I couldn't do it. I couldn't do it any longer. Just sit there on a date with Abigail, pretending I was actually paying attention to the movie and her beside me. I just… no. Heck, I had to keep reminding myself I wasn't alone! I couldn't pretend any longer.
"Excuse me," I said suddenly, opening the car door. "I, uh, need to use the little boys' room." I didn't wait for a reply from either Abigail or Gus. Trying not to seem jittery, which, actually, probably had the opposite affect, I closed the door and forced myself not to run to the building. As soon as the door was shut behind me, I sank to the floor shakily.
There wasn't a word invented to accurately describe how terrible of day it had been. First, I'd gone way past my personal boundaries and had asked a girl on a proper date. And not just any girl, no. Abigail. As Jules had so eloquently put it: "the one that got away." Jules…
I shook my head violently. Not yet. We weren't there yet.
Then, of course, psycho killer guy who turns out to be a woman succeeds in completely screwing around with my head. Mom was in town without me knowing and only lets me know when she wants to stop me from beating Mr. Yang. Oh, yeah, and psycho witch woman kidnaps Mom, with the threat of blowing her into a thousand little charred pieces.
And, if that wasn't enough…
I took a shuddering breath. I was just getting myself more riled up. With effort, I pushed myself back up to my feet and walked towards the restrooms. Stopping at the sink with the intent of splashing some cold water on face, I stared at myself in the mirror. It unnerved me how awful I looked. In all honesty, I looked like the living dead. Completely lifeless. My face was pale and had absolutely no expression. Even my eyes, though wide in something like pure terror, looked dead. It was no wonder Abigail had been able to tell something was wrong.
Why hadn't I told her the truth? Jules was right, she wouldn't wait forever. But had Jules realized "she" wasn't Abigail, "she" was Jules herself? Abigail and I were done, a thing of the past that never… really happened. We both knew that, the kiss at the school reunion had proved it. And, let's see, who had caught my attention and made me smile right after that revelation? The one and only Juliet O'Hara.
I'd asked Abigail on a date rather than Juliet because it was the safest option. Truth be told, I was a big, fat coward when it came to the opposite sex. If that failure of a date with Abigail in high school hadn't been proof enough. I knew that nothing would or could come of a real date with her anymore. Jules was… well, another story. If she had even said yes, by some strange twist of fate, there were still too many unknowns for me to take the risk.
I didn't deserve Jules. I didn't. She was perfect. Beautiful, smart, funny, tough, knew how to stop me from going too far… All I could do was push her buttons and hopefully make her laugh ever now and again. What was I compared to her? Nothing. Nobody. Just some dolt who was constantly making a fool of himself and almost got his own mother killed.
Luck. Pure luck was what had saved Mom's life. I had had no way of knowing if Mr. Yang would be crazy enough to actually push the trigger. It was her game, not mine, I had absolutely no control and…
I'd lost my chance, hadn't I? I had just let the woman of my dreams, the one who proved to me I could actually fall in love, that it wasn't only true in fairy tales, walk away. And why? Because I was already on a date with someone everyone knows I had screwed up any chances with years ago!
Without thinking, I reared back from the sink, hand balling into a fist and threw and punch at the mirror. It shattered and the glass dug deep in my skin. Swearing, I pulled back again, clutching my hand with the other. Backing up heavily against the wall, I sank to the ground again, pulling my knees to my chest.
I couldn't see straight. I couldn't breathe. My hand was on fire and some sort of liquid was streaming down my face. I tried to take a deep breath but only succeeded in chocking on my own spit and proceeding to start hacking uncontrollably. My whole body felt weak, like it weighed a hundred pounds more than it should. I fell to my side, letting the tile floor cool my face as much as it could before my body heat warmed it. I was physically and emotionally drained and not moving any time soon.
The shocked voice pierced through the haze in my mind. I tried to respond but without success.
"Oh, my gosh, Shawn, what happened? You're a mess!"
There was a bit of panic in the voice. I knew… I knew that voice… Someone touched my shoulder tenderly.
"Shawn, answer me. You're scaring me. Gus is scared, too. He sent me a text explaining you'd just up and left to go to the bathroom and still hadn't returned. Shawn, c'mon. Talk to me! Please!"
"M-mi… mistake," I murmured, having realized who my savior was. "Re-remember… when we were… talking about… m-mistakes?"
Jules frowned, helping me sit up. "Back when Tancana had escaped from my custody?"
I nodded, wiping at my face with my uninjured hand. "I made… a mistake today… I don't know… if you can… ever forgive me…"
Jules' frown only deepened and she held my hand down, wiping under my eyes gently with her thumb. "I don't know what you're talking about, Shawn. Abigail's waiting for you, she's probably getting worried herself by now. Let's get you cleaned up." She hooked her arm under mine, attempting to hoist me up but I refused to let her and yanked her down to the floor with me.
"Jules, it's my turn," I said, clarity returning to my voice and mind. "Just… just listen to me for one moment, okay?"
Jules' eyes were wide but she didn't say anything so I continued. "I know I shouldn't have let you just walk away like that," I started. Jules opened her mouth to protest but I put a non-bloody fingertip to her lips. "Shush. Let me finish. I…" I winced and pushed the words out. "I love you. It's weird. I've never… really loved anyone before. In fact, I don't think I've ever even said that to a girl other than my mom. You're perfect in every way and I feel so… inadequate beside you. But I don't want to blow the only chance I may have with the woman of my dreams so… Yeah, I made a mistake. I… I apologize."
There was a brief silence as Jules' mouth opened and shut like a fish. I winced. I was too late.
"What… what about Abigail?"
I shook my head. "Abigail and I were finished before we began," I replied. "In fact, we never really technically began."
"So…" Jules said slowly, trying to regain her bearings. "What now?"
"Uhm… well, you could tell me you accept my apology and then we could kiss and make up or you can not accept my apology and leave, letting me clean up and return to my pointless and failure of a date two point oh with Abigail."
Jules smiled and shook her head. "Apology accepted, Shawn."
I smiled back and leaned forward to kiss her. She placed a hand against my lips, however, and my world came crashing back down on me.
"You do realize we're not exactly in the most romantic setting ever?" she pointed out and I frowned, glancing around. Ah, yes. We were on the floor on the men's bathroom at a drive-in cinema and I looked fantastically dreadful in practically every way imaginable. I shrugged, turning back to meet her amused smile.
"Is that a problem?"
She laughed softly. "I guess not. Just thought you'd like to know."
"Thank you for your concern," I said. "Now can I kiss you?"
Jules grinned and my heart swelled. "Sure."
I leaned in again, pressing my lips again hers, officially becoming the happiest man alive…
… Determined not to screw this up.
A/N: I love reviewers and live for constructive criticism!