Chapter 5

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Doing his best to hide the pain, Alex slowly walked along the shore toward Nadia. She was lost in thought and didn’t notice him approaching till he was standing next to her.

“Mind if I sit here too?” Alex asked. 

 She jumped in surprise when Alex spoke, then looked up at him with a small smile and patted the sand next to her. Alex winced as he accidently put weight on his hurt foot then again when he dropped down next to her a little harder than he intended. Alex worried that she would say something about his wincing and was relieved when she didn’t; she was too deep in thought and too busy watching her rocks skip across the water. Relieved, Alex sat in silence for a moment, watching the sky turn to a deeper shade of red that matched the color of her hair.

“Sorry about Ethan today” she said breaking the silence, “I gave him hell for it later if it makes you feel any better.”

Alex shrugged, “I’m used to it, he’s always hated me. I don’t think that’s ever gonna change. Besides, big guys like him seem to love going after smaller guys like me.”

Nadia didn’t look at him, just stared at the sky and shook her head, “No, he’s not like that, he’s just jealous of you” she admitted. “I guess he thinks you’re in love with me or something.” She looked sideways at him and winked, then finally relaxed a little and sat back, letting out a long breath.

Alex didn’t respond. The simple fact was that he was in love with her, always had been. His feelings for her had started that very first summer they spent together. He had never told her how he felt about her fearing it would drive her away. As time went on he became more and more afraid to tell her, and hated himself for being such a coward. Now it was his biggest regret, and it was only made worse by the torture of watching her with someone else; someone that not only didn’t care for her the way she deserved, but also kept her away from him.

 “Alex what’s wrong with me?” Nadia asked; frustration obvious in her voice.

Alex broke away from his thoughts and looked at her in the fading light. He desperately wanted to hold her, to tell her how perfect she was and that Ethan didn’t deserve her. He wanted to somehow make everything the way it should be, to make her as happy as she deserved and leave no doubt in her mind of just how special she was.

“Nothing’s wrong with you, you’re perfect.” Alex whispered softly.

Nadia smiled at him again and hit him in the arm. “I’m being serious you jerk, am I ugly or not girlfriend material or something?”

“What do you mean?” he asked. “Did something happen?”

She looked back at the sky and shrugged “I don’t really know, I was with Ethan up at the cabin and... Oh sorry, I’m sure you don’t want to hear this.”

As soon as she had said Ethan’s name Alex had rolled his eyes and the hurt look on Nadia’s face when he did sent a wave of guilt through him. Sure he didn’t like Ethan in the least, but Nadia was his friend and he wanted to be there for her regardless. “Sorry go on, I promise I don’t mind.” He tried to reassure her with a grin but she had gone back to looking out at the lake.

“Alright,” she still sounded annoyed, “just try to keep the remarks to a minimum.”

 Taking a deep breath she started again. “Anyways we were up at the cabin, and for once we got lucky and didn’t have many people around. Everything was going good at first; we talked about this year almost being half over, classes, the senior dance, that kind of stuff. Then when I asked him if we would still be together after graduation he stopped talking and just stared off into the distance. I don’t know why but he almost looked angry about something. I asked if he was ok and he said everything was fine, but he kind of snapped at me when he said it so I said things didn’t sound fine and I got nervous and asked if he was planning on breaking up with me. He kind of laughed off the question and said he wasn’t planning on it, but when I leaned in to try to kiss him he jumped back and I swear it looked like he was repulsed by me. I guess I looked hurt because he apologized for jumping back and said it was nothing, but I don’t get it. We’ve been together a year and I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve kissed. It’s like he never lets me kiss him and barely lets me touch him, hell I can barely get him to hold my hand. I mean I love spending time with him but it seems like talk is all he wants to do with me and…. I’m sorry I’ll shut up now, TMI right?”

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