Several hours later, I heard a knock on my door and I went and opened it. Emily was standing there.
“Hey Sarah, can I come in for a minute?” she asked me. I nodded and stepped back so she could come in and then closed the door behind her.
“Please come in and have a seat,” I led her to a chair in my living room. She sat down and I sat on the couch.
“So I’m sure you are wondering why I came over here,” she said with a shy smile and I nodded. “Well, I wanted to say that I’m sorry about telling Ian where you lived. I didn’t think he would … move here.”
“It’s OK Emily. I know you and Mom still talk and I’m sure he would have found out sooner or later. It’s just…” I didn’t know what I exactly wanted to say. I looked down and started playing with my fingers nervously.
“Sarah, I know,” she said and I looked up at her with a question in my eyes. “I know you still have feelings for him sweetie. I saw it when you looked at him in the hallway today, which confirmed my suspicions.”
I just nodded slightly. “I never stopped having feelings for him Emily. He stopped having them for me and moved on without me,” I said quietly blinking my tears away.
“Oh honey, if it were only that simple.” Again, I looked at her in confusion. “He came back here for you Sarah. It took him a long time to realize it, but he still cares about you and I believe he still loves you.”
“You’re right; it’s not that simple Emily. We have been apart for too long. I know he told me he ended things with his … fiancé, but that doesn’t mean I can or we can resume things where we left off all those years ago.”
“No it doesn’t, but I think he wants to reconnect with you and possibly start over. It may not go anywhere, but you won’t know if you both don’t try. I’m not telling you to get back together with him Sarah, but I am asking you to listen to him and maybe try to be friends again.”
“Does he want this? Does he know you are here talking to me about this right now?”
“No, he doesn’t know I’m here; I told him I was leaving. Does he want this? Yes, I believe he does. He hasn’t come right out and told me, but I know my son, even if it’s been a few years since we have seen him. I see how he lights up when he talks about you and I know he wouldn’t be on the other side of that wall if he didn’t want this.”
I looked down again and thought about what Emily just said to me. “If he wants to be friends, I’ll give it a shot, but I’m not going to go to him first. It’s on him to reach out to me Emily.”
“I understand and I don’t blame you. I know this isn’t my place to say anything, but I have always thought the two of you were meant to be together and I do care about you and want you to be happy as much I want my own son to be.”
“Thank you and I will always appreciate having you and Joe support me over the last few years,” I said with a smile.
She smiled back and me and took my hands in hers as she reached over to me. “You are welcome honey. I’m going to leave now, but know you can always talk to me if you need someone.” I nodded.
I walked Emily to the door and said ‘good-bye.’ I stood in the doorway for a few minutes watching her leave before going back inside and closing the door. I fell onto the couch and sighed. “Well that conversation certainly didn’t make things easier for me,” I thought to myself.
I spent the rest of weekend cooped up in my apartment as I didn’t want to run in to Ian right now. Monday and Tuesday came and went and I was able to leave and return without seeing him. By Wednesday, I wasn’t so lucky.
I was coming off the elevator and heard him before I saw him.
“Hey Sarah, have you been hiding from me?”
“Hey Ian; now why would you think that?” I said looking up at him.
“I figured I would have seen you before now since we live next door and all,” he said with a smirk.
“Well, I like to keep to myself,” I replied.
I walked up my door and Ian hobbled over and met me. “Sarah, can I ask you a question?”
“I have a few of the guys and their girls coming over Friday night and I was wondering if you would join us,” he asked rubbing his good hand over the back of his neck nervously.
“I don’t know Ian; I’m not…”
“Please Sarah?” he interrupted me. “I’d really like to have you there. It’d be like old times.”
“Things are different now, so I’m not sure that’s the best.”
“Why?” he asked staring me straight in the eyes.
“I…I just can’t…I don’t know,” I stuttered and couldn’t come up with a good answer with him starting at me like that.
He took a step closer to me forcing me to look up at his gorgeous face. “You can’t or you won’t?” he asked me as he reached for my hand.
I pulled my hand away, “I just can’t Ian, please leave it at that.” I closed my eyes and turned to face my door. I went to open it when Ian stopped me.
“Sarah,” he whispered my name and I felt his breath on my neck. “Please come over, not for me, but for the old gang. I’m sure they’d like to see you and catch up.”
I took a deep breath and held it for a few seconds before releasing it. “I’ll see,” I said and went into my apartment leaving Ian standing by the door.
I was sitting on my couch watching a little TV when I heard some people walking by my door and I figured they were heading to Ian’s. I have been debating with myself for the last two days if I should join them or not. On one hand, it would be great to see all our old friends, but on the other hand, I’m not sure I can spend that much time near him.
