17.2013

My love story with Jesus | testimony


Before you start reading this, I would like to ask you to take a moment to pause and pray about what I am about to share with you.  Pray that God will use it in your life all for His glory.
And please know that this took a lot of strength to write.  Everything you read in this testimony is something I’ve never shared with anyone outside my immediate family.  Posting this on my all-public website and other social networks is like opening the most secret part of me for everyone to see.  And honestly, it scares me.  But I know this is what God wants me to do.  And I hope and pray that you will be encouraged by what you read and that through it, you will only get to see more of just a glimpse of Who God really is.  And just what His love can do to one person.

It was a couple days after September 11, 2001.  My little six-year old self was listening to my mom pray for the grieving families of everyone who was a victim to the Twin Tower destruction.  
My mind was racing faster than I knew it could.  Thoughts filled my head, thoughts of death and dying and heaven and hell.  
What if I was in one of those towers?  What if I had died?  Where would I have gone?
God was working in my six-year old heart.  And I knew that He was calling me.  Right then and there, I asked Jesus to forgive me of my sins, to come into my life and accept me as one of His children.
Regardless of how my little prayer went, I know He heard me.  And I will never forget what happened the second I said ‘amen’.  I felt something lift off of my shoulders.  It caught me by such surprise that I opened my eyes and looked behind me to see what it had been and who had removed it.  But there was no one there, physically.   I remember smiling to myself and just knowing that I was a new Christian.  
I didn’t get baptized till I was ten.  And I wrote up my little testimony and said it in front of a congregation of the new church my family and I had recently started going to.  I remember shaking nervously as I stumbled over each sentence.  But I was so happy to finally get baptized.  And I really felt like I was ready for it.  I knew the significance it held in my walk with God.
But there was still much I would learn about being a Christian.

Fast forward three years to a time where I was a troubled thirteen-year old girl, deeply struggling in my spiritual walk.  My life was a mess.  I was so far from God.  
I was scared.  That’s really the only word I can think of to describe what I was feeling.  Over the last few months, I had felt myself falling away from God.  I never read my Bible.  I basically hated praying.  I didn’t think God was doing anything in my life.  Going to church was a chore.  And when someone said the name of Jesus, I cringed.  Almost as if I felt guilty just by hearing His name.  
I was too scared to talk to my parents about any of this because I thought that they would be mad at me; that they would think that I had lied about becoming a Christian seven years ago.  But one day (and I’m not exactly sure when or how it happened), God showed me that I couldn’t get through life without honoring Him and keeping Him as the first priority.  I was so ashamed and thought to myself, ‘How could I really be saved if I’ve been acting this way?’  I remember one time being so scared that I went into my bathroom and huddled in a corner, sobbing into a towel.  I even went so far as to think that I would go to hell whenever I died because I hadn’t been living a fruitful spiritual life.
In a very tactful way, I remember approaching my mom and asking her: if a Christian felt far from God, what should they do?  What would be the best remedy to closing that gap between Creator and creation?
‘Raquel, God doesn’t have us base things on our feelings.  You have to base them on His promises in His Word.’  
That really struck me.  And as I meditated on that for a while, I realized that all this time, I had been doing just that - basing everything on my feelings.  I was reminded of John 11:25, where Jesus says, ‘I am the Resurrection and the Life.  He who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me, will never die.’  Every Christian sins.  It’s not as if we receive Christ and become perfect.  When I received Christ as my Savior, I was saved forever.  For the rest of my life.  And whenever I die, I will immediately go to be with Him.  The ‘gap’ that I felt between me and God was something I needed to work on.  The more of an effort I made, the more He honored my desire to grow in Him.

