It Takes A Year: Part Two

[Updated: 4/20/17]

“So what are we?”

“I don’t know.”

I was irritated. It had been three weeks after our first kiss and we were sitting in Will’s room again on the same bed where it happened. Many more things had come to pass in those three weeks. We saw each other often, we went on dates, we fell asleep together, and he started grabbing my hand in public places. I couldn’t deny that it was a blissful time. Things just felt easy. Natural. I’d shower at his place and he’d knock on the door, saying he had to come in. Truth was he just wanted to sneak me wet kisses on my skin and hold me from behind while I combed my hair. He blew up my phone while I was gone and it didn’t bother me at first. I just got used to it. I got used to Will.

But that week he’d been questioning me. He was eager for us to be something more tangible. I just wasn’t sure yet. Even though I liked him a lot and he sent my heart in a flurry I was scared. Looking back now I know that I was afraid of committing to him.

5 days after I kissed Will I kissed a boy who I’d liked 2 years ago. The boy had finally expressed his interest for me at a party and I let a mix of vodka and nostalgia wrap my body around his. I felt a writhing in my gut, a sickness that burned my throat and tore me away from him momentarily. He found attention from another girl for awhile before finding me again. I still smiled at him after, still hugged him and hung off of his arm that night while he sneaked me kisses on my drunken mouth. We passed out together on the couch.

I didn’t talk to Will for a few days after that. I shut up in my room listening to slow music and a buzzing phone. I wanted to be distant. After he became almost frantic in his calling I finally told him I was coming over. He asked me how the party was and why I didn’t ask him to go. I told him it was just a spur of the moment thing and that I wasn’t really thinking about it. He assumed I just wasn’t thinking about him at all. He had seen the pictures of me grinning and hanging over the other boy’s shoulder. I didn’t know an old flame of mine was going to be there. Will didn’t know our lips touched. I just got up and went with the same freedom I’d been used to having. I didn’t mean to hurt his feelings.

“I missed you…”

I applied these words like a bandage and Will accepted them graciously. We had sex the first time that night. I can still remember everything perfectly. His body was so beautiful and he knew exactly what to do without the guidance I was used to giving to other guys. He told me I was the best he’d had. He couldn’t stop kissing my body, telling me how beautiful it was. Things were so new and exciting for both of us.

But there we were at three weeks having doubts. That’s when the confusion started. That’s when the hurt started.

“Are we dating or….?” he asked.

“We’re just friends,” I said.

He looked at me with obvious annoyance.

“I don’t feel like just a friend. Unless you screw all your friends, I don’t know.”

There was the bitterness in his voice again. It was slowly becoming more familiar as time went on. It stung a little for him to say that.

“Of course not,” I crossed my arms. “You and I aren’t an official couple.”

“How?”

“We’re just…not really dating. I don’t know. It’s too soon.”

“Oh.”

I could tell that more words wanted to roll off of his tongue. I saw how disappointed he was. He wanted to be sure I was his and only his. I don’t know why it was so hard to promise. Months down the line it would be easy but right now it wasn’t. After a year it wasn’t. Most people would want to hold onto something that they’d chased after to get. I’m sure there were plenty who would claim Will in the blink of an eye. I don’t know. My feet stood on unsteady ground. I couldn’t take a leap of faith the way most people could.

I lifted up Will’s chin with the hopes of helping him feel secure. He found reassurance in my touch but not completely.

“I like you a lot okay, don’t think that I don’t. I just don’t want any of that right now.”

“But why? I mean, unless you’re not into being exclusive.”

His hands trembled and he took them away from me. I squinted at him and sighed. I didn’t like having to tip toe around people when they were upset.

“Why is it so bad to not want to be official or anything? Like why does it always have to involve other people?”

“Because that’s how it is. I mean when you’re single you can do whatever you want.”

“Yeah, and?”

He stopped again and the hurt returned. I didn’t understand at the time. All I knew was that I liked him and that was enough. I wasn’t trying to see through his eyes, and now he won’t even look at me.

