Read Sometimes Moments Online

Authors: Len Webster

Sometimes Moments (7 page)

BOOK: Sometimes Moments
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“But—”

“No buts. You always wanted to be on the beachside in winter. It’s my turn to take care of the hotel. It was always my responsibility, not yours,” Peyton explained.

“Who will make you breakfast each morning?”

Peyton rolled her eyes at the concern on her aunt’s face. And placed both her hands on her aunt’s shoulders. “I can make my own breakfast. How many times have I told you not to come over each morning? We talked about this. When I owned the hotel, you and Uncle John would go back to the peninsula. It was a deal.”

Aunt Brenda cocked a brow at her. “This eagerness of yours to get your uncle and me out of town isn’t just because of our retirement, is it? I’m guessing this is because Callum Reid is back in town?”

Peyton stilled, her mouth dropping. “How’d you know?”

A sad smile etched her aunt’s face. “It’s a small town, Peyton. You know how this town is. They would have never let this kind of news go unheard of. They won’t treat him the same. You know that.”

After walking over to the hallway table, Peyton trailed her fingers over the picture of her parents and smiled at their happy faces. It was a photo taken just before Christmas, before Callum had left, and before their accident. Peyton turned to her aunt and sighed.

“I treated him differently, Aunt Brenda. I treated him like…”

Aunt Brenda walked towards Peyton and hugged her. Peyton stood there a moment before she wrapped her arms around her aunty.

After a moment of embrace, Aunt Brenda took a step back and said, “You treated him how he expected you’d treat him, love. I’m sure that he knew what he was walking into. He broke your heart, Peyton. You treat him the way you believe he deserves.”

“I called him a self-righteous bastard after he said he came back for my forgiveness. I swear I felt Mum and Dad tossing in their graves, Aunt Brenda. You should have seen his face. I felt awful but…he wasn’t here when I needed him. He left me. I gave him everything and he left. I don’t think I could ever forgive him.”

The way his eyes had clouded and the pained expression on his face had had her almost sobbing. She hadn’t needed to see him in agony. He was the one who had delivered her such heartache. He deserved no pardon whatsoever.

Aunt Brenda picked up the house keys and placed them in Peyton’s hands. “The ones we love will always hurt us the most, Peyton. You’ve grown since him, and I’m sure he has, too. If you don’t want to forgive him, then don’t. It’s your life. You choose who deserves to be near your light. And you choose who loves or who hurts you in this world. Remember that forgiveness is always earned and never a right.”

Peyton nodded as she picked up her bag and slung it on her shoulder. “Thanks, Aunt Brenda. Just have a good time enjoying the sea air.”

“Remember to call me if you need anything!” Aunt Brenda called after her.

“Love you,” Peyton said over her shoulder as she walked out of the house.

The cool wind hit her cheeks and she shivered. It would be winter soon and snow would more than likely fall. Winter brought a good number of visitors. The fog that blanketed the lake was a tourist attraction. Even though Daylesford was small, she loved it. Everything she had ever loved had breathed in the small town she lived in.

Closing the door behind her, Peyton placed her keys in her jacket pocket and looked over at the brick house across the road. It was the first time in years that she took in that house for more than a second. Callum was back, and he lived across the road from her.

 

The brightness from the lanterns provided enough light to see the cold fog surrounding them. Peyton shivered, but she was held securely against Callum’s naked body.

“We can leave, Peyton. It’s getting cold,” he whispered in her ear.

Peyton turned in his hold and faced him. Callum wrapped the blanket around them tighter.

“I don’t want to leave.”

“Then we’ll stay.” He smiled at her before he kissed her forehead.

It was perfect. Everything was perfect. The stars, the sound of the lake, and even the fog made this a memory worth keeping.

Lifting her arm out from under the blanket, Peyton brushed the hair out of his face. But Callum’s hand stopped her movements, and he threaded his fingers through hers, bringing their joined hands to his mouth. He kissed the skin just below their thumbs, where their hands joined, and they became one.

“I didn’t hurt you, did I?” he asked, his thumb caressing her knuckle.

“No,” she breathed. Though the pain was uncomfortable, it passed. She could never have imagined her first time with anyone other than Callum.

When she’d confessed that she had never had sex, he hadn’t laughed or teased her. He’d simply said, “I know,” and confessed that he already had. Though it hadn’t surprised Peyton, she had been envious that she couldn’t be his first.

Callum let go of her hand and wrapped her closer to his body, his chin resting on her head. They lay there as the night slowly turned into day, the air getting cooler.

She closed her eyes once he rubbed her back before he whispered, “I have to go to the city tomorrow, Peyton, but just know that I’ll be back on Monday.”

“Callum, just know that I love you,” she whispered back.

 

He’d never said it back. Three simple words that he had kept to himself. Peyton had spent years trying to figure out if he’d ever loved her. She’d always come to the conclusion that he hadn’t. He’d chosen the city over her. Taken her virginity and then left her.

