I’m the selfish one. I suppose that’s the nicest thing people say about me. I’ve heard the other things, too. “Paige Owens is a pretty girl with nothing else to offer. She’s just a good time at a party. She’s stupid, heartless, cold and useless. All she cares about is getting a guy to look at her. Why would anyone want to be her friend?”
Some of those things are true. Others were true. They’re all hurtful.
None of it matters.
I’m ready to make the hard choices. I’m ready to face the consequences. I’m ready to be the girl I was before, and I’m done being the one who lost her way.
I’m ready to become the girl Houston Orr sees when he looks at me.
Houston isn’t a star athlete. He doesn’t play in a band. He’s never going to be president, and his life is so far away from simple and easy it isn’t even funny. He wasn’t part of my plan. But I’m starting to think plans are overrated, and maybe our stories are what we make them. And mine depends entirely on me, and the choices I make…starting now.
Houston is my fairytale. He’s perfectly imperfect. He’s poetry and life. He’s truth and heartbreak, all rolled up in a tall body with dark hair, broad shoulders and green eyes that lull me into submission. He’s nothing I ever thought I wanted, but the very thing I need. He’s the only guy I’ve ever really loved, and he thinks I’m a princess. I fell into him, and now I’m holding on.
But sometimes life takes away our ability to choose. Sometimes…things aren’t in your control. Sometimes, it hurts to be selfless. My only hope is that when it comes time to choose, I get it right.
Welcome to my once upon a time and wish for happily ever after.
her words in my own head since I heard them. I’ve been saying them like a
mantra because of that part of me that doesn’t want her to like me either.
Because if she likes me, then maybe how I feel is okay too, and maybe acting on
it is okay, and then shit gets real. What
does that even mean? Shit gets real? Shit gets hard—that’s what it means.
Real hard. I have to make time for someone else; I have to take a leap of faith
and risk that my world will fall apart again. That’s what that means.
Paige,” I whisper. “And fuck if I don’t want to. But I do.”
to jog in place, stretching my neck from side to side like I’m about to step
into a fight. Maybe I am. But fuck it, shit got real a long time ago. What do I have to lose now?
swear,” I say, keeping my eyes at the floor as I barge into the bathroom. I cannot believe I’m doing this.
behind the shower curtain. “Not even funny. Not even clever. Out, you fuck stick, out!”
laugh, and fuck stick? Really?
teeth. We’re pushing it close on time. I’ll be fast, and I’ll keep my face
forward. I swear,” I say.
my teeth, but she doesn’t know that. I turn on the water and load up my brush. I hear the curtain slide behind me, and I know she’s looking at me. I don’t
have to turn around or look into the reflection to know what her face looks like—her brow is furrowed and her lips are tight, and she’s making sure I’m keeping my promise. Don’t worry Paige; I won’t look. But I know you want me to.
sink and reaching for the towel by feeling, careful not to glance up, when I
hear the water switch off and the curtain slide open. There’s no towel near her or the tub; I know it because I see them hanging on the rack several steps away. She’s cheating.
move into my periphery to my right, and I glance briefly to catch her hand reach for the towel. When I see her back is to me, I go ahead and look long enough to take a mental picture. Her hair is soaking wet and dripping a line down her perfectly sun-kissed skin, a trail of water I let my eyes follow down her shoulder blades, to the small of her back, to an ass that is so perfect I
wish I were the kind of asshole who would reach out and smack it at a time like this. I just hold my breath and memorize it instead. I turn back to the sink,
lay my towel down, and move to leave.
says, and I pause with my hand on the doorknob, the curves of her body now ingrained in my memory. I smile.
before stepping into the hallway and shutting the door behind me.
romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How
We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, Wild
Reckless and The Girl I Was Before.
A sucker for a good romance, Ginger’s other passion is sports, and she
often blends the two in her stories. (She’s also a sucker for a hot
quarterback, catcher, pitcher, point guard…the list goes on.) Ginger has
been writing and editing for newspapers, magazines and blogs for more than
15 years. She has told the stories of Olympians, politicians, actors,
scientists, cowboys, criminals and towns. For more on her and her work,
visit her website at http://www.littlemisswrite.com.
When she’s not writing, the odds are high that she’s somewhere near a
baseball diamond, either watching her son field pop flies like Bryce
Harper or cheering on her favorite baseball team, the Arizona
Diamondbacks. Ginger lives in Arizona and is married to her college
sweetheart whom she met at ASU (fork ’em, Devils).
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