Christ this sucks! When the fuck did I become so goddamn noble? I rest my head against her shoulder, not wanting to look at her, knowing I will lose any of the control I’m barely hanging onto at the moment. Our heavy breathing, from trying to catch our breaths, is the only sound that can be heard.
“Cupcake,” I say quietly, shaking my head against her shoulder, not knowing what to say.
Before I can find the words though, she starts scrambling off me like her ass is on fire. “Oh god.”
I grab onto her hips as she stands, trying to stop her from careening back off the fucking steps in her haste. “Whoa, baby, calm down.”
She slaps my hands away. “No, let go. I’m fine, really.”
She races to her front door but I grab onto her wrist before she can get too far. “Grace, what the fuck?”
She rips her hand out of my grip and holds onto the door like it’s her lifeline, “Sawyer, please just go; I need to be alone right now.”
“I disagree. I don’t think you should be alone at all.”
As I start walking closer to her, she holds her hand up to stop me, looking fucking scared, like I’m going to hurt her or some shit.
“Please, Sawyer. I’ll be fine, I promise. I’ve been through far worse than this. I will get through it; I just need time. I need to do this on my own. Please understand.”
Then, before I can say anything else, she high-tails it into the fucking house leaving me on her front steps, wondering what the fuck just happened.
The pounding on my door pulls me from my half-ass sleep.
“Grace, girl open up. We aren’t leaving till we see your pretty little ass. Don’t make me show you my ninja moves and break down this door.”
I groan from Kayla’s insistence. Knowing she isn’t goin’ anywhere, I reluctantly pull my self-pityin’ butt out of bed and go answer the door.
As soon as I swing it open I come face to face with the two girls who have come to mean a lot to me. When they get a look at my pathetic state and red puffy eyes, they charge in and wrap their arms around me.
“I’m so sorry, Grace,” Julia whispers softly.
“Thank you. Come in. Y’all want some tea?”
“No, we’re fine. Come sit down and talk to us,” Kayla says, pullin’ me to my couch. They both sit on either side of me and wrap a comfortin’ arm around my shoulders.
“Well there’s not much to say. I’m guessin’ you know how bad it went, since I never texted y’all last night. I’m sorry I didn’t. I just needed last night to myself, to try to sort out what happened.”
Julia shifts uncomfortably, “Well, we figured things didn’t go well when we never heard from you, but Sawyer also texted us last night and told us to make sure we come see you this morning, which we were already planning to do.”
Humiliation burns deep at the mention of Sawyer’s name. I drop my head and can’t help the tears that start to fall. They rub comfortin’ circles on my back, “To sum it up quickly, my father doesn’t want anythin’ to do with me. He hid us in the back of the restaurant where no one could see me, and offered me money to keep quiet, which I didn’t accept.” I go quiet for a minute while trying to keep myself together. “What hurts the most is knowing he knew about my Mama,” my breath hitches painfully as I admit that. I look at the girls. “He knew and he still never came for me, and because of it I lived with a horribly cruel man. My bastard father thought $50,000 would make up for it.”
As I cover my face, and cry into my hands, Julia and Kayla rest their heads on either side of mine. I feel their tears mix with my own.
“I know you’re the one hurting right now, Grace, but believe me when I tell you that this is his loss, not yours,” Julia says tearfully.
“Yeah, clearly he’s a real son of a bitch, and you don’t need someone like that in your life. You’re better off without him.”
I nod, knowing they’re right, but it still doesn’t stop it from hurtin’. A comfortable silence falls over us for a minute before I decide to finish off the story.
“I thought my night couldn’t get any worse, but then I had to go and humiliate myself.”
“What do you mean?” Kayla asks.
“Sawyer found me on my front steps last night. Of course bein’ the nice guy that he is, he tried comfortin’ me, and what did I do? I attacked his sexy butt, then got majorly rejected.” I shake my head. “I’m so embarrassed. I totally misread things with him.”
