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Snippet Nine: The Goodbye
Dillon and I made our way down the street. It was barely 10:00 in the never-ending night of poor decisions. The two hours prior seemed like a blur. I tried to replay what had happened to bring me and my high-school not-so-sweetheart together for such a serious conversation. A conversation I had no intention of having that night, or possibly ever.
“I tried to stay away from you this summer,” I admitted.
“Not because I’m tired of you. Those were his words not mine.”
Dillon stood still and sighed. “I know we have to stop this.”
My incoherent thoughts were interrupted by a text from Gabe.
I know there are two sides to every story, but I have no interest in ever hearing yours. Do not contact me again. I regret wasting so much time on a lying whore.
That was the second guy in one night to directly call me a waste of time. I knew Alec had to be feeling the same way.
“Dillon, was all of this…all these years…a waste to you?”
“No,” he answered without hesitation.
That one word was the best thing I had heard all night. We lapped the entire block in silence and wound up back at his car.
“Do you remember senior prom?” he asked.
How could I forget? It goes down in the books as one of the most confusing nights of my life.
We’d just gotten back together after one of our longest break ups. I was even planning on going to the dance with Nicky instead, but last minute Dillon came running back.
The DJ was playing some awful slow song, but all the couples were on the dance floor, so we shuffled out too. Dillon held me close. He’s one of the only guys I know who can pull off the usually over-powering smell of Axe body spray. I didn’t mind swaying back and forth soaking in the scent of him, but I was far from being back to our normal lovey-dovey selves. He was apparently totally over our last hiatus.
“Isla, I’m in love with you.” He whispered.
“Love you too.” I robotically answered.
“No, I mean it this time.” He pulled back slightly to look at me. “I know we’ve been saying that for years, but I never knew what that meant until now.”
“You’re being weird, Dillon.”
“I’m sorry for everything I’ve put you through.”
I stopped dancing and stepped back from him. “You keep talking like this and I’m leaving.”
“Isla, I’m trying to be sincere. Can you listen to me for minute?”
I stuck to my word and walked out right then and there. He followed me into the parking lot, and we had a yelling match about I can’t even remember what. We wound up doing it in the back of his car and never spoke about that fight again.
Prom night played through both our minds and we laughed together without having to recap any part of it out loud.
Dillon’s laughter died off and his eyes saddened. “I knew after that night, we would never make it, but I kept coming back.”
“Both of us have had that problem.”
“Then both of us have to agree this is the end. The real end.”
The breeze seemed to stop, and my breath suddenly echoed through my ears so loudly I was sure they could hear it back at the house.
“I think I’m going to call it a night.” Dillon said, but he leaned against the car door instead of finding his keys.
“Are you sure you’re okay to drive? You know you can stay over.” The longer I could stall him the longer I had to sort through my feelings.
“Wouldn’t that defeat the whole purpose of what we just talked about?” He smiled.
“Just one more night.” My eyes pleaded with him. I could always get him to agree with me if I gave him a look like that. We could say our farewells in the morning.
He leaned in to kiss me. The most gentle and sincere kiss we’d ever had. “I can’t do this anymore.”
I wasn’t supposed to be saying goodbye to all of them tonight. One was supposed to stay. One was supposed to win. I had to make Dillon change his mind.
“Do you still love me?” I asked
“That’s not fair.”
“Answer the question.”
“What if I said yes?”
“Then stay with me.”
“What if I said no?”
“You’d be lying.”
Dillon moved in close once more. I soaked in everything I could fearing it may be the last time I saw him. He took off his signature black cap and placed it on my head.
“I know you always liked wearing it.” He winked.
This was really goodbye.
Without another word he got in his car and drove away.
I wasn’t going to stand like an idiot in the road for a second time in one night, so I forced myself to head back inside. I snuck into my pantry in hopes that no one would find me. Our house parties typically went well into the night, but I was done being social.
Nick finally found me. He brought me a glass of water and joined me on the floor.
“Don’t even say it,” I chided.
“The only thing I’m going to say is you deserve better. Better than all of them.”
“No, I don’t. I’m a horrible person.”
“Only occasionally though.” He bumped me with his shoulder. “I’m going to get you some Tylenol and get you tucked into bed. Don’t worry about the cleanup.”
Nicky to the rescue once again.