PART 3 – FORGIVE ME FOR THIS
I couldn’t sleep last night so I spent my time reading That November, the Rain Falls. It was a story about a promise that was tied years ago was broken. The more I read, the more my mind got hit by memories between Dylan and me. What made it different was we never broke our promises just that the promise we made to stay together forever couldn’t be kept because he was long gone.
I fell asleep around 5 am but woke up again 2 hours later and got ready to go to work. My eyes were barely open but I still got work to do. As I entered the shop, I received a call from Ashley saying that she couldn’t make it today. Something urgent came up and she had to settle it as soon as possible. My other employee had applied for leave the day before and now Ashley was not here either. That meant I lost 2 employees and I needed to work my ass off myself.
When I was taking order from a customer, a familiar face showed up at the door. His lips curved into a smile as he saw me standing at the counter. I waved as a sign that I had seen him and asked him to sit before I could go talk to him. After serving a cup of coffee to the customer, I made my way to Kendall.
“Sorry, busy day.” I sighed as I pulled a chair and sat down in front of him.
He put his both hands on the table. “What happened?”
“Two of my employees took an emergency leave and I’m left here with her.” I pointed at Aubrey who now was taking order from another customer.
“Need any help?” He asked.
I narrowed my eyes, trying to understand what he really meant. Was he kidding? “You mean, your help?”
“Yep.” He smiled.
“Sorry to ask, but... don’t you have work to do? Like, a real job or something?”
He laughed. “Actually, I’m waiting for calls from companies I’ve been interviewed to, so right now I kind of have a lot of free times.”
I nodded. “I see.”
“And I owe you one, remember?”
“I do.” I stood up. “So, let’s get to work.” I handed a small tower to him. Understand my order, he went to a table and wiped it. I smiled as I continued my own work.
It really felt like a long day. After we finished everything around 10 pm, Aubrey waved goodbye.
“So... Do you want to go somewhere?” Kendall asked as I locked the front door. We were standing outside Where Coffee Brews and it was freezing. Luckily I already had my coat and gloves on.
I turned to him. “Where?”
He shrugged. “Get a coffee or something?”
I chuckled. “Didn’t we just get out of a coffee shop?”
“Right.” He nodded.
I chuckled again. “But I think, a coffee might be good.”
“Yep. I make coffee every day and I’m thinking maybe I should drink other people’s coffee. What’d you think?”
“Count me in.”
We walked across the street while talking about a lot of things. About where he wanted to work and how much salary he could get in a month, and more other ridiculous things one should never talk about. We stopped at a coffee shop to get two cups of coffee, one for me and one for him. Then we walked again back to Where Coffee Brews because that was where our cars were.
Suddenly, I felt something on my head. Like a teardrops coming from the dark sky. “Is it raining?” I asked as I looked up. Yes, it was raining.
“I think we should walk faster before the rain gets heavier,” he said.
I nodded as we walked fast, almost as running. When the rain was heavier, he reached my left hand and we ran looking for a shelter. I almost tripped at the sidewalk and without stopping, we laughed until we finally stopped at the side of a restaurant where we could hide from the rain.
“Remind me again to never buy coffees from any coffee shops other than mine.” I laughed again.
He smiled as he tapped on his wet coat. “Are you cold?”
I put my coffee on the sidewalk. “I’m freezing.” My coat and my gloves were wet and so was my hair.
“Here.” He took my both hands and rubbed it together with his own hands. Then he blew his breath to keep my hands warm. I froze at his actions. This was what Dylan used to do to me every time I froze and was cold. But right now, at this moment, it wasn’t Dylan. It was Kendall. Although the actions seemed like the same, but it felt different. My heart thumped like a hammer.
“Better?” He asked as he looked straight into my eyes.
I was too busy listening to my heartbeat that I couldn’t hear to what he just said.
“Katelyn?” he called my name. I still froze. He waved his hands in front of me and that was when I came back to reality. I took my hands off his and combed my hair with my fingers. I was so nervous that I didn’t realize my feet hit my coffee cup and it fell and poured the coffee to the ground. Once again, I froze.
“Oh god...” He picked up the cup and put it back so that it could stand again. Then he stared at me with a guilty look on his face. “I’m sorry.”
“No...” I shook my head. “It was my fault. I was...” I didn’t know what to say. Luckily, the rain stopped. “Let’s go.” I walked without turning to him again. As we reached at Where Coffee Brews, only then I turned to him. “Thanks for today.”
