I felt good for about a minute after Ryan's and my tryst, but the morning after was extremely rough.
As pleasurable and cathartic as it had been to act on the feelings that had been bubbling inside me since I first laid eyes on the guy, it was extremely tainted knowing that I was going to be leaving Val's life soon, and that bogging her down with more drama was specifically what I didn't want to do.
The feeling seemed mutual, as he was unable to even look me in the eye the next morning. It was then that I realized that as much as it felt like things were over between him and Alexa, they actually weren't yet. He finally admitted later that day, "We were texting today... she wants me to go out to California, and I'm going to."
"Yeah," I said sheepishly, "You should."
It was a tough situation. I couldn't not be hurt, but I had no claim over this guy, no right to mess around with him. This was the closest thing to making good on it that I could offer - to pretend it had never happened.
He went. We've hardly texted.
After that, I set about trying to execute Cynthia's plan.
Originally, she had eyed the end of summer for her trip to the Inn, meaning I would visit in the "last" spot, the one where the body I leave behind is basically nowhere for the better part of a year. I can hardly reckon with the implications of that, nor with the logistics of having to visit that Inn and get my body messed with twice in a year, at least once with unknown results. Scary, but, that's kind of how I do things... leap before I look.
But we had a chunk of reservations at the Inn at our disposal. Not impossible to move things around. I got in touch with Val to see if she would be okay with us shuffling things around.
"You're really going for it, huh?" she asked over coffee. "Taking the deal?"
"What choice do I have?" I shrugged, "I'm a person without a body, and this is the only offer on the table. And it's a pretty good offer."
"I'll say," she said, some kind of envy in her voice. "You just don't seem happy about it."
"Well yeah," I said, "This isn't who I envisioned ending up being, but no matter what I hoped for it's not likely to be as good as this. I just... don't like being backed into it. Feeling like I have no other options."
"No," she said coldly, "I guess not."
I took a breath. "Val, I'm extremely sorry for everything that's happened to your life this year. With Josh, and... well, I just want you to know I did the best I could under the circumstances."
She muttered something to the effect of not holding me responsible for her ex's actions - at one point it felt like she did.
By now, Cynthia will be waiting to turn into her erstwhile husband. He got the body that would have been mine, whatever that may have been. Then it's my turn, and the rest of my life begins as a beautiful blonde mother of three in the suburbs.