"Hey, man, we're closing in ten minutes."
The guy working the counter wipes down a booth for the millionth time, his smudged rag smearing water stains across the faded linoleum of the table.
I glance up from my writing. I don't recognize him from school, but I know who his boyfriend is. I know that he's sitting outside in his car, waiting for him to get off of work so they can spend the evening together. I know that I've been here for four hours and it looks suspicious. He thinks I'm going to hit on him, but I'm not.
I just want Jupiter back, is all.
"Yeah, alright," I manage. I finish off the rest of my coffee and stretch my fingers. They're cramped from writing for so long, but I want to finish this. I need to finish it.
I look back down to the stack of crumpled papers on the table. It is mostly completed, my story, but I don't know how to end something that never should have ended in the first place. I think for a few brief moments, aware of the waiter and his impatience, before finally scribbling a final sentence and signing my name. I rearrange the papers and fold them carefully. There are petals and photos already in the envelope. I have to move things around just to get the papers to fit, but I get everything in.
The guy nods at me as I leave and the flashing "Waffles!" sign flickers off for the evening. My bike is parked next to the luxury SUV idling in front of the doors, and I nod curtly to the driver. The tinted window on the Range Rover rolls down and Adam Waters sticks his head out, grinning. "Not hitting on my boyfriend, are you?"
I pause and stare at him. He's all dressed up and ready to go somewhere with the guy closing up the restaurant. A pile of clothes sits in the passenger seat, ready to be worn by the aforementioned boyfriend. I'm almost jealous of their relationship but decide not to be at the last minute.
Rule number one: Brian Carver does not do monogamous relationships.
I lift the thick stack of papers and shrug. "Writing," I say plainly. "Have you heard anything about Jupiter lately?"
A look of regret crosses over Adam's face before disappearing. "Last I heard, Natti was setting him up with some guy from the Bluffs. I'll hit you up if I hear of anything different, though. Rumors are rumors, you know?"
I look away from him to the bike. Natti, Jupiter's best friend, would say something like that; however, Jupiter's sister had sworn up and down that he was still single, still bitterly angry, and I believed her. I still do, considering the fact that Jupiter had never been interested in dating until I forced him to notice me.
"Thanks," I say finally. And then, "Have a good night, Adam."
"You too." He gives me a tight smile and watches as I swing a leg over the side of the motorcycle, start the engine, and drive away.
The drive from World Wide Waffles to Jupiter's apartment complex is short. I make it in a little less than ten minutes and find myself standing there in front of his apartment in the space of a few breaths. I stare at the door and the void of light beneath it, debating on trying the handle. It'll be locked, of course, but maybe he forgot. Maybe he's just asleep.
I decide to knock. My fist connects with the chipped blue door three times, sending out a dissonant tone of knocks that Jupiter may or may not hear. Millie, his cat, meows softly from the other side of the door. My stomach clenches and I lean down, pressing a hand to where I think she is.
"Hey, pretty girl," I coo, tapping with my nail. She meows—happily, maybe—and I can hear her paw rasping against the door. She would let me in if she could, I think, but Jupiter must not be home. If he was, Millie would be curled up in his arms, not running around the apartment.
I pull the envelope stuffed with papers from my jacket and feel its weight. This is everything, the front states. It has papers and a napkin with I love you and petals from the flowers I gave him the opening night of the school play. It is us entirely, the dates of our important times written in the margins of the college-ruled paper and little Jupiters drawn doing various things. There is a photo of us from the first week of school, one of him with his Valentine's Day gift (the cat), and one of us from prom, the day before everything ended. It is him, it is me, and it may or may not change everything.
Jupiter may or may not read our story. It's one he knows well, one he loved before I let it crumble. It's our story, pieced with my own commentary, and it's not much. It doesn't make up for the fact that I made him mine when he was perfectly okay on his own, and it will never make up for the vast black hole in place of where trust had once been. I judge it resting there in my hands. The envelope is Jupiter's favorite color, dusty blue, and it's stuffed full. For a moment, I consider throwing it away. Jupiter knows what happened. He listened to my excuses. He answered every single one of my drunk dials, and that never changed anything. What good will this shitty letter do?
It will do nothing, just like the person who wrote it.
Still, I push the envelope beneath the door.
About a million thank you's go out to I saw water for taking time out of her semi-insane schedule to fangirl over this with me and for reading it before it was posted. She's awesome, of course. :)
Also, thank you to anyone who reads, period. You're all amazing, and I will be returning all of the reviews you leave for this little piece of work.