Emily was so happy to see Eddie she almost forgot he didn’t feel the same way about her that she did about him. She’d avoided him for weeks to try to get her head on straight. She knew it wasn’t going to be easy to sort out her feelings for him and her feelings for Nick, but in the end she decided she hadn’t been in love with Nick as she’d thought. But she was quickly falling for Eddie.
Then she looked at the table Eddie was standing in front of and saw Nick and, presumably, his new girlfriend. Her heart sunk. Seeing Nick again brought back all the pain from the night they’d broken up. Pain she’d shoved aside over the last few weeks.
Emily’s eyes stung with unshed tears. She’d never really grieved her relationship with Nick. She realized now that her assertion that she was falling for Eddie was premature. She was thrilled to see him, but was it because he was her friend or because she wanted him to be something more.
“Excuse me,” Emily muttered, brushing past all of them. She didn’t know where she was headed, but she knew she needed to get the hell out of there. She’d text her friends later and explain why she stood them up. They would understand.
“Em, wait!” Eddie said, chasing her out the door. She didn’t stop. She knew he’d keep following her and that he would catch up to her before too long. Eddie was a good eight inches taller than her and could close the distance between them easily.
Outside the cool air assaulted her lungs. She paused, letting the coldness seep into her and fill her. She told herself she wasn’t waiting for Eddie, but a small part of her knew she was. She wanted to see him, to talk to him. She needed the comfort she hoped he could provide, even if he only offered it to her as a friend.
“Emily,” Eddie breathed when he pushed out the door and saw her standing there. “I’m sorry. Are you okay?”
Emily nodded. “Yeah. I mean it stings, you know, but I think I knew it was over between us for a while.”
“Really?” Eddie asked incredulously. He clearly wasn’t buying it. “Because on New Year’s Eve you thought he was going to propose.”
Emily laughed at herself for that. She didn’t know what she’d been thinking. Nick wasn’t the kind of guy who was likely to settle down. That was one of the things that attracted her to him at first. Then their relationship became comfortable. Emily didn’t want it to end. In a way she knew she loved Nick, but she never would have been happy with him.
It still hurt to be cast aside.
“I don’t know why I thought that. We’d never talked about getting married. It was just a fantasy I had. A stupid idea that sprouted in my brain and wouldn’t let go.”
Eddie’s face fell as Emily talked and she clamped her mouth shut before anything else fell out.