Rhetorical Utopia

I walked in and you were shaking and it looked as if maybe you had been crying. I didn't ask because I wasn't sure I could take the answer. If you had been, I would've wanted to hold you until all the pain went away, but that's not allowed so I just waited for you to speak.

You said you couldn't do it anymore. I didn't know what you meant but I kept your gaze as you stared at me from across the room. You wouldn't come any closer at first and the intensity of your stare was so unnerving I couldn't move either. I didn't know what you were looking for but I knew you'd never find it if I looked away so I just watched you watching me for what seemed like forever.

It wasn't forever, of course, and after awhile you got up from your seat and you crossed the room. I was too surprised that you were finally in motion to even notice the exact motions you were making. Your fingers were in my hair and that's when it occurred to me you were kissing me. You were kissing me, alright. Your lips were pressed against mine and maybe it would've been a nice first kiss for us but you were going at it with such longing and desperation that I could barely think to breathe.

You calmed down, eventually, and soon we were kissing for real. Both of us were enjoying it and I could feel your fingers tighten in my hair as you got impossibly close. Every single curve of my body melted into yours and I felt for sure we were going to fuse together. That would've been okay, though, because I would've had every excuse in the book to keep kissing you then, if we were stuck together like that.

God, you were a great kisser. You made me feel safe and dangerous and wild and content all at the same time. I'm more than pretty sure it would've been the type of kiss that made my foot pop, if I did that sort of thing. Your lips were so soft, but they were rough too, the way a man like yours should have them, like you can't be bothered to use chap stick.

I hadn't realized we were moving but you were walking forward and I was matching your pace in back steps. We didn't separate an inch, even a breath, and soon I was pushed up against the door, and I felt the slightest bit too crowded, with you on one side and the door on the other. But you were kissing me like I was the only thing keeping you alive, and I couldn't be bothered to think of how little space there was.

There were so many questions in my head. Why are we doing this? Since when did you want to do this with me? Are you really okay with doing it here? What if someone comes in? It's not as if I could ask any of them, as your tongue snaked it's way into my mouth and I was lost in that fuzzy haze of how amazing you were. After awhile, the questions didn't seem to matter, and I didn't even think about them as we went further. It was you and me and it was us and I didn't care that I couldn't define it because it was too perfect to be defined.

You were insistent with your kisses, determined to not have even a second go by without some sort of contact, but you were gentle. You were considerate and you asked if I was okay, between breathless kisses that made it hard to think straight. It seemed to dawn on you that this had all started with you lunging at me, and you asked if this was what I wanted.

I didn't answer you. I looked in your eyes and I saw the look of terror. You realized what you'd done and what it could mean if I hadn't liked it. For a second, I considered stopping. I'd tell you it was okay, because it was, and that you had nothing to worry about, but I could pick my pride up off the floor and leave before it wasn't the only thing cast to the floor in our passion.

But to stop kissing you seemed at the time to be like asking myself to stop breathing. So I lunged forward and kissed you as hard as I could. You grinned against my lips the way I always wanted someone to do and I was lost again.

I'm not even sure how long we did this, this making out against your door like that. But eventually we stopped, whether because our lips couldn't take it or because it dawned on us that we were likely to be caught any minute. You moved away, not too far, and sat down on the first available surface. I stayed standing against the door and I folded my arms. I was cold without you against me.

You watched me, but I couldn't meet your eye this time. I knew what we'd done and how wrong it was and as okay as I thought I'd be, I wasn't. I didn't mind what had happened, I'd loved every minute of it and wished we were still going. But you hadn't spoken in minutes, and the silence was deafening. You were going to let me down gentle, now, I could feel it, and I wasn't sure I had enough strength to take it.

"I'm sorry." You said it, but I had been thinking it so loudly that at first your voice didn't register. When it did, I finally looked at you and I saw you were shaking again, the way you were when I came in. I asked you why you were sorry, and you just gestured at me. Like I was the mistake. I knew you only meant what we'd done, but the way your hand swept in my direction made me feel like I had done something wrong, like it'd somehow been my fault.

I didn't know what to say but I knew I couldn't let you do all the talking. If you were going to break my heart, I was going to go down fighting. You would know what you were doing to me, and you would feel bad about it, if nothing else. "I'm not sorry," I muttered. My eyes were burning holes in your cheap linoleum and one of my hands had found it's way to gripping the door knob. I was ready to escape.

You didn't seem to understand what I meant, because you said, "Of course you're not. It's my fault. You don't have anything to be sorry for anyway. I should know better." I wanted to hit you. In that moment, I wanted to take those three steps that would close the distance between us and plow my fist right into your nose, smash those glasses of yours and love the way the broken glass would feel against my knuckles. You were being pathetic, and I hated you for it. Hated you in the way I had for months, because every little flaw you had was driving me crazy with desire and that wasn't fair.

