The Wells Legacy

Without you, today's emotions would be the scurf of yesterday's ~Hipolito


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Eighteen: Part One

Recently, I spent some time thinking about the events in my life that led me to where I currently was. When I looked back to the times when I was worrying about college and my classes, I almost feel silly. If I didn’t get into one school, then I could have applied to another. If I didn’t like a class, then I would take another. If I didn’t do well, then I would try again. At that stage in my life there were so many opportunities to fix every little mistake, but I always made it seem like the sky would come crashing down at any moment. Now, things were different. Having the perspective of issues that were much more grand, I was beginning to learn how fragile life was, and how different my challenges were becoming as I was getting closer to graduating.

Which led me back home to talk about some of the big changes in my life.

“I’m sorry–what was that?” Mom squeaked.

I sipped my coffee slowly while Mom hovered over me. I was home for winter break and I finally spilled the beans to her about Sabin. It felt like the right time to do it since he was actually invited over the a classic Wells Christmas. The least I could do was give her some background. Well, more than I did when I first announced we were dating. Since things were a little vague between us, I never went into more details. Plus telling my mom that my boyfriend was much older than me and had PTSD wasn’t exactly a conversation that one has over the phone, or over text.

Especially over text!

Since I dropped that bombshell on her while we were in the middle of having a nice chat, I could understand why Mom was leaning against the counter with both her thumb and index finger around the bridge of her nose. It was a lot to take in. Not only was Sabin eleven years older than me, but he was also dealing with his past–a past that now I was learning about. Since telling me about his PTSD, I only heard bits and pieces of what happened, but honestly, I didn’t know if I would ever know the full story.

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“PTSD?” She sighed. “Well that sure is a lot of information to take in at once.”

My fingers fiddled around with the ear of the mug. What could I say? I looked over at my puzzled mother and offered her the most sincere smile I could manage. By sincere, I meant a very crooked attempt at a smile. I knew it was a lot to handle. I was still struggling with being around Sabin whenever he had an episode, but I was still around and I had no intention of disappearing. I was not about to budge. Sabin was worth it.

I didn’t tell anyone yet, not even the man himself, but I was in love with him.

“I know it’s a lot to hear, Mom, but I just want you to know. I really care about him, and he’s a big part of my life now,” I admitted.

Mom nodded. There was that Wells approval. “I understand that, but this isn’t like some baggage from a previous family, or even helping someone recover from an injury. This is something that can also take a toll on you. PTSD is no joke.”

I knew that very well. Sometimes it would get so bad he wouldn’t want me near him. We were rarely intimate, and if we were, then we would have to be very careful. Apparently he was working on that in therapy, because he wanted to feel close to me without any triggers. It was our work in progress.

“Alma, are you listening?”

“I know it’s not a joke. I know it’s a lot to hear, but I just need you to know. So, please don’t ask about his service, because I don’t think he’s ready to talk about that just yet.”

“Okay, I get it.”

There was a silence between us–a growing tension that someone could cut with a knife.

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“You’re not going to tell Dad, are you?” I asked softly without looking up from my drink. Seeing how Mom reacted, I wasn’t about to go through all that with Dad. He was like a bulldog when it came to that.

Mom laughed almost instantly as she grabbed her cookbook from the counter. As she walked towards me, she stopped and shook her head. “Honey, this is all you. It’s none of my business to tell him these things, but it would be good if he knew. You know how much he cares about you.”

With that, she stepped out of the kitchen and waltzed out into the living room.

Now I was left with the weight of time that was left before I would be forced to talk with my Dad. I had a relationship before and even some issues we talked about, but even then he got all riled up and wanted to “make things right”. Whatever that meant.

Luckily my was cup was still full, so I wasn’t about to race upstairs to tell Pops the great news. I was going to embrace every single sip of the magical drink if it meant that I had more time to mull over the speech I was writing in my head. However not all moments were meant to be dragged out like I wanted.

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“Hey, kiddo. I didn’t hear you come in!”

