Messaging Colton would be the normal thing to do.
I lifted my head and gently lowered it back to the desk. Rinse and repeat. What was I doing, other than banging my head on a desk? Because that wasn’t weird or anything. Okay. I needed a plan. My heart skipped a beat when I lifted my head and saw my cell. I could text him, something small. I could totally do it.
Snatching up my phone, I tapped the screen and then the little green message icon. My pulse was kicking around as I hit Colton’s name and started typing out the first thing that came to mind. I didn’t let myself stop and think about it or let myself feel stupid for typing it out. The message was just four words.
I miss your crepes.
Okay. That was kind of a cute message and sort of stupid. A lot stupid. Before I hit send, I deleted the message.
I was such an idiot, geez.
I didn’t text Colton and I didn’t hear from him.
My life had been so crazy the last two weeks it was almost hard to believe that only that short amount of time had passed. I didn’t know how to feel about witnessing a murder, knowing one was dead, and the other one, the shooter, would soon be—hopefully—apprehended.
I didn’t know how to feel about a lot of things.
Actually, that wasn’t entirely true. When it came to Colton, I knew exactly how I felt. Crappy. I didn’t think his text Monday was an excuse to not see me. After all, after what happened, he would be busy, and since he normally worked on Tuesday, I wasn’t expecting a visit.
I didn’t get one either.
And he hadn’t texted or called. There was a part of me that wanted to listen to the small and probably more reasonable voice that claimed his lack of contact didn’t mean anything. He had to be busy, and I also hadn’t reached out to him. Mainly because I didn’t know what to say.
I still couldn’t believe I had asked him that question. If he was angry, which I knew he had been even though he’d said I hadn’t needed to apologize, it was within his right. Insinuating that he had some kind of ulterior motive to spending time with me and doing the things we had been doing was downright insulting.
I’d fucked up.
And as Jillian sat on the edge of my couch early Wednesday evening, watching me pace back and forth in my living room, I told her just how badly I’d fucked up while she sipped the latte she’d brought with her.
“So, that’s about it.” I dropped down on the couch, eyeing the cappuccino she’d brought me. It was all gone. “Not only does he probably think I’m a jackass, he also knows I have the confidence of a sewer rat.”
Jillian frowned from behind the rim of her cup. “I don’t think he believes you’re an asshole. He told you not to apologize.”
“That’s because he’s a good guy and he’s not mean to anyone. Even in high school he was that way. Standing up for the kids that got picked on and friendly to everyone, and this last week has taught me he hasn’t changed in that department.” I grabbed the empty cup and stood, unable to stay seated. I walked into the kitchen, tossing it in the trash. “If he thought I was a jackass, he’s not going to say anything.”
“That may be true, but I just don’t think that’s the case.” She placed her cup on the coffee table and waited until I returned to the living room. “And about the confidence thing? You shouldn’t be embarrassed by it.”
Stopping near the TV, I arched a brow as I folded my arms across my chest. “Lack of confidence is seriously one of the most unattractive things out there.”
Jillian rolled her eyes. “And it’s also seriously one of the most normal, common things out there.”
“True,” I murmured.
“I always thought being told you should be more confident, because confidence is sexy, was like getting a bitch slap in the face,” Jillian said. “Like ‘thanks for pointing that out.’”
I laughed dryly. “It’s weird, you know? I hadn’t even noticed this about myself in the last couple of years. I just sort of stopped thinking about myself as a woman. I know that sounds stupid, but that’s the best way I can explain it. I think…” I sat back down, resting my hands in my lap as I gave a lopsided shrug. “And I was always so comfortable with Kevin. It wasn’t something I ever had to think about, and I think the newness of all of this rattled me.”
A weak smile crossed my lips as I glanced at my phone. Colton should be off tonight, unless he was still handling the investigation. My stomach dropped a little. “I guess in a way it’s a blessing in disguise. At least now I know how I feel. I can do something about it.”
She twisted toward me. Thick brown hair slid off her shoulder as she tilted her head to the side. “Like what?”
I really wasn’t going to admit to the whole staring at myself naked thing. “Mostly I think I just need to be more aware of myself. Take some time for myself, you know?”
“You do work all the time,” she agreed after a moment. “I thought my dad worked a lot, but I think the only time you take off is when we get together.”
That would be an affirmative.
She peeked at me through the thick fringe of bangs. “Do you…want to change yourself?”
“Who doesn’t want to change themselves, just a little bit?” I laughed as I brushed my hair back behind my ear. “I mean, I could probably be a wee bit healthier. Stop drinking cappuccinos every day. But I’d rather be happy with myself than to really try to change everything about myself.”
“That’s good.” Her gaze lowered. “I wish I thought that. About myself, I mean.”
I frowned. “Do you want to change yourself?” When she didn’t answer, understanding set in. “Is that why you’re transferring colleges? To start over?”
Her shoulder rose in a halfhearted shrug. “I just want to…yeah, I want to start over, and I can. I will.”
Concern flickered through me. I reached over, placing my hand on her arm. “Is everything okay?”
Jillian nodded in response to the loaded question. The girl had never been very forthcoming with information, only dropping bits and pieces here and there. I knew she wasn’t close to many people, except…except a guy named Brock. He was some kind of fighter with her father’s organization. From what I had gathered, he’d been around her family for a long time.
And whenever she did talk about him, which wasn’t often, her face would always get this look of absolute adoration on it.