“And…well, you can go off and do stuff with other people and not even worry about me. It still hurts, no matter what label we have on it. It’s an emotional thing,” he said lowly.

“I’m not just gonna sleep around with every guy I see. If you’re taking up most of my attention I don’t see how anything else would be a problem.”

“It’d be a problem if I plan on investing time into you. Don’t you think you’re being a little unfair?”

“We have not been seeing each other that long, you need to chill out,” I hated to say it but I had to. He was going to screw up a good thing. “You’re making this harder than it is.”

“Fine. I’ll chill out.”

He was definitely mad now and doing a bad job at hiding it. He got up and sat on the opposite side of the room. The space between us seemed like miles, even worlds away.

“I just really like you, like, a lot,” he said. “And no it’s not just the sex, I really enjoy who you are as a person. And I know other people probably do too, so I don’t want to end up getting hurt again.”

I was silent, waiting for him to continue so that I could discover the root of his insecurity.

“We’ve talked about the people I’ve dated before. I had the same kind of thing with this girl last year. We were 6 months into dating and nobody even knew outside of the people who hung out with us. She never told anyone about me, I always found out who she was with and what she was doing from other people. She came back to my place every night saying she loved me, saying she wasn’t ready for anything ‘serious’ yet. It just felt like she wanted to have her cake and eat it too y’know? She loved attention from other people because she knew she could get it. A kiss here or a cuddle there wasn’t a big deal to her, even if I wasn’t even touching another girl that whole time. Shit, I was barely even talking to them because she made me feel bad for it. She knew I’d stick around, she knew she had me to come home to after all her fun was over. I let her take advantage of that until I got fed up. She never understood.”

“You think I’m gonna be like that?” I was sort of offended despite my own poor track record.

“I don’t want you to be like that but then again I can’t control what you do. I can only tell you what hurts and what doesn’t.”

I felt so stupid. I still wasn’t going to take it to the next level right then and there, which would be understandable for other reasons. But I was being a little selfish. It was weird thinking of making that change. I didn’t want to give up my status and feel pressured to do certain things all of a sudden. I didn’t want to lose the connections to the men that I had in my life due to his jealousy. I can admit that a good part of my friendships had a foundation of flirting in them, even if things usually remained platonic. I enjoyed the company of my guy friends and yes, their attention. It was just natural. I never pictured myself six months into a relationship and being that way though. I would—of course—be wrong but I liked to believe that I was better than that. Even if I really wasn’t.

“What made you finally leave her?” I asked.

“She skipped out on our plans one evening and I find out she’s at some guy’s house having drinks. It’s just the two of them of course and by the pictures I could tell what was going on. She ignored my calls and texts until finally I told her I knew what she was up to and she didn’t have to bother speaking to me again. She was crazy the next morning like, blowing up my phone at 7 am. She was making her way to my place and I told her how upset I was. I wanted to tell her don’t come over but I also wanted her to see what she’d done to me. It sounds horrible but she obviously never gave a damn about my feelings. Next thing I know she bursts into the apartment and throws herself on me crying. She kept saying I was the one and that she always loved me and that nobody could ever come close to me. I told her she was a goddamn liar, that she knew it hurt when I saw her fucking around with guys. She said she was just caught up in moments blah blah blah. She can’t help who she attracts apparently. It was like, if you really loved me why would you even be paying attention to these people who obviously only wanted one thing you know? Even if they didn’t, even if they really liked you why the fuck would you go out of your way for them if you loved someone else?”

“She didn’t really love you. That’s not true love,” I said. If she really couldn’t stand being with one person that bad then she would have found a more compatible relationship, right? She shouldn’t lead on a poor monogamous guy knowing that she enjoyed various company. Staring at the pain in his eyes made me forget about what role he could have played in all that. I was only focused on what she had done to hurt him. I wish I could hear both sides.

