BackWash

By CJ Adler All Rights Reserved ©

Romance

A Little Too Late

I watch myself in the mirror carefully, my reflection staring back at me aimlessly. My eyes are empty, my face expressionless. I cannot help but wonder if anyone else sees how broken I am on the inside? It’s not like I’m discreet. Most notice and I really do not care. I stopped caring a while ago.

“Lighten up, would ya?” Brent comments from his outstretched position on my bed. He really takes the whole ‘make yourself at home’ saying to a whole new level. It’s then that he meets my eyes, taking in my appearance. He suddenly sits up, his eyes never leaving mine, “Damn girl…” He whistles suggestively, “You are looking fine. If you weren’t my best friend, I’d take you home.”

I roll my eyes at his harmless big talk. I swear the male gender just cannot help themselves when it comes to flirting. “Thanks.” I reply quietly, not at all lis for this night. If anything, I want it to be over already. But I promised Brent months ago that I’d be his date seeing as he had no one else. That’s my fault really. He doesn’t get chance to socialize because he’s always tending to me and my broody attitude. I wish I could change - be happier. I’ve tried.

Believe me I’ve tried…

But tonight, only tonight, I’m going to be the old me. I’m going to force myself to laugh. I’m going to make myself smile. Hopefully, I might end up having actual fun. I highly doubt it. But I’m going to to try, I’m going to put effort in tonight because I know how much Brent has been looking forward to this.

Besides, no one wants a miserable date.

I refuse to ruin this night for Brent. I’m giving back to him this time round. I want Brent to enjoy this night because the angels knows how long he’s been waiting for this. I don’t want to be the one to hold him back from anything, ever. He deserves the world and more. Just because I’m not really living, shouldn’t mean that he shouldn’t be living either.

“If I still wasn’t into Stels, then I’d be working on making you mine.” Brent winks flirtatiously. How charming? I’m his second best option. I don’t take offense. I know how flirty Brent gets when he’s excited for something. It’s his second nature.

But then, I can’t help but feel that Brent is acting a little off tonight. He’s discreet about it, but I can see he’s anxious about something. His mind is constantly preoccupied and he’s not acting like his usual self.

Something is wrong and I can’t seem to shake it off. Neither can Brent.

He’d tell me if he wanted to. I shouldn’t prod. I push it to the back of my mind for now.

I narrow my eyes at Brent, aware of the obvious affection he’s always held for Stella. “You still have the hots for her then?” I ask, feigning ignorance of the situation. Brent never really spoke about his feelings. We spoke about everything together and I mean everything. From guy stuff to girl stuff. Hell, he’d been there for me countless of times when I was on my period, trying to make me laugh and feel better. Now that’s a true ‘guy’ friend.

But whenever I asked about Brent’s personal affairs, ranging from his interest in the latest girl, he’d back up and shut down. We never go there anymore.

He doesn’t often talk about his interests and I respect that. There are plenty things that I would prefer not to talk about. Brent always respects that. It’s a relationship that we both even out. We don’t push a subject or prod for details if the other is uncomfortable.

Brent shrugs, adverting his green eyes from mine as he stands up, “I guess. I mean we don’t really talk anymore. But I’ll always like her. She’s different from the others. But she’s still not you.” Brent smirks playfully, but at the same time he still seems a little on edge, as if he’s nervous about something. I consider asking him about it, but he wouldn’t want that.

He’d tell me if something was up with him. He always did.

Then I think back on what he’d just said about Stella. He’s right.

“One of these days, I’m going to surf over the horizon into the sunset.” Matt had said yet again.

He’d always say that.

I had laughed, shaking my head at him.

He had a wild imagination, but I admired the way he dreamed big. He had a taste for adventure and a sense to live, really live.

