The next day, I woke up with the resolve to sit down with Derek and Seth and tell them my feelings. I would end up hurting both of them if I didn't tell them soon, and I wanted them to hear it from me, with words, not how I act around them. So I went downstairs. My brothers, parents, Seth, Derek, and Trace were all sitting at the table.
"Hey," I said.
They all turned and looked at me. Derek, Seth, and Trace got up and Derek and Trace "helped" me to my chair, while Seth pulled it out, and pushed it back in once I sat down. My mom put pancakes of my plate, and for the first time in a very long time, I actually wanted to eat them.
Breakfast was passed in small talk. No one discussed affairs of the world, or my injury. It was spent asking Trace about news from home. I missed Arizona so much, I would love nothing more than to go back there. And who knows, maybe I'll end up going to school there. Call me crazy, but I love the summer heat, and how it almost never snows.
I sat and half listened, as Trace and everyone else talked about sports and school, jobs and college. Honestly, though, I was lost in my own world. I was mentally preparing what I would say.
When the meal was over, the dishes were cleared, and everyone went about their business of the day.
I had to do this soon, or I never would.
The moment of truth.
"Um, Seth? Der? Can I talk to you guys up in my room?" I asked.
They exchanged looks, then looked back at me and nodded. They both stood up and went up to my room. Trace smiled at me, and nodded – as if he knew what was going to happen. I let out a breath and followed them up to my room. I shut the door behind me and sat on my bed.
"Are you okay?" they both asked.
"Um, actually, not really," I said.
They both frowned.
I looked down and gathered every ounce of courage that I could muster, and then looked up at them again, "This isn't easy to say," I began. Derek started to speak, but I held up my hand, stopping him, "No interruptions, please." I took a deep breath, and then let it out, "I'm just going to say this. Seth. Every second that I spent with you was wonderful, and I don't regret anything. But sometime between then and now, my feelings have changed. A lot. And I'm so sorry. And Derek…well, he's the reason my feelings have changed."
They were both silent. They were both looking down at the floor. I braced myself for any burst of emotions that might be coming my way.
But there was none.
When Seth finally looked up at me, his eyes were filled with hurt and understanding; it tore my heart up to see him that way. I honestly hadn't wanted to hurt him. He'd been so amazing to me since I got here, he understood where I was coming from and never complained when I cried. To see him like that broke my heart more than you can imagine.
"Can't say I'm surprised," he mumbled.
I said nothing and waited for him to continued.
Though he didn't elaborate, he stepped over to me and kissed my cheek, then left my room without another word.
Derek looked up at me, "Jo-"
"I love you too," I said, finally reply to what he'd told me in the hospital.
I nodded, "I have since we were little, I just didn't realize it."
He sat next to me, "I'm sorry about Seth,"
I wiped the tears from my eyes, "It's for the best. Can't be with someone I'm not in love with,"
He wrapped his arm around me and hugged me close. He kissed my temple, "It still hurts, though, doesn't it?"
I nodded. I wrapped my arms around his stomach and leaned into him, "Yeah, it does."
"So, you need good news to cheer up?"
"I think you holding me, is doing a pretty good job of that. But sure,"
He chuckled, "They caught the guy that shot you,"
I sat up, "They did? Who were they? How?"
"When you were still in the hospital, I went to the police station, and told them everything about my past, and my suspicion that the people I was running from were the ones that shot you. Sure enough they were. They found them…and caught them,"
"You can go home now!" I said.
"Trying to get rid of me?"
I grinned and hugged him tighter, "No, not at all. But your mom needs to know that you're not dead."
He sighed, "You're right. But if I go, I want you to come back with me. You could live with me and my mom,"
My eyes lit up, "Really?"
He nodded, "We'll work it out with your parents. I'll most likely have to fly down and visit my mom first…but maybe…"
I smiled, "Sounds good."
He placed two fingers under my chin and lifted my head. He leaned closer, until our lips met. It was much different than our first kiss, put still as pure. Not too much passion, but just enough to make my whole body feel limp in his arms. Kissing Seth, or Trace, or anyone else, was okay, but kissing Derek was so much better than anything else I'd ever felt.
It was like chocolate, coffee, and love all mixed into one thing. What more could a girl ask for?
Well, I decided that this is the last chapter. There was a lot more that I could have done with it….but it was a pretty good ending, no?
And, if y'all review enough, I MIGHT be nice enough to do a sequel. Provided that you guys want it…