Invisible Love Letter(8)By: Callie Anderson
“It's not goodbye forever. I promise I'll come visit.” My voice cracked.
Luckily, Weston had stayed in the car and given us our privacy. It was bad enough that we were wrapped in each other’s arms in an empty bar parking lot.
“Call me as soon as you land in Rio.” She brushed my hair back.
“Promise.” With one last embrace, she let go and walked to her car.
I swallowed my tears and pulled open Weston’s passenger door. I sank into the seat as he pulled out of the gravel parking lot. Suffocated in the small car by his presence and the scent of leather and man, my heart began to accelerate.
He lowered the volume of the stereo. “You and Leslie close?”
I looked over at him, but his eyes remained on the road. “Yeah,” I responded. I gazed at his chiseled chin and manly scruff. “She spent a semester with me in Brazil, and this year I joined her.”
He finally locked his stormy eyes on mine. “I would have guessed you lived somewhere back east maybe.”
I pushed my curls behind my ear. “I was born in the States and lived here until I was twelve.”
“Ah, that makes sense. So are you going to tell me what strike two is?” He grinned.
“Nope.” I shook my head and smiled.
“Because it doesn't matter.”
“It matters to me.” He loosened one of his hands from the steering wheel and patted his chest. “I want to know what I did to offend you.”
“I was drunk. It doesn't matter now.”
“Yes, that you were.” He pulled up to a light and peered over at me. “Do you always drink that much?” His tone had changed, and I heard what sounded like concern in his voice.
“No … Well, maybe? I guess it depends. It was my going away.” I didn't know why I wanted to explain myself to him, but I couldn't stop. “Usually, I’m a two beer kind of girl. And Leslie is officially the worst DD.”
“Nah, she’s a good person.” He stopped behind a large black SUV and turned to me. “I'm not a drinker, either. I'll nurse a beer all night. You two seemed so happy on the dance floor that it would've been a shame if it were only you having all the fun.”
“I blacked out.” I slammed the edges of my palms in my eyes. “Axel!” I gasped. “Oh, crap. Did I say goodbye to Axel?”
Weston chuckled. Even his chuckle was sexy. “Yes, you said goodbye. You actually went around the whole bar and said goodbye to everyone.” His eyes crawled up my body. “Except me.”
His eyes. God, his eyes. Jesus amado.
I swallowed the rock that was lodged in my throat. “Sorry.”
“The whole ride home you kept reminding me that I had two strikes. I took you home, helped you into bed, and you still won't tell me what strike two is?” He looked over at me and winked.
I buried my face in my hands. “Oh, God. Now I'm mortified.”
He laughed. Not a chuckle, but a full-blown laugh. “If you tell me what strike two is, I’ll call it even.”
I grinned up at him through my fingers. “Nope.”
“Fine, be that way. But just so you know, this morning when you were trying to hide your body from me? It was pointless.” He raised his eyebrows. “You had no problem undressing in front of me last night.”
I felt as though he dropped an anvil on my chest. “Shut the… No, I didn’t.”
He greeted me with another hearty laugh. “I turned around when you began to undress because I'm a gentleman.”
Weston took the exit towards the airport; our time together was coming to an end. I fiddled with the cuticles of my fingernails, wishing we could stretch it out. Even a few more minutes would make me happy. Weston pulled the car into the fire lane and shifted it into park.
I stepped out of the car as he pulled my luggage out of the back. “Thank you for the ride.” I lifted the handle of my suitcase. “Take care.” I turned, gripping the bars so I could wheel them behind me.
“Emilia!” I heard Weston shout from behind me. I turned so quickly I knew I would have a kink in my neck later. “If I can’t have strike two, what’s strike one then?”
I bit my lip. What was the harm in telling him now? “You’re a musician. That’s strike one.”
The wide smile on his face dropped. His hand brushed the scruff growing on his chin and he nodded. “Take care of yourself.”
The way his face changed would forever be etched in me. Something passed between us, but I couldn’t tell what it was. He didn’t wait for me to respond. His head dropped and he turned back towards his car.
Weston never looked back.
It was my turn to do the same.
One Year Later.
“Emilia, vamos!” Tia Regina shouted from the stairs.
I had been on the terrace of our home for the past ten minutes staring at the beautiful world around me. A year and a half ago I had done this exact thing. I had stood here, imagining where my life was going and petrified for the six months I would be studying in the States.
My semester abroad changed my life for the better. When I returned home, I graduated in December and then immediately started working as a temp at PLI Banco Financial in Rio de Janeiro. Within the first month I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do in life. I despised the nine to five, the office atmosphere was stuck up, and I loathed the brown-nosing. While I was sorting mail or filing paperwork, I counted down the hours left in the day until I could go home and listen to music or catch up with Axel and Leslie over email.