I suppose they really did want to emphasize the Starry Night theme.
I looked around, hoping to find the one person I desperately needed to talk to. From around the corner, I heard an engine jump alive. Only one person could have made it out here… and obviously they most likely had a smoke before they began driving. Walking towards the direction of the sound, I saw that oh-so-familiar black SUV sitting in the parking lot.
Without a hesitation, I walked right up to the passenger side of the door and yanked open the door. "What the hell?" I heard Mason yell, but I pulled the key right out of the ignition and placed it promptly inside my purse. Mason spun towards me to see who the hell had just ruined his grand escape plan, but his expression immediately dropped when he noticed it was just me. "Oh." He said, his voice plain and low. "It's you."
"Yeah… it's me." I replied, not looking up at him. I knew this time I had to refrain from losing my temper. This was my last chance… my one chance to make it up to him. I couldn't blow it; if I did, I'd regret it for the rest of my life. "Mason." I started, but he held up a finger to tell me to stop right there.
"Don't say anything." He shook his head, but keeping his finger suspended in the air. "I understand."
"No, you don't." I laughed quietly, yet not finding any humor in the situation. "I feel horrible; I feel like a complete bitch about what just happened. I never meant for any of that to happen; I didn't mean anything I just said. It just… came out."
Mason was silent for a few seconds; I thought he had left the car. I looked up slightly, just to make sure he was not gone from the driver's seat. But instead, he was sitting there placidly, staring at me so intently I could've melted right there in the seat. "Why?"
I shook my head. "I don't know. I guess… jealousy? It brings out the worst in us all."
"Yeah." Mason agreed. "It truly does."
We both sat there in complete silence. I wasn't sure what my next move was supposed to be. I didn't know if Mason was willing to give us a shot anymore; I didn't even know how he felt about me. Sure, I knew he liked me, but after our previous argument; how much of those original feelings were actually left?
Probably close to zero.
"Why do we always have to argue about the stupidest things?" he spoke up again in the darkness. I turned my head slightly so that my cheek was resting against the headrest. He wasn't facing me; instead his face was turned up towards the ceiling of the car. "Have you noticed how much we spend arguing instead of talking?"
"It's our general nature?" I replied feebly, shrugging my shoulders. To speak the truth, I didn't know why. I suppose that was just our way of channeling our feelings towards each other; or at least that was how I did it. As for Mason? What the hell do I even know about him in the first place?
Mason let out a bitter laugh, still refusing to look at me. "You know, maybe we never were supposed to get together like Rachel and Stephen did." At those words, my heart immediately entered panic mode. This was entirely my fault; if I hadn't constantly doubted him and pushed him away, this would never happen. "We can't have civil conversations. We have no trust in one another. It would never work."
I wanted to scream out at him. I wanted to punch and slap him senseless to the point where those thoughts would disappear out of his mind. But most of all, I wanted to kiss him; as I had wanted to for so long.
But obviously, I couldn't bring myself to do it. Instead, being the pure idiot I was, I let him have his way. I let Mason walk over me like a fucking doormat, without a single protest. "Fine then." I snapped, taking the key out of my purse. "If that's what you think, I'll deal with that." I slammed the key back into the ignition and turned it on. I turned to leave, but I paused as I let my hand linger on the door handle. "I've been patient with you for so long." I whispered, wondering if Mason was even capable of hearing what I was saying. "You have no idea…" I let out a sigh, quietly turning back to him.
I don't even know what brought me to do what I did next. Before I was capable of stopping myself, one of my hands was up against Mason's face as I stared at him. I never thought that, I, as the girl, would be the one making the first move. But half of me knew that Mason would never take the initiative. That was his general nature. Next thing I knew, I was gently kissing Mason on the lips. I could feel how tense he was under my touch.
A jolt of electricity shot through my veins as soon as I made contact. He was like an addictive drug… one I definitely could not get enough of. Shockingly, I felt Mason relax as he tried leaning in more. Unwillingly, I managed to tear myself away from making contact with him. I was already in tears as I sat there, not sure what to do next. Mason's hand was clasped tightly around my upper arm, but I knew I couldn't be here.
