Our Glass Castles
A/N: I'm back, I'm back. Going to work on this story one chapter at a time, I promise. I've been unable to get to the internet for awhile, so that's also why there hasn't been an update, for whoever's actually reading this. Sorry this chapter is short.
pArT – fOuR
The cold air felt good against my skin. I couldn't even remember the last time I'd taken the time to relish the cold weather in the morning; it was probably because I was always jamming myself into the car and racing off to work. I hardly ever had time to relax or do something I wanted to do, thus why I was out here running before my closing shift at the bar.
No, you're not going to think about work, I chastised myself, honing in on my breathing.
"Fancy meeting you here," a familiar voice drawled, and Arthur fell into step beside me. He looked way too good in his sweat-pants and sweatshirt, not like I noticed.
I groaned, not pleased at all to have him infiltrating my peaceful moment, "If you're going to be a jerk you can just go away. I get enough of that at work."
"Hey, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." His baby blue eyes widened and he stared at me with a sincere smile abroad his lips. "I promise I'll stop with the insults."
I slowed down, said, "Well, bye." Picking up the pace, I prepared to leave him behind.
"Can you tell me something before you abandon me on the wayside," Arthur shouted after me.
I rolled my eyes, figuring I would just ignore him. Those blue eyes of his couldn't charm me into forgiving him, not after the nasty things he said. But as I took another step away from him a round of guilt hit me and I sighed, knowing that I couldn't just walk away from him. Chances are, he'd probably been drunk in the grocery store too, and he should at least have a chance to explain himself.
"What do you want?" I asked, crossing my arms and jutting my head out.
Arthur's smile faltered as he approached me, and he asked, "What did I tell you, several nights ago, in the bar? I can't remember for the life of me, but when I woke up there were tear-tracks on my face and a shot-glass in my head."
"I didn't serve you, if that's what you're insinuating," I said with a frown. He looked rather tormented.
Arthur shook his head, "No, I know I did it to myself. My house was a wreck, bottles smashed everywhere. Please, can you just tell me what I said?"
I hesitated, said, "You told me that your wife had kicked you out, told you that she didn't love you anymore, that she told you you'd never be good enough for anybody." His face paled with each word I said.
"I'm a sloppy drunk," Arthur mumbled. "I apologize."
"I've seen worse," I told him with a cautionary smile. "So, your wife is kicking you out of the house?"
Arthur wiped a hand across his face, looked at his fingers as though it might bring his wedding band back. "Actually, no," he said after a long pause. "She kicked me out of the house several years ago. It's just, when I'm totally wasted, my subconscious seems to latch onto the one memory of her screaming and the way she told me I was a nobody." His voice trembled a little bit.
"Well," I began when he'd calmed himself, choosing my words carefully, "I suppose that it ended for a reason, then. I'm sorry to hear that things didn't work out." I smiled sympathetically at him, wondering how I would deal if David ever told me that I was worthless and that he wanted to divorce me. Although we technically weren't married yet, I thought of him as my soul-mate; my heart throbbed uncomfortably at the thought of losing him.
Arthur cleared his throat, beginning to jog ahead. I followed, quickly surpassing him; it felt great to run again, to feel the cold air circulating through my airways, to feel the sheen of sweat coating my skin.
"So, you like to run," Arthur said.
"Thanks, Captain Obvious," I replied with a laugh, smiling for real at him this time. "I used to run track in high school, but then I grew up I guess, and I just stopped. I wanted to get to the Olympics, but, you know, wistful thinking and all." I laughed.
"Not at all," Arthur said, looking at me in a peculiar way. "It's your dream, so why not fight for it?"
"My dream ended the night I got wasted and had sex with a guy I didn't even know. My dream ended when I found out I was pregnant." My breath sounded loud in my ears.
"A guy you didn't know?" Arthur asked, brow furrowing. "Wasn't it David, the guy you were kissing in the bar?"
I pressed my lips together, felt a little tingle of tears in the back of my throat. Then I shook my head, said, "I was dating David when it happened and I felt so guilty. We were already sleeping together, so I just told David that it was his baby. He's been the daddy ever since." I shrugged, trying to downplay it, but the memories came back anyways. Bodies pressing together, panting, limbs twisting between hot sheets. I hadn't told anyone the truth about Liam until now, felt it more prudent to keep one little secret to myself.
Arthur looked troubled again, but when he glanced at me I saw more understanding than I could have ever expected. The look touched me.
"You should probably tell David," Arthur said. "You guys look pretty serious."
"He's saving up for a ring," I said, regretting the half-lie. I hoped that a ring was coming, but we were struggling to keep ends meet. There was no way David could propose to me and get me an engagement ring at a time like this. But it sounded nicer to lie, so I did.
Andrew smiled, lips then, said, "Well, that's great. If you love him, you should tell him before he gets you that ring."
"Are you suggesting that the truth might be enough to send David running?" I asked shakily, speeding up and putting a little more distance between the two of us.
I turned around to give him another piece of my mind, but he was already gone. What the hell am I doing, I asked myself as I turned to jog back home. How could I just spill all my secrets to a stranger?
I just hoped that it wouldn't come back to bite me in the butt.