Rightfully so. After all, here I am, two hours after Trey has left the city of Dallas, and I’m standing in front of Owen’s studio. Every day that I walk by his studio, I inconspicuously slip a piece of paper in the slot. I’ve left over twenty confessions in the last few weeks. I know he’s flooded with confessions, so there’s no way he would know which ones were mine. But it makes me feel better to leave them. Most of the confessions are trivial things that have nothing to do with him. They usually have to do with AJ, and I never write them in such a way that Owen would be able to tell it was me. I’m sure he would never even guess that I leave them. But it feels like a form of therapy, anyway.
I look down at the confession I just wrote.
I think about you every time he kisses me.
I fold it in two and slip it through the slot, not thinking twice about it. Since that moment between us in the grocery store yesterday, I can still feel him. I want to hear his voice again. I want to see his smile again. I keep telling myself that leaving this confession is just to get closure so I can move ahead with Trey, but I know it’s for purely selfish reasons.
I grab another piece of paper from my purse and quickly scribble words across it.
He’s out of town this weekend.
I slide the paper through the slot without even folding it. As soon as it’s out of my reach, my chest tightens, and I immediately regret what I just wrote. That wasn’t a confession; it was an invitation. One that I need to rescind. Right now. I’m not that girl.
Why did I just do that?
I attempt to slip my fingers through the slot, knowing the paper has fallen to the floor by now. I grab another piece from my purse and write something to follow up the last confession.
Ignore that confession. That wasn’t an invitation. I don’t know why I wrote it.
I slide that piece of paper through the slot and immediately regret that one even more. Now I just look like an idiot. Again, I tear off another piece of paper and write on it, knowing I should somehow get this paper and pen out of my own reach.
You really should have a way for people to retract their confessions, Owen. Like maybe a twenty-second return policy.
I slide that one through the door as well, and shove the paper and pen into my purse.
What have I just done?
I slide the strap of my purse up my shoulder and continue toward the salon. I swear this has to be the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever done. Maybe he won’t read them until Monday, and the weekend will be over.
It’s been eight hours since my slipup this morning as I was walking past Owen’s studio. I’ve had a lot of time to consider why I would even think it was okay to leave something like that for him to read. I know it was a weak moment, but it isn’t fair of me to do that to him. If he really did develop feelings for me in the short time I knew him, the fact that I refuse to be with him is out of his control. And then I go and leave stupid notes like I’ve been leaving for the past few weeks, even though today was the first day I actually left confessions that pertained to the two of us.
I’ve made my decision though, and even if I don’t feel for Trey the way he feels for me, I would never betray him. Once I make a commitment to someone, I’m the type of person who will honor that commitment.
We’ve had the discussion about not seeing other people, even though to me it still doesn’t necessarily feel like we’re even seeing each other. This means I need to somehow find a way to get over the thought of Owen. I need to stop worrying about him. I need to stop walking by his studio when I know there are different routes I could take. I need to put my focus and energy into my relationship with Trey, because if I want Trey to be a figure in AJ’s life, I need to be committed to making that relationship work.
And Trey has been good to me. I know his bout of jealousy in the parking lot yesterday scared me, but I can’t blame him. Seeing Owen and me together more than likely filled him with insecurity, so of course he’s angry. And he’s good to AJ. He could provide for us in a way that I can’t do on my own. There isn’t a reason in the world why I shouldn’t want to make this work with Trey other than my own selfishness.
“I’m leaving,” Donna says, peeking around the corner. “Do you mind locking up?”
Donna is the newest employee, and she’s been here for about two weeks now. She’s already got more clients than I do and does a way better job. Not that I’m bad at what I do, I’m just not that great. It’s hard to be great at something you hate.
She tells me good-bye, and I finish washing the dye bowls in the sink. Several minutes after she leaves, the bell chimes, signaling someone has entered the salon. I step around the partition in order to let whoever it is know that we’re finished for the day, but my words are caught in my throat when I see him.
He’s standing by the front door, looking around the salon. When his gaze falls on me, the song playing through the overhead speaker comes to a timely end and a heavy silence fills the room.
If I could feel for Trey even a fraction of what Owen makes me feel just standing across the room from me, I could probably make that relationship work without issue.
But I don’t feel this with anyone else. Just Owen.
He begins to walk toward me with quiet confidence. I’m not moving at all. I’m not even sure my heart is moving. I know my lungs aren’t moving, because I haven’t taken a breath since I stepped around this corner and saw him standing there.
He pauses when he’s about five feet away from me. His stare hasn’t deviated once, and I can no longer control the obvious rise and fall of my chest. His presence alone is causing me actual, physical turmoil.
“Hi,” he says. His expression is cautious. He’s not giving away a single ounce of emotion. I don’t know if he’s angry about my confessions, but he’s here, so he obviously knew they were from me. When I fail to return his greeting, he glances over his shoulder briefly. He runs a hand through his hair and then turns back to face me.
“You have time for a haircut?” he asks.
My eyes move to his hair, and it’s significantly longer than after the last cut I gave him.
“You trust me to cut your hair again?” I’m shocked at the playfulness in my voice. No matter the circumstances, things just seem so easy with him.
“That depends. Are you sober?”
I smile, relieved that he’s able to return the banter in the midst of our cold war. I nod and point to the back of the salon, where the sinks are. He walks toward me, and I walk around him, making my way to the front door to lock it. The last thing I need is someone walking in who shouldn’t see him here.