I ended up taking Kate’s advice, and I waited three days. Three lonely, agonizing days that felt like an eternity without Gavin. I know it’s cheesy, and I know I did this to myself. Out of all the mistakes I’ve made in my life, pushing him away, letting him leave.. It was definitely the biggest mistake I’ve made. I found a loophole in Kate’s advice- I waited three days before going to see him. Did I wait three days to call? Hell no. I wanted to check on him, to hear his voice, even if I did just get his voicemail.
I decided to go up to his hotel room, to try and talk things over with him. I’ve spent three empty days with just my thoughts for company, and all I wanted was for Gavin to come home. To run my fingers through his soft hair, see his goofy grin return. So, here I am, parked in front of the hotel, gathering the courage to walk in there and beg for forgiveness. His car is parked on the side of the building- I drove around the lot to make sure he was here. He’s off work today, so I’m hoping that if he won’t talk on the phone, that he won’t slam the door in my face. If he did do that, I deserve it. I did this.
As I approached the front desk, I was more nervous than I was when we went on our first date. My hands were shaking, and my knees felt like they were made of jelly. The receptionist gave me his room number without any questions asked, which I was grateful for. I wouldn’t have even known what to say, how to lie about who I was. I did ask that she did not call him and let him know I was coming to visit. She was kind about it, and smiled as I made my way to the elevator. Gavin was staying on the top floor, no doubt in a room with a good view of the city.
I knocked softly three times on his door, suddenly forgetting what I was there for. I heard a groan as Gavin approached the door. He opened the door, and there he was, shirtless, wearing only mesh basketball shorts, still wiping sleep from his eyes. What I wasn’t prepared for was the girl who walked up behind him, wearing one of his tank tops. “Baby,” she whined, “who’s at the door?”
His eyes widened as he registered what happened. He opened his mouth to speak, but I answered before he could say anything. “Nobody,” I sighed. “I’m nobody, I must have the wrong room.” I ran down the hall towards the stairwell, Gavin calling out to me as he followed.
“Allie, wait! This isn’t what it looks like!” He grabbed my wrist, catching me before I flew down another flight of steps. I couldn’t breathe, couldn’t think. “Allie, please,” he continued cautiously. “I know how this looks-”
“Like I pushed you away and you had to fuck someone else to forget me.” I said under my breath. His hands cupped my face, the way he did three days ago before he left. “It’s okay, Gavin. I deserve this, I pushed you away..”
He pulled me into his arms, holding me tight. “Shhh, no. Allie, I love you and I meant what I said when I said I would wait for you.”
“Who is she, Gavin? I don’t understand.”
“Come up to my room with me and we’ll talk. I’ll explain everything.” I nodded in agreement as he threaded his fingers through mine. We walked back to his room, hand in hand, and whoever this girl was didn’t understand the message.
“Ugh, you’re really going to choose her?” She rolled her eyes, popping on gum incessantly. “Whatever, I know my way out. Call me when you want some real fun.”
“Real fun?” Gavin snorted. “Real fun is standing here with me, holding my hand. You’re nothing like that. Now leave, or I’ll have security escort you out.”
“Oh please, babe, no need to be dramatic. Like I said, I know the way out. Later baby!” She blew a kiss to Gavin as she walked out, letting the door slam behind her. I could feel Gavin shaking as he gripped my hand tighter, only letting go to walk over and lock the door.
“Gavin, I’m so sorry for everything I’ve done.” I cried, launching myself into his arms. I know he had to explain what happened, but for now, I just wanted to be in his arms, in his presence. This is the most relief I’ve felt in days.
He hushed me again, just holding me. “Shh, shh. I know. We can talk about everything in a few minutes but for now I just need you.”
“I need you too, Gavin. More than you know.” I kissed him softly. He pulled me over to the couch and let me curl up into him, running his hands through my hair as I laid my head in his lap. Blissful quiet, that could have lasted forever, but I knew we had to talk about everything that has happened, and how to move on from here. Gavin leaned down and kissed my forehead, before sitting me up.
“I love you. God, Allie. I really, really love you.” He smiled, the signature, goofy smile I’ve missed so much and have been dying to see again. I reached for his hand, squeezing gently. “Well, I have a lot of explaining to do. Want me to order room service and we can talk and eat?”
“Sure,” I agreed. Honestly, my stomach was in knots, and I wasn’t sure if I could eat, but I had to try. We ended up ordering sandwiches and lemonade, eating on the bed the way we used to do at home. Used to do. Hopefully that’s something that can happen again. As we ate, neither of us spoke. The silence felt thick and awkward, like someone could cut through it with a knife. “So,” I broke the silence first. “How are you?”