“The thing was she did love me, she loved me a lot. I could tell she did through the way she acted. But she also lied. A lot. Looking back, I don’t think she could tell much truth about anything. I just think she got too comfortable. Like oh he’ll let this slide, I’m gonna do this. Or oh, he knows I love him so it’s okay to do shit with whoever I want. Like, no. That shouldn’t even be a second thought. When I love someone I’m all theirs through no extra effort required. She got the great end of the deal. Spend your days with other guys and come back home to the guy you talked about marrying? Fucking perfect.”

I wanted to criticize him for how he felt, somehow find justification for what she was doing again. But even I couldn’t find reasoning in it without her explicit input. She had been lying to him the whole time. She probably thought she loved him and thought that if she wasn’t loving anyone else it was fine. I’ve seen people sleep and date their way through months of the single life to still only have love for one person in the end. Part of me believed that you could love different people in your own way. Whether she did or not, she knew where they were supposed to stand. She shouldn’t have hurt him on purpose. She shouldn’t have stayed.

“I’m sorry she did that to you. I know you feel like this is the same but it’s just…not. You guys were obviously in a committed relationship. Or were supposed to be, anyway,” I said.

“I know it hasn’t been that long but for the first time ever I’m just trying to look out for myself.”

“And I’m trying to look out for myself too. I can’t promise you anything right now, I’m sorry.”

“That’s…fine.”

“I can tell it’s not.”

“Doesn’t matter,” he started messing with things on the desk next to him. Why wouldn’t he look at me? “Just know that I’m not doing anything with other people.”

The way he said those last few words dissolved the last sentimental bones in my body.

“You don’t need to guilt trip me, calm down,” I scowled at him and waited for him to see that he’d pissed me off.

“I’m not trying to. I’m just laying down facts,” his eyes finally flickered up. He seemed unmoved by my frustration.

“Well it was a shitty way of doing it.”

“Sorry. Just do whatever you want. Obviously used to it.”

“Well obviously if you’re gonna have an attitude about it,” I stood up and grabbed my purse. “I’ll just go home. I’m tired of you assuming things about me.”

“I didn’t want you to leave,” he said, reaching out for me with a weak hand.

“I don’t want to talk about this. We’re single, this is what single people do. If it works out, we’ll date. Until then, I don’t know. Not your concern. Don’t get a fucking attitude with me and be petty about it!” I snapped. I hadn’t been that vicious in awhile.

“Cool,” he slumped back into his seat.

He was looking at the ground and I kept watching him, trying to bring myself to go. I felt like I needed to give him space even though that’s not what he really wanted. I finally brought myself to leave and Will didn’t stop me. He would text me later that night apologizing even though I was the one that should have been saying sorry to begin with. He told me again that he was just scared and I explained that I understood. I wish I could have just given myself to him and trusted that he was the best thing I’d had in awhile. I was still hesitant.

Our next few times seeing each other was a bit awkward. He was holding back on showing me affection and I assumed he was trying to distance himself a bit. I could tell how irritated he got when I talked about my weekend plans with other people or when he noticed me replying to my guy friends’ texts while we relaxed at his place. He asked me who they were and I told him to stop looking over my shoulder and being nosy.

He was keeping his guard up, ready to edge away from his feelings at any moment. Nothing got past him. Will thought he knew I had to be flirting back to the people who texted or called me often when we were together, otherwise they wouldn’t be so adamant. I won’t lie, I was habitually flirtatious with certain people to begin with, to the point where it really didn’t mean anything to us. I noticed him ignoring me when he saw me going back and forth with guys on my Facebook page or when they posted old photos of us together accompanied by sweet nothings and reminiscence. I wasn’t emotionally invested in them as I was with Will but he didn’t see that.

Looking back I imagined his worst fears were slowly being realized. Every time I saw him he wanted to bring it up and I quickly shot it down. Every argument was just going to end the same. Eventually he didn’t vocalize his feelings. He instead let them seep out through the weariness of his face and the monotone of his voice. I didn’t start loving them, no matter how attractive or enduring they were. I started to love Will. He meant the world to me. I wish I could have shown him better.

