Intro: The Letter

Dear Justin,
It's been awhile since I've talked to you. I've been thinking about you lately. Actually, I think about you all the time. You probably hate me for what I've done and I understand, but I need you to know how I feel. My love for you still rages through me like an endless surge of electricity. I'm hoping you still feel the same but you probably don't. I don't know how I have lived with myself for so long knowing that I destroyed the magic that we shared. Only now have I realized the hell I put you through. Only now, I fear it is too late to turn back. I pray that you give me reprieve from this sullen heart so that in return I may free your heart from sadness. But, if you refuse my apology, which I have continued to confess, I would completely understand. I have hurt you badly and I can still see the scars of pain across your face. I see the tears in your eyes that you try to hold back when you are in front of the camera. But, you arent the only one that is hurting. I am haunted with that summer night when the rain poured and our lives crumbled into a million pieces. You aren't the only one, Justin. I need to put the pieces back in order. For everytime I sleep, I am faced with a midnight storm. A storm that rips at my heart with the deepest pain, regretting every action I've taken and every cruel word that I have said to you. I need to free this heartache and relieve my sadness. I need you, Justin. I need you like the desert needs the rain. Without you, my life will always be incomplete. Please respond to this letter as soon as possible. I must go now. It is getting late. The rain is starting to fall. I will try to sleep tonight. Goodbye my love.

With all my heart and soul,

She folded the letter neatly and placed it into the envelope slowly, making sure the edges fit in smoothly. She licked the seal and secured it tightly and placed Justin's home address on the opposite side. She wasn't sure if he would be at home or even receive the letter, but she took her chances. She wrote her address on the back just in case he forgot it. She put it back down on the desk and looked at the perfect white envelope once again. She hoped that he would respond to her apology since it had taken her six months to even get the courage to contact him.

The rain fell harder and the thunder cracked, making Ashley jump up from her chair. She looked out into the darkness as lightning graced the sky. She yawned as the clock struck twelve. She turned the desk lamp off and crawled into bed, staring at the ceiling for fifteen minutes until her eyes drifted off into a deep sleep.

"I didn't have any nightmares last night" Ashley told her friend, Christina, who lived at the other end of their small town in Ocean Park, CA. She called her early, amazed by the refreshing night sleep that she had received.

"Thats pretty kewl...I guess?" she replied as she yawned and opened up her blinds. The sun was shining brightly, drying the rain that had poured the night before.

Ashley stood up and walked over to her desk. She ran her hand over the envelope to Justin and picked it up. "I wrote him a letter".

"What?" Christina yawned again, not hearing her correctly. "What did you do?"

"I wrote Justin a letter. I apologized for everything. I'm hoping he writes back" she put the envelope back down in the middle of the desk so it would remind her to send it out that day.

"Well, if you want to talk to him so badly then why don't you just call him or something? I mean its been six months. I'm sure he put everything behind him"

"I wouldn't have it in me after so long to just call him up and say 'Hey Justin, how are you doing?'. I mean, besides, he moves around so much that I don't even know where he is anymore. It's just best this way. If he refuses to accept my apology then he just won't write back and I will know the answer. It's as simple as that."

Christina sighed as she walked downstairs with the phone. "Well, you do what you gotta do. I'm going to make some coffee and eggs for mom and dad and then I will meet you over at the cafe in an hour. We can talk more there." she finished as she dumped some coffee into the coffee maker.

"Ok, sounds good. Talk to ya later. Bye" she replied and hung up. She threw the phone down on the bed and jumped into the shower.

The salty air from the ocean filled the humidity near the boardwalk. The next street away, Ashley parked her black Civic and walked a few feet to the cafe and sat down at a small glass table that sat underneath a huge canopy on the sidewalk. She watched the silver Jetta pull up behind her car as a calm breeze blew through the air. Christina got out and put her blonde hair up into a ponytail as she walked up to the table.

"Can I take your orders?" the waitress asked as she saw the two girls at the table. She opened her notepad and looked at them with a smile on her face.

"Um, yeah. I'll take a french vanilla cappuccino." Christina jumped in as she sat down.

Ashley closed the small menu and placed it between the napkin holder and the glass pourer that held the sugar. "I'll just have a vanilla almond nut cappuccino, please"

"Ok, sure thing. I'll be right back with those!" the waitress put the pen behind her ear and twirled quickly around on one foot and trotted away.

"We got a new waitress today. I wonder where Sara is" Christina wondered as she looked inside at the waitress preparing their order.

Ashley leaned on the table and propped her head up with her hands. "Yeah, she usually never misses her shift. Maybe it was just changed or something."

