Chapter 18

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 “Rejection, though--it could make the loss of someone you weren't even that crazy about feel gut wrenching and world ending.” - Deb Caletti, The Secret Life of Prince Charming


I was on edge all night. And I do mean all night.

My spot on the plaid couch right in front of the TV was my temporary bed for the night, drifting in and out of sleep, unable to tell if I was having lucid dreams or if the show I was watching was that realistic. If anything, I learned that guilt is more effective than energy drinks at keeping me awake. I woke up in the morning several times, and finally rose from the couch to start a day that was sure to be unproductive.

I combed the rats out from my long night of twisting and turning while I took a steaming hot shower, the water massaging all the aches and cramps from my body. That couch was a lot more comfortable when I was younger and we didn't have old stuffed blankets under the seats to make it sink in less.

I decided early that I would be going somewhere that day just to get away. I dressed according to Bria's advice, pastel colored skinny jeans, a striped and loose fitted shirt, and TOMS. I was getting used to doing my hair and makeup, but I spent some extra time making it look really good. It was an extra-mile kind of day. The contacts I was wearing always irritated my eyes a little, though I could never understand why.

I contemplated bringing Lappie with me, but decided against it and grabbed some money, my phone, and music player, shoving them in my pockets I was out the door and letting my intuition guide me on where to go.

Unsurprisingly, my intuition lead me to the door of Le Petit and inside. The little bell dinged and people were scattered around, I searched for Sophie. I hadn't spoke to her in days and I had begun to miss her. Maybe she wasn't Bria, I hadn't grown up with her, but I had come to know that Sophie was an amazing friend and person.

Inside, Henry was leaning lazily on a mop handle as he pushed it meticulously back and forth, the puddle of soapy water growing under him. I turned to the counter to see an anonymous worker I'd never met, completely normal looking in every way. Because extraordinarily beautiful people only exist in the media. Anyone else is just an idolization of our own. Whoever the girl was, I smiled politely at her and advanced towards Henry, intent on asking where Sophie was. He looked up as I walked over, an easy smile spreading as he temporarily abandoned the old mop.

"What, no drink order? Or do you require my specific services?" he teased.

"Nope, just looking for Sophie."

He looked around to spot the clock on the wall, the curly numbers imitating coffee steam confused me, but Henry read it easily.

"She should be here in a few."

I nodded my head, crossed my arms and lightly tapped my foot on the faux stone floor.

“What's wrong?” Henry asked, gazing curiously at my behavior.

I defensively retorted. “Why would anything be wrong?”

He backed away, raising his hands up in surrender, a scared look in his eyes that I couldn't quite determine whether it was an exaggeration of hesitation or real terror that I would bite clean through the mop handle. “Someone's snippy today.”

My breath heaved as I sighed, releasing pent-up irritation and tentatively responding in a calm and steady voice. “Sorry, I'm just... kind of-”

“Cranky, upset, tired, vicious, me-”

I interrupted, “All of the above.”

Henry propped the mop up, sat down on a chair with his chest to the backrest. He motioned for me to sit on the chair across from him. I did, uncertain of what was happening. He leaned over and squinted his eyes like he was studying me for a psychological experiment. He adjusted his seat a little, scooting slgihtly closer to me.

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