He smiled. I didn’t know why but I could sense his awkwardness and doubt. “I see you later?”
Later? What did he mean by later? I didn’t know and I was afraid to know.
“But if you need me again, I can come here tomorrow. I mean, if you need me to help you with your work.” His words sounded more like a blabbering. I knew he was nervous just as much as I was.
So I nodded so that we could end this – whatever this was – this awkward scene quickly. “OK.”
“Bye,” he said.
“Bye,” I said.
He turned around and slowly walked away from me. I stood there not knowing what to do. It was like there was a part of me that wished he would stay and say something that would comfort me, and there was the other part that wished otherwise. Suddenly, he stopped and turned to me once again. We stared at each other for a while before he made his way to me.
“Forgive me for this.” And he kissed me.
ANOTHER sleepless night. How could I sleep when my mind was filled with the incident? To be honest, I honestly didn’t know which incident. Was it the part when Kendall kissed me? Or was it the part when I kissed him back?
I went to work as usual that morning. When I arrived at the shop, it was already open to business. I didn’t mind because my workers also had the keys and they had my permission to open the shop even when I wasn’t there. That was the rule. When I stepped in, I looked for Ashley. When I spotted her at the counter, I made my way towards her. I pulled her hand before she could say anything and I brought her to the toilet. I locked the door and I turned to her. She was staring at me with wide eyes, as if I was trying to do something inappropriate to her.
“What was that?” Ashley asked. Clearly she was unsatisfied with what I did.
I folded my arms nervously. I needed someone to talk to and I couldn’t think of anyone else except Ashley. “He kissed me.”
Her mouth hung open. She blinked a few times before staring at me like I was some frog mimed a princess from the sky. Was that even possible?
“Who is he?” she asked even though I knew she knew.
“And what did you do?”
I pursed my lips. Honestly, I didn’t know what to say. Or maybe, I didn’t want to admit the fact that I kissed him back.
“Did you kiss him back?” she guessed.
I sighed as I closed my eyes. She squealed so loud that I almost closed my both ears. “I didn’t know what to do!” I said as if that was the best answer I could come out with.
“How about, push him and run?” She crossed her arms and stared sharply at me.
I didn’t answer. I tried, but I couldn’t.
She smiled. “What’s the problem, honey? He kissed you, you kissed him back. It’s normal. I mean, things happen. What’s the big deal anyway?”
“It is a big deal!”
“Because he’s Kendall.”
“Oh, you mean... if you kissed other guys that are not Kendall, you’d be okay with it?”
I sighed again. Why did everything have to turn out this way?
“What’s wrong with Kendall? He’s cute. Like... super cute.” She laughed.
“He’s Dylan’s friend.” Finally, I managed to say that out loud. “I can’t date Dylan’s friends.”
Ashley held my shoulders as she smiled sweetly at me. “There is nothing wrong in moving on with other guys...”
“There is if that guy is your dead boyfriend’s best friend.” I almost sobbed when I said those words. It was like the promises I made with Dylan kept me from moving on with anyone. Not just Kendall, but any other guys out there. I just couldn’t. Or maybe I wouldn’t. I didn’t know the differences anymore.
“You said it yourself. Dead boyfriend. Dylan’s gone, Katelyn. No matter how hard you wished he’d come back, he never will.”
I stared on the floor. This was too much for me. How did I get myself into this?
“Katelyn, you think if he was here, he would want to see you locking yourself out from the outside world? He wouldn’t want this for you. It’s time for you to move on.”
I still didn’t answer. It was too hard stopping my tears from pouring down my cheeks.
“If you think that it’s best for you, you have to keep doing. Even if it’s your dead boyfriend’s best friend.” That was the last things she said to me before she got out of the toilet, leaving me with my unanswered questions running around my brain.
For the rest of the day, I worked in silence. I kept myself busy so that I wouldn’t have thought about anything that could ruin my day, although it had already ruined since the moment I woke up from bed this morning. But, I still couldn’t help myself from glancing at the front door, wishing he would come by. But it didn’t happen anyway. Maybe he regretted his decision to kiss me last night. Or maybe he finally realized that there was nothing that could happen between us. Not ever.
