Like I Would


“Where the hell is he?” I grumbled, knowing I was being a little ridiculous. I mean, Carly and I weren’t even really friends anymore, it shouldn’t bother me that Jordan hadn’t came home last night, and wasn’t answering his phone, and wasn’t at his actual home. But it did. It ground on my nerves like nothing I had ever experienced before. I was just short of pacing the yard and leaving a shit ton of voicemails on his un-answered phone.

“What is your problem this morning?” Eric asked, walking by me on the way to the barn/gym. We’d converted it a couple of years ago, deciding it was easier than trying to constantly find a gym in town or nearby that had everything we needed in it.

“Jordan didn’t come home last night,” it was out before I could stop it, and it stopped Eric in his tracks.

“Okay… and you’re upset because…?”

“Because she’s going through enough without him hitting on her or god knows what else,” I hoped it sounded like a good enough excuse, but judging from the look on Eric’s face it wasn’t.

“I think there’s more to all this than that, Marc. I’m not stupid; why does it really bother you?”

I stuttered and stumbled over my words, trying to figure out how to tell my one deep, dark secret. I’d never said a word of her turning me down to anyone, and I doubted anyone except the two of us knew about it.

“It has something to do with why she left, doesn’t it?” he asked quietly. I finally nodded, sitting down on the weight bench.

“She… uh… well, um, you know Angie and I were really on and off again in senior year, right?” he nodded, confusion still marring his features.

“Well, I kind of had an, uh… epiphany – through all of the troubles we had, Carly was there. She got it, she understood, and I thought, I thought maybe the reason it wasn’t working with Angie was because I was in love with Carly. It made sense; she was everything I wanted and needed, and we understood each other and worked so well together. Like we were meant to be, you know? And I finally got the nerve to tell her that. I asked her to come to New York with me, give me the chance I hadn’t realized I’d needed. But she…”

“She said no…? But… but why? That doesn’t make sense!” Eric exclaimed, eyes wide as his voice gained volume.

“She told me that there was too many places and things she wanted to go to and see, that she couldn’t give me the things I needed and deserved. She told me that guys like me didn’t marry girls like her, and that was it. We graduated and that was all I saw of her,” I managed to choke out the words, feeling only slightly better after sharing my secret with Eric. He looked as shocked as if someone had told him he was adopted or something.

“I just… I don’t get it Marc. I don’t know why she would have said that; I mean, you two were it. Everyone could see it, we all knew it… it doesn’t make sense,” he shook his head, all but mumbling to himself at this point. He was prone to doing this, he worked through things better by talking, even if it was to himself.

“What do you mean everyone could see it?” I asked, the words sinking in as Eric flopped onto the ground beside the weight bench, legs crossed in front of him as he sunk into his thoughts.

“You’re kidding, right? You two were perfect for each other, and Oma and Opa were always asking if she was your girlfriend. We all just assumed once you manned up and asked her she’d be it. I thought that from the first time I met her, to be honest,” he admitted, and I felt the conflict of emotions inside of me grow worse. How had everyone known it for so long, except me?

“Maybe if I would have asked her earlier… maybe we would have had something worth moving for,” I whispered, feeling regret and pain and everything that I’d felt after that fateful night beginning to overwhelm me again. If only I hadn’t been so stupid… maybe things would be different.

“You still love her… don’t you?” Eric asked after a long slow silence between the two of us. I nodded, not bothering to cover that up seeing as he knew everything else.

“Maybe that’s why she’s here. Well not… I mean, maybe this is supposed to be a second chance, you know?” Eric asked, and I swallowed hard. That was far too much to even dream of.

“But nothing else has changed Eric; it’s even worse now. She lives in London, that’s where her life and her job are. I can’t ask her to give it all up! Not when she’s lost her dad,” I refused to give myself false hope, because I knew the letdown would be too painful.

“But you live in New York, Marc. One of the biggest cities in the world – and it’s almost the center of fashion, isn’t it? Isn’t that what Natalie always goes on about when you talk about being there? Who’s to say she wouldn’t move for that? Especially if she had you,” Eric’s voice became quiet and soft, and while tears threatened I was still trying to keep myself from believing him. It was too difficult to give myself false hope and then have it crushed… I’d done that a few times immediately after graduating when I’d run into her dad and have a chat and hear that she’d asked about me or something similar, only to have my heart torn up afterward. I couldn’t keep doing that to myself, even I knew that.

“She told me that it wouldn’t work, Eric. Why is that going to change now?”

“Because it sounds to me a hell of a lot like she just told you that because she wanted what she thought was best for you. You don’t do something like that unless you love someone, Marc,” was his solemn reply, before he got up and left the gym, abandoning his workout for the morning. I sat there, too stunned to do anything but try to wrap my head around what he’d told me. Even just the concept of Carly loving me was enough to make my heart speed up, jump around, do crazy things it hadn’t done since high school. Maybe that would be enough.
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