Fast forward another three years.  I’m sixteen.  I thought I had my next three years planned out before me.  I would meet a guy this year, get married by the time I was 18 and have my first baby at 19.  Sounded like a good plan.
I joined a Christian homeschooling social network that I knew a few friends were involved in.  I even knew a married couple who had met on it and needless to say, it pique my interest.  Maybe I’d meet some awesome Christian guy and the first step of my plan would be set!
Within a month or so of being a part of this website, I started communicating with a guy through the direct messaging system.  He had contacted me first and told me what a beautiful young woman I was and how I seemed to have so much of what he was looking for in a future wife.  He was very bold and full of compliments for me.  And of course, my young, sweet sixteen heart was flattered and excited at the attention I was receiving from him.  
When he started mentioning ‘courtship’ and ‘marriage’, I decided I had to tell my parents about him.  Even though I didn’t have a very good relationship with them, I knew that this was turning into something serious and they needed to know.  I wouldn’t be able to start dating this guy without them noticing something changing in me.  They immediately expressed concern for me and told me that my guy ‘friend’ had no right to be talking to me about such things and that if he was genuinely interested in pursuing a relationship with me, he should’ve asked to contact Dad.  I was upset with them - to the point of tears.  ‘You don’t know him!’ I argued.  ‘I think he’s such a neat guy and I like everything I’ve found out about him!’  But they argued back with ‘You don’t know him well enough’ and that basically settled the matter.  They told me not to email him anymore and that they didn’t want he and I to have anymore one-on-one contact (emails, texting, etc.).  But I, being the rebellious daughter, went against their wishes and continued talking to him behind their backs.  And that was my first mistake.  When this guy found out about me still talking to him (even after he knew my parents had told me not to) his attitude and way of addressing me changed.  I didn’t understand how or why until later.  He wasn’t genuinely interested in me.  He was interested in what he could get from me.  And believe me, satisfaction can come in many different ways.  
And thus, I was introduced to the modern technology term known as ‘sexting’.