Well, here goes nothing…

 

 

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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Seventeen

“Um, hey, it’s just me calling again. I know you haven’t responded to the other…14 texts and calls, but you know,” I suddenly stopped and shook my head before deleting the message. Now leaving that type of crap on someone’s voicemail was sounding desperate. I wasn’t like that. At least that’s what I continued to tell myself.

It had been two weeks since I saw Sabin, let alone exchanged more than three words with him. Our paths crossed a few times since our classes were in neighboring buildings, but he never stopped to have a conversation with me. I thought that we had a great date. We had fun and that kiss—oh, that kiss. I leaned back in my chair and groaned. That night replayed in my memory like a record stuck on a loop that only ignited the butterflies in my stomach.

I missed him, and it sucked that I didn’t get to see him much since then. Hell, my mind was manipulating itself into thinking something was going on. What if someone started some rumor about me? What if he decided I wasn’t worth spending time with?

What if…? What if…?

For a while I was able to hide my anxiety, but it wasn’t long before Dani could read me like a book. Mom I could still avoid, but Dani? No way. She saw me every day and she was basically on the same level as my siblings. She knew my every move, so there was no faking around her.

“Did fuckface not pick up?” Dani hissed as she threw on her jacket.

“You don’t need to call him that,” I uttered.

“Pretty sure I do.” After quickly glancing at her phone, Dani dragged her own chair and took a seat next to me. “He took you out and kissed you, and then had the nerve to drop off the fucking map. You have a right to know what’s going on instead of being led into this fucking anxiety-inducing shit-storm…”

I looked at her with an expression I knew she’d read as a plea to stop attacking him. Sabin and I shared a moment, sure, but that didn’t mean that we had an agreement to start dating. We weren’t a couple, an item, or whatever you wanted to call it.

“I–”

“I know,” Dani nodded and got up from her seat. “I’m just saying, Alma. It’s weird if this dude acts all interested then just stops talking to you. I mean, what the hell? If Saul pulled that crap after hanging out with me, then you better know I’d be knocking down some doors to get answers–” She immediately rolled her eyes after spotting my expression twist into concern. “Not literally, but yeah, I’d be trying to talk to him since we’re in a relationship and we talk about stuff like this…”

I agreed. What more could I do? I talked to Dani until her phone indicated that she had to go meet up with Saul. Although she was excited to go see her boyfriend, she didn’t leave without sincerely placing her hand on my shoulder, urging me to go talk to Sabin.

It was Saturday. All my assignments were turned in and the only task on my agenda was to relax. On any other Saturday I would be making plans with Sabin, but with our weird silence, I was left to figure out what to do with my free time. I never thought I  would say this, but I wished I had more work to do. I’d beg for anything at that point. A paper, a project, a new plant to dissect–I wanted anything to occupy my mind and keep my restless hands from checking my phone every five seconds. Believe me, I knew it sounded stupid.

Yet each time that I would set my phone down, I could hear Dani’s voice in the back of my mind.

You deserve to know.

Find out.

Go to him.

Next thing I knew I was marching down the twisting paths around campus until I reached the student apartments where I knew Sabin was staying that semester. I traveled from memory since all I ever saw was him heading in that general direction. Luckily when I actually stepped up to the building, the apartments had indicators as to who lived where.

Thank you very much, mailboxes. Thank you so very much.

Once I walked into the building I felt my breakfast churning in my stomach. The monstrous growls stopped me dead in my tracks. I was only doing this because I liked him so much. I wanted to fight for us,or at least to find out what happened that had him stop talking to me. It wasn’t often that I felt anything for someone so deeply. When I finally felt something, then it had to be a sign to do something. I gave myself a quick push and walked up to the second level where I was expecting to find the door marked Frobisher/Mortensen.

My adrenaline was rushing and I was past the point of no return. I knocked softly and then firmly soon after before the door swung open, and in front of me stood a man who towered over me. His hair was braided into a deadlock mohawk; his warm smile quickly reminded me that it must have been his roommate. I heard a lot about him, but saw him very rarely.We were always passing by.

My throat became dry very quickly. All the courage that I mustered up to actually talk to Sabin was flushed. “Uh, I’m…”

“You’re here to see Sabin? Alma, right?”

