My heart feels like a piece of glass that’s been slammed against a ceramic floor. It’s completely and utterly shattered. I’ve hurt the one person in my life that has always been there for me. Maybe he’ll come around again, but the voice in my head is telling me that I might not be able to undo this.
I pushed him too far this time.
“Kate, is that you out there?” My mom is standing between our house and Beau’s with her robe and a pair of pajama pants on.
“Yeah, it’s me,” I reply, climbing down from the trampoline, “I’ll be right there, Mom.” I’m not quite ready for that interrogation yet.
“Okay, but hurry up. It’s already lunch time.” Using the sleeves of my sweatshirt, I wipe the tears from my eyes and take several deep breaths, hoping to calm my racing heart. The last thing I feel like doing right now is watching a bunch of romantic movies. They’re just full of lies and false hopes.
A part of me wishes I had stayed at Asher’s instead of hurrying home this morning. Maybe then, I wouldn’t have had to face Beau like this. Then again it was probably inevitable. I couldn’t ignore him forever.
I slowly walk toward the house, trying to swallow the tennis ball in my throat. This is going to be a really long day. When my foot reaches the second step, I hear a door slam and glance up to see Beau climbing into his truck. He starts it up, letting the sound of the old muffler fill the neighborhood. His right hand grips the top of the passenger seat and turns his neck to back out of the driveway, but his eyes quickly snap back to penetrate mine. They’re still red and swollen, but the rest of his features are completely expressionless.
All I want is to run to him and beg for some understanding. There’s so much I wish I could say to him.
“Are you coming in? A new movie is about to start,” my mom yells through a small crack she created by opening the door slightly.
“Yeah, I’m coming,” I say, turning to take one more look at Beau’s truck. As soon as our eyes meet again, he looks out his back window and pulls out of the driveway. I rub my aching chest with the palm of my hand as his truck speeds down our block and disappears out of sight. I let him go today, giving him the closure he needed to move on with his life.
My mom glares up at me with narrowed eyes when I shut the front door. Her lips are pressed together as she scans my face. “Beau was looking for you earlier. He seemed pretty worried,” she remarks, focusing her attention back on the TV screen.
“You know, I’m actually not feeling very good. I think I’m just going to go lie down for a while. I wouldn’t be very good company today, anyway.” I hurry down the hall, slamming my bedroom door behind me. She yells my name a couple times, but I ignore her. I need some peace; some time to clear my mind.
I do love Beau . . . he’s not just my past, I want him to be in my present and my future. But not in the same way he envisioned us.
I WALK TO WORK, letting the fresh air help clear my mind. The colorful leaves rustle in the trees as a strong wind blows through. The town is eerily quiet this early in the morning, aside from an occasional car or truck passing by. It’s not quite like a relaxing spot on the beach, but it’s the perfect way for me to work through the maze in my head.
When I woke up this morning, the realization that I didn’t do anything wrong yesterday hit me. I’d feel better if I knew what Beau was doing right now and if he’s okay. It was going to happen sometime, but I hate how it ripped him apart. Just picturing the look on his face when he walked away from me is enough to make me sick to my stomach.
I keep telling myself that it’s for the best.
He’ll be able to move on now.
One day, I hope that Beau can accept my choice, and we can go back to the way we used to be before feelings were hurt and things got complicated. I love Beau. I really do, but love is a confusing thing and sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between loving someone and being in love. Someone who’s lived for sixty years and loved many times probably couldn’t even explain it with precision. How do they expect a nineteen year old to figure it out? Instead, I’m relying on the voices in my head, which have pointed me to Asher over and over again. He makes me want things I never wanted before, and I can’t ignore that.
I make it to the diner just in time, hurriedly tying my apron and clocking in. It’s quieter than normal because the farmers are in mid-harvest, so they’re in and out of here before the sun even comes up. I actually find myself missing the familiar chatter and laughter.
“Hey, Kate,” Diana yells from behind me.
“Hey. Busy this morning?” I start prep for a fresh pot of coffee and make sure the water pitchers are full.
