Chapter 5: Chasing Fate

According to nature, my next course of action couldn't possibly backfire. I just wasn't sure of what I wanted to get out of it…

My mom wasn't happy with me lately. A few weeks ago, she had yelled at me about not eating anything and exercising constantly.

Her exact words were, "Daniela, I don't know whose leg you're trying to pull with all the starving and the running around like a caballo! Tu estas muy sexy – all the chicos already look at your culo! Which burro are you trying to impress?"

I don't think she noticed the irony in calling me a horse, commenting on my butt and referring to whoever I was trying to impress as a donkey. One word: ass.

She didn't stop there either, "All this sweating will make you lose it! These hips are what make you hispana!" ...I could not believe she took my weight insecurities as an insult to her country… Wow, mom… Wow…

At first, I didn't even consciously realize that I was eating less or purposely jogging wherever I needed to go instead of hitching a bus. It wasn't until I refused my mom's homemade caramel custard that I realized something was wrong at a deep psychological level.

I would look at myself in the mirror a lot nowadays. Feeling the need to determine the needed exercise of the day: Sit-ups, squats, Pilates, liposuction…

I would check my reflection in the mirrors of parked cars or shop display windows whenever I was with Izzy. There were a few things I needed to be sure of: that my arms didn't look chunky; that my waist stayed slighter than his; and that my hair wasn't in complete disarray, because his never was.

I was the girl, so I was supposed to be the prettier one of the couple, wasn't I? It was hard with a boyfriend like Izzy. Seeing him next to me, I found it hard to think I'd ever physically considered him less than perfect.

Rugby had started a few weeks ago so he had been working out constantly. Every time I saw him nowadays, I wished I had exercised a bit longer the night before. Girls noticed him even more now.

These days, I put him down any chance I got. I felt as long as he didn't have the confidence to see his own worth, he would stay with me. And until I figured out something worthwhile I could offer him in the relationship, there was no guarantee he'd stick around.

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Opportunity arose one morning. My mom announced that she would be headed to her El Salvadorian amiga's house for the night. Their plans involved renting out Spanish movies – on VHS - and eating pupusas; I wasn't sure what those were, but the way she said it made me hungry.

I spent the whole after noon shaving my legs. Initially, I tried waxing, but I had to keep calling my mom into the washroom to rip off the wax: It hurt and I was too chicken to do it myself. To accentuate my point, she called me a coward and told me to stop wasting her laundry time. I had reached half way up to my knee and I settled for shaving the rest.

As soon as she walked out of the door, with her big Spanish butt emphasized by a floral-print dress, I picked up the phone.

"Izzy, come over!" I said, rubbing baby lotion down my legs; He thought I had soft skin naturally and I wasn't about to deny him that belief.

"What am I gonna be fed?" I could hear the grin on his voice.

"Whatever you want…" I replied in the most seductive voice I could manage.

"Oh baby," he joked, and after a pause, "Seriously though, your mom cooked right? 'Cause I don't trust you and I don't wanna get food poisoning."

My mom had left me microwavable macaroni and cheese... I could manage that… "Shut up…"

He paused, "Your mom knows I'm coming, right? If I go home unfed, I'll cry…"

"Mhmm…"

It's just a little white lie… I hiked up my skirt a little, He'd forget…

"Alright, I'll be there in twenty," I started to hang up.

"Danny!"

I put the phone back to my ear, "What?"

"Te amo," he said laughing. I love you. He'd learned how to say it in Spanish and officially thought he was extremely cool for knowing it.

"You're so uncool," I laughed, shaking my head, "Bye!"

I spent the next twenty minutes with my head upside down, messing up my hair. I double checked that I was wearing an appropriate amount of deodorant, and that my bra wasn't of the embarrassing polka dot variety.

I was in the middle of plucking a stubborn hair that was setting my right eyebrow out of place when the doorbell rang. I threw the tweezers on to my dresser. I combed my fingers through my hair and pulled my skirt an inch or two lower as I ran to get the door.

Through the screen door, his eyes found my legs for a moment before flickering up to my face.

"Your mom's not gonna be too happy with you dressed like that around me…" he commented, as I let him in.

"Good thing she's not home then," I purposely sandwiched him against the wall as I closed the front door behind us.

"…Food?" he asked, sliding away from me towards the kitchen.

"There's nothing good… Let's watch TV," I opted to watch it upstairs in my bedroom but he stubbornly headed into the living room. He sank onto the couch and flicked on a rerun of Friends.

Something clicked in my head. A line from another Friends episode I had watched recently, "Older men have higher expectations, Monica. You're setting yourself up to be hurt."

