Alternate Point of View #1 – Chapter 5 from Katie’s POV
There he is. Yep, that’s him. I’ll never forget him. It’s difficult to wipe away the memories of your very first crush, especially when pictures of him line your mantel.
Oh God! He’s looking around the parking lot. Slouching down in the seat of my roommate’s car, I pray to God that he doesn’t see me. When he turns his back to the cars facing the coffee shop and struts through the door, my heart rate returns to normal.
Reid Connely. After countless attempts to get in touch with him, he’s finally here. And now, suddenly, I have no clue what to say. I know that what I have to tell him is going to turn his world upside down, but time isn’t on my side. I have to tell him. He has to know.
Nervousness permeates every cell in my body as I reach for the handle. Fuck! I can’t do this.
I need some moral support. Pulling my phone out of my pocket, I dial Megan, my roommate. Of course, because she’s the best person ever, she picks up on the first ring.
“You can do this.” She coaches from the other end before I can even get a word out.
Stammering nervously over my words, all I can come up with is, “But, what if…” before she cuts me off.
“There is no ‘what if’ here. You have to talk to him. He has to know. Put your big girl panties on and get your ass in there.” I scan the interior of her Corolla trying to find the hidden camera that she must have. How the hell does she know I’m still in the car?
“How the hell…”
“Did I know you haven’t even gotten out of the car yet? Because I’ve known you forever, that’s how. And I’ve heard this story from every angle. You did the right thing by calling him and now he’s finally doing the right thing by agreeing to meet you. Now, get your ass in there and talk to him and then call me as soon as you’re done. Okay?”
“Okay. Okay. I can do this. Thanks for the pep talk. I’ll call you in a bit.” I sigh into the line, but don’t hang up.
“You’re a good person for doing this and I love you. I’ll talk to you soon.” Her chipper voice makes me feel a little lighter, but I’m still nervous as hell to get this over with.
Hanging up with her, I feel a lump form in my throat and tears burn my eyes. I hope to God that she’s right. I hope I’m doing the right thing. I hope in the end of this, that Reid doesn’t hate me and that I don’t make an already shitty situation even shittier.
Stepping out into the parking lot, I pull my jacket around my chest. God, it is freaking cold out here. Yet, despite the chill in the air, I still find myself walking ever so slowly into the Starbucks where Reid is waiting for me.
When I finally get the courage to walk into the small campus café, my eyes land on Reid immediately. Standing in front of him, I swallow back my fear. Holding my hand out to him, I smile brightly and hope for the best.
“Hi. You must be Reid. I’m Katelyn Donovan.” I say almost unevenly. When he stands, his frame towers over me and his chair screeches loudly on the floor. Intimidated, by his size and the noise, I shrink back from him a little, but keep my hand extended. Shaking his hand is awkward, but at least he didn’t tell me to fuck off.
“Hi, Katelyn. It’s … uh…it’s good to meet you, I guess.” His words come out sounding unnatural, uneasy – as if he’s trying to conceal his true feelings. Okay, let’s get on with this, then.
I take my jacket off and drape it on the back of my chair and Reid takes his seat. The air is thick with awkward silence as we both avert eye contact for as long as possible.
His deep and curt voice catches me off guard. “I’m going to grab another coffee. Can I get you anything?” He asks politely even thought I think polite is the last thing he wants to be.
Alright, fine. Let’s see how he reacts to this then. Looking over at the brightly colored chalk board, I pretend as if I’m trying to make a huge decision about which caffeinated beverage I should have.
“Sure, I’ll have a grande, soy vanilla latte, skinny with a shot of caramel syrup.” Hmmm, take that. Maybe it’ll help break some of this tension.
“Um, okay, but can you write that down.” Reid snidely remarks after I tell him my order.
Oh I can’t help it; my eyes roll almost involuntarily. “I’m kidding. I’ll have a regular coffee; milk and sugar is just fine.” I really was just trying to lighten the mood a little. So much for that plan, I guess.
While he’s over on the line getting our drinks, I get a text from Megan asking how things are going. I quickly type back a response that “things are going just swell. We’re running away tonight and getting married.”
Her reply, an eye rolling smiley face, tells me that my sarcastic response was successfully received.
When Reid slinks back into his chair and slides my drink in front of me, my nerves return. Still unable to come up with anything to say, I feel lame.
He says, “So.”
And All I can come up with is a “so” in response.
Well that went over like a lead balloon. Reid’s features harden instantly and there’s a palpable tension building in around us. Leaning menacingly close to me across the small table, he seethes, “I don’t want to be rude, well actually I do, but I won’t. You’re the one who’s been calling me, who’s got something to say to me, so if you don’t start talking, then there’s really no point in me being here.”
I take a small sip of my coffee in the hopes that it will strengthen my resolve. It doesn’t, but he’s right. I’m the one who wanted this. I need to say something.
“You’re right. I’m sorry. I am the one who wanted to talk and here I am all clammed up. I actually sat in the parking lot for about fifteen minutes before I came in. I just don’t know where to start.” Rubbing my hands over my legs in the hopes of warming them up is futile. My heart is racing, but the blood refuses to warm my extremities. Perhaps it has something to do with the icy atmosphere of this conversation.
One more sip and here we go. “Can I ask you something first?” I can see a whole swirl of anger move across his face at my question.
Twisting the string of my hoodie around my fingers, I say, “It’ll help me figure out where to start.” He doesn’t answer my question; he just shoots me a look that I think means that I should continue.
The point of the last few weeks, of all of those phone calls was to arrive at this one question. Thinking back over everything that has led me to this exact moment is so overwhelming – so much so, that I can’t even spit out anything intelligible at first.
When I let my emotions settle, I finally ask, “When is the last time you spoke with your mom?”
My emotions might have just been checked, but Reid’s, well to say that he’s angry is a huge understatement. I guess I should have expected that. You can’t go digging into someone’s past, especially a past as dark as his, and not expect anger in return.