Right on time, I’m impressed.
She doesn’t get out of her car right away, so I give her a second but then realize maybe she’s not exiting the vehicle because I have the key to the house and she has nowhere to go.
Wanting to make a good impression and seem approachable since I’m the property manager, I run my hand through my hair and adjust my jeans. I’m not wearing any fancy shit, but at least I don’t have holes in or paint stains on my clothes. I hop off my front porch and make my way toward her car, slowly, not wanting to scare her.
There is muffling coming from her car, voices I can’t quite hear, but I get the idea she’s finishing up a conversation, so I slow my pace drastically. That’s when I see her tilt her head down and look at me. From the reflection of the light off her windows, I can’t make out her features. I can only see a silhouette.
I lift a friendly hand in her direction to let her know I come in peace and make my way to her driveway. There is no wave back, but I do hear the telltale sound of her opening her car door. She steps out and when I round the vehicle, I catch the sun off her driver’s side window, temporarily blinding me.
Blinking my eyes a few times to calm my retinas, I bring her into focus.
“Aaron . . .”
Every hair on my body sticks straight up and my body goes still from that voice, that unmistakably sultry voice.
When she finally comes into view, I am met with a pair of hazel eyes I haven’t been able to get out of my head since the day she left town for bigger and better things.
“Amelia.” I clear my throat and take a step forward. “Wow, I uh . . .” Tongue-tied, that’s exactly what I am right now. “Didn’t expect to see you get out of that car.” I laugh nervously while I pull on the back of my neck, trying to comprehend what’s going on. I point with my thumb toward the house and ask, “You’re the new tenant?”
She nods and looks me over, taking her time with her perusal, her eyes burning a hole right through my clothes like they used to. When her eyes meet mine again, she asks, “You’re the property manager?”
I nod and swallow hard. “And neighbor.”
She presses her lips together, thinning them out. “What are the chances?” She laughs nervously.
“Yeah, especially since I thought your life was in the city.” I didn’t mean for that to come out rude, but it did. Gentling my voice, I ask, “What brings you back home?”
Staring at the ground, clutching her purse to her side, she says, “My dad. He’s, uh, not doing well.” Duh, Mrs. Ferguson mentioned something like that. I’m so damn overwhelmed and shocked right now though, that entire conversation I had with Mrs. Ferguson is not registering in my mind.
“Oh no.” My brow pinches together in concern. “What happened?”
She waves me off. “Nothing you need to worry about.” And just like that she shuts me down. Honestly, I’m surprised she said that much to me after how we ended things between us.
Yes, there was an us, a perfectly beautiful, love-filled us. Amelia Santos was the best thing to ever happen to me, and yet, she was also the worst. During a time where my heart broke from every uncaring glance from my mom, Amelia resurrected me from the ashes I would have otherwise drowned in. She was my rock, the one solid feature in my life.
She was also my downfall.
She was going places, and I wasn’t. She had opportunity, and I had none. She wanted me to move with her, and I couldn’t, but no way in hell would I hold her back. I barely made it out of my mom’s house. There were many days when I tried hard to earn a buck so I could find a place to live other than the homeless shelter where I spent many lonely nights. Amelia deserved better than that, so I pushed her away to achieve her dreams. Little did I know, breaking up with her would send me in the biggest downward spiral of my life. The only reason I’m the man I am today is because after hitting rock bottom, I knew things needed to change, and it was up to me to make something of myself. So I worked my ass off. And now at thirty, I can say proudly that I’m a co-owner of an up-and-coming construction company as well as the proud owner of a house in the heart of Hillcrest, a beautiful two-story house. I’m doing well for myself . . . at least that’s what I thought until Amelia stepped out of her car.
Now I’m questioning every little thing about my life leading to this point.