'I'll see you in the morning.' He wrote.
Shit. I fucked up, once again. Why am I always doing this? Why couldn't I have noticed earlier how he felt? I was so hung up on him being a devil, someone not human, that I overlooked his real feelings. I should have known; Curtis is so good at laughing off serious matters.
Why was I so determined to live without him anyway? Sure, I can live without him, but that's no reason why I should if I don't want to. I'm an imperfect being; there's no way that's ever going to change, but then, who isn't an imperfect being? Sure, I have a lot of faults, but everyone has faults right? Even Curtis has his faults. I don't know why it's taken me this long to figure that out. We're two imperfect beings, so why can't we be perfect for each other?
Even though I may live indefinitely, life's still too short not to do what I want.
I fall asleep on the floor, among all my half unpacked things. When I wake up in the morning I have a headache, and my eyes feel sticky from crying myself to sleep. No matter. I leave my apartment and head downstairs. First, I need to go to the bank. I've thought of a good use for all that money Curtis gave me.
I put out an ad in the newspaper – in every newspaper in the city. Once that's done I call to put an ad in the newspaper in the town I lived in in Ireland. I call Barcelona and get them to run an ad, and one in London too, and Paris, and Berne, just in case. I call every major city newspaper I can think of and have them run ads for me.
Once that's done I get on the bus and go back to the apartment building where Curtis and I used to live. It's been nearly two years, but the security guard still recognizes me.
"Back from vacation Miss Haines?" He asks me, smiling.
I return his smile without much effort. "Yeah. Tell me, is Luke the old concierge still here?" I ask.
He nods. "Sure is. He'll be happy to see you, I expect."
I wave and go to find Luke. He's in his room, and clumsily tries to hide his pugs as he opens the door. When he sees that it's me he smiles. "Miss Josie, you're back! What brings you to see me?"
"Who lives on the top floor now?" I ask.
"Why, no one of course." He replies, as if it's obvious. "It's still waiting for you and Mr Curtis."
"He's still paying for it?" I ask incredulously. I hadn't realized. I wonder why. "Is there anyone there now?" I ask.
Luke shrugs. "I don't think so. Unless Mr. Curtis somehow managed to sneak in without us noticing."
My heart jumps at the thought. Maybe, just maybe he's been this close all along.
"I don't have a key with me; can I use yours?" I ask. Luke nods and gives me the key to the apartment. I say thanks and get into the elevator.
The old elevator boy is gone. There's an unfamiliar boy with me in the elevator on the way up. I'm kind of disappointed; I was looking forward to a reunion with the old elevator boy. Oh well; that's the least of my worries right now.
Going back to the apartment is a nostalgic experience. I don't remember it feeling so empty. Nothing has really changed I guess, but somehow all the open space now feels lonely. I walk through the living room and into the kitchen. "Curtis?" I call as I walk through the apartment, but no one answers. I suppose that would have been too good to be true. I open the door to my old office, but the room is empty now. When I go to my old bedroom it's the same as it always was. By the end, I wasn't sleeping in that bed anyway.
It takes me a minute to gather the courage to open the door to Curtis' bedroom. As the door swings open I can see that the room has been lived in recently. I walk in and touch the papers scattered across his desk. "Curtis." Here he is. It's all a mess though; he hasn't been taking care. When I reach out and touch his jacket, hung over the back of his chair a sudden image flashes through my mind; Curtis walking out the door and downstairs, only moments ago. I spin around as the vision fades away and stare at the door. Did I just miss him?
I run out into the hall to the elevator and push the button. It takes too long to make its way up, so I run to the stairs and start running down. Maybe I can catch up with him, wherever he went. "Damn it Curtis!" I yell. "Wait!"
I start to feel dizzy, running around in circles like this, but I can't slow down or he might get away. I don't want to wait anymore. I don't want to be apart anymore. "Curtis." I pant, as if repeating his name might bring him to me. "Curtis!"
I jerk to a stop when I see him standing on the next landing, looking up at me. "It worked...?" I breathe.
"What?" He asks, and holds a hand up to his ear.
