A bridge, a lock and a promise. What will it take to guarantee forever? In 'Lock Bridge,' Cilla and C.J. face countless obstacles to their promised love. Although she is his soul and he her true love, certain people do not want them to be together and will do all they can to keep them apart.
Part One — Chapter Two
C.J. was growing into a handsome, athletic young man, with a v-shaped torso and gilded blond hair that could blend into a field of wheat. His eyes exhibited the most unique shade of turquoise blue, even deeper than the untouched waters of a remote Caribbean island.
C.J. didn't give his features much attention. His mother taught him to disregard shallow things. Not only did she warn him of appearances, but the advances of untrustworthy, fast girls as well. Better to stay close to home and under the protection of mother's direction.
C.J. had never met his father and didn't have an inkling what he looked like. He supposedly died before C.J. was born.
Angelica had loved a man deeply once. They bound themselves by a pledge, which couldn't be undone. But she didn't believe he cared for her as deeply, and so, out of pure insecurity, betrayed him. When he found out that she had broken their promise, he could not forgive her. She begged her lover to pardon the momentary lapse and renew their vow, but he refused. Their commitment no longer held meaning for him.
Her devastation turned to bitterness, and as a punishment for being rejected, she did not tell C.J.'s father he was going to have a child. The secret became the only satisfaction she redeemed from the whole disaster. Angelica moved from Paris to San Francisco after the break up and had her son eight months later.
She never married after the split. No man lived up to her expectations, other than her wonderful son. She was determined to do anything to protect him. Angelica never let C.J.'s father into his life, or any woman for that matter. Life had made her a jealous and vengeful, and if anyone tried to come between she and her boy, well — they had just better not.
One morning, during the last week of camp, Cilla decided to go for a swim in the mountain lake, which was a bit of a walk from her cabin. She liked to rise with the sun when the world was still. It seemed to be the only time that she could relax without life's pressures: fitting in, down playing her beauty, hiding her poverty. It was exhausting. Swimming helped Cilla think — strategize. She grabbed a towel, tiptoed out so as not to wake her weird roommates and headed down the single-track trail toward the water.
Cilla passed the craft cabin, outdoor performance arena, campfire circle, and the archery field, which was furthest away from civilization and closest to the lake. Her mind was already busy planning excuses she could use to not hang out with her cabin mates. The poor girl with the bulging ankles and greasy black hair was one thing, but the one that never took off her sweatshirt and would not turn her back to Cilla was even creepier. Cilla couldn't last one more day if she had to be around either of them.
C.J. rose before daybreak too. He wanted to practice for the Bulls Eye competition later that day.
C.J. was a natural at archery, which was odd because he had never tried it before. Now that he had, he was consumed by it. Training occupied him during every bit of free camp time, and each night when he went to sleep, he couldn't wait until the next day so that he could shoot more arrows into the illusive red center of the target.
C.J. loved the sleek sensation of the polished hickory bow. He absently ran his hands along the silken strings attached at each end. Firm arrows made of heartwood filled up the leather carrier and had been rubbed to a deep amber, making them appear as gold. While the brilliant ends were not dangerous, they did sting.
On that particular morning, C.J. felt especially sure of his aim, and so, decided to test his skill by shooting an arrow with eyes closed. A slight crunching of leaves along the nearby trail caused him to release the quiver too soon. He swore that he heard a remote squeal from a rabbit or some other tiny creature in the distance.
"Shit, I hope I didn't kill it." C.J. took off jogging to find the wounded animal.
Cilla experienced a sudden prick on the outside of her thigh and peered down to discover a thin red burn. There was no blood, but it scared her and prompted her to run as fast as her legs would carry until she reached the glacial lake. She yanked off her t-shirt and shorts and jumped into the icy water to cool her injury and calm her nerves. Cilla swam breaststroke underwater for almost a minute and when she lifted her head for a breath, she saw him on the shore with arrow in hand, looking extremely sorry and forlorn.
A sudden warmth overtook her, as though the sun itself had risen up from beneath her. Was it the sadness in his sea green eyes that mesmerized her? Or was it his golden hair that looked like specs of gold on a warm breeze?
Cilla had no idea what was happening. At that precise instant, she fell hopelessly in love with C.J. Bradford.