Chapter Three.

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(There will be typos - probably in every chapter, but this is the completely unedited, written on the spot version so I'm aware of them ;)

When I get to the apartment, there's a package on the doorstep. Tessa's name is scribbled in black marker. I shove my key into the door and kick the box inside with me. The lights are off so I know I have the apartment to myself.

I need a shower. I'm tired and need to get some schoolwork done. I yell Tessa's name through the apartment, just to make sure she isn't here, before I undress in the living room, just because I can. The handle to the shower in our only bathroom sticks when you turn it. It takes at least two minutes for the water to catch up with the pipes. Our landlord "fixed" it twice but it never stays.

Tessa even tried a few times, turns out repairwoman isn't her thing. I laugh at the memory of her soaked body and how mad she was when she thought she fixed it. When she turned the metal handle but she ended up yanking the thing off the wall and getting sprayed in the face with cold water. She screamed like a banshee and ran down the hallway, tripping over her own feet.

I've grown used to the creaky nozzle, so I step back and wait for the water to catch up with the pipes. I hear the spraying noise coming and take a quick pee. I still feel awkward about seeing Dakota today. I wonder if she feels the awkwardness too or if she's already over our relationship? She doesn't reach out to me much, ever really, so I have no idea how she feels or where we stand. I don't think she has any negative feelings toward me. She doesn't have a reason to. It's a little weird to me that we went from talking everyday, to barely at all, to two words if I'm lucky.

I miss her sometimes. I got used to not seeing her when I moved from Michigan to Washington, but we still talked everyday. When she started getting distant, I missed her so much but I could tell something was off. I hoped that maybe she was just adjusting to her new life in the city. I wanted her to get the full experience of a new life and new friendships. I wanted her to get to know her dance academy and I know how important her career is for her. I didn't want to be a distraction for her. I tried to be as supportive as I possibly could. I understood when she didn't call me back. I promised her it was okay when she didn't answer my calls for days at a time.

I played my role of understanding boyfriend well. I'm comfortable in this role,  just like the nice guy. I stayed patient and ever so understanding. Even when she called me to give me reason after reason why our relationship wasn't working. I still nodded along on the other line and told her it was okay, that I understood. In a way I was lying to her. I didn't understand why she couldn't spare a little time for me when all of her Facebook updates were pictures of her at different restaurants and nightclubs.

I missed hearing about her day. I wanted to listen to her brag about how well she did in class that day. I missed her raving about how she couldn't wait for an upcoming audition. She was always the first person I went to with anything. That began to change after I met Tessa and started getting closer to Hardin, but still, I missed her. I don't know a lot about dating, but I do know that this wasn't it.

I finally step into the shower, the water is scalding, lashing out against my skin. Adjusting the water, I connect my phone to the idock and turn on my sports podcast. The announcer's voices are deep and loud as they bicker over the unnecessary politics surrounding the game. Our bathroom is small, microscopic really, with one low sink with creaky faucets planted next to a small toilet that I can barely fit on. Whoever designed this apartment didn't do it with a six-foot guy in mind. Unless said six foot tall guy likes to bend his knees to get his head under the shower stream. The warm water works at my back as I play through the awkward encounter with Dakota today. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it could have gone better. I wonder how she feels about our relationship, well lack of. Did she notice that my body has changed since she's seen it last? Did she see that my arms have grown into thick ropes of muscle and my stomach finally has the lines of muscles that I've been working toward?

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