The story so far:
He took her hands in his lightly, taking a deep breath, “Avery, you know I care about you a lot, right?”
She nodded hesitantly. Her stomach twisted inside of her as she prognosticated the results of this conversation.
“This is why I need to do this.” He took another deep breath slowly. “Over the past few months, we’ve been growing apart and…”
Her eyes moved to stare at the light filtering in through the window behind him. In the empty hallway, his voice was thunderous despite the gentle tone.
“I think it’s time that we both moved on to bigger and better things.”
Ouch. She cringed slightly at his choice of words.
Jake seemed to realize his mistake, struggling to fix it. “No, you’ll always be special to me. I mean… I think it’s time we start to see other people.”
His words stung despite the soft delivery. She could feel her eyes starting to water. She blinked furiously to hold it back. She couldn’t cry in front of him. It wasn’t as if she couldn’t have predicted this fate for them.
“Are you ok, Aves?”
She nodded slowly.
Of course she wasn’t.
She had just been dumped.
Jake pulled her into a gentle embrace, one which she could not return. Her arms hung limply by her sides as he pulled their bodies together.
Though they’d only been together for four months, she still felt like her world was crumbling around her. It seemed surreal that he was finally ending it. Her yearlong crush, her boyfriend, her world was finally ending out relationship.
Suddenly, the thought of being single seemed to sting.
He pulled back after a few moments to give her one last look, “We’ll still be friends. You’re an amazing girl, Avery, but it won’t work between us.”
She stared off into the distance. Jake seemed to realize that he couldn’t say anymore without her breaking out into tears. He gave her a slight nod before walking away.
She stood in my spot in the middle of the hallway for some time. She wasn’t sure if she could move her legs properly to leave. Everything seemed to stop before her.
She had just lost the boy that she had thought was her world.
Arms wrapped around her body as she was pulled into another hug. This time she closed her eyes, returning the show of affection. Water leaked through her closed lids and spilled down her cheeks. Droplets landed softly onto the fabric of the embracer’s shirt.
She didn’t seem to care.
“I couldn’t help myself, Avery.” Karen apologized, “I had to eavesdrop. I had the nagging suspicion he’d do this. I’m so sorry, sweetie.”
This was nothing she could control.
Jake had been right. They were simply too incompatible with each other for anything to work between us. His move was for the better.
Though she doubted they’d stay friends.
She cried silently on her friend’s shoulder as she was comforted. Minutes seemed to pass by in seconds. Time was lost with her as they stood in the school’s hallway together.
Eventually, Karen decided it was time to leave. She gently directed Avery in the opposite direction she had come from toward the exit of the school. It was close to four in the afternoon now, and clubs would be releasing soon.
No one needed to see Avery like this now.
Standing around the corner, watching at a distance, Tyler ran a hand through his hair. He knew it was tough on Avery. She needed to focus on her grades now. And her friends. Jake had been good for her.
He didn’t understand why Jake ended it. Avery was perfect for him. They were the couple that would last forever.
As much as he wished she would’ve been his, he knew that it was too dangerous for them to start a relationship.
After all, her life had been threatened only a few months ago.
Tyler leaned against the wall, falling into a sitting position. He braced his hands against his knees as he contemplated his actions.
Avery was in a fragile state of mind. She needed time to rediscover her old self through this labyrinth of fear she was in. Ever since that night…
And the fact that Bentley had never been caught…
Tyler stood up, rubbing his eyes.
The answer was obvious now. He knew what he had to do. Despite his body telling him to do exactly the opposite, he knew his actions would be for the better.
She would understand.