Chapter Five: Say it isn’t so
The first major blow-up happened just after Christmas of our senior year. It started with Tex suddenly not being able to spend as much time with me anymore. His father had decided that with Tex’s upcoming graduation, he needed to start showing more focus to the business and added that he needed his son’s help as the stations that were previously doing phenomenal, had now started to plateau. The investments were far from meeting the intended goal and T.C., as Mrs. Conrad calls him, had even went so far as to suggest a possible bankruptcy if things did not change in the immediate future.
This simply could not happen. Ever since Texas Conrad the first built the original Texacon station the family has always kept that legacy alive. Texas Conrad the third refused to be the weak link in a chain of great accomplishments. So… my Tex was hauled into an adult life and mindset a couple years sooner than he expected to be.
It was late on a Friday night when he arrived at my house. I didn’t even know he was there. I was up in my room studying for the S.A.T. when my door opened and he walked in. Naturally, I jumped from my bed and leapt to him, holding him as close to me as I could. He returned my hug, but I could tell it was half-heartedly.
I pulled back from him and looked at his face. He wouldn’t meet my eyes.
“What is it?” I asked him.
“What?” he said quickly then shook his head. “Nothing, there’s nothing. I’m fine.”
“Tex,” I said, in a tone indicating I knew that there was definitely something wrong..
“Selena… please, can I just be here with you? Please? Just let me be here with you and hold you alright.”
He moved to the bed and laid on it. I told him alright and lay myself in front of him, letting him put his arm around me. I brushed my fingers through his hair a few times, then I moved up to kiss him and that’s when I caught it.
The strangest thing happened. For some reason, his kiss was different. I mean he kissed me back, and they were his lips, but a feeling brushed through me, like his lips… changed slightly. As I pulled back I inhaled a scent. It was the faintest scent in the world, and I had to inhale deeper to try and claim. To put a name on it.
I opened my eyes to find Tex staring at me.
“Is something wrong?” He asked.
“Well… what is it?”
“I’m not sure…” I admitted, pushing back away from him a little more. “Tex?” I asked.
“Have you been with someone else tonight?”
My question made him jolt up from the bed. He stayed in a sitting position while looking down at me. I couldn’t read a single feature on his face for the first time since we’d met. I looked at him expectantly, waiting for his answer.
“How could you ask me that Selena?” he demanded.
His tone was harsh. It took me back a bit, and I struggled to answer at first. “I…I’m sorry…it’s…it’s just that I feel, I felt, like there is something different, and I just blurted out the thought that came to my mind.”
“You don’t trust me? Is that it?”
I stared at him. I hoped I would, had wanted to, see hurt in his face and eyes, but I didn’t see that. I didn’t see a bit of hurt, only irritation.
“I trust you Tex.” I said, reaching my hand to his cheek.
“Then what would make you ask me that, huh? What would cause you to say something like that?”
“I’m sorry… I really am. I know it’s not anything you and I have ever had to deal with, even with all the passes and offers Patty Kestinger has thrown your way. I shouldn’t have asked you that.”
I was startled by his anger now. His jaw tightened and, if I hadn’t known better, I would have sworn tears were starting to form in his eyes.
“Oh my goodness babe… I really am so sorry.” I told him, touching his hand lightly.
With my last words he blew out a hard breath and I was relieved to see his face soften. “I just want to hold you.” He said so quietly, so pleadingly.
What could I do? I pulled him back down beside me, turned my back into him and wrapped myself up in his arms. We didn’t talk, we didn’t kiss. He just held me.
At some point I fell asleep and when I woke up in the morning he was gone and had left a note on my pillow.
Thank you for letting me embrace you through the night.
I have to go back home for a bit, but I’ll be back to get you around five and take you out for the evening. I’m thinking dinner and a movie. I love you.
I was elated at his note and grateful that I was going to get to spend time with him that I had been missing. As I was showering and preparing for the evening however, I stopped abruptly and stared into the mirror. It was vanilla that I had smelled. Not a flower, but vanilla. I knew this, I knew this just as certainly as I knew my name was Selena Marie Ayers and Texas Conrad the fourth was my soul mate and truest love. The scent was vanilla and his lips were different because someone else had kissed them. My reflection contorted with horror. A mirror image was scolding me for even thinking such things…but deep down…I just knew.
By the time Tex arrived to pick me up, he was smiling and he was happy. He was my Tex. His kiss was the kiss I knew and remembered and the only scent I smelled was his cologne. I pushed all my fears and anxieties aside and enjoyed every minute we spent together.