I nodded.

“I’m Otto, by the way, Sabin’s roomie. We met before, but,” he chuckled,”not sure you were really in the mood for introductions then…”

No better way to meet people than to have them take care of you when you drink too much. I’d always mark that as an excellent start to a college experience. I’d blush more if my face wasn’t already red from my adrenaline rush.

“But yeah,” he cleared his throat and stepped aside to welcome me in. “I know he’s been keeping you out of the loop, but…well,” he sighed, “I’ll let him explain.”

Explain?

I could hear rustling and groaning coming from the room with the closed door. What was supposed to be on the other side? Was I seriously about to walk in on some messed up scene from a Brazilian soap opera? But before I could even begin to think about what portrait of betrayal could be behind those doors, Sabin burst out of his room looking out of breath and more frightened than I had ever seen him.

“This is me,” Sabin admitted when he opened the door to his room after having calmed down. His sheets were tossed across the bed and his desk was littered with pill bottles and half empty bottles of water. “This is as real as it gets.”

“What do you mean?” I asked as I took a seat at his desk. Without drawing attention to my observations, I took note of the disorganized room. This was beyond someone being messy. It looked like something intense happened. Something that would raise my concern. “Are you okay?”

Sabin laughed as he paced around his room. “I’m in therapy, Alma,” he paused and stretched his arms behind his neck. “That’s why I had to leave early on our date. That’s why I’m always on a tight schedule when we try to make plans. Alma, I–”

He waited for me to speak, but I had nothing to say. At that moment all I wanted to do was listen to him. I watched him patiently. My expression remained as soft as I could manage without showing that I wanted to reach out and take his hand. There was nothing that could scare me away, I thought. If he was getting help for something, then I respected him. I wanted to let him know I would still be there.

When he stopped to catch his breath, Sabin looked at me and waited. “You’re not saying anything. You’re not running out…”

“Am I supposed to?”

“Well, I wouldn’t want you to. That’s why I didn’t say anything.” He glanced at his hand before looking back at me. “This shit cost me a previous relationship…” Though his voice trailed off, I could feel he didn’t want to leave anything unsaid. “She didn’t want to deal with my baggage. I know well that this isn’t something anyone wants to take on, on top of their own life. I’d never ask that of you; I hope you know that, Alma.”

I offered him a smile and held out my hand.

“What..?”

I wiggled my fingers until he finally reached to take my hand. “Sorry, buddy, but there isn’t really much that could scare me away from you. Whatever it is, I want to be there for you, with you.”

You’d expect some sign of relief to replace Sabin’s solemn expression, but he looked more worried. He let go of my hand and took a seat on the edge of his bed where he could still be close to me. Our eyes were fixed on each other, which didn’t feel much as intimate, but more…grave. I heard him mutter something, but I didn’t understand anything.

“You know that I’m still enlisted, right? In the Navy?” He asked softly.

I nodded. He mentioned his time overseas, but never in much depth.

“I’ve been enlisted since I was 18. I have my fair share of stories from my travels and missions–at least the ones I’m allowed to talk about.” His smile was faint, but it appeared that those memories could still bring him some happiness. “My last tour, however, I don’t talk about that much. I’ve been working on it with my therapist, because I know that leaving that mess to brew in my head would not help me or my family.” He looked up and clenched his fist, “and it wouldn’t help those I want to be part of my life.”

His gaze broke away from mine; I couldn’t figure out what was happening. He was holding back and I didn’t want to pry the words from his lips. Somehow I felt that would have been the worst possible option for me. So, I waited until Sabin suddenly exhaled sharply and spoke without returning his gaze to mine.

“I have PTSD.”

[Author’s note: Hey loves 🙂 Hopefully this will be the last author’s note for now. I just wanted to fill you guys in on some things:

  1. I’m trying to “adult”. So, I’m looking for a new job. I’ve been super busy and super tired, so finding time to write has been incredibly difficult.
  2. I am BACK…somewhat. I am writing, drafting, and brainstorming. 
  3. My computer is dead, but I am going to be building a new one soon. I’m waiting for a list of parts I will need.
  4. With a new computer and some energy to actually write…screenshots may be in our future 😛 However…I don’t have any of the Wells files :< So, I will have to spend a lot of time recreating everyone. Yikes.
  5. You’ll be seeing more of me 🙂 I may be slow and sometimes quiet, but I will never give this up. Not until this story has a proper conclusion.

