Beyond the Ocean's Depths (Not an Average Shifter Romance)

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Chapter 35: Angry Words

TOBIE

“Anne, I need to go to the drug store for some stuff before work tomorrow. Wanna come?”

She’d been playing some online game with Rainie as they messaged back and forth, being a bad weather day.

“Is it alright if I stay? Rainie’s going to have to go in forty-five minutes, and we were hoping to finish this round.”

I didn’t mind. I trusted my daughter to be home alone and I’d be back not long after they were done anyways. So, I headed out in the drizzle rain on my own. Making my way to the tiny downtown district, I pulled into the drug store parking lot.

I got out of my car and jogged across the lot to take cover under the oversized awning as people came in and out of the store. On my way, I noted Torin’s work truck parked closer to the building. We sure seemed to be running into each other a lot. My mind had been on him all day, wondering about the situation last night at La Azteca, and hoping that he was okay.

I had determined that Sandy, the woman Beverly had spoken about being with him for Salsa Nite in the past, must have been his wife, and that’s why he seemed so upset.

“What a terrible thing to say to someone out having a good time,” I thought to myself, recalling how she so candidly talked about the two of them coming there often. It must have been difficult for him to go to the restaurant period if he’d had good memories with his wife there, let alone have them drudged up by the snide lady.

Just as I went to open the door, Torin pushed it open, exiting the store with a small bag in his hand.

“Hey there!” I smiled. I wanted him to know that I didn’t have any hard feelings over how things ended last night just because his aunt had a big mouth. After all, he had been friendly enough before and even apologized for his previous behavior.

He didn’t look very happy to see me though, and I figured he probably felt a bit awkward.

“On break from work?” I asked nonchalantly as he partially held the door open for me while he was trying to walk away.

“Uh, yeah,” he grumbled, then just walked out, letting the door to close on my behind as I hadn’t made it all the way through the doorway.

“What the...” I muttered. Apparently, we’d backtracked to not being cordial with each other again, and once again I had nothing to do with it. This was irritating - he was more fickle than a girl, and I spun around exiting the store again.

“Hey!” I yelled at his back and waited for him to turn around. “So, you’re taking back your apology for being a jerk?”

He rolled his eyes with a scowl on his face and started to turn back towards the parking lot. I lost it. I was tired of this crap, and I was going to let him know. I didn’t like rude people anyways, but this off and on attitude was wearing me out, and it wasn’t like we could just stay out of each other’s hair it seemed.

In fury, I yelled bitterly as loud as I could, so he could hear me over the rain and parking lot noises, “You know, I had felt sorry for you, making all the excuses in the world for your behavior because your wife died. And I’m sorry about that. But your fucking personality is beyond pure grief and heartache. You’re an asshole, Torin, and if I were married to you, I would probably want to die, too!”

My eyes went wide, and I clasped my hands over my mouth. I did not mean to say that! What a horrible, cruel thing to say! Or even think!

“Oh my God! I didn’t mean it!” I quickly blurted. I felt sick to my stomach; I never talked to people like that! I felt like a horrible, evil person and my eyes filled with tears.

“I’m sorry,” I said in a lowered voice and turned to run inside the store to find the bathroom and hide - the few people passing by at the time paused to stare, wondering what was going on.

“October!” I heard his gruff voice behind me as the bell on the drug store door rang. “Stop! October!” God, he was fast!

I didn’t stop. I just kept going, clearing the bathroom door to the small burgundy paneled two-stall bathroom, rushing into the first stall, and locking the stall door behind me. I covered my face with my hands and began to cry. I cried so hard that no sound came out; no tears came out. What had I done?! What I said was crueler than all the things he’d ever said to me put together!

I didn’t even hear the bathroom door open, nor the footsteps approach my stall as I wept into my hands.

“October, open up.”

Oh my God, what was he doing here in the bathroom?! I froze; my crying stopping suddenly as I quickly sobered. I was afraid. What was he going to say to me?! Whatever it was I certainly deserved it, but I wasn’t looking forward to it! Crawling into a hole and burying myself would be easier!

“October, please.”

His voice was softer now, not so demanding and he didn’t sound upset. I was caught off guard and his now-gentle attitude frightened me even more. Maybe he was so mad that he was beyond angry?

I backed away from the door until I was almost on the toilet, knowing that if he really wanted to, he could probably tear down the flimsy door. But maybe he would just go away, and I could wait here for a while until I was sure he’d left the store. My heart beat loudly and the silence in the tiled room seemed to echo in my head. What should I do?!

Then his deep voice came through the door again. This time quieter and even softer than before. “I’m sorry, October. I deserved that, and frankly I’m surprised you hadn’t said something like that before now.”

Okay, that was not what I was expecting him to say.

I heard him heave a giant sigh and again he pleaded, “Please open the door so we can talk. We need to talk.”

I blinked my eyes, pondering what to do as I shifted my weight from one foot to the other.

My silence prompted him to speak again, “October, I’m not angry, I promise. Please come out and let me apologize to your face.”

I grabbed some toilet paper and dabbed my eyes and wiping my nose before reaching for the lock. Tentatively, I opened the door a crack, peering out at the worried-looking man only a few feet away.

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