I kissed another man three months after I kissed Will. He’d warned me about him, told me that he obviously liked me. I said that it was fine because I didn’t like him back. Will didn’t want us to hang out alone together. Of course, I did so anyway without telling him. I didn’t want to feel like Will was trying to control my life, especially when it came to my friendships.

I got used to lying to him to protect his feelings. Some would say that makes me a bad person. I didn’t care. I wanted to see him happy, I didn’t want him to be up late worrying about me. If a situation wouldn’t intervene with my feelings, I saw no reason to let him fret over it. I told myself nothing would happen that night. But sure enough, for the second time, I would betray his trust.

While I didn’t like him the way I liked Will, our lips still met halfway on the couch of his living room. We tangled together, touching more, kissing more. This was new, exciting. But something pulled me away as he grabbed at my hips. I apologized to him, told him I didn’t want things to go further. Disappointed, he kept an arm around me and watched the rest of the movie. He kept bringing up dating and I waved it off. I kissed him once more before I left. Will texted me when I got home, asking where I’d been all night. I told him I was just at home and didn’t feel like talking. The guy I was just with posted a status about our night and Will was livid. He told me to leave him alone for awhile. I did.

Awhile ended up being four days before I finally showed up at his door.

Things weren’t all bad during that time. It wasn’t just a steady stream of me flirting with other guys and tense moments with Will. No, we were growing closer. We had weeks where we’d lay in bed together just talking or playing video games. I couldn’t stop kissing him and he couldn’t keep his hands off of me. We went out in public together, we went to parties together. We held hands and kept close to one another the whole time. We fought, only to relieve the damage of our harsh words with soft touches. I would call him in the middle of the night and ask to come over, to which he graciously obliged. I probably tackled him every time I walked through the door.

But this time I wouldn’t be running. I would be walking, slowly but surely to Will’s room. I entered the doorway with a soft hello.

“Hi,” he said apathetically.

We looked at each other for a few seconds. I should have ran into his arms. I couldn’t.

“If you had nothing to hide, why would you lie to me about it?”

“I don’t know…I knew you were gonna get mad so I just went. I didn’t see it as a big deal because I don’t like him like that.”

“Yeah, but he likes you and obviously you’re giving him some kind of reason to think it’s cool to just chill at his place for the night.”

“We were just hanging out, it’s not like I spent the night.”

“He probably wanted you to.”

“Yeah but I didn’t. He’s a friend.”

“I’ve seen the way you two talk,” he said darkly. What? How?

“Have you been through my phone or something? Because that’s fucked.”

“No. You leave it laying around all the time and the messages pop up. I know I probably don’t want to see all of it even if I could.”

I hated when he talked like that. It didn’t sound like the Will I knew at all.

“It’s not your business anyway,” I said, trying to match the hostility in his voice.

“It is if you care about how I feel.”

“I’m not your goddamn wife! You can’t just snoop through my stuff Will!”

I didn’t know the anger would take me over that fast. I flirted back with him a lot, yes. I never expected to kiss him, even when he talked about how he wanted the night to go. I just went along with everything else. Everything happened in the heat of the moment when we finally saw each other in person. I wasn’t thinking, I just let it happen. Of course I regretted it. Of course I was going to defend myself.

“I didn’t have to. I could already see that you guys don’t talk like friends.”

I don’t care what he says, he had to have gone through my phone. He practically reeks of insecurity the moment I’m within five feet of another man, let alone talking to one. That made me even more upset.

“Some people flirt with me and I flirt back, big deal. That’s just the way some of my friends and I talk. I could be sleeping with them or something but I’m not.”

“Alright so just because you’re not fucking them that makes it okay? Makes sense.”

“Yeah, it is okay because we’re not together.”

“Then why do you keep talking to me then? Why do you even bother if you don’t want to be with me?”

I hated his assumptions and the way he pushed me over the edge.

