Pride Goeth Before DestructionMature

Chapter Twenty-Two

Luke's POV

I was determined to never talk to Sadie again.

I'm not a vindictive, petty person, trust me. It's just that I already went through the whole thing with Hayley, and I was still recovering. I couldn't handle that again. I could still remember the arguements with her. She'd humiliated me, and then had the audacity to try to tell me I was wrong, in the middle of a pep assembly where all my friends could hear. She was the only ex I didn't remain friends with. Looks like I wasn't going to remain friends with Sadie, either.

It was almost august. Just seven more days. Seven more days, and I would probably never see Sadie again... Actually, maybe less than seven days. Matt said the house would be finished within five. This gave me an odd sense of dread. I wasn't exactly admitting it to myself, but I didn't want to leave things the way they were with Sadie. It just felt...wrong. But what else could I do? She'd hurt me. I couldn't face it again.

Turned out I would have to.

As I was walking to the barn, Sadie ambushed me. Unfortunatly, Chloe was back at the house. Sadie refused to come near me when Chloe was with me.

"I want to talk to you." She fisted her hands on her hips, steely determination in her eyes.

I ignored her, turning to grab the bucket to feed the horses. I halted when she darted in front of me and I spotted the sorrowful expression on her face.

"Luke..." She reached out, extended a hand. I only stared at it. "I don't want to fight with you. But you have to believe me. Chloe will hurt you."

"Why will she hurt me?" I demanded in a cutting tone. "Why should I believe you? Why should I believe you about anything?"

"Because I care about you, damn it!" she said, frustration making her wring her hands. "I don't want to see you hurt! I know Chloe, Luke! She's the most selfish person I've ever met!"

"So are you." I said harshly.

She paused, her chest rising and falling rapidly as she looked at me with wide, shimmering eyes. It was a long moment before, finally, she said in a low voice, "How many times do I have to say I didn't do it? I know I know how it looked. I should have told Dayton the whole story instead of just dumping him without reason. I've told you before that I do stupid things. But not anymore!" Passion spurred her to move forward, to grip my hand. "I'm trying now. I see things differently now. I'm trying, Luke." she repeated, her voice straining as I shook my head, casting my eyes downward. She tugged on my hand, jolted me back to meet her gaze. "For you. I'm trying for you. I want to be with you."

"Why the hell would you ever want to be with me, Sadie?" I spun around, pulling my hand out of her grip. Agitation was plain in my voice. "We have nothing in common! You're a liar!'

She looked stung. "I am not a liar. I just-"

"You are." I glowered at her. "You've told me before. You're out of my league." I made a derisive noise. "You don't know me. You don't know what you want."

I felt my gut twist when the tears overflowed her eyes. "I want to be with you because you make me happy." she said slowly, quietly. "Because I can watch TV with you, and talk while I watch. I can listen to music and you smile when I sing along. I can lay with you in the grass and get you to look up at the sky with me even if there aren't any clouds. We can play video games together, and I don't feel like an idiot. You let me eat my own dessert, and you don't get mad when I spray perfume in your truck. You make me laugh. You make me feel safe. You make me feel happy." She took a step back. "You're the only person I can be around where I can be myself. That was why I had wanted to be with you."

I was stunned as she turned, left. I heard her car start a moment later.

Then I felt a hand, warm and soft, slithering down my arm. "'Luke," Chloe murmured. "Are you alright?"

"No," I said slowly, turning to face her. "I'm not."

The End

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