Broken Promises Page 2

I looked out the window. Keith and I had been dating since the spring semester of our freshman year. Walker and I had decided over Christmas that year that there was no way we could make a relationship work when we were going to separate schools. It took Walker until the next year to start dating. I’d always felt guilty that I’d moved on faster.

“You told me I had until the end of the summer, Keith. You promised.”

Keith grabbed my hand and kissed the back of it. I couldn’t help but smile when I looked at him. Keith and I met through a mutual friend at a party. The moment I looked into his hazel eyes I longed to run my fingers through his messy dark blond hair. He was just under six feet tall and played soccer. His body was amazing. I longed to unbuckle my seatbelt and kiss him

I closed my eyes and pushed my wandering thoughts away.

“I know I told you that, and I’m sorry, Liza,” he said. “I just don’t understand why this is so hard for you. You either want to marry me or you don’t.”

I inhaled and let my breath out slowly. We’d been having this argument since Christmas Eve. “Keith, all I’ve ever wanted is to teach elementary school in Llano. It’s hard to just walk away from a dream.”

He let go of my hand and ran his fingers through his hair. “It shouldn’t be hard if you’re doing it for love. You can teach in Dallas, baby. There are hundreds of schools. You want more space, we’ll move to the suburbs. I’ll move where ever you want to go.”

I was about to say Llano when he raised an eyebrow.

“Except for hicktown,” he said.

I rolled my eyes. “I wish you wouldn’t call it that. Llano is my hometown, Keith. I love it there. My family and friends are there.”

“Maybe it’s time to make new friends, and belong to another family.”

“Are you asking me to give up my family now?” I asked, glaring.

He looked at me with a stunned look. “What? No. Of course not, Liza. You know what I meant. You’ll have my family in Dallas. Your new family.”

I looked out the front window. Keith was pulling into the Austin airport. I placed my hand on my stomach, trying to settle my nerves. I wasn’t sure if I was nervous about Keith leaving for the summer or if I was nervous about seeing Walker. It had been a year since we’d seen each other. He’d gone to his girlfriend’s parents’ ranch over Thanksgiving last year, and then at Christmas I was at Keith’s parents’ house in Dallas.

I pushed open the door to my Toyota Camry. I stepped into the sun and closed my eyes as I felt the heat on my face. I couldn’t wait to get home and go down to our dock on the lake and just sit in peace. And think.

“You think too much, Liza.” Keith said, kissing the tip of my nose. I opened my eyes and smiled weakly.

“What makes you think I was thinking?” I asked as I wrapped my arms around his waist. He laughed and looked into my blue eyes. “Baby, you’re always thinking about something. You need to give your brain the summer off.” He pulled back and met my gaze. “Please, Liza. Just wear the ring. I don’t want an answer until I get back.”

“Keith, you know I love you and—”

“For me, Liza. Please wear the ring.”

I swallowed and pulled my hand out of my pocket, looking at the ring I was already wearing. Walker had given it to me before we left for college. It was two hearts intertwined. Keith had asked me about the ring shortly after we started dating. I told him the truth: It was from my best friend and it meant a lot to me. I constantly played with it when something was bothering me or I was deep in thought.

Keith reached into his pocket and pulled out the engagement ring he’d bought. My hand shook as Keith lifted my hand. My heart pounded as Keith slipped Walker’s ring off my finger. “Can we put this on your necklace for now? I don’t think Walker would mind, do you?”

Tears were building in my eyes. I felt so guilty for wearing Walker’s ring while dating Keith. I reached up, unclasped my necklace, and held it while Keith dropped the silver ring onto the chain. I clasped it back on my neck, my hands shaking. Keith opened the box and took out the way-too-extravagant diamond ring. He put the red velvet box away in his front pocket and reached for my left hand. I watched as he slipped the ring onto my finger. A single tear slipped from my eye and traveled down my cheek. Keith gently wiped my tear away.

“Please tell me that is a happy tear, Liza,” he said.

I nodded and smiled when he leaned down for a gentle kiss.

He pulled back slightly and said, “I have to go, but I really don’t want to go. I want to wrap myself around your body and make love to you.”

My stomach took a sharp dip. Keith was so romantic and such a sweet, gentle lover. But sometimes I just wanted…more. I wanted passion. Raw passion. I wanted him to look at me like he couldn’t wait to have me. Like he wanted me and only me.

He pulled me into his arms. “Thank you for putting it on, baby. I’m going to miss you so damn much. God, Liza I don’t want to leave.”

I held onto him and closed my eyes. My emotions were all over the place. One minute I wanted to tell him not to leave—that I would marry him tomorrow if he wanted. The next, I was confused as hell about the feelings I still had for Walker.

Keith pulled back. I slid my hands into my back pockets.

“I love you, Liza,” he said. “I’ll see you August twenty-fourth.”

I nodded as I wiped away my tears. “Be careful,” I said. “Tell your dad I said ‘Hi’ and that I miss him.” I said as Keith picked up his suitcases. Keith and his father, Tom, where going hiking along the Appalachian Trail together this summer. They’d been planning the trip for years. The moment Keith graduated, they wanted to spend a few months together, just the two of them. I knew how much this meant to Keith, especially since his father beat cancer two years ago.

Keith took a few steps back and gave me that sweet smile of his. “I’ll text or call when I get a signal.”

I sniffled and said, “Okay. Be careful.”

“Always, baby. I love you and I can’t wait to get home and make you my wife.” He quickly turned away before I could even say anything.

I watched him walk into the airport. When I could no longer see him, I turned and got back into my car, pulling in a deep breath. I rested my head on the seatback. I was going to miss him. I lifted up my hand and looked at the ring, wondering if I could marry Keith, if I even wanted to. I thought I did, but I wasn’t so sure. Shaking my head, I let out a frustrated sigh. What the hell is wrong with me? I needed to come to terms with the idea of following my dreams in Dallas, with Keith.

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