Crossroads: Book 1

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Chapter 75

Elena


“How was the beach, girls?” Dad is reclined in his favorite chair, watching the news when Rachel and I come barreling through the door.

It appears he is getting paler. This job may be safer, but it seems to be taking a toll on him. Maybe he just needs a good night’s sleep?

“Good,” Rachel and I say in unison as she pulls me to my room, giggling like pre-teens on a mission.

Just before we close my door, I hear my dad chuckle from our girlie behavior. At least his spirits are up.

Once in the room, I turn around and face a pink-faced Rachel. “What’s gotten into you?” I ask with a small laugh.

“Paul,” she smiles wide.

I gasp, “No.”

Rachel swats my arm. “No, not like that,” she laughs. “You dirty bird. I just - he’s constantly in my mind. I like him so much. Thank you for introducing us.”

My smile stretches. “Of course. I knew you two would hit it off.” We sit on the bed, and I ask her, “So you two went and got ice-cream, huh?” I air quote ice cream, believing they did more than that with the look on her face.

“We did!” She shrieks and rolls her eyes. “I mean, we made out of course, but... I think I might be in love with him.” My mouth about drops.

“It’s been less than a week. How do you know it’s love when it’s been less than a week?” I did not intend for my voice to crack.

Rachel looks down at her hands. Maybe I’m being a little harsh on her... there have been people who have gotten married after knowing each other for a week and are still married. I don’t know anyone personally, but I have read articles and watched some reality television shows. It isn’t the same thing because this is real life, but maybe it is?

Why is love so complicated? Can people fall in love in less than a week?

Mike and I have known each other longer than that. I do feel strongly towards him, always have since I first met him. Is that love? Is it lust? Is it because he’s the first boy to ever show the smallest interest in me?

Perhaps.

I do know that I want to be around him all the time. He makes me happy, makes me feel wanted, and I feel really safe around him. He feels like home to me; I trust him.

I do see through his tough, bad boy exterior. I see through the leather skin and the tattoos, but just because I can see through it doesn’t mean that I’m able to reach the heart that beats beneath it all.

“I don’t know,” Rachel starts -her voice soft. “I never felt this way with Brad. I really liked Brad even though he was a jackass sometimes, but I mean, I cared for him. Paul...he’s different. Something about him just makes me feel whole, you know?”

I do know. I know exactly what you’re talking about.

“Do you think he thinks the same way about me?” she asks. Her wide eyes make her look like a lost puppy, an adorable, lost little puppy. I wish I knew the answer to her question.

I’m in the same boat as you, Rachel.

“I don’t know. From the way he looks at you, I know he really likes you,” I tell her.

How does Mike look at me? Does he look at me the way I’ve seen Paul look at Rachel? He looks at her as though she is the only woman in the world for him.

Her hands catch her face as it falls forward. “Ugh, he’s just so cute!” she exclaims in her palms. Her head lifts back up, and all that excitement gets sucked out of the room. “What if he forgets all about me when I leave? I don’t want him to forget about me.”

“I’m sure he won’t,” I assure her. “And I am so glad that you’ve met each other, he’s way better than Brad.”

She nods her head. “Way, way better.” Letting out a sigh, Rachel falls back on my bed. With her arm lying across her head, she asks, “So, tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve. Do you have any idea what you want to do?”

My lips gather to the side. “Actually, I wanted to talk to you about that. I know it’s your last night here, and I wasn’t sure if you wanted to spend it all with just me, or...” I let my voice trail as I can already see her mind working.

She sits back up and gives me a cheeky grin.

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