《In Five Years》Chapter 18


"You guys were so embarrassing!" I screech as soon as I get back inside, storming into the kitchen to glare at my beyond incompetent family. Why did they all have to make that so awkward?

Ethan shrugs, and he clearly helped himself to another plate of pancakes. "You're going to sit there and lie to us again?" He glances around the room at my parents. "Am I the only one having a flashback here?"

"Nothing happened." I reiterate. "He just stayed the night. That's it."

"Well that's a damn shame." Ethan replies. My parents remain quiet.

"Since when the hell do you approve of us anyways? Weren't you the one a few years ago that tried everything possible to break us up?"

"Maddie." He sighs, completely exasperated. "That was years ago. I was immature and selfish back then. Just like I told Cameron, I'm fine if you guys want to be together. You can tell me the truth if you're dating."

Is that why Cam said Ethan wouldn't care about him spending the night? Ethan had a fucking conversation with him about us? What did Cam say? Did he say he wanted to get back together?

"I can't believe you!" I shout, and I find myself getting angrier by the second. "What did you guys talk about? What did he say?"

"He didn't say anything. He said he was with Katie, but he just spent the night with you, so..."

Why couldn't Ethan have been like this years ago? Why the change of heart? If he would have thought like this awhile ago then maybe we still would have been together. Granted, his opinion wasn't the only reason why we broke up, but it was a factor for sure. What if Cam and I were still together right now? Katie never would have existed.

I blink away tears that are threatening to pour onto my cheeks. "Nothing happened." I whisper, feeling completely and utterly defeated. "And I'd appreciate it if you stayed out of our business."

"Maddie, your brother is just trying to help." My dad intervenes.

"Well he's not!" I completely lose it, the anger and sadness I've hidden for the past two weeks starting to spill out. "And what would you even know about it dad? Where have you even been for the past two weeks?"


My mom drops her pan into the sink that she's washing, biting onto her bottom lip when my dad clears his throat. What the hell is going on? Why aren't I being let in on anything in this family?

"What?" I laugh in disbelief. "I just go away to college and get exiled from the family? Nobody wants to fill me in on what I'm missing here?"

"Honey, just leave it alone." My mom says lowly, but even I can tell that she's holding back tears of her own.

"Whatever." I say. "Tell me or don't tell me. I don't care anymore."

Stalking upstairs, I slam the door loudly enough to where they all can hear it, ignoring the fact that I'm acting like I'm in high school all over again.

As soon as I go to flop down onto my mattress my phone starts to ring. Tre's name flashes across the screen, and I swipe to answer it.

"Hello?" I sigh.

"Maddie, I'm so sorry." Tre says. "I wanted to call and apologize again. I don't know what came over me. I was jealous, and I just said the first thing I could to hurt you, and it was so wrong."

"It was." I agree, and I can't help but notice that my pillow smells like Cam. "But it was also a really awkward situation that I shouldn't have put you in to begin with. It was both of our faults in a way."

"No, it wasn't. I could have handled that situation better, but I didn't. Is there anyway I can make it up to you?"

Truthfully, getting out of my house right now seems like a good idea. I know he's sorry for what he said, and things were going so well between us before that happened. I just want to pick up where we left off.

"What exactly did you have in mind?" I ask, and I can hear him smile through the phone.


We're surrounded by tons and tons of junk food again, my feet sprawled out across Tre's lap with a horror movie playing the background. His fireplace is lit, a cozy and homey feeling overcoming me.

Tre has been massaging my feet for the past ten minutes, and to be honest it feels so good. I close my eyes and let out a sigh.


"Feel good?" He chuckles.

"So good."

I stretch my body out and snuggle more into the blanket of his that he gave me, and he glances over at me, a tiny smile on his face.

"What?" I giggle.

"Nothing. You're just extremely adorable right now. It just makes me feel like even more of a shit for what I said to you."

"It's fine." I tell him for the millionth time. He's apologized so much since I've been here. "I forgive you. I shouldn't have even asked you to come when I knew that he'd probably be there. It put you in an awkward situation."

"I still shouldn't have said what I did."

"You're right, you shouldn't have, but I'm giving you a second chance. All I'm asking is that don't make me regret it."

"I won't." He immediately replies. "I promise I'm not going to mess this up. I'm sorry I thought you still had feelings for him. His girlfriend was being ridiculously rude towards you, and instead of getting mad at you I probably should have gotten mad at her."

I gulp and turn towards the television again. Letting him know about last night with Cam won't help anything between us. I can't tell him that I do still have feelings for Cam. If I do then he won't want to continue whatever this is we have going on between us. Cam said we were friends, and that's all we're going to be. I messed it up for us.

Tre's phone starts to ring, so he leans over to pause the movie and swipes his phone across the screen to answer it. "Hello?" He pauses to wait for a response, his eyebrows furrowing together in confusion. "How did you get this number?"

His body has grown rigid, so I sit up and pull the blanket tighter around my body to move closer to him.

"I don't care how you got it. Don't call here again. Do you understand me?" He slams the phone down onto the coffee table, hanging his head between his hands.

"Tre, are you okay? Who was that?" I place a hand to his back and begin to slowly rub circles on it. His body reacts to my touch, growing slightly less rigid.

"Uh, it was my dad." He clears his throat and sits back up again, letting out an irritated sigh. "I don't know how he got my number."


"What was he calling for?"

"To to try and apologize." He shrugs. "He's done it countless amounts of times. I've changed my number twice since I've been here, yet somehow he always seems to find the new one. I can't escape him no matter how hard I try."

"I'm so sorry..." I trail off, and he takes my hand to place a gentle kiss to my palm.

"No, I'm sorry. I know I've told you that a bunch today, but I mean it. The way I reacted towards you the other night reminded me of..." he shakes his head, and it looks like he's blinking away tears. "I don't want to be him, Maddie. It's my biggest fear."

I climb onto his lap and take both of his cheeks into my hands. "You aren't." I reassure him. "You're kind, and funny, and sensitive, and nothing like him. I forgive you for what happened the other night, Tre. I really like you, and I want to see where this goes."

"Me too." He brings his eyes up to mine and tucks a curl of mine behind my ear. "I didn't mean to put a damper on our evening and be miserable. I didn't realize he'd call, and now I'm just... irritated. I don't know."

"It's okay." I smile. "You're allowed to be upset. What you went through must have been terrible. I can't even imagine."

He nods, and from his body language I can tell he doesn't want to go into anymore detail about it. I'm not going to force him to open up. We haven't known each other that long, but I'm confident he will tell me when he's ready.

"Kiss me?" He asks.

He wants to forget. He wants the painful memories to go away, and I think I'm the thing that's going to cure him of that right now. I wouldn't be able to say no to that. I can see the flashbacks hidden behind his eyes, seeming like they're erupting into him all at once. I want to bring him to that place that relaxes him. I want to be his cure.

Bringing my lips to his, I wrap my arms around his neck and try to bring him to that state of complete and utter peace.


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