“I want to be with you just not—I thought we went over this?”

“What happened with that guy?”

“We cuddled on his couch and watched a movie, there.”

It struck his heart. His hands started to shake again.

“Did you kiss him?”

My mouth was wired shut. The lie on my lips never left. Will got up and grabbed his keys and a pack of cigarettes. As he stormed out the door I ran after him, leaving my anger behind.

“It was one kiss okay! One! I just—I don’t feel anything for him!”

“Get away from me,” he said, giving me a rough shove back. That hurt even more than the words did. I had half a mind to abandon my chase then, to not prod at him like an animal in a cage. But I was desperate: I couldn’t let him walk away thinking those horrible things about me.

He got in his car and slammed the door. In that moment I had never felt so helpless in my life. How could I let myself get this hurt? My heart sank to my shoes and I watched him through the glass of his car window. I started banging on it as he kept staring straight ahead. I started crying, feeling so worthless and alone in that moment. I was so mad at him just a minute ago, why was I turning into a a groveling mess now?

I begged, saying his name over and over again. He turned on the car and I got frantic. I didn’t care who heard or saw me. I wanted him to get out, I wanted him to forgive me.

“Please! You’re right, I’ve been a piece of shit person and I fucked up! I’m done with that! We can do anything, we can be official, I’ll cut off everyone. I’m sorry! I don’t want to lose you!”

I crumbled into a little girl. I sat down on the pavement and let the sobbing take over. I hadn’t cried for someone else in years; the feeling was so foreign to me. Like a child who had just been berated by their parents for getting into trouble, I was ready to beg for forgiveness. It was the last straw and I had tested their patience to the limit. At first I was mad that I got caught, then I was mad at them for being mad at me, and then I was just a mess of guilt. They were going to take something valuable away from me, like my favorite stuffed animal or the allowance I used to buy ice cream. I could already hear the echo of myself as a little girl: No, not that! Anything but that!

I didn’t know how to handle my emotions. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to start hitting Will in the chest or just throw myself off of a cliff. In fear of Will driving off I stood up again to grab his car door. In a blur of tears I’d seen him turn off the car, get out, and stand beside me. I saw tears forming in his eyes too.

“Just, why? Why does everyone fucking do this? You all have to test your boundaries and play games but swear you only care about me. You lie to my face all the time. It’s fucking bullshit, this is why I can’t trust anybody. I wanted to trust you, I wanted it to be you so bad but no, you just couldn’t resist!”

“I’m sorry!” I cried out, reaching for him. He grabbed on to my wrists, holding my hands at bay.

“What do you want? Okay, what do you want? Do you want to fuck around with people and expect me to stick around and take care of you when they won’t because I’m not giving you that. You can’t have all of us. I know I can’t trust you anymore, you’ve already ruined that.”

“I don’t want anyone else, I never did. He means nothing to me, that kiss meant nothing to me!”

“You know how many people I’ve turned down? When I know a chick likes me and she wants me to come over alone, I can already tell what’s going to happen. You knew something was going to happen. How do you expect to entertain every person that comes your way and just not slip up?”

“I don’t entertain every person—look, you can have my phone. You can see all of it. I’ll delete them, I won’t look at any of them every again just please don’t leave.”

“If it’s a problem now it’s always going to be a problem. People like you can’t just let go of attention.”

“I can, I promise I can…”

“No, it’s done. I’m sorry I even tried with you.”

“Please…”

The tears ran down his face. “I didn’t mean to waste your time. Just go. I’m going for a drive.”

“Please, we can talk about this.”

Why was I so scared? Why did he make me so afraid? I had never met someone who had this sort of control over me, who made me feel this horribly about myself. I kept telling myself that it was all out of love. I didn’t want to think that he was hurting me on purpose.

“No, I’ve tried. You didn’t get it. It’s done,” he said coldly.

“I love you.”

Will took his hand off the door handle.

“What?”

“I love you Will. I’ve been loving you.”

“You’re only saying that to make me stay.”