I went back home earlier than usual nights. When I was just about to settle down on the couch with my pyjamas on, with a movie on the TV screen, my door was knocked. At first I thought it was Ashley. Maybe she came by to check on me after finishing her work. But when I opened the door, it was Kendall who was standing outside. I froze for a second, until his smile brought me back to reality.
“What... What are you doing here?” I asked.
“I stopped by at the shop and Ashley said you went home. So I brought this...” He showed me the plastic bag in his hand.
He nodded. I opened the door wider for him to come in. Then I walked to my living room. I sat down and he did the same right next to me.
“So, this is your night routine?” He asked as he put the pizza box on the table. He handed a slice to me.
I took it. “Not every night, just when I know I won’t get any sleep.”
“Why can’t you sleep?”
“Umm...” I took a bite, not knowing what to say.
He sighed slowly. “Listen, we need to talk.”
“Oh yeah? What’s there to talk about?” I acted like there was nothing wrong between us, but clearly it was.
“About the kiss,” he said as he stared at me.
I pursed my lips. Oh god, this is not good, I said it to myself. “So what about the kiss? I mean, it was just one stupid kiss. It didn’t mean anything.” I laughed. But obviously, it was a fake laugh. I was never good at faking.
“It didn’t mean anything?” I noticed something in his voice. Something that wasn’t good. “So you’re saying, you didn’t feel what I felt?”
I looked straight at the TV screen. My heart thumped so loud that I could hear it myself. This was what I was trying so hard to avoid. But it looked like it was going to happen. I couldn’t bear this. Not now.
“When we kissed, I knew you were feeling the same feeling as I was. Don’t say you didn’t.”
“You’re right, I didn’t. I was just caught up in the moment.”
“But your kiss said otherwise.”
“My kiss?” I turned to him. I was starting to feel really cranky right now. “You were the one who kissed me!”
“And you kissed me back. What did that mean?” He stared at me.
I was trying so hard to control my heartbeat at the moment. Everything felt so intense. Like I’d never dreamed of things like this to happen with Kendall. Especially not in the moment like this. “That kiss shouldn’t have happened.”
I stood up. “Because we can’t happen!”
He stood up too. “Why? Because Dylan was my friend?”
I didn’t answer. The way he mentioned Dylan’s name really tore my heart away.
“You think I’d want any of this to happen? I didn’t want it either! I didn’t expect it to be this way. But the moment I went to your shop after a year we didn’t see each other, I knew everything was about to change.”
“What do you mean?”
“I’m in love with you, Katelyn.”
“No, stop it!” I closed my ears. I didn’t want to hear any of this again. This couldn’t happen!
“You can deny it any way you want. But you know in your heart that you can’t lie to yourself.”
My tears finally poured down my cheeks. Before I knew it, I was sobbing in front of him. I turned my head because I didn’t want him to see me this way. Because I knew what he said was true but I didn’t want to admit it.
He let out a heavy sigh. “I’m sorry.”
“Please... go away,” I begged.
He didn’t say anything back. He grabbed his coat and walked quickly to the door. I sat down on the couch, crying as if tomorrow would never come again for me to make this right.
PART 4 – WHERE LOVE BREWS
I went to Dylan’s house that evening because we promised to do homework together. Since I was used to that house, I just entered it without knocking the door first. Mrs. Rivers was at work as usual. But when I stepped into the living room, all I saw was a boy sitting on a couch while watching the TV. I furrowed my eyebrows. Did I get into the wrong house?
“Hi,” the boy said. He looked like he was around my age. When he smiled, his dimples appeared on his cheeks.
“Hi,” I said back. “Umm, is Dylan here?”
“Yes, he’s upstairs. Hey Dyl!” He called out loudly. “Your...” He looked at me unsure.
“Girlfriend,” I said proudly.
“Your girlfriend’s here!” he shouted again.
“I’ll be down in a minute!” I heard Dylan’s voice answered.
“Have a seat,” he said to me.
I walked to a couch and I sat down.
“So... you’re his girlfriend,” he said.
I nodded. “And you?”
“His best friend.”
“Katelyn,” I said back.
“So did you guys have plan?” he asked.
“We planned to do homework together this evening. But I didn’t know his friend was here.”
He smiled. “Yeah, this house’s like mine so I always come without telling him first.”
“Oh...” I nodded again. It made sense.
“Would you like a drink?” he asked as he stood up. Before I could answer, he already went to the kitchen. Well at least, he was being friendly.
