68. Here Comes the Sun

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Peyton Bishop looked so out of place standing at the door to my shitty little apartment in Chicago, Illinois, that I laughed

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Peyton Bishop looked so out of place standing at the door to my shitty little apartment in Chicago, Illinois, that I laughed.

He was perfect, all six feet two inches of him, perfect from the tips of his golden blond hair all the way down to his loafers, handcrafted in Europe by designers with names that I still couldn't pronounce.

He smiled, his hands shoved deep into the pockets of his neatly pressed khakis. "Ready to go?"

Leaning against the door frame, I stared at him for a while. Then I smiled and shook my head. "No." I closed the short distance that separated us and sat down on the steps, the metal warmed by the approaching dawn. "Peyton, come sit with me for a while."

He did, and we listened to the sanitation workers shouting orders at each other over the whirring of the garbage truck's gears. I sighed some, then fiddled with the small square of paper in my hands, folding it this way and that, tracing its edges against my skin.

"Did he call you?" I asked.

"He called Karla, she's-"

"I know who she is. When?"

"Four hours ago," he said. "I came as soon as I heard."

After a moment of hesitation, I offered the note to Peyton. He tapped it against his palm a few times, then unfolded it. I turned away just before he revealed the contents though, looking instead at the beat up little courtyard below us, littered with debris and dog shit.

I didn't need to see it again, the single word, hastily scrawled in Jake's handwriting: 'Sorry'.

"After everything, that's all I get- sorry. It's all gone, his clothes, his things, his guitar. Left the note and the money," I shrugged. "And me."

It had all been too much, the shock of seeing Peyton at the police station, coming home to an half empty apartment. I mean, I knew the moment I saw Peyton that Jake had gone, but to see see it with my eyes? It broke my heart and made me feel like I was a million years old.

Before I had a chance to melt down over it, I put Jake and all the baggage he had left behind in a nice little box and shut it away in the back of my heart for later. Or maybe never. How does a girl even begin to process something like this?

Peyton folded the paper back up and handed it to me. I held it for a moment longer, then flicked it over the railing. "I need to go home."

"To Texas?"

"I think Brandy'll take me in, I'll find a job. Things will be okay, anything will be better than this."

He nodded, pretended to consider. "Only problem is, I was hoping to take you home with me."

Oh, Peyton.

My muscles ached and my head pounded so I stretched and rubbed my eyes. "I can't go with you, you deserve so much better than me." I forced myself to look at him, right in the eyes. "I basically dropped you for the first pretty face that came around."

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