Chapter Thirteen

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Should I start doing chapter songs for this story, like in my other texts?

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I hated airports. I hated the rushing, how it managed to feel congested in such a large and open space and how people stared at me. By all accounts being tall wasn't the worst thing in the world. Maybe I had to duck through some shorter doorways, automatically head to the back of the movie theatre, dedicate more time than was worth it to find clothes that fit me well, dodge constant questions asking me if I played basketball, high jump, long jump, or volleyball, and squeeze myself into a world that didn't quite fit, but airports somehow made it all worse.

As I shuffled through the concourse with my large suitcase and my carry on down to the terminal where my flight would be, I focused solely on getting to where I needed to be. Just one foot in front of the other. The Queen could have been in my vicinity and I wouldn't have noticed her. If I didn't look at other people I could pretend they didn't notice my hulking presence.

I finally got to my check in area and I did the whole online ticket scan thing before mentally memorizing the route to my departure area. After all that I realized I had two and a half hours until take off, and, I was starving. The other thing about being big and being a former athlete was that I was always hungrier than I had any right to be.

After making my way to the food court I got to thinking about Trace. As soon as I had even a little bit of time on my mind I got to thinking about him. I didn't even know what to call our last significant reaction. Heartbreaking. Humiliating. Horrible.

I wished I'd just said no, or stop, or opened up to Trace. That would have solved half my problems. It was like the truth would get stuck somewhere below my throat, between my esophagus and my lungs, too solid to come out and wedged so tight within me I couldn't swallow it down. My anxiety wasn't the worst it had ever been but I lived around it and even I knew that wasn't healthy. But, it was all I could do just to get by.

And that day in my bedroom Trace was beautiful; naked in so many more ways than just physicality. But my anxiety had become the third person in the room: obstructive and ugly and invasive. Not for the first time, I wished that I was normal and that I could communicate.

It had been about three days since then and I'd been so busy communicating with the BB producers, making arrangements at home, and work that I hadn't spoken to Trace. Every hour I'd hoped I'd get a text, or a call. Instead,  he hadn't texted me, or called. On the way to the airport I'd caved and texted him, telling him I was leaving.

No reply.

I'd wanted to call and talk but I was also too afraid to hear what he was going to say.

The silence was freaking me out. Worse still, was the fact I should've just called him. I had three days to call him and instead I pretended I was too busy to do so.

So right there in the corner of the food court I decided I would call him. I put down the sub I was eating and positioned it back in its silver wrapping. I could do this. Just a phone call. He'll talk to me. My fingers shook as I pushed in the digits I had long ago memorized.

I held the phone to my ear, and my heart thundered as I waited for it to ring. Except, it didn't ring.

The mechanical voice of a woman filled the line, "We're sorry; you have reached a number that has been disconnected or is no longer in service. If you feel you have reached this recording in error, please check the number and try your call again," the voice rang out, but I didn't process it right away.

Disconnected? Disconnected how? Disconnected when? My mind flew into a whirl spin and I could feel my breaths beginning to come short. It felt like I couldn't get enough air as my thoughts hurtled. Had he blocked me? Is that what happened when you get blocked? All because we didn't sleep together? No, Trace wasn't like that. But, how well did I even know him? We'd been sort of dating for almost three months and I still didn't know what we were. At three months I'd already slept with Jeremy, sure maybe I'd been pressured, but he said being physical made a relationship real. Trace and I hadn't slept together, did that make our relationship less real?

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