A week later, Leo agreed to meet up with me for lunch.
“Are you nervous?” Ashlynn asks, helping me pick out an outfit.
“I’m not sure.”
“Do you want to be back with him?”
“Yes. Very much so.”
“How are you gonna plead your case?”
“I know I was wrong, so all I can do is apologize, and tell him that I want to work on it.”
“Is he picking you up?”
I settle on a pink ribbed lace top and blue denim jeans with my black flats.
“I don’t know if you should do this.” Ashlynn says quietly.
“Why?” I fix my hair in the mirror.
“Do you accept yourself, and your situation?”
“Yeah.” I say, emotionless.
“Okay.” Ashlynn hugs me. “Good luck.”
“Thanks.” I go downstairs and wait for Leo, my stomach doing flip flops, causing me to jump around in my seat.
The doorbell rings five minutes later.
“Get that, I’m too nervous.” I sit there, biting my nails.
Hannah gets up, and opens the door for Leo. “Hey.”
“Hey, is Alex here?”
“Yeah, she’s in the living room.”
“Hey.” Leo offers a small smile.
“Hey.” I hold my arms out for a hug.
He smiles and hugs me. “Are you ready to go?”
“Yeah.” I grab my purse, and Leo and I head out to lunch.
“So, what did you want to talk about?” Leo asks, after we order our food, and the waiter drops off our drinks.
“I just wanted to apologize to you.”
“For what you said, or the way you said them?”
“Both. I was really mean, and I’m sorry.”
“Me too.” He looks me in the eyes. “I never meant to hurt you.”
It’s quiet for a few minutes, until the waiter drops off some chips and salsa.
“But.” Leo interjects. “I don’t know if I can be with you.”
“Why?” Tears stream down my cheeks.
“Because what you said was really hurtful.”
“I know, but the reason I can’t be with you, is because I don’t think you accept yourself, for who you are.”
“Yes I do.”
“No.” Leo says, gently. “You don’t Alex. You’re very, very bitter, and you don’t see yourself past the hurt, and anger.”
“What do you mean?”
“You’re still angry about what happened to you, and I understand that. But I don't know if you should be in a relationship with anyone right now.”
Tears stream down my cheeks. “Leo I’m sorry, I love you.”
“But do you love yourself?”
The Justin Bieber chorus of the song “Love Yourself” goes through my head,
“What do you mean by that, of course I love myself.” I say, quietly.
“Alex. You said you didn’t want to be with me, because you want me to be with someone that can give me their all. You don’t want to be with me, because I have to drive you everywhere,”
He takes a sip of his drink.
“You think I complain about having to drive you everywhere. You think I’m embarrassed of you.”
He looks at me, his expression blankless. “But I love you, Alex. I still do. Relationships are about making sacrifices. What hurts so much, is that I’d do anything for you Alex. Amd just because I made one mistake, because I read someone wrong, you basically made me feel like I don’t appreciate what you do for me.”
“I know, I’m sorry.”
“And I forgive you. But I don’t think you accept yourself. And I can help you with whatever I can when it comes to being there for you, but I can’t help you accept yourself Alex.”“So you don’t want to work on this?” I ask, blinking back tears.
“Not now. I can’t make you love yourself, or accept yourself Alex. I wish you’d see yourself how I see you.”
“What do you mean?”
“I know you have a disability, but you’re still such an amazing person. And you’re letting your disability define you.”
“You’re still bitter.” He sighs. “And I’m sorry, but I feel like you’re taking it out on me.”
Leo asks the waitress for the check.
“Can we be friends?”
“We were in a relationship for four years, Alex. Don’t you think that’ll be hard?”
Tears stream down my cheeks. “Will you please forgive me, and give me another chance?”
Leo puts his hand over mine. “I’m sorry Alex. You need to love and accept yourself before you can love anybody else. I’m not doing this to be mean. I just want you to realize that before you’re in a relationship, and put your all into it, you need to put your all into yourself. Just focus on yourself right now. No one else.”
“Okay.” I nod. “I see what you mean.”
“Do you need a ride home?”
“No, I’ll text Ashlynn.”
He puts his hand over mine. “Good luck, and I’m sorry.”
“You too, and I’m sorry as well.”
Leo takes off down the street, and I text Ashlynn to pick me up.
What have I done?
I text Ashlynn, and tell her to meet me at the front of the restaurant.
I wanna be with Leo. I want him back. But I probably blew any chance I had at getting him back. I’ll leave him alone, hopefully he reaches out.
Ashlynn pulls up, five minutes later. “Hey, do you work today?” She asks.
“Wanna get dinner after?”
“Yeah, just to get my mind off of things.” I sigh.
“I’m guessing it didn’t go well?”
“He said I need to focus on myself.” I sigh, tears streaming down my cheeks.
“Well maybe that isn’t such a bad thing.”
“I’ve been with him for four years, Ashlynn. I can’t picture my life without him.”
“Maybe that won’t be so bad.”
“I guess I could just focus on school.” I sigh. “I can’t force him to be with me.”
“Yeah, that’s the sad part.” Ashlynn puts her hand on my forearm. “Do you have any friends in your classes that you can talk to, or hang out with?”
I immediately think of Sam.
“I met someone in my medical term class, but she’s only nineteen.”
“You think she’d want to hang out with me?”
“Yeah, maybe you can meet for dinner or something. It’s good to have friends to hang out with.”
“Okay, I’ll text her, and ask her to hang out.”
I pull my phone out of my purse, and text Sam.
Hey, wanna hang out tonight? Get something to eat?
My phone lights up, before I even put it back in my purse.
Sure, where did you have in mind?
I work tonight, so I think of where I could go around there.
The Fridays by Sunshine Children’s hospital? I work at the clinic right next to it,
We agree to meet at six- fifteen, and I head into the shower, and change into my scrubs.