second chances: abby

Abby

She usually enjoyed the view from her office window. Today, as she stared down at the crowds of people on the streets, she wondered if their lives were as complicated as hers had just become. An hour ago, she felt content; settled. Now, it seemed as if her entire world had been turned upside down. It’s amazing what can happen in an hour.

She had met Greg at their favorite restaurant for lunch. From the moment she walked in, she felt ill at ease. She could always sense when something wasn’t quite right with him. She walked to the table; he stood and gave her a kiss on the cheek.

“Hi Abs.” he said in greeting. Nobody called her that, but him. She’d told him a million times how much she hated it.  “Great show this morning.”

“Thanks, “she said and ordered a glass of water when the waiter stopped by.

“Abs,” he said more like a question, “can I ask you a question?”

Oh no, here it comes, she thought. She knew exactly where this was going. They had been dating for almost two years and she knew he was ready to settle down. She knew she wasn’t.

“Greg,” she said with a pained look on her face.

“I just don’t understand why you don’t want to come home with me for Thanksgiving.” He said. “Why don’t you want to meet my parents? Why haven’t I met yours?”

She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t want to hurt him, but she still wasn’t ready. “I just want to take things slow.”

“We’ve been dating for two years, could we possibly go any slower?” he sounded angry. “I just can’t do this anymore.”

“What are you saying?” she asked and didn’t particularly care for the way her voice cracked as she spoke.

“You know how I feel about you and you know I’d marry you tomorrow if you’d say yes.” He paused, thinking maybe this time she would. Her silence devastated him. “I’m sorry, Abby.”

He stood, leaned over and kissed her on her forehead. “I love you.” he whispered and then walked toward the door.

Abby looked down at the table and realized she must be in shock. In the last two years, she had never told Greg that she loved him. She knew he wished his words would elicit the same response from her. But, she had explained that she had never said ‘I love you’ to any man besides her father and brothers. She told Greg that when she said it, she would mean it. I guess he got tired of waiting, she thought; could she blame him? Abby realized she was crying; picked up a napkin and dabbed the corners of her eyes. She left a twenty dollar bill on the table and headed back to work.

Now in her office, she wondered why she cried. Was it because she didn’t love Greg? Was it because he had ended their relationship? Or, could it be that she hated change? She had become so comfortable with him and their routine that she wasn’t sure what to do now.

“What is wrong with me?” she asked herself aloud.

“Where should I start?” a voice came from her open door.

“Ha ha!” she said to her producer and best friend and then she laughed for real.

Samantha walked in and plopped down in her favorite chair. Now here is someone she absolutely did love. They met in college and became fast friends. They had met each others’ families and had become family. Now they were doing what they loved together. Sam was the one person Abby could always rely on.

“So, I have some news.” Sam’s voice pulled Abby from her thoughts. “I got a call from Carl. Seems he owes a favor to a friend and the friend happens to be a publisher and…” she let her words trail off when she saw the horror on Abby’s face. “Sweetie, I would have given you warning if I’d had any. We will get through this; I’ll be with you the entire time.”

Abby slowly sat down in her chair and then immediately stood back up. She started pacing. “You can’t mean… you don’t… Sam! I can’t!”

Sam knew seeing James again would be hard for her friend, but she didn’t know how hard. She knew that Abby had followed his career from the time he moved to New York, but she didn’t know exactly what had happened between the two, just that it had ended badly. She had tried to get out of the interview, but Carl wouldn’t have it and what could she do? He was the station manager. Yes, they had a contract and the show’s final say was made by her and Abby; but there was also a clause stating that Carl could coordinate two shows a year. It was already November and he hadn’t given his input… until now. Sam knew they had no choice. She also knew that interviewing author, James Sinclair, would be an incredible opportunity career wise. But, her first priority was to make sure her friend was okay.

“Abby, I know you and James have a past.”

“A past? A past? Sam, he broke my heart.” Tears sprang to her eyes and immediately ran down her face. Sam handed her a tissue and led her over to the couch at the other end of her office.

“What can I do?” Sam asked as the full severity of the situation sank in. She would do anything to take away the pain she saw in her friend’s eyes. “Tell me about him.”

Abby dried her eyes and looked at her friend. She had never told anyone about that night and she guessed it was about time she did…

via Daily Prompt: Elicit

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