Chapter 33: Trenton, North Carolina - June 18, 2008
A week later, I managed to slip out of my house without Mike or Cory in tow. I needed time to think about what Mike had asked me. I had done a good jo in avoiding the two for the most part, keeping to my room and ignoring my phone. Mike called every day. Cory, not so much. He had left a note for me on my window a couple days later, asking me to meet him at the creek to talk. I didn’t go though. I didn’t know what I was going to say to him. I needed time to think. That’s why I left my house without a word this morning.
I headed down the path from the back of the school towards Getman’s Park. I took the familiar way to our clearing. The beaten path had grown in quite a bit, our daily trips not being there to kill off anything that grew there. It seemed like no one had been there in quite some time. Our fire pit was still there but there were no longer any charred bits inside of it. Vegetation grew in the ring, a few flowers blooming from under the ashes. Walking over, I sat down on the log and sighed.
What was I going to do? Going to New York was a dream I had since I turned 14. I wanted to go there and work on my writing, attending NYU for their program and hopefully get a book published. It was something I had always wanted and when Mike came along, he had the same dream too. He was going to get a degree while working on building a band and a demo track. Lately, we talked about it becoming more of a reality rather than just a fantasy. Our plans were to go in August before the semesters started down there. I wanted more time to tell my father I was leaving and to get some things squared away. Now he wanted to go just a few days after graduation? My daddy was going to flip when he hears that. How could I just pick up my life, leave everyone behind and start this new adventure?
And what about Cory? The thought kept echoing across my mind the rest of the week as Graduation loomed closer. The ceremony was long, hot and repetitive as my class watched each other get our diplomas. Dad and Grams smiled at me so proudly as I accepted mine, top marks in my class and in the top 10% of students. I should have been happy and proud of myself. Instead, I was dreading what was coming. Mike had told me he wanted an answer by tonight. If I said yes, we’d be gone by noon tomorrow. If not, he would be. I had not a clue what I was going to do as I sat in the hot gym of my high school. All I knew was that I wanted to leave and stay at the same time.
After the ceremony, Dad took Grams and I out for dinner. They chatted about stuff, asking me about my college plans. I told them I wasn’t sure yet which was the truth. I didn’t have the heart to tell Daddy I was playing with the idea of running off to the Big Apple. It would hurt him, that’s for sure. Besides Grams, I was all he really had now. What would happen to him once I’m gone? How could I leave him, knowing he would be so upset with me leaving? Of course, he always did tell me to follow my heart. I don’t think he meant running away to a city, thousands of miles away with a boy he can’t stand though. But this was my dream, one that I used to tell him and Momma about when I was a little girl. I know he would understand after a while.
Sighing, I stood up from the log. The sun was beginning to set, casting shadows over me as I walked through the trees. I knew in my heart what I had decided to do. If I gave up this chance to go to New York, I’d regret it for the rest of my life. Tucking my hands in my pockets, I walked back down the path towards the road that ran along the middle of the park. I knew what I was going to do and I knew what I had to do next. I needed to find Cory and tell him the truth. It was the hardest thing about the whole situation. He was the most stable part of mind life and he means so much to me. How can I just leave him behind like this? I didn’t have the answer for that even though I knew he would ask me it. He would ask me why and how. And then spend the rest of his life hating me.
The sound of an engine grew louder behind me as I neared the entrance to the park. Turning, I saw the frame of Cory’s jeep slowly coming down the road. Pulling up alongside me, we both stopped. Rolling down the passenger side window, he looked over at me. “Hey.” He said.
“Hey. Can we talk?” I asked, leaning on the open window.
“Sure. Get in.” Nodding, I pulled open the door handle and climbed into the seat. He pulled out of the park and drove towards his house. No one spoke as we travelled, my heart beating heavily in my chest. I wanted to cry. I wish I didn’t have to do this but I knew I had to. The dread grew heavier as he pulled into his drive way. Cindy’s car was gone as well as her RV. “Her and Henry went to camp for the weekend. I’m heading out there tonight. I just had a few things I needed to talk care of first. Come in. We can talk inside.”
“Okay.” I followed suite as we climbed out of the jeep and up the front steps of the modular home. The siding was a light blue color and the double wide was immaculate when I stepped inside. The living room was the same as it always was, the grey sectional on one side and the entertainment center on the other. It was connected to the kitchen, a small island separating the two rooms. Cory tossed his keys onto the counter and turned to look at me.
“I’m sorry I beat your boyfriend up.” He said.
“I’m sorry he attacked you. Is your lip okay?” I stepped forward to look at it. There was still some bruising but his lip itself seemed to be healing nicely. He shrugged.
“I’ve had a lot worse from Vicky. I’m more worried about you. How are you? I tried to talk to you at graduation but Mike was hovering around. I figured I would give you your space for a while.”
“Till today?” I asked. He nodded, looking sheepishly at his feet. “I’m glad. I was coming to your house anyway. I needed to talk to you.”
“Cory, for the longest time, you were the only person in my life I know I could depend on completely. You’re the sweetest, most caring guy I’ve ever met. When we were kids, I never thought our friendship would last this long. I didn’t think the goofy looking kid that sat next to me in class would be the most important person in my life. That’s what makes everything that’s happened that much harder. I know you wouldn’t do anything to cause me any kind of pain. I just feel that with everything that’s going on, it’s going to happen. Which is why I need to tell you what I came to tell you.”