As he said… it wasn't going to work out.
We weren't made for each other.
"You said it yourself." I let out a choked gasp before I ripped my arm out of his grasp. "I wish sometimes you'd actually look at me, Mason DeStasio. Then maybe you'd see how the hell I actually feel about you."
With that said, I slid myself out of the car and shut the door quietly behind me. I had already made myself into a bubbling fool who seemingly vied for drama. What was the need of adding the immature act of door slamming into that pot?
I walked a few blocks down, until I reached the middle of our town. Seeing a Dunkin Donuts a few feet away, I stepped inside and quickly ordered a chocolate chip muffin. Sitting down at one of the booths and blatantly ignoring the looks people were giving me for wearing such a dressy outfit, I pulled out my phone and began to text each of my friends.
They were all the same. I'm fine. It didn't work out. Don't find me. Stop by tomorrow at six or something.
Just as I was about to call the taxi service, I heard the front door open and close. I nearly wanted to scream when I saw who had just come through those doors. Was he actually full on stalking me or something?
I picked up my Dunkin Donut's bag and tried to brush past him, but alas. Mason lightly touched my shoulder, causing me to spin around to face him. That was when all hell broke loose.
"What the fuck do you want from me, Mason?" I cried out, willing to tears to stay put. "I gave you everything I possibly could, and you know it! Every time you left, I still accepted you back without any questions. I wonder why I even did that." I let out a groan, rubbing my temple ferociously. "I don't even know why I'm making such a big deal out of this. You've got to stop this, Mason. You can't keep playing this stupid ...game of 'tug-of-war' with me. People don't work that way; they snap. You of all people should know that."
Without another word, I left the store without a look behind me. I thought what I had done was a good thing; I needed to let it all go. I couldn't keep lingering on what could have been.
But the heavy pound of my heart with every step was just another indication that maybe not everything always went according to plan.
Nature, nature, nature. I loved everything about it. The calm breeze, the green trees and beautiful blossoms; what was their not to love about it? I could easily spend my entire Sunday afternoon just walking around this lake and no one could ever take me away from it.
It was the day after a most terrible senior prom. Obviously, after I had left Dunkin Donuts, Mason didn't make any attempt to contact me, or vice versa. And without a doubt, Julia and Becca made themselves at my home earlier this morning and hounded every detail out of my system.
They'd already come to the conclusion that they would skin Mason DeStasio alive even if it was the last thing they'd do.
And that was exactly what brought me here. Taking a nature walk, when I should be working on my senior thesis paper. If I sat down and tried concentrating, my mind would just drift back to Mason this and Mason that. Not about the parallels between The Scarlet Letter and The Odyssey. I needed to clear my head; and apparently walking in ninety degree temperatures always makes me feel better.
I sat down on the stone railing of the bridge which spread out over a small yet tranquil looking "river". It basically connected the two main ponds in our town. The Green was where our town took pride in, and it was pretty much obvious why. It was where a person could relax and just think. They could dwell in their thoughts, and not be disturbed by the prodding of other people. Here at the Green, everyone was lost within themselves and no one cared about others.
It was just you… yourself… and the universe around you.
I smoothed down my sundress as a small breeze came through. I knew my hair was getting blown all over the place, but I didn't care about that. I didn't want to care about that.
I wanted to see that familiar figure walking down the path under the hanging branches of the trees. I wanted to see him walking in my direction to talk to me about what had happened the previous night.
But most of all… I wanted to take back everything I had said to damage our relationship.
Silently, I reached into my purse which was hanging loosely from my arm. I no longer had control over my limbs; I could see my fingers pushing the buttons of my phone. But no matter what I tried, I couldn't seem to stop myself. Before I knew it, I had put the phone up to my ear as I listened to the dreadful sound of the ringing phone.
"Mason DeStasio. Can't answer the phone, just leave a message and I'll get back to you whenever I feel like it." Beeeeep.