In my innocent, naive little mind, I had no idea what some of the words and phrases he said to me meant.  But once it got a little more detailed, I tried putting together bits and pieces of it.  It shocked me a bit at first.  But my first argument to my conscience was ‘We’re not doing any of this in person, so it’s not that bad.’  This was my second mistake.
How God ended this ‘friendship’ was by me, one day, telling this guy about a certain doctrinal view I had.  He strongly disagreed with me and the next thing I knew, he had deleted me on Facebook, blocked me on gmail and his phone, and cut off all communication with me.  The WAY he did it, though, made me know that it wasn’t just because he disagreed with my doctrine.  It was because he had lost interest in me.
He may have been out of my life, but the little seed of knowing how to have ‘sext’ didn’t leave me.  And it wasn’t until a few months later, that another guy starting taking advantage of my friendship just like the first one had.  Except this guy didn’t talk to me about actually starting a serious relationship.  He was ‘going through a lot’ and ‘needed comfort from a true friend’.  And how could I say no?  I’m a very caring, trust too easily sort of person (or should I say, ‘I was’?).  This guy went a lot farther than the first one had, though.  And soon, I knew this was something that I either had to tell him to stop or just completely cut off communication with him.  But I didn’t.  And I had two ‘reasons’.  1: I didn’t want to hurt him.  And 2: I was addicted to it.  None of this was happening in person so why should I be so concerned?  I didn’t really love this guy.
Then came a day when I felt he was being too possessive of me.  I had been super busy during a certain weekend and hadn’t replied to any of his texts.  When I finally did, he was livid with anger at how I ‘hadn’t made time’ for him and that he had ‘needed me’.  I told him to back off and give me some space.  He started calling me all sorts of names.  And it got to a point where I had to tell my brother to tell him to leave me alone.  (At the time, my brother had NO clue about any of the sexting that had transpired between us.  Nobody knew.)  Noah (my big brother) told this guy off and let him know that he wasn’t allowed to talk to me till he apologized for the way he had addressed me.  Exit Mr. Possessive.
I must admit, after he was out of my life, I felt a sense of relief.  I felt almost free.  It was like something had been strangling me the past few months but now, I was okay.  Nobody was breathing down my neck, making me stay up till 3 a.m.
Then one day, I got an email from a friend on Facebook.  He’s the son of a very large homeschooling Christian family, good-looking, has a lot of the same interests as I do.  I was flattered he would even talk to me.  We started casually chatting every few days.  And then one day, exchanged phone numbers.  I don’t even know why or how actually.  But we switched from emailing to texting.  At the time, he was in a relationship with a girl.  But within a week of he and I talking, he told me that she had been putting a lot of distance between them and he didn’t know what was wrong.  He came to me for a lot of advice regarding their relationship and I was happy to try to help him out.  
I felt like he and I were both in need of someone to ‘be there’.  I was slowly working my way out of the addiction to sexting with the previous guy ‘friend’ and he was in the middle of a break up.  We gained comfort from each other.  But that comfort quickly turned into something else.
The first time he made any sort of hint to wanting something sexual with me, I jerked back, reminding him that he was still in a committed relationship.  ‘She’ll never know,’ he said.  ‘And besides, she’s not giving me what I want.’  He might as well have added, ‘but you can’ to the end of that sentence.  
Again, pity took over and I couldn’t say no.  I tried to not give in too much.  I just let him do all the texting.  I sat and read his replies and would text back short little phrases.  I felt I was justifying myself by not exactly ‘participating’ in any actions.  And if he was staying happy, then that’s all that mattered, right?
This continued for about a month and a half.  We talked almost all day, everyday.  During that time, I lied to my family and some of my closest friends.  They had all noticed something changing in my attitude and appearance.  I was slowly sinking into a depression.  A depression because I had been trying so hard to climb out of this addiction, but this third guy just kept pulling me back.  And I didn’t know how to say ‘no’.  I didn’t know that I even could.
Finally, I decided I could try asking for some help.  I wouldn’t tell anyone exactly what was going on, but I needed advice.  Two of my close friends knew something was going on.  They noticed how depressed I had gotten, and very withdrawn.  So I told one of my friends (Andrew) that ‘someone’ had started talking inappropriately to me, and what should I do about it?  He told me to tell the guy to leave me alone and then to go immediately and talk to my parents.
‘Heck no,’ I muttered in reply.  My parents could never, ever find out about this.
Finally, a day rolled around where something clicked in my brain.  I knew I had to get out of this mess.  I knew I had to fix this as best as I could.  And the first way to do that was gonna have to tell this ‘friend’ goodbye.  A friend of mine (Emily) and I had started a Bible study together and I really felt God working in my heart.  As much as I was ashamed and embarrassed by how much I had been sinning, I still felt like He was calling me.  Through reading more of my Bible and praying more often and being encouraged by my friend, I felt myself coming out of that pit again.  I knew that God still loved me.  And still wanted to call me His daughter.
So, one day, I sat down and wrote this guy an email, then texted him and told him to check his inbox.  My email read something like this:
‘God has really been working in my life lately.  And I know that what you and I have been doing to and with each other is a sin.  I’m cleaning up my life and getting rid of any friends who aren’t pushing me closer to God because He is what is the most important thing in my life.  You aren’t.  So I need to tell you goodbye.  I would be more than happy to forgive you, if you want my forgiveness.  But until you do, please never contact me again.  And delete my name and number from anywhere you have it saved.  I’m praying for you.’
I have never heard from him again.
As soon as I had hit 'send', I knew that God was happy.  I knew that He was applauding me.  I felt His presence so greatly in that moment that it was overwhelming.  I knew I had done the right thing.  I sat down and bawled my eyes out for a good ten minutes or so.
I texted Emily and told her.  She started rejoicing with me.  She didn’t even know all the details, but all she needed to see was how that ‘friendship’ had been affecting my life in a negative way.
There were still two more people I needed to tell.  My parents.
For over a month, I tried hard to figure out a way to tell them.  I knew they would be upset.  They’d probably hate me and take away my computer and phone and iPod.  They’d make me delete any social networks I belonged to.  Keep me from seeing friends.  The list I created in my mind went on and on...
Until I decided, one day, that I would write them a letter.  Sometimes I’m better at communicating through paper than I can through speech.
The letter turned out to be six pages long.  I gave it to them and asked them to pray about it before reading it.  About a half hour later, they both came to my room, their faces wet with tears and hugged and cried with me, telling me they were so thankful for my honesty.  I was so assured by their love that I knew I had done the right thing in bringing this to them and showing them this part of my life.
After I had told them, I felt a lot of peace from God.  He had honored my decision in letting my parents into my life - even the darkest part of me.
Also, I noticed that I didn’t have as many bad memories as I had had before.  ‘Bad memories’ meaning flashbacks of certain conversations.  Every time I had/have one, I literally jerk myself back to reality and immediately start praying that God would purge my mind.  He has been.  And they come a lot less frequently now.