“No, I mean it. I love you. I haven’t cried or begged for anyone like this since high school, but that was nothing like this. I’m actually scared right now. I’m afraid of my life without you. I love having you around, I don’t know what I’d do without you to spend my nights and explore my days with. You mean so much to me, I haven’t loved like this in a long time. I know you’re the one I want, I just took it for granted. I keep fucking up, I wasn’t thinking about how you felt. I was stupid. I am stupid. I’d do anything to make it up to you.”

“I just…”

“Please, I really do feel for you. Since the day we met I knew you were different. That we were different. I love the look in your eyes when you’re taking photos and how I only ever see that look again when you’re looking at me. I love how funny you are and how you’d do anything to make me smile at a moment’s notice. I love how soft your hair is and the freckles on your body, I love waking up with you and making love to you, I just love everything about you.”

He stopped, mouth slightly open with pending words. He wanted to believe me and in a few seconds he would. Everything I said was true. So very true. It always was.

“How am I supposed to trust you?”

“Tell me what you want and I’ll do it.”

“I’ve been telling you what I want. Now that I’m leaving you’ll do it? That’s fucked up.”

“I wasn’t thinking, I didn’t know and—I never thought that it’d come to this. I thought I would be ready sooner. Now I know what’s at stake.”

“You always knew what was at stake,” he said bitterly.

“I didn’t. I really didn’t.”

“I don’t know what to say.”

“How do you feel about me?”

“I… I obviously love you too. I’ve been wanting to say it this whole time we’ve been together. But I don’t know what to do now. This shouldn’t be the start of a relationship. We should have started it because we wanted to. Well, because you wanted to.”

“I know, I kept holding back. I don’t know why I was so hesitant. I don’t know why I kept you waiting. But if you were just another guy I could have let you leave. You’re not. I can’t just do that.”

He looked at me, cheeks finally dry. For the first time, I saw him truly broken. He wanted me, he wanted to have me so bad. But he couldn’t trust me. How could he? I understood. I knew I had ruined that for us. But I couldn’t help the feeling of needing him, I couldn’t help but feel like this was my one shot at having something real. If I blew it I knew I couldn’t live with myself.

“Go inside,” Will said.

“What?” His words scared me and I took a step forward to grab his hand.

“I’m going for a drive to think. Wait inside until I come back.”

It was an order, not a suggestion.

“Can I go with you?” I asked desperately.

“No, I promise I’ll be back. Just go.”

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

“Just calm down. Call me if you really need to. I’ll be back in fifteen minutes.”

He started to get into his car and I wedged myself between him and the door.

“I love you, I really do.”

“I love you too. We’ll talk when I get back. I need to think.”

I leaned up to kiss him and I barely felt his lips move back. I held his hand until he pulled it away. I watched him drive off and I went inside, shaking and crying the whole way. I sat on his bed in that room of memories. I stared at my reflection in the blank TV and turned my face away in disgust. He had pictures of us pinned to his wall. He said there was nothing like a printed photo: a permanent, tangible memory to hold. He had the postcard from our first road trip together that I’d covered in hearts and lipstick stains. I made him a stupid CD of our favorite songs and it lay quietly on his desk, sometimes playing in the background when I came over at midnight. It didn’t feel like this had all happened so fast. I wasn’t thinking that he was supposed to be my forever. I felt so alone seeing his face smiling at me from the photos.

I waited anxiously for Will to come back, trying to distract myself with my phone the whole time. Ten minutes. Fifteen. Twenty. I deleted old conversations that I knew would make him upset. Meanwhile, I started getting my own irrational thoughts. I didn’t think he was coming back. Maybe he went to that girl’s house to talk, the one that called him when she needed saving. My hands trembled like his did when he forgot to take his pills, those nights when his emotions were trying to consume him. I wish he had left his cigarettes.

Twenty five minutes. The door opened to the apartment. He came straight to his room and closed the door behind him. He just looked at me and my damp cheeks.

