Status: Just starting!! :)

Two Different Worlds Collide

twenty one.


“Hey sweetie, how you feeling?” I groaned as I rolled over, opening an eye to see Alice standing over me. Once we’d finished our movie last night – most of the wine also gone – between the three of us it was a mess of crying and talking about exes and problems and when Riley had got home he looked pretty alarmed at the three of us. We’d assured him we were okay, and while he didn’t look convinced he hugged Liza and I goodnight, gave Alice a sweet kiss and then retreated down the hall to his bedroom.

“Okay… how about you?” I asked, and she just shrugged, sitting down beside me and putting her hand on my knee. Liza was still sleeping, snoring softly from her pile of blankets on the loveseat.

“Jared’s called you a bunch of times – Riley said he’d called him this morning too to see how you were before they left,” her voice was soft, and I knew she felt like she had to tiptoe around the subject. I’d admitted to having feelings for Jared that stretched beyond what it should be for only knowing him for a few days and only being here for a week. Cue the question about my bawling at the bar, and I explained more about the Chad situation than I had told anybody before, which made Liza burst into tears. That had led to Alice explaining the whole Tasha situation – beyond what Jared had told me, things he probably didn’t even know that the other girlfriends of the team did – and then Liza admitting to really caring about Brett and the whole thing. That led Alice to tears about how much she hated still going to university so far away when Riley was here and soon it was a huge sob-fest.

By the time we all calmed down we were exhausted, and had all made ourselves comfortable in the living room. I’d woken up when Riley had made his way out to the living room to check on us, and he’d just smiled knowingly at me before whispering goodnight, tucking the blankets in around his girlfriend and kissing her forehead before going back to his bed.

Now I was afraid to reach for my phone. I didn’t know how to face Jared after that – I hated girls who made scenes when they were out for attention, and look at what I’d done. Not only that, but I’d probably ruined what should have been a perfect night out with his team and his brothers after a huge win.

“He’s worried about you Cheye, he really cares about you,” Alice continued, and I nodded, holding my pillow closer as she gently rubbed my back.

“It would be so much easier if he didn’t, because leaving is going to be the worst thing I’ve ever done,” I told her, and saw her expression fall. She pulled me into a hug, and I squeezed her back tightly.

“Oh Cheye,” she cooed, letting me sniffle and try to get a hold of myself.

“Let’s make some breakfast, yeah?” she suggested, and then I realized that Riley was nowhere to be seen.

“He went out for breakfast with some of the guys,” she explained, having guessed what I was wondering about. We started making pancakes, and Liza woke up once they were starting to cook on the griddle. She walked out to the kitchen and sat down, yawning. My phone buzzed again, and while my hands shook a little bit I ignored it, knowing I wasn’t stable enough to try and apologize to Jared for the way I’d acted last night. Alice sent me a concerned look, but didn’t say anything about it. She understood better than I’d thought, and I was incredibly glad for her and Liza. I knew I’d been stupid to let myself care that deeply about Jared, but I hadn’t been able to keep myself from falling anyway.

We ate quietly, glad for the strawberries and whipped cream that Alice had put in the freezer on her last visit down to Charlotte, so we had that on top of our pancakes. My phone buzzed twice more in the time we were eating, but Alice made a point of starting another small conversation about something random. When we’d finished and done up our dishes I finally got the nerve to check my phone. A couple of missed calls, several text messages, and a quick voicemail, all from Jared wondering if I was okay. He didn’t push about what had happened, just voiced his concern for my wellbeing.

I walked to the living room and sat down on the couch, working up the courage to call him back and let him know everything was all right. Alice urged Liza into the shower, and went into the bedroom, giving me the space to call him.

“Hello?” I almost smiled at the groggy salutation, realizing Jared was probably hung over from the bar last night.

“H-hi Jared, it’s me,” I quietly answered. Jared let out a long breath, and I couldn’t tell if he was excited or upset.

“Hi, are you all right? You, uh, seemed pretty upset last night,” he was cautious with his words, making me feel even worse.

“Yeah, I’m so sorry about that Jared, I probably ruined your night—”

“No, Cheyenne, you didn’t. I was um, wondering if we could talk, later? I’m sorry I didn’t get to say goodbye in person; I had to get on the plane so I hardly had time to say goodbye to Jordan and Eric… I’d forgot we were leaving this morning,”

“No, Jared it’s fine, honest. Do you guys play tonight?” I asked, wanting to change the topic.

“Yeah, Rockford,” he confirmed, and we chatted for a few moments before I heard the guys telling him he needed to get ready for practice.