Now, dear readers, I’m not sure what any of you are thinking right now.  But as I bring to close this testimony of my life, I want to share with you just what I learned through these experiences.
2012 was a year full of many different lessons for me.  I believe that God presents many different situations to us in life to see which choice we will make with them.  For me, I chose the choice that I thought was ‘okay’, instead of saying ‘No, I need to stay focused on the LORD and not turn to this world to fulfill my desires’.  Through that choice, I experienced betrayal, confusion, mistrust, pain, sadness, depression, but ultimately...forgiveness from my Maker.  The kind of forgiveness I never knew existed.  Forgiveness for things I never knew a ‘perfect little homeschooled Christian girl’ would ever need.  The LORD revealed Himself to me in ways that I never knew I could see Him in.  He pulled me closer to Himself and loved me with a love I didn’t know I could ever possess in a relationship with my Heavenly Father.
There are three parts to learning a lesson.  
The first part is the beginning stage.  When you’re introduced to an idea and it’s YOUR choice whether to learn it one way (the easy way) or the other (the hard way).
The second part is the actual, hands-on learning process.  This is where you can either have God hold one hand while you lightly experience it with your other.  Or where you can push God away, say you can do it by yourself, and end up sinking up to your neck in trouble you don’t know how to get out of.
The third part is the end of the lesson.  The part where you stop, look back and realize what the lesson was actually about. 
For me, going through all these different feelings and exiting, feeling used and hurt, I didn’t understand why God had let me experience that.  I didn’t understand why He had presented that lesson to me in the first place.  What did He want me to learn?  Ah, but that’s the beauty of His patience and love.  And I now know why I learned that hard and painful lesson.
When God first laid this in front of me, it had been because (like every other lesson), He wanted to see my decision.  He wanted me to prove to Him just what kind of Daughter I really was.  And I failed.
BUT God uses our failures, yes?  He uses our mistakes in life to teach us little lessons inside our bigger lessons.  Our whole life, we will be learning.
Through this mistake, these failures, God has taught me something beautiful.  Something that has impacted my life so greatly.  Something that has changed my whole outlook of every, single day that I know I will remember for the rest of my life.  And that something is this:
No matter what we think we need or desire, God is the answer to every want and pleasure.  We already have everything we need.  If God chooses to give us something else, it’s a blessing.  And it’s only because He’s giving it to us out of His pure and indescribable love.
What I thought was fulfilling my desires and making me ‘happy’, was only taking more from me and leaving me more empty than I was before.  My priorities were all jumbled too.  One of my top ones being that I wanted to have that significant other that ALL (at least it seems) my friends have.
But God, in His infinite grace, mercy and love, showed me that HE is Who I should be falling in love with.  That HE is all I need.  Ever.  A man won’t make me happy.  If I’m not happy and content with life right now, I never will be.  A man isn’t perfect.  He’ll fail - just as I do.  He’ll make mistakes - just like I do.  He won’t have all the answers - just like nobody does.  But God will never fail me.  He never makes mistakes.  He has every answer to every question.  He should be my satisfaction.  He should be my only True Love.
And that’s exactly what He has become to me.  I stand in awe of the God who created me.  I am so, so in love with my Jesus.  My only desire is to grow closer to the LORD. 
Forgiveness has played a huge role in my healing life.  Not only forgiveness FROM God and myself.  But forgiveness TO the guys from my past.  It took a lot for me to forgive them.  I wrestled with it for a while, asking God to help me bless ‘my enemies’ and forgive those who have sinned against me.  But I have.  And I can say that I have whole-heartedly.
I’m sure that your opinion of me has changed after reading this.  At least in some way, it has altered your view on me as an individual.  But before I end this, I want to say a special message to any girls out there reading this.
Perhaps you’re in a similar situation like what I was in.  Maybe there is a guy (or guys) who are taking advantage of your friendship and using you to fulfill their pleasures and satisfaction.  Dear heart, you can tell them 'No'.  You can just walk away from their dirty words and inappropriate jokes because you deserves so much more than that.  You are WORTH so much more than what they can give you.  And you are so, so, so beautiful.  You don’t need a man to tell you that because really, it doesn’t matter what they think.  God made you so perfectly unique and He never hates something He made.  You’re a princess.  You’re a beautiful maiden.  You’re a warrioress.  You can fight against any evil in this world with God’s strength.  If I could sit down and tell you this with my own voice, I would.  You may have heard those words before, but don’t let that make you not believe them.  Because they are so, so true.  
Looking back on my experiences, I can see just how much God protected me.  He made something as simple as a doctrinal issue to separate me from the first guy who started talking to me inappropriately.  He used my brother to make the second guy leave me alone.  And the third guy was someone who I never would have ever thought would treat me in such a way.  He was the least suspected one, you know?  He used to call me ‘little sister’ and even told me one time how he was protective of me and concerned for my safety.  But a few weeks later, was asking if I would send him ‘pictures’ or secretly meet him in town to ‘hang out’.  Guys are cunning.  They will do just about anything to get what they want.  Evil men are like that.  But, sweetheart, there is a man out there - the man God made JUST for you - who will treat you so much better than any of those boys ever will.  Wait for him.  Don’t believe the lies of wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Believe the promises of God’s Word and remember that He cares so, so much for you.
If you ever need someone to talk to, please contact me (itisjustraquel@gmail.com).  And now that you know my story, please don’t be ashamed to share yours.