“Why are you laughing Gabriela?” Stels had suddenly asked in a firm tone. She was backing Matt up like always. The two of them always seemed to team up against me. They were the dreamers and I was the realist that crushed their dreams. They were the ones that gave me a little hope to hang onto when I needed it most. It didn’t seem like a fair trade now that I think about it. They did so much for me and all I did was tear down their incredible ideas.

“Stels…” I had said, “You can’t really be with Matt on this one. It’s impossible.”

“And what if you were wrong?” She had exclaimed, “What if the the horizon were merely a boundary waiting to be crossed for the first time? A path unknown to man, one where life goals can be fulfilled by the one who took up the risk and crossed it? What if the sunset was the faith one held that something greater was coming their way? That there was something better out there for them?” Stels had asked me, leaving me stunned by her words and absolutely speechless by her perspective. She didn’t see it the way it I did. She saw it figuratively, yet she opened by eyes to a whole other world of light, the world that Matt never seemed to leave. “So I’m not asking if you are wrong Gabs, I’m telling you that you are wrong. There’s a ‘Greater’ waiting over the horizon for all of us if we just take the risk for once in our lives and cross that boundary, that very obstacle that always seems to hold us back. And then…” She pauses dramatically, smiling at the glistening sea gracefully, “Then we can finally thrive.”

Well he did it - Matt finally did it - he made it into the sunset, past the very horizon that stopped us all from dreaming.

“Yeah.” I nod thoughtfully, agreeing with Brent. “Yeah she is different.” I add, dwelling on the days when she’d share some wisdom with me. I miss those days.

“You alright Gabs?” Brent asks, stepping in front of me, sensing the change in heart.

“Just thinking back is all.” I answer truthfully, “Stella was, well is, a fantastic person.” I conclude.

“Glad I have your approval.” Brent remarks playfully with a cheeky grin, “Now twirl for me.”

I raise an auspicious eyebrow, “You’re being serious, aren’t you?”

Of course he is.

“Of course I am.” He answers, reading my mind.

I do as he says and spin once, my navy blue dress and dark straightened hair fluttering effortlessly with the motion.

“Happy?” I grumble, stopping right in front of him, my curls falling in tumbles around my face.

“Very.” He smirks as he takes hold of my hand and begins directing me out toward the front door of my house. “I’ve got the hottest date ever.” I’m not fond of that. I tug at my sweetheart neckline anxiously. I don’t want men to just see me as ‘hot’. Being ‘hot’ is never enough. I don’t like being called that, except I’ve never told Brent that. It seems as if I don’t have to. He picks up on my jitters and offers me a warm smile, “On a more civil note, you look beautiful Gabs.”

His words would make so many women swoon, but he’s my best friend and I know he doesn’t mean anything by it.

“Brent, you are always the sweetest.” I remark, always touched by his sincerity.

“I’d have to agree.” I turn to face my mother, still feeling a little ticked with her ever since she forced me to the Fuller dinner two weeks ago. Fortunately, Chase stuck to the agreement. We’d both avoided each other and haven’t interacted since two weeks ago when he washed my plate for me. But since then, things with my mother have been iffy. I’m not sure we’ll ever be able to get along like we once did. It’s difficult for her to be around me. I’m a reminder of all she’s lost. I understand that, but I’m also hurt by it.

I just want a family again.

“I just wish you’d man up and propose to my daughter already,” my mother teases, fully aware that Brent and I were only friends. As much as I adore the boy, we could never be anything more. It’s never been like that between us. There’s no attraction, no spark to light a fire, and I’m okay with that. His friendship is the only thing that keeps me alive.

Brent’s green eyes light up in amusement and surprise, obviously a little stunned by my mother’s forwardness, “Oh I would. But I’m so terrified that Gabba rejects me. You know she has a tendency to crush me.” Brent decides to humour my mother in her wild untamed ventures. He’s obviously joking, but he’s giving off a tense vibe. I can’t help but think that there’s something wrong with him.

He might be acting normal, but I can see through it. His anxiety is increasing by the second. Since when is he ever nervous for parties?

