It Takes A Year: Part Seven

I was used to my first kiss with someone being feverish, something that happened in the hasty throes of pseudo-passion. In hindsight it always seemed to be in the wrong place at the wrong time; Nothing but hungry hands and desperate mouths acting on impulse. A drunken mistake, an act of pity, or simply the claws of an envious predator. However, some moments in life decide to be generous to me. It’s not often that I actually get to experience a genuine moment of intimacy, at least not with someone new. Most vividly I recall it happening with Will. Not even a year later and now it was happening with someone else.

Speaking of Tyler: He’s sweeter than the words that preluded our embrace. His kisses were tender and slow, obviously indulging themselves in previous desires. Not that I can blame him; I’d been thinking about it for half the night too but I didn’t expect it to happen like this. No, I expected it to be just as reckless as it usually was. I thought maybe he’d plant a sloppy kiss on me while we danced or that I’d play coy before challenging him to make out with me in a drunken game of “Truth or Dare”. I didn’t expect a heartfelt confession or a realization so deep that it made us fall into our own cessation of time. I could trust him and his careful hands, his sincere lips, and his soulful gaze. If it was any other time this year I would have already been screaming words of regret into my own ears. But I was done with that. I was free of my old habits, finished with doing things at the expense of others and beating myself up for past mistakes. I didn’t just want this, I deserved this.

I felt Tyler’s fingers curling into my hair from the base of my neck. I didn’t think I could get anymore goosebumps but I did. I’ll admit that there was always something exciting about kissing someone new. Luckily this time it wasn’t just another shot in the dark.

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It Takes A Year: Part Six

[Updated: 2/15/17]

Tara and I played a few more songs together before she stopped to answer the texts that she’d gotten. While she scrolled through her phone I pulled out my own too, wondering if the vibrations I was ignoring were from Will. One of my messages did turn out to be from him but it was just a generic reply to our earlier conversation about his annoying new coworker. I was kind of used to it by now to be honest. I also saw that Tyler had texted me asking what was up. I hadn’t seen him since the first time we met and I honestly wanted to hang out again in a less tense setting. He seemed genuinely concerned for my well-being. We texted pretty much daily and it felt nice. Will didn’t really bring up personal things in our conversations anymore. The more casual he kept it, the easier it’d be for us to move on. At least I suspected that’s what his plan was. It’d be just like last time, except now we weren’t looking towards a reunion.

“My friend Lana just invited us to a party at her friend’s house, you wanna swing by?” Tara asked.

My senses perked up a little. A party didn’t seem to bad, it’d be a nice way to unwind and meet Tara’s other friends. Alicia’s crowd was getting boring and predictable. I could use some new faces in my life.

“Yeah, I’m down,” I said.

Tara put her guitar aside and closed her laptop. We both agreed that we needed to change clothes. I headed to my room and started flipping through my closet for something extra cute to wear. I had to admit that I was slacking on my appearance as of late. Will used to tell me that I looked sexy with messy hair and no makeup on but my recent mornings in the mirror begged to differ. Tara, on the other hand, seemed to look flawless all the time. I couldn’t decide if it was her chic hairstyle, her healthy amounts of sleep, or her enviable body. She had youthful skin which she could probably thank her mother for. I remember her coming over once to drop something off for Tara. That’s when I found out that Tara was half Vietnamese. I knew she looked mixed.

It was easy to notice that Tara’s eyes were bright and lively while my lids seemed to be heavier than before. It took a decent amount of concealer to hide the darkness cradling my sockets. They always got worse when Will left.

When I looked at Tara on those days that she sat cross-legged on the couch, hair tussled and guitar in lap, I wondered if that’s the way he used to see me. Existing beautifully in my own little world, gently in focus. Back when happiness actually shone through my skin instead of hiding away in hollow bones. The perfect candid.

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It Takes A Year: Part Five

[Updated: 4/20/17]

The afternoon sun broke through the blinds and stung at my eyelids. I had just emerged from a deep sleep, my head reeling slightly and my throat dry. I turned away from the white light to lay on my other side. I had almost forgotten that I wasn’t alone in bed. Tyler laid just across from me on his back, one arm over his head and the other curled across his stomach. He had slept in his clothes just like I had. Nerves tingled down my spine and I took a deep breath. I hoped that no one had noticed us go upstairs together, especially not Alicia or the other girls. There’s no way that they’d believe we had simply spent the night sleeping a foot away from each other. I mean, how often did anyone I know really do that? I don’t even know if I’d believe it. All I knew was that if Will heard any more rumors about me that the demise of our relationship would be set in stone.

I pulled my phone out from beneath my thigh where it had fallen out of my pocket. I checked the notifications on the screen. He’d called me two times and messaged me once with a simply question mark. I took another deep breath and opened his chat box. He was online.

Sorry I just got up. couldn’t get to sleep last night.” I typed. A few seconds passed and he started to reply. My heart sped up.

its okay.” he said.

are you at the apartment?” I asked, thinking that maybe I should have said “home” instead.

Yeah.”

I’ll be back soon then. Give me a few.”

Alright.”

Love you, I thought in his voice.

I locked my phone again. These bland conversations starved me and I hated it. I hated myself for everything that had happened. He deserved so much better.

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