Shallow Page 39

You’re right. I would have died if I had known Ginny heard us. Good call, Nick.

July 20th

I did the wrong thing to the right girl. Or at least I was told I did.

Today started out great with Payton at my house for her weekly cooking lesson with Ginny. But then the shit hit the fan. And it slung it all over the room.

A girl showed up at my house and told me I had a kid. A one month-old. She never even told me if it was a boy or a girl. I just thought about that.

I didn’t recall ever seeing this girl before in my life, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It’s not the baby’s fault and I know what it’s like to be thrown away by a parent so I couldn’t do that if this kid was mine.

I didn’t have a choice. I had to tell Payton. I could have lied about it until the DNA test came back. If the kid turned out to not be mine, then she never had to know, but I couldn’t do that to her.

She was devastated and it killed me to see that pain in her eyes.

I know what she was thinking because I was thinking the same. This kid just crushed our dreams.

I could give up any hope of her marrying me if this kid was mine. I could probably give up any hope of that even if it wasn’t. She was scared it would happen again and who was I kidding? It could happen again.

She said she was going to be with someone else so I could know the pain she was feeling. What could I say about it if she did? I’d been with too many to count. An unidentifiable number. Isn’t that what she called it?

She came to find me at the pool hall, but why? Did she come there to pick up somebody or did she come so we could work things out? I don’t guess it matters because Samantha saw her walk in and she jumped in my lap and put her tongue down my throat for Payton to see. Psychotic Bitch. I can only imagine how that must have looked to Payton. She didn’t believe me when I tried to explain. Could I blame her? Then again I was drunk as a skunk. I’m not sure how good of a job I did at explaining.

I don’t really remember what I told her. Something about wanting to put babies inside her seem to ring a bell for some reason. God, that was not the right thing to say to your girlfriend when another girl just showed up on your doorstep claiming to have had your kid. Except Payton wasn’t my girlfriend anymore. She was leaving me over this. And I can’t say I blamed her.

She deserved so much better than me. She now knew me for the son of a bitch I was and she left just like I knew she would.

But here’s the part where we slam on the breaks for what happened next.

The whole thing was bogus. I never met that chick. Samantha fabricated it all, including the part Payton saw in the pool hall, to break us up. And it worked like a charm. And now I have no way of proving any of this to Payton other than my word and that of my 2 drunk buddies.

I’m screwed. I saw the hurt in her eyes.

She’s not going to forgive me for this thing I didn’t do.

Oh, god. He didn’t get that girl pregnant and he didn’t want that psychotic bitch. All of this was her doing and I was blind to all of it because I was so stubborn. He knew I wouldn’t take his word for it. What have I done, Nick?

July 25th

Vivian enjoyed telling me Payton was with Cooper and it broke my heart.

That’s a bold faced lie. I am not with Cooper. I told him we would never get back together. My mother is a total bitch.

July 30th

Dallas says I can’t stay drunk for the rest of my life. I beg to differ.

I, too, have done my fair share of getting drunk since we broke up.

August 1st

My blood is drowning in alcohol. So is my brain. It’s the only way I don’t constantly think about the way I screwed up with the only girl I’ve ever loved.

Oh, Nick. What are you doing to yourself?

August 4th

My dad thinks I need help or something. I do. It’s called Payton Archer.

I’m so sorry for leaving.

August 6th

I’ve got to start classes tomorrow so I’ve decided to smile because it’s the easiest way to hide the pain and I’ll act like losing Payton wasn’t a big deal when it really broke my heart. It’s what everyone wants because it’ll make them feel better.

I’m doing it for them, not me.

Please, smile again. I miss your dimples.

August 7th

These are my own private thoughts and if I’m going to wuss out in this journal, I might as well do a bang up job at it. (That’s one of Payton’s words I love so much.)

I’m hollow without her. I want to beg her back but I know it would be wasted breath. She hates me. But I still love her.

I wish I could just stop loving her the way she stopped loving me but then I hate myself for even having those kind of thoughts. I don’t want to stop loving her.

Writing this down is the only reason I don’t lose my mind entirely. I can’t say these things to anyone.

Jessie says I need to talk to Claire’s mom but I can’t. This is my only way of confessing the way I feel.