“Don’t be embarrassed, Grace. I don’t think you misread things at all. I think Sawyer cares a lot about you.”
I shake my head again. “Not that way, Julia, and I should have known. I was stupid to think that someone like him would want me that way.”
“Grace Morgan, don’t you dare talk that way about yourself or I’m going to ninja-kick your ass. Any man, Sawyer included, would be damn lucky to have you,” Kayla says firmly.
“Thank you for sayin’ that, but it doesn’t matter anymore,” I reply sadly.
“Julia’s right, Grace. He does care a lot about you. You should have seen how worried he was when you never texted. He was like a caged animal.”
Of course he was, because that’s Sawyer. I’ve come to learn he has a big heart, but I am no fool. What was the best kiss of my life, and made me feel more than anyone ever has, was not the same for him.
“Can we not talk about him anymore?” I feel bad sayin’ that, but it hurts too darn much.
“Sure,” Julia replies, “but, Grace, please know you can call us anytime you need us. No matter what, you always have Kayla and me. We want to be here for you, so please let us.”
I nod, “I will. Thank you. I will be all right. Yes, it hurts a heck of a lot right now, but I will get through this. I have gotten through much worse.”
Kayla shifts nervously now, “Grace, hun, you have never told us where you were before here, and I respect your privacy if you don’t want to share it, but by the sounds of it, maybe this is something you should talk to Coop about. It sounds like where you were before wasn’t a good place.”
Fear and anxiety spikes hard and fast. I shake my head frantically, “No! No, I just want to forget that part of my life.”
Kayla must be able to tell I’m going to lose it. “All right. You don’t have to; it was just a suggestion. Maybe you will change your mind later.”
“Maybe,” I lie softly.
Never. Never will I come face to face with that man again, not for any reason.
“FUCK!” I throw the hammer across the room after smashing the goddamn thing on my thumb.
Cade and Jaxson stop what they’re doing and stare at me.
“Want to talk about it?” Jaxson asks, making shit even more awkward. I look over at him and give him a ‘you’ve got to be shitting me’ look.
He shrugs, “What? I’m not into fucking mushy shit either, but you have been an asshole all week and we’re getting fucking sick of it. So maybe if you get it off your damn chest we can go back to shit being normal again. It’s fucking weird to see you like this, man. This shit is expected from me,” he replies, “not from you.”
“No, I don’t want to fucking talk about it. There’s nothing to say.”
Except that all fucking week Grace has been ignoring me. At first, every text I sent she would give a short, polite reply. Then she just stopped answering altogether. I would show up at the diner and she wouldn’t look at me, or barely talk to me. She would pretend to be too busy and send the new chick to wait on me. And quite frankly I’m goddamn sick of it.
Breaking out of my pissed-off thoughts I realize they’re still staring at me. “Oh for fuck-sakes,” I grab my jacket, “I’m leaving and I’m going to figure this shit out. I’ll see you guys later.”
I walk out of the gym and get into my truck. That girl is going to fucking talk to me for once and for all.
Not even five minutes later I walk into the diner. It’s after the supper rush so things are quiet. I see the new girl that Mac hired, but not Grace.
Maybe she’s not working tonight.
I ignore the new girl walking towards me and head right into the back to see Mac. “Is Grace here?”
He looks at me for a minute, deciding whether to tell me or not. He’s got another thing coming if he thinks I’m leaving without talking to her. He must realize this, because he lets out a deep breath and says, “She’s out back, looking for that damn dog.”
“Thanks.” I head down the hallway and turn left to see Grace leaning against the open back door, with her arms crossed. Even though I can only see her back I can tell she’s fucking sad, which simmers my temper a little.
I clear my throat gently, not wanting to scare her, but she turns around startled anyways with a hand on her throat.
“Sawyer, you scared me,” she looks around nervously, “what are ya doin’ back here?”
“I came to talk to you.”
She begins to move away from the door, “Sorry, now’s not a good time. I need to get back to work.”