Nevertheless, I lift my hand to whack him upside the head for his inappropriate behavior just like on any other occasion, but my arm falls limply to my side when I hear that melodious sound that awakens a tiny part of who I used to be.

Laughter

My mother’s laughter.

She really glows when she laughs. It’s a reminder to me that she’s alive, that she’s still living.

Sometimes I forget that.

Brent’s the only one that can make her laugh and I love him all the more for that.

I watch in awe as my mom continues to laugh and smile. There’s something I don’t see everyday. My mom’s brown eyes eventually find my own eyes that ironically resemble that of hers. The crinkles by her eyes don’t go unnoticed by me. They only appear when she smiles and right now she’s smiling directly at me. “Honey, you look lovely.” She pays me a compliment, leaving me speechless.

She never made it a habit to tell me that I’m pretty and so I stopped believing that I ever was.

But then days like this, when Brent is around, she changes that and something inside of me switches back on and suddenly, for only a split second, I don’t feel so empty inside. That split second is worth it, more so than one could ever know.

Brent is slowly but surely putting my family back together again.

“Thanks.” I mumble, suddenly feeling ill at ease, yet less self-conscious in the process. A contradiction really, but it’s what I felt inside.

My mother turns her attention back to Brent, “Enjoy your date and make sure you have my daughter back by eleven.” She teases Brent, well aware of the fact that it wasn’t a date and well aware of the fact that Brent would have me home much later than eleven if he had any say in it.

Brent likes his parties, frat and sorority ones, especially sorority ones.

My mother knows that Brent had shyly asked me to be his date to this frat boy party because he wanted to impress his college buddies and now she’s using that to her advantage.

“Okaaaay…” He trails off playfully, “But just so you know Mrs H, that doesn’t give me much time to propose to your daughter.” Brent winks at my mom knowingly whilst I scoff aloud at this. He quickly loops his arm through mine before pulling me out the front door, leaving my mother with what he’d said last stuck in her head.

Just as we get into his Mercedes Benz, I finally choose to speak, “Waita go Brent.” I exclaim, “Now you got my mother’s hopes up.”

Brent starts his car up before reversing out our driveway. His car rides so smoothly. What I’d give to have this baby all to myself. But Brent has earned it. He works long tiring hours and still studies at the same time. I’ve never met a person who works as hard as him - well other than Chase Fuller that is.

“Nah, she knows I’m just messing around.” Brent insists, shifting his focus from the road onto me.

“You would think so, seeing as she knows you so well by now. But you fail to realize just how much that woman loves you. I can see it in her eyes every time she looks at us. She never says it, but I know how much she wishes that you would actually marry me.” I explain, giving him the reason behind me being a little miffed.

He visibly stiffens in his seat at my words as he clutches on tighter to the steering wheel, his knuckles turning white. “She’s not the only one.” He whispers, barely audible, but I’m still able to make it out.

My eyes widen at the insinuation, “What?” I ask, shocked to the core.

What was he saying?

Then much to my relief, he begins to laugh, “What? Did you forget how Ty and Caleb always wished that we’d become a couple?” He asks, reminding me of back then, clearly not saying what I was sure he was about to say. Now I can breathe at ease again. I was sure that everything was about to take a turn that we wouldn’t be able to bounce back from.

Immediately the memory comes flooding back at the mention of it. As if I could ever forget those two and their relentless and endless taunting.

“Gabriela, you need help with that?” Brent asks me with a full blow smile, his green eyes bright and shining as he motions to my surfboard and all the other crap I am carrying.

He’s such a gentleman.

Before I can even answer, he’s already taking all the backpacks out of my hands. “Thanks Brent.” I offer him a warm smile, my heart suddenly pounding a little faster. “I appreciate it.”

“No problem.” Brent grins as he walks long side me up to my car after an awesome morning of waves.

