I was nervous about seeing Colton for the first time in weeks. He had no idea what had transpired between Jax and I…and I wasn’t sure I was ready to tell him. It was difficult to ignore his ear to ear grin as I greeted him at the door.
“This is some place!” He exclaimed, his green eyes dancing with excitement.
I giggled lightly; “yeah, Harper’s parents are loaded. Her mother is a therapist and her step-father is a neurosurgeon.”
“Damn,” was all he could muster up in response; still taken aback.
“Well, do you want to come in?” I asked; shifting slightly so he could enter the massive foyer.
“You haven’t seen me for a month and I don’t even get a hug?” He asked, perplexed.
“Oh…um, yeah, sure,” I replied, awkwardly before giving him the most embarrassing side hug in the universe.
“Whoa, what the hell happened to your hand?” A concerned look spread over Colton’s face as he gently touched my arm where the cast was.
“I broke my hand,” I answered simply.
“Yeah, I kind of gathered that…” He trailed off, obviously awaiting a better explanation.
“It’s a long story,” I replied, opening the door even further to allow him entrance. “You want a drink?” I asked as I led him to the back terrace where the gang was barbecuing and swimming.
“Yeah,” he responded, following me to one of the many kegs scattered around the enormous backyard. I was hoping he would forget about my broken hand so I wouldn’t have to tell him what had really happened.
I filled him up a plastic cup with the amber colored liquid. He downed it within seconds and then glanced back at me. “Okay, your turn.” He began filling up a second plastic cup before handing it to me.
“Thanks,” I replied flatly; no intention of drinking anytime soon; my trust issues sky high.
“Peyton, we need to talk,” He began softly, taking a step towards me.
“What do you want to talk about?” I asked, taking a small step away; hoping he wouldn’t notice.
“I meant what I said,” he replied, gently.
“And that was…?” I played dumb.
“You’re my future,” he repeated the same statement from the other night. He took my hand that wasn’t injured in his and my heart rate spiked; anxiety at an all time high. “I broke up with Tara.” He tucked my brown hair behind my ear.
Breathe, I had to keep reminding myself. Just breathe.
He reached for me with his arm and I dodged it, shaking violently. “Is everything okay?” I heard him ask from behind my back.
I was still shaking something fierce, but I knew it was unfair to Colton. He had never harmed me in the physical sense. Uncontrollably shaking as a result of him getting close was incredibly unfair. I finally turned back to him, captivating his attention, “I need to tell you something.”
I came clean about all the reasons I had been avoiding him. The look I had seen spread across his face when I told him I had never been kissed instantly taking over his face again, only to the highest degree this time. I hated people feeling sorry for me. That’s the same look I had come to recognize over the years due to my weight struggles.
I just wanted everything to go back to normal; whatever that even was.
“I’m sorry—“ he began before I rudely cut him off.
“Don’t,” I stated, simply.
“I’m just tired of everyone looking at me with that same look in their eyes,” I shot back.
“And what look would that be?” Colton tested me.
“Sympathy,” I spat, unable to contain myself. “Like I’m some kind of broken toy that needs fixing.”
“You’re different,” he stated the obvious.
“What did you expect?” I asked, incredulously.
His phone began ringing, the Script playing over the small speakers, filling up the silence. He pulled it out from his back pocket, glancing at the screen quickly.
The look on his face made it all too obvious who had been on the other side; all the color slowly draining from his face. “I thought you broke up with her?” I asked, not being able to hide my disappointment.
“I did,” he replied simply. “She’s having a hard time letting go.” He sat his plastic cup down. “I should actually be going.”
“But you just barely got here.” I looked up at him, his green eyes piercing through me.
“I know,” he began, running his fingers through his shaggy brown hair. “You know we played that gig at the Pixie last night and I haven’t really gotten that much sleep. And plus, I have to be up early tomorrow…our west coast tour begins on Tuesday. We have a lot of last minute details to tie up.”
“I know,” I pouted.
“We’ll hang out when I get back in town, promise.” He stepped towards me, hesitantly. “Am I clear to enter the premises?” He joked, lightly.
I nodded, mentally preparing myself for the closeness. My heart was still racing beyond control, but my body was not shaking anymore; progress had been made.