"I'm really glad you agreed to come out with me tonight Brie. I've been waiting a really long time for this," he said holding the door open to the small diner.
They took the last available table right in the front window.
"What do you mean?" she asked Rob.
"Oh come on Brie, it's pretty common knowledge that I've had the hots for you since your first day of high school. You can't tell me that you didn't know."
"Oh my god Brie! EVERYONE in the entire school knew how bad I had it for you."
"Well, I had no clue."
"Yeah, well that's because you were oblivious to anyone who wasn't Kris."
He regretted those words as soon as they left his mouth. He knew something had happened between them before she left for school but he, nor anyone else had any clue what it was. He was sure of one thing though, it had to be pretty bad to tear those two apart.
She began fidgeting with her napkin and the silverware on the table. He knew he had just made her uncomfortable.
"I'm sorry if I hit a sore spot," he said kindly.
"No, it's...it's okay."
He placed his hand over top of hers very delicately. He knew he was on thin ice.
"I'm sorry Brie. I didn't mean to bring up any bad feelings."
"Really Rob, it's okay. I just haven't talked about him in a long time."
"Well, maybe now's the time?" he asked hesitantly.
Brie looked at the guy sitting across from her for a moment. All the events of last summer came flooding back into her mind. It was because of him that her life had been turned upside down just a year ago; but right now, looking at him sitting across from her all that seemed to disappear and she felt like she could talk about it for the first time.
"I've never talked about it before. I don't know if I can."
"Well try starting at the beginning."
"You mean the beginning of the end?" she half laughed.
Brie took a deep breath. Could she do this? Could she re-live the most painful time of her life; a time that at times still felt like it was yesterday?
"Well...I guess it started the night of Michelle's party," she said with a hint of uneasiness in her voice. He knew exactly what night she was talking about. He looked down at his hands while she continued.
"...Anyways, it forced me to realize what I was really angry about. I realized, with help from my mother that the real problem was I was in love with him and scared about being without him for the first time."
Rob looked at her with disbelief in his eyes.
"I don't meant to interrupt, but are you kidding?"
"You seriously didn't know you were in love with him? That's hilarious."
"I certainly don't see the humour in it," she replied a little annoyed.
"Everyone knew you two were in love with each other Brie; everyone."
"Well I guess everyone was wrong then because Kris was not in love with me."
"Pardon!" Rob exclaimed almost spitting out the mouthful of coffee he just sipped.
"That's right. I confessed that I was in love with him before I left for school. Hell I even told him if he loved me too I'd go with him to Val d'Or. All he had to do was say the words."
"He said he didn't love me that way. I kissed him, and he looked me in the eyes and told me he wasn't in love with me. That was the last time I spoke to him. I left for school a few days later and that was it."
"And you still haven't spoke to him?"
"Not a word."
"So you've moved on?"
"I don't know if I'd go that far. Every time I think it's getting easier I seem to take a step back."
"No offense Brie, but if they guy said he doesn't love you...what is there to hang on to?"
"I don't know...memories?"
"But that's all it is now; just memories. Maybe it's time to let go of the past and make some new memories."
Brie smiled. For the first time since he'd put it there she realized Rob was still holding her hand.
"When did you become so..."
"I told you Brie; everyone changes. Everyone grows up sometime. I'm just sorry I hurt you before that happened."
"What are you talking about?"
"That night. At Michelle's. I couldn't say it back then, but I can now. I am so, so sorry for everything that happened that night Brie. I was stupid and arrogant and...just so damn excited that after four years you were finally giving me the time of day...and all the alcohol...it was a bad scene and I have regretted it every day since it happened."
"It's okay Rob. Like you said, it's time to let go of the past. Let's forget about it and move on."
He brought her hand up to his lips and kissed the back of it. Just as he did.....
A group of friends were walking by the diner.
"Hey, isn't that Brielle?" one of them said.
His head snapped up at the speed of light. "Where?"
"In the diner. And is that...Rob Taylor with her?"
He took three slow steps closer to the window. For a minute he thought his mind was playing tricks on him. It couldn't be. Could it?
Just then he brought her hand up and kissed the back of it. She smiled. He'd know that smile anywhere. His heart began to race and his stomach began to turn. What was she doing with him? After everything he did...he could feel his blood boiling, just as it had that night.
Rob got up and left the table. She was alone.
He watched as she checked her phone, flipped her chestnut curls over her shoulder and applied lip gloss to her lips. Mmm, those lips. He thought back to that day. The day those lips finally touched his. He held on to the memory of that feeling like it was his lifeline. It was the last time they were happy...and together. He couldn't believe she still ignited the same feelings inside him after all this time. He didn't know why it surprised him; of course those feelings were still there. She was the love of his life. The one. The one he let get away.
Standing on her front porch saying goodnight to Rob, she had an uneasy feeling in the pit of her stomach. It almost felt like there were eyes on her.
"Brie I had a wonderful time tonight. I really hope we can do it again soon."
As she was about to answer, he kissed her and she froze. Dammit! Now it was ruined. It was no longer his lips that were the last to touch hers.
A few feet away, Kris was feeling sick to his stomach watching what was unfolding right before his eyes.
"Rob, I don't want to give you the wrong impression or lead you on in any way. I had a good time tonight, I really did, and I can't thank you enough for letting me spill my guts about everything, but I just don't know that I'm ready to let go of the past yet. I know it's stupid but I just can't let go."
"Well, I'm not not going to pretend that I'm not disappointed, but I understand. I know what it's like to be in love with someone who isn't in love with you and not being able to let it go."
"Don't...now you're making me feel bad."
"Sorry, I'm not trying to, I just...get it. I'm glad you gave me the chance to apologize."
"I am too. I'd still like to hang out with you...I just don't want any misunderstandings."
"Got it boss. I'll take what I can get."
"Thanks again for a great night," she said giving him a hug and a peck on the cheek. "I'll call you."
Kris watched as the door closed behind her. She'd moved on.
That night, it was his turn to cry himself to sleep.