Title: Just Like The Weather, Part Two: Forever
Warnings: This story displays the manifest of romantic love between people, regardless of gender. If love makes you uncomfortable, please leave.
Disclaimer: The following work is a work of fiction created solely by Crazywriter. Any resemblance to people, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
Series: Sequel to Just Like The Weather, Part One: Breaking
Author's Notes: Muah, here's the start of the sequal. This version of the story will be told a little differently, but you'll see how in a few chapters, no ruining the surprise now. ) I don't know how often it'll get updated and so forth, but it came to me the other night and I thought those who were really fans of the first deserved it to be posted. So thanks to those people, and please review.
Chapter One: Smoke Rings
The empty glass clinks on the table, and the smoke from the cigarette swirls up, in front of her eyes. "You're still a stranger to me, you know." Her voice is so soft, so firm, so to the point, but at the same time, very gentle. I hated it w hen Melanie's voice got like this. I couldn't ignore it when it did. She taps her fingers on the table. "I kind of hate you for leading me on like that."
I look away. "Kind of hate me too." It's true you know. I kind of do. After all of this time… after thinking I'd finally gotten it together… yep, kind of still hate me some days. I pick the cigarette up from the ashtray and take a deep drag. She glares at me- after all, it was her cigarette.
I toss my pack of Camels on the table. "Sorry," I say sheepishly. "You can have one of mine."
She shakes her head, holding her hand up. "Nah… I should quit anyways."
"Me too," I agree and take another long drag. "I did once. Gave it up for a girl who in turn gave me up. Then I just fell back onto it. Maybe I'll give it up for Lent."
"Lent's like, seven month away."
"What, you wanted me to go cold turkey?" I shake my head solemnly. "Couldn't do it, Melanie, you know that. You couldn't do it either." I set the cigarette back in the ashtray and look up at her. "We… we can't go cold turkey from a lot of things, can we?"
She takes a cigarette out of my pack. I lean over and light it for her. It's very routine. I always light her cigarettes. The way she smokes reminds me of one of those demure women in those black and white films from the fifties.
"No, I suppose we can't… or maybe we just don't." She shrugs, and plays with her napkin. I'm surprised it's clean, because it seems like everything in this diner is greasy.
"What… what does Asher think of it all?" A picture of Asher crowds in my mind. The wild-eyed smile, the messy black hair, and solemn gray eyes. He's some sort of a contradiction. He reminds me of a cross between Vin and Lucky, who I'd left behind when I'd decided to go to follow her to edge of oblivion… or UC-Pasadena. They were basically the same thing.
It doesn't snow out here. I don't like that.
"He doesn't know," she says obviously. "He doesn't know a thing about you and me and all of this… this stuff going on."
"Stuff?" A wry smile laces my face. "I'm stuff now?"
"Yeah, I guess I think you kind of are." She sighs and flicks her ashes into the tray, then flips a lock of her hair out of her eye. "Stuff. A procrastinated assignment. An old new habit." She frowns, regretfully. "You're sort of like biting my nails."
"I'm flattered, darling," I manage back sarcastically. "And you're the apple of my eye, and my knuckle cracking."
She laughs, short, bitter. She never used to laugh like that. She's not exactly the girl from the night I met her right now. Instead she's poking at a cold piece of apple pie, that was warm when she ordered it, and looking like there's more on her mind than I know I'll ever find out.
"What would Asher think if he knew?" I press. She doesn't like it when I press. But god damn it, I kissed her under a streetlamp months ago, and held her hand in the dark at the movies, and I was happy with her and then we just… stopped. Stopped, that was it. No lead in, no explanation, we just stopped. And it wasn't just me stopping or her stopping, we both just stopped.
"He'd probably want to know if we could have a threesome," she responds honestly. "If you really want to know."
"Melanie, baby, if there's one thing you can trust…" I look up and smile at her. "It's that I always want to know."
"I guess I sort of knew that." She takes a bite from the long-forgotten pie. I don't know why. When you've smoked as much as we have in the last few hours everything tastes like ash. I take a sip of my coffee and look down at my Trig textbook, wondering why the numbers make sense, and she doesn't.
"It's okay, you know," I say finally. "I don't really expect anything from you. I mean… I kind of led you on. I admit that much. I mean… my heart wasn't my own anymore. I was… I know I still love Mack."
"So why do you hate me for loving Asher?" she asks, looking away. She never meets my eyes when she says she loves him.
"Because you don't." The statement literally falls from my mouth. I never meant to say it.
She doesn't respond, just takes another bite of pie. She goes to take another, but stops before putting it in her mouth.
"You're right, you know," she agrees. I really hate it when she agrees with me. Because sometimes I just want to fight and sometimes I want to… I want to be mad, just really mad at her for a while.
"No, I'm not… I… I didn't mean to say that," I excuse, falling over myself. "I mean, I don't know. I shouldn't have said that."