We fall in a comfortable silence up until I decide to make some conversation with him, “So how’s things going with Stella and you? You getting anywhere with her yet? Or is she still gaga for Duke?” I ask, running my free hand through my dark wet curls.

Brent’s smile slips off his face at my words and I notice straight away, “Yeah uh…about that. There’s something I’ve been meaning to tell you Gabriela. Look don’t get me wrong, Stella is hot, real smoking, but she’s not the one that I-“

“Who’s whipped!” Ty shouts loudly from behind us, interrupting Brent so that I can’t hear what he had to say.

“Brent is!” Caleb shouts back, running beside Ty, the both of them catching up to our slow lazy pace quite quickly.

Caleb lunges for Brent and gives him a nookie whilst Ty wraps a muscular arm around my shoulders, leaning all his weight on me, “Sup Baby.” He smirks down at me. I shove him off of me at the same time Brent shoves Caleb away from him.

“Yeah he is!” Ty then nods profusely before fist pumping Caleb for going with him on his devious plot. I wouldn’t expect anything else. No one would.

Caleb is always all for Tyler. Everyone knows that they’re some kind of package deal, definitely not a package I would want.

“He’s so whipped he makes whipped cream look like regular cream!” Caleb yells enthusiastically, going in for another fist bump with Ty as the rest of us fall quiet at his dry joke.

Tyler shakes his head at Caleb, expressing his disappointment, “How can you expect me to fist bump what you just said? No, just no. That’s a new low for you. You’re embarrassing me.” Caleb pouts at this before dropping his lifted fist back to his side. Tyler continues on with his pointless teasing, “Bros and hoes, listen up yo, Brent is whipped for Gabs! Hola!”

I frown at Ty’s words, “Brent is just helping me carry my things. Jeez, you two really jump to conclusions.” I say, before adding, “Besides, everyone knows that Brent has the hots for my girl Stels-“

I’m suddenly cut off by Brent who chooses to only speak now, “But that’s what I was trying to tell you Gabriela. It’s not like that with Stella because-“

He gets cut off by Caleb this time round, “You two should get married and have a bazillion and two babies. They’d be the cutest babies and I’ll be their godfather and I expect all of them to share my name. All. Of. Them.” Caleb whispers threateningly as I step back, ‘creeped’ out by his usual strange behavior.

“You’re both delusional. Brent and I aren’t like that.” I answer, setting Caleb and Ty straight.

“You say that now, but in a few years from now you’ll be popping out his babies Gabs.” Ty winks, his filthy mind coming into play.

“Ty.” I whine, shoving him playfully, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” I say, not taking the two of them seriously. Who ever does? They just speak a bunch of rubbish all day long.

Ty glances Brent’s way, skeptical, before he directs his gaze back onto me, “This time Gabs, I can say that I do know what I’m talking about. One day you’ll remember this day and see that I was right.”

He was wrong.

“They use to mock us all the time.” I say, adding my input to the memory. “It was annoying at the time, but now it makes for a laughable memory. I really miss it.” I sigh aloud, then remember that this night isn’t about me being all mopey. Tonight is about making Brent happy. That’s all I care about because I care for him immensely. “But I still have you.” I say, lightening the mood which results in a smiling Brent.

“I can’t explain how elevated I’m feeling right now. I’m so freaking glad that you’re here with me right now.” Brent confesses as the car finally comes to a halt in front of a gigantic mansion flooded with hoards of people everywhere. “My college buds are going to go crazy out of their minds when they see you at my side as my date for the night.” Brent expresses proudly, making me feel slightly more confident about myself.

“Don’t forget the ladies.” I tease, “They’re going to be drooling after you, their tongues lapping the dance floor.”

Brent isn’t pleased with what I just said. I can tell. I know him well. Yup, there is something on his mind and it’s bugging him. He’s acting out of character.

“No.” He retorts stubbornly, “No other chicks - not at this party - you’re my only girl for the night.”

