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Out of the Woods

by Meredith Connell 5 years ago in love / breakups
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A Story of Love and Self-Discovery

I pulled the covers over my bare shoulders and pulled a pillow to my naked breasts. I glanced over at the clock. It read 5:55. "He should be back soon," I thought. We lived on a farm somewhere in the middle of Texas. He was always getting up early to feed the cows and do some other farm chores. I rolled over and laid on my back as I started to think. "I hate it here," I would say to myself. But he loves it and I can’t take that away from him. I slowly sat up in bed as soon as he walked back into the room.

“Good morning, beautiful.” He jumped over the bed and kissed me on the cheek.

“Morning,” I said sleepily. “Did you sleep well?” I asked, putting on a fake smile.

“Eh, not really, but I never do.” He kicked off his boots and flopped down on the bed next to me. I laid back down and moved over to be in his arms. I breathed deep, smelling the farm on him. I had to admit I hated the farm life but a nice clean farm smelled amazing. “What about you?” He kissed the top of my head. I shrugged.

“Could always use more.” I closed my eyes and focused on his breathing.

“I’ll make breakfast.” He jumped out of bed, leaving me lying on the cold mattress. Soon after he was up, I followed him into the kitchen. He knew how much I loved to cook but he still insisted on doing all of the cooking. He claimed it was his kitchen so he could do whatever he wanted. I sat down at the kitchen counter as he put a plate of scrambled eggs. He was a good cook so I couldn’t complain about the quality of food.

“What are your plans for the day?” I asked, as he sat down across from me shoving forkfuls of eggs in his mouth.

“I have some work down at the shop I need to take care of.” He was a car mechanic along with everything else.

“Okay.” I half-smiled.

“Do you have classes today?” I was a part-time student at the local community college, trying to get my nursing degree so I could get the hell out of here when I wanted to get my Midwifery Masters.

“Yeah, just some in the morning, though I should be home around one.” I stood up and brought my plate over to the sink. “I should go get ready.” I walked back through the ranch-style house back to the bedroom.

“I wish you could stay here.” He came up behind me and wrapped his arms around my torso. I leaned my weight back into him as he started to kiss my neck.

“I can’t do this.” I stepped away from him.

“Why not?”

I could feel the tears starting to well up in my eyes. I swallowed the lump in my throat.

“Because I’m already late for class.” I got dressed quickly and dashed out of the house. I got in my car and instantly broke down. I pulled up my sleeve and rubbed my wrist hard. I looked at my thumb and saw how much makeup came off. I lifted the rest of my hand and grazed it across my scarred wrist, each line resembling something I couldn’t wait to escape. I reached into the glove compartment and pulled out a small razor blade and added one more. A single tear fell from my eyes and landed on my new wound. It stung a little but not enough to make me flinch.

After I let the cut bleed for a few minutes I dabbed the cut with a tissue. Once it stopped bleeding I started the car. Quickly, I put the car in drive and sped out of the driveway. I wiped the tears away from my eyes as I drove to the university.

I listened for about an hour to the lecture we were given. The professor was rambling on about limits and how and why they exist. Math was never my strong suit and frankly, I couldn’t give less of a fuck. All I could think about was not wanting to go home, which wouldn't have been happening if I was really in love. Maybe I wasn’t. Maybe love dies along with everything else. It’s not a miracle that can do and save all. Maybe love will be the cause of our destruction.

Before Brice

I knew I had to go home. Brice would be waiting for me probably with dinner on the table, eager to question me about my day. I would say in a joking tone that I had to pee, and sometimes I did but I would mainly go into the bathroom to put makeup on the wounds that needed to be covered up. What was different about today? I pulled into my driveway and took a deep breath.

“Let’s go to Hell,” I said to myself out loud. I walked into the house. “Brice, I’m home,” I called out. There was no answer. “Hello?” I tried again, still no answer.

I started to peek my head in every room. He was nowhere to be found. I pulled my cellphone out of my pocket and dialed his number, which went straight to voicemail. This was getting weird. I checked the date to see if today was anything special that I might have forgotten and it was not. I was starting to get scared with this whole situation.

I heard someone start to play with the door. I turned around and Brice walked through the door. I jumped. “Jesus, you scared me.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, my love.” He came up and kissed me, and hugged me from behind. “Did you have a good day?”

“Yeah,” I lied. “What’s for dinner?" I quickly changed the subject.

“I thought we would go out.” He smiled “Someplace fancy. Oh, and I have something for you.” He ran into our bedroom and handed me a large box. “Open it.” He said excitedly. It was actually really cute how excited he was.

