All’s Fair in Love & War, Chapter Seven: Hold On Me


sailing - inspiring animated gif picture on

Song of the Chapter: Wasting Time by Jack Johnson

“Loves just a waste of our energy, and this life’s just a waste of our time so why don’t we get together we could waste everything tonight”


I trudge down the stairs to answer the violent pounding on the door, still residing in my dad’s 3-sizes-too-big t-shirt that I wore to bed the night before, though it is nearly one in the afternoon. The walk to the front door is a drag and quite honestly, I was thoroughly enjoying my laziness and binge watching of Grey’s Anatomy. I rub my fists into my eyes and twist the door handle down and surely enough, Josh stands on the other side.

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"I open the letter and immediately notice the photo of a little girl who can’t be any older then 3. I don’t need to read the letter to know what it says. The little girl in the photo is my daughter.

I have a daughter.

I’m a father.

I never knew she existed until today.”

A preview of my next fic coming after I finish with Silently Suffering.

Stay tuned for more.

All’s Fair in Love & War, Chapter Seven: Hold On Me

sailing - inspiring animated gif picture on

Song of the Chapter: Wasting Time by Jack Johnson

“Loves just a waste of our energy, and this life’s just a waste of our time so why don’t we get together we could waste everything tonight”


I trudge down the stairs to answer the violent pounding on the door, still residing in my dad’s 3-sizes-too-big t-shirt that I wore to bed the night before, though it is nearly one in the afternoon. The walk to the front door is a drag and quite honestly, I was thoroughly enjoying my laziness and binge watching of Grey’s Anatomy. I rub my fists into my eyes and twist the door handle down and surely enough, Josh stands on the other side.

We stare at each other for a brief moment until I finally say, “What the fuck are you wearing?” referring to his cut off jean shorts.

“I could say the same for you,” he looks me up and down and slightly chuckles.

“Yes, because pajamas are completely abnormal while you look like you just took a joy ride back to the seventies.” I retort sarcastically, “I know that you’re an actor and all and celebrities make all kinds of fashion-related suicides every day, but this is taking an all new turn for the worst.” I laugh.

“Well, considering the fact that its one in the afternoon, I wouldn’t say pajamas are completely normal. Most people are up and joining the real world by ten. At least I have an excuse for what I am wearing, while you, not so much.” He smiles crookedly.  

“And what’s your excuse, huh?”

“I just got off set.” He grins in triumph.

“Ah, I suppose that’s a reasonable excuse. But do you have an excuse for why you are standing on my front porch in your fancy little cut off jorts instead of on set?”

“Yes, I do actually.” He stands uncomfortably for a couple seconds, debating on what he should say next. “I was going to see if you wanted to do something today, I mean I have nothing else to do since I’m done filming for the day, and apparently you don’t either.” He laughs.

“Okay, are you done picking on my outfit yet?” I cross my arms and lean against the door frame.

He puts his hands up in defense, “Fine, fine. But what do you say? Ready to join the real world yet or should I just stand here on your porch until you are?”

I sigh and shake my head, “I suppose if you are just going to stand there if I am ready or not, I might as well be ready now, just let me go change. Come on in.”

I run up to my room and throw my hair into a ponytail, change into a swimsuit and button down shirt and shorts and then make my way back downstairs to find my dad and Josh chatting it up in the kitchen.

“Whatcha guys talking about?” I ask as I fish a cooler out from underneath the sink and fill it with ice and drinks.

“Just the Reds game. Where are you going?” My dad asks.

I stand straight up and lean against the counter, “Well I figured I would take Josh out for a real tour around the island. Care if I take the boat out?”

“No I don’t mind at all. The sail has a small tear in it but you guys should be fine for the day. Just keep an eye on it, I’ll fix it tomorrow.”

“Okay, will do. Josh you ready?”

He clears his throat, “Not going to lie, but you and a boat kind of freak me out.”

“Smart kid. You should be.” My dad says and winks at us.

“He’s kidding, Josh. I’ve been driving a boat for years. Don’t worry, really.” I laugh and playfully punch my dad on the arm.

“Alright then what are we waiting for?” Josh says.

I laugh and grab the cooler and head for the door and Josh tries taking it from me.

“No, I’ve got it.” I say.

“Ellis, just let me take it.” He laughs.

My stubbornness takes over and I keep my grip on the cooler tight, “You’re too nice, I have it I promise.”

“I was raised this way,” He smiles and before I realize it, my grip loosens on the cooler and he darts for the door before I have time to resist. Damn that smile.

“Good kid, weird pants.” My dad says and takes a bite from his apple.

“I agree.” We both laugh.

“Be careful out there Ellison, alright?”

“Always am, dad.” I say and walk for the door, “Always am.”