“It wasn’t too bad. I can’t wait until these farmers get out of the field, though. I’m not an early morning person, and trying to hold a conversation before the sun rises is not making me a happy camper.” She sighs, reaching over my shoulder for a coffee cup. “How’ve you been?”
I shrug. “Things are going okay.” Things would be great if I could hear Beau’s voice right now and know that he’s going to be okay. Thoughts of Asher also play in my head. What is he thinking after everything that happened when he dropped me off? He’s probably confused. As soon as I can, I’m going to clear everything up.
“Your mom said it looked like you had a little spat with Beau. Do you want to talk about it?”
I roll my eyes and spin to face her. “Is there any gossip you two don’t share?”
“I’m afraid not,” she says, placing a hand on my shoulder. “Let me tell you, though, every woman from thirteen to one-hundred drools over that boy. Be happy that you’re the one he chose to fight with.” She leaves me standing there, completely stunned. I appreciate Beau, and respect him for the person he is. That’s the reason I need to do everything I can to make things right with him, or I’ll regret it.
When I push open the metal door that separates the kitchen from the dining room, Asher is sitting in a booth in my section staring out the window. He comes in a lot when I’m working, but it’s usually just for lunch. This is the first time he’s actually made it here for breakfast.
I texted him last night and told him I wasn’t feeling well. Physically I was fine, but emotionally I was a wreck. Looking at him now, I know without a doubt that my heart pulled me in the right direction. There’s something about him that makes it impossible for me to stay away.
When I’m just a few feet away, he notices me. I expect to see a grin spread across his face, but instead he draws his brows in as he runs his hand through his hair. I glance around and quickly realize the frown on his face is, in fact, directed at me.
“You’re here early this morning,” I say, running my sweaty palms across my apron.
“I wanted to make sure you were okay. What happened to you last night?” His voice is flat, making it impossible for me to read him.
I can’t look at him in the eye and tell a half truth. Asher makes me want to have a real life, but I feel guilty about everything because Beau means so much to me. I can’t say I’m stuck between the two because my heart tells me over and over again that it’s Asher I want. But a person can’t have that much history with someone like Beau, and not carry them around with them.
I nervously take the seat across from him, clasping my hands on the table. “I needed some time to sort things out.”
“I know,” he says, leaning across the table. His eyes lower to the napkin he’s been ripping into tiny little pieces.
“Then why did you ask?”
“To see if you would tell me the truth,” he says, bringing his eyes back to mine. He looks like he didn’t sleep much last night, and it weighs heavy on my heart to think that I also caused Asher pain in some way. Causing unnecessary pain is one thing I’ve become really good at recently.
“It didn’t have anything to do with you. I was emotionally drained, and I needed some time to work through everything that was going on in my head. Beau has been my friend for a long time, and I hurt him.”
“Just give him some time. He’ll come around.”
“I hope so.” I want to be optimistic, but I need a sign of something better to come before I can move forward. I get glimpses of it, but then it always seems to fade away.
“He loves you, you know,” Asher blurts, glaring out the window. It’s early and the streets are almost vacant aside from a few cars parked in front of the diner.
“How do you know that?” I ask, curious how he was able to pick that up after meeting Beau for all of five minutes.
“There’s a certain way a guy looks at the girl who he can’t live without,” he says, still not turning his head to look at me.
“And how is that?” I swallow hard. I have no idea where this is going.
His eyes snap to mine, making it impossible for me to move. “Like she’s everything he’ll ever need.”
I couldn’t form a word right now if someone sounded the whole thing out for me. Warmth is coursing through my veins like a runaway train as we stare at each other. I wonder if he’s feeling it . . . he obviously has felt it at some point in his life or he wouldn’t be able to put it into those words.
“And how did you get so wise?” I ask, trying to slow down my heartbeat.
“Living this life does that to you,” he says, glancing out the window again before focusing back on me. “Do you love him?”
“Not in the same way he loves me,” I say, nervously fidgeting with my fingers. “Look, I don’t know what you think happened yesterday, but right now you’re the one I want to spend my time with. I haven’t felt this way in a long time.” I want to reach across the table and wrap his hand in mine, but I’m hesitant because I have no idea what’s going through his head right now. It scares me.
“What do you mean?” His question is eager and hopeful.