The S Word

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Pardon

I stare at my phone while a gasp leaves my lips. The nerve of this guy. He waited all this time and now he texts.

Justin
Hey Nicky I don’t even know how to start this but I want to ask if if we can meet?
I need to apologize and I know you’re pissed but I really wanna say I’m sorry face to face
Please?

All that comes to my mind is that I made a promise about being a better person, but Justin tests my patience lately. Just breathe Nicole, everything will be fine. So what if you throw a lamp at your ex? What’s the worst that can happen?

I can’t go to jail; orange is not my color.

The conversation with Justin is needed, not because he has to apologize, but because I have to tell him a few things that are stuck in my throat. However I also know I have to listen to Alexander if I’m going to do this, and he isn’t going to let me go there alone. Nor is Layla if she finds out.

When I told her she was ready to kick Justin’s ass. The sentence “I don’t care how tall or muscled he is, I just have to punch him in the balls,” left my best friend’s mouth.

But I have to do this and so I text my ex back, deciding to take the higher road. Hopefully, that one won’t make me lose my patience.


I sit on a stool alone. Apparently, I needed assistance since both Alexander and Layla sit at a booth on the other end of the restaurant. Neither of them would let me come alone, and ever since Layla met Alexander, they had this weird connection.

The two team up to make me lose my battles.
So that’s how I ended up here, sitting at the table, sipping on my coffee and waiting for the optimistically regretted ex to enter inside the diner. The hot liquid heats my body, turning away all insecurities from the meeting that’s soon to happen. It’s when I’m eyeing Alexander, who sits turned to face me, that I see his grin fading.

Layla glances over her shoulder when my boyfriend speaks, tilting her head to the door. My best friend’s eyes turn from the soft and sweet chocolate spheres they usually are into two fire pits filled with anger that I realize Justin has entered. I listen to his footsteps; my body stiffens when feeling him passing by me and I sit up straight to face the man I have been avoiding for over a week.

The man who once held my love for him and stomped on it because he was hurt. Justin sits, wearing light color jeans and a grey hoodie. Dark circles cover the skin under his eyes and for a split of a second, I wonder if it’s because of what he said. Because if it is, he deserves it.

Yes, I’m a bitch when I’m upset.

“Hi,” he whispers under his breath, but I catch it.

Playing the victim won’t do him any good in this conversation.

“Hi.”

Justin turns his gaze away from me and stares at his hands placed over the table. He entwines his fingers, fidgeting with them in an attempt to get a hold on his emotions. He always does this when he is nervous or lying.

I have to figure out which one he is doing right now.

“Thank you for coming to meet me today. I know you probably didn’t want to after how I treated you last time.”

“Yeah, you’re right,” I reply folding my arms over my chest, and he peeps at me. “I didn’t want to.”

The way he stares at me as if the stars have faded away from his eyes could almost break me. My body goes calmer, as I understand he is doing this the right way, but when I let my eyes travel to the two worried people who look at us from across the room I know I can’t go soft now.

“I didn’t expect any different from you, Nicky, not after what I said.”

Justin takes a deep breath, he pulls his bottom lip slightly with his teeth and then shoots his eyes straight at me as if they were expecting to prove something. As if all his heart and pain can be seen in them, and for a few seconds, I almost can.

“I’m sorry.”

He says the words, and I inhale sharply.

“I was drunk and it’s not an excuse but I saw you there, so beautiful and laughing with another guy who wasn’t me and I don’t know, Nicky. I don’t know what’s got into me. I was jealous, and I wanted to prove to you that you weren’t doing the right thing and-”

“And you used the one thing you knew would hurt me.”

Justin’s eyes rest in mine as his gaze doesn’t move. He nods and I let my eyes travel to the mug I hold between my palms before glancing at the street outside the window. Little drops of water cascade against the glass, October brought the Autumn weather, and now it feels as if the turmoil inside of me is mirrored by the rain that falls from the grey clouds outside.

It’s almost soothing to watch, ignoring the noise from the diner, I stare mindlessly and in silence to the grey street. Justin did it because he was hurt, and he realizes it. But I am hurt too, I could do the same and yet I chose not to.

