Chapter 37 - You little creeper
I sat in front of a hunk of junk that hardly ever worked waiting for her face to pop up. I was antsy and my head was still pounding from the beating it took yesterday.
But today was a good day.
I finally broke down yesterday and shot Taylor an email. I knew what today was, and after thinking about it for hours, I decided that it was best that I was so far away today. Because it would've killed me to watch her go to her senior prom and not be able to take her myself. Or worse, she just wouldn't have gone at all and that's not what I wanted for her.
The screen turned a weird color before the spotty signal caught on.
I could barely see her but I was able to see that she was lying down on her stomach on top of her comforter. Her prom dress was long gone, she was wearing a t-shirt and her hair was pulled up on top of her head just like it was in the picture she'd sent.
The screen cleared up and bit and she smiled.
I assumed Jackson was at home and I knew she wouldn't want to make it known that we were talking. Even though I was leaning toward rubbing it in his face. All the things he told me the week before I left were still true but it all got overshadowed by her.
Everything revolved around her.
I caught myself wanting to reach out and touch her until I realized how stupid that was.
"Are you okay? You look tired."
I laughed to myself, she was always so observant.
"I'm fine. How was prom?"
"You remembered it was today?"
"I remember everything you tell me."
God, I almost touched the stupid screen again. It was ridiculous.
"It was boring. But I don't wanna talk about that. How has it been there?"
Her eyes were scanning my face like they always did and I knew if I said the wrong thing it would send warning bells straight to her brain.
"Pretty boring over here too."
She laughed and I knew I was in the clear.
"I've missed your laugh the most."
Shit. What had I turned into?
River bit her lip and I took a deep breath. Seeing her might've been a bad idea. I thought it would help but now I wasn't so sure.
"Have you thought any more about which college you're going to choose?"
"I don't wanna talk about that either."
She grinned and shook her head.
"Well, what do you want to talk about?"
Her cheeks turned pink and she looked down as she messed with her nail polish.
"I kinda just wanna look at you."
I swear I could almost feel my heart swell in my chest.
"Get under your covers."
She furrowed her brows but crawled to the other side of her bed anyway. It gave me a nice view and I looked behind me to make sure no one was around.
"Move the computer so you can see me while you're all curled up."
I watched as she got comfortable and wished more than anything that I could curl my body around hers.
I asked and she nodded.
"Now you can look at me until you fall asleep, you little creeper."
She laughed again and I noticed my head had stopped pounding.
"What about you?"
I couldn't explain to her how comforting it was for me to watch her fall asleep. I joked about her being creepy but my mind really took it to a new level.
Now, what the hell would I do every night until I was home?
I definitely couldn't go back to wondering.
"Can we do this again tomorrow? And the next day?"
She said through a giggle.
"It might a different time every day."
She closed her eyes and I rested my head in my palm as I remembered what it felt like to breathe her in. She became so warm when she was tired and I craved her heat. I wanted to press my hand against her stomach and let the warmth sink into my skin.
"Tell me about your parents."
I'm not sure what I was expecting her to say, but I knew for sure that wasn't it.
I cleared my throat as I debated what to tell her. Where should I even start? Instead of thinking too hard, I dove right in.
"My mom was sweet, too sweet actually. She always gave everyone the benefit of the doubt and it drove my dad nuts."
I laughed and it felt weird. I wasn't sure that I had ever felt any other emotion other than sadness when I remembered her.
"What was her name?"
She surprised me again with where her mind was.
"Maggie, her name was Maggie."
"That's pretty. What about your dad? What was he like?"
"His name was Beau too. He was strong-minded and didn't talk too much but when he did, everyone listened. It was mesmerizing to watch, I guess I sort of idolized him. He was. . . He was larger than life in my eyes."
River's eyes were open and she was studying me again.
I asked, I could see her tears forming.
"That's exactly how I see you."
She wiped her cheeks and smiled, I decided then that I would make a mental countdown until I could wrap my arms around her again. I hadn't allowed myself to do it before, but now I had to.
"No more crying, okay?"
I hated a lot of things but seeing River cry had to be the worst.
She nodded and rubbed her eyes.
"Go to sleep, baby."
I leaned closer to the screen and she closed her eyes. I stared at her body and strained my eyes trying to watch her breathing so I would know when to hang up.
But I didn't want to hang up at all. I wanted to sit here as long as I could and stare at her.
I waited until my ass went I sleep and I was sure she was far into a deep realm before I ended the call.
I let my hand travel up to the computer. Now that she couldn't see me, it didn't matter that it was stupid. I was going to do it anyway.
I stroked the stupid screen because it was literally the closest that I could get to actually touching her.
"I love you."
I whispered before ending the call. I shut the computer and promised myself and River that I would be more than my father was. There was plenty that I didn't tell her, there were things about him that I didn't want her knowing, and even though what she said was sweet, being just like my dad was the opposite of what I wanted to be.
And I was willing to do whatever it took to make sure it didn't happen.