"Here ya go girls!" she walked up to them with the drinks in her hands. "French vanilla for you and a vanilla almond nut for you!"

"Thank you" they replied in unison.

"Is there anything else I can get you girls?"

"No, but I was just wondering where Sara is this morning. Doesn't she usually work this shift?" Christina asked as she swirled her spoon into the mountain of whipped cream.

"The boss is in a weird mood. A good one, strangely enough. He let her have the day off and let me get some training in. I just started three days ago so I didn't refuse"

"Oh, ok. Thanks for letting me know" Christina replied.

"No problem!" she smiled and backed away. "If there is anything else you two need, just give me a hollar!"

"We will" Christina smiled and took a sip of her cappuccino.

"So, how is your brother doing?" Ashley asked as she ate the whipped cream off her cappuccino.

"He's doing really good. He's in some popular frat now. Let's just say his grades are good now but once they get a few parties into him than its all going down the tubes"

Ashley laughed and remembered her short two year college life with Christina. They had some good parties too. Last year when she graduated and turned twenty-one, some of the sorority girls took her to an 18 and over club called The Palace in Beverly Hills. That is where she met Justin.

"Yeah, its only a matter of time." Ashley replied. "I do miss all that though. We had alot of fun when we were in college except for after I met Justin. Then the fraternity went to hell."

"Don't forget all that drama between me and Jeff. It wasn't a picnic for me either." she replied as she sipped some more of her cappuccino.

"Talking about Jeff, I wonder what happened to him" Ashley asked curiously.

"Oh, the last I heard, he was working with his dad's big computer company or something. I don't even know why he went to college, cuz he didn't take anything for computers anyway"

"He just had to be there to interfere with your life" Ashley joked with her as they laughed again. "Do you know what the company is called?"

"Um..I think it was something like Ecline or something that sounds like that" she shook her head and dipped her spoon back into her mug.

"You mean Alpine?"

"Yeah!" she looked up quickly and pointed. "That's it."

"Oh my gosh! Are you for real?" she exclaimed with her eyes opened wide. "I have that kind of computer!" she laughed again.

"Shut up! You're kidding!" Christina laughed, too.

"Small world" Ashley looked down at her mug which was very close to empty. She didn't even remember drinking most of it.

"So...." Christina tried to change the subject. "You were going to tell me about this whole letter thing with Justin?"

"The letter!" Ashley jumped up.

"Um...yeah?" Christina replied and gave her a dumb look.

"I forgot to mail the letter!"

"Well you better hurry up before they pick up the mail for the day!" Christina informed her and she motioned for the waitress to come over with the check.

"How much time do I have?" she exclaimed as she stood up.

"Ten minutes!" she said looking down at her watch.

"Ok! I have to go home and get it then go back across town to the post office. I have just enough time to make it!" she replied as she gave her money to the waitress.

"Well, be careful! I'll talk to ya later!" she said, paying the waitress too.

"Ok! Later!"

She ran to the car and sped home quickly and then went past the cafe to the post office. Christina was now gone. She figured she went down on the beach. She pulled up to the post office and went inside. She had gotten there with 3 minutes to spare. She mailed the letter with a sigh of relief. It was now on its way.

"So you made it?" Christina asked as she called later that night around 10 p.m. They never got the chance to meet up again during the day.

"Yeah. With a couple minutes to spare" she yawned. She was more tired that night than she was the night before.

"Well, thats good. I hope you hear from him"

"Me, too. I'm really anxious about the whole thing. I guess because I haven't tried to contact him at all before this.

"I think everything will work out fine. I mean, when I see him on TV, after knowing him personally, I can tell that he is still not over you. I think he is over what happened but if you asked for him to come back to you, I think he will"

Ashley sighed at the thought of an actually miracle. "I really really hope so"

"Well hey, not to cut you short here or anything but I'm going to head to bed. I'll talk to you tomorrow morning" she yawned as she jumped on her bed.

"Ughh, I hate when it's the end of the weekend. Just the thought of another work week just makes me want everyday to be a Saturday"

"Yeah, I know what you mean" she laughed. "Try to have another good night of sleep"

"I'm gonna try. I'll talk to you tomorrow then"

"Ok c-ya!"


"Bye!" Ashley replied and hung up.

She changed into her night clothes and turned on her fan in the window. It was a muggy night and the still air was sticky. She jumped into the bed and used a light sheet for a cover. She fell asleep quickly this time. But, her thoughts of a peaceful night sleep had ended. Once again, her nightmare had begun.

Chapter 1