“Okay.” I smiled sincerely for the first time in years. I opened the box and took out of most gorgeous dress I had ever seen. It was royal purple, cocktail length, with a ruffled V-neckline. I held it up to the front of me to show Brice what it would look like. He was smiling like a little kid on Christmas.

“Go put it on, and you should wear it to dinner. And I got a new suit.” I looked at him, confused. “You’ll see.” He grabbed my hand and brought me into the bedroom.

________________________________________

We both got dressed. Brice took me to a fancy, but small, Chinese restaurant, called Zen. We were the only ones in the restaurant. It was very quiet. I ordered Orange Chicken, and he ordered Lo Mein. It was a nice dinner, we laughed and talked, and I felt like I belonged here for the first time since we had moved to this God-awful place.

Suddenly, Brice got very serious in the middle of us, laughing. “Everything okay?” I asked, reaching out to touch his hand.

“Yeah, I’m just getting up the courage to ask you to be my wife.”

I looked at him, paralyzed. He saw my shock and pulled a small box out of his pocket. He got down on one knee and looked me in the eyes. His blue eyes were so sincere as he whispered, “Will you marry me?”

“Yes!” I smiled from ear to ear. He grabbed me and pulled me into a hug. He took the ring out of the box and slipped it onto my finger. I leaned on his shoulder and he buried his face in mine. I could feel his tears fall on my shoulder.

We stood up from the floor and he swept me up in his arms and carried me out of the restaurant. He set me down before we got to the car, and he opened the door for me. On the way home, I was thinking about the rest of my life. I didn’t want to stay here forever but God, did I love Brice. I loved him, but I resented him. I hated myself for letting him bring me here. Hopefully, I could get him to follow me somewhere someday.

We got home and he carried me into the house. When he set me down, I sat down on the couch, carefully folding my dress under my legs. He disappeared into the bedroom. I looked curiously at the door until he walked out in his underwear and a open button down shirt.

“What are you doing?” I giggled.

“I’m giving you a show.” He shook his butt a little and then jumped onto the couch next to me. He leaned in and kissed me gently. “You’re the love of my life,” he whispered in my ear.

“And you’re mine.” I kissed him back. He picked me up and I wrapped my legs around his as he carried me to the bedroom, closing the door behind him.

________________________________________

The next morning came too fast. Sleeping next to him was the best feeling I could ever feel. It was a way to escape this place but still be with Brice. I rolled over in my sleep and the morning light came through the curtains to my eyes. I could feel Brice’s arms around me.

“Did you sleep well?” He kissed my neck gingerly.

“Yeah.” I said sincerely. He ran his hands down my arms and held my hands. I held my breath as he got close to scars. If he found them, it would be over. He breezed right over them and I relaxed.

“Did I tell you today that I love you?”

“I think you just did.” I rolled over towards him. “I love you, too.” Those words felt so good to say, and actually mean it. But then reality hit.

“I need to get up and do some chores around the farm, and you need to get to class. You’re going to be late.” He kissed my cheek and rolled out of bed. I flopped over onto my back, and let out a deep sigh. “I’m sorry baby, but this is the real world. You’re not six anymore, though I know you wish you were.” He threw on his pants and left the room.

“I’ll get breakfast on the way to the uni.” I yelled.

“Okay, I’ll see you later.”

I heard the door close behind him. I got dressed, and made my way to the car. As I sat down, I pulled out the razor from the glove compartment. I placed it in the palm of my hand. Ever since Brice and I had gotten engaged, something had been different. I was falling for him again, but that didn’t change the resentment.

I looked out of my windshield, and stared out at the vast farm, everything plain and a single color. I took the razor and made a small mark on my wrist, nothing that could hurt too much, but a mark reminding me I was falling in love with resentment.

I actually paid attention to the lecture today in psychology today. The professor was talking about long distance relationships and the impact on each partner. As he was talking, I remembered when Brice and I used to live an hour and a half away from each other. During high school, he would drive that hour and a half to see me every Saturday. No matter how busy he was, he would always make time for me.

I remembered how he would bring me everywhere with him when he was able to drive me around in his late-90s, blue, Chevy pickup, with a mattress in the back with nothing but a field and a summer night full of stars. I can still remember all the love we made in the bed of that truck over the years. When he told me he bought land in Texas, I knew I had to go. This was his dream, and I threw away my acceptance letter to Emory University to follow him, because I know I had the good memories for long distance relationships but there was so much bad, and that was only a few towns. Atlanta to Texas is states away.

