I believed I was stronger than this for years because I was willing to stick it out. I tried to fix the problems, I even changed my behavior to accommodate him. The only thing that happened was I was miserable. Nothing changed.
I know I deserve better
I won’t beg for his attention. That’s a hard line I won’t cross. I don’t beg for attention and Harper has decided that he can’t decide what he wants. I can’t keep waiting so I’m making the decision, I’m making the choice for him. I won’t just live in limbo anymore. I won’t be set aside until he decides he wants me. It’s pretty simple, either he does or doesn’t.
So the choice remains with me. I can’t stand by watching him flirt with every other female and ignore me anymore. I can’t be content with the measly attention Harper wants to show me and be satisfied. So I chose….
The first step was to move out. My brother and his friends have been my family for years. We’ve lived under the same roof since Harper and his brother, Trent’s, parents died in the fire. We all stuck with them, all of us were devastated by it. We all loved them. But now six years later it’s time for me to go.
My decision to leave six months ago was put off after Mitch was shot. I couldn’t leave him when he needed me. So I waited, planned and took care of him. It brought us closer as siblings and I’m glad of the time we got together. Mitch and I were always close, this brought us closer, at least until I broke the news to him the day after he went back to work.
“You can’t just quit!” Mitch yells announcing to everyone in the kitchen that I’m leaving.
Looking around at every eye in the back of the house was now focused on us, the heat of embarrassment crawled over my skin. I didn’t exactly plan on telling him this at the bar. The guy was so anxious to get to work this morning that I didn’t get a chance to tell him before he left. I haven’t even broken the news to Trent. Not exactly but I think he knows it’s coming.
I didn’t want to face Trent. He’s been good to all of us but especially to me. I’m the only girl in this family. Or I was until Maggie and Zoe came along. Trent has turned into quite the family man and his outlook has changed. I really like this version of Trent and I hate to disappoint him, but I have to do what’s best for me. I wrote him a note explaining it all. It’s the best thing I can do, to get out from under these guys and just be me. I think Trent will understand that.
Maggie will help him understand
“Yes, actually I can. People quit all the time. I’m a person, I have free will. And I'm doing it. There’s nothing you can do or say to change my mind!” Pulling my belongings out of my locker and shoving it all in a duffel bag, now bulging at the seams, I zip it up.
“Frankie, look I understood why you needed to move out of the house. You’ve lived with us men long enough. I get it. But this is your job. What about Trent? Aren’t you going to tell him?” I hold up my resignation letter, it explains it to Trent and tuck it into Trent’s mailbox. Grabbing his hair, Mitch pulls the dark strands slightly before dropping his arms limp at his sides. “What are you going to do? You don’t have a job waiting. How are you going to pay rent?”
Of course, he doesn’t think that I’ve considered that. The fact that my own brother doesn’t think I can handle this on my own says a lot. I’m not stupid. I don’t need my brother or his friends supplying me with a roof over my head or a job I don’t even like. I can find my own way.
“Maggie isn’t charging me rent. And Lily knows someone who is looking for a secretary. A real job at a real company where I don’t come home smelling like stale beer and fried food. A job where I don’t get the third degree if I talk to a guy who shows interest in me. I love this place but it’s time I grew wings, Mitch. Believe it or not I’ve thought this through. I’m going to go back to school to get my degree.” I want his approval even knowing I won’t get it.
“About time you got on your own feet, I was beginning to worry.” Turning, I smile at the one person that has challenged my patience with everything. He has tested boundaries, and pissed me off. He’s the reason I made this decision. If he hadn’t pushed at Harper and I, if he hadn’t made me see that I was settling I wouldn’t be doing this. As irritating as he is, there is a good person under that gruff exterior. I’d never admit that to him. “Now if you could just get better taste in men and forget about Harper, you’d be in good shape.”
“Shut the fuck up, Jeremy! What are you doing here anyway?” Mitch glares at one of his oldest friends. The bitter feelings clear on his face. “I thought you wanted to try your hand at something new? What was it you opened? A dinner house? You don’t work here anymore, so get back to the dining room area and stay out of the kitchen!”
