Reed's Reckoning(8)

By: Ahren Sanders

He looks at me one more time and then runs across the room, disappearing behind a doorway.

“Reed, now is not a good time. I’m not really sure why you’re here at all considering what you did to me.”

“I’m not leaving. We’re talking tonight. You go do what you need to and I’ll wait.”

Rage flares in her face but she doesn’t argue. She moves aside and motions for me to come in. I step inside and the smell hits me instantly. Her fragrance hangs in the air and my thoughts go back to my apartment all those years ago. Memories flood me and I have to shake my head to clear my mind.

“I’ll be back in a little bit.” She turns to walk away.

“Ari.” My voice is firmer than I mean it to be.

When she looks at me, her eyes are shining with tears and I feel a tinge of guilt.

“What’s his name?”

“You know, don’t you?”

“I need to hear you say it.”

“Davis Luke Williams.”

My gut clenches and I hang my head. She shuts the door behind her. When my breathing is under control, I look around the space and see pictures everywhere. One that catches my eye is of Grandma Katy, Luke, and Ari in the hospital. Ari is holding our little boy, and he is dressed in a Florida State University onesie. Pain fills me and I decide to find the kitchen and a well-needed beer.

When she comes back into the living room thirty minutes later, I’ve had a chance to look at every picture documenting my son’s life so far. He is the spitting image of both of us. It’s been four years since I’ve laid eyes on her in my apartment, but she is still breathtaking. Her long dark hair now has highlights and the green of her eyes still reminds me of bright jade.

“What are you really doing here, Reed?” She glares at me and pours herself a glass of wine.

“I told you.”

“Reed, you can’t just show up like this, maybe we can set up a lunch or something when Davis isn’t right down the hall.”

“Davis, really Ari? Could you give me any more of a kick to the gut?”

“This isn’t about you!”

“Okay, then let’s start with how you could keep him from me!”

“Keep him from you? I got your message loud and clear. You didn’t want us!”

“What the fuck are you talking about?”

“It was pretty obvious by the posse you sent to breakup with me.”

“Stop! What do you mean ‘the posse I sent to breakup with you’? I didn’t breakup with you!”

“You have some nerve! I don’t care that you are a hotshot football star. You need to get out now!”

“Nerve? What’s nerve is leaving me a note that you didn’t want to see me anymore and then moving in with Luke!”

She steps back and the color drains from her face. Gripping the counter for support, she shakes her head violently back and forth. “No, no, no,” she repeats.

I watch her chant for a few seconds and then walk over to her, confused at her reaction.

“Ari, talk to me. You’re kinda freaking me out.”

“I didn’t leave you a note to breakup with you. I left you a note begging you to talk to me.”

My vision blurs and I remember that day perfectly. My sister, Cara, was visiting because she was thinking about transferring. I had talked to her about meeting my girlfriend. If things went well, maybe Cara would keep Ari company while I got settled in my new city. I had plans to move her in as soon as possible. She wanted to do a summer semester to get closer to graduation.

“Hey, Munchkin’!” I tease my sister as I walked in the door of my apartment. She hates when I refer to her size. But at barely five feet tall, I’ve always towered over her.

“Don’t call me that!” She pouts and hugs me.

“How was your drive over?”

“It was good; I talked to a few friends to help pass the time.”

“That’s cool. How’s Mom?”

“She’s good. Driving me crazy, but good.”

“She’s just watching out for you, Cara. After the whole Mitch disaster, she gets worried.”

She gives me a non-committal shrug and changes the subject.

“I’m so glad that our spring breaks are different and I could spend mine here. I’ve already started the transfer paperwork for summer semester, and I want to know all about campus life before I move.”

“Whoa! That was fast.”

“Well, I decided I want to Rush in the fall and so being here this summer will help me meet some people.”

“You sure you want to go Greek?”

“Yeah, I think it’ll be fun and good for me. I talked to Alex Moore recently and she’s going to introduce me to her sisters this week while I’m here.”

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