To this day, Brice doesn’t know I got that acceptance letter. I never told him because I saw the look in his eyes when he signed the bill of sale or whatever, and at the time I was pregnant. He didn’t know about that, either. I had a miscarriage a few weeks in. I went to the doctor and they said I would never be able to have children. Brice doesn’t know that either. I guess I’m just full of secrets.

________________________________________

Right as I drifted out of my thoughts, the class bell rang. I quickly packed up all my books and ducked out of class. As I walked to my next class, I decided to go sit in the courtyard for while. I went to sit by the small fountain. I put my face in my hands, and cried. All the memories were coming back, all the fake smiles, and Brice’s promises to have a family with me someday. That was something I knew I wouldn’t be able to give him.

After sitting by the fountain, and going to my other classes, I made the long drive home. When I got home everything was normal, Brice was making dinner as I stepped into the kitchen. Brice was standing over the stove cooking mac and cheese which he did every weekend.

“Hey, baby,” he said as I came up behind him and touched his shoulder.

“Hey, how was your day?”

He smiled and kissed me. “Much better now that you’re here.”

I pushed him playfully. “Stop being so cheesy,” I joked, pointing to the mac and cheese. He laughed and then took the pot off the stove.

“So,” he started, as he portioned out the food. “I got an interesting phone call.” He set my bowl down in front of me.

“Yeah? From who?” I asked, taking a bite.

“Emory University,” he said sternly. I dropped my spoon. “They wanted to know if you were going to register for the second term, because apparently you never got back to them for early acceptance.” I looked down at my lap, completely silent. “When were you going to tell me about this?” He raised his voice “Amelia!” I could feel the tears starting to form in my eyes. I tried to hold them in, but they were starting to burn. I blinked hard and I watched a single tear fall from my eye to my lap.

“I wanted to go with you.” I whispered. “And you were so excited about getting this farm.”

He pushed his chair back angrily and stomped into our room slamming the door behind him. I pushed the half-eaten bowl of food away from me and laid my head down on the table and sobbed.

________________________________________

I don’t know how long I cried into the table, but I was sure that I had ruined the wood with my tears. As I cried, I played with the ring on my finger. I slowly heard the bedroom door creak open. I laid completely still as I heard his footsteps come towards me. “Amelia.” Brice came up to me and placed his hand on my shoulder. I buried my face into the crook of my arm even deeper. “Amelia, I want to talk about this.” He sat down next to me.

“There’s nothing to talk about.” I said quietly, just lifting my head far enough for him to hear me.

“You denied early acceptance to your dream school. That is definitely something to talk about.” He placed his hand on top of mine.

“I was in love with you, and I wanted to follow you.” My voice drifted.

“And?” He leaned in on his chair.

“I thought I was pregnant.” I cried harder than I ever had before. I could feel Brice lean back in his seat. I could hear him sigh. “But I wasn’t. I got my period two weeks after we moved in. I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you.” My sobs were so heavy I couldn’t speak.

“Is there anything else I should know.” His voice cracked. “Have you been lying to me about everything?” he yelled, standing up again. I was expecting him to run into the bedroom again. I looked up when I didn’t hear the door slam. Brice had grabbed his keys and was halfway out the door.

“Please, don’t go. Brice, I love you,” I screamed through my tears.

“I’m gone.”

Two very simple words that can mean so many things. There are so many different kinds of gone. There’s the go for a drive and cool off kind of gone. There’s the gone to the bar and will be home passed out on the couch when I get up the next morning. And then there’s abandonment. The one “gone” I feared the most, but the one that was most likely in this situation.

________________________________________

When I woke up the next morning, Brice hadn’t come home yet. I would have cried but I had no more tears left. I just sat on the couch for hours, staring at the black TV screen like it was hypnotic. I was thinking back to high school — how we didn’t go to the same school but somehow that was okay. We made it work. Brice and I really were a miracle couple.

I laid in bed, watching the clock change minute by minute. Where was he? I really messed up this time. But the day had to go on. As usual, I got up and went to school. The day passed by as slow as an eternity. When I got home that night, I expected to see Brice in the kitchen, but he wasn’t there. It had been almost 24 hours and he wasn’t home. At this point I was giving up hope he was ever coming home.

I wasn’t very hungry, so I just had a bowl of cereal for dinner. It was so quiet in the house without Brice, the only sound to be heard was the sound of my chewing and the clink on the spoon on the ceramic bowl. The rest of the night was quite quiet was well. I got my homework done from the day and ended up in bed with a book for the rest of the night.

I tried to sleep but it was hopeless. I kept thinking about what was going to come next. If Brice didn’t come home, would I stay here? Who would take care of the farm? Would I have to hire someone? All reasonable questions, but the first one was the one that stood out the most: Would Brice ever come back?

