“My stomach bottomed out as I watched them from the doorway. He was leaning back against the wall, wearing jeans and a fitted white t-shirt that hugged him in all the right places, while Nikki was tipping into him, wolfing up all his personal space with her runway-ready body. She was all dolled up with a skin-tight pink dress and a pair of matching heels that looked like they belonged on a stage. And not the theater kind.”
“So much of who I was had become lost, diluted, fragmented. I was being pulled and stretched in every which way, dragged in a million directions with the expectations of the world sitting heavy on my center like a concrete paperweight I couldn’t shake off.”
″ ‘Come on, Blackburn. I’m not as dumb as I look.’ He took another sip of his drink and focused back in on Nikki and Trace. ‘One minute I’m getting you a drink at Spring Fling and the next you’re on the dance-floor with Trace. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out why you both disappeared.’ ”
″‘Let me go,’ I demanded, though it lacked punch. Being this close to Trace was no good for me, and I knew that, but the room was definitely spinning now and I wasn’t even sure I could stand upright anymore.
“It was nothing like what I’d dreamed of when I was a little girl—what I had hoped for myself growing up. But it was the only life I had, and it was mine. The days of waiting around for someone else to ride in and save the day for me were over.”
“I shook my head, still staring forward at the real-life nightmare unfolding before me.
I felt Caleb’s eyes on me, assessing me as I watched them.
‘You really like him, don’t you?’ It came out like an afterthought; a passing observation that had just occurred to him.”
“Whatever,” he said and tipped his head back as he polished off the remnants of whatever it was he was drinking. “It’s not like she’s the only game in town.” He took a step towards me but I was too consumed with my own thoughts to pay it any attention.