Reed woke up in a sweat, breathing heavily, as if from a bad dream. But it hadn’t been bad at all. He’d been dancing with Peyton in Audubon Park, feeling her soft skin, tasting her lips, smelling the vanilla. He cursed the dream was over then looked outside, the moon shining brightly through his bedroom window. He thought about calling her and reached for his phone. He saw it was the middle of the night, so any call would have to wait.
Then he decided he wasn’t going to call her at all. He’d be seeing her tonight at the engagement party -- for the first time in 36 days. He flipped through the photos of her on his phone, landing on the one he loved the most, her resting her head on his chest, a small smile on her pink lips. He’d give anything to go back to that moment, to have her in his arms again. It seemed as if Griffin had held her more than he ever did. He threw the covers over his head, trying to get back to sleep and desperate to return to his dream.
But thoughts of tonight, thoughts of Peyton, kept him awake. Over several weeks, he’d tried to let her go but just couldn’t. Despite all the boxing, all the exercise, trying to bury himself in work, he wasn’t strong enough. He’d fallen in love – the first time ever – and now couldn’t recover. She’d been his soft spot, and he’d hit concrete without her, shattering his heart. He had no idea if she was as tortured, conflicted, unsettled as he was, or whether she’d just moved on without a second thought. He hoped she felt like he did. But she sure found a roommate pretty damn quick! His talk with Quinn helped put some things in perspective, but he still didn’t trust Griffin living in Peyton’s house, just a few doors down from her bedroom.
His mind flashed to the possibility that she was bringing some guy tonight. Griffin? And he wasn’t going to ask Bret if he knew whether she was. That would be pathetic and weak. He needed to be calm and strong, though not too strong. He couldn’t just wail on some new guy tonight, not even Griffin -- no matter what he saw, even if her lips, God forbid, touched Griffin’s or some other man’s.
He gripped his pillow tightly then threw the covers off his head, the moonlight hitting him again, shining down an unmistakable truth, one he already knew all too well. He needed Peyton. He needed her to love him.
Prescott Lane is originally from Little Rock, Arkansas, and graduated from Centenary College in 1997 with a degree in sociology. She went on to Tulane University to receive her MSW in 1998, after which she worked with developmentally delayed and disabled children. She currently resides in New Orleans with her husband and two children.
Connect with Prescott: Facebook | Twitter