Inhale, Exhale

Inhale, Exhale by Sarah M. Ross Page A

Book: Inhale, Exhale by Sarah M. Ross Read Free Book Online
Authors: Sarah M. Ross
you’d want?”
    What I wanted was her. All of her. But that wasn’t possible. So I’d settle for the next best thing. Because I’m a chump. And because I’m pretty sure she was worth it.
    “Yes, Jillian. I think I can manage that.”
    Jillian’s smile widened, and she nodded. “Good. So what do two friends do around here for fun?”
    “Drinks?” I suggested. I didn’t want her to think of it as a date and back off again, and this sounded like the least harmless.
    Jillian hopped up and grabbed her purse. “Sounds perfect. Let’s go.”
    I picked a quiet place that had outdoor seating since it was such a beautiful night. I found a small table in the far corner where the music from the jukebox wasn’t too loud and the other patrons wouldn’t distract us.
    “So what’s your poison?” I asked.
    She smiled sheepishly and covered her face in her hands. “I’m such an idiot. They’re never going to serve me here. I’m only nineteen.”
    “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got you covered. It’s one drink, it’s not like you’re going to get hammered.”
    She bit the side of her lip. “Are you sure? I don’t want to get us thrown out or anything.”
    “Just tell me what you want.”
    “Um, a rum and Coke would be perfect. Thanks.”
    “It’s my pleasure.” I stood and headed to the bar to place our order. The bartender was a guy I went to grad school with, and I knew he wouldn’t give me any trouble. I returned a minute later with the drinks and held mine up. “A toast.”
    “And what are we toasting to?”
    I thought for a moment, trying to decide how far was too far to push so soon. “Aux possibilities sans fin.”
    Her eyes widened at my choice of toast, surprised by my brazen words. “I thought we were going for ‘just friends?’”
    “We are. Did you take my toast another way?”
    I’d set her up and tested her, but she smiled coyly and raised her glass to mine. “Endless possibilities indeed. Salude!”
    I took a sip of my Summer Ale, enjoying the rich taste and frothy head as my eyes skimmed over the glass to watch her. We sat in a comfortable silence for a few minutes, enjoying the sky as the sun began to set, and The Zac Brown Band playing in the background.
    “I remember the first time I heard this song,” I said, my voice breaking the silence. “They had just come out with their first indie album and weren’t well known outside of Georgia. My mom had stumbled upon them after eating in their daddy’s restaurant and took me to see them perform a few months later. Their concert was about three hours from our house, so my mom came to my school at lunch and told me I was skipping the rest of the day. We hopped in the car and listened to their entire CD on the way to and from the concert, stopping for Dairy Queen Blizzards on the way and eating bad pizza from a truck stop on the way home. We didn’t get home until almost two in the morning, and my dad was pissed. Mom had forgotten to turn her cell phone on and he was worried out of his mind. It was the last thing we ever did together before she died. I can’t hear this song anymore without thinking of her, and I’ve been to three of their concerts since then, always buying two tickets but going alone. I know it’s stupid, but I somehow feel like the other ticket isn’t going to waste. It’s like my mom’s still there, clapping and singing at the top of her lungs.”
    “I’m so sorry you lost your mom. I can’t even imagine having to get through my teens without mine. She was always there to let my cry on her shoulder or give me advice. That must have been hard.” Jillian reached over the table and squeezed my hand.
    “It was worse on my dad. He basically fell apart.” I stopped, not wanting tonight to be a pity party for me. I changed the subject. “So are you an only child too?”
    She shook her head. “No, I have sister, but she’s six years older than me. She married her high school sweetheart, who became a MP out of

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