“Chloe? Can I come in, babe?” There’s a quiet knock on the door frame, and when I look up from the scrapbook in my lap I see Grant looking amazing per usual, standing there.
“Of course,” I sniffle and close the book holding so many memories before pushing it to the side so he can sit next to me on my bed.
“How are you feeling?”
“Better,” I lie. It’s almost been a month since she died, but my mom is still on my mind every second of the day.
“I know you’ve got a lot on your mind, but can we talk?” He asks and gathers my hands into his large ones and pulls them to his lap.
Grant takes a deep breath, and for a second I admire his perfect chiseled jaw and cheekbones and his beautiful blue eyes. “Chlo…”
“What is it Grant?” I frown at his weariness. He’s been so supportive the last few weeks, I have no idea what he’s about to tell me.
“I just…” He draws out before sighing again and getting up off the bed. He grabs a snow globe that is sitting on top of my dresser and toys with it as I nervously wait on my bed. “I just don’t think this is working.”
He notices my reaction and sets the snow globe down before walking back over to me. “Chloe, I just feel like we’ve been drifting apart lately.”
I’m in absolute shock. I never in a million years saw this coming. We’ve been dating, with no problems, for almost a year. And he chooses now to do this?
“Grant…” Is all I can manage to spit out.
“I’m sorry, I know this month has been tough for you, but you have to feel it too. Don’t you? I feel like we’re just not as close as we used to be, and it’s killing me. If you don’t want to be with me anymore, then we should just end this.”
Is he kidding? “Grant, I’m sorry if I’ve been a little distant lately, if you don’t remember, I just lost my mother 27 days ago!”
Now I’m getting mad…
“I understand, and you know I do… I just… it’s not working Chloe, okay? Let’s just end it before one of us gets hurt even more.” He stands back up like he’s about to leave, but there’s no way he is going before we talk about this.
“You’re not doing this…” I tear up realizing maybe he really is doing this. “Don’t you love me?” God, I sound pathetic.
“You know I do!” He yells. “God, don’t start crying, Chloe.”
“I’m sorry if I’m a little emotional lately!” I apologize, but I don’t really mean it.
“Maybe that’s the point!”
Oh hell no.
“You’re fucking kidding, right?” He raises his eyebrows and shrugs confirming my sudden realization. “You’re seriously dumping me because I’ve been mourning my mother’s death?!” I seethe.
I stand up and face him, but he’s smart enough to take a step back. “I’m dumping you because you’re fucking depressed and never want to do anything anymore, Chloe! I’ve tried every day since she died, and you know that. I’ve offered to take you to the movies, to the beach, to hang out with friends, but every time I’m shut down. I can’t do this anymore.”
“Fuck off, Grant.” I spit and return to my bed in defeat. If he’s going to be an insensitive bastard about this, then he can be my guest; I have no need in my life for people like him. I’ve already got enough bringing me down at the moment.
“Don’t sit there crying and act like this is my fucking fault. I’m not the only one who can’t stand being around this new person you’ve become.”
“You are such a prick! My mother died, Grant! She’s dead! I’m sorry I don’t have a perfect family like you! I have no one, absolutely no one, so yeah, I think I’m entitled to act ‘depressed’ for a little while after I lose the only person I had in this world.”
I’m out of breath by the time I finish, and at this point I can’t decide if my tears are out of rage, sadness, or both.
“Chloe, you know I’m sorry, and I understand why you’re upset. But I can’t be the guy you need me to be right now.” He says much calmer. He waits for me to say something but I have nothing else to offer. As much as I want him, no need him to stay, I don’t want him to put up with me when he obviously has no desire to anymore.
When I don’t say anything and sit there staring at my fingers in my lap, he leaves it at that and turns around to leave.
I guess it really is just me now.
I pull my pillow over my face and continue on with my self-wallowing just as my phone begins ringing. Ugh. If it’s Cassidy or one of the girls asking to hang out, I just might have to chuck my phone across my room.
I pick it up to see an unknown number on the screen and decide to answer it hoping it’s the insurance company that’s been helping me with all of my mother’s things. “Hello?”
“Chloe?” A man answers, and he seems genuinely surprised that it’s me.
“Uh, yep, that’s me?”
“It’s your dad.” Oh. How did I not put that together?
“Hi.” What the hell does he want?
“Hi… Look, sorry for bothering you, I’m sure you’ve got a lot going on with school, but I was at the bank and I saw the check I sent you for tuition got cashed somewhere else? Are you not going to the same school anymore?”
Oh shit. I used the monthly check my dad sends me for my school tuition for Mom’s funeral expenses because I didn’t have anything else.
“Umm, I was short on money I needed it for something else.” I vaguely explain.
“Chloe, you know the deal. I send the money so you can go to Stoneridge. Your mother and I think it’s important you go to a private high school, and that’s what that money is for.”
“Since when do you care what’s best for me?” I spit back.
“Don’t go there, Chloe. Just tell me what you used the money for. If you and your mother are really short on money—“
“We don’t need your money!” I interrupt him so he stops talking about her. God, he’s such an ass he doesn’t even know the wife and mother of his child he walked out on eight years ago died a month ago!
“It was for my mom’s funeral. So yes, I am short on cash because it is just me now, and it’s kind of hard going to school and working when I’m only seventeen.”
“What did you just say?” He almost whispers, and I almost feel guilty for telling him like that… but then again, what do I care?
“You heard me, Mom’s dead. Of course you wouldn’t know. You also wouldn’t know that she was sick for three months and I was the only one to take care of her while you are doing whatever your doing.”
I stand up in my built-up emotional state. It feels like I’m feeling everything at once right now.
“Chloe, I—“ My father begins but isn’t able to finish. I hear him swallow a few times and I let out a deep sigh myself. I hate this day.
“Just don’t. I’ll be fine, and I’m sorry about the money. I’ll pay you back as soon as I can.”
“You’re not fine, Chloe.” He says almost angrily. Like hell does he know what I’m feeling! “And you don’t need to pay me back, don’t be stupid. In fact, I want you to move in with me. You’re not going to be living there alone, that’s for sure.” I can tell he’s very overwhelmed by this, but he’s trying his best to not let that resinate.
“Yeah right! My life is here, and I do not want to live with you just because you feel guilty.” I laugh and move back to my bed to sit down.
“I’m not asking, Chloe. I’m taking the next flight to Phoenix and will discuss this some more—“
“I’m sorry about your mother. I will try to get there as soon as I can, but if you need me before that, call me Chloe. I’m not leaving this time, and you will listen to me. I’m your father, after all. Now, I need to go take care of some business, but I’m on my cell. I’ll see you soon.”
And with that, the line goes static. Just fucking great! I don’t even know where the man lives! I haven’t seen him in eight years! Sure, I’ve talked to him on the phone every once in awhile and he pays for my school, but he means absolutely nothing to me after he walked out on me and Mom.
In the last month, I’ve had everything in my life ripped out of my hands and stomped on. Nothing is the same anymore, and at this point I’m numb to it all. I have nothing, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I just got hit with another strike of lighting. Sure, Dad can force me to move in with him and pretend like he has done nothing wrong, but I’m done. No more Chloe Hayes, the nice, sweet, smart, friend that I’ve grown to be. That was the Chloe that got burned so many times, and I’m done being hurt.