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The Bitter Sweet


“You’re the first girl that Blake ever took home to see our dad. He must really like you,” Blake’s sister, Stephanie, whispered to me as her brother and parents were busy chatting about the next election.

I didn’t know what to say, so I just gave her a smile.

“He’s talked so much about you. I’m glad my brother finally finds someone,”

Blake has talked a lot about me…?

Turning my face to the side, I caught a glimpse of him and how enthusiastic he was, talking about politics with his dad. He then noticed that I had been gawking at him. Giving me a slight smile, he took my hand from below the table and rested it on his lap.

That was sweet. Everyone here was so sweet. And the dinner table was amazing. I knew I should be having the time of my life. But honestly, I just didn’t know how to feel...

Blake’s family looked like one of those poster families that came straight out of a magazine. They were all blonde, gorgeous, successful and rich. And their house, or shall I say mansion, looked like one of those celebrity houses on MTV.

Looking at my reflection in the mirror, I couldn’t help but to feel a little out of place. My natural brown hair was starting to grow and I hadn’t got a chance to bleach them again.

I felt honored to be here, but at the same time I felt a little lost. I had this extravagant dinner prepared in front of me, but I had no appetite. I had the most amazing guy sitting next to me, but all I could think about was how cold Judah’s tone of voice was when he said, “it was nothing,”

Here we go again, thinking about Judah again. Just stop it, you stupid girl!

Shaking off the thought of him, I tried my hardest to be engaged in the conversation Blake and his family were having. By this time, they had moved on from politics to education. Blake was telling his dad of his plans to visit Princeton sometime soon.

“Princeton is a great school. But I still think you should give Yale another thought,” Mr. Harrison spoke in his firm and commanding tone.

“Yes, but—“ Blake looked a little uneasy.

“But what?” Mr. Harrison didn’t even take his eyes off his plate, but he sounded so intimidating.

“Nothing. You’re right. I would give it another thought,” Blake said in defeat.

The tension in the room went from zero to a hundred in a matter of seconds. Blake’s sister and mother looked at each other worriedly and Mrs. Harrison coughed to ease the tension.

“So, Taya dear, which schools have you applied to?” she said, turning to me.

“Oh well… I’m not sure yet, actually,” I said casually, and I felt the tension somewhat subsided.

“Not sure about college?” Mr. Harrison spoke suddenly. It was just a simple question but boy, did it got my hair standing.

“No, I want to go to college. But I just don’t know for what… or where…”

Mr. Harrison looked up from his plate for the first time. He studied me intently and I could taste the disappointment in his voice when he said, “I see,”

The room fell silent again. Blake’s mom and sister exchanged looks again and I felt Blake’s grip on my hand tightened.

“Mom, dad, I want to show Taya around the house, can we be excused?” Blake said and stood up abruptly, pulling me up with him.

“Sure,” Mrs. Harrison responded cheerfully, while Blake’s dad completely ignored us.

“Excuse us,” Blake said again and he couldn’t pull me out of there fast enough.

Blake and I wandered aimlessly through his gigantic house. He still had my hand in his as we walked, and none of us said anything.

“You okay there?” he said finally, breaking of the silence.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I muttered.

“My family really likes you, you know?”

“They do?”

“Yeah, my sister always told me how lucky I am to get such a pretty girl like you to like me back. And my mom always said you have the best heart…”

“But, I don’t think your dad’s a big fan of mine,”

“What do you mean?”

“He wasn’t too excited when I told him that my dad gave up his family business to serve in the Navy. Or that I’m still uncertain my college plans…”

“My dad is extremely hard to please, but he means well. And it might not look like it, but he likes you. I know he does,” Blake smiled reassuringly.

“I hope so. I like your family too, Blake. They’re… perfect,” I replied.

“No, they’re not,” he scoffed suddenly. “But they’re alright,”

“Yeah, no family’s ever perfect,” I agreed.

“But who knows, maybe someday we’d get it right,”


Blake was thinking about having a family… with me?

“Yeah. I mean, not to scare you off or anything, but I’m serious about you. I can see us having a real future together,” Blake was shuffling uncomfortably. He looked so nervous as he spoke.


“Do you not feel the same way?” Our eyes met when he said these words and I felt… lost.

I don’t know how I feel about him… but I know how I want to feel. I want to like him. He’s done so much for me and all I did was take it for granted.

Without giving it a second thought, I pulled him down by his shirt and stood on my tippy toes. I found his lips with mine and I kissed him urgently and full of passion.

I will love you, Blake.

Blake returned my kiss with the same amount of urgency and passion. Pulling our bodies together, he directed us over to a room, which I figured to be his room. Closing the door shut, he then moved us towards the bed.

I lay back on my stomach and he followed suit, his lips never leaving mine. He tasted so sweet, like the cherry pie that we just had for dessert. Blake positioned himself on top of me, his legs were right in between mine. His hands traveled from my shoulders down to my waist and they rested just over my parted thighs. I couldn’t stop squirming and breathing really hard when Blake’s lips started trailing my neck, my collarbone, and making its way down to my stomach.

I was watching Blake trailing kisses on my stomach and thigh, when suddenly his face had changed! I swore I saw Judah’s face and so I jerked away instantly.

“Taya?” he asked.

It was Blake. It was not Judah. It was Blake and he looked very confused.

“Are you okay? Did I do something wrong?” he said again, searching my face with worry in his eyes.

“No, I’m… fine,” I breathed.