-Olga ]

 

 


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Update: Where the heck are The Wells?

Hey, everyone!

I hope you’re doing well. Life has been a little hectic. I graduated in May and I also ended up being promoted to a full-time assistant manager at the job I’ve been at for almost 2 years. I was transferred to another location as well, so my drive went from being 5 minutes to 35, so it’s a little bit of an adjustment. But things are really turning around at that location. Since my transfer, our numbers have tripled, soooo, woohoo! 🙂 That sure looks good!

Life has been great though 🙂 I’ll be honest that this may be the happiest I’ve been in a really long time. Life can be stressful and a little confusing when you’re in a transition period after finishing school, but I know my time is coming up to do what I really want to do…

So,the update on the story?

My PC is currently fried and I am putting full blame on stupid Windows 10…I DID NOT WANT THAT UPDATE, YOU FOOLS! Woke up at 2 AM one day to find that it decided to update on its own. I’ve been dodging that crap for months. Ridiculous.

Literally fried my hard disk. So ridiculous. Luckily all my chapters are on my laptop, so I will continue writing once I settle down a little bit. I do have to find my drafts on my laptop to since they seem to be surrounded by files from my freelance gigs that had me researching siding and window replacements >.<

On the bright side, I will be getting some help with building a computer, so I’m pretty darn excited.

So, while my updates have been ungodly slow, know that I am still around. I am always checking things out when I have a moment to sit down.

Best,

Olga


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Author Update: I Did Some Adulting Today

Hey all! I hope all is well!

Today has been a pretty crazy Mother’s day as it was also my graduation 🙂

I can’t believe it, but after 2.5 years of community college and then transferring to a university for another 2 years..well…wow..

I did it.

I am now a graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a degree in English 🙂

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❤ I have a job to finish up for a client in the next 2 weeks, however I do hope to write a new chapter soon, and keep it consistent from here on out!

Till next time!

-Olga


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Sixteen

Sabin’s Point of View

I forced my way back home, treading through grass and along sidewalks where I planned on continuing the date. Guilt ate at me like heartburn that I couldn’t settle. Alma was left to return to her dorm without the date even coming to a proper end. There were plans to get ice cream from the Irish parlor they had only ten minutes away, but the incessant ringing in my pant pocket reminded me that I wasn’t yet allowed that flexibility.

“How was it, man?” Otto asked. His body turned in the couch and his head rested on the cushion.

All I could do then was whip my phone out of my pocket and sigh.

He knew what I was doing.

My room was a mess. Clothes were sprawled all over a bed that hadn’t been made in weeks. On the bright side of things not going too, too well on my date: I wouldn’t have brought Alma over to see the pig sty. As the alarm on my phone sounded again, I grabbed my laptop and brought it to my desk.

After logging in, the calendar application didn’t waste time in reminding me that I missed a call from NCRodriguez151. Quickly before the pop-up came up again to tell me it had been ten minutes, I clicked on the username and waited for the dial tone to connect me.

An image of a woman in a blazer showed up on my screen. Mine was a small box in the corner, but to her it was blown up. She could probably read my disappointment in every crease on my face.

“I was starting to get worried, Sabin,” she began. I saw her flip to a new page in her notepad. The notepad that she had marked “Sabin McKenna”.

“Sorry.”

“Well, as long as you’re here. I was just curious since you’ve never been late—not even by a minute—to our appointments.”

She was right. Then again, I couldn’t remember the last time I went on a date. Better yet: the last time I actually felt something for someone.

“How’s your medication, Sabin?” She asked, quickly scribbling down notes. The scratching of her pencil on the notepad startled me.

