Out of My Element(4)By: Taryn Plendl
I knew the exact second he figured it out, and I couldn’t even look away. I could see it all over his face, and Trevor and Ava were openly staring at us.
“Yep.” I confirmed his thoughts and set the salt down in front of him. I picked up my fork and dug into my pasta, trying to ignore to tension in the air. Ava and Trevor were still watching us, and Nick still hadn’t looked away from me. I didn’t want to do this right now. I had managed to push that humiliating evening out of my mind, and sitting this close to Nick wasn’t making it easy. As he stood next to my desk earlier, watching me work, I wanted to just take his smiling face and slam it into my desk. A little harsh, I realized.
“Is something wrong, Nick?” Trevor asked in complete confusion as he looked from Nick to me and back again.
I couldn’t help it. I started to laugh, causing everyone to turn their eyes to me. “I’m sorry.” I covered my mouth with my napkin.
“Care to share?” Ava’s mouth quirked up in a half smile. I was acting like a fool. I just shook my head and took a drink of my wine, trying to defuse the situation.
“It really is nothing,” I stressed without looking anyone in the eye. I felt as if I was totally losing it. The hurt and rejection from that night came flooding back like a bad dream. I took a few more bites of my food and pushed it away. “I’m so sorry guys, I hate to run, but I just remembered that I needed to do something.” I took out a twenty and laid it on the table. “Thanks so much for inviting me out. I’m sorry to run out.” I turned, raising my eyebrows at Nick, hoping he would take the hint and let me out.
“I’ll call you later, Chelsea.” Ava said with her eyebrows pulled together, obviously confused. Why wouldn’t she be? I don’t think I’d ever acted so crazy … at least not in her presence. I nodded and smiled as I said goodbye and hurried out the door.
I let out an enormous breath the moment I felt the brisk night air on my face. Shit, Chelsea! I was on the verge of being hysterical. I didn’t know if I wanted to laugh or cry. I honestly don’t know how I get myself into these situations, but what I did know was that I needed to stay far away from Nick.
I started back to the office building when I heard my name. Don’t turn around, I told myself as I picked up my pace.
“Damn it, Chelsea, wait!” I could hear his footsteps catching up to me. Well, here goes nothing. I turned to face him, hands on my hips, as people walked by without giving us a second glance.
“What do you want, Nick?” I questioned. Why did he have to be so damn cute?
“We … need … to … talk,” Nick panted as he tried to catch his breath.
“No, we really don’t.” I shook my head. “There is nothing to talk about.” I crossed my arms over my chest and waited.
“Shit, Chelsea, I don’t know what to say.” He ran his hands through his short hair. “That night is still a bit foggy, but we … uh … we kissed, right?”
I laughed. “Yeah, we did. Don’t worry about it, Nick; we can pretend it never happened. Oh wait, you already did … about five minutes after it happened.” I rolled my eyes and turned, walking away from him.
“Chelsea please,” Nick groaned as he grabbed my arm.
I turned around, shaking my arm loose. “Seriously, Nick, don’t sweat it.”
“I asked you to come home with me.” It wasn’t a question.
“You did,” I confirmed.
He closed his eyes and ran his hands over his face. “You said yes.”
“I did,” I confirmed again, watching as it all came back to him.
“Fuck, and then I …” I raised my hand and cut him off. I didn’t want to hear him say it.
“You did.” I nodded. “Goodnight, Nick.” I turned and started walking again.
“Chelsea, please don’t be mad. Let me make it up to you.” He dropped his shoulders, clearly defeated.
I took a deep breath and turned back around. The hurt and regret I saw on his face almost made my reserve completely crumble. “I'm not angry, I'm not sad, I'm not mad, I'm not even hurt anymore. You know what I am, Nick? I'm so disappointed that you are exactly who I knew you'd be. Why would I waste time giving you a second chance, when there are still plenty of nice guys out there waiting for a first?” This time when I walked away, he didn’t follow.