Every year my mother has a big party in her prized garden. She shares all her prized plants, and makes a speech. As her daughter, it is required I am there. Dressed up. On my best behavior. My darling mother even added sober to the list this year. So now here I am, one week since drinking with James at our usual table, in a dress. My mother has terrible taste. The dress has flowers all over it, and hangs to my mid-calf. I pulled my hair back but no matter where I looked, I couldn't find my grandma's locket.
"Scout?" I turned to see Holland in an equally as bad dress. "If I come closer are you going to choke me?"
"I was actually thinking drowning might be more effective." I said, she took a small step back.
"I'm sorry. I hated seeing you hurting."
"I wasn't hurting, Holland. I was coping in my own way. I can't heal on command, you know." I said, she just sighed and took a step forward.
"Okay, I know. You need time, but I was afraid you weren't getting better. That his return would make it worse."
"Well, i've seen him, her too. I didn't rush off to drink it away." Kinda. I didn't mention I ran into Clementine while I was trying to get drunk.
"I had the ad removed. It's just in the one paper, they won't run it again." She said sitting on the small loveseat.
"They better not. Cause mom won't be able to stop me from strangling you to death." I said sitting next to her. She looked at me and smiled.
"So, is she a troll?"
I laughed. "Her name is Clementine. She is pretty, nice and I hate her guts." I sighed. Even my sister didn't know the story behind the break-up. I figured maybe it was time. "He proposed to me, you know." I sighed. "Before he left. He brought the most beautiful ring, got one one knee and said the most beautiful words. It felt perfect." I sighed again. This was the hard part of the story.
"I can't say why, I don't know myself, but I turned him down. I said no. Maybe fear caused it, but as soon as i turned him down I regretted it. The look on his face as it sunk in. I will never forget it, Holl. The pain, the sadness, everything. He stayed there for a second on one knee, waiting to see if it was some sick joke I was playing. But I too was frozen. I saw a tear fall down his cheek before he got up, kissed my forehead and left. I should... I should have chased him. But all I could do was sink to the ground and cry."
"I don't drink cause he left. I drink to ease the pain. It makes living with this regret easier when I don't feel it all the time. The worst? Clementine is wearing my ring and James shrugged it off like nothing."
"Maybe then I should warn you..." I raised my eyebrow. "Mum invited him to the party."
"Whatever. I guess I should have seen it coming."
"You aren't mad?" She asked, in disbelief.
"James and I already talked. I said I saw them. So, if he comes to the party, with her, then I don't know. I'll dodge them, smile pretty for mom and mentally strangle everyone who talks to me."
"That's the Scout I love." She said giving me a hug.
"Holland. Don't ever do anything like that again, okay?"
She just nodded as I returned her hug.
Every year I dread the party for all the same reasons. Only I had one more, James and his soon-to-be wife. I tried and tried to dodge them, but eventually it became too much, and he found me.
"Another garden party." He said, then laughed. "Once again I find you next to the punch bowl." Okay, it kinda was my usual spot to hang out. I could never help it. Next to the punch bowl was the food tray, and I loved the cheese my mother had every year.
"Where is Clementine?" I asked. I did not care, in fact if she drowned I would have been just as happy.
"Under the weather. Besides, garden parties aren't her thing." I looked at him, and like usual his tie wasn't tied correctly. Out of habit, I fix it.
"Wow." James mumbled. I look up and realize how close we are. His lips are inches from mine.
"What?" I asked, in a whisper.
"This is where I told you I first loved you." He said, looking at me. "You wore an ugly floral print dress, hidden by the food, and when you fixed my tie, I said it. You're face..." he started. I just stared at him. "It was like that, actually. You had a blank stare. Then you mumbled how you had to help your mom." He gave me a look over, before grinning.
"I'm gonna go." I say quietly, backing up. He grabbed my hand, and I look at him, certain every emotion. I am feeling.g is written on my face.
"Save me a dance." He said, and I just nodded. It was like an exact repeat of the day he spoke of.
I remember that day clearly. I ran off, took some time to think, then on the dance floor, as he held me close, I repeated those words. He kissed me like he had never kissed me before. It was that night, in my mother's house that we slept together for the first time. Which, in not my best moment, I cried afterwards.
"Darling." My mother's voice cut through my thoughts. "I saw you and James. Good news I assume?" I just looked at her.
"It will never be good news. Okay?" I snap before taking off, into the crowd.
As the music starts, I look for somewhere to go. Soon my mother will be giving her speech, and I will be expected to stand up there, as a proud daughter. Then there would be more dancing, dinner and finally this event would come to an end.
"May I have this dance?" I turn to see James, with his hand extended. I really struggled to hate him when he was like this. I just nodded and put my hand into his.
"Can I ask something awfully personal?" He just laughs.
"I thought we knew all that personal stuff."
"Why now? I mean, you and I, it hadn't ended that long ago. So how are you engaged now."
"You are asking me why I am engaged?"
"No. I am asking why so soon."
"Because. Sometimes soon is best. Why be with someone for years just to be turned down."
Ouch. Verbal snapped again by him.
"God, Scout I didn't mean it like that. I swear. You and I, we were friends before it happened. I would like you to stick around in my life, ya know?" I just nodded. I knew I couldn't do the friendship thing, but I needed him close.
"I guess I understand." I said, quietly. We didn't say anything else, just danced. It felt like home being in his arms, and I realized that we were trending in very dangerous water.
A/N: short, I know. But it was a decent spot to end. So, Holland and Scout made up. And you now know why they broke up. And a little insight into the past. What a chapter. Unfortunately I have to bring Clementine back in. Review?
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