Hannah threw her arms out to her sides, the wind whipping around her on the top of the hill in the park. Dark gray clouds were moving in fast with the wind, but she stood tall, head thrown back and eyes closed.
The wind blew her hair around, and roared in her ears. She let thoughts of the wind consume her thoughts. The whirling and swirling rush of air keeping her worries at bay.
“Hannah!” A few different voices cut through the wind, but the one Hannah thought was closest was Amber. “Hannah!”
The party had been too much, too many pitying looks, questions, whispered gossip. Up here, Hannah could only hear the wind, could only feel the hair flipping around her fair and raising along her arms and back of her neck.
The goosebumps followed, but Hannah unzipped her jacket anyway. Holding the bottom of the jacket out, the wind tried to rip it from her fingers. But she held on, imagining for a few moments she could jump up, let the wind catch her, and let her fly away.
“Hannah!” Amber’s voice cut through the wind, right next to Hannah’s head. Her shoulder was shaken by Amber. “You okay?”
“Yeah.” Hannah lowered her arms and looked at Amber. “I just needed a few minutes.”
“That’s fine. Just, next time, you at least need to tell us. And I know you’d rather be alone to think, but out here we-”
“The buddy system.” Hannah sighed. “I know. I’m sorry.”
“Come one. We’re getting inside before the storm hits.” Hannah glanced up at the clouds, dark and brooding. Amber grabbed Hannah’s wrist and tugged her along.
Taking a shortcut through the trees, the two girls’ shoes picked up the bits and pieces of the mulch they walked across.
“You know,” Amber said as the cabin came into sight, “With all the stuff going on between John and your dad… If you really didn’t want to come, then you should have just said so.”
“And miss our final track celebration?” Hannah forced a smile. “I wouldn’t do that.” She shrugged. “This night out is actually something I think I need.”
“Okay. Just so you know, I already suggested an alternative to Truth or Dare as a game.”
“Good.” The forced smile dropped, allowing Hannah’s real smile to shine. “Because I would have suggested one if no one else did. Thanks.”
“No problem.” Amber let go of Hannah’s wrist, instead giving the other girl a quick hug before shouting, loud and clear. “I found Hannah! To the cabin!”
Cheers from nearby erupted and it wasn’t long before the girls, and guys, track team members came running out of the woods to welcome Hannah back to the cabin.
Word count: 455