I glanced at the orange bottles on my nightstand. The sight of them made my stomach turn. Those tiny pills were aids that left him feeling dependent. Some days when the nightmares were too much, I took them. When the nightmares stopped, I looked the other way.

“You should be running out in the next few days. I’m going to write you a new prescription, okay? You can pick it up at the university pharmacy. I know they have Zoloft on them. Have the nightmares been okay? Easing up a bit with the new dosage?”

I sometimes wanted to break down and tell her like I did the first time we met. There were many dreams that tormented me, but it was always the face of Captain Williams that never let me be. He told us to watch each other’s back when crossing the field. The chances of mines being in the field just—

“I sense you want to change the topic.”

“Sorry I was late,” I finally said. I figured it would be appropriate.

“As long as you’re okay,” she smiled. “I get the feeling this appointment pulled you away from something?”

Now I couldn’t hold back a small smile. I remembered her smile and the way that her hair brushed against an exposed shoulder. It was Carmen all over again only this time I didn’t feel like I was only seen as a military brat. This time a woman appeared to feel something for me without knowing what happened. This time, she didn’t know what I did. My weird quirks were somehow forgiven, but I didn’t know how long I could keep it up.

“That girl,” I started, “that I meet at the café after some of our appointments.”

“Alma, am I right?” She asked.

I nodded after shifting my laptops position. “I took her out tonight.”

I caught Dr. Rodriguez scribbling away on her notepad. Knowing her for years, I established this as her thinking it was an important move in my treatment. My stability with Carmen, the last woman to be intimate with me, was questionable. Things weren’t left off right, because when I hoped for a future with her, her dreams were somewhere else. Somewhere that didn’t include me in the picture.

The thought irked me, so I leaned back in my chair and ran my hands along my short hair. There wasn’t much that I could do once I’d be forced to tell Alma everything. I never liked secrets, and if this somehow ended up developing into something more, then how could I keep her in the dark? I’d scare her. I should have done this a long time ago. Honestly, telling her was one of my “healing” assignments, but when I saw her face each night, I couldn’t tear her away from talking about her day to telling her that I watched my squad captain get blown up by a landmine.

I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Dr. Rodriguez looked at the screen and her lips parted in a small smile. “And you’ve told her about your PTSD, correct? It takes a lot to bring something like that up, and even more to be strong and supportive of someone going through what you’re going through.”

Through clenched teeth, I nodded. “Had to.”

Unfortunately, I had a hard time following these assignments when my mind was more mesmerized by Alma’s smile than the twisted mess inside my head.

But I knew I would have to.

Someday. Somehow.

I’d tell Alma everything there was to know about Sabin McKenna.

~*~

Author’s Note: Thank you for reading ❤ 🙂 That’s one. Also, thank you for sticking by this story even though I haven’t been able to update it frequently! I intend on finishing this legacy, however at this point it may be without pictures.
I’m graduating this semester. Woohoo! Finally getting my degree in English!  I’m pretty excited, but also experiencing a very hectic life.
I also actually took on my first freelance project that involved me writing web content for a new company website, so that’s been pretty exciting. Now that’s coming to an end and I have another project that will require me to write the backstory and dialogue for a video game that a Video Game Design class is working on at school. I’m extremely thrilled about that, because I applied for the writer’s position and got the spot. I’m honestly so excited to be working on this type of stuff! Ahhh! Well that’s just a little update from me.
Thanks for sticking with me! ❤
-Olga


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Fifteen

When plans are made, the days in between seem to drag. It’s actually quite annoying how that happens. Classes seem much longer, sleep doesn’t seem to end soon enough, and texts don’t arrive fast enough. I didn’t see much of Sabin since that night, but instead of him dropping off the face of the earth, like last time, he promised to keep in touch via text.

Done with class?

            Seen at 6:50 PM

 

I waited for a response patiently when the day finally came. No plans were discussed just yet about our date. Part of me figured he’d have it figured out, but maybe it also meant that he was going to cancel plans last minute. I mean, 7 was already getting pretty late to do stuff aside from just going to the café and sitting there till the sun would come up. It was a Friday night, so if I spent the next day in bed, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Sure, Dani would give me some crap about it, but that wouldn’t be the worst.