________________________________________

A week went by. Brice still hadn’t come home. I decided to sell the farm. I sold it to a man who just moved in next door, and was coincidentally looking for farm land. I knew Brice would be furious if he came home, but I didn’t know the first thing about running a farm, and I was low on money.

The decision was made that I would go to Emory in the Fall. I made the decision solely on self-hate and pity. I knew that what I did to Brice was wrong, but who was he to run out on me for one secret, leaving me with nothing? Most of my nights began and ended with me crying myself to sleep. I was sad about leaving the house, but I wanted to.

________________________________________

June came and it was time for me to move to Atlanta and into my new apartment just off campus. I stood outside the house ,watching the one tree in the front yard blow in the slight wind. I glanced over at my run down car. I slowly walked up to it. This car was my escape. And I was ready to take it. I threw my bags in the back seat, then moved to the front. I sat there for a moment, looking down. Taking a deep breath, I started the car and slowly started to back out of the driveway.

As soon as I was on the highway, I felt more confident about my decision to leave hell behind, and maybe find a heaven. The hours seemed short. I sang to the radio, mostly tragic love songs, but for some reason it made me feel better then I had in a long time. The tragedy of someone else’s downfall made me feel better about my own decision to leave. No point living in the past.

I looked to the future as I drove. Soon, I passed the Welcome to Georgia sign, and then the Welcome to Atlanta sign. It took 14 hours but my past was finally behind me and I could start anew. I pulled into the parking lot of a small apartment building. I parked next to the front entrance. I took a breath before I got out of the car. I walked in to see a young man sitting at the front desk.

“Hi, I have an apartment reserved,” I said confidently.

“Yes, are you Amelia?” he asked, reaching into his desk. He had dirty blond hair, medium length — just long enough to brush his shoulders. He was wearing a navy blue sweatshirt and black jeans.

“Yeah.” He half-smiled at me and handed me a pen to sign some papers he pushed towards me. I politely smiled back, and handed the papers back to him.

“Thanks. Well, I think you’re all set here. Your apartment number is 42B.” He handed me a key. “Oh, and here's the appartment handbook.”

“Cool, thanks.” I took the packet, and walked back out to my car to get my bags.

“Do you want my help carrying anything?” He walked out from behind the desk.

“Sure, if you don’t mind.”

He shook his head and followed me out to my car. I handed him one big suitcase from the back while I grabbed the other two small ones.

“This is it?” he asked, shocked.

“Yeah, I don’t come with much.” I shut the door behind me, and followed him inside. He led me down a small hallway, all the way to the end, and down a flight of stairs to the back left corner of the basement.

“Here ya’ go.” I shuffled in front of him to unlock the door. The apartment smelled clean, as we entered. He set my bag down next to the entrance. “Well, welcome home,” he joked.

“Thank you, I didn’t seem to catch your name.” I said, setting my bags down next to the large one.

“I’m Jon.” He held his hand out for my to shake.

“Nice to meet you.” I shook his hand. Our eyes locked for just a moment as our skin touched. I coughed to break the trance.

“Well, um.” He turned quickly to the side, “If you need anything at all I’m upstairs.” He started to leave.

“Wait. I’m afraid I don’t know the area very well.” He turned around.

“Well then, that’s an easy one. I’ll show you around. Be ready by six, and we can go exploring and have supper.” I nodded and he winked at me as he left.

When the door closed behind me, I let out a big sigh. I looked around the apartment. It was small but it was nice. It had a full-size kitchen leading into a small living room with a couch and TV. The living room led off to the master bedroom with another TV and a full-size bed. The bedroom led to a full bathroom, with a bathtub-shower, all white. The bedroom came with a small door next to the window, that lead to a small porch and yard, all fenced in. It was cute, and I really liked it.

After exploring the apartment, I looked at the clock. It read 4:30. I grabbed my largest suitcase and threw it down on the bed. I started unpacking all my clothes and trying to decide what to wear on my tour. After 20 minutes of debating, I decided to go with tight jeans, to show off my ass, and a nice shirt, that made my boobs just slightly more pronounced, and lacy sneakers for a cute comfort. After I dressed, I unpacked the rest of my clothing and folded it neatly in the dresser. I did some light makeup and pinned my hair up in a comfortable bun. As soon as I finished, there was a knock on my door.

“Hey, you ready?” he asked, when I answered the door. Jon was leaning against the door frame.

“Yeah. Let’s go see the city.” I said, excited. I grabbed my jacket by the door and left with him.

“Do you wanna take my car or yours?” he asked, as we walked to the parking lot.