Gavin swallowed his mouthful of sandwich loudly. “Well, I guess not the best,” He sighed, looking back down to his plate. “And you?”
“I’ve been alright.” I lied. I don’t know why I lied, it wasn’t going to get us anywhere. “Actually, I-I’ve been really awful,” I stammered. “Awful, guilty, heartbroken. I wish I could go back in time and stop it.”
“Allie,” Gavin sighed. He adjusted so he was sitting up a little straighter, like he was ready to have this conversation. As nervous as I was, I desperately needed to hear what he had to say. Good or bad, pretty or ugly. “It’s not all your fault, which I told you before. I understand why you did it. But now we- I have to live with this.” I shook my head and pushed my plate away, feeling more nauseated than hungry. “Allie, listen. Please,” He was begging me now. Damn, those beautiful brown eyes. They’re going to be the death of me. “I want to make myself better for you, before we jump back into anything. I love you more than anything on this planet, more than life, and I have to be better and more serious for you. In a way, I should be thanking you for the wake up call even if it felt like I was dying in the process.”
“No!” I wailed. I thought that I was out of tears, that I couldn’t cry anymore, but man, was I wrong. “Gavin, please don’t do this…” Everything was shaking. I folded my arms across my chest in an effort to feel some more control, but all I felt was isolation. “Please, let me make it better. Let me make it up to you-”
“I can’t, Allie,” Gavin sighed, reaching out to touch my shoulder. I jerked away, and from the corner of my eye, saw him flinch. “I can’t because you deserve so much better than me. You deserve the world, the universe, and I can’t give that to you right now.” He ran a hand through his hair, turning to the wall beside him. “Damn it!” He yelled, pounding his fist against the wall. He inhaled sharply, then turned around to face me again, tears in his eyes. “Okay, fine. Maybe you’re right, I should just come home.” He padded over to me, grabbing my hands in his. He stopped and looked down at my left hand, shocked when he saw the ring- his ring- sitting on my fourth finger. “You’re wearing it,” He whispered.
“I’m wearing this because I love you, Gavin. After you left, after our fight, I realized I felt empty without you. My life without you has no color, no sunlight- that’s where you come in. Without you, I’m in a world of hurt. Gavin,” I sighed, kissing his lips softly. “I am so in love with you, and I never want to be apart from you again, and I never want you to hurt like this again. Please, come home with me, be with me. Help me announce our engagement to our families, friends, and the world.” Tears were falling from both of our eyes, and as he reached up to wipe mine away, he kissed me and nodded.
“Say the word, I’ll follow you. Let me pack my things and check out, and we’ll make things even better when we get home.” He smiled at me, just before I grabbed his face and peppered kisses everywhere. I helped him pack up and check out, walking away from the hotel and the hurt, hand in hand.
I was going to stay here, try to fix the mess I had made because I was hurt, but then I saw her wearing the ring, and I caved. It looked perfect on Allie, like it was made for only her. But once I told her what I did, I’m not sure the ring would stay on her finger. I told her I would explain, but I can’t find the words to say what I need to. I’m just hoping, praying, that she doesn’t mention this until later, at home, when we can talk about this. It would be even better if she forgot altogether, and I can tell her when I’m ready.
No, that wouldn’t work. I need to be better, need to seem serious for her. If only she understood how serious I’ve really been. I’ve been promoted through ranks quickly at work, and now that I’m climbing the ranks, they want me to travel, attend meetings in different places around the country. I’ve wanted to tell her, sure, but I wanted to surprise her with the ring and good news all at once. But after she tore my heart out? I had made some calls to my boss, requesting to relocate permanently. He said he would put in the request and that he would get back to me, and wouldn’t you know it? He called this morning. “Congratulations, Gavin. You should be proud of everything you’ve done, you’ve accomplished so much in a short time.”
See, Allie thinks I’m not serious about life or work because I job hopped a lot in the past, and never mentioned school to her. While she attended school, I did too. I worked my ass off to graduate in a short period of time, in order to get the degree that allows me to work and make as much as I do now. She’s always thought she was the breadwinner in the relationship, but the truth is, I haven’t let on exactly how much money I’ve been making. A good portion of it has gone into an account for her, in her name, in case something should ever happen to me. After this, it will definitely stay that way. Maybe I’ll even put it into her married name.
