friends to lovers
coming of age
first love

After Lucy finds herself in a helpless situation that could potentially ruin her life, she decides to end her five year relationship with her boyfriend, Chris. However, as Lucy reminisces about their past, she realizes she shouldn't be running from him, but rather, to him.

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Chapter 1
Lucy "I can't believe...after all this time...after everything..." Chris trails off, shaking his head in disbelief. "I don't know why you're acting as if this is the end for us! Why can't we make it work?! It's only two years!" He sits down on the sofa and buries his face in his hands. "You're going to be in Australia, Chris. That's on the other side of the world! We'll never see each other, and on top of that, the time difference will make it hard to stay in touch at all! How can we make this work?! How can this not be the end?!" He looks up at me and my heart breaks at the sadness in his eyes. But I can't lose my resolve. If I cave, I'm only setting him up for heartbreak. "Please, Lucy...I...I can't lose you. I can't let you go," he says weakly, his eyes pleading with me, begging me to see things his way. I look down at the floor, inhaling deeply through my nose. All I want to do is break down and cry. Beg him to stay. Beg him to never leave me. But I can't do that. Because I love him, I know I have to do this. I have to let him go. "You don't need the worry and stress of a long distance relationship weighing you down when you're supposed to be focusing on the biggest opportunity of your life." "So somehow, the pain and heartache of a breakup is easier to deal with?" he asks, causing me to look up. "Why are you pushing me away? Why now? You knew I might take this deal. You encouraged me to take it. Why would you do that if you only intended to end our relationship if I did?" I sit down next to him, hesitating for a long while. "I was afraid you wouldn't take the deal if I put our relationship on the line." "How can you so easily walk away, huh? Five years, Lucy! Five years! We've made it through hell together a hundred times, so why couldn't we make it through two years of long distance?!" "This isn't easy for me! I've thought about it a lot. I've cried about it a lot. I don't want to let you go! I just know...I don't want to watch us slowly crash and burn. And we will. You may not see it that way right now, but-" "Just stop it!" he growls, grasping his short brown hair in his fists in frustration. "I don't want to hear your excuses. I don't care what your reasons are. You're giving up on me and that's really all I need know." He stands up and starts for the door, and while everything inside of me wants to stop him, I don't. I can't. I will only make things harder for both of us if I hang on. I'll only drag him down with me. And he's too good for that. Just as he makes it to the door, he turns to look at me. "I've never told you why I called you Sunflower the first time we met," he says, looking down to avoid my eyes. "In all these years, you've never asked." "Because my last name is Sunday?" I ask him. "No," he says, finally meeting my eyes. "Okay, so why did you call me Sunflower?" "Because, when I look into your eyes, I see two golden brown sunflowers in the middle of a grassy field. It's always given me a sense of calm and clarity. I've studied those eyes of yours so much over the past five years, I know exactly what they look like, even when I can't see them. They captivate me. They always have." He takes a deep breath, hanging his head. "And they always will." Without another word, he walks out the door. After he's gone, I'm hit by a wave of shock, first. Are we really doing this? Is this really the end of such an incredible love story? After the shock comes the heart wrenching realization. Chris has been a part of my life through everything; my college graduation, my first day as a teacher, my first apartment, my first car purchase, my little brother's death, my parent's ugly divorce, my car accident. My life is built around him. So how do I move on without him in my life? Can I even do it? He's the only thing that's been holding me together all this time. Finally, the tears come. Endless, painful tears. They don't change my situation, but they let me get out some of this pent up pressure I've been feeling over the past year. I knew this would be hard. I knew it could possibly turn out bitter. But I couldn't live with myself if I was the reason he stayed here and missed out on the chance of a lifetime. Once he finds out what I did last year, he'll hate me. Everyone will. So I've got to end this now, why I have the chance. No matter how much it's tearing me apart. My phone rings and while I expect to see Chris' name, I see my best friend Annie's instead. I try and compose myself before I answer. She's the only one I told about my plans to end things with Chris, but I gave her the same bullshit reason why. I'm planning to tell the rest of our friends tonight over our regular Friday night dinner at Pin's Sushi Bar. "Hello?" "Well, how did it go?" Annie asks. I blow out an exhausted breath, trying like hell to keep the tears from returning. But I can't. I break down into horrible, ugly sobs and nothing I say sounds like the English language. She's probably wondering why I'm taking this so hard when it was be decision to end things. I can't tell her I have no choice. "I'm on my way. Give me like, five minutes," Annie says before ending the call. True to her word, Annie is knocking on my door within five minutes. She doesn't live far away, but to know that she cares about me enough to drop everything and rush to my side, just to be here for me through a breakup, means more than she could ever know. When I open the door, she frowns, her big, hazel eyes are already glossy with tears. She holds her arms out to me and I gladly fall into them. "I'm so sorry," she whispers. "I know this is hard. But you said it had to be done, right?" I pull away from her and wipe my eyes. While it had to be done, I didn't want it. I never want to hurt Chris. I can't speak through my relentless sobbing, so I only