Narrator: Leslie Défiere
I walked two blocks north, through an alley, and out onto the corner of a familiar street. I counted the house numbers out of habit, even though I didn't need to. I knew his house like the back of my hand.
I walked up the driveway, past his mother's car, and onto the cobblestone path that traced its way to the side of the house. And then I kept walking, past the front door and into the backyard.
I reached into the rock garden and slid my hand deep between the rocks until I felt cold metal. Then, I yanked it out. The stones clattered around each other, as my tears fell upon them and the crowbar in my hands.
Then, I walked to the back of the house and knelt down at one of the basement windows. With the crowbar, I wedged it open. Then, as quietly as I could, I slid myself into Brent's bedroom. My feet hit the broken armchair in the corner, and I knew I was safe. Gently, I closed the window and set the crowbar down beside the chair.
I took off my damp shoes, then my windbreaker and blouse, before sliding onto the side of his bed. I pulled the sheets over me, and many moments passed but I still felt cold. It wasn't real cold. It was a semblance of cold. My grieving mind, torturing me further.
To distract myself, I tried to tune out my senses. But I could hear them. Voices. At first, I thought I was going crazy, and needed more sleep than I thought -- not that I wanted sleep -- but I recognized the voices!
They came from the vents. I could hear footsteps too, right above me.
"This was my mother's, your grandmother's, and so you better not lose it. I wrote it, too. Hopefully, she'll be able to pass it on to your children one day."
"Thanks, Mom. You're the best."
"Are you sure this is right? I mean, I know she's the one - you're over the moon about her. But, is it the right time, Brent? You've got an apprenticeship starting next fall, and she's not even in her senior year."
"Marriage doesn't mean we're going to start a family right away, Mom."
Marriage. I cringed at the word. I had to find a way to convince him that now was not the time, discretely, before he could propose. But I knew he'd wait, for the perfect moment. And given the way things were, that meant I'd have time.
"Good. I don't want you two getting too intimate so soon in your lives. You and your... girlfriend have got a lot to risk."
Fiancé. The word, unsaid, scared me even more. To me, it always sounded so possessive. An object on display, just like the ring.
"Geez, Mom, I'm nineteen. If you were ever going to give me a sex talk, the time is long past."
I could hear her scowl. As much as we liked each other, I couldn't help but wonder if she was starting to think of me as a tramp. Surely, she could smell the cum that stained his dirty clothes.
But that's what I am now, right? I've cheated on my boyfriend with another guy. Worse still, I think I've fallen in love, in just one night, far more than I ever have with Brent. Maybe I'm just losing my mind.
And as I lay there, waiting for him to come downstairs and find me lying here, I decided that there was only one thing I could do to prevent things: steal the ring.
Then again, I knew that at some point, Adam would make me choose. And though the choice would probably be as obvious then as it is now, I was afraid. Afraid to hurt him. To hurt Brent.