Not if I can keep up…

I crawled on to the couch next to Izzy, wrapping my arms around his neck. He looped one arm loosely around my waist but otherwise continued staring at the TV screen.

If he didn't take initiative, what was I supposed to do??

"Izzy!" I whined.

"What's wrong?" I caught his eye and finally had his attention. I kissed the side of his mouth, urging him to turn towards me. He reacted accordingly, fitting his lips against mine.

I grabbed the remote from his side, keeping my other hand at his neck and my lips on his. Knowing my remote control like the back of my hand, I switched the channel to 902 without needing to open my eyes. The one thing I liked about having a cheap satellite: radio channels.

The channel shone the title info for the next song as the previous one faded out. My eyes flickered open. Kevin Lyttle, "Turn Me On".

I lifted myself on to his lap, my hands slipping under the collar of his shirt as the chorus began. One of his hands slid up to my neck and he let his fingers comb into my hair. His other hand hooked above my hip, pulling me closer to him.

I felt an illogical need to get closer to him; Like if I didn't get closer, my heart was going to erupt inside my chest. Pressed up right against him, the feeling still didn't fade. We stayed that way for a while, making out, running our hands over each others' clothed sides.

What comes next? I panicked, reaching for his belt.

Without much trouble, the belt came undone. I grabbed at the button of his jeans with an awkward hunger, feeling the elastic waistline of his boxers against my fingers.

He violently pulled my hand away. In the next second, I felt myself being pushed on to my back on the couch cushions. And as the TV spread a flash of light with the next song title, I saw him looming over me; His face half visible, and his eyes shining unfamiliarly.

I froze, suddenly conscious of everything I could feel: My heart beating between my legs; the muscles on his leg - that had somehow found its way between my knees; and the warm moisture his breath left against my neck.

He shuffled a little, holding himself up with one hand and stroking my thigh with the other. My skirt had ridden up all the way, not covering any more of me than my underwear was. It was black, I recalled, and frilly - I had made sure of that.

He moved his leg, forcing my knees slightly apart. Oh God, I don't want this! It's not right! It's too soon! What do I do??

I realized something: Twenty minutes ago, I was asking for this and nothing less than it. But I hadn't thought it out then. And when faced directly with the thought; when facing an Izzy I didn't recognize, I totally freaked.

My mind quickly ran through the list of everything in the living room: What could I hit him with without inflicting serious injury? The remote?

He tucked his head against the bow of my neck. I could feel his breath on my chest and I wished I hadn't worn such a low necked shirt.

Just say "no"... He'll understand! He'll back off... No! He won't! He's lost it! He's not even the same person when he's excited! I was zoned out in my thoughts when it hit me, I was asking for this person all along - I wasn't happy inside my comfort zone. And now, outside it, I would do anything to get back in. DING! You fucked up. Bad.

Izzy put his hand on my knee, forcing my legs apart. The couch cushions under us lurched sickeningly to the right.

Kick. And. Run!

...I can't! I got myself into this - It's not his fault for reacting... It's... natural... I felt like kicking myself even as I thought it, He wants this... I can go through with that. That'd prove I'm not a little kid... And then, I could pretend it never happened... Breathe...

I was gonna go through with this... I fit my legs around his hips and reached up to his shoulders to pull him down.

"Goddammit! Daniela!" he untangled himself from me and stood by the doorway, buckling his belt.

"What??" I sputtered, lifted myself to a sitting position. He's yelling at me... I thought-...

"You think I want this?? Holy frigg! I came here for food! And your mom's not even home! And then-... I just played along with this stupid fucking game of yours 'cause I thought you'd snap out of it!... Look at yourself! That's not who you are!..." he took a breath, "You know! Recently you've been acting like the whole world is trying to screw you over! Guess what?! People have lives!! You're doing it to yourself!!"

Something caught in my throat. He was right, wasn't he?

"And the one thing I really liked about you from the beginning is the way you don't throw yourself around! And just now, I was waiting for you to stop me and prove that I judged you right! But then you just-... you-" He paused mid-yell to shudder, "Shit... You know, I respect you like no one else! And I fully thought you were one of those girls who didn't care what anyone thought and... -you know-... went with what was comfortable... And this... just... completely proved me wrong!"

I used to be like that... Now sitting up on the couch, I pulled the bottom of my skirt down as far as it would go. My face was wet with tears of relief.

Through the yelling, he chuckled a little, "I didn't get too close - 'cause I expected you to kick me... and I didn't wanna be permanently disabled..." He sighed, looking at me with hurt eyes, "...Why didn't you?"

I shook my head, I didn't know. Because I was trying to be more mature? Worry? Guilt? Because I'm stupid little kid who didn't know what I was doing?

