He knocked on her door, hoping Bella still lived here. Seven, nearly eight years have passed. He wouldn’t be surprised if she had moved. Her house looked the same to him. The reddish brown roof shingles. The empty flower bed near the front of the house, underneath a window. The cracked driveway with its fading gray paint job.
Seconds later he heard footsteps coming from inside the house.
The door opened. He hadn’t expected to see her, but she expected him even less.
“Grant?” She covered her mouth with a hand. “What are you…”
Her expression changed from surprise to confusion. He wondered if someone could hold a grudge for eight years.
Bella opened the door wider. “Come in.”
He did, removing his shoes slower than normal, first untying his shoelaces before slipping them off.
His head shot up. She wasn’t looking at him.
Her shoulders rose as she took a breath. “What are you doing here?”
“I ask myself the same thing,” Grant said in a low voice.
“Why did you come back?”
“For you.” He glanced at her, but she didn’t meet his gaze. “I came back for you.”
She crossed her arms behind her, staring at the ground. “Don’t.”
“I did.” Grant made a move towards her, which made her back away.
“I think you should go.” Bella sidestepped around him and gripped the doorknob with one hand.
“Don’t you want to hear what I have to say?”
“After all this time? After eight years? No, not really.”
Her face changed. Her eyes narrowed, her eyebrows furrowed.
He placed a hand against the door. “Don’t you want to hear an explanation?”
“I lived eight years without one. I’m sure I can live another eight.” The door wouldn’t budge even though she had the knob turned and was pulling as hard as she could.
Grant put more of his weight on his front leg, leaning into the doorframe. “Can you listen?”
“I don’t want to.”
“This has been eating at me for eight years.”
Bella exhaled, moving away from the door. “Then it can keep eating at you for eighty more.”
“You let me in.”
“Now I want you to leave.”
“That means you wanted to know. You wanted an explanation.” His voice cracked on the last word.
She tossed her head back, faked a laugh. “That doesn’t mean anything. Get out.”
“What about the four years we were together?”
Her eyes closed. “Four years isn’t exactly eight, is it?”
“No, it isn’t.” A pause. “What do I have to do?”
“Nothing. You can leave and—”
“I went to jail.”