Listen to "At Least My Heart Was Open" by Foy Vance on repeat while reading:
Adalyn: At Least we’re Still Friends
There he stood right in front of me. All six foot two of him, his green eyes staring at me; those same eyes I fell in love with…those same eyes that convinced me to give it all to him. We were in the back of the barely lit bar our band plays in from time to time. We just finished a show and the rest of our crew already left to go home. It was just me, Peyton and the bar employees.
“Tonight went well,” he said taking a seat next to me.
I could barely look at him; not after what I did…not after what our breakup did to him. Mason told me he ended up in a hospital bed getting his stomach pumped from alcohol poisoning. He almost drank himself to death because he was so depressed. He wouldn’t take it well if he knew what happened between me and his cousin last week.
“Yeah, it did,” I replied looking down at my drink. I circled my finger around the rim of the glass. Anything not to look at him.
I still love him…I always will and part of me wants him back but I’m not sure how smoothly that would work out.
“Mason told me you came by last week looking for me. I got a little caught up and never got the chance to stop by,” he said positioning himself to look directly at me.
I could tell he knew something was bothering me. I hoped he didn’t ask.
“Yeah, I did. I wanted to talk to you about us…I just wanted to make sure we didn’t lose our friendship,” I took a sip of my drink. “We’ve been best friends and bandmates for too long to let our relationship fuck all that up. I just wanted you to know that I will always love you Peyton and I don’t want us to not be us anymore.”
“I feel the same way,” he said as he placed his hand over mine. “I’m glad we’re on the same page. Adalyn, I really wanted us to work. I’m madly in love with you and…I’m sorry. I was a jerk…an asshole.”
At that very moment I wanted to kiss him. I wanted to forget all this talk about friendship and grab him right there. I gulped down my drink quickly to avoid the feeling.
All I wanted was to tell him I was sorry and explain to him that Mason was a mistake. I didn’t mean to sleep with his cousin that day. It just happened. After spending the day with him, I felt a short connection with him and Peyton just never showed up. I was vulnerable and Mason looked good with his wet hair slicked back and his shirt off. I never thought the second guy I would lay with would be my ex-boyfriend’s cousin. They’re like brothers and this would devastate Peyton. Mason and I vowed to keep it a secret. Besides, no one needs to know. It’s not like it would happen again anyway.
“How are we going to go back to being just friends if we’re still this much in love?” he asked grabbing hold of his beer bottle in front of him.
“We’ll just have to deal with it. We did the best we could as lovers and it didn’t work. We always worked as friends though. It’ll be hard but we’ll be okay,” I answered finally looking up at him. He really is a handsome boy…red hair and all; in fact it only makes him more attractive.
“Before we go back to being just friends can I kiss you one last time?” he asked moving in closer.
“But…we’re in a bar with people around,” I objected.
“No one’s paying any attention to us. I just want one last kiss and that’ll be it,” he continued to press the issue.
He had a point. The lights were dim and the bar crew was cleaning up. I leaned in and lightly grabbed him by his collar. He smirked a little before I pressed my lips against his. He pulled me closer and groaned a little. I wanted more…I wanted to take it back and say let’s try one more time but I thought about what happened with Mason last week and all of my thoughts were shattered. If I got back with Peyton I would have to tell him. I fucked up any chance of there being an “us” ever again. If he knew, he would never look at me the same. He would call me a name or two and stop speaking to his cousin. Peyton’s temper isn’t made for the truth.
I pull back and he tries to kiss me again but I turn my face away from him. I can’t do it another time. Once was enough.
“Come on Addy…let’s just go back to my place and work this out,” he softly pleads. “I love you and you love me. Let’s not make this harder than it needs to be. I’ll be better this time. I’ll put a cap on my rage and I’ll be more respectful of you.”
“Peyton, no.” My eyes are teary and my face is turning red. “Trust me, you don’t want me. I’m not the same me anymore. We won’t be the same.”
He caressed my arm and bit his bottom lip. He didn’t hear a word I just said. All he thought about was taking me back to his place and “making up”.
“Peyton!” I raised my voice a little and smacked his hand away. He jumped back into reality. “No! I’m just going to go home now. I’ll talk to you later.” I got up and walked toward the door at the back of the bar. I took one last look at him before walking out. He focused his eyes on mine and I saw the anger inside of him. I walked out knowing he found some other girl to take my place that night.
Now I sit in my room looking at the picture we took together as a couple. I want so badly to call him and tell him I take it back but I’m sure he’s too busy with Claire or Lauren or whoever was willing…I let a tear fall and lay in my bed. At least I sort of did the right thing…at least we’re still friends…
Find out more about Adalyn and Peyton in the RED Tragedies series here. Adalyn appears in A Tragic Heart, RED, Turn It Off (Coming Soon) & What Could've Been (Coming Soon). Peyton appears in A Tragic Heart, Turn It Off, & What Could've Been.