Home > Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(42)

Easy (Contours of the Heart #1)(42)
Author: Tammara Webber


I discovered that the Bait & Tackle has added coffee and wifi, along with a new name promoting these innovative features. Joe (the proprietor) didn’t bother to make up a whole new sign—he just affixed a whitewashed board to the ancient original. Now the hand-painted sign(s) read(s): Bait & Tackle & Coffee, and under “Coffee” it says “& wifi.”

They have three tiny tables and a couple of lumpy, floral overstuffed chairs—like a Starbucks, if it had been decorated with yard sale furniture from someone’s grandmother. It’s the only place in town that’s open today, so it’s packed. The coffee’s actually not horrible, but that’s the best recommendation I can honestly give it. And predictably, the whole place smells like fish, which sort of detracts from the intended bistro ambiance.

Did your day go as planned?

You’re locking and alarming your house every night, right? I don’t mean to be insulting, but you said you were going to be home alone.



Yes, I’m amply skilled in locking up at night. The state-of-the-art alarm system is fully engaged. (And I’m not insulted. I appreciate the concern.)

I spent the day at my ex’s. His parents have no idea we’re broken up—he never told them, for some reason. It was awkward. I don’t know why I let him talk me into going. He wants to see me Saturday to “talk.” I may go back to campus early. I haven’t decided yet.

I’m seeing friends tomorrow, so that should be more fun.

What about your family? What did you do?


I couldn’t be sure when he’d get my answer, since he’d need the Bait & Tackle & Coffee’s wifi to sign on. After a restless night—one that crawled by, leaving me more exhausted than I started—I made coffee and signed into to my school email. Unsurprisingly, there was nothing new from LMaxfield in my inbox. I thought about texting Lucas, but what would I say? That I’d tossed and turned all night, thinking of his hands on me?

Chapter 15

When I stopped for gas halfway back to campus, I sent Kennedy a text telling him I’d decided to go back early.

My phone rang before I even pulled back onto the interstate. Kennedy. I took a deep breath and switched off the stereo before answering.

“You’ve already left? I thought you were leaving tomorrow. I thought we were going to talk tonight.”

I sighed, wanting to bang my head on the steering wheel, which wasn’t the best idea while driving seventy miles an hour. “I don’t understand what it is you want to talk about, Kennedy.” I wondered if he’d been blind to how many times I’d been ready and willing to talk, and the multitude of chances he’d carelessly ignored.

“I think I made a mistake, Jackie.” Misinterpreting my stunned silence, he added, “I mean Jacqueline. Sorry, I think that’s going to take me a while—”

“What do you mean, you made a mistake?”

“Us. Breaking up.”

I was silent again, the words sticking as I tried to take them in, gulp them down. I’d avoided campus gossip as much as possible, but I’d heard and seen enough to know that Kennedy had been no saint in the weeks we’d spent apart. He’d also had no shortage of willing participants. But girls willing to share your bed don’t equal girls willing to put up with your random crap moods, listen to your exhaustive legal opinions, or support your life’s goals the way someone who loves you would. No—that had been my role. And I’d been dismissed from it.


He sighed and I imagined what I knew he was doing—staring up at the ceiling, combing his hair back from his forehead and leaving his hand there, elbow bent. He couldn’t hide habitual mannerisms from me, even on the phone. “Why did I make a mistake, or why do I think it was a mistake?” I knew, too, that answering a question with a question was his way of buying time while he reasoned his way out of a problematic situation. “This conversation would have been easier in person—”

“We were together almost three years, and you just broke up with me—without even—there wasn’t—” I was sputtering. I stopped and took a deep breath. “Maybe it wasn’t a mistake.”

“How can you say that?” He had the nerve to sound hurt.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I snapped. “Maybe the same way you so easily broke it off in the first place.”


My teeth ground together. “Don’t. Call. Me. That.”

He was silent, and all I heard was road noise as my truck ate the miles of nothing between the last town and the next. Most of the fields on either side of the road were inactive, given the time of year, but a huge green picker was making its way through one cotton field, and I stared at it. No matter what happened to any individual person, life was going on elsewhere. The first time Kennedy kissed me, it stood to reason that at the same time, other people were splitting up. And the night Kennedy broke my heart, somewhere—maybe right there in my dorm, other people were falling in love.

“Jacqueline. I don’t know what you want me to say.”

In a matter of seconds, I’d passed through a town that boasted a sizable outlet mall and little else. Every mile took me farther from Kennedy. Closer to Lucas. I was unsettled by the notion that Lucas was someone to go to, before realizing that he’d been that safety zone for me from the moment we met.

“Nothing,” I replied. “I don’t want you to say anything.”

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