Once we reach the dock where their boat is, Ellison jumps out of the jeep and starts walking.

“You gonna grab the cooler or what?” I ask her.

She spins around on her heals and glares at me, “Is that a serious question? You made such a big deal about that damn cooler in front of my dad but as soon as it’s just me and you, you decide I can carry it?” She laughs dryly.

“Ellison, I am kidding.” I heave the cooler out of the back of the jeep and follow her to the dock. “You’re going to have to lighten up a little bit if we are going to try this whole friend thing.”

She walks a good foot ahead of me, never wanting to walk side by side. Usually I can get a feel for a person after hanging out with them a couple times, but with her, I just can’t quite grasp who she is.

“C’mon Hutcherson, we’re burning daylight.” She jumps into the sailboat and helps me get the cooler in.

“You sure you know how to sail this thing?” I ask as I gaze up at the sail.

“Nope. I figured we would just float around and let the wind carry us where ever it may please. I’m feeling quite adventurous today.” She tilts her head and smiles at my confused expression. “Yes, Josh. I know how to sail it.”

“Cute.” I say at her sarcasm.

“I try.” She replies. Progress, I think.

“So when did you learn how to do all this fun stuff?” I ask and sit onto a bench in the boat as she lets the sail out.

“I think I was maybe around 12? I can’t remember when exactly. My uncle taught me.”

“The uncle in the shop?”

“Yep, that’s the guy.” She looks up at me and smiles, and then goes back to prepping the boat.

“Very impressive.” I look out at the water and patiently wait.

Once she fixes the sail, we go to the back of the boat so she can steer.

“Gorgeous out here, isn’t it? I haven’t been here in so long that I almost forgot how amazing it is.”

“Definitely the most amazing place I’ve ever been to. When was the last time you were here?”

She looks at me for a few seconds in silence as if debating on what she should say and what she shouldn’t.  She takes a deep breath. “I was sixteen. Things got kinda… crazy… around here. I was young and I couldn’t handle it.”

I debate on it for a moment but decide to ask anyways, “What made you come back now?”

“Well my dad is going to be deployed soon, so I wanted to spend some time with him. But enough about me, I want to know some things about you.”

“What if I want to know more about you?”

“You’ll just have to earn my secrets.” She smiles, “When did you start getting into acting?”

“I shake my head at her and laugh, “I was about nine when I knew this was what I wanted to do with my life, so I guess that’s my answer.”

“Hm.. Any siblings?”

I nod, “One younger brother. And you?”

“I had an older brother and then after my parents split up, she had my other little sister, who is my half sister, but she lives in Ohio with my mom. So yeah, just me here.”

“You had an older brother?” I question.

She tenses up and remains silent.


“Yeah, sorry, it’s a long story and I just can’t… I can’t today. Its too beautiful of a day!”

She drops the anchor into the blue water and rolls up the sail in a matter of minutes then strips down to her swimsuit and stands on the edge, “You coming?”

She dives into the water and resurfaces shortly after, “How is it?” I ask.

“It’s great! C’mon, don’t be a panzy.” She goes back under and I can see her perfectly in the crystal clear water.

I take off my shirt and cannonball in after her. 

“You sure are an interesting one Ellison.” I say as we tread the water.

“Better interesting than boring as hell, right?”

“It’s definitely keeping me hooked, if you couldn’t tell.” We laugh.

“No, I could hardly tell at all. Not that the standing on my front porch this morning didn’t give you away.” She laughs and then goes back under the water and swims to the boat ladder.

Once we’re back in the boat and drying off, I catch her staring at me.

“Not that I really mind that you can’t take your eyes off of me, but I just have to ask, why are you looking at me like that?”

“Why am I so intriguing to you?” She answers my question with a question. “I’m a heartless bitch at times, I’m bitter and guarded. I’m pretty sure I probably make you angrier than hell sometimes. So please, if this is some ego-boosting thing trying to get me to open up to you, please tell me now because I can’t tell if you’re genuinely interested in me or if I’m just a way to waste time while you’re filming.”

I sigh, “Ellison, Ellison, Ellison.” I place my hands on her shoulders, “I can assure you that you are in no way a waste of my time. And I am genuinely interested, otherwise why would I spend so much time trying to get close to you when all you do is push and push me away?”

“I don’t know Josh. I’m just… I’m insecure about a lot and I’ve been through a shit ton of hardships over the past couple of years, and believe me, I hate the way I am, I do, I just-“

“Lis, stop.” I cut her off.

“Lis?” She questions.

“Sorry, it just kind of ca-“

“No, I don’t mind, I’ve just never been called that before.”

“Okay, well stop rambling,” I laugh, “I like spending time with you and if this is a waste of time, I’m glad I’m wasting it on you.”