Not going to answer? I looked down at my phone and tried to summon what mystical powers I wanted to make the message pop up on the screen. Oooh, come on! Come on! Don’t make a girl wait like this!

 

I can meet you by your dorm if you’re ready. Hopped in the shower first—sorry 4 wait

 

***

It only took me 15 minutes to finish getting ready once I knew Sabin was on his way. The added pressure really got me moving. If only Dani could see me rushing to pull up my tights and boots without even toppling over onto the floor. Ah, she’d never believe me. When I was ready I grabbed my keys and walked out of the room. Knowing us, there was a chance we’d stay out late, so I didn’t want to wake up Dani with my knocking.

“Hey,” I said, walking downstairs where Sabin was leaning against the wall. “Sorry it took me a little while. Dani borrowed this shirt before and well, ya know…”

“That’s fine,” he shrugged and motioned for me to follow him out the door. “Luckily where we’re going, time isn’t really important.”

“It’s the café, isn’t it?” I laughed as I followed. I stayed close, but I wasn’t sure what it was I wanted to do. Do I linger close, or do I keep my distance. Do I brush up against him or go straight for his hand?

Sabin turned around so he could face me. Ah, walking backwards? That’s a no for the hand.

“You think I’m that predictable?” He asked, his hand reaching out for mine. Bingo.

I took his hand without thinking twice. “Well, I wouldn’t say predictable, but I mean, what else did we ever do together?”

“Exactly,” he sighed, “I thought it would be nice for us to do something different. As much as I enjoy our talks at the café, I wanted to actually take you out.”

 

Neither of us said anything about it, but even without speaking I felt fine. It was good to be walking with him. To say I had feelings for Sabin was well, the least of it. I never really felt close to any of the men I met at school. Not in college. Not in high school. Sabin was my best friend. We talked and actually had meaningful conversations. None of it felt repetitive or just mindless. With Sabin, I wanted to listen to him talk, and I actually wanted to hear things about him. I wanted to learn about what made him who he was. It was the first time I wanted to know more. Before I really knew it we were away from campus and on our way to a camp ground that I only really heard about. It overlooked our campus. Dani told me about it; Saul took her there once.

“Did I take you by surprise?” He asked. “The date, that is…”

“I don’t see you for days, don’t hear from you for days,” I exhaled and leaned back on my palms, feeling the thin blades of grass between my fingers. “And then you just come back and ask me out?”

“You got me,” he groaned, lying down on the hill. “Asking was the easy part. I-I didn’t really plan on it happening that day, but I had to redeem myself somehow after being gone so long…”

We sat in silence for a while. The clouds were keeping out of the way for now, which was quite the rare occurrence. The sky was lit up by the stars. It was one those sights that really just left one speechless. I looked over at Sabin from time to time who looked more than content. I remembered the first time I really talked to him at the café. He approached me, telling me he’d seen me all over campus and finally worked up the courage to talk to me. Two months later we started spending time together outside of the café. We still drank coffee, we still talked, but it was all strictly as friends though it would have been foolish to ignore the electricity I felt between us.

“Why was that the easy part?” I finally asked.

“Hmm?”

“Why was asking me out on a date the easy part?”

“It was the domino effect, Alma,” he said. “I pushed myself to do it because then I would have no choice but to tell you what I thought of when I saw you each night.”

“And what would that be?” I fished for more.

“How great I think you are, and how alive I feel again. Even in silence, I feel so…”

“I understand it.” I slid down the hill and stopped when I was next to him. That entire night, and every night before when I first felt that electric buzz in the pit of my stomach, I wondered what his lips tasted like. Experience? He was eleven years older than I was after all. Did they taste like what that night felt like? I always blushed when I thought like that. I never thought of anyone that way, with such intimacy. Everything with Sabin felt new. To Dani it was completely normal, but this was intense. I trembled thinking about him, but steadied myself when I felt my hand brush against his firm shoulder.
I smiled the entire time. “Thanks for asking, Sabin.”

