Chapter Twenty-Two

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"... and tonight, I'll fall asleep with you in my heart."


Love was a word I rarely ever used. My parents never showered me with the constant use of the word as I grew up. Did I think that was a bad thing? No, quite the opposite actually. It made the word, the actually feeling, a lot more special to all of us whenever we said it to one another. 

When Lucy made that obvious slip up while ending our call, it had caught me off guard. I knew it was a mistake the minute it came out, but it led me to thinking about the word way more than I would have liked.

What did actual romantic love feel like? How would I know I'm actually in love with someone? 

I was sure most guys went to their buddies for their past experiences in the love department, but of course my friends never even saw the word as a possibility. Zeke would laugh at my face for hours on end if I ever mentioned that I was interested in such a feeling - yet alone might actually feel such a thing for someone.

It had started to nag the back of my mind the rest of that day. I tried my best to focus on helping my parents prepare for the barbeque the next day, but it was difficult for me. Besides my predicament, the two of them were behaving strangely as of a week before. 

They weren't the type of people to randomly throw a party, especially one so last minute and not falling on a holiday. 

I wanted to bring my suspicions that something was up with Lucy, and since I was nearby on yet another grocery run, I decided to stop by her house. 

I would have let her know I was coming, but I knew she would have avoided me because of her little mess up from before. That little visit was going to help me show her it was okay, and that it happens. I definitely did that a lot when it came to my teachers and accidently calling them mor or far. It was embarrassing, but shit happens. 

My hands grew slightly damp as I trudged up the stairs, their red door staring me down. 

I had never told Lucy that a couple years previous, when I had first became friends with my baseball pals, that we teepeed her house. Well, they did mostly. . . but I watched, even laughed a little. 

The next day was when I first noticed Lucy Walker, but because of all the wrong reasons. She sat next to me for weeks without grabbing my attention, until I overheard her explaining to her friends her house was teepeed. That was the moment where I saw what my behavior was doing to others, not just myself. I began to analyze Zeke and how he acted. The cool, popular image I once saw of him was shattered by the look on Lucy's face. 

From then on, I always noticed when Lucy was in a class with me, or if she passed me in the hallway, or sat by my table in the cafeteria. She was beyond cute I thought, but never believed I was good enough to go right up to her and ask her out. 

Yet here I was, growing closer and closer to this girl I used to be fixated on from afar. . . All because she quite literally walked into my life. 

As my hand reached up to knock on the door, this feeling I couldn't quite depict began to consume me. It left the tips of my fingers tingly and chest full. 

"Who is it?" I could hear Jacob yell out. He sounded annoyed, which was just plain perfect. Queue being called the wrong name in three. . two. . "Oh, hey, Clayton." He swung the door open, perplexed to see me there. 

It was nearing nine-thirty, which was pretty late, so I didn't blame him for the surprise. 

"You called me Clayton?" I was dumbfounded. Had he called me the correct name before? If he had, I couldn't remember a time. 

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