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About Tomorrow..., Page 2

Abbi Glines

  Keeping my gaze on Chet and forcing a smile was difficult. The heat from the other set of eyes in the room felt as if they were burning a hole through my head. How did we do this? What did we say? I managed to form words that made sense. “Thank you, it’s nice to meet you too. I feel as if I know you already.” I lied. Griff didn’t talk about Chet a lot. He hadn’t talked about much at all. Most of our calls had been short.

  Chet then nodded his head toward the other body in the room. Although, I didn’t need an introduction. “This is Creed Sullivan, my cousin. Creed, this is my roommate, Griff Stafford, and his girlfriend, Sailor Copeland.”

  Griff stepped forward and held out his hand to Creed. “Nice to meet you,” he said, and once again, my body reacted to the sound of his voice.

  “Likewise,” Creed said.

  I placed another smile on my face that I didn’t feel and shifted my focus from my boyfriend to the one boy I thought I’d love forever, Creed Elijah Sullivan. His gaze was already on me and he gave me a smile that seemed almost mocking. It wasn’t genuine. He held out his hand to me and I stared at it a moment before slipping my hand in his.

  He gave me a firm handshake. “Pleasure to meet you as well, Sailor.” And that was it. He dropped my hand and stepped back. His dark hair was longer than I’d ever seen it and tucked behind his ears. He gave me a nod then walked off toward his new bedroom.

  Chet chuckled and shook his head. “Creed is a moody musician. You’ll get used to him,” he said.

  “No worries,” Griff replied. “I’ve given Sailor the tour so we are headed to get some dinner. Want me to grab you anything? Or Creed?”

  “No thanks, I’ve got a date with Chelsea, the girl from the coffee shop I told you about. Don’t worry about Creed,” he paused and shrugged, “he will go out when he’s ready.”

  I looked back at the bedroom door Creed had closed behind him. He was taller, his jaw was more defined and there was stubble on it, his voice was deeper. Six years had changed both of us. I may look older now, but he knew me. He could pretend that he didn’t and if that was what he needed to do then fine, but Creed knew me. Too much had happened between us for him to forget my name.

  I’d already lived through him shutting me out completely as if it were my fault Cora was dead. I never understood why he’d turned on me and refused to speak to me. Both our worlds had changed the day we found Cora. It hadn’t been our fault. No one had any idea the demons she had been battling. She’d not told us. Never mentioned it. Yet, Creed had refused to speak to me or acknowledge my existence as if Cora’s overdose was my fault. I’d lived with that pain until one day I was different. I wasn’t that girl anymore. He couldn’t still hurt me. Time hadn’t healed everything I realized. My heart wasn’t fully recovered. The ache was there, stretching and waking up from it being lodged down as deep as I could suppress it.


  October 25, 2019

  I was reluctant to leave the warmth of the bed. I’d woken briefly when Griff’s alarm clock had gone off two hours ago. I didn’t remember him leaving though. I’d slept right through that. We hadn’t stayed up late because he had an early class today, but the travel yesterday had worn me out. The movers would arrive at my Gran’s in two days. I was staying with Griff until my things arrived. Her house wasn’t empty, since she’d left everything in it to me, but I wanted my things to be there too. I wasn’t ready to walk into Gran’s house with just her things there…and no Gran.

  I smelled the wood burning in the fireplace, and if Griff had been the last one to poke it then I needed to go tend to it before the fire died. I wasn’t an expert at lighting fires, so I got up and grabbed the fleece rob Griff had left out for me. Wrapping it around my shivering body, I hurried and pulled on some thick fuzzy socks before going into the living area of the apartment.

  Thanks to the fire, the living room was at least fifteen degrees warmer than the bedroom had been. The flames coming from the fireplace also didn’t look as if they’d been ignored for two hours. The large fresh logs burning meant I wasn’t alone.

