He taps his fingers anxiously as he waits for her to show up. Too nervous to sit down, he paces back and forth until he finally hears a knock on the door. He runs over a little too fast, hands shaking slightly with the thought of what he was about to do. This was a mistake, he thinks. I'll say hi, and make up some lie about needing her notes and she'll leave and everything will be ok. No, can't do that. Can't lie to her again. He stood with his forehead pressed against the door for a minute, attempting to regain composure and maybe some shred of his dignity. Finally, he took a deep breath and swung the door open, gripping the door so hard his knuckles were white.
"Evan?" She said cautiously.
"Hi." She looked around, confused. "So…what's up?"
"Here, come in." He gestured to the bed, taking note that she sat on it without a second thought. "I need to talk to you about something."
"Is this about the Jackson case? Because I was thinking-"
He shook his head, "No, it doesn't have anything to do with school."
"Oh. Well, then what's wrong? You look…strange."
Whoops. He attempted to smile; knowing it probably came out more like a grimace. Way to go Chambers. So far, this was not going as he had planned, but it wasn't going badly either, so maybe it was ok.
"Casey, do you ever wonder if you chose the right path? If there was one thing you could go back and change, and your whole life would be different?"
"Of course." She shrugged, "But I can't change those things so I try not to worry about them."
"But what if…what if you could have a shot at something important? Would you take it?"
"If it would change my life? In a good way?"
"In the best way."
"Ok." He looked down, suddenly unsure of what to say, even though he had gone over this a million times in his head. Now that he was here, with her, he knew that no words could possibly be right. "Casey I…I've been thinking a lot lately."
"Always a good sign." She said, amused.
He smiled, loosening up just a little. "No, I've been thinking about my life, and the people in my life. The people who are important to me." He turned to face her now. "Casey, you don't know how happy I was when I found out you were staying here. And I know, I screwed everything up, and I was horrible to you, and I'm sorry. I know I don't say that enough, but I really do mean it Case, and I'm so sorry for everything I did to you. It's just that…you mess me up. I can't think straight when it comes to you, I never have."
"You weren't only horrible to me, Evan. You stabbed Cappie in the back, got his brothers expelled, and you never even gave Rebecca a chance."
Evan stood up, "You want to know why Cappie and I can never get back what we had? Because we are both in love with you, Casey. Four years ago we both fell for you and you chose him over me. And even after all this time, I can't get you out of my head."
"You're in love with me? You cheated on me, Evan!" She was standing now too, anger flashing in her eyes.
"Because I had to hurt you before you hurt me! I had to do something before you realized that you were too good for me."
"You could have talked to me! Instead, you broke my heart."
"Casey….I didn't know." The world went silent. Nothing existed but the two of them, and she refused to look at him. "Can we pretend this never happened?" He said quietly.
"I don't know, Evan." She still wouldn't meet his eyes. "I…I need to think. I need time."
"How much time?"
"I don't know. Goodbye, Evan."
Goodbye? Was that a goodbye-for-now? Or a goodbye-forever? He didn't know. He didn't know anything anymore.
It's three weeks later and she hasn't called. She hasn't texted, she hasn't come by, she won't even look at him when they're in class. And all he wants is to take it back. To take it all back. He's screwed things up yet again. Maybe if he had kept his mouth shut, they would still be friends. He would still have coffee with her every Thursday, and his heart would still ache every time she walked away. Now his heart ached all the time. To make it worse, Calvin had told him that Casey had been out with Cappie. Great, so maybe all he had done was push her closer to him. He couldn't blame her. He wouldn't want to be near him either.
Every day, he hoped she would turn around. And every day he resisted the urge to run up to her and beg for forgiveness. But he didn't. And he wouldn't. He would wait for her to come to him on her own time, that is, if she even would at all. He didn't blame her for being angry. He didn't blame her for going back to Cappie. Maybe he was the better man after all.
"Evan." Her fingers brushed his shoulder as he gathered up his books.
"I'm ready to talk about this."
"Are you sure?"
She nodded, "Yeah, I just needed to process it all. You…you told me you were in love with me. That's kind of a lot."
"I know, and I'm sorry. I didn't mean to put that pressure on you."
"Did you mean it?"
"Of course I meant it. No more games, Casey."
"I'm not playing-"
"No wait, just listen. That day you came to the Omega Chi house after we had that fight at Dobler's…when you told me you were done. I was coming to see you. To tell you that I wanted to be with you. And I know I made so many mistakes. With you, with Rebecca, with Cappie, with my family, but…you are what I regret most."
"Evan…I honestly thought someday I would be Casey Cartwright-Chambers. But we were so young. We both know better now, don't we?"
"Are you and Cappie back together?" He asked suddenly.
Surprised, she stuttered before answering. "I…we…no."
"We're not together. Yet. Evan, I'm not going to lie to you. I still have feelings….about you. And maybe I always will. You don't forget the people you love."
"Were we in love?"
"I like to think so."
"Where do we go from here?"
"I forgive you, Evan. And I just want us to get along."
"Like before is gone. But we can be friends."
"Friends." The worst word a guy can hear.