It’s been just over a month since Stacy, my older sister, and her boyfriend, Jake, left to go back to Chicago. I really wanted her to stay, but I knew she needed to follow her heart and go where it led her.
Ian and I had celebrated the New Year and spent very little time together since that night. I was so excited to see him when I returned from college on Christmas break, but I’m not sure he was excited to see me.
Sure he came over to spend Christmas Eve with all of us and he and Jake really seemed to connect and talked most of the evening. Stacy liked to give him the big sister ‘I’m watching you’ look, but I know it was just for fun and she never meant anything by it.
This was our last day together before we both headed back to our respective colleges. I leave for Grand Forks tomorrow afternoon and he leaves for St. Paul tomorrow morning.
We decided to go out for lunch at the local diner. When I arrived, I saw caught him flirting with one of the waitresses and he turned around as I walked in as if nothing was going on.
“Hey Sarah!” he said as he got up and led me to a table.
“Hey!” I replied. “What were you and Tasha talking about?”
“Um, nothing important,” he answered.
“So, are you excited to head back to school tomorrow?”
“I guess. Are you?”
“Yeah, I am. It beats hanging around here.”
“That’s true,” he chuckled.
Our waiter came over and took our orders and we sat for a few moments in silence.
“Ian…” we both started at the same time. “You go first,” I smiled and gestured for him to continue.
“I was just going to say…” he paused and avoided eye contact with me. “What I mean is… God, how do I say this?”
“I think it’s time we take a break,” I said while he tried to find his words. He nodded his head. “What happened to us Ian?”
“I don’t know Sarah. I mean, we’ve had a great time the last couple of years, but we’re adults now and it’s time to explore.”
“We have had a great time, but I get it. I know there other opportunities out there for each of us and if you want to explore them, then I won’t stop you.”
“Sarah, you will always have a part of my heart and I will always have a part of yours, but come on, we both know that things are different right now.”
“Yes, I do know and we talked about this before, but I guess, I really wanted to try and make it work. Who knows? Maybe in the future we’ll find each other again.” I smiled a little, but it was a sad smile.
“Sarah, we live in a very small town, I’m sure we will see each other again. And you’re right, maybe right now isn’t good for us, but the future will have other plans.”
Our food arrived at that time and we ate in silence. After lunch, Ian walked me home and we gave each other one last kiss and I hugged him tight was we said goodbye.
Fast forward to the week before my sister’s wedding…
“Sarah, in less than a week I’m getting married. I can’t believe it!” Stacy said over the phone.
“Neither can I. I am happy for you Stace as long as you are happy.”
“I am Sarah, I couldn’t be any happier. I love him so much and can’t imagine my life without him in it.”
“Then you know you are doing the right thing,” I said.
“So, is Ian excited about coming to Chicago? I know Jake is looking forward to seeing him again.” She chuckled a little, “he has kind of taken him under his wing and they still talk every once in awhile.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell Stacy that we were no longer together, “I haven’t talked to him recently, so I’m not really sure. I know he enjoyed talking with Jake as well.”
“OK, well…I have to get going, but it was great talking to you baby sister,” she teased.
“You too, Stace. I love you and will see you soon.”
“Love you, too!” She hung up.
I am so glad our relationship is going so well. I had no idea how things would be when we met last fall for the first time in over twelve years, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. I’m even her maid of honor.
Now I had to make the call that I’ve been dreading since I got her wedding invite that included Ian. I dialed Ian’s number and let it ring. I was hoping it would go to voice mail, but that wasn’t my luck.
“Hello,” he answered.
“Hey Ian,” I said, “Do you have a minute?”
“Um…yeah, I guess.”
“If you can’t talk, I get it, I’ll let you go.”
“No, no, it’s OK. What do you want to talk to me about?”
“So I heard that you and Jake still talk, is that true?”
“Well, Stacy wants to know if you will come with me to their wedding next weekend.”
“They’re getting married?”
“Yeah, he proposed back in February on her birthday and I guess they didn’t want to wait too long.”
“So why are you just now telling me about it?”
“I wasn’t planning on asking you since you and I aren’t…” I paused, “but Stacy just asked me a few minutes ago if you were coming and seemed really excited to see us both.”
“Why would she be excited to us both?”
“Well…I haven’t been able to tell her that we aren’t together anymore. I mean, she has been so happy and we are in a good place, so I didn’t want to ruin her happiness.”
“I see. When is the wedding?”
“It’s next Saturday afternoon, but I’m flying out after classes on Friday and we are having the rehearsal dinner that evening.”
“OK, I’ll meet you there. Just send me the address of where we need to be. My last class ends at 11:30 and I’ll see what time I can get a flight.”
“Really? Thank you Ian. I promise you won’t have to do this again, but I really want to make her happy.”
“It’s no problem. We can make it work and I won’t say anything, but please promise me that you will tell her the truth at some point.”
“I promise that I will. Bye Ian.”