Finding Perseverance(10)By: T. E. Black
“See you,” I reply before hanging the phone up.
My hands are shaking, and I wrap my arms around myself to try to calm them as well as the twisting that is going on deep in my stomach. Why the hell do I feel like this? The last time I saw him was when his mom passed away, and it was horribly awkward.
“Is this place still cash only?”
The bar glass I’ve been drying with a towel drops to the tile floor, smashing into pieces around my feet. I turn around in a swift motion as his voice echoes through every part of me.
He’s still as tall as I remember, but now he’s a hell of a lot bigger. It’s been over nine years since I’ve seen him, and Rook looks drool worthy. He’s always been attractive, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen him in person.
“Don’t look so happy to see me, Leigh,” he jokes, taking a seat on a barstool.
My frozen expression finally breaks, and I smile.
“What are you doing here, Rook? You should be with Trent. He needs you.”
Trent hadn’t handled his mom being sick, and he was handling her death even worse.
“Do you want the truth?” He leans forward on his elbows.
“That’d be nice.”
“I got to the funeral, and I kept thinking you’d be in the front row, mourning for my mom. But when I looked, you weren’t there. I found it kind of odd, you know? Every time I talked to Mom, she’d mention you were there, or that I just missed you. So, it was a surprise when you didn’t show up. Then, I went up to the casket to play Mom’s song with Trent, and out of the corner of my eye, I see the same blonde locks I would know anywhere, peeking around a tree. You wanna tell me if I am crazy, Leigh? Because I can’t wrap my head around the fact someone who loved my mother so much would be hiding out as if she didn’t have a right to be there. Then, I ask my brother where you were, and he says you two weren’t on good terms.”
“Rook …” I plead.
“No, Leigh. Tell me what’s going on. Because here I’ve been thinking I was crazy for the last two hours. Surely, the woman my mother considered her daughter had a good reason for not showing up to her funeral. So, what’s the reason? What could’ve possibly happened to keep you in the shadows?”
This time, he pushes it too far. How dare he accuse me of not caring about Cynthia. I don’t give a shit if he’s grieving or not. The only reason I was hiding at her funeral was because Trent didn’t like the things I had to say to him. He was angry at me for saying he chose to do drugs. He was even more angry at me for telling him he was going to ruin Shay and Abby’s lives if he got involved with them. I told him the truth, and for that, he iced me out completely.
“You know what? Fuck you, Rook! You think you can waltz in this bar like you own the place? You think you can ignore your friends for over nine years and come in here placing blame wherever you want to? No! It doesn’t work like that,” I seethe.
“You think it’s been easy around here while you were gone, being the mighty Rook ‘The Reaper’ Wallace? I can assure you, things have been anything but easy! Your mom was sick, and you didn’t come home. Your brother was too busy shoving cocaine up his nose to deal with life, and do you know who was left to pick up the pieces? Me, damn it. So, don’t act like you know a goddamn thing when you don’t.” I slam a bottle of Sam Adams—his favorite beer—in front of him and walk away. Screw him. I’m done.
The memory of that day pisses me off once again. Rook has always had a way of doing that. He gets me riled up. The funny thing is he’s also the one who can calm me down. It had taken me all of twenty minutes for me to stop hating him, but when I had come out of the office, he was gone.
His barely touched beer sat on top of a napkin, which was covered in scribbles, and a fifty-dollar bill. When I picked up the napkin to get a closer look, I almost died. For the first time in his life, Rook apologized.
Leigh, I’m sorry for being a dick. You didn’t deserve that. Call me if you want to talk. (555) 555–555
After days of wanting to light that fucking napkin on fire for giving me resources to find him, I caved. I called him. Unfortunately, I loved every second of it.