spoby + “i think i’m in love with you and i’m terrified” (i took some liberties but shhh)
They break up six months after she leaves for college.
Or maybe “break up” is the wrong term. It’s nowhere near as clean as that, though things rarely are for them. One day, they’re fine, and she’s texting him about her roommate who never shuts up and he’s texting her about his new boss who eats an egg salad sandwich every single day, and it’s fine. But then they stop calling, stop texting, stop making plans for him to come up to see her or her to go see him, and the distance, as so many times before, swallows them whole, and they’re just two more victims of high school sweethearts separated by change.
She comes home that summer, and when he sees her for the first time in almost a year, he’s struck by how she looks so different, yet somehow the same. And when her eyes meet his, some part of him that has died is resurrected.
They go out for coffee, and they find their old rhythm, and it’s fine. But there’s something off, a hollow where something else, love, once was, and they both feel it.
At the end of the night, he drops her off at her parents’ house, and when he stops in front of the imposing Hastings’ manor, she makes no move to exit the tan Chevy.
“Remember when I bought this for you?” She asks nostalgically, not meeting his eyes. Without waiting for an answer, she continues. “I wish I’d said it back that day.”
He knows exactly what it refers to: those three words that scared the living hell out of her. “You didn’t have to,” he tells her, speaking over the lump in his throat. “I knew.”
She looks at him then, and he remembers the first time she really did, on his porch a lifetime ago. “Do you still know?” She whispers.
The air in the truck, in the minuscule space between them, is charged as they stare at each other, years and memories and hopes and fears stifling them.
“I think I’m still in love with you,” she exhales. “And I’m terrified.”
He can’t say anything, so he doesn’t. He lets the kiss convey the message his words can’t: I wanted to say that first.