"You could have told me!"
The lasts few seconds of my encounter with Ryan Green, my ex who, in less than twenty-four hours is due to wed, dropped a verbal bomb.
"He told you!" Will said, exhaling a deep, overdue breath. It was out in plain sight now. Grady and Luke sat on the bed, saying nothing.
"Or something to that effect, as I sprinted off, tripping up the goddamned steps," I shot back. "Somebody say something!" I yelled. "Not you, Luke," I said, pointing my finger and halting him from opening his mouth.
"Did you at least meet Darren?" Grady asked.
"I don't want to meet him. I don't want to be here. I came here with this silly notion that I, was going to win Ryan back. I had to say goodbye to Finn. I have to say good-bye to Ryan."
"Here is another goodbye!" I scooped up Jinx, my cat and slammed the door behind me.
"I hate that cat."
"What!" Luke barked, as Will and Grady both stared him down....
I found myself in a compete dither. Ryan? Finn? Who did I love and who did I long for? I made a dash for the now deserted lobby and out to the fresh night air.
"Warm night, isn't it?"
"Sure" I replied. I found the row of empty rockers free on the porch. Taking the very last one, intending to be alone, now stuck in a ridiculous conversation right next to me.
"There is nothing like the smell of a freshly lit cigarette."
"I quit" I said, inhaling a deep drag. I tapped my pack pushing one up, extending my offer.
"Same here," the voice replied. Jinx jumped off my lap, following the flash of a firefly.
His face was quite handsome in the glow. He waved his hand over the flame, then positioned the ciggy in the orange fire.
"Why is Ryan with me"
I turned my head in his direction. I was silent. Though we never formally met, his keen insight for who I was caught me off balance. It was as if he was looking at me, not via eyesight, but with something much deeper.
"It's ok, I'm sure a lot of people are pondering the same question," he added. A small jovial laugh followed an exhaling of gray smoke, twisting above his head. I watched it disappearing into nothingness.
"I love him." I watched the smile that echoed his words. It was honest, something I have not been all along. I told him all about this summer and Finn, as he shared openly about Ryan. I brushed away the film that pooled in my eyes, but every physical emotion that I tried to cover, Darren somehow saw. I heard those words "I love you" myself, this season, and, for the first time, felt what they truly mean.
"How's that Marlboro?"
"It hit the spot. Want to go for a walk?" Darren Winters asked.
I reached over to the arm of his chair as he stood up. His arm laced into mine, as I guided him down the porch steps.
"How did you know it was me, sitting there?" I felt his warmth. A kind of gentle kinship was born, as we stepped off the porch together in arm.
"Easy," Darren replied. "I'm allergic to cats."
Laughing to myself, I pinched his ribs. "It really is a nice night,' I whispered into the warm night air, as Jinx teetered along.....