Chapter 26: Be My Hero

Hero — Enrique Iglesias
A end  As the late afternoon sun hung heavy in the sky, neighbors began to trickle into the community garden which Cami had built. Ash arrived, and hung back watching as Cami gave several gardening demonstrations. She was so beautiful, and the way she threw her head back and laughed made Ash want to laugh out loud, too. He wanted to tell her. He had an urge to rush through the crowd and tell her what he had been thinking of all day – that he loved her. That they belonged together – he, she, and Summer. But he felt tongue-tied with so many people around. A end (5)A end (4)A end (3) A end (15)

So he contented himself with relaxing and enjoying the good food and music. As evening fell, however, and soft, dusky lamplight gave the garden an almost magical glow, Ash found the courage to approach Cami and ask her to dance. A end (2)

“I’d love to,” she said. And they danced together for the rest of the evening, not stopping until they were exhausted and happy, and the other guests were beginning to leave. Ash left slowly, wishing that instead, he could take Cami’s and Summer’s hands in his, and the three could go home together.A end (6)

By the time the sun rose the next morning, he had made up his mind. He pulled on his super suit, then drove quickly to Cami’s house. He did not ring the doorbell, but instead rapped lightly on Summer’s window. She came to the window, her eyes growing wide at the sight of him.

“Put on your super suit,” Ash said through the glass, motioning to his own costume. “And meet me outside.” Summer nodded that she had heard him. Five minutes later, she came flying out of the house.

“Dad, what are you doing here!” she squealed. “Mom’s not here. She walked to the garden.”

A end (1)

“Even better,” said Ash. “Listen, I have a plan. A super plan. But I need for you to tell me if it will work.” He explained his idea to Summer, who gasped.

“That’s a great plan!” she said. That was all the encouragement Ash needed. He and Summer walked together to the garden, where, sure enough, they found Cami, busy caring for plants. Summer giggled and ran around, playing, while Ash nervously approached Cami.

A end (8)

Cami’s face lit up when she saw Ash. “What are you doing here?” she asked, putting down her trowel. “Did you forget something last night?”

“Yes,” said Ash. “I forgot to tell you something.”

Cami looked at his costume, amused. “You forgot to tell me that you have actual superpowers?”

Ash shook his head. “No. In fact, I’m not a very good superhero after all.”

A end (9)A end (10)

“But you’ve saved so many people. Why would you say that?”

“Because,” said Ash, stepping closer and looking into Cami’s eyes. “I’m a superhero who needs you to rescue him.”

Cami gazed back at him. “Me, rescue you? From what?” Her voice was soft, hopeful.

“From a life without you. From nights where I can’t stop wishing that you were there beside me. From living away from you and Summer. I need you to rescue me, Cami.” He reached out to stroke her cheek. “I love you, Cami. Will you be my hero?”

A end (11)

Cami nodded, her eyes shining. Then she let out a gasp as Ash grabbed her waist and dipped her backwards into a long, slow kiss.

A end (7)

“Okay, people. There’s still a kid here!” Summer called out from across the garden.

Cami and Ash both burst out laughing. Then Cami said, “Yes, of course I’ll be your hero. But there’s just one problem.”

A end (12)

Ash’s heart skipped a beat. She was going to say that she already had a boyfriend. Or that she was in love with someone else. Or —

Cami bit her lip. “Well you see…I can’t fly. It’s hard to be a superhero when you can’t fly.”

Ash took a deep breath, flooded with relief. “That’s no problem,” he told her. “You just need lessons from an expert superhero like me.”

“Is that right?” Cami grinned, then let out a shriek as Ash scooped her up into his arms.

A end (14)

“Okay…maybe I’m not such an expert,” he said, grunting under the weight.

Cami wrapped her arms tightly around him. “I love you, Ash,” she said. “And you can still be my hero, even if you can’t fly.”





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