He sat in his car in the driveway for some time, that night, thinking of Augustine and the baby.
He knew he should have brought her home with him, but she kept on telling him how everything was OK, and she had a plan.
There was none of that, ‘nice to see you…’ ‘how have you been…’ No, Gus, was a little distant. Possibly cold.
Of course, the baby kept sidetracking him. He was adorable.
He could imagine Gus’ husband. They were probably the perfect match. The baby was beautiful.
When he did get out of the car and made his way in, he had a good cry while he brushed his teeth. He cried even more when he got in the cold bed.
Finally, he got up to text her.
ARE YOU REALLY OK?
He knew it was late, going on midnight. He probably shouldn’t have text.
The least he could have have done was to drive her home, but she insisted on being dropped off at a bus stop so he could get back to his place in Austin.
What if he never heard from her, again? What if she blocked his messages, or calls?
He paced about with his phone. Not once, could he look at himself in the bedroom mirror. His skin was golden from all the gardening he did with his shirt off. His hair was sun bleached. Yes, he could have been a surfer dude, but he kept a Stetson handy. Although, he wore a ball cap when he was on campus. Honestly, her never thought of himself as a go-getter. Still, he did his best to be content even if he really wasn’t a patience person.
Austin hated himself for leaving her. Especially, then. Even if he’d been a teenager at the time.
He’d done it because his grandmother kept insisting it was the best thing to do. He didn’t need a girl like Augustine. He needed to think about his future.
Of course, he got roped into meeting a rodeo queen. He knew it wouldn’t work, but they got married the fall after he graduated from the University, the first time. Only, they both knew it was over before the honeymoon started.
He wasn’t anything like Alison, his soon ex-wife, thought he would be. She’d made him feel simple..maybe even stupid.
“What did she do to you?” Alison asked that night when they went to Galveston on their honeymoon.
“Nothing.” He’d lied, but he’d always love Augustine. There was no one who could make him smile, like she could. And they were best friends.
In fact, she was his first in everything, and he wanted her to be his last, too.
But she was married now and Austin wept as if it were the end of the world. If only she would text back.
Finally, the phone lit up, after a ding.
WE’RE FINE. ARE YOU OK?
Austin sighed as he cleared his clogged throat. He might as well have been coming down with the flu.
NO. I’M NOT.
There was a silence for some time. The cell phone went dark, as he waited.
Augustine finally text back.
Austin sniffed more tears. He was truly sick.
I’VE MISSED YOU.
He paused, wondering if he should text anymore. He nursed his bottom lip as he turned to his side, resting his head on his thick pillow. He was only in his plaid sleep pants, not even under the sheets of his king sized bed.
I HOPE YOU DON’T HATE ME.
He finally thumbed.
He sighed, wondering if she’d reply. Finally, he felt his sinuses clear when he saw her text.
I WOULD NEVER HATE YOU.
Still he had to clear his throat, again. He direct dialed her then.
“Please, tell me... you’ll let me... see you, again.” He said as soon as he heard her voice.
“I dunno.” Her words were dull as if she needed to keep her distance.
“I want to see Joel,” Austin then said. “He’s so..I dunno. I don’t have any kids. And besides, he’s your kid.” He couldn’t help but smile.
“Oh, Austin.” She did sound tired. “If..if you’ve got the time-”
“I’ll make time.” He promised as he sat up on the edge of the bed. “Just tell me when?”
“Well..” She sounded as if was going to be a bad idea.
“Are you..are you going to get back..with him?” He hated to ask.
“That’ll never happen.” Gus sounded if it were a done deal.
Austin scratched the back of his head, thinking he could raise another man’s kid. Of course, he never had a father of his own.
“I’ll come down there, this weekend.” He told her. “OK?”
“All right.” Gus said she would text him the address.