  There were two options as to who had kept the fire going. Glancing around the room and over the top of the divider into the small kitchen space, I saw no one. The other bedroom door was closed. Maybe they were gone now. I had no idea if Creed was in college or had a job or what he did other than he was a musician. That much I expected. Creed had been playing the guitar and writing his own songs since he was ten years old. He’d gotten his first guitar for Christmas that year, and by May, when I arrived for the summer, he had mastered several songs and written one of his own.

  Cora would sing with him. She had sung beautifully. I used to love listening to them. The sadness came with her memory as it always did. She was the closest thing I had to a sister. She was the only best friend I’d ever had. We told each other all our secrets or I thought we had until the day we found her. I didn’t want to think about that. I’d spent years in therapy dealing with her death. Seeing Creed brought back darkness that I’d fought hard to overcome.

  I didn’t want to go back to that place in my head. It was about my focus. I would get some coffee then curl up in a chair beside the fire and make a to-do list for when I got to Gran’s. Focusing on my immediate future and not letting my past come back to haunt me.

  The kitchen was small but well-stocked as far as coffee supplies went. There wasn’t much else in the way of nourishment. Unless you counted a bottle of ketchup, a block of cheese, and some stale bread as food. I was impressed with Chet and Griff’s supply of creamer and sugar. Making coffee the way I liked it, with too much sugar and cream, made my morning infinitely better. I stopped off in the bedroom to grab a pen and my notebook, before finding a spot on the sofa close to the fire.

  It wasn’t even Halloween yet and it was freezing. This was crazy and something I’d need to get used to living here. In Nashville, they weren’t even wearing long sleeves yet. Unless a random cold front came in for a couple days, no one would need sleeves until November. It didn’t make me miss Nashville though. The only bright spot in my life there had been Griff.

  “Morning,” a deep voice said and my head snapped up from the flames I’d been staring at. I’d known he was probably here, but I hadn’t been prepared for this, for talking to him or being alone with him. Hearing his voice again sent my stupid body into a weird turmoil. As if it had missed the sound and wanted to hear more of it. Why did it want to hear more of it? It would only bring me pain. My brain and I were in agreement. It was the rest of me that was confused.

  Creed had put on a pair of faded jeans and a vintage Def Leppard t-shirt, but he’d not brushed his hair. It worked for him, but then Creed was the kind of sexy that could wear anything and still turn heads. As a little girl, I’d loved playing with him, and as a teenage girl, I had fallen in love with him.

  “Hello,” I said so softly, it was almost a whisper.

  “Their coffee is shit,” he said, as he walked toward the kitchen.

  I turned my gaze back to the fire. Pretending like we were strangers was difficult. Once there had been so much I wanted to say to him. I’d wanted to ask him why? What had I done wrong? Why had he turned on me without a reason?

  Now, he was here. We were in the same room and I had no words. I couldn’t think of one thing to say.

  I heard him in the kitchen and as much as I wanted to not care that he was here, my body was attuned to his every move. Maybe it was my nerves or uncertainty. It couldn’t possibly be more than that. His footsteps were soft and I realized he must be barefoot. The cold wouldn’t affect him like it did me. He was a New Englander.

  He sat down in the chair across from the sofa and his gaze was on me. I didn’t want to look at him. The fire was less confusing and unsettling. I didn’t have to pretend with the fire. Creed, however, was a different story. How did he expect me to act like we were strangers when there was so much in our past?

>   “You sure you’re ready for a New Hampshire winter if you’re already freezing?” he asked me.

  I turned my head to meet his gaze then. “How do you know I’m moving to New Hampshire?” I asked him.

  He smirked. “I asked.” That was it. All he was saying was that he asked.

  “Why?” I shot back. If we were “strangers” then why did he care?

  He sat his cup of coffee on his knee and gave a small shrug of his shoulders. “Hell, Sailor, I don’t know. Maybe because yesterday I was coming to stay with Chet and try out playing with this new band and the next thing I know you come walking back into my world. I was fucking curious,” he replied.

  I watched him as he took another drink of his coffee before responding.

