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Scorned (From the Inside Out Book 1)
S. L. Scott
I HATE HIM with all my soul and every fiber, muscle, and nerve of my being. Dylan Somers broke me and my heart simultaneously, destroying everything I knew my life to be. Over the course of the next year, my friend Brandon had to put me back together. Piece by piece, he glued me back into a semblance of what I used to be before I knew Dylan, or so I thought. What I didn’t realize was he was also bonding himself to me in the process. One night, my friend became my lover. Brandon never should have played that role, especially since I was still too broken to be good for anyone else. So we went back to being friends because I needed a friend more than a lover.
Dylan hasn’t seen me since he walked in and sat down in the same restaurant as me. When my hand twitches, I realize I’ve pulled my phone from my purse, subconsciously to help diffuse the panic attack before it has a chance to hit. I refuse to let his presence overwhelm me or call Brandon every time I start freaking out.
This isn’t a restaurant I frequent and being in the same place after all these years is completely coincidental. I’ve lost my appetite, so I push the plate of food away from me.
I glance over at him and her—red hair, red nails, red lips, red shoes, too tight red dress, red clutch perched on the table next to her glass of red wine. Everything about her is cliché and predictable to attract men. I roll my eyes, but then mine meet hers again and I look away. In that glimpse, I caught that her eyes are light colored, maybe blue, probably blue.
Mine are hazel—green on a good day, brown on most.
The face I really want to see is turned the other direction with his back to me. Dylan hasn’t seen me in three years. It makes me wonder if he ever did, even when we were together. I don’t know anymore and I hate to think about that time… the time when it was bad.
Sitting at this table for one, I’ve forgotten if it was ever good between us, or did I block it out? If I dig deep, really deep past the pain that was inflicted during those last few months we were together, it was blissful and perfect. I felt loved. I felt pretty. I felt whole. We were more good than bad, but now only the scar remains.
Glancing back to their table, her eyes are on me again. Quickly, I dig out a fifty and toss it on the table. That will easily cover my bill, even at an over-priced, too-trendy-to-be-considered-trendy-any-longer establishment on the Upper West Side.
My eyes meet hers one more time and I hope mine don’t give anything away. Things like: how I know what he looks like when he falls apart from an orgasm, how he liked for me to touch him there, but not go further, deeper, and how when he’s upset, his eyes match the skies right before a storm rolls in. I know all these things because I’ve experienced them with him, so I know him, the real Dylan.
I look at him this time, just him, blocking her from my focus. His hair is styled. He always did have great hair, light brown, darker when gelled. I smirk at the thought that he still has great hair despite the hateful curses I wished upon him to go bald. The light starch to his shirt proves he hasn’t changed. He insisted on that perfection, but still wanted to be comfortable in his clothes. The large face of his watch gleams under the track lighting above. Dylan Somers was always very confident… or cocky. I’m not sure which anymore. My memories on that specific trait of his has somewhat faded, overtaken by more harmful ones.
He holds too much pain, more than I can endure tonight. I walk through the intimate tables of the dining area. When I pass, she nods to him while smiling as if to tell him silently that I’m watching, as if to tell him, he has an admirer. I’m not an admirer. I’m an adversary—the enemy—the person he hates the most in the world if I recall his words correctly.
I push the door open and the cool air hits me. We’re on the verge of spring, but it’s still chilly, so I wrap my arms around myself and head south.
Hearing his voice causes my insides to freeze, but my feet keep moving. I don’t respond to that name. Do I even know who Juliette is anymore?
“Juliette? Is that you?”
I hear his footsteps. They quicken but I refuse to respond to careless niceties he feels obligated to dole out.
Why does he try?
Why does he care?
What does he want?
“Hey!” He shouts from a distance, planting himself in a spot on the sidewalk, not willing to chase me. I roll my eyes because I’m walking in four-inch Prada, so he can easily catch me if he wants. He just doesn’t want to. That’s his arrogance showing. Everything always came so easy for him, including me back in college.
Rounding another corner, I find safety in the shadows of the building and keep walking. Memories of how bad the ending of us envelops me…