"And I shouldn't know better? You think I don't get what's wrong this? You gave me the opportunity to stop, and I kissed you back. So what are you trying to say?" I was challenging you, daring you to insult me. I wanted you to give me a reason to walk away. Just turn the other cheek and ignore me, or call me stupid, foolish, anything. Make me want to hate you for real and I could. Just give me a reason.

But of course you didn't. I was seeing red, but you were there, looking at me as if you couldn't believe what you were seeing. You even smiled a little, and in spite of myself, I smiled back. You could always make me smile, and I hated myself for it. "You don't understand. You don't. You don't even know what you want."

"Of course I know what I want. I'm not as naïve as you think I am. Why do you think you know what I want, and not me?"

You considered this, tilting your head slightly as you watched me. I hadn't moved, one hand gripping and relaxing in turns on the doorknob, and one of my shoes was tracing the grout as I waited for your answer. "Fair enough. So, tell me, what do you want?"

There it was. The ball was in my court. I could tell you the truth, or I could lie and maybe it'd hurt for a day or two but we'd get over it and I could keep pretending I was fine, like I had before. But I looked you in the eye, so that, lie or no, you'd think it was the truth. And you looked back with those beautiful eyes and any strength I had to lie left me. "You," I whispered. "I want you."

You closed your eyes, a look of pain crossing your face like I'd just shot you. Maybe I had. "I was afraid you'd say that."

"Then you shouldn't have asked. I told you I don't lie." I had told you that, on one of those pointless days where I tried so hard and pretended I saw something in you that wasn't there. Or I had thought it wasn't there. My brain was still trying to process what it meant that you had kissed me, so all those days I'd chalked up to be meaningless weren't so clear anymore.

You opened your eyes, and I was surprised to find you smiling. It wasn't a particularly happy smile, but you were smiling so that must have meant whatever you were going to say couldn't be all that bad. "You don't lie. Then ask me something, and I'll tell you the truth, too. I owe you one."

"I'm not sure what you want me to say." I'd said that to you so many times, too. Never about something like this, but I'd said it before. You recognized it and you grinned a little sheepishly.

"Anything you want. Just ask me a question. Whatever you want to know." I thought this was unfair, for you to phrase your question like this. There was obviously some question in your mind you were hoping I'd ask, but you wouldn't tell me. You wanted me to come up with it on my own. It was typical of you.

It wasn't that I didn't have questions. I didn't want to ask the wrong one. Too personal, not personal enough. I wasn't sure of the boundaries in this game. "Fine," I conceded, sighing. "Why'd you do this? Kiss me, I mean?"

"Because I want you, too." I wasn't expecting that. The air left the room for a minute and I wasn't entirely sure I was still breathing. I stared at you, glaring at you, daring you to take it back. You could've, and I wouldn't have minded. Well, I would have minded, but it would've been okay because...it's you. You could have hurt me however you wanted and I would have let you. How pathetic of me.

You didn't take it back, though. You just looked back at me, ashamed and terrified and exhilarated, all at once like that. The air had come back in the room, it must have anyway because I hadn't turned blue from lack of oxygen yet, but it wasn't helping me process things any easier. I opened my mouth but nothing came out. You watched, but you weren't going to say anything else until I contributed. "You're – you're sure?" I manged. What that even meant, I had no idea, but you laughed a little and I felt almost proud of myself for causing it.

"Of course I'm sure." You weren't smiling anymore, but you didn't look miserable either. I couldn't read your emotions, which was unfair because a blind person could have looked at my face and seen what I felt. I was an open book and you were a fortress. "You've been driving me crazy for weeks."

"Sorry," I said quickly, trying to rack my brain for what I could've done. There wasn't anything. I'd been good and nice and helpful. Where had I gone wrong?

"I mean it in a good way, if that's possible. You're all I can think about sometimes – but that's not right, so I've been trying to not say anything. You make it hard, though." You were saying everything I'd been struggling with for all this time, and it seemed to be easy for you. I'm sure it wasn't easy, but the words were coming out so quick that I didn't stop to think you might find it hard.

"As if you make it so easy for me." I stepped away from the door, just barely. I was making a symbolic gesture, trying to signal that was I wasn't going to leave anymore. We could have this conversation, I would stand there and take whatever you had to say, good, bad, or indifferent. The truth was pouring off of us in waves, and I wasn't going to run away.

"Really?" You raised an eyebrow, smirking a little. You were proud of yourself, smug bastard that you knew how to be. Here we were, standing on the edge of the biggest mess either of us had likely been in for some time, and you were proud of yourself for being so irresistible. What was probably the only thing sadder than that was that I loved seeing you so pleased with yourself.

"Yes, really," I snapped, glowering in a way that showed you I wasn't really all that angry.

We were quiet, and I wasn't sure if I was supposed to keep talking or if you were, or if maybe we were both supposed to just let time pass by unnoticed for awhile. The only noise came from the clock over my left shoulder and I listened to the seconds tick by while we watched each other. Eventually the silence and the second ticking became too much and I sighed, frustrated. "So what do we do now, anyway?"

