Chapter Seventy-One

After We Fell

chapter seventy-one




There’s no denying Smith and his adorable little way of walking around, looking at things, greeting you with a formal handshake, and then drilling you with questions as you try to do chores. So when I’m putting away my clothes and he waddles in and asks me in a quiet voice, “Where’s your Hardin?” I can’t really be upset.

    It makes me a bit sad to have to say that I left him back at WCU, but the cuteness of this little kid eases some of that pain.

    “And where’s WCU?” he asks.

    I do my best to smile. “It’s a long way away.”

    Smith bats his beautiful green eyes. “Is he coming?”

    “I don’t think so. Um, you like Hardin, don’t you, Smith?” I laugh and push the sleeves of my old maroon dress over a hanger and place it inside the closet.

    “Sort of. He’s funny.”

    “Hey, I’m funny, too!” I tease, but he only smiles a shy smile.

    “Not really,” he answers bluntly.

    Which only makes me laugh harder. “Hardin thinks that I’m funny,” I lie.

    “He does?” Smith follows my actions and begins to help me unpack and refold my clothes.

    “Yes, he won’t admit it, though.”


    “I don’t know.” I shrug. Probably because I’m not very funny, and when I try to be funny, it’s even worse.

    “Well, tell your Hardin to come here and live, like you,” he says very matter-of-factly. Like a little king issuing an edict.

    My chest tightens at the sweet little boy’s words. “I’ll tell him. You don’t have to fold those,” I tell him, reaching for a blue shirt in his small hands.

    “I like to fold.” He hides the shirt back behind him, and what can I do but nod?

    “You’ll make a good husband one day,” I tell him, and smile. His dimples show when he smiles back. At least he seems to like me a little more than he did before.

    “I don’t want to be husband,” he says, scrunching up his nose, and I roll my eyes at this five-year-old who speaks exactly like a grown man.

    “You’ll change your mind one day,” I tease.

    “Nope.” And with that he ends the conversation, and we finish with my clothes in silence.

    My first day in Seattle is coming to a close, and tomorrow will be my first day at the new office. I’m extremely nervous and anxious about it. I don’t care for new things; in fact, they terrify me. I like to be in control of every situation and enter new environments with a solid plan. I haven’t had time to plan much about this move, save enrolling into my new classes, and honestly, I’m not looking forward to them as much as I should be. Somewhere in the middle of my scolding myself, Smith has disappeared, leaving a perfectly folded pile of clothing on the bed.

    I need to get out and see Seattle tomorrow after work. I need to be reminded of what I loved so much about this city, because right now, in this strange bedroom, hours away from everything I’ve ever known, it just feels so . . . lonely.