“Mine. I don’t mind the waste of gas. Plus, it has good miles per gallon.” I knew nothing about cars, but I tried. Jon just laughed at me and went with it. As we drove Jon started talking about the food around.

“There’s this little thai place down on the corner we can eat at.”

I agreed, and he had me pull down a little street to park. As soon as we parked, he got out and ran around to my door, so he could open the door for me. I blushed and took his hand to get out of the car.

“Thank you.”

“No problem. Did I tell you, you look very nice?”

“You just did.” I flirted. I could tell this was turning into more of a date than a professional thing. Then again, it was never established it was going to be a professional thing.

________________________________________

We ate at the restaurant. The food was good. We both had pasta dishes. The portions were so big I could only eat about half. Plus Jon was way more into it then I was. He inhaled his food, and was done within minutes. But it was still fun just to be with him. After dinner, we drove around the city looking at all the nightlife. Jon showed me all the things I would need to know for daily life: movie theater, supermarket, where the Emory is. We stopped at a local liquor store, and picked up a bottle of cheap wine. We laughed and joked the entire time we were together.

I could slowly start to feel myself feel some sort of affection towards him. He was cute, and funny, and very sweet. Plus, he had beautiful eyes: almond shape, blue in color, that matched his pale white skin perfectly. I didn’t want another boyfriend, though. I wanted to be single to find myself before I jumped into another relationship with someone I had just met.

We arrived back at my apartment around midnight. He walked me to the door to say goodnight. “Tonight was fun.” He smiled.

“Yeah.” I agreed, he still had the bottle of wine in his hand. “Do you want to come inside and share that.” I pointed at it.

“Duh,” he joked.

“Okay.” I opened the door. “I’m afraid I don’t have any wine glasses.” I pulled two large plastic cups out of a bag on the table. Jon laughed, and popped the cork off the top of the bottle.

“Here’s to your future.” We both clanked our cups and sipped the wine, it was a sweet white wine, probably supposed to be paired with dessert. It tasted bitter and fruity.

“This is good wine,” I said awkwardly as we sat and sipped slowly.

“Yeah.” He chuckled. “So, what’s your story?” He leaned forward.

“Well, I mean, I’m from Vermont originally. I moved to Texas to be with my boyfriend at the time. And he left, so I moved here.”

“Wow, that must have sucked.” He scooted closer to me.

“Yeah, it was hard, but that’s why I’m moving forward.” I ignored the fact that he was getting closer to me. “What’s your story?”

“Oh, I’m a pretty normal person. Grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, then moved to California to try my hand at some acting.” He said very dramatically. “I ended up here, because I was promised a role in a local film, but that fell through when the director got arrested for child molestation.”

“Well, then.” I was trying not to laugh, but the way he said it was so nonchalant. “That sounds interesting. Plus, it’s very ironic that you grew up on a farm. I ran away to escape one.”

“Why wouldn’t you want to live on a farm? It’s the best.” he questioned.

“I did love it. It wasn’t the farm that I wanted to leave. It was Brice. The farm just reminded me of him. Plus, I never liked cows much anyway. I’m more of a horse person,” I explained.

“Me, too,” Jon said quietly. “I used to have a horse of my own. His name was Taho. He was my best friend in high school.” He chuckled.

“I didn’t have many friends in high school, either. I have always been something of a lone wolf. That was until I met Brice end of junior year.” As we talked, I realized we had drank almost the entire bottle of wine.

“Hey, it’s all gone.” Jon laughed, pouring the last drops of wine into his cup. “Do you wanna dance?” he said setting his cup down on the coffee table.

“Oh, no, I don’t dance.” I sat further back in the couch.

“Everyone can dance.” He pushed the coffee table off to the side. He took his phone and a small bluetooth speaker out of his pocket. He took my hand and pulled me up off the couch. “Time to be a dancing queen.” He hit a button and the familiar sound of ABBA circled the room. He started to do the disco dance, and run around me quite fabulously. I laughed with his jokingly arousing eye contact. I blushed as he grabbed my hand and pulled me towards him in a twirl.

I smiled as we danced, and realized this was the most I had smiled in a long time. My stomach felt warm and fuzzy, and my heart felt good, it felt complete. We danced for almost an hour until we passed out on the couch in a giggling pig-pile.

“I told you you could dance.” He started to tickle me. I flailed a little and laughed.

“Oh. Jeez, is it really 2 AM already?” I sat up in shock.

“It would seem so.” Jon laughed sitting up with me.

“I have to be at school in 6 hours. I should really get some sleep."

