The Fable of Us(125)

By: Nicole Williams



The corners of Boone’s eyes creased when he glanced at the keys. His eyes returned to the road for a moment, and when they drifted back to the set of keys I was holding out, recognition dawned on his face. “Those keys . . .” He swallowed, eyeing them. “Are those what I think they are?”

“Well if you think they’re the keys to a brand new F-350 Super Duty, then no, sadly they are not.” I jingled them again. “But if your next guess leads you to wondering if they’re the keys to the Kids’ Center, then ding! Ding! Ding! . . . you are correct.”

At first, he didn’t say anything. His chest just rose and fell in heavy pulls. “Clara—”

But I cut him off. “I believe in you. I always have.” Lowering the keys to the steering wheel, I looped them around his thumb. “It’s time you did too.”

He was quiet again, his grip tightening around the steering wheel enough to make his knuckles go white. After a minute, he opened his hand and let the keys fall into his palm. He wrapped his fingers around them. “How did you manage it? The bank? The short timeframe? How did you do it?”

I shrugged. “I’m an Abbott. I had to cash in on my name at least once in my life.”

Boone shook his head. “No, you’re Clara. The girl I grew up loving, and the woman I’ll die loving.” His hand, the same one still holding the keys, found mine, and he managed to knit his fingers through mine and still maintain his hold on them. “You’re the best person in the whole world. That’s who you are.”

I tipped my head back against the headrest, letting my hair whip around my face from the wind rushing into the truck, and I wondered how long it would take us to get to California. What I realized then was I didn’t care. Where we were heading didn’t really matter—what counted was that we were on our way.

This time, when I went to suck in a breath, my lungs responded. They filled with air to capacity, strong and solid. I exhaled.

I could breathe again.

The Charleston city limits sign was still miles down the road.

I took another breath and stared across the seat at Boone. The boy I’d grown up loving, and the man I’d die loving. “I was just thinking the same exact thing about you.”

The fable of us had been rewritten. With a spin that had exposed the truth. Instead of the happily never after we’d been dealt or with the happily ever after that was a lie, we were retelling the ending. Boone and Clara—happily even after. It was a great story. The greatest one I’d ever heard.





The End

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