You laughed, chewing your lip. "I wish I had some idea."

"Helpful," I muttered sarcastically, suddenly annoyed. It was hitting me now that we only had so long before you'd have to go, or before I would, and we couldn't leave things as they were. I wanted you to decide. It should be your choice, I seemed to have decided.

You laughed again, and stood up. "I don't know what we should do. Just...can you give me some time to think about it?" You paused. "Can we give each other some time to think about it? Let's both go home and take a breath and think. We can't afford to make rash decisions, not about this."

It hurt me, somewhere, that you had to think about it. It'd felt so right when we were kissing that it had seemed natural that we'd keep going. I didn't know what you could have to think about. "Sure," I muttered, no longer meeting your eye.

"Listen," you said quietly, stepping closer to me. "I don't want you to think for one second that I don't want this. Don't think I regret what we did or I think it's a mistake. It isn't. I – I just don't want to hurt you."

"Then don't," I said angrily. My eyes were burning with tears and I stared up at you, defiant. You would see the pain you were causing me. I wasn't stupid, after all. This read like a classic case of deference. You'd push me off for now and let me down gentle another time, when I wasn't standing right there refusing to take it laying down. I wouldn't let you try to leave me without knowing it would hurt.

You shook your head, and I swore I saw tears in your eyes too. "I'm going to try not to. But I owe it to you to not rush into this. If I make the wrong decision in haste...I couldn't stand having to let you down because I hadn't thought it all through."

We talked some more, all the same thing over and over. You convinced me to give you time, and I agreed because I didn't want to force you into anything. If you didn't want it, you didn't want it, and I wasn't going to make you. You were right, of course. I would rather you walk away before we really started that have even another second of stolen happiness.

So I picked up what was left of my dignity (didn't take long, there wasn't much left) and went home. I didn't think about you, because my mind was already made up and you were the only one who needed any thought. Not that I blamed you – away from you, I understood how much you had to lose. So I waited.

My day was miserable and I didn't think of you because I was too busy hating everything else in my life. I went to bed early because I was too pathetic and lonely to spend another second awake. I was laying under the covers, listening to music and trying to pretend I was tired enough for sleep when my phone started ringing.

It was you.

I didn't ask how you got my number, and I tried as hard as I could to pretend I wasn't excited to hear from you. When you said "Hey," to my, "Hello?" you didn't sound completely miserable so I allowed myself to think maybe it wasn't bad news.

"Are you okay?" you asked. You weren't asking how I was in general, the way you're supposed to on the phone, just if I was okay right then, so apparently my hello hadn't sounded as enthusiastic as I'd tried to make it.

"No," I said. I wouldn't lie to you, after all.

"It is because of --?"

"No," I answered quickly, "it has nothing to do with that. I just don't really like it here."

You were quiet for a long while, and I wanted to ask if you were still there but I couldn't form the words. I cuddled close against my pillow and concentrated on listening for your breathing. "Do you want to talk about it?" you asked.

I shook my head, but you were on the other end of the phone and didn't see it, so I eventually answered, "No." It seemed that was all I could say to you. But I didn't want to talk about it, because connecting you to this mess would only taint you. "I just want to know that somebody...that someone cares enough to want me to be happy and that I matter. I just want someone to do that."

I didn't know where all of this was coming from. You swallowed, I could hear you, and then you said it. "I want to be the person that does that for you."

I didn't let myself think that that meant what I thought it did. "You do?" I asked, careful not to let my voice betray any emotion.

"Yes. If you want me too, that is. I don't think...I don't think I can walk away from this. Do you?"

"I know I can't," I answered quickly, certainly. My voice was shaking, tears were stinging my eyes. "I need you."

"I need you too," you answered. You were grinning, I could tell from your voice, and I was too. This wasn't going to be easy, but we were going to make it.

And then I woke up.


A/N: For those who missed it, yes, that entire thing was a dream. I am aware that ending things as a dream is a tad cliche, but it's meant to make a point in this case, so I'm leaving it the way it is. I've been sitting on this story for a good month and a half, because I'm more than a little afraid of posting it. It all honesty, it is an extended version of a dream I had. Essentially, it's the 'director's cut' version of the dream. Because the dream I had was one of those where you only get snippets but somehow you fill in what happened in between. Which is basically what this is, the fleshed out middle bits. I can tell you the dream contained the opening of this, a bit of the part after the kissing, and there was the line on the phone about "I want to be the person that does that for you".

Anyway, as I said, I was very nervous about posting this. Because to be honest...I think it's more than a little transparent. There are probably people who will look at this and know exactly who it's about. I would be stupid to deny it, too, if they figured it out. I almost feel like anyone who doesn't know me can look at this and have a fair guess at the type of people these two might be.

I guess the only thing I can say by way of explanation is that it was just a dream. It's not that it didn't stem from something very real, but you know how dreams can be with overemphasizing and embellishing things. So there it is. Take it or leave it, it's what it is.