“You’re starting to scare me.” He said, stepping closer to me.
“Mike gave me an ultimatum. He told me I had to decide between having you or him in my future.” Cory stared down at me, his hazel eyes seeming to bore a hole into my very soul.
“Cory, I…” I said softly, trailing off. I looked down at my feet, tears filling my eyes. “I’m so sorry.”
“Jesus Christ.” He muttered under his breath, letting out a frustrated sigh. “You picked him, didn’t you?” He asked, taking a few steps away from me.
“I didn’t mean to hurt you.” I said, tears slipping down my cheeks. He let out a dark laugh.
“Oh, well. That makes it so much easier to hear. Why didn’t you just run off and marry him while you’re at it? It’s so nice to see how little our friendship means to you.” He turned away from me, heading towards the back of the house. I ran over in front of him, blocking his exit.
“That’s not fair! This isn’t easy for me, Cory! Do you think I wanted to choose between the two of you? I didn’t! I wanted to have both of you in my life but it’s not working out for my relationship.”
“God forbid that gets ruined. The asshole might grow a brain and realize that he isn’t the only thing that matters in your life then. Can’t you see what he’s doing to you? He’s trying to isolate you by making you cut me out of your life. What’s next? You Dad? Grams? He isn’t going to stop until you are completely dependent on him.”
“It’s not like that, Cory. You make it sound like I’m this stupid girl who is letting some guy control me. I’m not. How pathetic do you think I am?”
“Pretty damn pathetic from this side of things.” He growled. I glared at him, unable to believe what he had just said.
“Fine. If I’m so pathetic, losing me won’t be that big of a deal to you then.” Shoving him away from me, I turned and headed up the hallway that led to the backdoor as he was blocking the way to the front door.
I was almost to the inside door that led to the back porch when I heard him coming up behind me. I stopped, ready to yell at him. Instead, he engulfed me in his arms and pressed his lips to mine. I was in shock at first, unsure of what to do. His arms wrapped around my waist and he pulled me into his body. I found myself returning the kiss, my arms clinging to his neck. He pulled away slightly when we needed oxygen.
“Losing you would be the worst thing to ever happen to me.” He whispered in a husky voice. I locked eyes with him, feeling all the raw emotion, he was feeling swirling in the hazel pools. I pressed my lips against his again, jumping off the ground to wrap my legs around his waist. We continued to kiss as he made his way to his bedroom in the back of the house. It was an addition that Cindy had built on a few summers ago, giving him some privacy from Henry.
Cory managed to get the door open and fumble his way to the bed, laying me down on the twin size mattress. I grabbed at his red t-shirt, pulling it off of him as I unwrapped my lips from him. I tossed it to the side, him kissing my neck. He slid the straps of my sun dress down over my shoulders as he moved, pulling it down to reveal my breasts. He finished pulling it off of me, leaving me in just my underwear as he worked at the belt holding up his jeans. Reaching out, I helped him and felt that he was ready to go. His “soldier” was standing at attention, waiting to be released. With his belt undone, I grabbed his belt loops and pulled his dark blue jeans from his hips. His light grey boxers struggled to hold him in as he stepped out of the jeans that pooled at his feet on the floor.
Kicking them aside, he climbed on the bed and over me, his hands and mouth exploring at he went. I tossed my head back as his teeth clamped gentle on my right breast. The mixture of the warmth and the wetness of his tongue made a fire burn in my belly. Excitement roared through me, making my legs tremble slightly. Using his hands, he caressed the rest of my body as he slid further and further down. When he reached my pelvis area, he quickly tore my underwear off and finagled his way out of his boxers. Giving me the same look he had given me when he had taken my virginity, he paused. I nodded, knowing I wanted nothing more than for him to keep on touching me. He turned his attention back to my thighs and positioned himself between them.
I let out a gasp as Cory carefully pushed his way inside of me. Since the last time we had done this, I had somewhat of a sex life with Mike. We started having sex after our six-month anniversary, no thanks to his constant begging me for it to happen. Not that sex with Mike was terrible. It was good and he was more experienced than I was. He was different than Cory though. I realized it as Cory moved in and out of me, cupping my face in his hands. He whispered sweet things in my ear between kisses. Where Mike was more about getting the deed done and trying new things he had never done before, Cory let his emotions come out. He was gentle, slow but powerful and connected with me on a level besides physically. His eyes never left mine as we moved together, my small moans beginning to turn into cries as I felt the building pressure of an orgasm approach. Cory’s name echoed throughout his room as I called it out, my eyes rolling into the back of my skull as my senses exploded with pleasure. Cory did as well, thrusting into me one last time before collapsing on top of me, his weight mainly on his elbows.
“Cory, I-.” I panted. He held up his hand though, cutting me off.
“Shh.” He whispered. “I know. I know.” Shifting, he rolled off of me and pulled me against him. Our sweaty skin stuck together as he kissed me tenderly. “Please don’t tell me good-bye. I don’t think I can handle it.”
“Okay.” I whispered back. Burying my head into the crook of his neck, I closed my eyes. He wrapped his arms around me tightly, kissing the top of my head.
“You have no clue how much you mean to me. I would rather die than have to live, knowing what life without you would be like.” He said softly before drifting off to sleep. I listened to his breathing deepen as he fell into a deeper sleep. Laying there, I stayed for a while. It was nice being in his arms, knowing that this was how it was supposed to be. This was the perfect way to say good-bye.