I watched him in high school. Knew his reputation. Knew he was wealthy, privileged, and mean.
He ran the show back then, a partier and a player.
Then he came back from college, back to the town I never left. He’s different now.
He comes into the bar, and I know his routine.
I know which stool he’ll pick.
I know his favorite drink. I know which sports team he’ll want on the television screen.
And I watch as he gets hit on.
Sometimes he leaves the bar with a woman. Sometimes he doesn’t.
But I’m always there, tending to his drinks. He gives me a smile and a polite nod back.
Then one night, after a long appraising stare, he asked, “Ava, why are you single?”
I leaned in, told him a lie, knowing the truth.
What I didn’t know was that my world was about to shatter after that night.
Something else I didn’t know: would the man I watched all those years help put my heart back together... or smash it into pieces?
** A 42k novella written as a standalone from two characters in the Fallen Crest/Roussou universe.