“I don’t understand why you’re so hooked on me.” She shakes her head.

As we pull up to the dock, I tell her, “I don’t really know either, but you’ve really got a hold on me, I’ll tell you that.”

She looks at me, “I want to take you somewhere.”

“Oh, like where?” I say as we tie up the boat and start walking to her jeep.

“I’ll tell you when we get there.”


The twenty minute drive was quiet.  A lot quieter than the rest of the day had been.

We stopped at an old tree on a cracked, seemingly abandoned road. She gets out of the car and waits for me to join her.

“You asked me about the scar above my eyebrow a couple days ago at the surf shop.

“Yeah I remember, the day you almost knocked me unconscious.” I laugh and she smiles. A small smile, but a sincere one.

“Well, I was sixteen. It happened right here.”

“Where you got the scar?”

She nods. “I remember the day like it was yesterday. I had just gotten my driver’s license about a month before we came here for the summer. And by we I mean my brother and I. My dad moved here when I was 11, and I guess Bryce was about 14 or 15. But yeah, I was sixteen, Bryce told me to drive and so, of course, being an excited sixteen year old, I was all for it.”

She takes in a shaky breath.

“Ellison you don’t have to keep going if you don’t want to.”

“You want me to open up to you, don’t you? I have to start from the beginning of it all or else I won’t be able to give you what you want.”

I stay quiet and she continues.

“Okay so I was driving with the top down in my dad’s old corvette, my brother was in the passenger seat and we were having a great day. We were on the way home from town and we wanted to take the long way home and, damn it, every single day I wish I could take that back. Every damn day.” She sighs and a tear falls down her cheek. I reach down and grab her hand, and surprisingly she squeezes back. Then she pulls me down to sit with her in the grass, one arm hugging her knees and the other sitting in my lap, laced with mine.

“I was definitely going over the speed limit, I mean this road is dead, but I shouldn’t have been regardless of how many other cars are on the road. We were messing around with the stupid radio and a CD fell on the floorboard and we both leaned down to get it and before we knew it, we crashed head on, seventy miles an hour, into this tree. He was airlifted to the hospital and I walked away with a little scratch above my eyebrow and a slight concussion. A fucking scratch and he died two hours after he got to the hospital. I was there when he took his last breath.”

She rests her head on her knees and takes her hand back and hugs her knees.

“And that’s why my dad and I don’t get along. He blamed me. He said it was all my fault and I should have been paying attention. I blamed myself for years, and I still do. Even after he apologized and said he was wrong, I know he was right. I can’t blame him; he lost his first kid for crying out loud, I would be angry too.” She pauses for a minute. “And the minute I was clear to fly, I hopped on a plane back home to my mom in Ohio and I didn’t come back until now.”

“I’m so sorry Ellison.”

She shakes her head. “Not a day goes by where I don’t sit back and think, you know, that should have been me. I should have died that day. I was the one driving, it should have been me. My mom always would hug me and say it wasn’t my fault and accidents happen.” Squeezes her eyes shut and a few tears fall from her cheeks. Then she looks up to the setting sun then over at me, “Please don’t look at me differently now, I just needed to tell you that if we are going to be hanging out on a regular basis because some days are worse than others, so you needed an explanation.”

“I still think you are great,” I smile and tuck a strand of hair behind her ear.

She stands up hastily and brushes off her shorts, “Keep in mind the condition.” She says.

“Right, right, no falling in love got it.” But instead of a reminder to me, it sounded more like a reminder to herself. “I’ll drive you don’t have to worry about it.”

“If you insist,” she says and hands me the keys, not a bone in her body ready to fight me back on the matter.

As we drive, Ellison leans her head on the window, but eventually shifts over to my shoulder and pulls her legs up onto the seat.

“I’m sorry,” she whispers.

“For what?”

“For being so difficult. You didn’t deserve that.”

“Eh, you haven’t been too bad. I think I’ve handled it pretty well.” I say and she slightly nudges my side.

“You’re very relentless, Hutcherson.”

I smile. “I have to be to keep up with you.”

I’ve discovered a new part of Ellison Sinclair today and I look forward to learning more. But as humans learn from infancy and on, life is completely made of building blocks. One by one, and if you try to go to fast, they will all tumble to the ground and you’ll have to start from the beginning. So slow is good. Slow is, in fact, encouraged. She isn’t who she puts herself off to be. She is kind, and fun, and exciting. Confusing? Yes, she is. But as I have learned, you just have to be patient to know a person like her. It’s been a week, and she is just now showing me who she is, and while it may take quite a while longer, I’m willing and able to wait for her.

Watching Hunger Games
  • Book Katniss: This was my dad's jacket
  • Movie Katniss: My dad was a woman's size 4