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Rewriting the Rules

By:S. Moose

 Chapter 1


Charlotte



"I'm so sorry, Shawn." I cover my mouth with my hands and watch my  boyfriend of three years fall on the couch behind him. The ring falls  from his hand and hits the carpet. Kneeling down I place my hands on his  knees and beg him to talk to me.

"I'm so sorry," I whisper. "You don't deserve this and I don't know what  else to do. Please understand I want to be honest and true with you."

"You don't love me." The tone of his voice is quiet and hurt. This is my  fault. I'm hurting a good man because my heart isn't with him anymore.

"It's not that," I explain. "I love you. I just don't love you in the  way you deserve to be loved. It's hard to explain, and I really want you  to understand that I wish I didn't have these feelings. You're an  amazing man, Shawn, and I don't deserve you."

"But I deserve you, Charlotte. You're my world, and everything makes  sense because of you. When I wake up in the morning and look at you, I  feel complete. I feel at peace. It's because of you that I'm able to get  up in the morning and fight for our future."

I blink back the tears and listen to him convey his love for me. It's hard to hear, especially since I don't feel the same way.

"I knew when we first met it was because of your brother. I never  expected to fall for you and I never expected for you to feel the same.  We've been through a lot together. Are you really willing to throw it  all away?"

"Yes, we met because of Will and things happened between us. It doesn't  mean anything, though, Shawn. I think you're confusing love and using me  as a crutch. You say it's because of me that you're here and alive.  It's not, though. You pushed through and fought the demons."

"With your help. You're my best friend, Charlotte. I don't know what  else to say," he stammers. "I love you and I want you to be my wife."

"I'm sorry," I tell him again. "I want the best for you and I know it's  not me." Getting up, I lean down and kiss him on the forehead. Heading  to the bedroom we've shared over these past years I collapse on the bed  and cry into my pillow. Thinking about the last ten minutes is killing  me.

"Charlotte, you saved me and brought the light back into my life. Before  you, I didn't think life mattered. There were days I couldn't get out  of bed and days I wanted to stay away from the world. Then you, my  light, came to me and gave me reason. Without you, I'm nothing." I watch  Shawn get down on one knee and pull out a solitaire diamond ring. All I  can see is Troy and I'm smiling from ear to ear. My dream is coming  true. "Marry me, Charlotte. Make me the happiest man."

"Yes! Yes, Troy, I'll marry you." As soon as the words escape my lips I  don't see Troy anymore. I see Shawn. I see the man I've been with for  the past three years and the man who gave me everything.

"Troy? What?"

"Oh no."

Pulling out my phone I scroll through until I find Jessica's name and press call. She answers in two rings with an excited tone.

"What's wrong," she quickly asks when she hears me crying.

"I called him Troy."

"Oh no. Sweetie," she hurries to say. "I'm on my way over now."

"Thank you."

Lying on our bed I look around the bedroom, the same room we've shared,  and look at the pictures hanging on the walls and on top of the dresser.

I was happy with Shawn. He made me laugh and was romantic. For one of my  birthdays he planned a surprise party with our friends at a restaurant  and then took me away to Wilmington, NC. We went on the One Tree Hill  tour and stayed at a cute bed and breakfast. It was a fun weekend and I  was happy.

It's nice to have someone in your life that loves you and will do  anything to keep you happy. The thing is I knew deep down it didn't mean  forever. Breaking up with Shawn doesn't mean I don't love him or care  about him. Letting him go means I love him enough so he can find someone  who'll love him the way he deserves to be loved.

And I deserve to be with the man who owns my heart and soul.

We haven't talked in about four years and every day I miss him. I'll  never forget the look on his face when we were last together.

Sitting in the booth with my two favorite guys, Will, my brother, and  Troy, the love of my life, we laugh about something stupid while waiting  for food.

"Charlotte, wow, I can't believe you're going to be a senior," Will gushes. "I'm proud of you, little sister."   