  “You acted like you didn’t know me,” I said, pointing out the obvious.

  The corner of his lips curved ever so slightly. “Yeah, well, I don’t know about you, but rehashing our history together in front of those two didn’t sound like a good time to me.”

  Okay. That did make sense. If he’d let on that we knew each other, they would have wanted to know the details. Griff would have wanted more than I’d be willing to share. He would have wanted to know why I never told him about Creed and Cora. I wouldn’t have been able to explain that without possibly hurting him. I turned my focus back to the fire and drank my coffee.

  We sat in silence for several minutes. I didn’t know what to say or if there was anything to say. Our past needed to stay in the past, and although I felt like I was lying to Griff, I couldn’t talk about Creed and Cora. I’d never been able to talk about the Sullivans. Not to anyone other than my therapist and she had forced it out of me.

  “Best if we keep the past to ourselves,” he said breaking the silence.

  I nodded my head and didn’t look at him.

  He stood up then and I wondered if I’d ever be alone in the same room with him again. This would be my only chance to ask him the questions that had not only hurt me but had broken me. I had this moment and I knew I wouldn’t take it. It no longer mattered. I had moved on from Creed Sullivan. He wanted to forget and so did I.

  “Griff seems like a nice guy,” he said as he stood looking down at me.

  I nodded. “He’s a great guy,” I told him and forced a smile. If no other truth could be told that one could. I’d been lucky when Griff walked into my life. He had been everything I needed. He had saved me when nothing else had worked. Loving Griff was easy.

  I didn’t watch as he walked away. The bedroom door closed and I knew I was alone in the room again. I had a list and some phone calls to make. Thinking of Creed Sullivan was in my past and I would not bring that back up.

  I picked up my pen and opened my notebook, just as the first strum of the guitar came from the other room. Pausing, I let myself remember how his face looked when he played. It had once been one of my favorite things to see.

  Creed stopped playing after an hour and fifteen minutes. I had given up trying to make a list and taken my overnight bag to the community bathroom. Luckily it was available and I had plenty of time to get a shower and put on some makeup. When I walked out of the bathroom there was a woman outside the apartment door texting something on her phone. She glanced up at me and did a once over then went back to her texting. I needed her to move so I could get inside the apartment but the tall, dark-haired, stunning female with eyes that reminded me of a cat was apparently busy.

  When I stood there not moving and trying to politely wait for her to finish her text conversation, she glanced back up at me and, this time, she was scowling with annoyance. “Can I help you?” she asked with a snide tone that was uncalled for, considering I was the one who should be annoyed.

  “Yes, if you could let me get inside that would be nice,” I replied as politely as I could.

  She looked at the door then back at me. “This is your apartment?” she asked.

  “No. It’s my boyfriend’s,” I replied, although this was not her business.

  “Who is your boyfriend?” She snapped her eyes now looking ready to attack me. They were almost glowing. Calm down cat girl.

  “Griff Stafford,” I answered her although I should have told her off. I was too nice. It was one of my worst traits.

  “Must be a roommate,” she said. “I’m looking for Creed Sullivan. He gave me this address.”

  Ah. Okay. This girl did not seem like the kind of girl Creed would be involved with. He was nice. Or he had been nice. This female was scary. I didn’t know Creed now though. He’d changed. Not only had his looks gotten more rugged but he was different.

  “He’s inside. Or he was when I went to get a shower,” I told her.

  She stepped back and waved at the door. “Well, can you open it? He didn’t give me the code.”

  I didn’t want to open it. It would seem Creed had bad taste in women. Not for me to decide although it was disappointing. I walked past her and pressed the four numbers I was sure she was memorizing. Then opened the door and walked inside. Creed was, once again, in the chair beside the fire. His left ankle was propped up on his right knee and a book lay open in his lap. He lifted his gaze and didn’t look pleased or surprised.

  “You didn’t hear me knock?” the female demanded, pushing past me and into the room.