“Gavin? Baby.” Allie’s voice brought me back to reality. “Hey, are you okay? You seem quiet. We don’t have to talk about anything tonight if you don’t want to, we can just rest and enjoy each other’s company.”
I smiled, pulling her hand up to my lips, kissing it gently. “That sounds perfect to me. Just have a dinner and movie night in, we can take on other issues tomorrow.” She smiled back up at me. How could I ever tell her I didn’t wait for her like I said? How can I tell her I got too drunk to remember what happened the first night, but was fully sober the second night things happened?
The next morning, I decided to get up early and treat Allie to breakfast in bed with some flowers. Since I was about to make her day hell, I may as well do something good for her before she views me as the complete bastard that I really am. I brought up a TV tray and placed down a plate of eggs, bacon, toast, and a cup of coffee next to it. “Mmm, coffee,” she sighed, sitting up and rubbing sleep from her eyes. As her eyes opened and she saw what I brought up for her, the smile she had already transformed into an ear-to-ear grin. Man, do I love that smile.
After breakfast, we cuddled up on the couch together, before she decided she wanted to get up and get ready to go for the day. “Hey, Al?” I tugged on her wrist, urging her to sit with me. I couldn’t put this off any longer. I felt guilty, and I know that this morning was just the calm before the storm. She gave me a half smile, tucking a strand of her perfect blonde hair behind her ear. It’s one those things that tells me, or anyone that pays enough attention, that she’s nervous. She has every right to be. “I need to tell you something. This has been bothering me all morning, and even though this isn’t what you want to hear, I just need to spill.”
“Gav, what’s wrong?” Her big blue eyes stared into mine, as if she could see right through me. I reached for her hand, in an attempt to brace myself, and her, for the blow. “Gavin, you’re scaring me,” she warned. I took in a deep breath. Here we go….
“Allie, I needed you to know this before we plan anything for the wedding. If you don’t want to be with me anymore I und-”
“You slept with her, didn’t you?” She whispered. Allie was no longer looking at me, but instead down at the ring on her left hand. “Tell me. Tell me everything.”
“Babe, I didn’t know what I was doing,” I sighed, holding her hand tighter. I can’t let her pull away from me until I’ve spilled everything. “I’ve had problems with alcohol in the past, and until you left me, I had been fine. But that night, I lost control. At first, all I could think of was leaving, getting as far away from here, you, as humanly possible. Then, when I checked into the hotel, I wandered around and then found myself at the bar. The next thing I remember, I woke up next to her in bed. Of course, I had hoped, prayed, that I didn’t sleep with her, but the way she spoke to me, I knew there was no way that something didn’t happen.” Allie covered her mouth, shaking her head. “I felt disgusted with myself, and I kicked her out.” My voice was shaking now. “I still hate myself for this. I know that we technically were apart, but I still felt as if I cheated on you, my love.”
“That doesn’t explain what she was doing in your room on the third day, when I showed up at your door. How many nights did that happen, Gavin? Please, don’t lie to me.” She looked up at me once again, eyes full of tears. Allie’s eyes were longer the bright blue they were a few minutes ago, now they were a dark, grayish blue, resembling storm clouds.
“It happened one more time, Allie. It happened again the night before you showed up-”
“Why did you lie to me?” She wailed. She covered her mouth again in an unsuccessful attempt to cover a sob. “After everything I said, after I told you how guilty I felt and how I wanted to be better for you.. After I let you into my heart and my bed again? You couldn’t have told me then?” She was yelling, and Hurricane Allie had officially arrived. “You lied to me, Gavin! You lied when you told me you would wait, and then you lied when you told me there was nobody else! What else is there? I know there’s something else, I can tell you’re not finished.” The room fell silent, only the sound of Allie’s heavy breathing filling the empty space. “Do I have to continue to scream at you, or are you going to be honest with me?” I stood up and tried to close the space between us, but she held her hand out, warning me to stay away. “Don’t,” she warned. “Do not touch me. Just continue talking.”
“Fine,” I agreed. I held my hands up in surrender. “I’m leaving, Al. I called them the night I left, requesting a transfer, and they approved it as of yesterday morning.”
“Great,” she barked at me, “This is fantastic. And when are you supposed to leave?”
“I don’t know! I didn’t give them a specific date, and I didn’t want to until I heard from you again. Until I saw you again.”
