Well, this is my new creation. I felt that I didn't have enough stories up and the fact that school starts in two days was just another reason to start this story now. I dunno what inspired this but I'm in love with it already. My gosh, Ashland is so inspiring. I've gotten so many great ideas while I was here. I never ever want to leave. I hope you enjoy this story. It might seem confusing but it'll explain itself over time. If you have any questions, feel free to leave a review. Reviews are ALWAYS welcome. Hint hint. Ok, well enjoy this new piece to my collection.
The bell above the door to the hardware store jingled as it was opened but Landon didn't look up. It was about the time that elderly Mrs. Dotts came in for her daily bag of nails and he'd been getting them for her for so long that he could do it with his eyes closed. Plus, it had been an abnormally slow day and he was enjoying being lazy way too much. He was leaning against the counter going through the store's catalog when he heard a hush fall across the store.
His head shot up as he searched the store for the reason why the normally chatty customers had suddenly gone quiet. His green eyes widened with shock as they landed on the culprit as she made her way to the counter. She looked nearly the same with auburn curls that framed her face and the many freckles covering it that she tried to hide, unsuccessfully, with concealer. Her blue eyes still had the same spark and her smile crooked. The only difference was that her twig-like figure had finally filled out and she now had curves. Her beauty still took his breath away and made him want to hold her forever even after all that had happened between them.
"Hiya, Landon," she said in that familiar smoky voice. "How ya doing?" He nearly did a double take as she leaned against the counter so that they were nearly nose to nose. He quickly pulled away but not before inhaling her familiar orange scent. He still couldn't quite believe that it was her standing right there in front of him, in his very store.
"I'm doing OK, considering the circumstances," he said closing the catalog. "What are you doing here? I haven't seen you in-"
"Five years, I know," she cut in. "I'm sorry about that." He chuckled and shook his head at her. She frowned at him as he did so.
"Why are you sorry, Cordelia?" he demanded folding his arms across his chest in, what he hoped, was a menacing manner. "You're the one who left, you obviously weren't sorry enough." Cordelia stomped her boot clad foot and glared at him.
"I am trying to apologize to you," she said. She glanced around the store, finally noticing all the people staring at her and recognizing quite a few, though she didn't let on. They instantly looked away and started whispering to each other.
"Cordelia," Landon said trying to get her attention again. "Why are you here? In town. If I remember correctly, you vowed never to come back here. It says it all in the letter you left for me to find later on in our apartment."
"I'm cleaning out my dad's house," she said fiddling with her hands. "If you can remember, he had a heart attack a couple of months ago and passed away. I was the only person who could come to clean it out."
Oh, Landon remembered vividly. He'd been there when the ambulance's flashing lights painted the town's library blue and red and the town's people had clogged the street as they oggled. He kept the fact that he'd been the last person to talk to her father to himself.
"Yeah, I remember hearing about that," he said. "How's Helen taking it?"
"My mother is probably, at the moment, downing her fourth martini of the morning," Cordelia said. "She may have hated my father but she's still taking his death extremely hard. She's probably just bummed out about the fact that she can't insult him anymore." Landon nodded sympathetically. She sighed and pulled her curls back into a ponytail. He watched and was rewarded with another whiff of oranges.
"How long are you in town?" he asked simultaneously hoping that she'd stay for forever or leave that instant.
"A week at the most, and then I'm back to New York," she said. "I'm in this show and I can miss too many of the rehearsals."
"Right," he said his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Wouldn't want you to miss what you love."
"Landon, don't be like that," she said reaching for his shoulder. He shrugged her off and stepped back.
"Why are you here in my store?" he asked tersely. "'Cause I need to get back to work. I'd love to stay and chat about the old days when we were planning our marriage but I can't. Love to but can't." He shot her a bitter smile.
"I'm just here for some boxes but I can see that you're of no help," she snapped pulling her hand away. "I'll just go to Costco in the next town over."
"Fine," he growled. "Go do that, then."
"Fine, I will," she retorted. She turned around and stomped over to the door. As she reached for the handle, she stopped and turned around. "I really didn't mean to leave, ya know. I tried as hard as I could not to," she said and yanked the door open. She stepped out and slammed it behind her.
Landon let out the breath he felt he had been holding for infinity and buried his head in his hands. When he finally looked back up, all his customers were staring back at him.
"Why are you staring at me?" he demanded.
"Why the hell did you let her walk away again?" one woman asked. Landon scratched his chin thoughtfully as he wondered is she had kept the engagement ring he had given her and glanced out the window.
"She doesn't love me anymore," he said watching as the girl who had literally left him at the alter walked away again. "And plus, she's infuriating. Always has been and always will be."