Somewhere I Belong

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Chapter 18: Trenton, North Carolina - October 3, 2017

After my fight with Cory, I walked all the way home. I was half way there when the guilt hit me. What I had said to him was very mean and the angry wasn’t meant for him. It was more about what Mike had done and Cory just happened to dance on my last nerve about it. Walking up the steps of the front porch, I unlocked the front door and dragged myself inside. What had I done? The guy was only trying to help me. Granted, he had no idea what was going on but he was trying to be supportive. I had nearly ripped his head off and threw it back to him. Swearing under my breath, I made my way up the hallway to the back door. Pulling it open, I headed to the garage.

Unlocking it, I propped the door open and started taking the rest of the stuff from the first floor. Like Cory and I had done before, I piled it up near the back door. It took longer doing it by myself but slowly, I was getting there. After an hour, the only thing left were Dad’s tools. I knew they were heavy so I tried to prolong that part as long as I could. Now, they were the only things left. Sighing, I walked over to the first tool box. It was a multiply layer red box, screw drivers, wrenches and hammers lining the drawers. I tried to lift it but it didn’t even budge, everything in it rattling as I tried. Letting out a frustrated groan, I shoved it. It didn’t move then either.

“It has wheels.” A voice said behind me, causing me to jump slightly. Looking over my shoulder, I saw Cory standing in the doorway. He had his hands tucked into his jean pockets and he lingered over the threshold. Looking down, I saw he was right. It did have wheels and a brake which was in the locked position. I mentally kicked myself.

“Thanks.” I replied softly. Slowly, I turned to face him. “Cory, I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean any of it. Truly.”

“I know. I get it. You are going through a lot. Your husband did just die. I shouldn’t have brought it up like you asked.”

“No. You were just trying to help me by being a good friend. Which you are, by the way. I was just being a nasty hag.”

“Well…” He said, jokingly trailing off.

“Oh, ha ha.” I replied, flipping him the bird. He smirked, walking over to the tool box. Kicking the brake off, he pushed it out of the garage, taking the other one with him as he went. I followed him into the house, carrying some of the boxes and stuff. We carried the rest to the basement where Dad had told us to keep everything. We did our best to pile it neatly and in a way, that was easy to sort through.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen it this empty in here before.” I said, glancing around the now completely empty space of the garage. I could see how where work had to be done. In certain places, you could look up into the floor of the loft above us and sun light trickled in through planks of the walls.

“Me either. I can lay some new boards tomorrow for the floors and the walls before I start sheet rocking. You’ll have to decide on what kind of lights you want in here and the sinks. I’ll need that stuff before I can install the plumbing.” He replied, sitting half way up the steps.

“I’m sure Daddy won’t mind taking me. I’m going to foot the bill on this project, I think. As a way to say thank you for letting me stay here while I try to sort out what’s left of my life. I had a couple of lingering sales that my business partner finished for me back at the office so I can use that money toward this.”

“I still think you’re nuts coming back here for the rest of the year. You had so much going on for you up there. Why just give all that up?”

“I didn’t give it up. I just took a break. I know it sounds confusing but it’s something I just had to do.” Sighing, he leaned back on his elbows which were propped up on the step behind him.

“Last time you told me that, you ran off to the city.”

“Yeah. I know. Cory, if us being friends is going to work out, we need come clean about all that. I’m really sorry about taking off without giving you more of a warning. I knew Mike would flip if I talked to you and I was worried you would try to talk me out of leaving.”

“You’re right. I would have. That’s why I tried to stop you when you left. I wanted to talk some since into you before you ruined your life. Obviously, I was wrong. You did great for yourself up there. If you had stayed here, there was no chance you would have done that.”

“You don’t know that. There’s a lot of things I could have done if I stayed here. I just needed to get out and see the world. Live it for myself. The more time I spend here though, the more I wished I hadn’t gone. I wasted so much of my life there, chasing a dream I never had with a man who wasn’t who I thought he was.” I leaned against the wall of the garage and crossed my arms over my chest. “I want to tell you what happened, Cory. I’m just not there yet. I’m not ready to deal with it myself, let alone with other people looking down at me.”

“Hey.” He said, standing. He walked over to me so he was standing a few feet away. “Nothing you could say or do will change the way I see you. I might know what happened but whatever it is, you can’t let it change who you think you are.”

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