Before I move on to the next themed blog series, now that I’ve finished the Marketing Primer series, I thought I’d share an excerpt from Memory’s Edge: Part 2. This is the book I’m currently working on hoping to finish in the next month.
By the time lunch finally arrived, Gretchen was exhausted on every level. She only dragged herself out of her chair to lock the door. Before she could accomplish the task, she saw Desi sprinting down the hall and opened the door for her. Her friend crashed into her, throwing her arms around her and squeezing her hard enough to hurt.
“I am so mad at you! You know that, right?” Desi demanded when she finally pulled back. “I called and called and called!”
Yanking her friend into the classroom, Gretchen locked the door behind her and headed for her desk. Desi plopped down on top of a nearby student desk and glared at her friend. Gretchen collapsed in her seat. “I want to say I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t face talking to anyone.”
“I was so worried about you! John too! It was like I suddenly lost you both!” Her hands flew up dramatically. “How could you do that to me?”
Seeing the tears in her friend’s eyes broke Gretchen down. “I’m sorry, Desi. I know it wasn’t fair, but I just couldn’t. I still haven’t talked to my parents, either. I couldn’t even go home.”
Desi huffed. “Thank goodness Carl at least had sense enough to let everyone know you hadn’t gone off the deep end. I would have banged down your door if he hadn’t texted to say you were alive and as emotionally stable as could be expected.”
“If you had tried to bang down my door, you still wouldn’t have found me.”
Seeming a little surprised by that, Desi asked, “You’re still staying at Carl’s?”
Gretchen looked away from her friend. “Do you remember what the inside of my house looked like before we left for New York?”
Desi sighed as realization set in. “Oh, honey, I’m sorry. I hadn’t considered all the wedding prep scattered everywhere. Of course you didn’t want to go home to that.” She reached forward and squeezed Gretchen’s hand. “Have you heard from John yet?”
Looking up at her, Gretchen stared in confusion. “Why would I? He’s not coming back. He has his old life back now.”
“Yeah,” Desi said, “but what about all the wedding stuff, the catering business, his clothes and things, everything he left behind.”
Blinking away tears, Gretchen said, “It’s not like he needs any of it now, and I’ll deal with the wedding stuff eventually on my own. It’s not his problem anymore.”
Wincing, Desi asked, “So you looked him up too?”
She didn’t want to admit it, but Gretchen nodded. “I can’t even comprehend how much money he and Corey have. There’s nothing he left behind that he can’t buy again.”
Gretchen glared at her friend. “It was the right choice.”
Propping her elbow on the desk, Desi dropped her chin into her palm. “I know, honey, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be hurt by his choice.”
“It was my choice as much as his. I’m the one who said goodbye and left the stage.”
“Because you knew what choice he had to make and did it for him so he didn’t have to.”
“It was the right choice,” Gretchen whispered as tears spilled down her cheeks.
Practically laying herself out across the desk, Desi ignored the fact that she was wearing a skirt and hugged her friend fiercely. “Sometimes right choices hurt worse than wrong ones.”
Gretchen clung to her friend for several long minutes before finding enough strength to pull back. “Thank you.”
She smiled and sat back up. They were quiet for a long time before Desi spoke again. “It’s going to be so weird without him here. Jake was so upset when he realized John wasn’t coming back.”
Gretchen instantly felt bad for not considering the impact of John’s leaving on anyone else in their life. Desi had gone through several boyfriends while John lived with Gretchen, but he and Jake had become very close over the last several months. Desi cared about him like a brother as well. And her parents…despite Gretchen’s mother warning her about the potential heartbreak loving John would cause, they both adored him and loved him like a son. They must have been as heartbroken over losing him as they were knowing she was hurting over the loss.
“I need to call my parents when I get home,” Gretchen said tearfully.
Desi smiled sadly. “We’re all going to miss him. I know it’s not the same for us as it is for you, but we do understand some of what you’re going through. Stay with Carl as long as you need to, but know we’re all here for you, okay? Whatever help you need to sort things out, all you have to do is call.”
Gretchen reached over the desk and hugged her again. “Thank you.”
They pulled back from each other and Desi sighed. “I better get going. I have to prep for my next class. Pottery week…” She shook her head at the impending mess and stood. “Call me later, okay?”
Gretchen nodded and watched her walk out. Another half a day to go. Then two more days until the weekend. Then one more week until spring break. She could last that long. Maybe by then she’d be ready to start putting her life back together.