(c) A. M. Wilson 2016
As I lowered the phone from my ear, ready to indulge in a serious amount of coffee, an ominous vibe hit me. I didn’t realize where it was coming from until I placed my phone into my purse and looked up. The tall man in front of me had turned full body so that he was now facing the back of the line, his angry eyes aimed at me.
And all of a millisecond passed before I got my first look into the fourteen-years-older face of my childhood love.
He was as beautiful as always. Same dark, unruly hair and gray/green eyes. Except now, that dark hair had a few threads of gray near the temples, and his eyes were outlined by creases.
And he was tall. So much taller than the last time I saw him. And built. Law was always strong, but more lean than buff. Now he had big, rounded biceps that I was surprised fit into the sleeves of his Henley.
My mental calculation of all the ways he’d changed was cut short when he opened his mouth.
“Explains a lot,” he growled, not trying to conceal the tone or volume of his voice.
Panic stole over me and I looked around the room for assistance. Everyone was conveniently rushing around or ignoring my blatant plea for an intervention.
“Fourteen years ago, you disappeared into the night. Without a trace. Nobody knew where you’d went. Hear you now, sounds like you got yourself a teenaged daughter. Explains a lot.”
I opened my mouth to deny, deny, deny, but playing dumb would get me nowhere. There’s no way in hell I wouldn’t recognize the man standing before me, just like I now know he knew it was me as soon as I got into line behind him. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if he clocked me the second I opened the door to this place.
I studied my wet shoes. “You don’t know anything.”
“I never was a stupid kid,” he sneered and for a second, my heart completely stopped and my eyes snapped to his. He knew. I don’t know how, but he’s figured it all out.
“I’m sure as hell not a stupid man. I can do simple math. I know you wouldn’t have run away for the hell of it. Even if your whole life went to shit, you still had me and you knew it.”
“I’ve got to go. I’m sorry.” Screw getting coffee. If I stood there another second, I was going to break down.
Even as my feet carried me to the door, I could feel my heart trying to pull me back towards him.
“Just tell me who!” He barked after me.
My spine straightened almost painfully, the realization that he doesn’t know hit me like a semi-truck. “Who, what?” I whispered, not turning around.
“Who knocked you up?” This was growled from beside me. Right near my ear. The closest I’ve been to Law in fourteen years, and it physically hurt to have him so close in body, but emotionally, he’s never been further away.
I dropped my head. “It doesn’t matter.”
“Matters to me. Matters whose dick was so important you’d throw everything we shared away. Damnit, you dropped out of school and left town without so much as a note in my mailbox as to where you went. Do you know what that did to me?”
He tried to conceal it, but it was there, threaded through his words and his tone. And for me, it scored itself onto my heart. Next to all the other marks from leaving him in the first place.