Sitting in silence with him as we looked out over the water gave me too much time to think of what could have been. Too much time to regret the way things turned out between us.
“Why?” I asked before I could stop myself. The word could be taken in so many different ways, but I knew he’d know just how I meant it. He’d always known me better than anyone else.
“Do you remember when we came out here the summer before we started high school?” he asked, and I closed my eyes, remembering it like it was yesterday. “We sat almost in this very spot and talked about how great it would be. We swore we’d always be friends and that even though we’d be busy, we’d always nd time for each other.”
I nodded. Things were so easy back then.
“I remember you sitting in the stands cheering me on when I tried out for football,” Luke continued, his voice hoarse and much quieter. “You were so excited when they announced that I’d made the team, I could pick your voice out over everyone else as they cheered and clapped. You were always on my side, always in my corner.”
“I was, and I was so proud of you,” I said without hesitation.
“Then we did what we said we wouldn’t,” he added, and I looked over at him to and he was now staring at me. “We let high school change us. Me more than you, I know, but Maddy, you changed too. I’m not saying that’s wrong, but I’m saying we both went our separate ways.”
I couldn’t argue, because I had also changed while growing up. But even though I changed when becoming a teenager, never once did I think changing would cost me Lucas.
“I know I did a whole lot of wrong, but I never meant to push you away. I think we both just stopped trying, and eventually that wedge between us made us grow apart.” His eyes glimmered with tears in the falling darkness, and the sight pulled heavily at something inside me.
“I just felt like I didn’t belong in your world anymore,” I confessed, suddenly feeling raw and vulnerable, feelings I hated and had done everything to avoid over the last few years. But with Luke it was inevitable.
“And I felt like there was no longer a place for me in yours.”
We stared at one another in silence.
Recommended for Mature Audience
I wanted to forget him so many times. Erase the memories we shared and pretend he didn’t exist. It would have made his absence easier to accept.
Lucas Rivers broke my heart more than once.
In my world he was my guy, the one I’d grow old with and laugh with. But things aren’t that simple, and time changes everything.
That naive girl with dreams of happily-ever-afters was gone.
I didn’t need a man to complete me. I was enough—no, I was more than enough. I was strong and determined. I was Madelyn Emery, and never again would a boy break my heart.
But the moment Lucas returned after four years, acting like we could pick up where we left off, that strength inside me shifted. The more I tried to ignore his efforts, the harder he fought.
How can one simple word whispered by one man mean so very much?
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