 

"Thank you!" I feel Troy's hand rubbing my thigh and my body soars with  desire. Discreetly looking at him I see the smile on his face and fall  deeper in love with him.

I've been in love with my older brother's best friend since I was  sixteen. We grew up together and I think I've always loved him, but it  finally hit me and at that moment I wanted him to be mine forever.

He's two years older and is way more mature than I'll ever be, but we're made for each other. He's my person.

Slipping my hand under the table, I entwine my fingers with his and feel  the tight squeeze. We're not together in a boyfriend/girlfriend way  because he wants me to focus on school and soccer. Then there's my older  brother who'll surely murder Troy without a second thought. Two years  ago we made a promise that the day I graduate from college is the day we  tell him our feelings and beg for his blessing.

My brother is the only family I have and he's my rock. I can never disappoint him. Never.

"Oh, I totally forgot to tell you," Will says. "Remember my client,  Shawn?" I nod and see Troy's shoulders tense. "So he's going through a  rough time and I'm hoping you can be his shoulder to lean on."

"Me?"

"Why her?"

Will looks at us and shakes his head. "Come on. He's a great guy and needs a friend, plus he really likes you."

"We met like once and I hardly talked to him."

"Hey," Will raises his hands, "his words. I think he'll be good for you.  Troy and I are moving to Rochester, New York in a few weeks and we  won't be here as much, so having Shawn around will make me feel better  that my baby sister will be safe."

"I can take care of myself, Will. I can't believe you're trying to play  matchmaker right now. I don't want a relationship." I hold Troy's hand  tighter. "Why are you doing this?"

"Charlotte, I'm not doing anything to hurt you. I want someone who I  trust to be here for you and protect you. I mean, if something happens  to you guys then that's great. He's a good guy. Give him a chance."

I remember everything Will's given up for me and slowly let go of Troy's  hand. He pulls me back, but I pull hard enough and he lets me go. At  that moment, I lost him and broke the promise we made.

Jessica comes over and helps me pack my things. Since I moved in with  Shawn I don't own much, just what I brought over. My belongings fit in  three suitcases, two duffel bags, and a tote. I look at my bags and hear  Shawn coming into the bedroom.

"I'll take these down to your car," he absently says. The only thing I can do is nod and look at Jessica.

"Thanks, Shawn," she says for me.

When he leaves the bedroom, I sit back on the bed and pick up a framed picture of Shawn and me.

"How did this happen?"

"You can't blame yourself, babe."

I look at my best friend and am so thankful to have her in my life.  We've been friends since first grade when she moved to Ann Arbor,  Michigan. Since that day, we've been inseparable. She knows everything  about me and has been there whenever I need her.

"You're going to go to Rochester. Be with Will and Troy, then when things settle down you'll talk to Troy."

"He won't talk to me. I tried for so many months and he never responded. He hates me."

"I don't think he hates you. Sure, he's mad, but hate? No. He can't. That man loves you so much and you love him."

"What am I going to do?"

Jessica places her hand on my heart and I understand what she's saying.  She knows this is the right thing to do and it gives me a little bit of  hope knowing I'm making the right decision. I can't be with a man I  don't truly love. My heart beats for someone else and it's not for  Shawn.

"I'm going to Rochester," I whisper and prepare myself for another life-changing moment





Chapter 2



Troy



"Thanks, Doc." I disconnect the call and start laughing uncontrollably.  Tears stream down my face, and I'm holding my stomach from laughing so  hard. "Wow," I mutter and put my cell phone in my pocket.

Heading down to my basement to work out and clear my head, I start with  an intense cardio session. Sprinting for a minute and then jogging for  thirty seconds. I do this for fifteen minutes and then work on my arms  and biceps. Running and lifting helps put questions in my head back into  perspective. Things are clearer and I'm able to make better decisions  without using my raw emotions.
   





 
I work out until my body hits the point of exhaustion. Wiping the sweat  from my face and chest, I chug a bottle of water and make my way  upstairs.

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