Chapter 11

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The ride home was nothing short of incredibly awkward.

I sat in the passenger seat, leaning as far into the door and away from Carter as possible. My back was stiff and my hands were clutched tightly together in my lap. My gaze was fixed on the road ahead of us. I tried my best to focus on it instead of the person sitting next to me. I realized that my teeth were clenched so hard together that my jaw was beginning to throb. I felt a vein pulse in my forehead. I felt a loud drumming in my ears. I was afraid to speak, to move, to breathe. Any movement would have increased the awkwardness tenfold.

Carter sat in the driver's seat next to me. His hands were clenched at the wheel so tightly that his knuckles had turned white. His jaw was set and squared and his eyes--now the color of dark cocoa--were fixed on the road. He was leaning slightly forward in a very stiff position. It must not have been very comfortable. But then again, neither was this situation.

I still couldn't believe I kissed him.

Ok. Maybe I didn't kiss him. And no; he didn't kiss me either. It was more like we both sort of leaned in at the same time and somehow our lips connected. The mistake here was not the initial action. The mistake was perpetuating that initial action, because neither of us moved. We both stood there, our lips connected, our arms around each other--phsycially touching. And we didn't move.

We should have moved.

Once sense had finally decided to come back from its little trip around Central Park, we moved apart from each other. I'm sure both of our faces held the same expression: shock with a mixture of confusion.

"Shit," we had both muttered at the same time.

And then, after looking at each other for a moment and breathing hard, we kissed. Again.

What the hell was wrong with me? He was a taken man! He was supposed to be getting married in less than six months. I had become a homewrecker even before the home was built. I was such an incredibly terrible person. How was I living with myself, even now, in this moment?

But it wasn't just my fault. If I had initiated the first kiss, then he most definitely initiated the second one. There shouldn't have even been a second one. Hell, there shouldn't have been a first one, either!

What the hell was I thinking?

I wasn't thinking, and that was the problem. With Carter, it had always been easy for me. When we were younger, when we first became friends, everything with Carter was simple. There was no drama, no complications, no confusion. It was what I loved most about being with him. As stressed out as I had always been when it came to school and getting into a good school for pre-law, I was that much more relaxed when I was with Carter. He had this overbearing aura about him that made me feel calm; that made me feel safe. So it was natural that in my moment of vulnerability, I had given in to Carter's old charms, however faded they had seemed to have become.

And the result was the second biggest mistake I had ever made in my life. Any hope I had of reconciling my lost relationship with Carter was now gone and out the window. I had ruined it. I had blown my chance. I had gotten so close to getting him to not hate me anymore. But there was a fine line between hate and love and I had inadvertantly crossed it. Now we had receded even further away from that horizon of forgiveness than we had been before. And it was my fault.

I looked at Carter and I wanted to say something. But I had no idea what to say. So I didn't say anything and instead, I pushed further into the door, wishing more than anything that I was back in my apartment in the city, away from all of this mess that I had chosen to leave behind.

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