"Dagmar, darling, if there's one thing you can trust…," she mocks and mimics me. "It's that you always shouldn't have said what you do."
"Do you have sex with him?" I inquire softly, staring straight down at the problem in front of me. This time I'm the one who can't meet her eyes. I couldn't. I just couldn't. I wish I didn't ask questions I always knew the answer to.
"Yes, Dagmar," she answers honestly. "We fuck hardcore." The waitress stops by the table as she says it. We both suppress laughter at the awkwardness. The waitress asks if we need refills. We do. She doesn't ask just who Melanie's been fucking hardcore.
"Oh." That's all I say.
"Does that bother you?" Her voice returns to its firm gentleness. Her personality is still wrapped in cotton.
I hide my clenched fist under the table. I knew the answer. We both realize I knew it before I asked. The time and place it all began flashes in my mind. The party at Ricketts. Her drunken smile. Her leaving with him. And in my mind, they had better sex than any two humans alive. I hate the way that in my mind, it always works out like that.
"More than I thought it would," I inform her, still staring intently at the numbers, hoping they'll rearrange into a more difficult problem. Then I could think about the problem, instead of her. Bury myself in math and number and formulas and logics and absolute truths.
"Why? We've never… there's… there's just nothing between us, Dag."
"No, I suppose there isn't." I abandon the math problem. "Except the problem is, I can still feel you. I can still feel your kiss and your hand, and you smiles and all of it. Why'd you… why'd you sit down that night?"
"What night?" I hate it when people act like they don't know what I'm talking about. Maybe they don't.
"That night," I repeat. "Was it really just about the math problem?"
"In a round about way." She takes another cigarette. I light it again. Cadence. It's lovely how we avoid the issues.
"I see," I say, then look away. "I do indeed see."
"It was the math problem," she reinforces. "Because when you get stuck on a problem… you scrunch up your forehead in the most adorable way and I vowed then and there, I'd have to have you. I'd make you mine."
"But you never had me," I say, and we're talking about sex now. "You never had me."
"Yeah… like I said, I kind of hate you for leading me on like that."
"Yeah… but you did make me yours." I shrug and remember that I ordered a muffin. I still don't take a bite.
She sighs and breaks her pencil. "But you're not mine. You're still a stranger to me."
"No, I'm not," I say. "I've never let anyone know me the way you do." I shrug. "I'm just sorry I never let you know how much you knew me."
"What do you mean?"
"It all comes down to sex in the end, I suppose." I hate how that's how it works out. I shift in my seat and force myself to look her in the eyes. Or more, at her forehead. It's easier. "It all comes down to sex. You never had me in bed, so I was never yours. But I was yours, you know. Still am, I came all the way to Pasadena for you."
"You came to Pasadena to go to Caltech," she corrects me.
"No," I say. "I came because I couldn't live without you. And I'm sorry you never knew that." I sigh and push the muffin a way slightly, and take the cigarette from her mouth. I take a long drag from it, trying to calm myself to finish. She takes it back when I finish my drag. "I'm sorry I never let you know that. And I'm sorry I stopped holding your hand, and I'm sorry you never let yourself kiss me again. And I'm sorry that I can smell Asher's cologne on your skin."
"I'm sorry too," she says softly. "But I'm not sure what I can do about it anymore."
"You'd know what you could do if you were truly sorry," I reply harshly. Then I sigh. "It all comes down to sex in the end, Melanie."
"Because it's ironic." I smiled bitterly and fight the tears that have the audacity to prick my eyes. "They all sleep with you, except for me. And I'm the one who loves you." I push the chair back and stand up, tossing money down on the table.
She sits there dumbfounded and watches me walk away. It's hot outside. It doesn't snow in Pasadena. Instead, it's just warm. I can hear her footsteps coming after me. I wish she wouldn't. I'd like it to be cold in Pasadena.
"Dagmar!" she calls. I turn. She's standing there, ten feet behind me.
"It's okay, Melanie." I mean that too. "It really is okay that we stopped holding hands and kissing, and it's okay that we never slept together. Because you can't help what you don't feel."
She walks closer to me, and stares. "I've been trying to figure out what you're really saying," she admits. "Fucken psych major. I used to think everything had a double meaning. I'm not so sure anymore."
"What I'm saying is simple," I tell her. "I'm saying I can't be just friends anymore."
"What would Asher say?"
"I don't care." And I mean that. "I'm done caring what Asher thinks, hell, I'm done caring what you think. I can't just be your friend, Melanie, I can't. I'd probably crack in the end, and be just your friend, take you any way I could have you, but at this second in time, I can't be just friends anymore." And then I grab her shoulders and kiss her hard, like I did under a street lamp at a coffeeshop in Minnesota, where it snows, and where I put marshmallows in my coffee and she ate biscotti.
I feel her pull away, and I ache for her for just a second. She looks up at me, the look in her eyes, on her face, is one I can't read. I think it's fear. But I don't know. And she kisses me this time. So I don't care.