  “Hello, Ember,” he drawled and closed the book he had been reading.

  She placed her hand on a very narrow hip. “Why tell me to come over if you’re not going to answer the damn door?”

  I walked past them and headed for Griff’s bedroom. I needed to find somewhere to go. It was time I got on a coat and went for a walk.

  “I didn’t tell you to come over. I recall giving you the address when you asked me.”

  “That’s the same thing. Why would I ask for your address if I wasn’t coming to see you?”

  I heard Creed sigh. “You’re right. I’m glad you’re here now.”

  I scrunched my nose up as I pulled on a coat and added a scarf. She did not sound pleasant to be around at all. Granted she was stunning but yikes. Sometimes beauty is not enough. This is one of those times. Then again, maybe she was sweet as sugar when no one was around. What did I know? Not your business Sailor.

  Slipping my feet into a pair of boots, I grabbed my camera and headed for the door. I had wanted to take pictures of the colorful leaves and the pumpkins on the doorsteps yesterday. Now, I had plenty time to do it. I walked out of the bedroom to find Ember was sitting in Creed’s lap and they were kissing. I swung my gaze off them and headed for the door.

  “You leaving?” Creed asked.

  I didn’t look back. “Yep,” I replied then opened the door to get the heck out of there.


  “Shelly isn’t going to pull it off. We all know it. I’m still stunned she got this far,” Chet said, before putting a fork full of Caesar salad in his mouth.

  “I’ve got two in Gross Anatomy that I can’t figure out how they got in either,” Griff replied.

  I had been sitting silently and listening to them talk about other medical students for over fifteen minutes. Chet seemed to have a thing for this Shelly because although he was bashing her, he couldn’t shut up about her. I didn’t think she needed to be judged for dancing on a pole. She was paying for medical school. I commended her for smart planning.

  “You want more Fettuccini?” Griff asked me then.

  “No thanks,” I replied then looked back longingly at the fire in the living room.

  He chuckled. “Go get warm. I’m almost done and I’ll join you and bring some wine.”

  Relieved to be released from listening to Chet’s complaining about poor Shelly, I got up and headed for the warmth of the fire. Picking up a throw on my way there, I snuggled into the sofa and sighed. I’d spent more time out in the cold today than I’d wanted, but I hadn’t wanted to come back here and in
terrupt anything. The colors of the leaves had been breathtaking and made the freezing temps worth it. I’d been distracted by them at least.

  “Did Creed keep the fire going for you this morning?” Chet asked from the kitchen.

  “Uh, yes, he did,” I replied.

  “He doesn’t get cold easy. He grew up in New Hampshire and that breed can take some cold ass weather,” Chet said.

  Griff laughed. “You’re from Rhode Island. Is it really that different?”

  “Hell yes. I’m from the warmer New England climate.”

  I seriously doubted there was such a thing. They continued to talk as I watched the flames and enjoyed the warmth under the fluffy throw. I wasn’t sure how much time had passed when Griff took the spot beside me and pulled me to his side. Chet sat down in the chair across from us and they continued with their talk about classes and professors. I listened some, but my eyes felt heavy and closing them was all I wanted to do. It was comfortable and safe with Griff. I’d missed him and being here with him again made everything seem like it was normal. Almost. There was the issue of Creed.

  I was woken up when Griff picked me up from the sofa.

  “You need help?” I heard Creed’s deep voice but the room was dark.

  “I’m awake. I can walk,” I told Griff.

  He pulled me tighter against his chest. “I got you now,” he said. “Can you open the bedroom door?” he then asked Creed.

  I felt silly being carried and wondered how long I’d been asleep. The fire was no longer lighting up the room with a glow. All I heard was the embers crackling as it slowly faded. “You don’t have to carry me,” I said again.

  “I want to,” Griff replied.

  We walked into the bedroom and the door closed behind us. Griff placed me on the bed and then went to get my cotton leggings and flannel pajama top. “Are you going to dress me too?” I asked then yawned.