Back at the Beginning

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                I was standing in my blue kitchen after dinner three nights after that. It felt a lot less wonderful than I remembered. Maybe it was because it made me think of her. She hadn’t said anything since that time at my locker. When I told her I was going to keep trying and that I’d prove to her that I loved her, she just pulled away from me and went to class. She sat with different people and left before I could offer to walk her to class. It felt like she had been ripped from me. Link didn’t talk to me much anymore. I don’t think he wanted to get in between us. He seemed detached from Erica too. Yesterday, he did come and talk to me after dinner.

                He sat in my living room and looked me dead in the eye and said, “You fucked up Ash.”

                “I know.” I whispered, my voice hoarse. I couldn’t bring myself to look at him anymore. I was surprised I could have looked at him for that long.

                “It happens. Am I saying what you did was an okay thing? Not at all. You fucked up big time. But it happens. We all fuck up sometimes. And you didn’t let it get to far, did you?” He’d heard the story from Erica, and I could tell he was trying to find out the truth now.

                “No. I didn’t have sex with her, Link.” I said firmly. I didn’t want him doubting me, because it meant Erica doubted me too. She should. I couldn’t blame her.

                “Okay.” He seemed to believe me. “Well, then you might be able to redeem yourself. Don’t go after her though, Ash. Let her come to you. She’s not done yet. She’ll come back for answers or what she thinks is closure. Don’t push it. Just…give her some space for a while. She’ll want to talk eventually. And when she does, don’t lie. Don’t sugarcoat it. You fucked up and she knows it, you trying to dance around it won’t work in your favor.”

                “I would never do that.” I whispered. “I know I fucked up, and I don’t plan on making it seem like I didn’t. I don’t want to make it seem like I was the good guy in this situation, because I’m far from it.” I sighed and he wrapped and arm around my shoulders and pulled me against him.

                “Things will turn out alright. Whether or not you get the girl this time, you’ll be okay.” He said.

                I didn’t reply, I just sat there with him for an hour or so in silence. I didn’t feel like it would be alright even if I got Erica back.

                There was a knock on the door that yanked me from my flashback. I sighed. Link was back. He was probably here for another brilliant pep talk, or maybe he noticed that I barely ate anything. Or maybe he was here to ask why I wasn’t at school today. I couldn’t look at Erica again…I didn’t feel like going today because I’d have to think about Mark with Erica, making her laugh and trying to ask her out again. I’d have to see Link sit with her in Art. I’d have to eat lunch alone in the cafeteria again. I just needed a break from all that. I couldn’t take a third day in a row of being…a ghost.

                “Come on in Link, I’ll make you some food if you want.” I called and bent down to look for a pan. I wasn’t sure what I would cook yet. I just needed to cook. It got my mind off of her for a few minutes at least. All I’d done in the past three days was homework and cook.

                “It’s…it’s not Link.” A soft voice said from behind me.

                I went to stand up and turn around to see her, but instead just hit my head because I was still buried inside the cabinet.

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