From texts to Texas

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2 - The Messages

It turns out Liam Rosco also lived in a nearby town and moved to Wilmington as he started high school, the dates don’t match up and I’m not convinced he’s my guy, that would just be too easy but he is cute and there’s something about him that I like.

“You messaging that cowboy again?” Mum asks as she enters the kitchen.

“Give me a break mum, I’m trying to make food.”

She leans over my shoulder to try and sneak a peek. “Come on it’s been weeks, what can you possibly have to talk about?”

I look up from my phone – I hadn’t realised how long we had been messaging, mum was right we shouldn’t have anything to talk about. I go to work and come home but, he has this whole exciting life in Texas. He sends me pictures of the rodeo, we talk about his excruciating training regime and my nightly selfies off him are what is getting me through each day of my dull life. All my thoughts are consumed by him. I wake up and look for a message from him, before I go to sleep we say goodnight and I fall asleep fantasising about one day meeting him.

“I don’t actually know,” I finally reply to my mother who is looking at me with her usual impatient eyes – the eyes she gives when she’s not happy.

“Well, it’s not natural. You need to meet a boy around here, one you can touch and have dates with.”

I shake my head. “Since when have I done dates mum?”

“See, I never got that, you’re so pretty. It must be the vibe you give off or your stinking attitude.”

I shake my head, I don’t know why it surprises me when she’s so negative towards me. “I don’t have a stinking attitude,” I reply, narrowing my eyes and replicating her prolonged gaze.

“Come on Sophie, you’ve never had a boyfriend, you don’t even have any friends. It’s got to be you,” she spouts as she turns to pour herself a coffee. “Can’t always blame everyone else around you.”

I breathe in heavily and grit my teeth. She knows how much I struggle around people and I blame her for that. We moved around so much when I was a kid, from Texas to the UK for her husband, from the South of England to the North, from the decent part of the North to the Getto, from there to Wales. How did she ever give me a chance to meet people, to trust and build longstanding and secure relationships? The only constant in my life was her and she wasn’t the greatest role model to have.

“And I have had a boyfriend,” I correct. “He was James Winner and we went out for about five months but you never met him and I never even told you about him.”

“And why would you never tell me about such a thing?”

“Because it wasn’t your business.”

“See Sophie, why can’t I just have a normal daughter,” she shrugs and leaves the kitchen as she continues to mutter something under her breath.

I had been with James for a couple of weeks so months was a slight exaggeration, but he was a great guy, we just drifted when he went off to university and I stayed here in my miserable existence. I slip off into my bedroom as I have done every night since meeting Liam and excitedly get my phone out to continue our conversation about his latest rodeo.

Seven more weeks pass and I’m as keen to get messages from Liam as ever, I start to allow my thoughts to drift to a future with this guy, could this be something we could make work? He has suggested I go over this summer when he will be in the big rodeo show, hell I have a US passport to stay in Texas so I could stay as long as I wanted. Even grabbing a summer job while over there to keep me going.

We quickly move to video chats and before I know it we are speaking daily. I love watching him talk, listening to his accent, the way his jaw moves so masculine as he speaks, and watching his solid rugged hands rub over his sun-kissed face when he is tired after a long day in the sun. I soak up everything about him on those calls and I surprise myself with how much I am starting to like him, maybe even love him.

I have always held back from people, guys in particular. I always feel there’s a hidden agenda, I guess for the guys my mum goes for there is. They always turn toxic pretty quick, that’s the only relationship I have known and the only thing I learnt from them was that you are better off alone. That ‘you’ are the only one you can ever really rely on. But since meeting Liam something has shifted, I’ve started to let my guard down, I even caught myself telling him about issues I have around not having a dad in my life. Something I have never uttered to another human in all my life.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognise that I’m alone a lot. I’m a loner. I have zero friends and one deranged temptress for a mother. I have had one very short-term relationship that barely got passed kissing and yes, I am miserable. I don’t like people, but I guess we all need them in our lives, there must be some out there worth investing in. I smile as I see my phone light up with a call from Liam and my thoughts go back to him.

“Hey there,” I say as I see his smiling face appear on my screen.

“Hey there you,” he replies. “What’s been happening?”

“Nothing as per, tell me about your day. How did it go at the family thing?”

He grunts. “Ah, it sucked but it’s over with now, all I was thinking about was getting back here to talk to you.”

I bite my bottom lip as I listen to his sweet nothings. What’s happening to me? Who even am I?

“Ah, stop. You’re making me blush.”

“Well darling, making the ladies blush is my speciality.”

“I can believe that,” I giggle.

“So Sophie, tell me. When are you getting your cute little butt over here?”

I sigh loudly, he has asked about me visiting in the past and it is something I would love to do – Live for the moment for once and just take the leap. Then I remember how anxious I get and I worry I won't be able to get there alone. It’s a long arse flight and there may be stops along the way. I have never been out of the UK since my arrival here so I don’t even know what to do at an airport.

“Well,” I mumble. “I have been thinking about it, I mean I have some money saved from my job.”

“Then we gotta make it happen darlin’,” he booms as he nods his head in rhythm with his words.

“Well, I don’t know. I wouldn’t even know where to start.”

“Start by looking at flights and we can go from there.”

I hear my mum bellowing from downstairs about some shoes I have left in the hallway. “I better go, my mum is going sick. Can we talk more later?”

“Sure,” he smiles. “Just look at them flights already.”

I smile as I close the call off. I would love to visit him in Texas. But the big burning question remains - Can I really trust this guy?

“Sophie, I am so fed up with your shit.” Mum bellows as she throws my converse at my bedroom door.

I stand from the bed I am lounging on and open my door. "Mum can you just give me a fucking break?”

“SOPHIE,” she shouts as she heads towards my room, her voice going up a thousand decibels.

“Mum stop screeching at me, it’s shoes.”

“You’re a grown arse woman and you leave your shoes for me to pick up constantly.”

I shut my door on her as she attempts to enter. “You’re a grown arse woman and I have been picking your shit up for over twenty years.”

I hear her throw something else at my door as she screeches again. “Sophie Moores, I want you out of this house, out of this house for good.”

I march to my bedroom door and yank it open again. “Yeah, you know what mum, I will gladly leave.”

She huffs loudly from the bathroom next door. “Oh yeah, like you have anywhere to go, the only one person you talk to is online.”

“Ok, we will see about that,” I shout back.

And that’s when I make my mind up to take a leap of faith, throw caution to the wind. Step out of my comfort zone and overcome all my fears of going to new places, meeting new people and taking a chance on love.

I am going to fucking Texas!

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