Maybe he’s not in the mood to be a party animal tonight.

I shrug, “Sure, whatever keeps your boat afloat.”

“You do.” He winks as we both step out the car and head inside the house, the host making his way past the crowds to greet us having spotted Brent’s entrance.

Apparently the host and Brent go way back, which is why Brent wants to make such a good impression on him by using me. Frankly I don’t see what is so special about me. If he really wanted to, Brent could score a supermodel - instead he chose me. He makes me feel so unique and significant at times, well all the time. I couldn’t ask for a better friend.

“Brent! Glad you made it bro,” the host greets Brent before turning his attention to me. I smile at him shyly as his gaze trails over me before he whistle slowly, “Wow Brent, got yourself some girl here.”

Brent grins boastfully at this as he wraps an arm around my waist and draws me to his side, “She’s my good friend Gabriela.” Brent introduces us.

I see my cue and step forward, offering my hand out to the host, “Hi.” I greet awkwardly, “Nice to meet you.”

He steps forward too, shaking my hand in greeting, “Aren’t you a shy one huh?” He asks, hitting the nail on the head.

I’m extremely shy around new people.

“The name’s Logan by the way.” He concludes and I merely nod, signifying that I’d heard him. He keeps his eyes trained on me as if forgetting Brent completely, “You’re not much of a talker. Are you?” He states more than asks.

I shrug as Brent helps me out, “She’s a woman of few words. Well that’s until you get to know her. Then she never puts a sock in that blabbering mouth of hers.” Brent tells Logan before sending me a teasing wink.

I hit Brent’s chest weakly for that one. “But hey she gets by rather fine.” Brent adds, trying to make up for his little jab at me.

Logan smirks, “So I see.” He says as his eyes rake down my form yet again. “Rather fine indeed.”

I visibly stiffen in my spot.

Brent senses my discomfort instantly, “Anyways Lo, I’m gonna go say hi to the others. Check you later then.”

Brent places a hand against the small of my back as he leads me past the crowds and to the kitchen lacking people. “You still breathing Gabba?” He asks in concern, smiling down at me. I nod up at him, appreciating the fact that he cared. “Snap!” He snaps his fingers for the effect, “I thought I could do mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on you.” He jokes, successfully making me feel a little better with his playfulness.

I roll my eyes at him childishly, not at all offended by what he’d said, “Backtrack a little. Think about what you’re going to say and then don’t say it.” I reply back as I lean against the checkered kitchen counter.

“Rather feisty tonight, are we?” Brent chuckles as he opens the fridge, “Want a drink?” He asks with his back to me as he inspects the fridge’s contents. I hesitate, thinking it through and over analyzing everything like always, “No one said it had to be an alcoholic drink Gabba.” Brent reads my mind, knowing that I’m not big on drinking. Neither is he. As much as he hates to admit it, he’s a ‘goody goody’ and drinking in his eyes is unacceptable.

“I’ll pass.” I say all too quickly.

“Suite yourself.” Brent shrugs as he takes out a can of coke for himself and opens it, taking a sip. “You sure?” He asks again, a habit of his to repeat himself in order to make sure that he was being attentive toward my needs. Some may find it annoying, but I absolutely adored it.

My lips twitch into somewhat of a smile, “I’m sure Brent.”

He sees my partial smile and offers me one of his own, his dimples showing. He often tells me that he loves it when I smile and I try to smile more for him, but my efforts aren’t always successful because to smile, you need a reason. Mine happened to be Brent and the friendship we shared.

“Just checking.” He flashes me a sparkly grin before taking the last sip of his soda. He immediately throws it in the trashcan. He’s a neat freak by nature. He’s abnormal because most guys his age are utter pigs. But not Brent. If he were one, he’d disgust himself. He turns back to me with a dazzling smirk as he takes hold of my hand in his warm one, “Dance with me.” He orders.

