“You have that ‘lost in space’ look again,” Claudia says as she takes the seat opposite me at our table. “One day you’re going to have to tell me what that’s about. I know it has to be a boy.” She moves her eyebrows up and down.
I smile at her, “You’re late. Where’s Rubio?”
“He ran into his friend, Sebastian. I think they’ll be here in a bit.”
“Claudia,” I groan, “How many times do I have to tell you? I’m not interested in a hook up.”
“It’s not! I swear, it was a total accident. We were on our way here and they ran into each other.” She quickly pours herself a glass of sangria and starts sipping. She’s a terrible liar. “Besides, he’s gorgeous. He’s a student at EUB and he wants to be an artist. He’s good too, Rubi and I saw some of his paintings.”
“I have to go,” I say and start gathering my things. I am definitely not in the mood to deal with another ‘accidental’ blind date.
Claudia rolls her eyes and tugs me back down into my seat. “Don’t be rude, Sophia. Rubi wouldn’t set you up with a troll. Come on, stay for one pitcher.”
“So, it is a set up then!” I scowl at Claudia and she doesn’t even blush.
“Yes, okay, you got us. We’re terrible friends for wanting to see you happy.” She tosses her hands in air sarcastically.
“I am happy, Claudia. I’d be a lot happier if you guys would stop setting me up.” I cross my arms over my chest, but I know I can’t stay angry.
“Excuse me, Sophia,” interrupts the waiter. His name is Marco and he knows our little group pretty well. He’s asked me out a couple of times, but I always say no.
“What’s up, Polo?” I say with a smile. He hates his nickname.
“Very funny. Somebody asked me to give you this,” he says and hands me a piece of paper.
“Ooooh, a secret admirer!” Claudia says. Both Marco and I blush, but only Marco has the luxury of walking away from an awkward situation.
“You’re a jerk, you know that?” I say to Claudia, but she just smiles.
I open the note and I only have to read the first sentence to know whom it’s from.
I can’t imagine what you must think of me…
I stand up so quickly, I knock over the pitcher of sangria and it shatters on the floor. My heart is beating in a frantic, but familiar rhythm. Claudia is up on her feet, trying to get me to acknowledge her, but I’m too busy scanning the crowd for him. He’s here somewhere. He’s here! I don’t see him and I want to scream. I can’t lose him again. I can’t! Already, there are tears in my eyes. I look down at the note:
And I don’t expect you’ve forgiven me. Still, selfishly, I have to ask you, are you glad I made you get out of the car? Was I right? Was everything you felt for me on account of my manipulation? If so, please know I am deeply sorry. That I will NEVER bother you again – I swear you’ll never have cause to fear me. But if I was wrong, if you still care for me – meet me? Paseo de Colon, San Sebastia tower, eight o’ clock tonight.
“I have to go, Claudia,” I say.
“Wait! What happened? Talk to me, Sophia,” Claudia shouts after me.
I’m already half way down the block. As I run, I look around me. Is he watching me? Is it really him? Should I call Reed? It could be a trap, but I don’t think so. Only Caleb would know about our last conversation. It’s him. I know it in my fucking bones.
I’m in tears by the time I reach my apartment. I look at the clock. It’s only four o’clock. I have four whole hours to wait. I’ve waited an entire fucking year, but these last four hours are going to be torture.
James swallowed thickly as the stared at the words on the screen.
As I walked, I could feel his eyes on me, the way I could always feel his eyes on me. Tears ran down my face unabashed, but I didn’t move to wipe them away. I had earned those tears, and I would wear them as a symbol of everything I had been through. They represented all the pain I had suffered, the love I felt, and the ocean of loss sweeping through my soul. I had finally learned to obey and never looked back.