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A New Place to Create Good

Chapter 16 - Gray Transforming

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He pulls back his hand from mine, his eyes that same sharp blue I knew too well, now glazed with regret.

"Ian."  I whisper, shaking my head and looking cautiously into his eyes.  "I thought you were dead.  I'm having a difficult time processing all of this."

He falls silent, letting me take a moment to take in a deep breath before continuing.

"As if the lord of irony is writing my life story, I share a painful one night fling with a man that was once my best friend...whom I was told died twenty years ago.  Then that fling saves my life...and...and here I am with a complicated knot-laced mess that I really don't know what to do with.  I don't know whether to give you a metal of honor, tearfully hug you or slap you."

I pause, glancing over at his hands as they hold gently around his coffee mug.

"Maybe you should do all three?"  He replies, his voice steady as his mouth turns up with a hint of a smile.

I look back at him with a twist of exasperated calm.  


"I don't know why I didn't put it all together sooner.  You were always a hint of a charmer, even at the ripe age of 12, Ian."  I smile at him, my face changing to a mix of sadness.  "I'll be honest though; I didn't know you were even capable of being so cruel." My soft eyes look into his and he nods.

"Braeden."  He hesitates, choosing his words carefully as he proceedes.  "I'm a terrible person."  He says bluntly, his eyes holding no reserve to his truth.  I sip my coffee in surprise, a piece of me enjoying his blunt honesty.

"People did think I was dead.  I ran off and I guess you can say I left some pretty convincing evidence behind me to make sure that message was loud and clear.  I wanted out of that town, Braeden, so I cut it clean and found ways to get by."

Listening to him, I couldn't help but reach for his hand, my heart tugging at his struggles. He smiles, looking at my hand resting lovingly upon his.  "Oh, so now you're going to hold my hand?"  He whisperes with a sarcastic hint.  "Yes." I answer clearly, ignoring his clever jab.

He nods, his presence like a block of ice that simply will not melt.

"But like I was saying Braeden, I am a bad person.  I really can't even blame it on my dad.  I mean, he was cruel as hell, don't get me wrong...but, I think I'm just him all over again." 
He takes a drink and looks at the swirling steam from his mug.

"Ian."  I whisper with a slight sharp edge to my voice.  "You're not him...you're you...and you were a person that made a huge impact on my childhood.  You've just taken a dark detour."

He smiles, taking another sip of his coffee and folding his hands inside his lap before looking up.  "No Braeden.  I wish it was as cut and dry as a detour but, truth is..."

He looks intently at me, his eyes revealing a vulnerability for the first time, coated in cold strength.

"I have enmity in my heart.  I've always had hatred so thick...it's all that I am."  


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