Just The Way You Are

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Chapter 8.

Chris knew there was a chance that Kayla may not want to be the center of attention when she returned to Lakehart. Even though Kayla said that it was okay, he couldnt help but think that he was taking advantage of her. It did help when it came to putting Kaylas books on the list. Chris was just happy that his father was listening to him and what was best for the bookstore as a whole. Kayla always knew how to work the tourist in the favor of the bookstore. Even before she left for New York. It seemed that she was using the same tactics that she used before she left. But now her job at the library was working in everyones favor. Kayla was being the hometown hero that she may want to be while giving everyone a place to go if they needed to.

Chris may have known the 16 year old Kayla like the back of his hand. But now Kayla had returned and they needed to be reintroduced. This Kayla had seen things that he hadn't. This Kayla had seen more than the small down of Lakehart Texas. Kayla got to live her dream of getting out of a small town that he didn't even know was possible. He knew that it would take some readjusting for her. Chris thought that with him here and knowing Kayla as well as he thought that he did, he could possibly bring back the girl who loved the cornhole every year on the 4th of July. The girl that loved the hayrides. That Kayla was still in there somewhere. He always believed that you can take the girl out of the small town but you can't take the small down out of the girl. Even if she hated the 4th of July as a whole, there were things that she knew that she enjoyed about how Lakehart did the celebration.

When dinner was over Chris wanted to walk around for a little bit. He knew that Kayla was getting to him. But he was feeling things that he hadnt felt in close to a decade. He knew that these feelings he hoped went away never really did. Which is why it probably never worked out the way he wanted it to when he in fact tried to date. He knew that he had to at least try to move on from this stupid crush that had be hanging over him for most of his life up to this point. He was confused on what to do. He was still in love with his best friend. Or the best friend that he knew 6 years ago before she left. Everything that he thought he buried seemed to be coming back and hitting him like a freaking truck. Chris knew that he would have to talk to someone about this. But Chris knew that living in a small town things had a way of getting back to the person who you don't want to know.

“Thanks for the advice you gave earlier. It really helped. I still have to figure out what direction I want this book to go but with your advice the brainstorming just started coming out.” A voice stated. Chris knew that voice better than anyone. Kayla.

“You're welcome. For some reason we always make a great team. The work you did when we were younger. It was phenomenal.” Chris spoke.

He looked over and saw the look on her face when he was done speaking that sentence. He didnt have to say that he never read any of her work when she left and started publishing her own work. Her face stated all that he needed to know. He knew that there was no point in trying to cover it up because something that she probably didnt want or need to hear.

“I always thanked you and my first book was dedicated to you. I knew that there was a chance that you wouldnt read it. I know I wouldnt if the roles were reversed.” Kayla admitted.

Chris didnt know what to think. He didnt know that Kayla had thanked him in her books even dedicated one to him. Guess Chris was so caught up in trying to make sure that he was trying to forget about Kayla and the feelings that he had for her.

“I'm sorry that I never read any of your books. I guess I still needed to realize that you were really gone. But that didnt stop me from believing in you. I always had this weird feeling that you would make it. It seems like the teens and young adults really love them.” Chris stated.

“No. It was perfectly fine that you didn't read them. I hoped that you would but a part of me also knew that you needed time to digest things. I think that's probably why I write stuff that's relatable for teens and young adults because in a way they can find it comforting.” Kayla started smiling.

Chris knew that with Kayla back in town he might have to read one of her books or else she wouldn't stop pestering him about it till he did. She seemed to always have that effect on people. She was charming enough to have those do things that maybe they didnt know that they wanted to do. She was his best friend and that was something that wouldnt change. Seeing her again for the first time in 6 years felt like all the work he tried to do meaningless. But on the flip side, he was happy that she was back even if it was momentarily. Chris knew that he couldnt get his hopes up about what he wanted. Because if he had it his way, Kayla wouldnt have left.
"My mom is okay with me moving back home." Kayla stated.
"Is that what you want?" Chris asked.
"Im not sure yet. There are things that still need to be sorted out in New York before I make any final decisions. But I know I am thinking about it. I think its something that I am looking into. I know I wanted to leave when we were younger but know it seems like now things are different." Kayla replied.
Chris felt his heart grow fonder knowing there was a chance that Kayla might come back home. He didnt want to get ahead of himself knowing that there were still alot of factors that still needed to be determined before she came back. But it seemed like the small town life was finally wearing down on her. Chris hoped that his mother would be right and that she would come back. They needed to know how they were like without each other before finding their way back to each other.
"What made you think about the possibility of moving back?" Chris asked.
"I was sitting on the couch with my mother and it just came to me. Like my writing career is going decent. And I feel like as long as I do what my publisher asks of me book contract wise does it really matter where I work? I think that I do about half of it from home anyways. Plus being back here is bring back alot of memories that I didnt know that I had." Kayla replied.
"Lakehart seems to have that affect on people. Plus you can the person out of the town but you cant take the town out of the person." Chris stated.
Chris noticed the smile on Kaylas face as he spoke. Sometimes he wondered if she liked him back but then there were the times where they acted more like siblings that it didnt matter. Chris liked getting to know the newer version of Kayla. They more he got to know her the more he realized that the girl who left was still there. Chris had walked her home and saw that all the lights were off.
"Yea. Kinda waited till my mom fell asleep before sneaking out." Kayla spoke.
"Or shes with my parents because I hadnt been home since after dinner. Just been having alot on my mind as of late." Chris stated.
"Yea well I know that me moving back has been a shock to everyone. So its understandable. I come back and it seems like we both become the center of attention." Kayla spoke.
"Thats why all the tourist have come. Because they knew this is where you grew up. Plus its good for everyone now that your back. You can give those tourist where to go if they dont know where to go. So in a way its the best of both worlds. You dont have to be the center of attention if you dont want to be." Chris stated.
Kayla smiled as she hugged him. Things were going to be different and everyone was happy that she was back. Noone knew how long it would be till Kayla fully returned to Lakehart. But it seemed obvious that whatever happened she would be around alot more. Which would be just okay with Chris. Instead of twice a year where they avoided each other for the most part. They could be friendly if she couldnt move back full time. Which was something that maybe they both were hoping for.
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