"Some boys will keep it, some will break it, and some boys, they just won't want it. You gotta be careful who you give your heart to..." Slate Declan
First loves, we all got them. Mine is Slate Declan. He was kind, gentle, and caring. Still, he managed to break my heart. So I put miles between us, and eventually, my heart healed.
I haven’t seen Slate in years, but a couple friends and I are going back to the Bayou for the summer. While I’m visiting my hometown, I’m going to look up Slate Declan. And I plan to break his heart, just as he did mine. I'll remind him of what he has lost, and then I'll prove to him that I’ve moved on.
It should be real easy, right?
Well, let me tell you, Slate Declan is not the same guy that I left behind. And there’s another problem. How do you break someone’s heart when they no longer have one?
“You think the drugs control me? I’m the one who puts them in my body. Nobody is forcing them down my throat or up my nose.”
Her eyes widen. “You’ve been doing coke, too?”
“Fuck. I’ll do whatever I can get my hands on.”
“Listen. I get what you’re trying to do here. I appreciate it, but as I explained before, don’t put too much faith in me. I won’t make any promises,” I say, noting the heartbreaking disappointment woven into her face. “Shit, Rayna. You’ve been gone for years. Did you really think you’d come back here and make a fucking difference in a few days? You can’t be that naïve.”
“Are you even going to try?”
“I guess that you’ll never know,” I say flashing a grin at her. “When we leave here, you’re walking right back out of my life, remember?”
She stares at me for a few long seconds. “Is that what you want?”
The word ‘no’ hangs on the tip of my tongue, but when it comes to Rayna, one thing that I’ve never been is selfish. “I just don’t think that there’s anything here for you.”
“You’re here,” she says.
“I haven’t been here in three years. I have nothing for you, and there’s certainly nothing left in me to give. So, yeah, you should take that cute little ass of yours and walk right back out of my sorry excuse for a life.”
“Don’t say things like that. Yes, you’ve had shit happen in your life, and it’s changed you, but I know the person who I fell in love with ten years ago is still somewhere in there, too.”
“Good luck finding him.”
“Stay clean and maybe I will.”
I chuckle again. “For how long? A day, a week, a month? I’m an addict. I’ll have to fight to stay clean every minute of every day. And, babe, I prefer to do my fighting in the ring.”
“Well, then the way I see it, you’re going to have to do both. You’re strong enough. I know you are.”
“Give it up.” I wave a hand at her. “You’re fighting a battle that you just won’t win.”
“What if the shoe were on the other foot? Would you give up on me? Even after not seeing me for six years, would you just walk away from me?”
“I’m done with this shit.”
“No, you’re not. Answer the question, Slate.”
“No!” I lunge at her. “Okay? I wouldn’t walk away from you. I’d lock you up, and if I had to, I’d beat your ass raw. I wouldn’t let you ruin your life.”
“Why?” My fists curl. “Fuck, Rayna! Why?”
“Yes.” Her chin lifts. “Why?”
“Because you’re the most beautiful person that I know and I wouldn’t let anything hurt you. I wouldn’t let anything bring you down. I wouldn’t allow anything to take all of your beauty away from you. I wouldn’t let it win. I’d fight you, I’d fight it, and I wouldn’t fucking stop until I won.”
“So why, then, do you think I wouldn’t do the same for you?”
“Because, my little monkey, that thing that could bring you down, that thing that could ruin you, that fucking thing could be me...