Shaking her head, she cleared that ‘perfect’ night from her head. She walked down the steps and onto the path. When she reached the mailbox, she stopped and glanced at the house. Then she felt something wet against her cheek. Reaching up, she pressed her fingers to it and realised it was a tear. Though they always prickled, they had never breached her waterline over their memories. She had refused to.

Ignoring that it was because of the memory of the first and last time she’d had sex, Peyton took a step on the footpath and started to walk to the hotel, chanting to herself to stop remembering.

Tapping her pencil against her lip, Peyton observed the lake from the cliff. The hotel was built on a slope next to the lake, and the cliff overlooked the entire lake. It was a popular place for guests to watch the sunrise or sunset, and one of the main reasons that her parents had packed their bags and moved to Daylesford. When they died, Peyton’s aunt and uncle had moved from the ranges to be with her, even buying a house of their own a few streets away. Hence, breakfast being made every morning.

By the time Peyton had brought a notepad and a pencil to the cliff, it was just after eleven a.m. She sat near the edge as she thought about how to make the Reynolds’ wedding memorable. As she did a sweep of the horizon, her eyes landed on the pier, then the small feeding bridge, then the middle of the lake, and an idea sparked.

A floating dance floor!

Just as she started to draw the lake on the piece of paper, she heard the sound of leaves crunching. Turning her head, she saw Callum standing just next to the path outside of the hotel, looking at her. He didn’t say anything. His eyes were on hers as if he were waiting for the go-ahead to approach her. Without a word, Peyton turned her attention back to the lake and then continued the drawing she had started.

She didn’t hear him leave, so she assumed that he was still standing there. She fought an internal battle with herself over whether or not to invite him to sit with her. The memory of their last night together had barely left her—as much as she’d tried to forget.

You never forget the first and last time you have sex.

After drawing a rectangle to symbolise the pier, Peyton sighed and placed the notepad down.

“What do you want, Callum? I’m busy,” she said, not looking over her shoulder.

She heard nothing but the sound of the ducks
quacking
in the distance. But just as she started to relax, she heard his footsteps and let out a groan. From the corner of her eye, she watched as he sat down next to her. Not what she wanted.

“I want your forgiveness, Peyton. I made that clear last night before you called me a bastard and slammed the door.”

Her nostrils flared. He didn’t get it, and it made the anger rise in her throat. Peyton took a deep breath and said, “Self-righteous bastard,” correcting him.

Turning her head, she saw him staring out at the lake in the direction of the trees just near the boathouse—the exact area where they’d spent their last night together tangled under a blanket after what she believed had been a passionate memory they shared together.

“Why can’t you give me your forgiveness, Peyton?” he asked, still staring out at the trees.

“Because you don’t deserve it,” she stated. It was no lie.

Callum looked down at his hands. “I know I don’t. But I want to earn it. I want to redeem myself,” he said before he faced her.

The vulnerability in his eyes had her wall strengthening. No. She would not break for him. He had already broken her before. She wasn’t willing to go for round two.

“Well, you can’t, Callum. Let it go. Just go back to the city already.” Peyton collected her notebook and pencil and stood up.

“But why can’t I redeem myself?”

The begging in his voice had her throat straining. Heat overtook her body. Not something she wanted either.

“The fact that you just asked me proves that you can never redeem yourself to me. Go home, Callum. Stay in the city until you have to be at your best friend’s wedding.” Her eyes never left his.

“But—”

“But nothing. Nothing you say or do will ever be redeeming in my book. Redemption is just something you don’t deserve.”

“Peyton,” he tried.

“Go fuck yourself, Callum,” Peyton snarled over her shoulder as she stormed back to the hotel.

Sometimes the F-word is necessary.

Floating dance floor.

Peyton rubbed out the penciled design of the floating dance floor. It wasn’t a stupid idea; it just wasn’t very smart. There was a lot to consider: whether the dock would be bracketed onto a pier or if it would freely float. There was also insurance; no doubt someone would fall off, so clauses and waivers would have to be drawn. It involved a lot of risk management, and in the end, Peyton decided against the idea. Instead, she’d figure out another ‘wow’ that was cemented to the ground, avoiding the possibility of drowning her guests.

Letting out a sigh, she screwed up her grade-three kind of diagram of the lake and placed it at arm’s length from her. While she was rummaging through piles of paper to her left, she spotted the wedding menu Marissa had emailed her that morning. Once she’d gotten into her office, she’d printed the menu and the groom’s guest list and walked to the pub. She’d been tired of the silence that engulfed The Spencer-Dayle. She’d needed to hear more than just her own voice. And when she’d noticed Callum’s name on the groom’s guest list, Peyton had wanted to throw the glass vase that was to her right.

BOOK: Sometimes Moments
13.2Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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