“Yeah, well, you’ve given this old man a reason to stay up late,” he chuckled and reached to drape his arm around my shoulder.

In my head I felt the end of our date coming to an end and I had to picture what would happen. Would he walk me back to my place and just stand there awkwardly? Would we finally lock lips? Ugh the possibilities were there, but all we were missing was the moment. I couldn’t wait.

I had to wait.

I bowed my head and glanced at him.

At first he reached over and cupped my chin in his hand like a child sheltering an injured bird. It wasn’t enough. He shifted his weight around so he could free his hand, planting the newly freed hand on the other side of my face. In all that time he never said a word. There was nothing between us that lingered as coherent words. Our staggered breaths were the only present noise before Sabin kissed me. Sabin’s pained sigh was the other sound he made when I kissed him back.

I would’ve kept going if it hadn’t been for his phone ringing from the inside of his pant pocket.

“Shiiit,” he sighed and rubbed his thumb down the side of my face. “I was just beginning to really enjoy the silence.”

“Do you have to go?” I asked, hoping he’d forget about whatever he had to do just so he’d kiss me again and just pour fuel onto the fire brewing inside me. Wow…

His look mirrored my own disappointment. I could see it as he fiddled around with his phone. Any other person who would tell me they had to go wouldn’t have hesitated so much. Sabin looked at me while clutching his phone. “I wish I didn’t, but I have an–” he stopped himself to reach behind his head to rub his neck.

Even if we couldn’t continue our evening or even have it end with him walking me back to the door where he’d look me in the eyes, I felt that he didn’t mean to cut our evening so short. After all, he took me all the way off campus. Disappointment flared again.

“Skype appointment,” he smiled halfheartedly. His hand slowly reached to touch mine. “I’d skip it, but I honestly shouldn’t miss it.”

I looked up away from his phone and glance at him. “What?”

“And I’m hoping we can reschedule this,” he cleared his throat,”this date.”

I wanted to agree, but I knew I’d just be going along with whatever he said. I wasn’t that type of person, right? Trying to come together with some witty comeback that still left me feeling not quite as defeated as that stupid phone call made me feel, I shifted my weight before getting up from the grass. As I offered my hand, to help him up, I shrugged.

“What do you say to that?” Sabin asked.

“Well, I’ll say yes as long as next time you tell me more about yourself and not get snatched away by Skype appointments, eh? What about next time you fill me in rather than build up your mysterious facade,” I said with a smirk.

He rubbed his arm and chuckled. “You have a deal.”


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Gen.10-Alma. Chapter Fourteen

 

By my third year of college, I knew one section of the campus like the back of my hand. When I was running on twenty minutes of sleep, or seven hours, I could maneuver myself round the campus to my classes. Life evolved for me. I made new friends. I learned life lessons that I hoped to pass on one day. And I even experienced some of the things my mother did when she was in school:

Ramen noodle shortages;

a lack of quarters for laundry;

and the amazing feeling of coming back home for weekend, just to snuggle up in my bed.

I found myself embracing many new things, like staying up ridiculously late just to talk to someone. Even Dani was surprised despite this habit formed almost two years ago.

“You’re going out again?” Dani asked, brushing her long, and now green, hair. “Does that mean I can have Saul over without you moaning and groaning?”

“You do whatever you want, my friend,” I smirked, scooping my bag up off the floor and slinking it over my shoulder.

“Is it Sabin?” Dani asked before I made it out of our dorm.

My smile was all that was needed.

Yes, it was indeed Sabin. It was funny how it happened, really. We met the first week of school when I was a freshman. I didn’t realize it until we actually started talking much later. He had to point it out to me that he was the one who handed me a bottle of water to drink when I got a bit too tipsy at my first college party. After that moment, we had made our nightly coffee sessions a tradition. Sometimes he wasn’t there, but sometimes he was. I tried to focus on those days more than those where he wasn’t there.

When I got to the cafe, I quickly ordered my drink and made my way to what I deemed as “my table”. It was only because I sat there every night.

“9 o’clock on the dot,” the man behind me chuckled. “I think that’s what they call an addiction.”

