Romance Fiction Contemporary

The wind blew against my wavy short hair as I drove into Spoons, the town I’d left, the memories I’d tried to forget. 4 years had passed since I had been in this town. People buzzed around the town, families, friends, couples. Lots and lots of couples. I knew riding into Spoons on Valentines Day was going to be a terrible mistake but I’d have to face it, not this year but maybe the next. 

As I drove nearer to home I stopped at The Diner, a diner I’d spent my entire teenage life in the place I’d met him. Should I go in, would he be here too? I mean it had been years after the- the incident, he wouldn’t even remember. For nostalgia’s sake, I entered inside, listening to the dinging of the bell and smelling the greasy but delicious bacon pancakes. 

“Hey, what would like to order?” asked a squeaky female voice. 

I turned around to see a petite, red-haired, freckled face girl staring back at me.

“No way, Gloria!” I squealed. 

“Skylar, oh my gosh, how are you?” she said, clinging onto me. 

“I’m awesome and you?”

“Honestly having a crappy day but I’m so glad to see you,” she said letting go of me. 

“I thought you were joining a culinary school after high school?”

“Yeah, things didn’t go too well. Dad moved away and Mum didn’t have the money for it so I started working here. Janis got so used to our presence in highschool so she agreed right away,” I smiled thinking about Janis the owner of The Diner, she always knew how to serve my burgers best. “Hey, I’ve got to go but here, take my number we should totally catch up.” Gloria passed a note that had her number scribbled behind it.

I nodded and walked over to the menu book. Just holding the book made me reminisce about the older days when we’d sneak out of houses on school nights to dine at The Diner. We ordered Tater Tots and fries but the best of them all was the smoothies. The smoothies held such a special place in my heart, not just for the sake of the memories it provided but also the feelings that came with every flavour. I put Gloria’s number in my back jean pocket and stood at the encounter holding a small grin on my lips.

There was nothing left for me to do at The Diner so I waved at Gloria and just as I walked out the door, there he was. In a black leather jacket and black jeans. My heart dropped, I could feel the butterflies inside my stomach fluttering furiously and I honestly felt as though my breakfast was going come right out of my stomach. 

“Skittles,” he startled and smiled as I nodded my head furiously. Was I going to cry, maybe? No one had called me Skittles since I left Spoons and hearing it from him was a whole different feeling that I could not explain. 

“Harley, hey,” I smiled, walking backwards as he walked into the Diner.

“You’re back, I thought you’d moved, like forever,” he tensed his shoulders and then let them go. “I guess since you’re here we could catch up?”

I wanted to say no so badly, I’d waited 4 years to walk back to this town and just act like he didn’t matter, that all he was, was a past I had already forgotten. I didn’t want to show anyone especially him how badly bruised and broken I had been since Harley and I  separated. As much as I wanted to barge right out of that place and pretend nothing had happened, I couldn’t get myself to leave. 

Instead, I nodded and said, “That’s great.”

It was thundering that night, the rain poured but I was excited, ecstatic. I had graduated high school, gotten a scholarship to a university in New York, my dreams were all piecing together slowly. My room was on the ground floor, with large windows that I could open and use as an entrance and exit. I heard a light knock on my glass window as the rain created a heavy tune in the night. 

I walked over to the window and there wearing a neon yellow jacket stood Harley. My feet felt as though springs had been attached and the silly smile I wore when I saw him could not leave my face. I would be gone tomorrow but he was here today in the weather that he absolutely hated. His big bear hands imprinted the glass window from the outside and I mirrored it from the inside of my room. He pointed at the latch that I unlocked and Harley slid in. 

“Hey Skittles,” he said, propping himself onto my chair, leaving behind a trail of the rain. 

“Harley, you’re here past curfew. If Dad finds out we’re both dead.”

“Today’s an exception, right? You’re leaving me tomorrow,” he mocked.

“Harley please, I get you’re not exceptionally excited about me leaving for university but really it’s an opportunity that I can’t let go of.”

“I just don’t get why being in Spoons is such a bad thing for you?” He moaned. 

“Uni’s here suck, I’ve got big plans that just don’t fit and I’ve told you this before.”

“Can’t you reconsider?” he asked, now hold my hand lightly as I sat beside him. 

I shook my head, I was in too late. Harley dropped my hand and started to make his way back to the window. 

“Harley you just got here. Can’t we just hang out for some time please before I leave?”

“Honestly Skittles I think it’s best that we don’t,” I looked at him, my eyes growing bigger.

“Wh-what does that mean?” I asked, flinching a little. 

He kissed my forehead and whispered, “I think it’s best we let each other go.” 

My eyes filled with tears, my legs trembled as he snuck out of the window. He looked at me for a moment as if he was trying to take one last glimpse of me and my room as if he wanted me to stop him. For a moment it looked as though he may have actually teared up but he left and I never saw him until I moved back. 

We sat at the Diner as Gloria served us a classic, strawberry smoothie for me and a chocolate one for Harley. We sat in total silence, occasionally slurping our smoothies but all we could really do was stare at each other. Harley now had messy wavies in his hair not in an unmaintained way but in a fashionable way, he wore sunglasses outside but as he sat in front of me he had them placed on his jacket pocket. Who was this new guy, this was not the same Harley I’d met? 

“You’ve cut your hair, it looks nice,” he finally said, breaking the awkward silence between us. “And got it dyed, you would’ve never done that in high school.”

“I guess we all changed a little,” I laughed nervously while playing with my hands. 

“How’ve you been Skittles? Oh, uh, Skylar.”

“Uni was great, one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, I just wish…”

“That things would’ve ended differently? Yeah me too. I wanted to go too you know,” he snapped abruptly and then took in a big breath. 

“Harley you never told me this, you just came and told me all was over. If I knew I would’ve tried harder to help you, I just thought you never wanted all of this.”

“You never asked Skylar, I hoped you would but were so excited about New York and I just couldn’t trash you with all my issues.”

“Harley, I can’t believe you. I waited for you to talk to me. Is this why you…?”

He looked at me weird then he smiled, “Oh no, I just- I just wanted you to go to uni and not feel like you’re being held back by your undergraduate boyfriend who couldn’t even afford to visit you at New York.”

That’s when the tears cracked.

“When you left that night, I cried myself all the way to the airport. Oh for goodness sakes I couldn’t forget you in New York and you think you were going to do me a favour by dumping me?”

His eyes searched mine, and I desperately wanted to cling on to him and just not let go but I knew I couldn’t. 

“Skittles, I just want to know if those four years made you happy?” he questioned as he took my tiny hands into his. 

“I mean sure but I missed not having you apart of it. I don’t care that you’re an undergraduate or whatever. I can’t coop with you just leaving me like a loose thread because I-,”

Before I could say anything I was silenced by a hug. It was a mixture of discomfort and excitement but I was just happy to be here right now. 

“Where were you heading afterwards?” he asked slowly letting go of me. 

As we walked out of the Diner Harley held on to my hand. I turned around to look at the pastel-coloured diner and I smiled as Gloria waved from the huge pink window. Something about being back home was so much more comforting than I could ever imagine. Was it the Diner itself that was magical or was  it just mere coincidence that brought 

Harley and I together. I drove on the buzzing road towards my childhood home as Harley followed me along on his bike. Maybe the change was something important and very needed to bring two misunderstood birds together.

February 19, 2021 23:16

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