How I Fall
Written by Anne Eliot
Cam Campbell is a football player who dedicates his life to the game. He’s had a long time crush on Ellen Foster, a smart, pretty girl who loves photography— and in junior year he decides that he’s finally going to get her number. Then a new student arrives and throws a wrench in his plans. She’s an awkward, glitter-crazed Irish girl who insists that Cam and Ellen become her best friends.
One day, Cam realizes that Ellen is fragile, and he forces himself to deny his crush.The three students end up being assigned to work together on a group photography project, and when Cam hears rumours circling about how ridiculous the new girl is he feels compelled to defend her. He convinces his crush to protect her, and suddenly working on the project together makes life as a high school student way more fun.
Cam and Ellen share a kiss. As they become closer, he tells her his secrets and shares his dreams. He makes her promises and plans a future with her. But those promises might be a little too grand for someone who is only sixteen and still has their parents calling the shots. Will he hurt her?
I pause at the corner down from the bus stop so I can regain some control. Both legs—the good one and the bad—are quaking dangerously. I’m also breathing like I’ve run a marathon in thick maple syrup instead of simply walking five blocks, but who cares? I’ve just navigated sidewalks covered with snow and ice with no crutches and no cane for the first time in my life. And I did not fall. Not once!
I check my phone to record the time and what I see has me almost gasping out loud.
Crowd roars. She waves. She bows. She’s got ten minutes to burn!
Because I have mild Cerebral Palsy, my physical therapist, Nash, would normally get half of the credit here. But it was my idea to pull double workouts all summer and fall. This victory is all mine, but either way, I can’t wait to give him a report. He’s going to be so proud. This will prove to him there is light at the end of my tunnel. The guy is so gloom and doom. He’s always thinking about my future and making predictions based on statistics, while I’m trying to convince him that I can write my own statistics.
Today, I will get to be the one who’s right!
Breath caught up, I straighten my messenger bag and face the bus stop ready for anything and anyone this day might try to throw at me! But two steps into walking the last half block, the calf of my bad leg spikes a surprise cramp.
“Please…no,” I mutter, jerking to a stop as white-lightning fires up my entire leg. The pain’s so harsh I could swear it’s stopped my heart. Scanning for anything that can save me from a public wobble-wobble-Ellen-falls-down event, I veer off the sidewalk and head for the cars parked on the street. Luckily, I’ve locked my hand onto a car mirror just as the knee on my bad leg buckles completely. For insurance, I lean most of my upper body weight on the dripping car hood, happy that my lumpy, hand-me-down jacket is at least waterproof. Only then do I pull in a slow steady breath and test—and beg—and pray—for my still trembling good leg to be okay.
It holds steady, but since I’m not allowed any guarantees with how my body behaves, I keep a death grip on the car any way I can. At least my sudden move has turned me away from the kids down at the stop. If I’m lucky, no one will have seen how I almost just hit the pavement. Even better, while I work out the kinks in my calf, I’ll be able to pretend that I’m simply admiring the snow and taking pictures of random stuff with my iPhone like I always do.
“Come on. Please. Come on.” I twist my bad ankle in a slow circle while more shards of pain pull my calf even tighter. Elation has disappeared, replaced by lead-heavy frustration. If Nash saw me clinging to this car, he’d launch into a thirty-minute lecture about how I’m supposed to have a cane with me at all times. I’ve been ignoring my promise to him and my mom since the first day of school about the cane, but it’s my life.
It’s been over six months since the terrible accident that changed her life and Ellen is ready to mend her broken heart. She heads to a university with her friends to attend a summer photography workshop and Ellen is on a mission to find love, or at least a boyfriend for the summer. While in the dorm she meets a handsome photography student named Harrison Shaw, and falls for his charm.
Her summer program is going great, she’s going after her next scholarship and she’s half in love. But every time Ellen’s lips meet with Harrison’s, all she can remember is the sweet kisses she used to share with Cam, and how he made her feel like she could fly.
Cam’s unexpected arrival at the university is a shock – especially to Ellen’s new boyfriend. Cam is different. He’s very distant, because he’s terrified of hurting Ellen again. He asks her if they could be friends despite everything that’s happened, and Ellen agrees. But after all they’ve been through, can Cam and Ellen ever be just friends?
Connect with author Anne Eliot
How I Fall / How I Fly Book Tour Giveaway
Open internationally – Enter by February 25, 2015
Prize (1 winner) –
- $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash
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