Author: jeepers09 PM
I hadn't thought about Jessica Blake in six years, not until the day she stepped into the street right in front of my car. Please, God, let her live. And please, please don't let her remember who I used to be.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 9 - Words: 7,743 - Reviews: 92 - Favs: 65 - Follows: 22 - Updated: 05-16-10 - Published: 04-26-10 - Status: Complete - id: 2800707
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
God, it hurts. The very same day I tell her I love her, I have to give her up. Her tears are like knives in my heart. There has to be some way, something I can say, something I can do. But there isn't and it's my own fault. I should've told her from the very beginning.
She takes a deep breath and pulls herself out of my arms and walks away. I watch her go into the house and the door closes behind her, and yet I just stand there. How can I go? She's in there hurting and I want to take away her pain, not cause it.
But I have to do this, for her. I go around the car and slide behind the wheel, pull the door closed, and look once more at the house before I turn the key. It hurts more than I knew I could hurt to drive away, but I do.
I've been back in the apartment for two weeks but it still feels empty somehow. I take comfort in knowing that today I will go on campus and register for my fall classes. My doctors and therapists think I'm ready, but I'm still not so sure. I ask merely to keep up, hoping that the practicing we did over the summer will keep me from looking like a fool. And with that thought comes a dull ache that washes through me. I miss Cory.
I try to shake the feeling away, but it stays firmly lodged in my heart. I don't want him to be Cory McConnell. I want him to be my Cory again. And I don't want to be the girl he remembers as Blake the Flake. I want to be the one he carried up and down the stairs so carefully, smiled at so tenderly, kissed so longingly.
I can't do this. I'm only making myself crazy. I look at the clock and decide to go early, because at my slow pace it will take me forever to get there anyway. I gather my things and totter down the stairs, clinging to the handrail and praying not to fall, and I don't. Another small step for womankind.
The morning is still cool, but soon enough the August heat will bake the ground. I wonder if I will regret refusing my dad's offer to get me a handicapped sticker for my car so that I can drive to class and park close. But no, I need to do it my way. On my own terms.
The first two blocks are easy. On the third, there is an uneven brick in the sidewalk and I stumble, but save myself. A right turn, and halfway down the next block I get a funny feeling and suddenly realize where I am. The street Cory wouldn't turn on. The street where I nearly died. I stop in my tracks and stare at the road, imagining the scene that, until this moment, I haven't remembered. The minutes tick away.
"Don't stop now, Jess," a voice behind me says gently, and I know who it is right away. "You're back. All you have to do is take the next step and keep going."
"I don't want to," I answer, and then I turn and look up into Cory's eyes. "Not without you." I hold out my hand toward him, and he reaches for it tentatively, as if he's afraid of hurting me again. I wrap my fingers around his and my heart starts beating again.
She's as beautiful as she has been in my head every minute of every day. As she takes my hand, the smile I've been longing to see lights her face. I know I should take it slow so I don't blow it, but I can't. "I love you so much," I whisper, and my heart is pounding as I wait for her to withdraw.
But instead she draws my hand closer, pulling me toward her. "Are you sure?" she asks.
"More sure than I've ever been of anything."
"Sure enough to kiss me, maybe?"
I shake my head, and I see the smile falter, but then I drop to one knee. "Sure enough to ask you to marry me," I say, keeping her hand in mine so she won't run away, even though I could catch her easily. "Will you, beautiful Jessica Blake, take the evil Cory McConnell to be your husband?"
"No," she says soberly, and my heart nearly stops. But then her smile comes back and she touches my cheek. "But I'll take this Cory McConnell. He's the one that I love."
I'm off my knee before I know it and lifting her off her feet with a whoop of joy, and she laughs happily before she wraps her arms around my neck and lowers her mouth onto mine. And when I finally let her down, I stop the next person walking by and offer them the camera I pull from my pocket. "Would you take our picture?" I ask. He agrees and I scoop her into my arms, and when he's taken the shot and returned the camera, I look over Jessica's shoulder as we look at the image on the screen. It's a fantastic picture, the first of many. She's making a crazy face, and I merely look crazy about her. It's perfect.