I saw a book on the table. The title was That November, the Rain Falls. I picked it up. I read the blurb on the back of the book. I was really amazed just by reading the blurb. Kendall came back and I looked up to him.
“Have you read this?” I asked.
“No. Why?” He sat down again and he put a glass on the table in front of me.
“This book looks interesting,” I said.
“Yes, it is.” Dylan suddenly answered.
I turned around and gave him a very sweet smile. We already met at school today but it still felt like I was looking at him for the first time. “Have you read this?”
“Yeah,” he said as he sat down next to me.
“Was it good?”
“Can I borrow?”
“Um...” Dylan looked at Kendall for a moment.
“Actually, you can have it,” Kendall said.
“Really?” I was surprised. I was just asking to borrow, not to have it.
Kendall nodded. “Right, Dyl?”
Dylan looked at me again. “Yep, you can have it.”
I smiled. “Thanks.” We were exchanging smiles when Kendall’s voice suddenly interrupted.
“Maybe I should go home and leave you guys with whatever you were planning for...” He said as he stood up and grabbed his bag.
I looked down with pink cheeks.
“Oh, come on dude! You can stay,” Dylan said to his best friend.
Kendall shook his head. He wrinkled his nose. “Nah... I’m not up for homework.” He rolled his eyes when he said the word ‘homework’. Dylan took a small pillow on the couch and threw it right at him. Kendall laughed.
“Bye, Katelyn. See ya.” He winked at me.
“Bye.” I smiled.
“Don’t bother him. He loves teasing people,” Dylan said as he stood up to grab his books at the side of the table.
“I didn’t know you had a cute best friend,” I teased.
He laughed. “Don’t say that in front of him.”
“He knows he’s cuter than me and he’ll keep bragging about it if he knows you think that he’s cute.”
But that was years ago. The moment when I first met Kendall as Dylan’s best friend. I didn’t know it would turn out this way now. What went wrong? Or was it right all along? That was what I kept thinking until I arrived at Where Coffee Brews that morning. I was late again but nobody would mind because I owned the shop.
When I stepped in, my eyes were patched to a familiar face. Kendall. What was he doing here? I thought after what happened two nights ago he wouldn’t be showing up in front of me again. What surprised me was that he was sitting at the table with a girl. Or should I say a very pretty lady?
I walked to the counter with my eyes glued to them. Ashley looked at me with furious look on her face.
“Who is that?” She whispered to me.
I shrugged. “None of my business.”
“Really? But the way you looked at them said otherwise. Like it is your business.”
“It’s not,” I said firmly. I grabbed a towel and walked to a table to do my work. But when I was passing them, I saw the lady who was sitting with Kendall waved her hand at me. I looked around for a second to make sure that she really was waving at me. Certain it was me, I walked to her. Or them.
“Yes, do you need anything?” I asked as I was ready to jot down what she needed on a piece of paper. Trying so hard not to look at Kendall. This lady could be his date. But, must he bring her here? This town was huge. He could bring her to any coffee shops he wanted, but still he chose to bring her here. What did that mean?
“Do you have anything except coffee here?” The lady asked politely.
I hated this lady. Why? Because she was so polite while I was thinking about shoving her off my shop. “The sign outside says Where Coffee Brews so I think maybe you know the answer,” I answered sarcastically.
Her smile slowly faded away. Maybe she was surprised to what I just said because honestly, I was surprised myself. Did I really just say that?
“Katelyn, she asked you nicely,” Kendall interrupted, clearly having the lady’s back, which made me mad even more. Why would I be mad? I didn’t even know the answer. I just was.
The lady turned to Kendall. “Do you know her?”
“Yeah... She’s umm...” Kendall glanced at me for a second before continued answering, “She’s my friend, Katelyn.”
That answer almost made me flip off the table. But I put on a fake smile instead. “I’m Katelyn, this shop’s owner.”
“Oh!” She looked even more surprised. “I... I didn’t know.”
“Yeah well, I think maybe you should leave because honestly, I don’t sell anything except coffees.” I turned around and walked fast to the counter. I threw the towel at Ashley as I went outside the shop using the back door. I stood against the outside wall as I took a deep, long breath. I didn’t know what just happened. Why would I be storming off like that if I didn’t have any feelings for Kendall? Before I knew it, my eyes were filled with tears.
“What was that?”
A familiar voice surprised me. I turned around and saw Kendall standing in front of the door. I quickly wiped my eyes before he could see them.
