Chapter Twenty Three - I Don't Wanna Be

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"Mom said its dinner time." Jackson said peaking his head in my doorway.

"Oh, okay. Thanks." I smiled and stood up, placing my laptop down on the bed. I was watching dancing clips for inspiration. The arts departments were putting together a showcase, and the classes had to audition for spots. I had wanted to dance to Jackson song initially, but I hadn't asked and I was running out of time.

I looked up and Jackson's eyes met mine. He smiled back at me, and it occurred to me that it was the first show of emotion we had shared since we'd broken up.

"Can we talk after?" I managed to say as I pushed the words passed my thumping heart.

Jackson's smile widened and he nodded. "I've been waiting for you to say that for so long."

He had? We walked downstairs together and sat at the table. Scarlett and Xavier were talking about the possibility of the Going Nowhere tour during the summer, and the twins were excited about the prospect of staying up at the Jackson house. Jackson and I were pretty quiet, but that didn't mean we didn't pass glances. This time though when our eyes met his indifference was anything but. His smiles moved through me and hit my core. I'd missed this, I'd missed us, even just us as friends.

After dinner the twins were on kitchen duty so Jackson and I walked out on to the deck. I sat by the knot in the wood with our names etched in and placed my hand over it.

"I'm sorry." I whispered. "About what I did."

"It's okay." He replied nonchalantly, then sighed and sat down. "Well, actually no it wasn't, but I get it... now."

"You do?"

"Yes. Of course."

"You don't hate me then?" I smiled, his back was to me, but I knew he could hear the happiness radiating from my voice. He turned and eyeballed me, but I could see a playful smile beneath it.

"I've never hated you Amber." He said after a few seconds. "I was just angry, and then I was scared."

"Scared?"

"After the hospital, seeing you so ill." He croaked. "It kind of killed me."

"I'm sorry." I whispered.

"Don't be. I'm just sorry that I wasn't there. Yet again." He replied. "I wanted to give you time, but then suddenly a few days turned in to a week and a week turned in to two. I just, it got too hard to approach you, and I felt like I didn't have the right."

I scooted across the deck until I sat beside Jackson, our thighs sat flush with one another. I wanted to put my arm around him, but I couldn't. Instead I rest my head ever so softly on his shoulder and breathed deeply before speaking. "You will always be my best friend Jackson, even when we're not talking, even if we're miles apart. No matter how much time passes between us, you will always always be one of the most important people to me."

"You're sounding like the Amber I remember." Jackson mused. "The one who left me 5 years ago."

I smiled and inhaled his scent, before closing my eyes. "I feel more like her these days." I admitted.

"Good."

"Jackson."

"Yeah?"

"I wanted to audition for the showcase using the song you wrote me... the one I danced in the video for." My voice was thick, and for some reason I was nervous. Maybe after everything he didn't want to hear the songs when the relevance had changed. Jackson placed his arm over my shoulder, in a friendly way, which hurt me at the same time it made me happy. Things were healing, but I still wasn't his, and he still wasn't mine.

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