I decided to post parts 4-6 in succession each day.....hope you enjoy it!
“September!” exclaimed Clarissa as she sprung from her chair to give her a hug.
Billy quickly navigated his eyes toward the door and he smiled/winced at September.
“I was just telling him that I spoke with you and he was trying to get the entire scoop from me. But why go through a middle man if you don’t have to? Here, have a seat! I’ve got to get some caffeine in my bloodstream.”
“Well, doc, this wasn’t exactly the reunion I was hoping for.” his raspy voice was reduced to almost a murmur.
“It’s so nice to see you again; you had a few of us worried for a minute.”
“I hope that you’re including yourself in that number, otherwise, you will leave me a broken man. Or am I being redundant?” he smiled.
She pulled up the stool that Clarissa had recently vacated. “How are you feeling?”
“Um, like I just got run over by a car, silly!” he laughed until his face began to take on a more serious tone. “Look, I need to say something to you that is way overdue. In high school, I was a jerk."
"Oh, boy....are we really going to do this now?" she thought.
"I didn’t give you the opportunity to say what you were trying to say to me and I can’t begin to tell you how sorry I am for letting my pride get in the way. I was crazy about you then and that hasn’t changed one bit.”
“Billy.......I....I have to.....” She began as she looked directly into his sparkling brown eyes. “I have to let you know about that day. I wasn’t playing games with you; I was just so painfully shy. To be honest, I thought Bethany was pulling my leg. I had no idea you knew that I existed, much less…..” she hesitated.
“What, sweetheart? Please go on.”
“…….that you would want to take me to the prom….assuming that was true, of course.” she felt slightly embarrassed to ask something so amazingly juvenile, but she had to know...for sure.
“Yes, it was and there’s the irony. I could talk to any girl in school quite confidently, but whenever I saw you, I got tongue tied. I guess I behaved like a big dork because I couldn’t hide behind a façade with you like I did with everyone else.”
“You managed to hide very well even up until graduation. You seemed to be avoiding me, hiding from me because of what happened that day.”
“Loving you stripped me down to my very core; I had no place to hide. I wasn’t used to having to consider anyone besides my own bruised ego. I was hurt and if you had been any other girl, the jerk that I used to be, wouldn’t have wasted a second being bothered by it……” Suddenly, Billy began to laugh out loud. “Ha, ha, ha…..oh God…..I’m such a drama queen, aren’t I?”
“No, you’re not.” she smiled nervously as she began to wrap her fingers tenderly around his. She thought about the word that he’d used. Love. She wanted to say it in return, but she couldn’t. For some reason, she held back, not because she wanted to, it just was physically impossible for her to utter those words and risk the chance that he meant that he loved her only as a friend. They spent the next hour talking about their lives, her marriage, his failed engagement and current single status, their dreams, and the future until he became too fatigued.
“I’d better go. I’ll check in on you tomorrow, ok?” she reached down to kiss him gently on the forehead. He tried to aim for her lips but only managed to aggravate his injuries until he grimmaced, making them both crack up.
Billy was a lucky young man. He did experience some bruising near his spine, but the swelling would go down in a matter of weeks. Until then, he would have to be restricted to a wheel chair for the duration of his hospital stay which would be several weeks.
They used that time wisely, September would stop by whenever her schedule permitted and she got to know the 'real' Billy in short order. He was everything that she had imagined in her dreams about him. His kisses were as delicious as she’d prayed they’d be and his warm hands melted her whenever he awkwardly embraced her. Still, she wouldn’t or couldn’t allow herself to give herself to him fully.