He kicked the rock in front of him and did his best to keep the threatening tears safely behind his eyes. Despite walking alone, one never knew who could turn the corner and use his treacherous tears against him later. Link pulled out his phone and reread the worst text message he had ever received:
Hi Link. This is going to be a bad message. I’m dumping your ass, so sorry, I guess. I’m in love with someone else. He’s been so much better for me. I guess I should have told you sooner…. I’m leaving all your shit on the porch tonight if you want to come get any of it.
The tears were putting up a stronger fight as he shoved the phone back into his pocket and kept walking along. He turned left on Sycamore Street and felt his heart leap into his chest. More than anything he hoped she wouldn’t be home or at least whoever her new love was wouldn’t be with her. He started instinctively lightening his steps and taking shallow breaths.
As he approached her house he saw a box on the front porch and swallowed hard. A familiar knot in his stomach started climbing up into his throat as he walked up the steps to the front door. He grabbed the box but before he could duck and run the door opened.
“Hey, you must be Link. I’m Adam.” Link looked up to see a tall, blond guy he recognized from physics.
“Oh you must be the douche she cheated on me with. Well, good luck with that,” Link answered, nodding inside where he imagined Katie was. Adam scoffed a little before slamming the door shut.
Really? Link thought to himself. The nerve of that Adam guy introducing himself like he didn’t just ruin Link’s life was appalling and it opened the door for anger to take over sadness. He stomped his way back onto the main road and reached into his pocket for his phone.
As he opened it to dial the familiar number, Katie’s awful text message was still staring him in the face. He deleted it, along with her number before dialing.
“Hey Link, what’s up, man? What are you doing tonight?”
“Hey so I’m sure you’ll be happy to know Katie broke up with me,” Link started to say.
“Hey, man I’m sorry to hear that. But I’m glad you are finally free of that stuck up bitch! Hey, you wanna meet at Mel’s and hit on that waitress?”
“Yeah, I do. I’m going to drop my shit off at my house and I’ll meet you there in like an hour, yeah?”
John agreed before Link hung up the phone and walked with more of an aggressive pace. He let himself feel all the anger that he had been holding back up until that point.
* * *
Link hesitantly opened the door but felt a bit more relaxed when he saw John already at the booth with two milkshakes. Link shuffled over to the booth and took a seat.
“So what happened?” John asked, taking a larger than necessary sip of his strawberry milkshake. With a heavy sigh Link settled in to explain how distant Katie had been acting, and how he was worried about them together. He explained how Katie started canceling and getting too busy for their relationship and then finally the text message she sent and Link’s encounter with Adam.
“Adam that swimmer douche from physics?” John questioned. Link nodded with an eye roll. “Wow, and he had the nerve to introduce himself like he wasn’t a fucking tool sleeping with your girlfriend.”
“Yeah, exactly!” Link slammed his hand on the table with intensity, feeling a little better to have some validity from John. “I mean, we are in college, who breaks up with someone like that?”
“Dumb popular bitches who never matured after 16. The kind of girls who think they can live forever off of their ‘glory days’ from high school.”
Link turned around to see who had spoken and saw only the back of a girl’s head. Her raven, curled hair fighting against the tightly wound hairband. She turned around and stared hard into Link’s eyes. The green flecks in her brown eyes seemed to be sparkling with the catching light.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to eavesdrop but you’re not exactly being quiet and I’m sitting alone. My answer is still true though,” she explained never taking her eyes off of Link. She pulled the milkshake in her hand up to her mouth and sipped intensely. Link turned to John for some sort of cue or idea how to respond but John just smiled and nodded as if to occur with this mysterious girl.
“Who are you?” The dumbfounded look Link had been carrying since she spoke remained on his face. She chuckled a little before placing her milkshake back down on the table and extending a hand out to Link.
“I’m Lily.” Hesitantly, Link reached his hand out and shook hers.
“Hey, Lily, I’m John, this speechless weirdo is Link. Why don’t you come sit with us since you’re sitting alone?” A wide smile spread across Lily’s face as she grabbed her shake and moved over to sit with the boys. Link turned around just in time to see Lily scooting in next to him. She looked at him with a fierce stare.
“Do you go to the University, too, Lily?” John asked, breaking the potent eye contact between her and Link.
“Yeah, I do. I’m majoring in criminal psychology. I’ve actually seen you both around campus a bit. Of course, you were always with that girl, um Katie, was it?” She asked turning her focus back to Link who sat in the booth unsure how to communicate thoughts into words any longer.
“Um, yeah, yeah it was Katie,” he finally muttered out.
“Well, her loss,” Lily muttered under her breath.
The three of them talked through burgers, fries and another round of milkshakes before Lily decided to call it a night. She took the back of the customer copy receipt and wrote down her number before handing it to Link with a wink.
* * *
“Well that was fucking awesome dude! You finally got rid of Katie and met a totally hot chick in the same night!” John declared as they walked the half mile back to their neighborhood. Link rolled his eyes.
“I didn’t exactly ‘get rid of Katie’, she dumped me for another dude…” Link muttered under his breath.
“Whatever, man, she was trash and always treated you like trash,” John said nudging Link in solidarity. “So when are you going to call Lily for a date?”
Link turned to look at John as John winked.
“You think I should? I mean Katie and I just broke up. Shouldn’t I take, I don’t know, man, time?”
“What nah, bro! She’s clearly moved on! You should too!”
With that they boys turned onto their street and up to their neighboring houses. John and Link said goodnight with a fist bump and both wandered into their perspective houses.
Once upstairs and in his room, Link threw himself down on the bed and pulled out his phone. He started to search Lily on her social media accounts, and tried to convince himself he should wait to text Lily until the morning instead of texting her immediately.
Within a couple hours Link turned off his light and closed his eyes completely unaware of the eyes staring at him through his open window. Those brown eyes with green flakes.
“I love you, Link Carpenter. I’m the only girl for you, you’ll see,” Lily whispered in the dark as she watched him sleep.
About the Creator
Hello. Welcome to my page. I have been writing for over ten years & have been published in several different formats including magazine articles, poems & full length novels. I have a BA in English Literature & a Masters in Psychology.