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Riding Red(46)

By:Alexa Riley

Chris came crashing in when I wasn't sure what I wanted from life. Feeling a little lost, like I didn't fit in anywhere. But with him, it felt like I fit perfectly. That I’d just been lost in my head, waiting for him to come find me and pull me out.

It’s why I can’t talk to him right now. I don’t want to hear what he has to say about everything. About who or what that woman was to him. I already feel like I could shatter into a million pieces.

Before he came along, I was so scared about the next chapter in my life and of what it was going to bring. College was the obvious next step. I had filled out the forms, made the grades, took the test, and had no problems getting early acceptance letters. Except the thing is, I don't want to go to college. I was driven to get in because I thought it was what I was supposed to do. Pushed from one world I didn’t fit into to another.

The dream of making a life with Chris and continuing to write was what I wanted. But part of that dream might be slipping through my fingers. When I told my mom today I wasn't sure I wanted to go to college, she told me she stood behind whatever I chose, that I’ve always been a smart girl and I would figure it out. I think she was so happy that I was showing interest in the opposite sex for once in my life. I can see dreams of grandbabies floating around in her head already.

It’s why I went so hard for Chris and didn't hold anything back. For the first time in my life, things seemed to line up. I pushed my insecurities away and went after him. Maybe this was all my doing. I pushed myself on him during a time he was vulnerable. Maybe he was still torn up about this woman, and I slid nicely into the role for him.

I’m so confused about where to go from here. I even talked to my mom about withdrawing from school. I have the credits to graduate. I don’t need to be there. I just need to decide what I want to do with my life, and a big portion of that involves Chris.

My mom was hell-bent on finding out who I was seeing. She tried incessantly to get it out of me. I was sure she would tell me that the feeling would pass and that I was in too deep too fast, she surprised me by telling me that from the first moment she saw my dad, she knew. They were inseparable from day one, so she made me feel better about heartache after such a short time.

In a perfect world I could get Chris. And I’d be okay with the fact that he wanted a family with someone else before me. It shouldn’t bother me, but it does. Maybe he still wants to be with her. She would probably fit him better. No sneaking around or having to deal with someone who has no idea what she’s doing when it comes to relationships. Someone like me.

The screech of brakes makes me sit up in bed. It’s followed closely by the sound of the front door slamming open.




I drove by her house a dozen times, and I couldn’t see a car in the driveway. I went everywhere I could think of. I decide to drive by her house again. I won't stop searching until I find her, even if it means I do it forever. When I see Janet’s and Phil’s cars out front, I tear into the driveway. I jump out and bust through the front door, shouting her name. I just have to see her. I don’t think I’ve gone this long without her since this all began.

I rush through the kitchen and see Janet standing there, her eyes wide with shock and worry. I must look like a mess, but I feel like I’ve gone crazy. I round the corner, and see Phil leaning against the door frame.

“She’s upstairs.”

His tone of voice is calm and knowing. I need to tell him. “Phil—”

“I know. I’ve known for some time, but I wanted you to man up and tell me.”

“I’m sorry about the way this happened, but I’m not sorry I love her. I don’t know why or how, but she’s the one. She’s it for me.”

He looks at me and searches my eyes, for what, I don’t know. But he must see what he needs, because he nods his head. “I won’t lie and tell you this is easy for me. She’s my baby girl, she’ll always be my baby girl, but I know she won’t find better.” He reaches his hand out to mine and I take his, thankful for his approval.

“What just happened?” Janet says behind me, and I see Phil smile sweetly.

“I’ll explain later, honey.”

“Get out.” Megan’s voice from behind Phil makes me snap to attention.

“Baby, listen. You’ve got to let me explain.”

“I heard everything. I thought I was special. I thought I was different. But you and that woman, you…you were going to marry her.”

A frustrating rage fills my veins and I want to scream. I take a deep breath and try to explain this as swiftly as possible. I need to take her hurt away. I can see she’s torn up about this, and I never intended for this to happen.