A few minutes later, my door buzzer sounded, so I went and answered it.
“Hi, I’m here to deliver your pizza.”
“I didn’t order any pizza.”
“Are you sure, I have the order for apartment 405.”
“I’m apartment 403, but come on up.” I hit the button to let him in.
I opened the door just as the delivery guy was getting off the elevator. He headed towards me and I nodded my head indicating to follow me to Ian’s.
“COME ON IN,” I heard him yell from inside.
I opened the door. “Hey everyone! Guess who I found wandering the hallway?”
Everyone in the room looked at me and Ian caught my eye with a smile on his lips. “Please set them down on the table,” Ian said coming up to the delivery guy and giving him a tip.
“Thanks; have a great night,” he said before leaving.
“So you decided to join us,” Ian said after putting the pizzas on the table.
“Well, there is a whole lot of pizza here, so I thought why the hell not,” I said with a smile. Ian returned my smile.
“Hey Sarah, long time no see,” Shelby came up to me and gave me a hug.
“Hey Shel, how have you been?” I asked her. Shelby and I were close friends in high school, but lost touch once we started college.
“I’ve been pretty good and yourself?”
“I’ve been busy, but good. I see congratulations are in order,” I said with a smile noticing her baby bump.
“Thank you,” she said with a chuckle. “Sean and I are excited and can’t wait to meet this little one in about four months or so.” Sean is another friend from school but was dating someone else back then.
“So you and Sean, huh?”
“Yep, we’ve been together about two years now and got married a little over a year ago,” she said. “Do you have someone special in your life?”
I shook my head. “I’ve dated a few guys, but nothing long-term,” I replied, noticing that Ian was listening in on the conversation, but trying to act like he wasn’t.
Shelby noticed as well and gave me a knowing smirk. “Let’s grab some food, I’m starving,” she said with a laugh pulling me to the table.
“You are always starving,” Sean said as he also came over to the table. He wrapped his arms around Shelby and kissed her neck.
“I am eating for two, thank to you,” she replied.
I smiled to myself watching them. “They are so cute together,” I thought.
After grabbing a plate, I went and took a seat on the couch next to Shelby. I said hello to the rest of the group including Ricky, Angie, Craig and Marci. All the guys were close friends in high school and of course, Shelby and I were good friends. I knew Angie and Marci, but we didn’t really ‘hang out’ back then.
I noticed everyone was paired up with someone but Ian and I. This must be why he invited me, even though we weren’t together anymore.
We spent the evening sharing memories of high school, catching up from the years apart and laughing so much till we had tears in our eyes. I can’t believe some of the stories that were shared and I honestly wish they were left in the past, especially the stories of Ian and I.
Throughout the evening, I would catch Ian looking at me and then turn away when I caught him. I also watched him when we were reminiscing about the past, wondering if he missed those days as much as I do.
I was lost in thought when I felt Shelby nudge me in the ribs. I looked over at her with furrowed brows and she nodded to Craig who was apparently asked me a question.
“I’m sorry, what did you ask me?” Everyone was looking at me including Ian and I felt really embarrassed. I took a drink a water to help cool me back down.
“I was just asking if you and Ian if were going to get back together now that you are both single again,” Craig chuckled as he repeated what he said.
I spit out my water after hearing him ask that. “I’m sorry,” I said grabbing a napkin and cleaning up my mess. I looked over to Ian who looked to be waiting for me to answer. “Um…I don’t…I don’t think so,” I stumbled through my answer. I saw Ian’s face fall at my response.
“That’s too bad,” Craig said. “I was kind of hoping you would.”
“Why is that?” I asked him.
“You two … how should I say it? You two look good together and after spending this week with Ian, I think he…”
“Thanks Craig, but no need to continue,” Ian interrupted him.
I looked over to Ian with questioning eyes, but he turned away from me. “Please do continue Craig…I want to hear what you have to say.”
I saw Ian give Craig a look to keep quiet, “It’s nothing.” I sighed, but was now more curious than ever as to what he was going to say. I’ll have to try to catch him alone to find out.
“Babe, it’s getting late, I think we should get going,” Marci stood up talking to Craig.
“It’s not that late, is it?” he asked. “We were having a great time catching up.”
“It’s after midnight and I think you’ve said enough tonight,” she looked down at him.
“Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said standing up. “It was good to see you again Sarah. Goodnight Ian and everyone.”
“We are getting ready to leave as well,” Ricky said as he and Angie got up. “Thanks for having us over Ian.”
“Anytime; you all are welcome whenever you want,” Ian replied giving the guys a bro-hug and hugging the girls.
“Have a good night Sarah,” Shelby said coming up to me and giving me another hug. “Don’t let what Craig said bother you,” she whispered in my ear.
