How to Get Over Your Ex in Ninety Days(10)

By: Jennifer Peel


“Am I interrupting you?”

“As a matter of fact, you are.” I stared out across the icky lake.

“Sorry. I just wanted to see how you thought the retreat was going?”

Should I tell him the truth? He was technically my boss now. A few days ago we would have been laughing together at the cheesiness of it all. “I’ve been to better.” So, truth it was.

“Oh. I was wondering, because you looked disinterested when I spoke yesterday.”

Why was he looking at me yesterday? “It’s your first time. I’m sure you’ll get better.”

“Was I that terrible?” He sounded disappointed and surprised. I’m sure he was. I had never spoken to him like that.

“Awful, but like I said, newbie. I wouldn’t worry about it. Nobody really pays attention at these things anyway.” So maybe I lied. People were eating him up yesterday.

“I guess I’ll work on it.” He kicked a rock.

“Okay. Well, enjoy your run.” Please leave and put that shirt in your hand on, for crying out loud.

“Why won’t you look at me?”

Was that a real question? Out came more lies. “I don’t think it’s appropriate for teachers like myself to see administrators half dressed. We need to keep it professional, right?”

He stepped closer. “Listen, Presley. I’m sorry things have to be this way.”

I sidestepped more away from him, but my courage was bolstered and I turned his way. “Don’t be. After you left my apartment, I realized this was a good thing. I mean, our little fling, it wasn’t going anywhere.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Fling?”

“Yep, fling, temporary. And it got me to thinking. We are so different; it would have never worked out.”

His eyes widened.

“You like country music and I like alternative. You run and I walk. And how can someone who loves Alabama be with an Auburn fan?”

“You like Auburn now?”

“Go tigers. I mean, War Eagle. I decided I look better in blue and orange and I think this is Auburn’s comeback year.”

“If you say so.”

“Oh, I do. So really, it’s all for the best.” I was on a roll now, so why stop? “Especially now that you are, you know, making your way up in the world. I would hate for you to have any distractions or mess around. It’s not like you got promoted while we were dating or anything. And if that could happen while we were together, who knows how far you could have gone without such a nuisance as me.” Don’t cry, Presley.

His mouth downturned and he scrubbed his hand over his face. His handsome, handsome face. “Presley, I shouldn’t have—”

“You’re right, you shouldn’t have. But like I said, it’s all for the best. Now I can move on with my life, maybe go back home where I belong.”

He tilted his head. “Are you moving back to Colorado?”

“I’m going to fulfill my contract for the year.”

“You probably shouldn’t have said anything to me in my position.”

“Probably not, but do what you want with that information, Mr. Montgomery. You’re good at doing what you want.”

“Presley—”

“You should call me Ms. Benson. And do your best to stay away from me. It’s the very least you can do.”

“You know that’s going to be difficult.”

“I’m sure someone as smart as you will figure out how to make that work.” I stared hard into his surprised brown eyes. “Enjoy your run.”

I left him standing there speechless.





Day Five

Saturday, July 31



Dear Mr. Bingley,

We talked. I lied, lots and lots of lies. But I was courageous and also told him the truth. Then I cried all the way home after another ridiculous day of team building activities. Capri had to drive us home, I was such a mess. I loved him. I still love him and he hurt me, with no regard to my feelings. At least you had the decency to stay away from Jane for weeks. And you certainly didn’t show off your bare chest to her. The chest she used to lie on and sleep. The place where she felt loved and where all was right in the world. I feel ill-used, to use a term from your day. But, like Jane and Elizabeth, I must go on. I will not wallow in misery, at least not in public. I will not let Jackson Montgomery conquer me.



Boldly yours,

Presley



I began to feel anxiety and feelings of hopelessness creep in, so I decided I better do as the plan stated and think of some of the things I liked to do as a single woman. After all, it was the weekend, and Monday I would be back at the school setting up my room and in close proximity to Mr. Montgomery. I decided I should call him that. It would help distance myself from him.

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