He walked closer to me. “Are you mad at me?”
“Why would I be mad at you?”
He shrugged. “Because I brought a friend here?”
I didn’t say anything. Clearly he knew what he was doing.
“And that affected you how?” he asked again.
“You said I was your friend,” I said.
“I thought you were.”
His answer made me really, really mad. Couldn’t he see it? Or was he just pretending? I stared at him without saying a word because honestly, I myself didn’t know what to say.
“What do you want me to do, Katelyn? I told you how I felt but you clearly pushed me away.”
“Then pull me back!” Those words came out of my mouth like water dripping from the pipe. It was so fast and I didn’t even realize it until I saw the look on his face. I looked down.
“What do you mean?” he asked very slowly.
“You were right. I was lying to myself. I keep saying that I don’t have feelings for you, that this thing shouldn’t happen between us and that we couldn’t happen. That was because I was afraid...”
“Afraid of what?”
“Afraid that I might lose Dylan forever!”
He didn’t reply. I wiped my eyes again before the tears could fall down my cheeks.
“I don’t want to betray him. You were his friend and I was his girlfriend. I feel like if we continue this, I might lose him forever. I don’t want to lose him even though I know he’s gone and he’s never coming back.” This time, I couldn’t help it. I cried in front of him. I cried so hard that I couldn’t say anything anymore. All I knew was that he pulled me in his arms. He hugged me so tight that I felt like I didn’t want this to end. I missed having someone to be there for me, to always be a shoulder for me to cry on and to never leave my side ever.
But, was he the right one?
Kendall broke the hug a minute later. He held my shoulders while staring into my eyes. “I understand what you feel. If you don’t want us to move on to what we have right now, I get it.”
I blinked a few times, still not getting what he really meant.
He took away his hands. “You won’t be seeing me anymore. I won’t come see you again. You can move on with your life and I’m with mine. That way, we both won’t lose Dylan.”
As he said that, he turned around and left me alone, crying as if I just lost another person who meant the world to me.
I couldn’t keep the book forever. But I couldn’t throw it away either. So I brought it back to where it should be.
Mrs. Rivers greeted me with a warm smile. She hugged me as if she didn’t want to let me go. She invited me in but I said I was just here for a while.
“Actually, I came to return this to you.” I handed her the book that I took from my bag.
She looked at the book with furrowed eyebrows. She must feel weird why I suddenly came to her house just to return the book.
“I took it the other day when I came here with Kendall. I’m sorry.”
“No, no...” She shook her head. She held my hands and gave me the book back. “This is not Dylan’s.”
“What?” I was shocked to hear that.
“It’s not Dylan’s. It’s yours.”
“Yeah... he gave it to me but a few days before the accident, he said he wanted to borrow it for a while because he wanted to read it once again. I didn’t mind because to me, this was our book. So that’s why I want you to keep it along with his other things.”
“I can’t do that because it’s not his.”
I was so confused. What did she mean, it wasn’t his? “Then whose is it?”
“What?” I felt like my whole body froze.
“Kendall bought it but he lent it to Dylan before he could read it because Dylan insisted on reading it first. But after he read it, and Kendall came to pick it up, you came. You asked to borrow the book and Kendall said you can have it. Kendall was the one who gave it to you, not Dylan.”
Why didn’t I know this my whole life? Why didn’t anyone ever tell me this story? Why was I kept in the dark about this? Everybody might think that it was nothing, but to me it was a big deal. I spent my life knowing that the book was me and Dylan’s favourite book because he gave it to me, but the fact that it wasn’t his and it was Kendall’s really ripped off my heart.
“How... How do you know this?” I stuttered at my own question.
“The day Kendall came to see me after he came back from Australia, he asked about the book. He told me the title of the book. I told him it was upstairs in Dylan’s bedroom. I asked him to help removing all off his things so that he could find the book. I didn’t know you took it.”
I felt like my whole body was shaken by the fact. Oh god... What was happening?
“If you don’t want to keep it, you should give it to Kendall,” Mrs. Rivers said.
I faked a smile for her. “Thanks for telling me, Mrs. Rivers. I should go now.”
She hugged me once again before I got into my car. I started driving while my mind wandered around. The fact that I held on to the book for so long, thinking that it was ours, but then it turned out it was Kendall’s really blew me away. And honestly, I didn’t know what to do.
~to be continued