“Good night Shel,” I said. “I’ll try not to,” I whispered back to her.
After everyone left, it was just Ian and I. I wanted to leave, but yet part of me wanted to stay to figure out what Craig was going to say. I couldn’t help but think of how Ian reacted when I answered Craig and I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight if I didn’t talk to Ian about it.
I quietly started grabbing bottles and glasses from the living room and took them to the kitchen to wash or throw away. I heard Ian grabbing the empty pizza boxes and throwing them into a garbage bag. Neither of us said anything for quite awhile.
As I was washing up the last of the dishes, I felt Ian come up behind me and wrap his arms around my waist and pull me back against his chest. I closed my eyes and stood there for what felt like forever, but it was just a few minutes before I heard him speak.
“You didn’t have to clean up tonight,” he started off. “I could have done this myself.”
“It was no problem; besides you shouldn’t be doing so much with these casts on,” I said.
“I’m not completely useless Sarah; I can still do things around here,” he said letting me go and turning back to the other room.
“I’m sorry Ian, I didn’t mean to imply that,” I said still standing in the kitchen. God, what is wrong with me? Why did I say that? I just ruined a good moment. The thoughts were running through my head.
I slowly come into the living room and noticed Ian sitting on the chair with his head in his hand. “Ian?” he looked up at me when I spoke. “Can I ask you something?” He nodded. “What was Craig going to say tonight before you stopped him?”
I heard Ian sigh as he sat back in the chair. “I may have said some things to Craig that made him believe I…” he stopped talking and looked down again.
“That you what Ian,” I pushed for him to continue.
“I told him that I want another chance with you,” he said quickly.
I came over and knelt down in front of Ian resting my hands on his thighs. “Why?”
He leaned forward to look at me and took my left hand in his right hand, “Because I have missed you so much Sarah and I have been such an idiot for ever letting you go.”
“I’ve missed you too,” I admitted to him.
“I know we can’t continue where we left off, but do you think we could start over? Do you think you could give me another chance?”
“I don’t know Ian; we aren’t the same people we were when we finished high school or even at Stacy’s wedding when we last saw each other before…” I started.
“I know that Sarah, believe me I know that. I was stupid to think that there was anything better than what we had when we ended things, but I’ve had time to grow up and I will do anything to show you how much I want this…that I want you.”
“Why now, what changed Ian?” I asked him.
“When I saw you in St. Paul every feeling came back to me Sarah. I wanted so much to spend more time with you and tell you how I really was, but you seemed so happy and I thought…”
“I wasn’t really Ian…happy that is. I tried to be happy for you and I really tried to find someone to make me happy, but no one could make me feel like you did…still do.” I looked down after saying that, but Ian lifted my chin with his fingers to make me look at him.
“Why didn’t you say anything?”
“You were engaged to another woman Ian, what was I supposed to say? ‘I still love you Ian, so please don’t marry her’?” I gasped when I realized what I said.
“I still love you too,” Ian whispered.
“What?” I said not knowing what else to say.
He chuckled a bit, “I said, ‘I still love you too.’ I realized too late that I never stopped loving you.”
“I never stopped loving you either,” I whispered as I felt a tear run down my cheek. Ian wiped it away with his thumb and he cupped my face in his hand. “I have wanted to tell you that many times, but I couldn’t bring myself to say anything.”
“When we were out for coffee, I wanted to tell you then, but we got interrupted. When you told me you were leaving, I had to keep myself from chasing after you and I left you standing there and I’m sorry.”
“I’ll admit that I was hoping for something when we were by my car, and it hurt a little when you walked away, but I also knew I didn’t want to be the ‘other woman’ so I let you go.”
“Oh baby, you could never be the ‘other woman.’ Please don’t let me hear you say that again.” I smiled and nodded.
Ian pulled me up onto his lap, which I straddled and put my arms around his neck and I leaned my forehead against his. He wrapped his arms around me the best he could and we just sat in silence listening to each other’s heartbeats.
“Go out with me,” Ian said suddenly.
I leaned back to look at him better. “What?”
“Will you go out to dinner with me? I want to start this right with you, and I don’t want you to feel we are rushing back into anything.”
“Yes Ian, I will go out to dinner with you. I’d like to take our time as well.”
He gave me a big smile showing his cute dimples that I haven’t seen in a long time. God I’ve missed that smile.
“Is tomorrow night too soon?” he asked with a smirk.
“Yes, it’s a little too soon; how about next Friday night?”
“Friday night sounds good to me,” he replied.
“Well, I better get going; see you around?” I said with a smile.
“Of course you’ll see me around, if you stop hiding,” he chuckled.
“OK,” I said climbing off his lap.
He walked me to the door and we said ‘goodnight’.