Chapter 15: Liam
I have to look twice before I realize who it is.
“Libby.” But she doesn’t hear me - she’s already turned around and halfway out the door. “No, wait!” I call, leaving the unpacked boxes in the storage room and running after her. I can’t lose someone else - not when life has given me a chance to stop them this time.
But something holds me back - or, rather, someone.
I stop in my footsteps and glare at Bentley’s hand on my shoulder. “What?” I ask, not even flinching when my voice comes out breathless and impatient. The point of seeing her again is so shocking to me that I can hardly breathe.
I widen my eyes in shock when I see the peeved look on his face when he asks, “What did you do to her?”
I want to ask how he even knows her, but I know that my time is running short. Giving the door a longing stare, I say, my voice broken from the adrenaline pumping through me just from seeing her again, “She was my plans I had rainchecked.”
His eyes widen with realization and he quickly slaps me on the shoulder. “Well, go after her!”
Smiling gratefully, I dodge out the door and catch the glare of her camera’s lense against the sunlight as she turns around a building. Hurriedly running after her, my mind racing with incredulous thoughts of her and me and us and our short past together and anything and everything when I almost run straight into her when I turn the corner. She’s just standing there, arms crossed, peeved expression, as if she knew I was going to follow her. Am I that predictable?
Catching my breath, I wipe off nonexistent dust from my clothes and run my hand through my hair habitually, wondering what the hell to do now that I’ve got her standing in front of me. I glance at the bag she’s carrying on her back, and automatically ask, “Do you need help with that?”
She furrows her eyebrows in confusion, but when I motion to her backpack, she frowns and shakes her head. “That’s what you ask after ditching me at a coffee shop not even an hour ago?” Her voice is light, but her words are harsh. True, but harsh.
I sag under the weight I put myself under and feel like crumpling to the floor in shame. Breaking promises are my weakness - I try as hard as I can to keep them, but when it comes to my last resort, I feel absolutely awful afterward. I tell her this, and she squirms, fidgeting at the camera hanging around her neck.
“I’m sorry,” I murmur, messing my hand through my hair. “It was real shitty of me to do that.”
“Why did you?” she asks, looking up at me with her warm brown eyes. They aren’t as cold as they had been not even two minutes ago.
Sighing, I tell her a shorter, less descriptive version of yesterday and today with Bentley, and by the end of the story, she’s nodding in understandment. My insides warm at her ability to listen, unlike other girls I’ve encountered in the past.
“So, what now?” she asks, and I dig my hands in my front pockets, suddenly nervous of being around her. This is the same girl I kissed yesterday, my thoughts abruptly say, and a small smile crosses my lips at the memory. Hesitantly, I slowly step forward and and bend down, kissing her on the lips. I feel her lips curve up into a smile and she kisses me back.
When we part, we look at each other like we’ve known each other for years rather than minutes. Taking my hand in hers, we walk together to Juke’s and I ask her about her day.
She tells me about meeting Bentley at the Cornelia’s after I was a no-show, and how he bought her coffee and brought her back to Juke’s because of her interest with his t-shirt. I smile, thinking of how Bentley is was of him to do that. When we get to the front door of the store, we stop and face each other again, looking at each other with curious eyes. Is this the last time we’ll see each other?
But when she squeezes my hand and gives me a cute smile, I know that it won’t be.
Encountering each other two times in a row is too much of a coincidence for us to part ways forever; there’s a reason for us meeting like we did.
Giving her my number, I peck her a kiss goodbye, and watch her leave the way she entered my life.
Abrupt, but with purpose.
Sighing, I turn away and enter Juke’s, going back to work without a word.