I let out a breath, as I sat there with my eyes closed. Not once did I open them as I spoke into the receiver. "Mason. It's me. You probably don't want to talk with me, but can you come to the Green? I need to talk to you. I'm on the bridge; it's pretty hard to miss." Without another word, I snapped my eyes open and hung up the phone as I slipped it back into my back.
What in the world had possessed me to do that?
I shifted slightly, so now I was straddling the stone railing of the bridge. I could feel the other walkers' eyes on me. They probably thought I was some lonesome girl who needed help before she jumped off the bridge in the next second.
"Kate?" I heard someone say my name from besides me. Slowly, I looked up and unfortunately came eye to eye with Giovanni Lopuzzo, possibly one of the last people I wanted to see at that moment. "What are you doing here?"
"Now's not a good time, Giovanni." I replied quietly, pushing a stray lock of hair behind my ear. "I'm not exactly in the mood to get any shit from you. I got plenty of it last night; no need to make it worse."
"Listen, Dozois." Giovanni sighed, leaning his crossed arms across the stone and looking out across the water. "I know I'll never know what happened between you guys; I won't ask. But you need to talk to Mason. He needs to talk to you. Both of you have to stop acting so naïve and listen to each other like real grown ups do. Can't you do that? For me?"
For him? How the hell was he getting affected by this in anyway? Was he the one getting his heart torn apart into little pieces because of someone who had led him on so far that he almost believed he had found true love?
I think not.
I looked down at him from my spot, but said nothing. I wasn't in the mood to trigger another argument, especially not with his best friend. With my relationship with Mason barely hanging on by a thread, it was probably in my best interest to not push things with Giovanni as well.
"I get the picture." Giovanni finally stated, pushing himself off with his hands. He held up his palms in mock surrender as he stared at me. "I'm not wanted right now. I get it. I'll leave you alone and wait for your damned knight in shining armor to come and get you. Now you'll probably just have to wait and see if he ever decides to come. He's a hard man when it comes down to forgiving. You'll need all the damned luck you can get. Have fun waiting for him."
Turning around, he left me alone on the bridge without another word. Again I was left in my own world of misery, where the environment around me seemed to evolve into my mood. It was just as Emerson said; nature reflects our mood. Our current emotions take the same appearance as nature, because that's how we as humans feel about everything. We let emotions take over our mind. We don't try to suppress them, we let it overwhelm us to a breaking point.
To exactly where I am now.
I wasn't exactly sure how many minutes I had sat in that one spot, not moving. I could feel the sun beating down harder on me; the heat was starting to become unbearable. Not an inch of shade could be seen anywhere. As of that moment, I regretted not finding a cooler spot to sloth around in. Because right now, I couldn't even bring myself to move five feet to a spot where the leaves hung over.
Again, I heard someone calling my name, but I didn't look up. Kate was a popular name; someone was probably calling for some other girl. I knew I should be expecting Mason, but after at least half an hour, I'd say that he was never going to come. I took my cell phone out again and looked at the time. 2:15 PM. It had been exactly thirty-nine minutes since I made the call to Mason's cell phone.
He was probably out with Bridget. The only reason he actually said we wouldn't work was because he wanted Bridget. It was probably that obvious. With those thoughts running my head, they seemed to overwhelm the comforting and reassuring things Giovanni had said about him liking me.
Well, it appears as of this moment, Lopuzzo was very…wrong.
I was ready to give up. Exactly forty minutes had passed; no one who went to Sterling High School lived so far away that it would take more than fifteen minutes, with heavy traffic.
More than likely, Mason was never going to come. Graduation was going to come and go. We were all going to go off on our separate ways to different colleges. And in that two month span, Mason and I were never going to speak to each other ever again.
That was my perfect fairy tale ending, obviously.
Letting out a frustrated sigh, I was all ready to swing my leg back over towards the side with the bridge. I dropped my purse down onto the ground so I didn't have to worry about dropping it into the water. But I feel a slight pressure of someone pushing down on my thigh. Looking up, I saw those green eyes staring down at me as he mimicked my sitting position across from where I was.
I could see it. In his eyes, there appeared to be a flicker of emotion as he scanned over my face. Maybe he could actually see how distressed I was over last night's events; after all, he'd always been capable of reading every single one of my emotions.