I have to forget about Judah. I must forget him. Please, make me forget him.

Blake didn’t say anything or move an inch as I scooted back down closer to him. He just watched me and his eyes darkened as I pulled him down by his neck.

“Have you ever done this before?” he said lowly to my ear as he started grinding against my stomach.

“Well, not with… that,”

He smiled at my response, holding back his laugh. Swiftly, he then moved to raid the bedside table, grabbing a packet of condom before returning back to me.

“Are you sure about this?” he asked.

I wasn’t, but somehow I found myself nodding my head at him. Smiling, he bent down and captured my lips with his. I kissed him back, slow and gentle this time. He let out a muffled groan as his hands moved to unbutton his shirt.

“Oh baby, I’ve waited so long,” was the last thing I could remember him say before I rolled my eyes up towards the ceiling.

Shirts were off.

Skin on skin.

Close your eyes.

Forget about him.

It hurts.

It’s supposed to hurt.

Hold it together.

He said he loves me.

Just take it.

But it hurts.

And it doesn’t stop hurting

Why does it hurt so bad?


But it just kept on going.


But I couldn’t bring myself to speak up.


Seconds turned into minutes. Minutes turned into hours. I never realized that time moved so slow, until it was finally over. Blake and I just had sex. And it was… It was… I didn’t know what it was.

I didn’t know if that was how it was supposed to feel.

“You alright?” he said as he caught his breath, still panting a little, and laying back on his stomach.

“Yeah,” I muttered, getting up despite the soreness, reaching for my shirt on the floor.

“Look, it’s your first time. It’s okay to feel… awkward. We’re gonna keep working at it, and we’ll get it right,”

“Sure,” I nodded, giving him my most reassuring smile as I said, “Blake, can you take me home?”

“Right now?” he asked, sounding a little disappointed.

“Yeah, I should be home by now. My mom’s probably looking for me,” I lied.

Mom wasn’t looking for me because I told her I would be out all night and I didn’t need to be home at all. But I just wanted to be away from Blake so I could process my thoughts right now. I did what I thought was supposed to make me happy and instead I felt… empty.

After Blake dropped me off at my house, I didn’t go inside. I waited for him to drive away before I just sat there on the porch. I debated for a while whether or not I should wake Hallee up and talk to her about whatever the hell it was that just happened. I was sitting there for the longest time before suddenly my stomach started to growl.

I was too hungry. No wonder I couldn’t think straight.

I didn’t eat much during dinner and I was starving. So I got up and started walking aimlessly down the street. After a good few minutes of walking, I saw this cozy-looking diner at the end of the road. The sign that said ‘open 24 hours’ were blinking in bright neon yellow and I just thought of it as an invitation.

I made my way inside and I noticed that the place was just as empty as my heart. There were no customers and only a female waitress standing by the register. I sat on the counter, not giving much thought to the waitress as she walked towards me, and I started browsing through the menu instead.

“Looks like you could use a milkshake,” suddenly a tall glass of vanilla milkshake was placed right in front of my eyes.

I looked up and I realized that it was Jenny, standing right in front of me, wearing her waitress uniform! Judah’s mom waited tables… here?

“Jenny? You work here?”

“Only everyday,”

“Oh… I’ve passed by this place a million times, and I never even knew,”

“Yeah, we’re small, it’s easy to miss. But our milkshake is the best in the entire island,” she said proudly.

Maybe I was just too hungry, or maybe because it was 1 AM at night, but when I slurped that milkshake, I just couldn’t stop. She was right. It really was the best milkshake in the entire island.

“You’re right. Thank you,” I said in excitement, and I almost blurted out my milkshake all over the counter.

“You’re welcome. That’s the least I could do after you helped me find my son a few days ago,” Jenny chuckled and pulled the napkin box closer to my direction.

“How is he?” I asked cautiously as I grabbed a napkin, trying not to sound too interested.

“I tried to get him to go back to rehab, but he refused. He said he’s got something going on that he needs to finish first,” Jenny sighed as her eyes turned sad, “I thought he was doing so well…”

“I’m sorry,”

“Oh, no. It’s not your fault,” Jenny’s eyes became glossy all of a sudden, “It’s mine,”

“No, it’s not your fault too. It’s his fault. He needs to man up and start taking responsibility for his actions. You’ve been nothing but a great mom to him,” I had said all those things to make Jenny feel better, but she looked even worse. Shaking her head from side to side, she grabbed the napkin from the counter and started wiping her eyes.

“He’s not a bad kid… he’s just a little lost,” she smiled through her tears, “and aren’t we all?” she said again.

I wished I could stay and chat with Jenny, but I didn’t know how to not talk about Judah when I was with her. And I did not want to talk about him. Talking about him hurts.

“Thanks for the milkshake, Jenny. But I think I should head home now,” I said as I pulled a few dollar bills out of my back pocket.

“No need for that. Just come back again sometime, okay?” she said quickly and smiled.

“Thank you,” I said again one last time before I turned to my heels and headed for the door.

But as I was about to push the door open, I suddenly remembered something. Stopping my tracks, I turned my head back to her slightly and said, “Hey Jenny, I never asked you, but how did you get my number?”

“I got it from Judah’s phone. He left it lying around the house a few weeks ago and I was just curious, I went through it. Your name was number one on his speed dial, so I thought you two must be close,” Jenny replied and I felt my heart sunk to my feet.

“And he never, ever, had anyone on speed dial,”

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