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Chapter 3

Nathan

I'm standing in the parking lot after hockey practice. This is my first cigarette of the day, and I can't even enjoy it. 

Not after she told me to quit.

Alice Grey.

Suddenly, I remember her voice saying, "You have a big heart, Nathan. You may look intimidating, but your gentle heart is part of why I love you so much."

My chest constricts when those words sink into my head, and the image of her older self smiling at me hits my brain. She was beautiful as my wife. Mousy, brown hair dangling down the sides of her round cheeks. Glossy lips caught in the most captivating smile I've ever seen.

Suddenly, I'm not even interested in other women anymore.

That version of Alice that I saw in my dream has ruined me. She was the most stunning woman I've ever seen: Large breasts, glowing cheeks, and kind eyes. She was also carrying my child!

I sigh and massage my eyelids, yet no matter what, I can't get Alice out of my head.

Damn it all!

How will I ever be able to forget how that other Alice looked at me? Those eyes were so affectionate and filled with love. No one has ever looked at me like that! Not even my own dad or even a friend. 

Fuck, my heart hurts. I was married to Alice—we were about to have our fifth daughter, and I... I didn't hate it, okay? That dream felt so real, and I was happy!

But that dream will never become a reality. How would I even begin to turn things around? Alice Grey hates me, and I doubt we have anything in common. We probably couldn't even hold a conversation without it getting weird!

Then again... Should I try talking to her? I doubt Alice would be comfortable if her past bully approached her. I've been so mean to her in the past.

Alice Grey comes from a happy family with plenty of siblings. She is kind and always smiling and trying her hardest. Growing up, I was so jealous of this sweet little girl that I bullied her. 

Of course, it doesn't excuse what I did, but Alice's parents loved her achievements and drove her to school every morning. I envied that because the only thing my dad ever did was beat me up.

My mother died giving birth; my dad has always taken that out on me. He is a miserable old man, and it wasn't until I finally hit puberty that I could defend myself. 

Now I'm too big to be beaten by him, but I'm still not exactly the friendliest guy myself. 

Sighing, I throw my cigarette on the ground and stomp out the flame without even smoking it. I should quit this addiction.

"Hey, is that Nathan?"

"It is!"

"Should we talk to him?"

"I don't know... He looks angry."

"That dude always looks angry, but if you don't approach him now, you might never get the same chance again. I thought you liked him? Go and ask him out!"

I ignore the girls looking like they might want to approach me.

Some people fear me, but there are also a lot of them who are intrigued. Being a tall athlete makes girls ask me out to the left and right. And if you don't think height matters, then think again. Women thirst after guys who are above six feet tall.

I walk up the stairs and enter the building. I'm hungry and head down to the dining halls. I buy a large amount of food, and then I freeze in my tracks once I catch Alice Grey sitting alone by a window. 

Hm. It would be stupid to head over there. I already harassed Alice yesterday, and I bet that dream meant nothing. It was just a foolish one-time thing.

Yet I can't fucking help myself. I take my tray and head over to her table. Her chin lifts, and I inwardly wince when I catch the fear in her dark brown eyes. 

So different from the affection in my dream. It kind of hurts realizing she is afraid of me. It feels like a thousand knives are sticking into my chest.

Yet, because I'm an idiot, I croak out a word. "Hey."

Real smooth.

Alice shifts in her seat, and my heart falters.

She seems uncomfortable, and she probably wonders what the hell I'm doing sitting with her. The truth? I've gone entirely mad. A dream drove me here. I probably need to be admitted to a psych ward and have my head evaluated.

I look at Alice again, and she breathes a, "Hi..."

Shock seeps through me from that simple word. 

I stare at her.

She isn't quite meeting my eyes, but her speaking is a start. I hope? It's not like I need her to say many things to figure out we got zero chemistry. Because there isn't any spark at all, there simply can't be!

The only reason I'm sweating in my seat and that my heart is racing is because of that stupid, weird dream that I had—nothing else.

We are too different.

