I slept fitfully after my conversation with Andi. Her words swirled around in my mind, haunting my dreams. Maybe I should give this Father stuff a chance. Maybe I was crazy for considering it. Maybe I should talk to Davis. Maybe I shouldn’t. Maybe we’d be better off alone. Maybe I should’ve handled the telling my sisters thing better. Maybe I was a traitor for talking to dad in the first place. Maybe… Maybe… Maybe. The maybes kept ringing incessantly in my ears.
I woke up, sweat dripping from my forehead.
“…here’s my number. So call me maybe…” my phone was ringing.
Maybe? What? I thought in a daze. What cruel person changed my ringtone to Call Me Maybe? I listened to the message.
“Kass, it’s Gage, we need to talk.”
Argh! I winced and hit my forehead. This conversation was inevitable. I looked at the time. It was almost 3:30. I had slept much longer than I intended.
I rolled out of bed reluctantly and took a fast shower, dressed, and raced over to Maywood Glen where Gage had asked to meet me.
Please don’t let him be mad.
“Hi Kass,” he said emotionless.
“Hi Gage,” I replied, out of breath.
I dropped my hands on my knees wishing I hadn’t run all the way over here. Gage gave me a funny look.
“It’s a beautiful day,” I added quickly as I straightened. “A walk was a great suggestion. The sun’s shining and the birds are singing…”
“Did you think I was an idiot?” Gage asked me, point-blank.
He didn’t waste any time at all.
“Uh… what?” I stopped suddenly, feeling anxious.
“Did you think I was an idiot?” Gage repeated, pointing to himself. “That I wouldn’t find out.”
“Gage,” I said, my voice breaking.
“I mean, I told you I loved you and you said you needed to think about it. I respected that because you’re my best friend, Kass… my best friend…”
His words knifed my heart.
“I trusted you. I…I loved you,” Gage’s voice cracked. “And you betrayed me.”
“Gage, I’m sorry,” I looked down at my feet. “I have no excuse.”
“Did you think I wouldn’t find out?” he asked coldly.
“Well… no… yes… I mean…” I hesitated.
I really didn’t know what to say.
“You were at the Jolt with him. And then he dedicated a song to you. A song!” Gage exclaimed, hunching his shoulders. “I guess that’s way better than just professing your love out of the blue on the back porch.”
“Gage… that’s not fair…” I said.
“I heard from Abe. Not you. Abe. My co-worker.”
“I kept trying to tell you, but the timing was never right.”
“Oh really? Did you actually try all that hard? You never actually thought about me did you? Not once!” Gage growled. “I mean, you practically went out and found a guy the day after I told you I loved you. What does that say about our friendship? Your concern for my feelings? Your care for me?”
“Gage! I’m sorry.”
“No, you’re not. You care about this Davis guy more than me so you’re not really sorry.”
“I am sorry.”
“No, no, no! No more lies! You never intended to give me the time of day, did you?”
“That’s not fair!”
“Really? You’re going to lecture me on what’s fair? I used to think I knew what fair was. I used to think you were a kind, sweet, genuine, and fair person. But now I think you’re a backstabbing betrayer.”
“You sure know how to break a guy’s heart.”
“Gage, stop! Please let me explain.”
“What’s there to explain? Are you in love with him? Did he weasel his way into your heart? He tricked you into being with him? Are you sleeping with him? Is that why you’re so blinded? So callous? So cruel?”
“How dare you!” Davis is a good guy. He doesn’t deserve this… you tarnishing his name! I don’t deserve this! If you were my best friend, you wouldn’t dare say something so untrue to me!”
“DAVIS IS A GOOD GUY!” Gage thundered. “I’ve been your friend for years… since we were toddlers. I was there for you when your dad cheated on your mom. I was there for you when parents divorced. I was there for you when you discovered your dad had EXCES. I’ve been here. I’m your friend. Your best friend. You’ve known him what? Two seconds? What gives him the right to steal you away from me?”
“I am not a piece of property, Gage,” I exploded. “I am not yours or anyone’s. I am my own woman. You don’t own me!”
“No, I don’t. And he doesn’t either. But at least I didn’t just backstab my best friend and run off with someone else,” Gage grunted.
“Stop it! You’re so not being fair. You’re not giving me a chance to explain. Please just calm down,” I pleaded with him.
“I just don’t understand,” Gage said tiredly, his shoulders sagging. “I don’t understand how you could do this to me. I’ve loved you for a long time and I… I trusted you with my feelings… and I didn’t think you’d be so quick to fail me. You… you… you picked someone else.”
“Gage, please, it’s not like that,” I sighed.
“Oh really?” he said, clenching his fists as tears filled his eyes. “Then tell me, Kass…” he sniffled. “…tell me how it is.”
I stood there silently, dumbly, unable to speak. My heart was heavy, my mind whirling, and my eyes misted with my own tears. I didn’t realize how deeply I had hurt Gage. I should’ve told him so much sooner, but I didn’t think he really cared that much. Idiot! Of course, he cares that much. He didn’t ask me to take the next step. He didn’t tell me he liked me. He said he loved me. And you left him hanging!
He wiped his nose. “No, don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.”
“Gage!” I protested.
“You’re not my friend anymore,” he said through gritted teeth and tears. “You don’t owe me anything. You crushed me.”
I stood, un-moving, watching my first friend in life walk away from me, knowing he wasn’t coming back. I’d lost my best friend. I felt numb. I couldn’t even cry. Gage was walking away from me, a broken man, and I had broken him. I cared about Gage, but not the way he wanted me to, and still, I thought I should feel something. Anything. I had just cried last night over my sisters and my dad, but I couldn’t cry over Gage. What’s wrong with me?
“Why don’t I care?” I howled up at the sky, and pummeled my fists at the unreachable clouds.
I dropped my head defeated.
“What am I going to do?” I whined.
I didn’t think you’d be so quick to fail me.
There was only one person who could help.
Chapter 23 Coming Soon!
- Will Kass be able to repair her friendship with Gage or is it permanently damaged?
- Who will Kass turn to now for comfort?
Author Changes: What’s different?
- Pictures have been edited.