Except for one.
"Hi." I mumbled feebly, nervously pushing a loose strand of hair behind my ear again. "You got my message then, I guess."
"Yeah. That's why I'm here, you know?" he responded, pulling at the lint on his shirt. Not there was any visible pieces. "What do you want, Kate?"
"To take back last night." I whispered, dropping my eyes from his face. I couldn't bear staring at him as I basically prepared to open up my heart to him. I'd either run as far away as possible or break into hysterics before I could get out a full sentence. "Everything was a mistake; a great… giant… mistake. Me arguing with you could have been one of the stupidest things I've ever done. I want to take everything back. I mean it."
Except for our dance and my initiation of that kiss.
"What about our conversation in the car?" Mason finally said after a long pause filled with silence. I crossed my legs and smoothed down my dress, not exactly sure how to answer the question. I dropped my hands in front of me, so my elbows were resting on my thighs. "You want to forget everything that happened there?"
"Stop lying to me, Kate."
"I'm not." I stated bluntly, refusing to meet his eyes. Out of nowhere, I saw Mason's hands enter my line of vision. Before I could even come close to stopping him, he gently grabbed my hands, rubbing his thumbs over the back of my hand. His touch was so soft… so warm… I needed to feel more of it.
"I know you are."
"I don't understand." I shook my head, still focusing my attention on our fingers intertwined with one another. "Who was the one who said that we shouldn't even be together? Who said that there was no reason to even try? After all, we only argued about the petty and never focused on the more important aspects. Who said that? I'm pretty sure it wasn't me."
"I was in denial." Mason grunted, as he gently pulled on my hands. After a moment of him doing that, I realized that he wanted me to scoot closer to him. Hesitating for a second, I moved so that our knees were now touching as both our legs hung over either side of the railing.
"Denial of what?"
"Everything. After what happened with Rachel, I figured you were just feeling an attraction to me because I was the only guy who was understanding you. Or even trying to; and that was the same for me. I thought the only reason you were talking with me was for selfish motives. You wanted to clear your conscience, and I wanted the same."
The words stung; but they were true. I had been wondering those same thoughts for so long. After all, we were the only ones around who fully understood how the latter was feeling. It was obvious there was going to be some sort of attraction, whether it be "just because" or for revenge purposes.
Those two words nearly knocked me off the railing. I had wanted to be the one to apologize; after all, I was the one who first got on his case. I only realized afterwards that I had been completely overreacting.
At that moment, I decided that it would be the best moment to make eye contact. Slowly, I lifted my eyes to meet his. I sat there, letting him stroke my hands as I merely stared at him. I could find no words that seemed reasonable to even consider saying at this moment. "Me too." I responded feebly, not sure what was about to happen next. We had openly apologized for everything, but that also mean our feelings were going to be shoved aside? Or at least mine for him?
Neither of us spoke for at least five minutes. His hands had moved up to my elbow, as he slowly dragged his fingers down my forearms continuously. But never for a second, did we not make contact. It was as if though he didn't want to leave me by myself without someone by my side.
Namely himself in that position.
But that was obviously just my imagination. He never apologized for saying he never wanted to be with me. He never full out said that he wanted a real relationship. Obviously that indicated the lack of a future between the two of us.
"I have to go." I replied, moving out of his hold. Just as I was about to jump down off the railing, Mason beat me to it. I had only managed to hang both my legs off the same side, before he had placed both arms on either side of my body. Blatantly put, I was stuck for good.
"Are you serious? You want to leave things like this? You don't want to fix what we screwed up?"
"I don't know anything anymore, Mason. What do you want me to say? Aren't you sick of this? We're so… volatile."
He laughed at my choice of words. I suppose that's a step up from where I was previously. "My God, Kate. Do you have any idea what you do to me? It killed me, you know? Those weeks when we never talked; I'd just see you around."
"Then maybe you could have taken the initiative and tried to talk to me." I retorted, crossing my arms defiantly.
"Eh." Mason shrugged carelessly. "I could've; but it's not my style."
