Chapter Twelve

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I spent most of the morning wandering aimlessly around my flat in a bit of a daze. What the hell had happened? Where had I gone wrong?

Actually, that question was pointless; I'd opened my stupid mouth. That's where I'd messed up. I'd spoken without thinking and managed to say the most hurtful, offensive thing possible. How the hell would I have felt if he'd turned around and insinuated that I was easy for sleeping with him after only just meeting? That would have killed me. So much for worrying about how I was going to be judged—I ended up being the one making assumptions.

What an idiot!

I decided that I needed to text Charlie to at least attempt to make amends; otherwise I would lose him forever. If I just left it, he would think the worst about me and eventually move on—a prospect that cut me deep inside. Sure, it was unlikely that he would want to hear from me or that he'd even reply, but I at least had to try. I wouldn't be able to move forward if I didn't at least know either way for sure.

I would have to be brave, or I'd end up stuck in a rut of feeling as dreadful as I felt at that moment—and I really didn't want that for myself.

'Hi Charlie, it's Lara. I'm sorry for...'

Nope, delete. That sounded stupid. I jiggled my phone between my fingers, begging my brain to think of something to say, before the courage slipped away.

'Hi Charlie, thanks for...'

Urgh, no way! What was I going to say? Thanks for last night? I couldn't imagine anything worse.

I was going to have to write something soon if I didn't want to give myself enough time to talk myself out of it completely. This time, I typed quickly and I didn't even read it before I hit send, so at least it was done.

'Hi Charlie, it's Lara. I would love to see you again, if that's what you want x'.

As soon as it was gone, I regretted every single word. My brain whirred with a million-and-one better things that I could have said, that I should have written, but it was too late now. I almost wanted to send another message telling Charlie to ignore the other one, but before I got around to it, my phone lit up and pinged noisily, alerting me to a reply.

'This weekend sound good? ;) x'

Clearly he had calmed down, and he was willing to try again. My heart lifted at the prospect that I hadn't ruined everything, that he was giving me another shot. I couldn't believe it! How lucky was I? I wasn't sure if I would have been so forgiving, so it was nice that Charlie was a better person than myself.

Everything that I'd said to myself this morning to stop myself from hurting if it did only turn out to be a one night stand just vanished. I never wanted it to be that, not really. I may have only spent a short time with Charlie, but it was enough to know that I already liked him, and that I wanted to spend more time with him. I wanted to know everything there was to know about him.

And now it looked like that could actually happen.

***

After that, messages flew back and forth between myself and Charlie, each one easing the knot of worry in my heart. Things were going to be okay! Really and truly, and I was so incredibly happy about that. It made me feel better than I ever had before. All the joy I'd been experiencing up until now paled into significance as the smile grew brighter on my face with every scrap of communication.

I also heard back from Kimberly—it turned out that she was looking for me when we got separated, because she suddenly panicked that I'd been gone for a while. I knew that of course, she was far too kind-hearted to abandon me like that, even for Nick. She was a little evasive about it, but from what I got things had gone really well between the pair of them. I couldn't wait to find out more when I saw her next.

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