Just The Way You Are

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Chapter 12

All throughout the day, Chris kept looking over at Kayla to make sure that she was okay. As much as he hated admitting that he still had feelings for her, Chris knew that there was a part of him that wanted Kayla to be happy and a part of him that still cared for the person. After the passing of her father, he knew that Kayla might need someone to have her back the way that he always had. Chris always made sure to have her back but to be that person that she needed if she needed anyone to talk to. There were things that he wanted to talk to her about but didnt want to invade her privacy with something that she might not be ready to share just yet. Even though they spent a lot of time together and there was the possibility of Kayla moving back permanently it was like Chris knew. Chris knew one thing about if you knew something was bothering Kayla and that was to never confront her about what it was that she was dealing with. Chris had been so loss in thought that he didnt know that Barbra was right next to him.

“If I know Kayla then I know she will talk to you when she is ready. There are things that she doesnt feel comfortable talking about just yet. If anything it will make her stronger in the end.” Barbra told Chris. Chris looked at her with a confused look before she continued. “The only reason I know is because I accidently overheard what she was saying to someone over the phone. Its not that hard to put the pieces together. She said it was a lesson she needed to learn. I think it would be best for her to tell her story when she is ready not when I chose to tell everyone for her. I always wanted her to have the best life for herself. Even if I didnt always agree with her choices.”

Chris knew that things would be different. But this was the first time that he had ever heard Barbra state that she wasnt going to be a gossip. Even though Chris wanted to know what was going on in Kaylas life it was better for it to be left unsaid for now. Kayla almost always told him what was going on so Chris knew that it was only a matter of time before she told him about it. Chris had noticed that Kayla looked like whatever was going on in her life it wasn't going to be today's problem. After taking some more pictures of the festivities, it was almost time for the fireworks that were usually saved till the end of the night. Chris found Kayla in the crowd and she smiled at him. This was the first time since they were teenagers that they got to see the fireworks together.

“My mom told you didnt she?” Kayla asked.

“No. Actually she didnt tell me anything. She just stated that it was something that you had to tell me on your own time. So whenever you want to talk about whatever is bothering you just note that I am here for you whenever.” Chris replied.

Chris was honestly surprised by Kaylas shocked reaction. Almost like she was expecting the whole town to already know her business. Yet here they were both surprised at not only what Barbra had said but how they both knew that she was able to stay to that word. But it seemed for the best if they just waited whatever this was out. Chris got the sense that Kayla didn't want to tell anyone when she still needed time to digest what was still going on herself. Chris wasnt expecting Kayla to be hush hush forever but at the same time he knew that in time the more Kayla would trust him with whatever this was. This was the one time when he knew that it was best to listen to Barbra and have Kayla come to him when she was ready. However long that took, Chris had a feeling that it might bring them closer together.

“Heres the thing Chris. Right now, I really dont know whats going on or anything of that nature. There are somethings that I do know but Im not really ready to talk about it. But I know that when I am you will be the first person I tell.” Kayla stated.

Kayla stuck out her pinky as Chris laughed and wrapped his pinky around hers. It was goofy and silly but it was something that they always did. When others outgrew pinky promises, Chris and Kayla kept at them. Even though the promises became more the way they made their promises were always the same. The pinky promises were something that made them better friends. They would continue this as long as they can. They both knew how ridiculous a pinky promise was at 24 but they also knew that Kayla needed time to process whatever was going on. Both of them were watching the fireworks when Kayla ended up kissing him. Chris was taken by surprise so he didnt register what was going on. When Kayla pulled away Chris saw the tears on her face as she got up and ran away.

“Where's Kayla going?” Hunter asked.

“Im not really sure. She kissed me but when I didnt kiss her back she ran off.” Chris stated.

Hunter sighed as she mumbled that he was an idiot. There was no denying that. It was his own fault and no ones but his own. It was something that caught him by surprise. He didnt know if Kayla meant for it to be taken like that or not. Hunter pulled Chris with him to the place that that she might be. And that was the park. Chris walked up to her before sitting next to her on the bench.

“Do you forgive me?” Chris asked.

“Of course I forgive you. I didnt mean to scare you or to overreact. I guess I was too straight forward and wanted to rush something that doesnt need to be rushed.” Kayla replied.

“I dont want to rush you in making any decisions that you know that you might regret later. We are both different people now and if we are going to go beyond anything we have to get to know the 24 year old us. Not the 18 year old us that we know like the back of our hands.” Chris stated.

Kayla laughed as she realized that Chris was right. This was something that they both had to discover. But there was no denying the butterflies that she felt whenever she was around him. Kayla knew that this was a chance. But she was willing to take the risk of getting to know this new Chris in order to be happy. The truth was she didnt know if she could be happy. That hole in her heart still needing stitching and healing.
"There is ice cream over at my place if you just want to ditch on the rest of the fireworks. I dont think my parents would mind if you stayed over." Chris suggested.
"But I think mine might get the wrong idea with us. I dont want her to think that we are dating and were not. But thanks for the ice cream offer though. Might have to take you up on that." Kayla smiled.
"You might have to. Because is it really a trip back in the summer if you dont get ice cream?" Chris asked.
They might have been the wrong choice of words but at the same time they were true. As far as both Kayla and Chris knew this was still just a trip. But they didnt want to waste any time getting to know each other all over again. Kayla pecked Chris on the cheek as they stood up and went their separated ways. This was a night that could very well be a step in the right direction... For the both of them!
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