“I forgive you,” I reply to him, still staring at the people running from the rain outside.

“Thank you, Nicky, I-”

“But, I can’t talk to you for a while, Justin.”

Justin lets go of a sigh as our eyes meet. The cup in my hands seems to distract my heart from beating frantically as I decide what needs to be done. I’m hurt, and when I’m hurt I shut myself off. But not anymore, not since Alexander.

However, I need to heal from the pain Justin caused and to do that, I need to let go of the bond we have. He cut a deep wound that is hard to heal. I know I didn’t treat him the best way for a while but he used my past against me, and that harms all the more.

“Because of what I said?”

“Not just that, Justin,” I reply and take a sip from the coffee letting the hotness of it give me the confidence to carry on. “You used my past against me; you knew exactly what to say, how to say it and I can’t have that in my life right now.”

“Nicky I’m sorry I-”

I lift my hand to ask him to keep quiet, so I can finish. Justin needs to realize everything. I thought about this while sitting here waiting for him, and it seems right.

“It’s not just the words you used; it’s the whole thing. You saw me with someone, and it was too much for you. We don’t have deep feelings for each other anymore, but you had to try and take what was once yours. I’m not something you owned; I’m a grown woman who was having fun with her boyfriend.”

“I know.”

His voice fails; I see him hurting and know that right now Justin is letting all his emotions come. Something that rarely happens.

“I know you do. I’m at a happy place in my life right now,” I say, smiling down at the mug and tapping my fingertips on it. “I don’t want to make you suffer from this, but I am. If you can deal with that we can keep in touch. I don’t want to have to cut you from my life Justin, but I will if you threaten my happiness or the ones I love.”

My ex-boyfriend nods, feeling the weight of my words. He knows how serious I am right now, how much I mean what I say. From the corner of my eye, I see Layla now sitting next to Alexander. They both staring at me and frowning.

I turn my head to them and give a slight smile that the two reply. Justin glances over his shoulder, and the two men smile fades away, giving angry eyes to the one that sits with me instead.

A small chuckle leaves my lips with the scene, and it warms me a little to see how protective they can be with me.

“You love him, don’t you?”

Justin asks, turning to face me fully and a sad smile covers his lips.

“I do; it’s different than what we had. I loved you, and I have a soft spot for you in my heart, but Alexander is-”

“He’s the love of your life.”

The statement surprises me, and I lock my eyes on my ex’s. Justin takes a deep breath before nodding and speaking.

“I get it. I see how you two look at each other. I feel the sexual tension just now. We didn’t have that. Yes, the sex was great, but we didn’t look at each other as if we couldn’t stand to stay a minute apart.”

He is right. Alexander and I are something I can’t define. He is mine, and I’m his, but it’s not just that. It’s not a title or something I can look up in the dictionary. It’s much more than that; it’s a life I was missing and discovered with him. I love being with him, spending time with him, making love to him. I love it when he overpowers me or when he lets me lead him. I love everything about the man.

I can’t get enough of him in any way.

Justin is being reasonable today, partly because his conscience feels heavy from what happened. My ex pats my hand before standing up and glancing over at Alexander and Layla. He looks out the window, seeing the way the wind mixes with the rain and throws shades of orange and brown all over the street, undressing the trees from its leaves.

“I wish you all the best, Nicky,” he says, and I blink, staring up. “When you are ready, text me; I want to keep you in my life.”

My ex walks out the door while I follow him with my eyes. Two sets of footsteps approach and I turn to face them only to see Layla sitting in front of me and Alexander sliding on the seat on my side.

“Are you okay? Did jackass try some funny shit on you?” My boyfriend asks while his hands cup my face.

“I’m fine, Alex, he didn’t try anything. The talk was nice.”

“Nice?” Layla asks louder than intended, and I stare at her feeling as Alexander’s hand slide away from my face and search to hold mine.

“Yeah, he took it ok.”

“What did you tell him?” My boyfriend asks, raising a brow, and I turn my head to face him with a smile.

“That I love you.”

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