Wish for You

By: Marquita Valentine



When, not if. They didn’t want any problems at work. Personal problems were supposed to be private, not public.

“But that’s not right.”

I swallow the lump in my throat and fight back the tears. “For him it is. Wyatt deserves to be with a woman who wants to be a doctor or lawyer, not some small-town veterinarian’s assistant with no other ambition in life.”

“Is that what they said to you?”

“His momma did.” Only she hadn’t said it to me. I overheard her say it on the phone, about me. But it only reinforced all the conversations I’d had with the Tanakas, all the conversations I’d had with myself… all the things I knew about myself. Staring at the table, I begin to draw a circle on the table. “She’s right. I would hold him back.”

“But you love Wyatt.”

I jerk up my head, my heavy bangs falling into my eyes. I blow them away. My heart pounds. “Don’t tell him what I told you. Promise me, okay, because I was supposed to keep it a secret. But you’re my best friend, and best friends don’t keep secrets, right?”

Rae looks up at the ceiling and then back at me, a frown on her lips. “I thought Wyatt was your best friend, too.”

“Not anymore.” I can’t take the pitying look in her eyes, so I go back to drawing circles, the shape of them comforting. A circle is always a circle. The track always goes round and round. They never change. “Things changed once we kissed. Plus, he’s not speaking to me now.”

“Lacey,” she says softly.

“Yes?”

“Would it be all right to hug you?”

I glance at her from the corner of my eye. The consideration she shows me makes my bottom lip tremble. A hot tear splashes on my cheek. “Yes.”

She grabs me up in a hug, harder than I thought possible. Rae is shorter than I am, and most of the time looks like a china doll, with her petite frame, pale blond hair, and blue eyes.

Finally, she lets me go, even though I’d be okay with her hugging me for a bit longer. I don’t have very many friends, and the ones I do have like to jab me with elbows and flying arms.

“Thank you,” I whisper. “Have a good night.” Wyatt’s hard gaze catches mine again. I flinch a little, then I slide off the stool and head to the front door. Alone.

It’s so strange to be here without him at my side. It’s even stranger to walk out the door, without him checking on me, without him walking me to my car, and waiting for me to start it up.

My throat gets all lumpy again, and I bite my lip to keep from crying.

For him to get so mad over me telling him that we can’t kiss anymore… that we had to go back to being only friends again. I just don’t get it. After all, it was just a kiss or two, nothing life altering

Okay, so it was more than just one kiss or two. It was tons of kisses, tons of his hands on my face and shoulders. His hands coasting down the sides of my body, tenderly and carefully, as if he was afraid I might break. His lips crushing mine. His breath becoming mine. I was his, and though we never did more than that, though his hands stayed on top of my clothes… I felt branded by him.

I trudge to my car. Frost covers the windshield, and bits of snow cling to the hood. The freezing almost-January air makes me pull my coat tighter. There’s hardly any traffic and, since this was a private party, the parking lot is almost deserted.

Happy New Year’s Eve to me.

A door slams behind me, but I keep walking.

“What do you think you’re doing?” Wyatt says from behind me. The sound of his voice makes me want to cry harder. He hasn’t spoken to me in three weeks.

And it hurts, God, it hurts. I want to turn around, but I keep walking, knowing that nothing good will come of this. He’s in a mood, and there’s an edge to his words. “Going home.”

He grabs my shoulder and turns me around. My eyes rake over him, over the heavy jacket and dark jeans, over the black boots on his feet, and then up to his messy, dark hair. It’s longer than he’s ever worn it, and I want to touch it. I want to brush it back from his face and ask him why he’s hiding. But I don’t. I can’t.

“Why?” he asks.

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