I pace back and forth across the room. I told him everything. Going into Rose’s room, finding the journals, the lists. About New York. And maybe I’m crazy, but I asked him to come with me. I thought he would want to. His expressionless face doesn’t look like a ‘yes’ though.
I’m desperate. “Look, I have it all mapped out. We make a giant U, hitting all the spots on Rose’s list. And finding stupid tourist traps along the way. We could spend an entire summer, just you and me.”
I’m paddling, trying to stay afloat. But I can see him slipping away, detaching, by the second. And the words that come out of his mouth hurt more than I will ever admit.
“I can’t, Lei.”
I collapse, deflating into a beanbag chair.
“But it was your idea. The two of us leaving everything behind and driving away. I just thought you’d want to.” This is humiliating. I get up, wanting to run away from all of this.
“Leila,” he breathes. He grabs my arm, turning me to face him. I inhale, because I’m never Leila to him. I’m always Lei. “It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s just that this is all so out of nowhere. I have responsibilities. I can’t leave Robby. I just can’t.”
“It’s just a nice thought, isn’t it? I’m suffocating here, Parker. Between my parents and all this Rose stuff. I can’t take it anymore. Except, instead of running away from it all, I’m running to something. The destination has always been there, but the motivation hasn’t. And now that it is, God I want it so bad. And I guess that I just wanted you to come with me.”
“Why me though, Lei? I haven’t exactly been there for you lately.”
Doesn’t he understand that he’s the only one who’s been there for me lately?
“Parker, people always leave. You’re just the only one who’s made an effort to come back.”