I love you, too, Nick. I never stopped even when I thought the worse of you. Please, don’t stop loving me. I was wrong.

August 10th

I got a new tattoo today. I wish I could show it to Payton, but I can’t because she’s not here. And she won’t ever be again.

I will be. And I can’t wait to see your new tattoo. I wish you had described it.

August 15th

I couldn’t shake the need to see my mother again so I called her today. We’re meeting tomorrow. It’s scary, but not near as much as thinking about spending the rest of my life without Payton. God, I miss her.

I didn’t know you saw Tillie. She never mentioned it.

August 16th

I met my mother at a restaurant in Collinsville today. I got to hear her version of how things happened. It wasn’t pretty, but I’m glad to know the truth.

Just when I think I can’t begin to understand how she walked away from us, I think about the things I would do if Payton asked me to and I find that I shouldn’t be too critical or judgmental because I would do anything Payton asked of me.

Payton was right. She blackmailed Vivian about her affair with David so we could be together. I said it wouldn’t change the way I felt about her, but I was wrong. She helped us be together, so how could I hate her?

She wants to see Jake and Dallas. I’m going to ask them for her, but Jake will refuse because he was so angry when Dad told him she lived so close. I think Dallas will agree. She doesn’t remember her and if nothing else, she would want to see her out of curiosity.

My mother says Payton is at UT and she hasn’t seen her in a few weeks. I found out Vivian lied to me about Payton and Cooper. They didn’t get back together. I was happy to hear that, but it only means she’s on the market for someone else to have.

It would kill me to see her with someone else.

I hope seeing Tillie helped you. I’m glad you know the truth about me and Cooper. And I’m not on the market. My heart belongs to you and no other.

August 22th

I’m settling into classes and it’s helping me take my mind off Payton. A little.

Luke and Justin talked me into going out with them tonight. They told me I needed to get laid to forget about Payton. I would try it if I thought it would work.

No. No. No. Don’t do that, Nick. Please.

August 23rd

We went to the club last night. I danced with some girls, but none of them held a candle to Payton. There was one that reminded me of her though. She wasn’t near as beautiful and she was soft spoken. Nothing like my Payton.

I don’t guess I can call her that anymore. She isn’t my Payton.

This girl liked me. A lot. She asked me to leave the club with her so I did.

No! No! No! I slammed the journal shut and threw it across the room. It slammed against the wall and fell opened on the floor. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t read about him being with another girl.

This was my fault. I shouldn’t have left him. He was sleeping with other girls because I was too stubborn to hear him out. He was innocent all along.

I put my arms around my legs and started rocking. I did this to myself and now I had to deal with the consequences. I looked at Nick’s journal on the floor and walked over to pick it up. I had to own this pain to get past it. Knowing the truth wouldn’t be as bad as imagining far worst.

I picked it up and read that last line again before I continued.

She asked me to leave the club with her so I did.

I went back to her apartment with her because I thought it would help me forget Payton. But it didn’t. Nothing ever does.

She didn’t even expect romantic stuff. It had been so long since I had been with a girl other than Payton, I had forgotten how some of them could be. She was stripping her clothes off like we were about to close some kind of business transaction. She was pissed when I told her I couldn’t sleep with her because my heart belonged to someone and it wasn’t her.

Thank, god! I breathed a sigh of relief, the first breath I had taken since I started reading this entry. And I’m glad she was pissed.

September 11th

Today is my sweet Payton’s birthday. I can call her that if I want to. We’re not together and I can’t give it to her but I still bought the ring I had been saving for. I even got it engraved on the inside just like I planned. “You and No Other.”

I don’t know what I’ll do with it. I guess I’ll stare at it every day and think about how I let the only girl I’ll ever want to marry slip through my fingers.

He bought me a ring? What kind of ring? One that you’d engrave You and No Other inside. I think it’s an engagement ring since he says I’m the only girl he’ll ever want to marry. I have to know. I have to see him. Now.

The sun wasn’t up yet but it would be by the time I got ready and made it to Collinsville. I had to see him. I had to tell him how much I loved him and how wrong I was.

I went to my room to shower and I got ready. I let my hair go curly the way he liked it and I put on the sundress I wore when he took me to dinner after we made love for the first time. I hoped he recognized it and remembered.

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