He’s just pissed Jeremy stepped out on his own. He left knowing he couldn’t handle seeing his daughter every day here and he had no rights to her whatsoever. As much as he said he was doing this for Trent and Maggie, he was doing it for himself but more he was doing it for Zoe. The poor kid has been through enough.
Jeremy doesn’t leave, he just leans against the door jam, crosses his arms over his chest and tilt’s his head, looking Mitch over from head to toe. “What’s the matter, Mitch? Did your little nurse friend decide she was tired of playing bed nurse to your ugly ass?”
“No!” Mitch sounded more indignant about that then about me leaving. “It’s none of your business but Sage has a real job, you know. She worked an overnight shift last night and is probably still asleep.”
Jeremy nods slowly then smirks knowing he got the answer he wanted. “So, it’s okay for the little nurse to have a real job. For Blondie to have a real job, even that sassy little friend of hers to have a real job, but it’s not okay for your sister to sprout out on her own. Sounds like a major double standard, dude. Frankie is just sick of all you whiny assholes not appreciating her. I can’t blame her.”
“Shut up! Just shut the hell up!” Mitch pouts in his normal way. Growling and grumbling under his breath about how ungrateful I am. “Why do I always have to be the one to deal with this shit!”
“Because you’re the sucker Trent convinced to open this morning so he could get hot and bothered with Blondie after sending the kid off to school.” Jeremy reasoned as Mitch punched him in the stomach and stormed past him out the door.
Jeremy turns rubbing his stomach, a steady smirk on his face as he sizes me up. Softening his voice, his eyes stay on mine as he comes in the room to me. “Are you sure you’re ready to spread those wings? You got enough money stashed, and all? I can help you out if you need it. They don’t have to know.”
He would do that too.
Beneath that tough guy exterior, Jeremy is a big teddy bear. At least he has been for me since he came back from his long walk away from everyone. After Trent and Maggie got custody of Zoe, he took a hiatus from life. I can understand, all of us did even if it hurt some. Jeremy was losing to Trent once again. It takes its toll.
“I’ve got what I need. Thank you.” I won’t tell him that Maggie slipped me a check to pay for school, or that Trent slipped me more to help with expenses. They knew this was coming and it’s because of those two I feel like I can do this. Now Jeremy, with all his asshole attitude has confirmed, that I’m doing the right thing.
“Okay then…. If you do…. Well, you know where I am now. How is everyone here?” He won’t say it right out but I know who he’s asking about.
“Zoe’s good, happy. I’m sure Trent would be fine if you wanted to see her.” I offer but he just shrugs it off. “Emerly was in the other night. She asked about you.”
“She’s trouble, girl. You stay clear of her, she’ll just psychoanalyze your head until you’re blind.” Jeremy shudders making me laugh. I know he has a soft spot for her. “I’ll see ya. If you need a job, I’ll let you apply at Surfside. I might hire you.”
“Gee thanks.” He gives me his crazy grin and walks out as I sling my bag over my shoulder.
So this is it. This is my last time at The Full Circle. Reminding myself that this was my choice, my decision. I take a deep breath and hold it as I walk out of the back and into the main dining room. Taking one last daring look up, I see him looking down from the upper bar at me. Harper’s bright blue eyes meeting mine and I see for a flash a look of panic on his face. I won’t leave if I don’t get out of here now.
Turning away from his gaze, I walk through the dining room waving to Cole and Dean as I go. Cole meets me at the door giving me a big hug then I see Mitch behind him.
“Move! She’s my sister.” He demands pushing Cole aside and crushing me to his chest. “Come back and see us. Don’t be a stranger, okay?”
I nod, then turn away with tears threatening to fall fast. I won’t let them see me cry. I won’t let them know this hurts to leave as much as it scares the shit out of me. For the first time in my life I’m going to be on my own two feet. For the first time, I’m going to follow my own dreams and make them come true. Walking out the door, I look down the street and watch people walking in both directions going about their business.
Now I’m just like them.