“That’s cool. I can take a hint.” Jon joked as he got up.

“I’m sorry I had to kick you out. It’s just I actually have school.” I walked him to the door.

“I get it. Get a good night's sleep.” He kissed my cheek as he left.

“Good night.” I said, slowly closing the door as he left. I laid down in my bed that night, curling up with a pillow and for the first time in many months, I didn’t want it to be Brice.

________________________________________

The first day at a new school is always hard, no matter if you’re joining in third grade or college. I stood at the entrance to one of the academic buildings on the Emory campus. Students rushed around me as I just stood staring at the old grey stone building. It was one of the most beautiful buildings I had ever seen. Each stone was a slightly different shade of grey.

“You looking for the Science building?” Someone asked from behind.

“Yeah, I’m new and I was just admiring the stone.” I turned around. The voice came from a small girl with bright blond hair, very pale skin, and vibrant blue eyes. She wore red rain-boots, khaki pants, and a dark green t-shirt.

“It is very beautiful.” She walked up so she was next to me.

“So am I in the right place?”

“Yes. I’m very new, too. I only came here last year.”

“What’s your major?”

“Pre-med then med. I want to be a military surgeon. Come on, I’ll show you to your class.” I followed her into the building. She led me to a standard-sized classroom. The walls just like the outside of the building were many different shades of grey. The tables were just like the high school science lab tables, a huge white board and screen sat up at the front of the classroom, and a state of the art projector hung from the ceiling. The teacher walked in and started the lecture. She was a short, older, heavy women with short grey hair. She wore a coral color V-neck T-shirt, and khaki capris, with bulky white sneakers.

After the lecture on warning signs of labor, the teacher called me over to talk to her. “Hi, I’m Amelia. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Yes, I know, but I want to know why you’re in my class.” Her voice was almost sour.

“Well, I want to be a midwife and I just graduated with my RN at a local school over in Texas.” Her lips were tightly pursed together.

“Yes, okay, then welcome to this class. Here are all the textbooks you ordered.” She lifted up at stack of three thick books, and slammed them onto her desk.

“Thank you.” I lifted them and held them in my arms.

“I’ll see you Wednesday,” she said coldly. “By the way, my name is professor Mcdowell.”

“Okay, Professor Mcdowell. See you then.” I smiled as I left. I got back to my apartment after one other class in English literature, to get the core class credit. That professor was much nicer than Mcdowell. When I walked into the apartment building, Jon was working out front.

“Hey, you.” He smiled as he walked over to me. “How was the first day?”

“It was okay.” I smiled, “Not all the teachers are nice, but I’ll make do it’s not high school.” I giggled.

“Good, whatcha doing now?”

“I have some homework I need to get done for Wednesday.”

“Can I come with you?” He pulled out another bottle of wine out of his desk.

“Absolutely.” I smiled. I held my hand out so he could hold it. He smiled and took it gladly, and we both walked to the apartment.

________________________________________

After that day, life seemed to be running smoothly. Jon was everything I could have ever asked for. He helped me get a job at a local clinic to practice my nursing skills, and he helped me schedule all my classes around work. I was slowly falling in love with him. Winter break was coming up, and Jon and I had plans to drive to Oklahoma to visit Jon’s family.

He asked me to meet his family about a month earlier when we were having our weekly homework wine dates. We started doing those for as long as I had been in school. They just seem to fit so perfectly with what our relationship was and what we were becoming, so Jon thought it was time to take it to the next level.

I finished my last school day before break, and ran in the apartment excitedly to pack. When I got into the apartment Jon was there with not wine, but champagne.

“What’s this?” I hugged and kissed him as I walked in.

He kissed me back and just smiled.

“Just happy for you to be home, and to go home for the holidays.” He got very quiet, and his hand dropped lower on my back. “I haven't gone home in six years.” He gaved me a worried look. “I’ve changed so much, what if they don’t approve of me.”

I pulled him into a hug. “They will love you no matter what. You’re their son.”

“I know, but I’m just scared.”

I half-smiled at him and hugged him tight. “You need to pack.” He kissed my forehead, and patted my shoulder.

“I can pack, but you don’t have to go. I can order a pizza.” I called to him as he walked towards the door. I could see a smile come across his face.

“Okay, but it has to have bacon.” I giggled and picked up the phone to call the pizza place.

________________________________________

The next day we were leaving, and we both decided to take my car, because I loved that car, and I am a much better driver. We piled into my car after breakfast and were on our way. As we drove, Jon was very quiet. I knew that by talking to him, it would always just make him more nervous. The drive was gorgeous, as we passed all the mountains and greenery. Half the time I didn’t even know what state we were in.

