Frayed Page 65

’’It wouldn\ have changed anything.’’

I stare at her with coldness in my eyes. ’’F*k, is that another one of your half-truths?’’

’’No guy wants to hear he got a girl pregnant,’’ she says, her voice raspy.

’’How would you know what I wanted to hear when you never gave me the chance?’’

’’What would have been the point?’’

’’The point in telling me we conceived a child? The point in telling me there\s a part of me out there in the world? I don\ know, maybe that I deserved to know.’’

’’I\m sorry,’’ she cries, and closes her eyes.

I stare at her, my heart feeling pulled in so many directions I don\ know what to do. Then without another word I turn and walk away.

CHAPTER 20

Little White Lies

Bell

The dogwood trees blow in the wind and their white blossoms whirl in the air. One sticks to my arm, but I swat it off. I don\ want to make a wish on it today. I watch him, following his back as he walks away from me until I can\ see him anymore. I bolt down the street as fast as I can, running nowhere. When another blossom blows in my path, I pause for a brief moment and decide to make a wish after all. I wish for him to understand even when I know that\s impossible. Still, I\m not sorry I told him. I know I had to. I am, however, sorry I didn\ do things differently from the start. I\m sorry about how I messed my own life up again. I\m sorry I can\ go back in time and change everything.

Feeling defeated, lost, and disheartened, I turn around and go back to the restaurant to get my things. It\s quiet inside and thank God Rocko is nowhere to be seen. Pebbles has always been a place of comfort for me. That\s why I flock here whenever I\m nervous. It\s kind of like a home away from home. When I was little, my dad would bring me here after school sometimes, just him and me. We\d sit and talk about my day, about music, and about my brothers. Rocko would join us sometimes and they\d talk about when they were younger. They were good friends, attended high school together and Rocko even played the drums for my dad when he was on the road. So after my dad died I came here a lot. I\d take a bus after school to just sit and talk to Rocko. He\s told me so many stories about my dad, good ones, happy ones it was the way I wanted to remember him.

A brief bittersweet smile passes across my lips as I walk by the bar and look at the picture on the wall of Rocko and my dad among all the other celebrity photos. My dad was famous even if he never thought so. More tears fill my eyes and I don\ even know who they\ e for anymore my dad or Ben. I grab the package of books off the table and fumble for keys in my purse. When I go back outside I hand my keys off to the valet and wait while he quickly pulls my car up. He opens my door and I seek refuge inside. The sound of the car engine helps to muffle my loud cries.

You knew better, I cry to myself. You did. I slam the steering wheel. I thought he\d be mad, but I didn\ expect disdain from him or his disgust. The flame of attraction that burned in his deep blue eyes whenever he looked at me was extinguished the minute my words registered.

The drive home feels too short and the walk up the stairs even shorter. The longest part of the day is yet to come the night I was supposed to spend with him. I throw myself on the couch and lie here for the longest time. My phone rings and I glance at it, knowing it won\ be him. It\s not. It\s Tate. Why won\ he leave me alone? I ignore it and resume my blank stare, not wanting my numbness to vanish because the pain will be too much to bear.

I must have fallen asleep, because the sound of my phone ringing again wakes me up. I sit up and look around before reaching for it. Romeo Fairchild flashes across the screen.

’’Hello,’’ I answer.

’’Bell, it\s Romeo. Sorry to bother you at home but that band you recommended is playing tonight at a bar not too far from the showroom and since you told me you lived close by I was wondering if you would come over and tell me what you think.’’

I contemplate the idea. Maybe some distraction is just what I need. Maybe a drink wouldn\ be so bad either. I need to get Ben out of my system. To not let this bring me down. I knew better than to go down this road with him. I knew there was nowhere else for it to end up. Ben just isn\ the kind of guy to open his arms and say I forgive you, it\s okay. Somehow I hoped it would be different, yet in my heart I always knew things would end up like this.

’’What do you think, Bell? Tate said he\d try to make it too.’’

His voice over the line jolts me from my thoughts. Something doesn\ feel right with this invite. I remember when I was leaving last night in a rush to see Ben that I saw Tate and Romeo and that girl I feel I\ve seen somewhere before standing together, the three of them at the makeshift bar.

’’I\m sorry, I can\ tonight, but I\m sure you and Tate will find your own kind of fun.’’

His laugh is a rumble. ’’Guess you\ e not interested in our kind of fun. Sorry to hear that. But if you change your mind we\ll be at a place called Beck\s. It\ll be fun, I promise.’’

’’I have to go.’’

’’Yeah, no worries,’’ he says, and hangs up.

I stand up and pace the room. The brown package is on the couch where I threw it. I open it up and place both books on the coffee table, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn on top.

I decide to call my mother. I can talk to her about this.

’’Everything okay?’’ she answers.


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