I’m sitting on top of a picnic table in the park, staring with bloodshot eyes up at the stars. Kaleb is close to me but keeping his distance. After my break down at the restaurant, he brought me somewhere quiet to calm down.
But I don’t think I could calm down.
“Greer, please, you need to tell me what’s going on with you.” This is the first time he’s spoken since letting me cry on him.
I sigh and push up from where I’m sitting. I stand to my feet and face him. Kaleb’s eyes follow my every movement. I step between his legs, resting my hands on his knees. “I’m fine, Kaleb, promise.”
“You’re lying.” He shakes his head.
“Do you trust me?” I lean forward more.
“Then I need you to trust me right now, okay? I’m okay.”
“Greet, how am I supposed to protect you if you don’t talk to me?”
“You don’t need to protect me,” I reassured him.
“Yes, I do!” He yells into the darkness. “Something scared you so much tonight that you cried. Not to mention, that a few weeks ago you woke up screaming! There’s obviously something that you need protecting from. Tell me what it is.”
“You need to stop, Kaleb.” I take a step back from him.
“No, Greer. I need to know what you’re hiding!” He pushes up from his seat and jumps down from the table. He towers over me with wandering, curious eyes.
“Stop, please,” I beg. “You don’t understand. You can’t ask questions like this.”
“What don’t I understand? What happened that night you were robbed? Why was your room worse than every other room in your house? Why are you lying about your parents?” He’s asking so many questions that I can’t keep up. Worse, he’s asking all the questions that I’ve feared for a while now.
“Kaleb, Stop!” I yell, fingers trembling. “You can’t ask questions like that! It’s not safe, for me or for you!”
Kaleb steps closer to me, this time I don’t step back. He reaches up and runs a finger down the side of my face. I close my eyes against his touch, taking in a ragged breath. “I just want to protect you, take care of you. How can I do that if I don’t really know anything about you?” His voice is nothing but a whisper, meant only for me and him.
“That’s not true. You know more about me than anyone does.” I tell him. That was true, excluding Leo, Kaleb was the only person who knew more of the real me.
“I don’t know enough.” He pleads. “But, I trust you. If you say I can’t ask questions, I won’t. But I won’t give up, Greer. I told you once I was going to know everything about you. I meant it.”
I nod, leaning forward to press my head into his chest. His warmth encases me, instantly relaxing me. His arms encompass me, drawing me even closer. He kisses the top of my head and breathes in deep. We stand there for several minutes, just enjoying each other’s presence before Kaleb pulls away.
“It’s getting late, I better get you home. I want to make sure your uncle keeps liking me.” Kaleb laughs.
“You don’t have to worry about that,” I smile. “He won’t like you either way.”
Kaleb scoffs, “Why?”
“You’re a guy. I told you, he’s super protective.”
Kaleb just laughs again as he pulls me close to him and leads me back to his car. He opens the door for me and watches as I slide inside. Then he rounds the car and slips into his own seat. He turns over the engine and the music blares over the speakers.
I lay on my back now, staring up at my ceiling. Kaleb dropped me off some time ago, but I still can’t get his face and words out of my head. He was the perfect gentlemen: walked me to my door and refrained from kissing me, because we both knew Leo was watching from the window. He waved over his head and disappeared into the night.
I already missed him.
It scared me how much I cared for Kaleb Nixon. So much that he made my heart quicken and my smile never fade. So much that I knew how much it would hurt if I lost him. So much that I’d be happy just sitting in silence with him for the rest of my life.
Maybe I felt too much.
Was that possible to feel too much for someone?
I think it was.
I could feel too much that it clouded my senses, blocked my judgment. It could make me stupid and careless. I could feel too much that it wasn’t good for either of us.
Was that happening right now?
Would being with Kaleb Nixon make me reckless?
I shake the thought away quickly. Being with Kaleb wasn’t like that. Being with Kaleb felt like the only good thing in my life. He made me smile and he made me laugh. He made me feel things again because after my parents died, I thought I’d never feel the good emotions again.
Kaleb was good.
He was good.
He made me want to settle into being Greer Evans and leave my old life behind. I would never forget, but maybe I could move on. Maybe there was something more for me, something more for us.
I would move on.
With Kaleb by my side, I would face the future and move on from my past.
I just hope Kaleb will be okay with never getting the answers to his questions. He can never know the truth. Was that fair? Was it fair to Kaleb to keep lying to him? He was giving me his all and I was giving him nothing. He didn’t even know the real me and he never would.
Was that fair?
Could I sit here and do that to him? Could I move on in a relationship knowing that he always wanted more?
So many questions burned at the back of mind, none of them had answers and it was weighing me down.
If I was a better person, I would walk away from Kaleb. There were too many secrets in my life that he would eventually get buried beneath as well.
But I don’t know what kind of person I am.