And yes, finally, I will close this...
There’s really only one thing to say, one way to end this.  And that is by giving God all the glory.  I am only who I am today because of His grace and mercy.  He has brought me through so, so much and I would go through all of that again if I knew I could be this close to Him.  He is my everything.  And He deserves all the praise for any beautiful thing you see in me and my life.  I’m just a reflection.  Just a mirror.

---

‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD.  ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future.’
- Jeremiah 29:11

7.13.2013

How you repay me



‘Oh look, here he comes!’ My friend nudged my arm with her elbow and my backpack strap slid off my shoulder.  I grabbed at it as I turned to look at who she was speaking of.
Yup, there he was.  The best looking guy in my history class, riding his skateboard, doing his crazy stunts on the way to school.  He was the only other person in my neighborhood (besides my best friend who was walking beside me) who was taking summer college classes.  And everyday on the way to the community college, he’d zoom past us on his skateboard as if he was riding wind.  He was polite, kind, had a voice like Zac Efron and was a Christian.  I mean, what more was needed?
He slowed as he neared us.  ‘Hey girls!’
‘Hi!’ my friend called back, cheerfully.  She was basically a fan of his and had this huge crush on him.  Actually...I think every girl in class did.
‘Hey,’ I said, with a smile.
‘You two going to Matt’s party this afternoon?  It’s right after school.’
‘I’m planning on it!’ 
I looked at my friend.  She hadn’t mentioned anything about wanting to go.  I looked back at him.  ‘Uh, I’m not sure.  I might have extra homework to do.’
‘Oh okay.  Well, hope to see you guys - uh, gals,’ he winked. ‘there!’  And with two pushes of his foot on the hard pavement, he was off again.
My friend grabbed my arm tightly.  ‘Oh my gosh, he’s hoping to see us there!’
I shook her hand off.  ‘Ow.’
‘Gee, what’s the matter with you?’
‘You didn’t tell me you were planning on going.’
‘Well I wasn’t.  Until just now.  And anyway, I didn’t know he was going.  If he’s going, that’s just a reason in and of itself to try to go!  I thought you’d be the same way too.’
‘I’m not as wear-my-heart-on-my-sleeve as you are.’
‘Oh please,’ she said, annoyingly and quickened her steps.  She reached the college sliding doors before I did and huffed off to her first class.  I sighed.  Great way to start the day.

