Chapter Five

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Catherine ignores my protests that I can pay my own way—just barely—and pays for my train ride to The Hamptons. I know where the ski lodge is but hearing her say it again sends nervous chills across my skin. I've never been there before. The only thing I associate it with is: celebrities. I began to worry about running into Kardashian or something but figured they'd jet to the sunniest beach the second they felt a chilly breeze. Without having to fear getting star struck by people I don't care for, I'm excited to go and experience snow for the first time. We rarely get it in Georgia, and when it does decide to pay a visit, it doesn't last for longer than a day or two. But here, way up in the mountains, they're staying around for a lot longer.

To pass the eighteen hours to get there, I keep myself busy to stay awake. I want desperately to close my eyes and give into my overwhelming exhaustion, but I don't want to be vulnerable to getting robbed while I'm sleeping. I finish reading a lengthy romance novel that makes me gasp out loud at the ending, one I didn't see coming at all, finish watching the first season of The Office on my phone, type up a ten-page about the American Revolution for extra-credit in History, and finally settle on listening to music with seven hours left of the tiringly long train ride.

I yawn every two seconds and force my eyes to remain open as I listen to the songs playing on shuffle. It doesn't hit me how lonely I feel until I aimlessly look around the train and focus on the couple across the aisle from me. A pretty brunette and her stylish boyfriend are watching a movie, all cuddled up in the thick blue complementary blanket. From the looks of it, the movie they're watching on a laptop is Lion King, and my heart warms twice as fast when I notice he's watching her more than he is the movie. He looks so in love with her, and she can't stop smiling. She's happy. Blissful, even.

Watching them reminds me of me and Bl—him. My heart rises and slams against my chest at the thought of him. I remember laying in my bed, me clinging to his chest and cursing him left and right for forcing me into watching yet another one of his terrifying movies. He'd ignored my cursing and laughed like my fear was the most amusing thing on the planet. I'd hide under the sheets and this one time he ducked under with me and he tickled me until I felt like I couldn't breathe. His lips covering mine shut me up and pulled on my crazy affections for the boy with face piercings and a horror-movie obsession. It was then that I realized how hard I'd fallen for him, and how much I didn't want to get back up. I was irrevocably head over heels for him.

"Miss, are you alright? Here's some napkins to dry your tears," a gentle but croaky voice says. An elderly lady pulls out a wad of napkins from her shoulder bag.

I blink and sit up in my seat, everything falling back around me as I get back into reality. I lost myself there for a minute. I pull out my headphones to hear better. "Huh?" I swipe my thumb across my hot cheek and am shocked to find a tear on my finger. I hadn't realized I started to cry. I guess the memory was just that emotional... I take the napkins from the woman and smile appreciatively up at her. "Thank you so much."

"You are very welcome, dear. What made you cry?" she ask, and although I don't want to bring up the sore subject, I feel I owe her an answer.

"Just reminiscing about a memory between my ex and I." I sound pathetic but she doesn't laugh at me, not that I expected her to after showing her kindness.

She frowns and pats my shoulder. "You are too young to focus on the past. Stay in the present and live your life. Trust me, cling onto what you have and look toward what's coming next. Otherwise you'll be plagued with regret and the dreaded 'what if's.'" She smiles, winking at me before whispering, "Let your ex do the crying while you do the living."

I am astounded by her wise words, so much my mouth drops open, but no words come out. Figuring I need to be by myself to go over her words, she gives me one last comforting pat on the shoulder before slowly advancing back to her seat down the aisle. Everything she just said makes sense. I know it does but living without him is harder than I could have ever expected. It's harder to breathe. Harder to have my hands without his to hold. And it's damn near impossible to keep this seismic hole in my heart open for his return. I am so stupid for holding onto a shred of hope that maybe he did really love me. Even after the truth contradicts the possibility. He couldn't possibly love me now or loved me then, because everything was a calculated move. It's a bitter pill to swallow, but I have to in order to remain sane.

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