“What time is lunch again?” She gets on her hands and knees, looking for her other shoe somewhere in the room.
“My grandmother said to be there at noon.” I button up my shirt, coming out of the closet and seeing her jean covered ass. “Fuck.” Her head turns my way.
“No. No sex. Found it.” She grabs the shoe sitting on the bed and slides it on. “We are on a break from sex.”
My eyebrows pinch together. “Who is? I didn’t agree to this break.” Her head leans back when I stop next to her for a kiss.
“I have to go home and change.” She pushes me away, getting up. “Let’s go.” She walks out of the room to the front door. We get to her house in seconds. Jumping out of the car, she dashes into the house, and I follow her in just as the laughing starts.
“I’m surprised she can walk.” Crystal laughs as she stands by the sink in a flowered long-sleeved sundress. “Morning, Romeo.” I shake my head, going to fridge and grabbing a water bottle.
“So did you score?” Crystal folds her lips together, looking down the hall to Hailey’s bedroom. “If you hurt her, I will fuck you up,” she whispers, coming closer to me. “I’m a nurse, so I not only know exactly where to stab you so you bleed out fast, but also where it would hurt the most.” I don’t say anything because she continues, “That fucktard is lucky he died because if he was alive”—she shakes her head—“he would wish he was dead.”
“I’m not going to hurt her,” I tell her.
“I know you’re not because you love her.” She tells me, and I stand there, my mouth suddenly dry, my neck starting to burn. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell her.” She turns to walk away from me. “I’m leaving,” she yells. “See you there.” The door slams behind her, leaving me looking around.
I love her. I do, completely and utterly love her. I don’t know when it happened—fuck that, I know exactly when it happened. When I saw her sitting on the cold beach watching the water, day in and day out. I would take walks, see her, and turn around, then I would spot her sitting and watch her. Watching the same water she watched. Seeing the waves crash into shore, I would gaze ahead at the water, but my mind watched her. I let go of my hatred. I let go of my anger, and I let my guard down.
The night I sat with her, I let go of Julia, and I let go of the future I thought we would have. I let go of the promises I made her … I let go of that part of me. Except with Hailey, that part turned over twice, and it made me see that sometimes no matter how you plan things, how you map it out, life has twists and turns. Sometimes what you think you want isn’t what you deserve.
I deserve a woman who will love me and only me. I deserve a woman who wants a life with me, who craves a life with me. Who will put me before her. That is what I deserve. I deserve that perfect love story.
“Ready.” I hear Hailey’s voice as she walks into the room from her bedroom. Her flowered skirt flows around her legs; her short sleeved white silk shirt tucked in. She is wearing another pair of high heels, but my eyes go to her face.
Her hair pinned back at the side; her eyes shine. There is no sadness there, no emptiness like before. Gone is that girl who first sat on the beach watching the water with all the questions and no answers, and in its place is a woman who is so breathtakingly beautiful my heart skips a beat when she walks into the room. A woman who got her heart ripped out yet is still standing here.
“What’s the matter?” she asks me, coming closer to me, her hands going to my waist. “You okay?”
I push her hair from her shoulder to the back, so I can kiss her neck. “I’m fine,” I say, and it’s not a lie. “I used to watch you.”
Her eyes look at me confused. “When you would sit outside, at night, during the day. I used to walk down the beach, see you, and stop.” My thumb rubs her pink cheek. “I used to sit and watch the water with you, watch you as you worked through your storm inside.”
“I,” she says softly, my finger stopping her from talking.
“The first time I saw you, I thought you were so beautiful. But you looked broken; your eyes looked dim, the light gone.”
I can’t go on without kissing her, so I lean in and kiss her lightly. Her lip gloss stays on my lips. “But each time you left that beach, you got more beautiful, which, to be honest, I didn’t think could happen.”