Classes seemed to go by pretty quick.  By the end of the day, part of me was happy to have another summer college day behind me.  The other half was disappointed.  I wouldn’t be able to go to Matt’s party that evening because my history teacher had assigned me extra work.
‘Darn,’ I had muttered under my breath when she had handed me three more papers than usual.  All thoughts and hopes of going to the party flew out the open classroom window.
After quickly stuffing my books and folders into my backpack, I hurriedly stole outside before my friend could find me.  She’d probably want to carpool, and I honestly didn’t want to tell her I wasn’t going.
My long legs were an asset to me in walking quickly away from the college campus.  Students were milling about, heading home or elsewhere.  I heard the words ‘Matt’ and ‘party’ as I passed one group of kids, and it only made me walk faster.  
I was a couple blocks from home, engrossed in my pity partying thoughts, when two guys who were bicycling on the sidewalk, headed directly towards me.  I thought they would move to one side, but instead, as they came closer, I realized they were expecting me to move.  The next few seconds happened in a blur as I quickly jumped to the side and felt a pop in my ankle as my foot slipped off the edge of the sidewalk and onto the street.  I landed on my backpack, which only hurt more because one of my kind college book corners poked my shoulder.  I heard myself gasp and then lay in stunned silence for a few seconds.
‘Hey!  What the heck do you think you’re doing?’ I heard someone yell.  I looked up and back in the direction I had been walking from and saw him.  He gestured frustratingly at the who bicyclists, then skated over to me.
‘Crap,’ I muttered to myself.  ‘How embarrassing.’  
I tried to get up, but a little scream echoed from my lips and I fell back to the ground, wincing in pain.
‘Idiots,’ I heard him say, as he stopped short and flipped his skateboard up.  ‘Hey, hey, stay down,’ he said, gently pushing my shoulder.
‘I need to get off the side of the street,’ I insisted, a little too much annoyance in my voice.
‘Oh, right.  Good idea.’  He helped me scoot over onto the sidewalk.  ‘I saw the whole thing happen.’
‘I don’t know what they were thinking!’ I said, tears of frustration welling in my eyes.  The pain wasn’t helping either.
‘Let me see it.’  He gently took the shoe off my left foot and put his fingers against my ankle.  ‘Does this hurt?’  he asked, applying pressure.
I nodded, biting my lip.
He sighed a little.  ‘Okay,’ was all he said.  Then he stood up and held out a hand.  ‘Do you think you can try standing, but only put weight on your right foot?’  
I grabbed onto his hand and he helped me get up.  I put all my weight on my uninjured foot, holding the other one up off the ground.
‘Can you hold my skateboard?’ he asked. 
I nodded, puzzled.
‘Okay then!’ he said.
And the next thing I knew, I was in his arms.  One hand gripped his skateboard and the other held tightly around his neck.
‘What are you doing?’ I exclaimed.
‘Well you can’t walk, so I figure I’ll just have to carry you home.  It’s only a couple blocks.’
‘How do you know where I live?’ I asked him, as he started walking.  He carried me as if I was as light as a feather.
‘Um, cuz I’ve skated passed your house before...’ he let the end sentence kind of dangle in midair.
‘And?’ 
‘And nothing,’ he chuckled, shifting me a bit in his arms.
‘Am I too heavy?’
He laughed again.  ‘No! Not at all.  I workout.’ He winked at me.
I smiled back.  ‘Thank you so much for doing this.  Are - oh my gosh, the party!  You’re gonna be late for the party!’  I wriggled a bit and he clutched my waist and legs tighter.  
‘Don’t do that,’ he warned me.  ‘You almost made me lose my grip.’
‘I am so, so sorry!’ I said, my eyebrows knitting together in a worried frown. 
‘Why?’
‘Weren’t you on your way to the party?’
‘Nope. I was heading home.’
‘Why?’
‘Cuz I had to grab something from my house.’
‘But you are going to Matt’s, aren’t you?’
‘Well yeah, but I knew I was gonna be late already.  Being even more late because of helping a damsel in distress is hardly worse off.’