My eyes widen as I blink up at him fearfully. But just as I open my mouth to protest, he begins dragging me along behind him toward the dance floor. I try to dig my heels into the hard tiles, but I merely slide along after him. He’s too strong and way too determined.

Before I know it, I’m on the dance floor and Brent’s holding me near to him gently in his arms as a slow song plays. It’s when I finally look up, to see Brent’s emerald eyes darken, that I begin to panic. He’s too close. He’s touching me. This song is romantic. We’re just friends. This isn’t how it should be.

I begin to pull away from him before he tugs me back to him. He laces his arms around my waist after he’d forced my hands around his neck because I wasn’t holding onto him. He leans in closer to whisper in my ear, “What’s gotten in to you? You were fine a second ago.”

A second ago I wasn’t being held like this.

I try to relax and calm my breathing as I try to explain why I was so uncomfortable, “This is a couple’s song.” I state, breathing out nervously.

“So what? Who cares?” Brent brushes it off as he continues to lead my movements.

“I do.” I confess truthfully. “We’re not a couple.”

A brief flash of hurt splashes across his green eyes like a violent storm washing against an island of gold. “I know that. You know that. So what’s the harm in just a little dancing?”

He’s right.

It’s just fun is all,’ is what most would surmise.

But what if it’s not?

“It feels too intimate.” I tell him honestly, pleading with him softly through my eyes. I need to convey to him that I just can’t do this with him. I take my hands off him, before removing his hands off my waist, “I love you Brent, I do. But please understand that I can’t.”

On most occasions Brent would understand.

But tonight is not most occasions.

“Why are you always so defensive, so cautious, so bloody indifferent?” Brent breathes quietly in a cold tone, causing me to flinch back with the harshness I hear in him behind his words. “Why can’t you just be human for one night and feel something? Anything?” He heaves, frustrated. “I’m sick and tired of being friends with a robot!” He raises his tone, now capturing the eyes and ears of many an audience as some even stop dancing to eavesdrop on our argument. It’s the worst thing he can do. I hate attention and I’m petrified of being in the limelight. I’ve had enough judgments to last me a lifetime.

I have to end this before it escalates into a full blown fight.

“Brent.” I start softly, “I’m not-“

I’m cut off rather quickly. His temper is rising quickly. It’s rare. I’ve done it now.

“How are you human? I swear that you’re just not capable of feeling. You always get your way and I’m done! Do you hear me Gabriela?” He breathes roughly against me as he closes off the small gap between us, “Done.” He finalizes in one ragged breath.

He’s been holding this burden for a while. If he felt that way he should have said something a long time ago.

I squeeze my eyes tight, afraid, begging the world to just let me go already.

I’m the one who’s done.

“Look at me!” He hisses as he takes a step back. I shake my head. If I do, I’ll see the hatred in his eyes and I’m certain that I will not be able to handle it. I can’t face that. He’s the only thing that’s kept me going for so long. I don’t want to lose him now, not after all we’ve been through together. I feel him pull at my arm and not as gently this time, “Open your eyes.” He commands yet again.

And this time I do.

But I can’t see much because everything blurs as the tears begin to spill out uncontrollably. I reach up and rake my hand over my eyes frantically as I hear some people laugh in the background. This is so humiliating.

Brent’s eyes instantly soften when he sees my tears tracing my cheeks. He suddenly glances around and then back to me as if now only realizing his actions that he took in his moment of shamble.

“Gabba.” He whispers quietly as he places his hand against my cheek in sorrow and regret.

I slap his hand away, hurt, “Is this enough emotion for you yet?” I interrogate him as I force myself to stop crying.

His face falls at my words.

I don’t allow him chance to answer because I’m out of there like Usain Bolt.

By the time I’m out of the house and walking away, Brent’s caught up, begging me to stop so he could explain.

But what was there to explain? He’d made himself explicitly clear.

“Brent, just take me home.” I retort, “Please.” I beg, feeling consumed inside by sadness.