nod. "Come on," Annie says, wrapping her arm around my shoulder and leading me over to the sofa. We sit down and she pulls a bottle of Jack out of her enormous faux snakeskin purse. "I brought out the big guns for this." I laugh through my tears. "Thank you." "I'm guessing Chris didn't quite see things your way," she says, pressing her lips together in a thin line as she takes out two shot glasses and begins pouring. I shrug. "I should've known better. I mean...when he told me about the internship, he was so excited. I should've known then he wasn't even thinking about what that would mean for us." "He thinks it can work. He told Sam that just last night." "Really? He did?" I ask in surprise. Sam and Annie have been dating for almost as long as Chris and I did. And while Sam and Chris weren't friends at first, they ended up being very close. Actually, Chris had gotten close with all of my friends and their significant others. We'd formed our own little family. And now, all of that is just...over. Annie nods. "He...he was going to ask you to come with him." "What?!" I gasp, genuinely surprised. She nods again. "He was going to ask me to come with him...to Australia....for two years..." "Maybe not the whole two years, just some of it. But...you know I'm supporting you, no matter what. If you don't want that then-" "I don't know what I want anymore," I cry. "Sometimes I feel like I could just give up everything and follow him wherever, even to the other side of the world. And then sometimes...I feel like we're starting to veer off on two completely different paths in life. And if that's the case, it's selfish of me to hang onto him." She gives me a sympathetic smile, but I can tell she thinks I'm a heartless bitch for what I just did. All of our friends will probably think that. "I felt like we should've talked more about it. But...once he told me he's definitely taking the position, I guess I kind of got a little...bitter. I want him to take this internship, I really do. It just feels like...he's moving on with his life without me and he's only trying to fit me in where he can because he's invested so much time into our relationship. I love him. I know I'll miss him like crazy. But I don't know if I can handle the distance. And the time difference. And the lack of physical contact. And the hot Australian girls he'll be around every day..." Annie laughs at that. "Personally, I don't think you'll have to worry about any of those things. Chris loves you. He'd do anything to make this work for the next two years. But if you don't feel like you can handle it mentally, then you shouldn't try. You'll only end up hurting yourself and possibly him too." "You're exactly right," I agree. ---- Annie and I are the first to arrive at Pin's, so we sit at the bar and order a drink while we wait for everyone else. I was looking forward to this night out with friends to keep my mind on positive things, but I'm starting to worry if I'll be nothing more than a wet blanket to everyone else tonight. I'm down. I'm sad. I'm walking around in a daze, not sure of what I'm even doing anymore. All I know is I already miss Chris like crazy and it's only been a few hours. And with every sip of alcohol I take, the more aware of the pain I become. "Lucy, Annie, hey!" our friends Cole and Andrew call out when they come into the bar hand in hand. "Hey guys!" Annie says excitedly. "How is the apartment hunting going?" Andrew gives Cole a bored look. "For someone who says he doesn't care, we've turned down an awful lot of options because NEWS FLASH...he does care!" Cole playfully rolls his eyes. "It's our first home together. We have to put some real thought into it." "Everything is an upgrade from where we live now," Andrew sighs. "Ugh, I know. I've lost count of how many times I open the door and nearly broke Lucy's legs while she was using your guest bathroom," Annie laughs. "That's no bigger than a telephone booth," I add. "I know, I know," Andrew groans, taking the seat next to me. "Trust me, I'm sick of it too." "But we agreed we wouldn't pick the first apartment we saw," Cole says. "But what about the second, third, fourth, fifth-" "Okay," Cole chuckles, pecking Andrew's cheek as he sits next to him at the bar. I love their playful banter. It's like they're an old married couple, despite the fact that they've only been dating for a few months. They've been good friends for a while though and since I've known them, they've always had the most adorable friendship. When they confessed to us that they were in love with each other, right here in Pin's Sushi Bar, five months ago, we were all very surprised. But not for long. We've always known Andrew was gay, ever since high school. But Cole? Never had the slightest clue. He's dated lots of girls and while none of his relationships ever lasted very long, he never seemed attracted to the same sex at all. I guess he was all along though. The one relationship he's ever had that lasted any amount of time is with Andrew. Five months in and he's totally whipped. "Where is Chris?" Cole asks, sucking the air right out of my lungs. Annie looks at me and frowns. I clear my throat to buy some time. "Um...he...I mean, we..." "Hey guys!" My heart nearly explodes at the sound of his voice. I don't turn around. I couldn't even if I wanted to. My limbs are suddenly stiff. "Chris, hey! How's it going?" Cole asks. "I was just asking about you!" Chris looks to me and back at Cole. "I've had better days, but no worries." "When are you making the big trip down under?" Andrew asks. "Actually, I've decided I'm not going," Chris says, making all of us collectively gasp. "What happened?" Andrew asks. "Did it fall through?" "No," Chris shrugs, sitting next to Annie at the bar. "Lucy, why don't you and I go and grab our table. I'm sure it's ready by now," Annie says, linking her arm with mine. Chris and I share a look that makes my heart nearly beat out of control. I swallow hard, hating how on edge I'm feeling right now. I didn't think he'd show up tonight. He never said he wasn't going to, but... "Yeah, sure," I finally reply.

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