She winks at Allison and I, and then she’s gone. Part of me is relieved; I’m not that close to Hayley, and I don’t know how much she’s aware of. Also, she can keep Owen occupied, so he doesn’t hear what Allison and I are talking about.
“That actually worked out well,” Allison muses as I go to the kitchen.
“Yeah,” I say with a small smile. “Coffee?”
“Yes, thanks,” Allison says, leaning against the counter. She pauses. “How are you feeling?”
“Wretched,” I admit. “But I completely understand why Grant decided he couldn’t stick around.”
“I don’t get it. What even happened?” Allison asks, brow furrowing. “When you asked if Owen could stay the night, I thought things were going well. Now you’re telling me he left?”
“They did go well,” I say. “But…I think Grant just couldn’t quite get over what happened. I woke up this morning and he was gone. He sent me a message, apologizing, saying that he just couldn’t do it.” I give her a wry smile. “Can you blame him?”
Allison doesn’t reply. I know she agrees.
“What now?” she finally asks.
“Well…I guess we find some way to co-parent,” I say. I glance toward the living room, where Hayley is with Owen. I can hear her making loud car noises over Owen’s giggles. First Georgia and now Hayley… Knowing Allison has the potential to really expand my friend group. I’m glad for it. “I wish that I had been more rational three years ago. But I wasn’t, and now I’m paying the price.”
I glance at Allison. To my surprise, though, she’s frowning, unimpressed.
“You know, Kyle taught me something,” she says slowly. “I used to think like you. The ‘oh no, I’ve screwed up, woe is me’ attitude is really easy to have. But it’s a lot harder to fight for what you want.” She looks up at me. “Kyle might say it’s different, but it isn’t, not really. I hurt him pretty badly. It was a long time before Grant and Ethan could even smile at me. Admittedly, everything I did to him happened over about a week or two. But, the funny thing is, Kyle never once gave up on me. No matter how many times I pushed him away, he just kept coming back.” She lets out a short laugh. “It was a little frustrating, to be honest.”
“I don’t think I have the right to keep fighting for Grant,” I point out. “Not after what I did to him. If he steps back…”
“Then take two steps forward,” Allison suddenly says. She crosses her arms. “Grant was the one that asked you on the date, right? Somewhere inside him, he really does want this. He’s unsure because you did hurt him pretty bad, but there’s also a part of him that knows you’re trying to make amends. Maybe things won’t be the same ever again. Maybe it’ll be difficult for a really long time. But have you actually told him how much you love him?”
I wince. “Well, no, because…”
“You’re making excuses again,” Allison says suddenly. “Why do you keep making excuses? Just get up and do what you want. You only have so much time to say these things to him.”
I stare at her. My mind is whirling. Allison leans forward, her eyes intent.
“I understand, both your side and his,” she says. “But you can’t let it go like this, not without telling him everything. Because if you do, you’re only going to regret it.”
It sounds so ridiculously easy. I almost can’t comprehend what Allison is saying to me. How could it possibly be that easy? To just say what I’m thinking, to voice all the things I haven’t wanted to say for fear of rejection? It’s terrifying.
But slowly, as I think about it, I realize that Allison is right. If I keep letting these things go, if I don’t say what I really want to say, I will regret it. Even if I tell Grant I love him, and he tells me he can’t love me anymore, then at least I said it. It’ll hurt, but it will be out there, and we can move on from that.
“What… What do I say to him?” I ask. I’m suddenly feeling breathles
s at the possibilities.
“What did he say to you this morning?” Allison asks.
“He sent a text message before I woke,” I reply, fishing my phone out and showing her the message. “He must have left pretty early.”
“The time on this message says four,” Allison points out; I never looked at the time, too caught up in seeing the message itself. “You sent me a message around five-thirty.”
I wince. I didn’t realize it was that early when I called Alicia. I hope my supervisor can forgive me for that.
“Anyway, you haven’t responded to this yet?” Allison continues.
“No… I didn’t know what to say,” I admit.