“I’ve never seen you cry before,” he said sympathetically.

“It takes a lot…”

There were oceans between us again. He finally sat down beside me and put a hand on my leg.

“I want to be with you but I don’t know how I can trust you after this.”

“You can’t.”

“Maybe not now. But if we take this seriously things could change.”

“So you want to do it? You want us to be together for real?”

“I…I don’t know what to do right now. Obviously you regret what you did but I’m honestly hurt. I was a mess that night and I couldn’t help it. I wanted to just stop talking to you forever to be honest.”

“I know, I would have felt the same way. I’m so sorry. I shouldn’t have lied. I shouldn’t have done that. It wasn’t worth it. None of them are.”

“You kept saying that we’re not a couple and I can’t get mad, but it just came down to empathy. You know I loved you, you know I wasn’t going behind your back. I don’t care what we are, I know how we act. And I bet none of them even knew I really meant something to you.”

“I’m just a stupid girl…”

“Everyone knows about you,” he continued. “You’re all I talk about. When girls try to get somewhere with me, I stop them. It’s not fair to you or her if I lead her on. Remember when I wanted to go to that festival with my coworker as a friend? You flipped shit, you were convinced she wanted to date me and was gonna take me back to her place to bang after.”

I racked my brain for the memory until I found it. Yeah, I guess I did get a bit jealous.

“I did not get that mad,” I lied.

“Yes you did, you were pissed. And that’s the thing, it’s being a hypocrite. How was it supposed to work if you expect me to just be yours while you can be with whoever you want?”

“I didn’t expect that, I never asked you to.”

“It sure seemed like it. I’ve seen your jealous side. You can’t fool me.”

“Okay fine, I got jealous. What’s your point?”

“Now picture if I had gone home with that girl and talked to her on the phone all day and night, how would you feel?”

“Hurt.”

“Well there you go.”

“I know, I’m sorry. What do you want? Where are we going with this?”

“I don’t know,” he said sadly. “I don’t know…”

“I can’t believe I ruined everything. It’s only been a few months and—how could I be so stupid?”

He was silent again. I covered my face with my hands in grief and he looked sadly at me, wondering what he should do. He placed his hands on my shoulders to steady me.

“We’re going to be friends. Just friends,” he said. “Whatever happens from there happens.”

“I don’t want to be friends, I want to be yours,” I pleaded.

“This should have happened ages ago then, you’ve missed your chance.”

“So we’re never…?”

“I don’t know. I need space. I need time.”

“I love you.”

“I…love you too.”

“Can I stay the night?” I wanted to stay so bad. I wanted him to hold me. I wanted the curve of my body beside his to remind him of who he was letting go of. I wanted to be there when he woke up in the morning and changed his mind. He was so precious, so handsome to me then. Everything I wanted was right here.

“No…what did I just say?”

“Please, it’s the least you could do.”

“I don’t know…”

I grabbed his hand and looked directly into his eyes. I was about to plead again but he spoke before my lips could even move.

“Fine. That’s fine. Stay with me tonight.”

“Thank you, thank you so much.” I wanted to kiss him but I could tell by the look in his eye that I shouldn’t. I squeezed his hand a bit tighter.

“Let’s just go to sleep.”

“Okay.”

I stood up on weak and trembling legs. I started undressing myself as he made the bed. I was trying to act like this was a normal night. He took his clothes off as well and I couldn’t help but just look at the beautiful body I had given up. I crawled into bed first and he crawled in after me, staying on the opposite side of the bed. We laid quietly, letting out small sighs as we tried to go to sleep. I finally drifted off, the weight from wet eyelids taking away my energy. In the middle of the night I awoke again, seeing him still on the other side. I started to shake and cry. He heard me and stirred. He said my name a few times but I couldn’t answer. I felt him pull me into his chest and stroke my hair. I kept sputtering out apologies and he hushed me each time.

“It’s gonna be okay…” he said quietly. The sweetest voice I ever heard. “I promise it’ll be okay…”

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