I know he’s apologetic, but he can’t say that he didn’t mean any of what he’d said.

Brent opens his mouth to debate, but seeing my expression, his mouth falls shut. He knows better than to push me now and so he complies, opening the passenger door to his car for me.

The drive is silent, so silent that it becomes deafening until my heartbeat is the only thing I can hear and it’s beating furiously.

But out of the blue, Brent slams on breaks in the middle of nowhere. He pulls over, “That’s it. I’m not doing this. Not with you. We should just talk this out like we always do when we fight. I can’t let you go home like this. I won’t be able to sleep.”

We never fought.

I don’t look his way, keeping my eyes focused on the window to try and block him out.

“Come on Gabba, please. Don’t be like this.”

I feel the resolve inside of me dying. I don’t have it in me anymore to keep fighting. I don’t have that kind of time, persistence or energy.

“Fine. Don’t say anything.” He replies, “Just listen then. It was never Stella. People made assumptions and I let them. I used Stella as a cover. It’s always been you Gabriela. I like you.” He says loudly and firmly as to make sure that I’m hearing him, his words important to the both of us.

My heart begins to race and I sense where this is going, my blood boiling, my veins thirsting for him to just say it. I’d always known, but I’d refused to see it or acknowledge it.

“I love you.” He finally comes out with it all. I freeze, my hands clenching in anxiety. My chest constricts and it almost feels as if I cannot breathe without it hurting. “Would you at least look at me?” It’s the most I can do in return. But I don’t. I’m too scared, too motionless to act in anyway. I’m still trying to gather my thoughts and process it all. It falls quiet again, our breathing the only thing to be heard. “Gabriela, please just say something.”

Again, I don’t.

It’s not because I’m shocked. Too be honest, I saw this coming sooner or later. I hadn’t expected it to be tonight. And it’s not because I don’t feel the same way. Brent has always been so sweet and compassionate with me. He’s always been here for me and he’s such a gentleman.

How could I not feel for him in some way?

The reason I stayed silent was because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to speak after hearing such a life changing confession. No doubt he just changed the basis of our relationship. It petrified me. I’m not the biggest fan of change. Even if it is good change.

“Tonight I was going to give this to you.” He whispers carefully before I feel his warm smooth hand reaching for mine. He unclasps my hand before putting a velvet box in my hand. I don’t look at it, still frozen. He closes my hand around it and pushes my hand back to my side. “I knew it was a long shot, but I took the risk because you’re worth the world and so much more. You may not accept it, but it’s yours. There isn’t anyone else for me. Keep it.”

His words and the box in my hand draw my curiosity as I finally summon the courage to move. I open up my closed hand and there I see it.

A purple velvet box.

An expensive one.

Pam padam! Pam padam! Pam padam!

My heart beats loudly to the rhythm and pace of my quick breathing as my chest tightens all the more, a knot beginning to form in my stomach, my throat closing up and my mouth suddenly feeling dry.

I don’t need to open it to know what’s inside.

I turn in my seat to face Brent with an awe stricken expression, wonder clouding my vision. What is it that this man sees in me? I’m nothing special. I’m not him.

“I want you to be all mine.” Brent tells me blatantly, his emerald eyes glowing and searching my face for any signs of rejection.

Again, my heart flutters as my eyes meet his enticing gaze.

‘Then take me,’ I think to myself.

And with that thought comes my greatest self discovery yet.

I want to be with Brent, forever.

I glance up at him, taking in his precious green eyes and the hopeful expression lit on his face, ready to give my final answer when I see a blinding light coming from Brent’s side at an alarming speed. I blink and squint a little to readjust my vision. Then like a bucket of ice cold water, it hits me. “Brent!” I scream in panic as I try to warn him.

But it’s too late.

An ear splitting sound is all I’m able to hear as a massive truck swerves right into Brent’s side.

He was wrong earlier, he would be able to sleep tonight.

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