He sighs and shakes his head. "You're taking the stairs – that's so weird. How am I supposed to find you if you take the stairs?"
I can feel tears welling up in my eyes. I thought I had cried enough last night to be done with it for a while. "Curtis!" I yell, exasperated. I don't trust him now; is he really even here? Would that even make sense? What is he doing here?
"That's my name." He says. "You're wearing it out."
I walk down the last three steps to stand in front of him. Now that I'm closer I can see that he doesn't look very well, and even his smirk seems tired, and forced. It's true then; he feels the same way I do. I reach out my hand and touch his face. He really is here, not just a fragment of my deranged mind. He smiles crookedly at me.
I pull my hand back, form it into a fist and punch him in the face.
"You jerkoff! You stupid, blind, egotistical, stupid pig!" I yell.
"You said stupid twice." Curtis says quietly as he rubs his cheek and makes a face.
"Stupid stupid stupid pompous ass!" I yell louder. My voice echoes in the stairwell around us. "How can you be so stupid? What am I supposed to think if you write those things? Tell me to get together with a Spanish waiter... Fuck that! And that sappy last chapter! If any of that was true, then how could you just leave me like you did? After one little fight! Sure, I said I wanted to be alone, but of course I didn't mean it! I'm just as stupid as you are – I don't know how to say what I want! I don't know how to be honest! What do you want from me? I'm a liar!"
Curtis rubs his chin. "Yeah, me too." He says ruefully.
I take a moment to breathe before answering. "So... Anyway – you're really stupid. How could you even think you're a rebound guy? That's lame."
Curtis laughs and looks at his feet. "Yeah, it is lame. I'm lame."
"I know." I reply. Curtis looks up and meets my eyes. I shrug. "It's not like you're the only one. And it's not like I fell in love with you because you're so cool."
Curtis grins and takes a step closer to me. "Don't lie." He says and puts his arms around me. "You fell for my smooth moves, admit it."
"No. I fell for you." I answer, still arguing.
He kisses me. I feel like we haven't kissed in forever. I'd nearly forgotten how good it was. Someone remind me why I thought I wanted to get away from this.
He pulls back and makes a face. "Whew Josie; when was the last time you brushed your teeth?" He asks.
I blush furiously. "Shut up. You completely ruined the moment."
"You ruined it by not brushing your teeth." He argues.
"Fuck you. I brush my teeth. I was just busy today. I forgot. And last night I stayed up all night reading that stupid book of yours and I fell asleep on the floor." I tell him. I push him away, embarrassed now about my teeth. "If it bothers you that much then let me go."
He laughs and kisses me again. "Please." He says. "I lived through the dark ages. I can deal with bad breath."
I snort and hold onto his hands. "Ok. Fine. I say, we just say it and get it over with." I say.
Curtis nods. "I love you Josie."
"I love you Curtis."
Curtis laughs and picks me up and swings me around. "You love me! I love you!" He yells.
"Okay, okay, don't get carried away." I tell him with a grin. He puts me back on my feet.
"Let's never fight again." He says.
I can't help the snort that escapes me. "That will never happen." I tell him. "We're both contrary people; it's impossible."
"Nothing is impossible." He argues, grinning like a fool.
He pouts, and we start to walk up the stairs back to the apartment. After a second he speaks up. "Let's get married then."
"No way!" I answer immediately.
"What? Why not?" He asks.
"Because," I answer, "married couples stop having sex. Maybe not right away, but inevitably it happens."
"Hm. True. True." He muses. "And if we couldn't have sex anymore, then what would be the point?"
"Exactly." I agree, grinning and nodding sagely.
"Well, we could always fight..."
I look up at Curtis and smile quietly. Maybe I don't need him, and he doesn't need me. It doesn't make sense to need a person anyway. I have value as a person, as myself. But I just want to be with Curtis now, until I can't stand him anymore, if that ever happens. Maybe someday we'll get sick of each other, after all, forever is a long time.
Curtis looks at me and grins suddenly, almost childishly. "Josie."
"We're going to have crazy hot makeup sex, aren't we?" He suggests, laughing.
I can't help myself; I laugh too.
The End. Probably.