I try to pull my eyes away from hers, but it’s difficult. Her pain is gripping, and I’m the one it has a hold on.
She’s in a corner all by herself. Mother was busy socializing, and so was Trevor. Her posture and look weren’t really inviting at all. She looked like she could shrink in on herself at any moment, but what disturbed me most was the anguish in her eyes. I understood pain; after all, haven’t I been through it already? Countless times, in fact.
Now I understand where her pain is coming from. I understand the cause of her depressed and
sad state. It’s Gunner. Her son.
“What are you looking at, Ava?” Letty’s voice sounds far away.
It’s like I was hypnotized. I couldn’t look away. I couldn’t see anything except her.
Calvin shakes me, and with great difficulty, I turn to him. He looks at me questioningly. I
didn’t understand it, but for some weird reason, I wanted to comfort Emma.
“Why are you staring at Emma like a deer caught in headlights?” Corrine asks, her eyebrows
I shifted my gaze back to the woman, but her eyes were no longer on me. Instead, they were firmly fixed on the table.
“Her pain…” I stammer the two words, unable to complete the sentence.
“I guess karma has finally caught up with her… From what I hear, guilt and regret are hitting her hard, and she’s not taking it well,” Letty informs us, her eyes drifting to Emma.
I look at Calvin, but his expression is cold and stoic, revealing absolutely nothing. Either all the feelings he had for Emma are gone, or they’ve turned to hate, or he’s just hiding them. Burying them inside so that he doesn’t have to feel that constant heartache.
My eyes shift from him, then to her, and finally to Rowan. Rowan was busy chatting with Gabe, his dad, and some others. Trevor was there, but you could tell there was a bit of tension between the two of them. He was laughing, while Iris was securely wrapped in his arms.
I wondered then how things would have turned out had I let go of my obsession with Rowan. Looking at it as a mature adult, could it be that my obsession ruined the lives of four people?
Think about? If I hadn’t stalked Rowan that night, none of the things that happened that night would have happened. I wouldn’t have slept with Rowan, we wouldn’t have gotten married, Rowan and Emma wouldn’t have broken up, and neither Emma nor Rowan would have spiraled, meaning Emma wouldn’t have hooked up with Calvin, and neither would she have strung him on for years.
It would have been painful losing Rowan, but I think that probably I would have moved on later on and so would Calvin. Hell, I think he’d already started moving on before he slept with
Sighing I stand up. “I’ll be right back.” I excuse myself and leave the table.
I go inside and just sit in the living room for a little while. The realization that I might have been the cause of the heartache and sorrow of four people is heavy on me. 2
I get that everyone makes choices. That everyone has their own paths to follow. I perfectly understand that ultimately every choice Rowan, Calvin, and Emma made is on them and that it isn’t my fault for the mistakes they made, but I still can’t help but feel that I was the catalyst; my obsession was the catalyst for what led them down the paths they took.
“Are you okay, Ava?” Teresa’s voice startles me, and I almost fall.
“Yes,” I lie. “I’m just lost in thought.”
“Okay then, it’s time to cut the cake,” she informs me, and I stare at her in shock.
Seriously, what time was it? Did I just leave my friends about five minutes ago?
“So soon?” I ask in confusion, “Is everyone done eating?”
She looks at me funny, but I ignore the look and stand up. Stretching, I try to release the tension from my aching bones.
“It’s been more than an hour, Ava.”
Well, that was surprising. I didn’t think that I’d be lost in thought for that long. It seemed like I’d been gone for only about five or ten minutes max. I guess time rushes by fast when you’re lost deep in your thoughts.
“Why did no one call me?” I ask as we begin walking towards the backdoor.
“We did want to, but Sir Rowan told us not to disturb you until it was time to cut the cake.” She answers warmly. “He said this week has been hectic with planning, and you just needed a bit of time to yourself.”
I nod, my heart feeling warmth towards him. I was starting to doubt things about whether we should really be together, but then he goes and does something like this. It may seem small and insignificant, but to me, it was huge. It showed his consideration for my needs. I wanted to be alone for a while, and he honored that.