Just in case your curious...
Layla clutched the grayed wood in her hands so tightly her knuckles went white. All she could do was stare at the worn wood and the initials carved in it as moments ticked slowly by. She wasn’t sure how much time had passed before she willed her body to stand. Seconds? Minutes? Still stunned and unsure, she walked mechanically to the counter and grabbed her phone. Pursing her lips, she thought hard about her next step. Whatever she did could change things forever. For better or worse she wasn’t sure. Excitement and curiosity ran through her and Layla tossed the phone back on the counter and rushed to her front door. Praying she wasn’t too late she took the steps of her loft two at a time, landing on the sidewalk breathless and barefoot. Craning her neck, she looked left then right but there was no Taylor in sight. What was she going to say anyway? It was probably for the best. Tucking her blonde hair behind her ear, she headed back inside reminding herself his gift could mean nothing. It could simply be a peace offering. A show of his acceptance of their situation. Layla knew it could merely be Taylor’s way of saying that he was trying to make the best of what had happened between them.
Layla wasn’t getting her hopes up. She knew the romantic part of their relationship was over, but she couldn’t help the quickening pace of her heart when she thought about what she wanted that piece of old wood to mean. What it could mean. If she hadn’t screwed up and made decisions that weren’t hers to make. The future that could’ve been played out in Layla’s mind and it was a whole relationship, a whole history that never existed because she’d hidden something from Taylor. Something big. Something she could never take back. What could have been was a future she’d never know.
Layla walked down the hall, her footsteps light, and peeked into Lexi’s room before she headed to her own. Her daughter slept peacefully, her brown curls splayed out on her pillow. With a sad smile, Layla slipped the wooden relic between some sheets piled on the top shelf of her closet. Out of sight, out of mind.
Taylor sat in his car tapping the steering wheel nervously. The second he'd left the white box in Layla’s hands and headed down the steps of her loft apartment, he’d wanted to sprint back and take it from her. It was a stupid gesture and he wasn’t even sure what he meant by it. After screaming at Layla in her shop, he’d gone home and paced his small apartment. It had felt good to get his anger out. It seemed to clear his head a bit and with his thoughts less jumbled, he needed a way to show Layla he was sorry and that he wanted to move forward. Forward to where he wasn’t sure, but forward none the less. So he’d dug through his still unpacked boxes and found the only thing he knew could say what he needed to. Sighing, he rested his head on the steering wheel. In retrospect, maybe giving her the wooden piece had said too much.
The past few weeks had been a roller coaster for him. His father’s death, finding out he had a daughter, and seeing the girl he’d been sure was “the one” for the first time in years. Taylor had the feeling he wasn’t any closer to getting off the ride. He only knew now that his anger had started to clear, it left him with a mess of other emotions to work through. He had to learn how to be a father and fast. Then there was the ever present sizzle he still felt whenever Layla was near. Taylor wasn’t sure he'd ever get past what she'd done but he had the inkling his love for her was bigger than her lie.
From the Rubble is available in ebook format at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and ARe.