“I, uh, have to go, sorry,”

“N-no, it’s okay. Good luck – kick some ass tonight,” I told him, and he chuckled.

“Will do – have fun,” and with that we hung up. I leaned back hard on the couch, and Alice put her arms around me, Liza leaning her head on my shoulder.

“Well, how about I show you two girls around? We have three boy and drama free days, so we’ll go see all the weird things there are to see in Charlotte, head to Raleigh and then see the ocean, okay?” Alice suggested, and I nodded. I needed something to clear my head.

So we showered and got ready before heading out. We went to a couple of museums, went for lunch, then went shopping. That night we went to see a musical – Jersey Boys – and the three of us crashed at our hotel room, seeing as it was closer and Alice had decided we would make the trip out to see the ocean, leaving after breakfast in the morning.

Alice kept us so busy that we hardly even noticed the day had passed. Most people probably thought we were crazy at the beach, wading in to our ankles when everybody else was walking around in pants and sweaters, but a couple of girls close to our age offered to take pictures of the three of us together. We spent the whole day out by the ocean, and came back halfway to stay at Alice’s friend Marcy’s house. She was having a party that night, so we met a ton of other people too. It was fun, but it was lonely, and when my cellphone rang I excused myself outside to answer Jared’s call. It was short and sweet – they’d lost their game last night but were feeling prepared for the one tomorrow night, and that he’d be able to see me in the morning on Thursday. After wishing him luck we hung up, and Liza brought me back to the party, even though the three of us went to bed not long afterward.

Wednesday morning was spent driving back to Charlotte, and we just chilled out when we got back, before watching the Checker’s game on TV. They won in overtime, and Jared phoned me about forty minutes after the game. It was nice to talk to him again; he was asking me about how his game had went, and I liked being able to feel like I was doing something positive for him – pointing out little things I’d noticed, complimenting the nice plays he’d made, that sort of thing.

“He really means a lot to you,” Alice said, startling me. I didn’t realize she’d walked back into the living room.

“He does. I wish like hell he didn’t, but he does,” I agreed, keeping my eyes on the TV screen ahead of me. I fiddled with my phone, and Alice sighed.

“He cares about you Cheye, even Riley noticed that he’s different around you,” she told me. I sighed, letting my head drop to my knees.

“That makes it worse Alice. I’m leaving the day after tomorrow, and I’ll probably never see him again. I don’t want to care about him, and I don’t want him to care about me because odds are it’ll never work,”

“Sweetheart you don’t know that, look at me and Riley – I’m going to school in Winnipeg, and we make it work,”

“I couldn’t even make a regular relationship work, how the hell would I make a long distance one work?” I bit back a sob then, and she pulled me in for a hug.

“Because Jared isn’t Chad; he isn’t ever going to treat you the way Chad did Cheyenne. Jared is a really sweet guy, and Tasha was stupid to not have realized what she had. Girls are all over him because of how he is, not just because he’s a player on the team Cheyenne. And you, you lucky girl, happen to be the apple of his eye. He falls hard, and he falls fast, and he’s head over heels for you, and I know you feel the same way about him. So why you won’t give it a chance I don’t know,” she sighed, and then the tears began to stream down my face.

“Do you know what it’s like to feel like no matter what you do, you’ll never be good enough?” I asked, and she shrugged.

“I don’t know, I mean, there’s lots of things I’m insecure about, but,”

“I mean, no matter what, there’s nothing that would make you good enough. Or pretty enough, thin enough, smart enough?” I asked, and she shook her head. “I’m those things, Alice. I’m not good enough for him and I know it. I know Jared’s an amazing guy, and he deserves somebody amazing. He doesn’t deserve some stupid university student who has dreams of making it with singing and who’s ex dumped her because she wasn’t skinny and pretty enough or dressed the right way,” I sobbed, and she held me tighter.

“You’re all of those things sweetheart, the only person who hasn’t realized it is you,” she whispered, but I shook my head.

“Cheyenne?” I looked up to see Liza standing between the kitchen and living room of Riley’s apartment, looking like she didn’t know what to do. She’d been on the phone with Brett, and had perched herself in the laundry room to have a private conversation with him while I’d been on the phone with Jared and Alice on the phone with her boyfriend.

“I think we better haul out what’s left of our junk food,” she decided, and Alice nodded.

“Riley’s got a couple boxes of beer in the fridge,” she offered, standing up and pulling one out, setting it on the coffee table before popping the top off of one bottle and pushing it into my hands.
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