Somewhere Above the Clouds

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Chapter 44 - Better judgment

River

I knocked on the door to Beau's apartment again. And again, there was no answer. I'd been standing outside for at least twenty minutes when I decided to just sit down on the stairs and wait.

What else did I have to do anyway?

I left graduation alone and convinced Jackson and Taylor to go to the movies to watch the new Spiderman. They were both hesitant but I was exhausted so it wasn't too hard to make them believe that I just wanted to go home.

Beau's Bronco was in the parking lot and I wasn't sure what his roommate drove. I assumed they went somewhere together and had just taken one car. A few minutes later a red pick-up pulled into the complex. A guy that I didn't recognize stepped out with a Mcdonald's bag in one hand and a case of beer in the other.

He stooped when he made it to the stairs and saw me sitting there.

"You're Stafford's sister right?"

I nodded and didn't think twice before opening my mouth.

"Do you know where Beau is?"

He studied me for a minute before speaking.

"Stay here."
He instructed and I heard the low rumble of thunder in the distance.

I inhaled deeply as I stood up and waited for him to come back out.

A few seconds later he was back, the beer and paper bag was gone. He held out a white envelope and I stared at it in confusion.

"He left this for you."

I allowed myself to reach out and take the envelope. I looked down at it in my hands and saw my name across it, written in Beau's distinct block letters.

Why would he leave a letter for me?

I shook my head and blinked away whatever moisture was forming behind my eyes.

"Do you know when he's coming back?"
I asked then held my breath.

The guy pursed his lips and narrowed his eyes at me.

I didn't know him, but I knew that look well. He knew the answer to my question, but he couldn't tell me, or wouldn't but that detail didn't make any difference.

I nodded and as I backed away, sprinkles of rain dotting my white dress.

"Thanks."
I waved the letter in his direction as I went back to my car and resisted the urge to tear the envelope and whatever was inside of it to shreds. I didn't what to know what it said. Because whatever he had written wasn't right.

I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket after I closed my car door. I scrolled down to his name and pushed the call button. It didn't even ring, just went straight to his voicemail. I took a deep breath before the beep.

"You can't do this to me again. You can't just disappear and reappear whenever you want. I need you here and you aren't. I'm leaving in a few months. Did you know that?"

Of course, he didn't.

My stupid voice cracked and anger boiled in my blood. I took another deep breath before I continued babbling to no one.

"Come back before then, please."

I closed my phone and rested my head on the back of my seat. I sat in the parking lot for another five minutes trying to talk my mind out of crying while I watched the rain pour on the hood of my car. When I had finally succeeded, I grabbed the envelope and shoved it into my glove compartment right under my proof of insurance.

I started my car and backed out, not even bothering to give the place a second look.

He would come back, he had to come back.

********

Four months later

"What about a toaster?"
My brother looked through the last box before putting it in the backseat of my car.

"I don't think I'll need a toaster, Jack."

"I have one."
Taylor said as he closed the trunk.

"And she has no reason to be at your apartment, using your toaster."
My brother slapped him on his back.

Taylor applied to the community college closest to Yale when we first sent off our applications. I told him it wasn't necessary but a part of me was relieved to have him so close. I had clung to Taylor these past few months and now I couldn't imagine being so far away from him.

Moving was nothing to Taylor, he was used to it. But now we were more or less on our own. He had already lined up a job at a hardware store thanks to some connections his dad had and the pictures of his apartment that he showed me looked nice. If Jackson thought that I wouldn't be spending most of my time there, he was insane.

"I'll drive for the first few hours."
Taylor took the keys from my hand as Jackson got into his truck. He was following us there to make sure I was all settled in and to more than likely snoop the place out.

I needed to get into the car but my legs wouldn't cooperate.

Today was the day.

The deadline that I had set for Beau in my head. I laid awake most of the night wishing he would walk into my room. I realized that he might not have had any idea that I was even leaving today. But he could've easily found out through Jackson or Taylor. Just in the same way I could've asked either of them where he was and if he was even still in the state. But I was being stubborn, I wanted him to come and fix this.

I looked around one last time. It was a quiet morning, only the wind chime on the front porch sang in the wind. Against my better judgment, I allowed my eyes to drift up toward the sky, something that I hadn't done in a while. Only a few clouds were disturbing the blue, they floated by at a lazy pace that I envied. I stared at them and took a deep breath.

The realization came on slowly, but it was crystal clear.

I couldn't stall any longer, I had to just get over it, get over him, and pull my head out of the damn clouds.
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