I rolled my eyes and jumped off the railing so I was literally pressed up against the railing. "If you're going to joke around like an asshole, I'm not sticking around for it. I wanted you to come here so we'd smooth things over. And most of all Mason..." I let out a breath, but quickly froze. He took another step forward, so I was pushed back a few inches. "What are you doing?" I brought my hands up to his chest to shove him back to his original position, but obviously it did not work.
The instant I let my hands touch, I felt that oh-so-familiar shock course through my body again. My eyes slid shut as I remembered the one and only dance I had with him last night. The way our bodies seemed to fit so well, the way he held me… it all came flooding back into my mind.
"Mason." I murmured, my eyes still shut. As I spoke, I refused to open them. Why? Because I hated confrontations like this. This… I knew would end in a disaster. "I really like you; if you've forgotten already. Actually it already seems that way. If you don't feel an inkling of what I do, it's better off for us to not talk again. I can't go on being your friend in this manner if I can't get anything more. I'm sorry."
I was about to brush past him to pick up my purse, but he quickly grabbed my wrist so I could move no further. "How do you expect me to forget it?" he said softly. "I regret what I said. Like I said, it's all about the denial. How long do you think both of us were in denial? Starting back in our previous relationships, we were in denial for about three or four months with them cheating. We refused to believe it; it's only natural for us to do it again. Do you understand?"
I merely nodded and managed to bring myself to look up at him. "Hey." Mason whispered, a small smile tugging at the corner of his lips. "Can I ask you of a favor? Just one, and if you want, you'll never have to talk to me again. Ever."
Again, I gave him a silent shrug as I stared into those deep brown eyes of his. Why did I even give him that ultimatum? It was pretty much obvious he wouldn't take it; after all, he said it himself. It was all about the denial; we were obsessed with it.
"Kiss me, Kate."
I faltered slightly as he pulled me up against his chest. "Wh-what?" I stumbled over my words, as I stared at him in shock. Had I heard him properly? Was this his genius idea of another sick joke? "What are you trying to pull here, DeStasio? What is your problem?"
"Nothing. Except for the fact that the one and only person I want as my girlfriend is refusing to accept it. You know, nothing big."
My mouth fell open at that. Here I was, pulled up against Mason DeStasio, my ex boyfriend's… girlfriend's ex. A combination that was never supposed to happen; something that was deemed… unethical in high school societies. How had it even come down to this? "Mason…" I started, but he cut me off.
"Kate. Tell me now, yes or no. I'm taking up your ultimatum. What is it? Will you keep up your end of the deal?"
By now, his face was so close to mine, I could feel his breath beating down against my lips. His nose barely touched my own, as I took a deep breath in. His intoxicating smell filled my senses as my eyes slowly began to slide shut on its own accord. This time; it was not I who took the first step. I could feel the light touch of Mason's lips against mine as I felt my insides burn.
It only lasted for a fleeting second before he pulled back slightly. Even after only a brief millisecond of contact, I was already left yearning for more. I wanted him close to me, I wanted to be able to touch him; without worrying about the damned consequences that would follow.
At that moment, I knew that I needed him with me.
"Yes." I murmured quietly, so that only he could hear. I slid my hands up from his chest around his neck so I could pull him down closer to me.
"Thank fucking God." Mason laughed quietly, as he buried his head into the crook of my neck. "You have no idea Kate. No idea how fucking long I've wanted to hear you say that." As he talked, the movement of his lips caused brief contact against my skin that left my wanting more. I knew he noticed how I reacted whenever he came close to me. He knew how much I loved it.
Before I could even react, he lifted his head so that now he was fully looking at me. His face was raw with emotion, as he stared down at me. "Fucking hell, now that we've got that out of the way, I'm going to ask you again and this time give me a straight answer. Kiss me, Kate."
Without a single hesitation, I brought my face upwards so that we could finally make a connection. For the first time, we were able to kiss without worrying about the other person's reactions. Feeling his lips against mine brought about such foreign feelings, yet made me craving for more. His hands went around my waist and lifted me up so I sat down on the railing.
