Never Came Back: Chapter 6

 

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Chapter 6

That night, I lay staring at me ceiling.

Janine’s words whirled through my mind at a frenzied pace. Words I really didn’t want to comprehend, like forgiveness and father and confusion. Was it a life thing that caused us to hit lows and highs? Why couldn’t things ever stay static? 

I contemplated going downstairs to the Frosting Cottage kitchen and working on some wedding cake orders that had come through, but suppressed the idea. Too soon. The cake would go stale Although we could certainly use a few more dozen cookies for the cookie bar tomorrow, I knew myself well enough to understand that I probably couldn’t refuse eating them all now.

A bowl of cookie dough sounded just about right.

The drone of the silence kept me awake, so I shoved out of bed and shuffled over to the window. Below me, the quiet, midnight street unfurled in shadows and blunted light. No one stirred below. My eyes flickered to the clock. 3:46. 

No sleep tonight.

With a sigh, I threw on my workout clothes, grabbed my tennis shoes, and headed out the door on a run. My fingers itched to look at my cell phone, where I knew Dad’s number lay in a text from Lexie. I’d tried to delete it at least five times, but stopped myself with each one. It wouldn’t actually help, would it? As if I could share my vindictive streak with him, let him see exactly the way I felt.

Except, he wouldn’t know. 

Besides, I couldn’t deny that I wanted to text him.  

Words flew through my mind as I ran. Hey Dad, sorry about the other day, I thought of texting to him. No. That wouldn’t work. So, you wanted to talk but I didn’t. I think . . .

No, that wouldn’t work either. I still didn’t want to talk—but I also couldn’t imagine not talking. Dad had opened a door by coming back. One that both of us had to walk through now.

Hey, Dad—

No, I didn’t want to start by giving him that title, either. Despite the inherent danger of running alone in the dark, I kept going. Street lamps passed by as I slid past, feet thudding on the pavement, hair flying behind me in banners. The pump of blood through my body felt good, opening my mind.

You surprised me, I thought of texting. I hadn’t expected you to ever show up, and when you did, I didn’t know what to do.

That felt better.  

My thoughts kept rolling that direction.  

If you want another chance to talk, I’ll give it to you. One chance. You can air your side. Explain why you’ve disappeared and selfishly showed back up again.

No. Cross that last line.

No. 

Leave it.

By the time I finished composing the text in my head, my legs burned. My lungs ached. I didn’t even feel the night stretch around me, or the gradual lightening of the sky on the horizon, as I reached into my pocket and yanked out my phone. My fingers trembled in the aftermath of the run as I typed out the message on my heart.

I’m not sorry for just leaving, I said, because I needed to do it. But I am willing to give you one more chance. If you want to meet up, air your side, meet back at Lucky’s pub tonight at five. I won’t promise that I’ll stay the whole time.

My breath seemed to flutter once I hit send, not giving myself the chance to edit or pull it back.

One minute later, my heart whomped in my chest as the reply came.  

I’ll be there.

 

 

I know this month is short! But next month's will make up for it, I promise. :)

 

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