Reasonable Doubt: Volume 3
Page 23

 Whitney G.

  • Background:
  • Text Font:
  • Text Size:
  • Line Height:
  • Line Break Height:
  • Frame:
“Did you give it to me out of sympathy?”
“I gave it to you because your work was the best.” He looked into my eyes. “Although, I could have done without the “FYI: Mr. Hamilton used to f**k me in his office” note that was at the end.”
I held back a laugh.
“Jessica misses you by the way.”
“She claims I was much more desirable when you were around,” he said. “And apparently she used to listen to us have sex.”
“There’s no point in even trying to fire her anymore…I think she grew on me.”
“Do all the interns still hate you?”
“No.” He smiled. “For some strange reason, they started to like me shortly after you left.”
“Are you insinuating that your ass**le behavior was my fault?”
“No.” He pulled me into his lap and took the ice wrap away. “I’m insinuating that I no longer pretend to care about any interns when my favorite one is missing.”
I blushed and he started to massage my shoulders—slowly kneading his hands against my skin.
I shut my eyes and exhaled, slightly tilting my head back instead of telling him to stop.
“Do you plan on ever accepting my apology?” he asked, pressing a kiss against my neck.
“Is there any way that I could make you?” His fingers gently rubbed my collarbone, alleviating the pain.
“You could tell me the real reason you’re in New York…” I felt him unsnapping my bra. “I know you didn’t come all the way here just to see me.”
He kissed my shoulder. “You don’t know that.”
“I’m serious, Andrew.”
“As am I.” He pressed his palms into my back, temporarily rendering me speechless. “You’re a huge part of the reason why I’m still here, actually.”
“And the other part?”
He tilted my head back so I was looking directly into his eyes. “The other part doesn’t really matter.” He looked as if he wanted to kiss me, but he held back.
Instead, he slipped his hands underneath my legs and flipped me over so I was lying in his lap. “What time is your rehearsal again?”
“Four…” I barely managed. His touches felt too good.
“Can I drive you?” He softly kneaded the back of my shoulders. “I can do this to you for longer if you don’t take the subway…”
I nodded and shut my eyes, falling asleep at the mercy of his hands.
Hours later, Andrew pulled over to the curb at Lincoln Center.

I unbuckled my seatbelt and looked at him. “Are you going to be standing outside the ballet hall when I get done today?”
“With hot chocolate?”
“Would you prefer something different?”
I smiled. “No…”
He leaned over and tucked a strand of hair behind my ear. “I thought I was doing the right thing by kicking you out that night, by pushing you away…It was definitely a mistake.”
“I’m not coming back to you just because you said that.”
“I didn’t ask you to.” He trailed his finger against my lips. “I would, however, like you to consider forgiving me.”
“I’ll think about it. Just because you—”
His lips were on mine—kissing me, begging me, saying all the things he couldn’t say with words. And this time I was listening, missing everything we once had before he pushed me away.
Not letting me go, he ran his fingers through my hair and caressed my neck.
“Go think about that,” he whispered, slowly pulling away from me.
“Um…” I struggled to catch my breath as he stepped out to open my door.
“I’ll see you tonight.” He kissed my lips before leaving me standing in the middle of the street, completely breathless again.
I headed toward the dance hall, confident that I would dance like I was on air today. I opened the doors and felt someone grabbing my shoulder from behind.
“Aubrey?” The voice asked. “Aubrey, is that you?”
I turned around, shocked. “Mom? What are you doing here?”
“I wanted to see you…”
I noticed the pin on her suit, “Vote Smart. Vote Everhart,” and knew that wasn’t true. She was in town for something that had to do with my father’s campaign; I was only a pit stop.
“Well, now you’ve seen me…” I turned away and slipped inside the building.
“Wait, Aubrey.” She followed me. “Do you really think that moving across the country was the best way to get me and your father’s attention?”
“I didn’t leave North Carolina to get your attention.”
“Well, you certainly have it.”
“And look, it only took twenty two years…”
She sighed. “We’ve decided to talk to the department chair about letting you pick up where you left off during the summer semester. We can do that since you’re so upset about being a part of the campaign.”
“I’m not upset. I honestly don’t care.”
“Of course you do.” She sounded offended. “But if it makes you feel any better, we placed a picture of you and one of your ballets in our campaign brochure.”
“Did you do that so you could look like you actually care about college arts?”
“No, we donated fifty thousand dollars to Duke’s dance program to look like we actually care about college arts. The brochure picture was personal, although it would’ve been even better if you wrote that essay we begged you to write. We could’ve put that next to the picture. ”
I felt a pang in my chest. “When does your flight leave, mother?”
“Excuse me?”
“When does your flight leave?” I repeated, my voice cracking. “I’m pretty sure it’s in three hours or less so you won’t have to spend a full day here, so you can go back and tell Dad that you tried to convince me to come home after you fulfilled your campaign work. I’m sure that’s still all that matters to you.”
She was silent.
“I left Durham because I’ll be living here for at least three years—which is the length of my contract with the company, where I’ll be pursuing my real dream. And I must say, it’s just a bonus that I won’t be anywhere near you.”
She gasped.
“Have a safe flight. Tell Dad I said hello.”
“You’re just going to leave me standing here?”
“You’ve done it to me my entire life.” I left the building. I was too angry, too hurt, to completely focus.
I sent Ashcroft an email—letting him know I was using a sick day, and headed for the street.
“Aubrey!” My mother called from behind, but I kept walking. “Aubrey, wait!”
She finally caught up to me and grabbed my arm. “I can miss my flight…”
“And why would you want to do that?”
“So I can spend time with my daughter before she forgets that I exist…”
I held back tears.