In my mother's diary, she wrote that people's hands are a good hint of whether or not you're their soulmate. They should fit like puzzle pieces. But my hands are large and calloused, and Alice's hands are tiny. We aren't compatible at all.

"No offense, but..." Alice licks her lips, and finally, she meets my eyes. Hers are puffy as if she spent the night crying. "Why are you sitting with me?"

"Uh..." 

"Uh?" Alice mimics me.

I smile in amusement. "Umm..."

I'm unsure what to say. Alice glares at me with her slightly swollen eyelids, and I don't know why I find that cute. Does she think she looks intimidating or something?

"I'm waiting..." Alice impatiently taps her pink nails against the table.

"Right," I try not to keep smiling like a fool. "I'm here because..."

Alice blinks at me when I trail off, and I grimace.

What do I tell her? I had a dream—you were the mother of my children, and therefore, you should forget everything I've ever done to you—fuck, that sounds crazy! This is crazy! What the hell am I doing?

"Because what?" Alice snaps, shocking us both. She looks freaked out after raising her voice, and I get the feeling that's because she fears me. Jesus Christ, I have messed up this girl, haven't I? 

I gulp down an ounce of guilt and try to smile. "I'm just... Do you still draw and shit?"

I want to facepalm myself after speaking. Am I stupid? I can't believe this shit! I've gone my entire life thinking I'm smart, but I'm actually retarded! I have zero game—I realize that—even Alice realizes that, or else she wouldn't be squinting at me!

"I still draw and shit," Alice says, looking me up and down with burning eyes. Her entire demeanor screams hatred. I must have hit a nerve asking her about her hobby. "Are you asking because you're planning on taking my drawings and making fun of me again? Maybe you would want to call me Picasso again?"

I blink. "No, that's not—"

"How did I for one second think you've changed?! You're probably here to disrespect me and get back to bullying me again!"

Would she let me speak? "No, Alice. I'm not here to—"

"Let me make it easy for you!" Alice rustles in her bag. It's on the chair beside her, and I notice her hands are shaking. "Since I don't want you to beat me up or anything, I will just hand the drawings to you!"

Beat her up?

I would never do that!

"Hey, now, I've never gotten physical with you—"

"Oh, yeah, but you might go down that route!" Alice snaps again and slides a sketchbook across the table. It stops right under my nose while Alice stands up. "Look, I'm not sure what you want, Nathan, but please, just leave me alone, okay?" 

"You want me to leave you alone?" A girl has never said that to me before.

"Yes?" Alice gives me a pained expression. "You scare me, Nathan. And that shouldn't come as news to you. I'm sure you realize why I don't trust you and why I'm asking you to stay away from me."

Shit. 

So she really does fear me...

What do I say in a situation like this? 

Since my brain isn't working, I continue to stare at her. It makes Alice laugh, but the sound is miserable. Her expression is torn, and I watch her hang her backpack on her back before giving me a shaky smile.

"Look, you made my middle school years into a living hell. And then I spent half of my high school years fearing you, so please, Nathan, just let me be alone in college. I'm begging you."

"Begging me?"

"Yes, I'm begging you to leave me the fuck alone because guess what, Nathan? I hate you. I hate you more than anyone else."

With those words, Alice hurries away from me, and I'm left sitting there alone, feeling like the biggest scumbag on earth.

I always liked that I'm tall, and my intimidating physique works well on the ice when I play hockey. But right now, I wish I looked a tad bit more friendly. I know I'm an asshole, but maybe if I weren't a fucking giant, Alice wouldn't fear me.

Fuck. 

How do I make her like me?

Is that even possible?

No, wait. What am I thinking? It shouldn't matter what Alice thinks. This is just proof that my dream won't come true. 

Even if I wish it would...

Comments (8)
goodnovel comment avatar
mad_madz63
He should’ve just apologised for his past behaviour. Shows that his grown up and changed. It wouldn’t make her trust him, but it would be a start!
goodnovel comment avatar
speed of light game
A beautiful read
goodnovel comment avatar
Carolyn Chatfield
So now he will understand how she felt all those years. Maybe they might see a way to meet on better terms.
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