After driving for six hours, we were more than halfway there, but both of us were getting tired and decided to stop into a cheap motel. “The room only has one bed,” Jon said almost excited.

“I hope that won’t be a problem,” I said, flopping down on my back.

“Oh, absolutely not.” He jumped down next to me, and started to tickle me. I flailed, laughed, and tickled him back. Then he leaned in and kissed me. He kept kissing me as he moved up to climb on top of me.

“Wait!” I shifted so he would fall off me.

“What? Did I do something wrong?”

“No, it’s not you, I just don’t know if I’m ready for a relationship like this yet.” He rolled over to his back.

“No, I should have been more considerate. Damn, I’m such an idiot.”

“No, no, you just go caught up in the moment. Don’t blame yourself.”

He half-smiled at me. “Come here.” He slowly shifted into my outstretched arms.

“You know I love you right?” He looked up at me. My heart skipped a beat. That was the first time he told me he loved me. I could feel tears welling up in my eyes, but I held them in.

“I love you, too.” I couldn’t help but smile like an idiot. From the look on Jon’s face he couldn’t help it, either.

“Come on, babe, let’s get some sleep. We’re gonna need energy for tomorrow.” We both snuggled down into the covers and slowly started to fall asleep.

________________________________________

The next morning was similar to the one before. We got going right after breakfast. It seemed normal. I didn’t know that that was the day my whole life was gonna change. When we left the motel, clouds were building in the sky.

“Could be a storm,” Jon said as we pulled out of the parking lot. I nodded in agreement and started driving.

Within a hour, the rain was pouring down. I had to keep my windshield wipers on high just to barely see the lines on the road. “We should pull over.” Jon was gripping onto the seat.

“But we told your parents we would be there today. Plus, we still have four hours to go, and it shouldn’t be raining too much longer.” I saw Jon loosen up a bit. I glanced over at him for a split second.

“Amelia!” He screamed. I whipped my head back to the front just in time for a pair of headlights to hit us straight on. The whole world seemed to move in slow motion. I saw shards of glass fly from the windshield and scatter all over the car. I covered my head with my hands. The air bag deployed just in time for my face to slam face first into it. I wanted to look over at Jon but as the car slammed to a halt my head flew back and hit the seat. With that, everything went black, but even in the blackness there was a sense of falling. Then it just stopped.

________________________________________

The next time I woke up I was in a hospital room. A nurse was standing over me, smiling. “Good morning, sunshine. You were in a pretty bad accident. Do you remember what happened?” I thought for a moment. And realized I remembered everything.

“Yeah, we got hit head on in the rain.” She looked almost relieved, and wrote something on my chart. Probably something along the lines of “No signs of amnesia” My mind started to flutter as my full consciousness came back. “Where’s Jon?” I asked the nurse, frantically.

“He’s in critical care, sweety. He got hurt pretty bad.” She stroked my hair. “He’s on a breathing machine.” I could feel the burning sensation in my throat and the tears starting to flow from my eyes. “You seem normal and stable, other than a minor concussion, and some scrapes and bruises, so if you would like, if the doctor clears you, we can take you to see him.” I tried to smile through my tears but my lip only shook and quivered. I put my hands over my face and sobbed.

“Who would do something like this?’ I cried though my hands. The nurse didn’t seem to know how to act she just rested her hand on my shoulder and sat down next to me.

“The guy who hit you is in the waiting room Amelia. He said he knows you.” I uncovered my face and looked at her.

“What?” She got up from the chair and walked out of the room. The two minutes she was gone felt like an eternity, full with suspense, for who she was going to bring in. She came back in. Brice followed her. I never thought I was going to see him again. I sat up in bed, and pulled the blankets up to cover my chest. “What the hell are you doing here?” I looked him up and down with shock and disgust.

“Amelia, I can explain. I was having a few beers, and then decided to go for a drive. I thought I was fine.” He ran over to my bed side, and tried to hold my hand, but I pulled it away.

“I don’t want your explanation.” I scooted as far away from him as I could. “I want to see Jon.” The nurse tried to get Brice to get up off the floor, but he wasn’t moving. The longer I stared at him, the more hatred I felt for him. I felt my heart fill with rage, and hurt. I could feel my heart cracking in two, not just for hurting me and Jon, but for leaving me before, promising me love, and then ripping it away from me, without even looking in my eyes.

“But Amelia, I was coming to find you.” He paused, “Wait, who’s Jon?” He sat back on his heels.

“Just someone I met.” I shrunk down, too.

“You found someone else.” He seemed shocked and horrified.

