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Penny

"I don't know why you can't just let him deal with his own problems."

We've been in the room for five minutes and it's already started. I move over to the tiny closet area and begin hanging up some of my clothes. I don't plan on having this conversation right now. I'm not starting this trip off any more awful than it already is.

"Seriously, Penelope, this shit has gone on for long enough. You prioritize Simon Snow over every other person in your life including me. How fucked up is that?" His voice is thick with malice. I don't even recognize it.

I close my eyes and focus on steadying my breath. I'm not talking about this. Not now. This can wait. I open my eyes and continue the task at hand. He stands and paces the room.

"And you know what I think is the worst about all of this?" I stop what I'm doing and look over at him. He's digging in his pocket. He pulls out a pack of American Spirit cigarettes and sticks one in his mouth. Since when does he smoke? The boy that I've spend the last six, almost seven, years of my life in love with is lighting a fucking cigarette in my hotel room. "It's that you haven't even looked me in the eyes once since you got off of that plane."

"That's not true, Micah." It is true. I just didn't realize it until he said it. We're worse off than I thought. "Are you seriously going to smoke in here right now? You don't even smoke. Why do you have those?"

"I started smoking about three months ago. Why do you care? As if smoking is some great villain that you have to protect me from?" He sits back down on the bed, taking a long drag.

"At least open the door to the balcony or something." I mutter and return to unpacking.

"And what do you mean by "that's not true"? Are you referring to the fact that you haven't looked at me or the fact that Simon is the only one that you do look at?" He says this with something behind his voice that I don't recognize. Something I can't quite identify.

"How dare you insinuate that Simon is the only one I care about? Micah, I've given everything to you. Simon is my best friend, yes, and we've been through hell together but, at the end of the day, you are the one that I think about before I go to sleep. That has been true since the moment I met you." It is true. My thoughts haven't been too fond lately but those thoughts have kept me up at night for a while now.

"I honestly don't believe that, Penny."

"Well, you should. I don't know what else I can say."

"Literally anything else because you don't say anything to me anymore. Not really. When you do talk, it's just like radio static. Our own little routine where neither of us has anything to say anymore. I feel it, Penny. The emptiness. The lack of what once was there. I'd say that you have to feel it too but even you aren't there anymore. You haven't been in a long time." That odd little hint of something behind his voice grows more and more with every word. It's fear. He is afraid of what he is saying.

I cross to the bed and sit beside him. I look into his eyes. Really look into them. He looks exhausted. He looks like he has nothing left. For a second, I wonder if I look exactly the same way. I want to apologize to him. I want to say anything I can to make him stop feeling this pain. I want to start over. I just want this to stop. He speaks again before I get a chance to.

"Do you ever feel like the two of us are so comfortable going through the motions that we are missing out on other opportunities? With other people?" His words hit me like a train. I am at a loss. A pressure builds inside of me. I can't tell if it's sadness or relief. I can't believe he is the one that said it first.

The only way I can respond is to nod.

And I just keep nodding.





*Author's Note:  Short little chapter I know!  I'm not sure what day this week I'm going to be able to write again.  I'm hoping tomorrow night but only time will tell!  Be sure to vote, comment, and share if you liked the chapter!*



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