“You could have heard from me the day after, you know? I tried to call, but you? You didn’t answer. You must have had a hell of a hangover from all of the booze and bangin’ sex you had the night before, huh?” She crossed the room, grabbed my hand, and slipped nothing other than her ring into it. “This,” she motioned to the ring, “doesn’t belong to me. It feels foreign now, as if it’s only a meaningless weight on my finger. For right now, Gavin, I can’t even look at you. I don’t care what you do about work, but for us, I will not sleep in the same bed as you, or in the same room. I’ll stay on the couch or with my parents, but I’ll still pay rent here, just as we always had.”
“That’s not necessary, Allie. I make more than enough to support us on my own. You don’t owe me anything, you’re free to do whatever, sleep wherever.” I sighed. If I thought it hurt when she broke things off the first time, that pain was miniscule to what I felt now. Even then, I couldn’t imagine the world of hurt she was living in. “I’ll stay here until the end of the lease in June, and we’ll figure things out when the time comes.” She nodded, glaring at the ground, arms folded tightly across her chest. I held her in my arms tightly, kissing her one last time, before letting her walk into the spare room, slamming the door behind her.
Asshole! I can’t believe he did all of that, in a span of three days, while I sat here in complete misery… How could he? Oh, right. I rejected him, and he was getting revenge. He was really, truly trying to leave me. After the shitstorm of the morning I had, I couldn’t even cry, couldn’t even conjure up a single tear. I was completely numb. Everything in my body and mind was completely, totally numb. I had texted Kate, asking her to meet me at that coffee shop in an hour or so. She was running errands, so I told her not to worry and that I could just talk with her later. It wasn’t long before I finally felt the weight of everything I learned about Gavin, crushing my chest, the world crashing down again. Without thinking, I grabbed my keys and purse, and sprinted out the door, rushing down the stairs as fast as my short legs would take me. “Allie!” Gavin hollered behind me. “Allie don’t leave! Please talk to me!”
“Fuck you, Gavin,” I growled, my voice shaking. Gavin held his hands up in surrender again as he slowly descended the stairs in our apartment building. My gaze was burning holes in the ground, walls, doors, but I couldn’t allow myself to look at him. “If you love something, set it free, right? Set me free. I’ll tell you how this one ends though, Gavin, I won’t make you wait. I’m not coming back. I’m not yours, and I will never be.” I spun around on my heel and sprinted out into the parking lot, towards my car, not looking. Luckily, the car speeding at me was paying enough attention to slam on the brakes, screeching to a stop. That wasn’t enough to stop me, though. If nothing else, being hit by a car would hurt less. It has to hurt less…
“I’m sorry,” I called to the driver, “I’m so, so sorry…” I started sobbing, and the driver stepped out of the car, sitting next to me on the ground. We sat there, and he let me cry for what felt like forever, before he finally broke the silence.
“Hey,” the stranger tapped my arm gently, catching my attention. I knew he looked familiar, but in my state of mind, I couldn’t place a name with his face. Mystery Man was tall, definitely taller than Gavin, and lean with deep brown hair and stunning green eyes. I struggled, unable to find his name still, after staring at him for a few seconds. All I knew for sure was, he was handsome, kind, and let me cry in the middle of the parking lot while his car sat there with the hazards on, blocking the way. “Are you okay? Do you need a ride somewhere?”
I sniffled, wiping my eyes on the heels of my hands. “No,” I sighed, my breath shaking. I stared at the ground again. “I’m sorry I ran out in front of you, I could have dented your car. She’s a beauty.”
“Don’t even worry about it,” his hand rested on my arm. “Cars can be repaired or replaced, but you can’t. Are you sure I can’t take you somewhere?” I looked back up at him, shaking my head. Through the glass door of the apartment building, I could see Gavin watching, obviously curious and guilty about what happened.
“No, but can you do something for me? I’ll explain everything if you don’t ask questions. I’ll get you a coffee too.”
“Yeah,” he agreed. Before he could ask any questions, I grabbed his shirt and pulled him in for a long kiss. It was supposed to be random, no feelings, nothing. But something felt electric, and the way his lips responded to mine felt good. No, silly girl, it didn’t just feel good… it felt right. When we finally pulled away, chests heaving with heavy breaths, he smiled and chuckled softly. He leaned down to my ear and whispered. “I was almost sure you had forgotten me, Allie.”
I felt a big pang in my stomach, like something was wrong. How did he know me, but I had somehow forgotten him? Who is this man? Mystery Man then answers my biggest question, as if it’s a giant, glaring tattoo on my forehead. “Allie, it’s me,” he paused. “It’s Ryan.”
TO BE CONTINUED