I somehow make it to five despite the foundation of my joy and happiness just being ripped out from under me. Dean never stopped by. No apology. No explanation. I finally stopped checking my emails obsessively around lunch.
All through the day I've battled in my mind whether or not to call him or not. I can't think of how to start talking to him that doesn't involve curse words and screaming. All that glitters does not glow, apparently. Or at least won't after two weeks. I jam the elevator button half a dozen times. My sadness has now morphed into absolute rage. What did he think this was, a way to waste time? My gosh, I was nothing more than a make out buddy these past few weeks.
A fierce December wind hit me as I plow out of the office, the cold breeze doing nothing to calm me. I just want to get the hell out of here and go home.
I walk up to my car, only to find Dean leaning against it. I'll give him five minutes, maximum.
He stands up when he sees me. "Can we talk?"
I unlock my car and throw my purse in the back seat. "I don't know. I'm sure you need to pack or something." I'm not even sorry for the snark in my voice. I try to open my front door.
"Hey." Dean's arm shoots out, shutting the door and grabbing my arm. "I just gave my two weeks on Friday. We were still ironing out details. And I didn't know Benning was going to call that meeting today. Kace, I swear, the last thing I wanted was for you to find out like that."
He looks at me, and I glance away, clamping down on my lip to keep from crying.
Dean drops his hand. "I submitted a resume to this company months ago and didn't hear anything. Then out of the blue, I get a phone call last week. It's a great job, and it's closer to my family."
My fire dies out a little. I can't blame him for taking it. Or for how fast it all came together. But that doesn't make this any better. He's leaving. Leaving me. And I wish we hadn't dated at all if it was just going to end like this.
He tips my chin up to look at him. My lip trembles. Dean opens his mouth, and a minivan passes. I bite my lip and turn my head. Here I am in the worst moment of my life, and my coworkers are driving by. The lights on the Christmas tree in our lobby blur with my tears. I blink, determined not to let him see them, then stare at his shirt. I am an adult, and will handle being dumped with some shred of dignity.
"Kace, I know - " He stops and glances away. "I know long distance is hard, and maybe you don't even want to try it, but, please Kace." He puts a hand on either side of my face. "Please tell me I didn't just take my dream job and lose the girl of my dreams at the same time."
My heart cracks open. "You still want to be with me?" I whisper.
Dean nods. "Yes." He rubs his finger over my cheekbone. "Oh Kacey, I'm so sorry you had to find out like this. I was going to tell you tonight, before anyone else at work knew. I'm sorry."
I nod. A terrible ache cinches around my heart. "I don't want you to go." Tears pour out of me now, and I hate myself for them. I'm no better than a thirteen year old girl.
Dean puts his arms around me and leans forward, his forehead touching mine. "I don't want to leave you either. But I can't pass this up." He pulls back and searches my face, his eyes boring into mine. "Please." Dean grabs my hand in his. "Please don't give up on me." His brown eyes are like liquid chocolate. "Will you try this with me?"
The thought of him moving away makes me want to throw up. The drive to Columbus from Atlanta is what, eight hours? Nine? I'll be with Dean, but not actually be with him. And that's not what I want. Not at all.
Stupid life. I finally find a guy, and he's leaving. I don't want nine-hours-away-Dean.
But if that's the only Dean I get...
It all slams into me. I tuck myself into Dean's arms and cry. I don't care who sees.
Dean presses me harder into him. "We'll figure it out, ok?"
More tears pour out of me. Because I don't know if we'll figure it out. I don't know anything. All I can think about is how he smells and feels and how for a terrible six hours today, I thought I'd never have him again.