I stand at the back of the ferry watching the sun rise over the mainland. As we get farther and farther away from it, I try not to think about the cool wind biting at my cheeks. We’re on our way back to the island, and my stomach tightens. It was only last week that I wanted Craven Cove to be somewhere I could settle down and start a new journey in life. Now I’m dreading being back there. I will myself not to cry because I’ve done enough of it at this point. I will not shed any more tears over Apollo. I let his cruel words play on repeat to remind myself he’s not worth crying over. Too bad my heart doesn't agree with my head.
After my mom and I left both of the Crew men behind, we went home. Mom got the bright idea for us to get away for a few days, so we’d hurriedly packed and caught the next ferry off the island. We stayed at a fancy hotel for the entire week, ordering room service and binge-watching movies.
I learned quickly that it didn’t matter how much space I put between Apollo and myself, the heartache I felt didn’t lessen. I couldn't stop thinking about him, and it didn’t help that every time I shifted, I could still feel what we'd done between my legs. Even in my dreams he wouldn’t leave. There’s no escaping him.
“I got an email that your new phone will be delivered sometime today.” Mom comes to stand beside me, offering me a coffee. I take it from her hand and down almost half of it in one big gulp. I’m not a morning person, and today we got up at six so I could make it back to school on time. I’ve already missed too much, and it’s too early in the year to miss any more.
“I’m sorry I broke mine.” I really hope it didn’t cost too much for her to replace.
“It’s fine. You were due for an upgrade anyway.” She shrugs.
It totally slipped my mind that my phone was in my pocket when I’d gone tumbling into the pool on Friday night. After the past few days, I think that might have actually been a good thing. I would have been obsessively checking to see if Apollo tried to reach out to me or not. I think it’s better not to know either way.
“We don’t have to go back,” Mom offers. Running is always the answer for her.
“It doesn't matter. It will still hurt.”
“Honey.” She sets her coffee down to pull me into a hug. “Everything is going to work out how it’s supposed to. We all have our first heartbreak.”
“You told me you’ve never been in love before,” I remind her. It was years ago when she said it, but I knew it was the truth. I can always tell when she’s lying.
“Well, at the time I hadn't.”
“Oh.” I breathe out, processing her words. “Oh!” She’s in love with Rory? What the freaking hell? Some of her odd behavior starts to add up, but how is this happening?
“Come. We’re docking.”
There’s no time to talk about it now, so I polish off the rest of my coffee and follow her back toward the car. She’d lied when she told Rory he could come get his car the next day. I’m sure when he showed up, all he found was a vacant house.
“Do you want to stop and get something for breakfast?” Mom asks as she drives off the ferry and heads toward the main stretch of town.
“I’m good. I don’t want to be late.” I wipe my palms against my jeans. The closer we get to the high school, the more nauseous I feel. I can’t help but wonder what it will be like when we run into each other. We have classes together so there’s no avoiding Apollo, no matter how much I want to.
“If at any time you want to leave, I’ll come right over and pick you up.” Knowing she’s a phone call away goes a long way to calm me down.
“I don’t want to run, Mom. We always do that. We committed to finishing my senior year here, and I’m going to do just that.”
“All right then.” She leans over and gives me a kiss on the cheek, telling me she loves me before I get out of the car. Hearing her say I love you has my mind going back to when Apollo said the same words to me.
It was a lie. I don’t think he could love me and say the things he did. He might have thought he was in love with me, but I don’t think he truly was. He’s probably been rethinking those words since I left his house.
I keep my head down as I make my way up the stairs to get inside. I’ve always been good at not being noticed, but a few steps in, and my plan fails miserably.
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