“Poking fun at my need for coffee?” I chuckled as the man’s own cackle carried around me and ended up before me. “You’re one to talk. You’re up now and till god knows when. And–” I said, pointing this his full hands, “ I see you’re basically double-timing your intake.”

Sabin rolled his eyes and placed one of the cups on my side before sitting down. “I didn’t know if you got yours yet, so I went ahead and got you a cup.”

My eyes widened. “W-wow, thanks.”

I saw Sabin’s lip twitch upward. His sheepish smirk was electric—sure made the hairs on my arm stand tall.

“Now, don’t drink all of it at once, kay? I need you around tonight. Haven’t seen you the last few days and I was hoping to catch up.”

“I should be saying that line,” I mentioned, leaning forward. “Everything okay? You didn’t even really text me about it…”

Sabin’s brow furrowed. Somehow I felt I shouldn’t have said anything, but he leaned back in his seat, letting the cushion absorb him. “I’m sorry about that, but I just didn’t feel well enough to keep you company. Wouldn’t have been fun for you.”

“Did ya catch a cold?” I asked. God, I wanted something more out of him than apologies. We were really starting to get close. We started sharing things, but the closer we got, the sooner Sabin would cut off our personal chats.

“No I—look, Alma, it’s okay.” He bowed his head and smiled, only slightly, but smiled nonetheless when I nudged his foot with mine. “I’m better today.”

“And I’m happy to hear that. So what do ya wanna tal–”

“Can I take you out this weekend?”

I was happy that my mouth wasn’t full of coffee and that I wasn’t even holding the cup, because when Sabin spoke, I thought I was going to soon find Otto, his roommate with a camera in my face—screaming “HAH! GOTCHA!” I didn’t respond to Sabin immediately and I knew the pause was killing him, but I was taken back. Can’t blame me, right? He doesn’t show up for days, then just blurts out he wants to take me out? Like, wait…

“Like, on a date? O-or,” I quickly tried to come up with an alternative, but nope, I was blanking.

He nodded. “Like, a date.”

I was still quiet, feeling my body tense up to the point even the softest peep out of a chair screeching against the wood floor, or even someone clearing their throat would sound loudly, but Sabin’s soft chuckle soon alerted me of him and him alone.

“Your cheeks are so red,” he whispered tauntingly. “Does that mean we can try this?”

“T-try?” I smirked while I tried my best to have the color in my face stop concentrating on my cheeks.

“Something other than coffee for a change,” Sabin responded.

“Yeah…” As if there was anything else I could say when the thought of talking with him about nonsense had me looking forward to my evenings. “I think I could give up coffee for a night.”

***

The rest of our night was spent talking as if nothing happened. We went about our night touching up on subjects of new movies, new park attractions at the amusement park twenty miles from the school, and very rarely did we acknowledge the fact that our eyes lingered on each other longer than usual. Now it didn’t seem so innocent anymore. Now there was purpose.

“So, hold on,” Dani sat on her heels as I relayed what happened that night with Sabin. “Seriously? You’re finally going out with him? Girl, I thought you two were already getting down and dirty and you just weren’t telling me…”

“Yeaaaah, I wouldn’t do that.” I said softly. I never really felt the things that Dani did.

She clicked her tongue and hugged her pillow. She understood how I felt, but she still clicked her tongue and winked at me. “Yeah, I know. I’d be able to tell immediately. Wells, I can read you like a book.”

I shrugged.

I laid in bed that night, staring at the cream-colored ceiling. There were many nights spent wondering about what just happened and if it would ever become a reality. Some nights I’d lose sleep over silly things that he’d say, because I’d want to dig into some hidden-meaning when there really was none. But tonight? Tonight there was something to be analyzed.

Sabin felt something and that something went beyond me just being a friend he killed time with because he couldn’t sleep.

[Author’s Note: Yes, I am aware that there aren’t any pictures in this chapter. I’m currently finishing up my semester at school and loading the game to get a few pictures that eventually just crash my game is a bit much to deal with when I have 4 chapters (even if a bit shorter than usual) to post. I think 4 months is long enough to be on a hiatus.]