“What’s it to you?” My breathing was starting to calm down, and I could feel my body starting to shake less. “I want you to leave.” I look towards the wall opposite of Brice. “I don’t need you coming into my life again, and fucking everything up. I finally found happiness before you came and fucked everything up again. So please get the fuck out of my life for good.” Both Brice and the nurse looked appalled at my reaction.

“If that’s what you want.” I could hear in his voice that Brice was trying not to cry. He stood up slowly and let the nurse escort him out of the room. When they were gone, a code blue set off through the hospital. Doctors and nurses raced down the hallway, with a crash cart. My nurse came crashing into the room.

“That’s Jon.” she grabbed a wheelchair and wheeled me down the hall, just in time for Jon’s monitor to flatline. Doctors were still racing around like crazy trying to do anything they could.

“Can you save him? Please save him?” I screamed and cried. Wheeling myself over to his bedside holding his hand. My breathing started getting sporadic as I sobbed, and pulled his hand to my cheek to feel his skin on mine one last time. One doctor pulled his gloves off, and motioned for all activity to stop.

“Time of death, 12:17.” The entire room went silent as the doctor slowly walked over to me. “I’m sorry. Is there anyone we should call?” I looked up at the doctor though my tears. I couldn’t quite see what he looked like, but I could see he was an older man with white hair, and a small beer belly, with light blue scrubs and black shoes.

“Yeah, his parents. We were on our way to see them.” I choked out. He nodded and placed his hand on my shoulder consolingly. I sat with Jon until the mortician came to take his body away. But even when his body wasn’t there I still sat in his room. I sat in the empty blankly white hospital room, until my nurse had to bring me back to my blankly white room. That’s where I sat staring blankly at nothing for the next two hours.

After those two hours, they brought in a therapist to talk to me about what I witnessed. He talked to me about how seeing death can really affect a person, and how good it is to talk about it. But for me it wasn’t seeing the death that stunned me. It was thinking about the future, feeling Jon’s absence even though he had only been gone for a total of a few hours. Once the therapist left, the nurse had me lie down. As stunned as I was, it was surprisingly easy for me to fall asleep.

________________________________________

After that day I was discharged from the hospital, I remember going home. I remember feeling the emptiness of the apartment. I unlocked the door to my room, A half-full champagne bottle still propped up against the back of the wall next to all the empty wine bottles, Jon and I decided to save. I walked over to the line up, and gingerly picked up the champagne bottle. I could feel the anger swirling in my stomach. I gritted my teeth, and threw the bottle at the wall. Glass and sparkly gold liquid shattered and splattered throughout the room.

“Why did you die!” I screamed at the top of my lungs. I sobbed loudly as I crumpled into a ball on the floor. My chest tightened and I suddenly couldn’t breath, I pulled my hands to my chest right as I could feel my heart shatter. This is where I slept that night.

I didn’t move until the next morning when my phone rang. I pulled myself off the floor, my head felt like a lead weight as I lifted it. I dragged myself over to the table just in time to pick up the phone.

“Hello." I answered groggily.

“Amelia? Please don’t hang up, I need to tell you something.” The familiar voice of Brice rang through my ears.

“Okay?” I said coldly.

“I’m the reason you’re alive,” he blurted out. I grabbed the table to keep from falling over.

“Huh?” I could feel my heart starting to pound and my anxiety rise.

“When I hit you with the car. It went off a bridge, I’m pretty sure you were passed out by then, but I jumped into the water and pulled both you and what’s his face out of the water.” I was furious, this was all his fault to begin with, but now I knew he saved me, part of me would rather be dead, with Jon, at least we would have each other. Brice was the reason my worst nightmare is now a reality.

“Thank you.” I hung up the phone, and let out a high-pitched screech. I slammed my fists down on the countertop. This wasn’t happening. I felt my heart shatter even more at this point I was just numb. Brice’s information started to sink in, but all I felt was that I don’t care. I was done with Brice. I didn’t want him in my life anymore, ripping open painful memories every time I looked in his eyes. He was gone, and I could grieve in peace.

________________________________________

The next months dragged on. Every step I took, I could feel Jon’s absence. But I knew he would want me to get my life back together eventually. So I did. I took some summer classes, each one easier then then next. With each day I could feel small pieces of my heart slowly start to mend.

By the end of summer I was smiling again. I got my Masters degree, and scored a job at a huge hospital in Boston. Even though I was miles away from where we met, I knew Jon was with me, and he always will be. He is my guardian angel. But now I knew what I wanted. I may have lost him but I found myself, and somehow that was everything.

lovebreakups

About the author

Meredith Connell

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