We had reached my house by then and he carefully walked up the front porch steps.  I fished for the key in my pocket and pushed open the front door.
He gently set me on the couch and proceeded to get a package of ice from the freezer and the first aid kit from the guest bathroom.  I felt like I had my own personal nurse.  And it just so happened to be him.  The best-looking guy in my summer college history class.  The guy all the girls wanted.  The guy my friend crushed on.  And here he was...bandaging my sprained ankle.
‘Thank you so much,’ I said, when he had finished.  ‘Looks like a professionally done job.’  I lifted it a little.
‘Careful,’ he said, tucking a pillow under it and wrapping the ice around it again.  ‘You should probably be fine in a day or two.’  
‘Okay,’ I nodded, not being able to think of anything else to say.  Whoopee for me.  Lots of homework and a stupid sprained ankle.
‘Well, I should get going,’ he said, picking up his skateboard that I had carelessly discarded on the floor.  Again, I felt horrible.
‘Thanks again.  I’ll see you later.’ I smiled.
‘Sure thing!’  he waved, and then, was gone.
I sat there for a few moments, thinking over the past half hour’s events.  I don’t think I had ever felt so cared for and respected before.  
I gave a small shrug, bringing myself back to the present.  My hair had fallen out of its bun during the havoc and I quickly tied it up again.  
I reached for my backpack and pulled out the extra homework Mrs. Smith had given me.  Might as well try to keep my mind off of the fun everyone was having at Matt’s.
Suddenly, the doorbell rang.
‘Dang it,’ I muttered.  ‘Who is it?’ I hollered.
No answer.  Just another ring of the doorbell.
I debated whether or not to get up and answer it, but was too scared of damaging my ankle more, so I just yelled, ‘Come in!’
‘How’s the invalid?’
‘What the?’
It was him.  With a handful of flowers, a large backpack over one arm and a plate of chocolate chip cookies.
‘What are you doing back so soon?’ I asked, my eyes wide with shock.
‘Well, you see,’ he began, in an almost theatrical voice as he set the cookies on the coffee table, then went to the kitchen for a vase.  He was back in a few seconds, the flowers happily situated in some water.  He continued, ‘Mrs. Smith just so happened to give me some extra homework too.  And when I happened upon you, the injured maiden, I was actually on my way home - to work on school, not get something and then go to Matt’s.  But since you didn’t know that, I just thought I’d pop on back with a few get well wishes and help you out with homework.  It is rather dull doing history alone, you know?’  He winked again.
I couldn’t help but smile the whole time he was talking.  And now, I laughed.  ‘You’re crazy.’
He shrugged.  ‘I get told that a lot.  Mind if I sit?’ He motioned to the couch seat next to me.  
‘No! Not at all.’  I lifted my leg and turned a little so it was resting on the table instead of the sofa.  He plopped himself next to me.  My nose caught a whiff of his cologne and I wished he’d sit closer.
We both pulled out our homework assignments and for the next hour or so, were partially busy writing out our lessons or keeping each other sane by cracking jokes or telling funny stories.
‘I’m glad I came here instead of going to some ol’ party,’ he said, quietly.  
My laugh faded, after one of his practical jokes, and I turned my head to look at him.  I could tell he was being sincere.
‘I’m glad you did too,’ I smiled.
He paused a second, as if hesitant, then reached an arm around my shoulders.  I scooted a little closer so I was situated just perfectly in the crook of his arm.  
‘I guess being a gentleman pays off sometimes.’
I nudged him in the elbows. ‘Payment shouldn’t always be why you help someone out.’
He laughed.  ‘I know.’  He brushed a strand of hair away from my forehead.  ‘But I like how you repay me.’
I smiled and waved a sheet of homework paper in his face.  ‘Get back to work.’

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