It’s been almost a month since I’ve heard from Michael. I have been leaving messages asking him to call me, but he isn’t returning any of them. Honestly, I can’t blame him. I wouldn’t answer me either if the roles were reversed, but I am really starting to miss him. I just wish I could explain to him what happened.
Then there’s the other thing. Kendal isn’t answering me either. I’ve been trying to get a hold of him to talk about that night, but he won’t to talk to me. Not to mention, he has been avoiding the writing club meetings. It is frustrating me a bit, because I don’t think I will be able to figure any of this out without talking to him. It’s making me a bit depressed.
Combined with my classes, projects and dealing with the fallout of the fire at the Greek Formal, it’s making me feel extremely overwhelmed. I have yet to inform Professor Farientine of my answer for the internship and I feel awful about it. The way things are going, he has probably found someone else for the position. It’s become increasingly difficult to focus in class and I can tell that its taking a toll on me.
I decide that Thursday to have a big study session for the upcoming test in Astronomy. I also have to start working on my audio-visual presentation for Public relations. I can’t afford to let my grades and gpa slip because of all this. I just can’t.
Buckling down, I open up my laptop and begin doing my online worksheets. My Astronomy professor has been using an online website for us to take practice quizzes, so I spend the next three hours drilling myself and taking quizzes from all the chapters that will be on the exam. By the time I finish, I feel pretty confident. I then pull up my PowerPoint program and start working on my public relations presentation for class. My topic is on the media and promotion of marketing newly published authors. I figure that would be a good topic since that is what I will be experiencing in the future, with my writing career.
I spend the next hour and a half working on it before checking the clock. It is getting to seven. I hear a beep from my phone and glance over at it. Abby has sent me a text reading,
-Have to talk to you about something. Come home when you can.
Good timing. I was on my way out anyway. I pack up my things into my backpack and head out of the library.
I am surprised when I spot Kendal just outside.
“Elizabeth,” he says looking surprised.
I instantly feel my stomach tingling. “Hey Kendal,” I say quietly. He looks toward the ground awkwardly and I can’t help but frown.
“So I haven’t been seeing you at the writing club meetings,” I say trying to break the tension. “What’s been going on?”
Kendal shrugs. “Oh, I’ve just been busy with my courses. I haven’t really had the chance to do anything else.”
“I’ve left you some messages. Did you receive them?”
Kendal sighs. “Yes, I’m sorry I haven’t been able to call you. I’ve just been busy.”
I don’t know what it is but his behavior is starting to feel familiar.
“Kendal, we really need to talk.”
Kendal runs a hand through his hair. “I-I know, it’s just not a good time.”
I frown. “Then when will be?”
Kendal sighs again. “I just…I don’t know.”
I can’t believe he is acting like this. It’s as if he wants to get away from me. Far away. Just a month ago at the Greek formal he was giving me those weird looks and hugging me like “that”, but now here he was acting like it had never happened. What was wrong with him?
“Kendal,” I start again, but then he suddenly looks up over my shoulder. That confuses me so I turn around as well.
Michael is standing right behind me. Not directly, but just a few feet away. He gives me a tense look and then shuffles his backpack onto his other shoulder.
“Don’t mind me,” he says. He then turns and walks right past us.
My heart seems to drop in my chest when he says that.
“Fine Kendal, we’ll finish this up later,” I say to Kendal and then I take off after Michael.
“Michael, please stop,” I call to him as I near his back. “We need to talk.”
Michael sighs. “Lizzie, I don’t have time for this. I have a project I need to finish and turn in by Monday.”
I grit my teeth. I get why he is mad at me, but I am sick of being ignored and cast aside.
“Michael, I’m not going to take that. You have been ignoring me for almost a month. You’ve been avoiding me and you won’t take my calls. We need to talk. Now.”
He frowns. “And what is it that you want to talk to me about?”
“You know what.”
“I’m not interested in hearing about your relationship with Kendal.”
“I don’t have a relationship with Kendal!” I sigh in frustration. “Kendal and I used to have a relationship, but we don’t anymore. We broke up.”
Michael shakes his head. “I wish I could believe that.”
“Tell me why you can’t!”
“Because I know you, Lizzie! I know you! And I can tell you aren’t being honest with me!”
I look at him in silence for a few moments and then exhale deeply.
“Okay. I’ll be honest with you. Over a month ago, I was taking a walk by the campus lake and I ran into Kendal. We talked for a bit and before I left, he hugged me. It caught me off guard and he apologized, but I don’t know. It just…opened up some feelings that I thought were gone. It freaked me out, so I tried to avoid him, but then he just showed up at the Greek formal.”
I lift my arms. “Then I don’t know. He started talking to me and then he hugged me again and for a moment…I guess I just remembered what it was like to…be with him.”
I look up at Michael who is listening quietly.
“So,” he says, “Where does that leave us, Lizzie?”
I bite my lip. “Michael, my feelings for you haven’t changed. I still love you.”
Michael runs a hand through his hair. “Lizzie, you didn’t answer my question. Where does that leave us?”
I look up at him slowly. “I don’t know what you want me to say.”
“Liz, I can’t be with you if you don’t know where your heart is.”
“But I do Michael! I love you!”
“But you still have feelings for Kendal.”
I swallow hard. “Michael-”
“I can’t be with you, if you still have feelings for him.” Michael sighs heavily. “I don’t know. Maybe we rushed into this.”
I bite down on the inside of my lip trying to keep tears from coming to my eyes. I can’t believe something like this was happening to me again.
“You really believe that?” I ask.
“I don’t want to, Liz, but I kind of do. It seems like you’re still struggling with how you feel. I guess it makes sense to me now why it took you a while to say…” he gets quiet, “you loved me.”
That totally catches me off guard. Exactly how long had he been thinking this?
“I should go,” he then says. “I, um, got that project to work on.”
He gives me a long look, one filled with a combination of pain, hurt and sadness, and then he walks off.
I just stay frozen to my spot watching after him. I feel like my heart is breaking into a million pieces and it takes all the will power in me not to start sobbing and run after him. Because Michael was right. I couldn’t be with him being as confused as I was. He deserved better than that.
That said, he was wrong about me not saying “I love you” back to him. I really did love him and it wasn’t just Kendal that had stopped me from saying it to him. It was me. Something inside me had kept me from saying it to him and the same thing was wrong with me now.
Something that I needed to figure out.
Still, as I watched Michael’s body disappear over the campus hill, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was making the biggest mistake by not going after him.