Now that I was actually around his height, I was able to relax more against his hold. His hand tangled in my hair as he pulled my face closer to his, so he could get better access. His touch was no longer gentle as it had previously been. Our actions got faster, more passionate… and more with feeling.
And that was all I needed.
"God, you guys are sickening." Julia groaned as she sprawled out on her beach towel, flicking Mason and I with a bit of water from her bottle. We just merely laughed as I pushed myself against Mason's chest. In return, he wrapped his arm around my shoulder and pulled me even closer to him so that I was basically on top of him.
The month of August was almost halfway over, which meant the first day of college for almost every single one of us. I was trying not to think about it, but it was damned hard. Seeing Julia and Becca go off could not be any harder on me. With Becca going off to Stanford and Julia to Texas A&M, it would be impossible to visit the two of them. Miraculously, I was somehow going to the same school as Giovanni and Collin; who had both applied to Notre Dame University for alumni reasons. The same went for me.
But of course, Mason was off to Duke University, a college nowhere near where we were. I was leaning towards the "break", but for some reason, I couldn't bring myself to do it. I couldn't take a break with Mason. Even if he was going to be a couple hundred miles away, I couldn't live happily knowing I couldn't be this way with him anymore.
"Maybe you're just jealous of them." Ivan's voice cut through my thoughts as he sat at the foot of Julia's towel. "Aren't they so sweet?" he cooed, tilting his head to the side and smiling grandly. "I think they are."
"Oh, fuck off." Mason grunted, waving a hand in his direction. "You need to get laid before you lose whatever's left of your manliness. Hanging around Julia a lot can do that to you."
Simultaneously, Julia and Ivan pelted Mason with their bottles of sun block as we merely laughed it off. I couldn't imagine a better atmosphere for our final get together. The weather was perfect, the beach was just right… and I had all my favorite people with me to celebrate with.
I smiled at the sight of Becca and Collin making sand castles further along the shore. They had become so close lately, I felt as if though they were almost transforming into Mason and I.
A scary, yet true thought.
"Hey." Mason whispered, brushing my hair aside to kiss my cheek lightly. "What's up? You look lost."
"Nah." I shrugged, pushing myself up so I was now leaning backwards against my hands. "I was just thinking about us. You know, with college and all that."
"Kate. Don't. I promise we'll be fine. I know it." With that said, he smiled at me reassuringly before sealing his promise with a solid kiss. As he pushed me back against the towel, only one thought ran through my head.
"Mason DeStasio." I murmured against his lips. He lifted away from me for one second so that he could look down at me. He cocked an eyebrow at me, urging me to continue. I tilted my head for a second and realized that both Julia and Ivan were both gone. "Mason." I repeated, looking him straight in the eyes. "I love you."
At my words, a look of shock ran across his face. Instantly, I regretted it. Did he not feel the same way? I knew I should've learned how to keep my mouth shut at the proper times. Shaking my head, I let out a breath and tried to push him off. I should've known that we weren't going to get anywhere. "What are you doing?" Mason asked, gently pushing me back down against the towel. "You actually think I'd leave you hanging like that?"
Without another word, he leaned back in and kissed me. Hard. Not even our first kiss felt like this; in fact, I don't think I've ever felt anything like this. The way his hands clutched at my neck, the way his lips were moving against mine; I could never forget it. "If I didn't love you, I would've dropped you in a second." He mocked, his voice low and sultry against my lips. I smiled at his reference to my own insecurities. It felt so long ago ever since I had said that.
"Say it again?" I asked, lowering my head so my face was pushed up against the crook of his neck.
Mason grumbled mockingly, before he pushed himself upward so that he could look down at me with a decent amount of space in between. "I love you. We're going to work, Dozois. Don't worry."
And that was all the reassurance I ever needed.
So, that is the end. I'm all done with my happy go lucky cliche phase. :D Hopefully you guys enjoyed my weird change as much as I did. Isn't this just fluff to the max? It makes me all sappy. XD Anyway, I want to thank everyone who's supported me throughout this story.
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I love you guys so much. :D