"Daniela..." he said a little more calmly. Him using my full name made it sound like lecturing, which I suppose it was, "There's been something different about you for the past couple of weeks... And it's just made me feel really unwanted," the anger in his voice rose again, "Like you're so busy impressing everybody else that you forget the person I like you for! And I'm sorry for thinking that maybe what I think should matter to you a little more than the rest of the friggin' world!"

He gave me a glare. He felt wronged. The tears kept coming. And nothing had happened... He had too much control to let it. And that was so perfect!

He stalked in to the hallway towards the side door. I gulped, "Where you going?"

"Home..." he paused, "Today was a big mistake... But it made me realize... that maybe you really are too young for me..."

Izzy...

"I'll see you around." He closed the side door behind him as he walked out.

I stumbled down stairs to my basement-turned-bedroom. I shed all my clothes, tossing them into the laundry hamper. Digging through my closet, I located my floral patterned 'granny-panties', my green polka dot bra, an old t-shirt and the baggiest pair of track pants I could find. I shrugged into them, and in their rattiness, I felt like the person I wanted to be.

Back in my comfort zone, I sank on to the floor next to my bed and cried for all that was good in the world; Getting up only to fetch a tissue roll from the washroom: My nose was running like a fountain and it was kind of nasty...

More than half an hour had passed and something clicked against my window. I drew the curtains warily.

Izzy was crouched in the weeds like a raccoon and peering into my window at me. He tapped the window again.

I lifted the lock and slid it open.

"Nice outfit..." he said, nodding at my big, baggy, black, track pants.

"Thanks... I was trying a new look..."

"The colour matches your raccoon eyes..." he paused, smiling just a little, "I gave you -what?- forty minutes and you couldn't even wash your face?"

"What?"

"The mascara goop that you decided to put on today melted and smeared all over your face... It's quite attractive, you should go look at it in the mirror..."

"Meh... Okay okay, I'll go wash it," I blew my nose dramatically into my wad of bathroom tissue, "You want me to let you in?"

"Nah, I like it out here... The weeds provide a nice camouflage," he shifted his eyes jokingly, "I'll wait, if you're not back in five minutes, I'll figure you're taking a dump and go on a half-hour walk to give you some de-stinking time..."

I loved how he said that: As if it was a polite and expected thing for him to say.

"Great... thanks..." I shuffled to the washroom, determined to make it back in three minutes or less.

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That night, Izzy sat outside my window and we talked. About everything: Family problems, emotional breakdowns, nightmare analysis; his insecurities, mine; our hopes; our fears; our dreams - figuratively, without the analyzing; our pasts; and our plans for the future.

We talked for almost three hours straight... Until my neighbour's crazy mother decided to tell the police someone was trying to break into my house.

"The weeds won't do much against dogs..." he grinned, the sirens approaching.

"Go!" I whispered, wishing he could've stayed longer.

"I'm going... I'm going..." he whined, turning around, "See you Monday?"

"Mhmm," my throat too full with emotion to say anything else.

"Danny," he grinned, glancing over his shoulder, "Te amo."

He bounded off into the weeds, probably headed to the back alley to avoid the police. And he thought I was the raccoon?... How ironic...

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I sat back on to my bed, recalling everything that had happened between us in the past eight months; trying to come up with a metaphor for it all.

It was like chasing a setting sun for hours... Then finally giving up once you realized you'd never reach the horizon.

And in your disappointment, the sun finally sets. And you realize that you don't have to go past the horizon to find something more: the moon, and a million shining stars.

It's as if you were so busy chasing one source of light, that you didn't let life prove that it would have provided you with a back up plan all along.

I let out a breath I had been holding for what seemed like forever. I messed up. But Izzy had somehow stuck through. He might have not been perfect in everything. But next to me - with me - he was.

I fell back on my bed with my arms spread wide.

Te amo tambien!!

I love you too.

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The end.

Thanks to:

Paul - for being perfect :D and inspiring this story; and for his creative ideas and the quotes I've stolen from him that are littered through out the story.

Nabila (CustosMorum)- for reminding me of more of my issues as a psycho gf which provided a great idea for a chunk of chapter 4.

Rhymes - for being that annoying voice in my head (/on the reviews page) that told me I needed to mention the title of the story to wrap it up better. Thank you for making the story more wholesome!!

Reviewers - You guys are awesome! I love your reviews! - Especially the ones that helped suggest improvement!

Readers - Thanks for reading! I would appreciate hearing your comments too, though!

I hope you got some mental insight or something out of reading this! Thanks for sticking the whole way through!