Focus (Page 55)

“Toby…”

“No. Don’t say another word. This is unbelievable.” I could almost feel the anger rolling off him. “What are you doing, Allie? You barely know the guy. If you wanted an engagement ring, I would have given you one. Hell, I’d still give you one.” He glanced over at me.

I looked out the window.

“No response? No explanation?”

“What do you want me to say?” I finally tugged my hand free. It felt cold.

He shook his head. “This is such a big mistake.”

“It’s none of your business.”

He slammed his hands on the wheel. “Like hell it’s none of my business! What happened to us, Allie? We were so happy, and you ended it out of nowhere. Then you leave town and decide to shack up with some random guy. Now you think you’re marrying him?”

“Excuse me? First of all, I am not ‘shacking up’ with anyone. I live in a dorm. Secondly, I don’t have to justify my decision to break up with you. We weren’t right, and if you’d just think about it, you’d agree.”

“I’m never going to agree.”

“There are plenty of other girls out there. I’m sure you’ve found some at Princeton.” I crossed my arms.

“Are you asking whether I hooked up with anyone this semester?”

“No. I really don’t care. You can sleep with anyone you want.”

“Like you mean that. I know you care.”

“I don’t.”

“I’ll tell you anyway. I’ve slept with girls—plenty of them.”

“Lovely. Thanks for sharing.” I turned away.

He put a hand on my leg, and I looked back at him. “But none of them were you. I only want you.”

I pushed Toby’s hand off my leg. “You’ll find someone, and when you do, you’ll realize I made the right decision. You’ll know what it really feels like to be in love.” My thoughts went to Levi. I missed him already.

“Why are you rushing into marriage? It isn’t like you.”

“I’m not discussing this with you.”

“You’re not happy. I can see it on your face.”

“I am happy!” I couldn’t explain what was really upsetting me.

“No, you’re not. And if you’d just give me the chance, I can remind you what it’s like to feel happy. And, contrary to what you said, I do know what it’s really like to be in love.”

“I can’t handle this.”

“Hiding from me isn’t going to help. When are you supposed to get married anyway?”

“This summer.” At least that’s what Levi’s dad thought.

He shifted, pulling his jacket off. “What does your mom think?”

Out of habit, I helped him pull his arm free. He always got hot driving and needed to take his coat off. “She doesn’t know.”

“You plan on getting married in a few months and your mom doesn’t know? You tell your mom everything. That should tell you something.”

“We’re almost there. Have you said everything you needed to say?” I tried to sound nonchalant, but our conversation shook me up. Being near Toby brought up too many feelings, too many questions. I didn’t need any more doubts.

“I haven’t come close.”

I sighed. “What else is there?”

“I think you should transfer to Princeton. You still have your spot.”

“I’m not transferring.”

“Why not?”

“Because I like Tulane, and I’m not starting over again.”

“It won’t be starting completely over. I’m there. I’ll introduce you to my friends.”

“And all the girls you slept with?” I couldn’t resist. I didn’t appreciate him forcing images of him with other girls on me. I may have been over him, but I didn’t want to think of him that way.

“I actually made you jealous, didn’t I?”

“No. Just grossed out. I don’t need to know about your man whore ways.” I already spent enough time with Jared.

“What if I told you I lied, and I didn’t actually sleep with anyone else?”

“I wouldn’t care.”

“Well, I lied.”

“Why?”

“I wanted to make you jealous.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. “You are so weird.”

“Not weird, desperate.” He took my hand again. “Please, Allie. Give me another chance? If you’d only seen what a mess I’ve been.”

“Toby, you have to move on.”

“I can’t. You didn’t give me any closure.”

“Closure? I told you it was over. What other closure do you want?” I didn’t like rubbing salt in his wounds, but he needed to wake up and accept it.

“One more night. Just one more night. I need a chance to say goodbye for real.”

I choked. “Are you insane?”

“No. I think it might help both of us.”

“And how would that help me?”

“You’d know for sure you were making the right decision.”

I freed my hand again. “You really are insane.”

“No, just hear me out. If you let me make love to you one more time, and you really don’t feel anything, then you’ll know you made the right choice. But if you do feel something…then I’d be saving you from making a big mistake.” Toby stepped on the brakes as we hit stop-dead traffic.

“Ugh.”

“So what do you say? It doesn’t have to be tonight…any night you want.”

“I have to be on a reality TV show or something. Someone’s pranking me, right?”

He laughed. “No. I told you I’m desperate. I had to try.”

“I’ve made up my mind, Toby.”

“Break ups aren’t fair. Why does only one person have power? We both agreed to start dating. Why do you get to make the decision to end it? Shouldn’t it be a joint decision too?”

“Relationships aren’t a democracy. Not everyone gets an equal vote.”

“I take it you’re rejecting my offer.”

“Even if we pretended for a second that I wanted to sleep with you, which I don’t, I have a boyfriend.”

“A boyfriend you didn’t bring home with you. A boyfriend your mom doesn’t know you plan to marry. Tell me, why didn’t you bring him home? Why bring the roommate?”