Home > The One I Want

The One I Want
Author: Siobhan Davis







“Hey,” I whisper as I enter the room for what I know is going to be the last time.

“Hey, beautiful.” His red-rimmed eyes shine with honest emotion, conveying so much without words. “Come sit with me.”

I walk quietly to the window and sit beside him, memorizing the stunning view I have always loved.

He takes my hand, giving it a gentle squeeze. “I’m so sorry, Stevie.”

“Me too.”

“I never meant to hurt you.”

“Nor I you.”

“I was selfish and cruel and reckless with your feelings, and I won’t ever forgive myself for it.”

“Forgive yourself,” I say without hesitation. “There’s been enough hurt, guilt, and blame.” I lean in and kiss his cheek with tears in my eyes. “I already forgive you.”

“You shouldn’t.”

“I love you and care deeply about you. That won’t ever change. A part of my heart will always belong to you.” Removing the jewelry he bought me for my last birthday, I place it on the coffee table, and it makes it final. Real.

This is the last time we will ever see one another.

As much as this needs to happen, it’s sad it has come to this.

“But you love him more.” Pain underscores his words, and I hate I’m the cause of it.

My inclination is to refuse to answer or deflect, but we’re not tiptoeing around one another anymore. “I do.”

Agony flares in his eyes, and it hurts, but I’m not sorry I was truthful.

“I will always love you,” he says as we stare at one another through blurry eyes. “It’s because I love you I am letting you go. We need to let what we had stay in the past and move forward along different paths. We’re very different people now.”

“We are,” I acknowledge with a nod. “And it’s neither of our faults we have ended up here.”

“I thought we would grow old and gray together,” he says with a sad smile.

I’m not sure I did, but it’s hard to remember exactly what I was feeling at the time. “Things happen for a reason. Some lucky woman is out there waiting for you to find her. I hope she doesn’t have to wait too long.”

He brings our conjoined hands to his mouth and brushes his lips across my knuckles. “I want you to be happy, and he’s your happy place. I see it now.”

He is, and I hope it’s not too late to reclaim what we had.

“I won’t ever forget you,” I say over a sob. “I will always cherish the time we shared. Be happy.” I swipe at the tears streaming down my face. “It’s all I want for you. Don’t ever stop fighting for that happiness because you deserve it.”

I don’t protest or pull away when he leans forward and kisses me softly and briefly on the lips.

It’s the only goodbye we can handle.

I hug him for the last time, and then I get up and walk out the door and out of his life.



Chapter One






“Watch out! Coming through!” I holler over the almost deafening noise of the music as I attempt to maneuver my way through the heaving crowd. Lifting the tray over my head, I shimmy sideways, slipping nimbly between a rowdy group of frat boys. Some dickhole squeezes my ass, and I shriek, almost dropping the tray of empty glasses as I fight my way back to the bar.

The End Zone—the sports bar where I work Thursday and Friday nights—is popular with my fellow Oregon students. Live music on the weekends is a big draw, and the boss is particular about the acts he books. While the manager is careful who gets in the door, and we have a strict alcohol policy, this is a regular spot for juniors and seniors who like to party it up on the weekends in downtown Eugene. Some of them are known to get more than a little disruptive when booze is involved.

Most of the college freshman and sophomores stick to the other sports bar or the tavern closest to campus because both establishments are known to pass a blind eye to fake IDs and clearly underage patrons.

It's one of the reasons I enjoy working here. The management never allows it to get too wild, and the crew is tight. We look out for one another. If I’d seen who groped me, I could tell Manford, and he’d kick the perv out. But an ass squeeze is the least of my worries tonight. Navigating the packed bar, and surviving without any breakages or spillages, is priority number one.

Pushing through the thirsty students swarming the bar, I maneuver to the end of the counter, to the area reserved for staff, and set my tray down with a relieved sigh. Glasses rattle as Camila instantly grabs it, making brief eye contact with me before she takes it straight to the dishwasher. Everyone is working at max speed tonight, and the manager called in extra staff when he realized we were going to be packed to capacity.

“Hey, Stevie. Is everything cool out there?” Manford—the head bartender on duty tonight— asks as he lands in front of me on the other side of the bar. “It’s pretty insane tonight.”

“It’s a goddamned jungle, but I’ve seen it worse.” Not often, but enough to know I’ll get through it intact. Brushing damp tendrils of red hair back off my brow, I fan my face with my hands in an attempt to cool down. I’m glad I wear my long, thick auburn hair up in a messy bun for work. Despite the AC working full throttle, it’s hotter than hell in the room, and we’re all feeling it.

“The new guy has them eating out of the palm of his hand,” Manford says, jerking his head toward the stage in the back as he reads my next order from the tablet in front of him. We went digital a few months back, and there’s no denying it’s very helpful on busy nights.

Casting a quick glance over my shoulder, I stare at the dark-haired guy on stage. I can barely see him through the throng of students standing and dancing around the high tables on that side of the bar. He is sitting on a stool, strumming a guitar, and belting out the lyrics to some classic pop and rock songs with his eyes closed.

“He’s good,” I agree, pouring myself a glass of ice water from the jug Manford keeps topped up for the servers. I have been subconsciously listening to him play as I work the tables. “His husky voice is very distinctive, and he definitely knows how to work a crowd.”

“Doesn’t hurt he’s easy on the eyes.” Camila smirks as she wipes the sticky counter down with a damp cloth.

“I wouldn’t know. I haven’t had a second to look, and you can hardly see him from here. I’ll just have to take your word for it.” I guzzle water as I wait for Manford to finish my order for table five.

“Go see for yourself.” Manford smirks, thrusting a bottle of water and a glass filled with ice at me. “Take them to Garrick. He’s overdue a refill, and he’ll be taking a break shortly. Got to keep the new talent happy. Boss already confirmed he wants to book him for the regular Friday night slot.”

If this is the kind of attention he attracts, can’t say I blame the boss.

Taking the bottle and glass, I navigate my way around the perimeter of the room, heading toward the stage. A line of girls, two rows deep, crams the front of the stage, swaying and singing along as Garrick works the crowd like a pro. I roll my eyes at their obviousness as they jostle one another, vying for the best position in the hope he’ll notice them first.

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