A/N: Sometimes there are some things that you wish that you had the courage to say to someone, if you only had the words that would help them understand. Read/Review/Comment. Much love, LunarloverJ
She stands there for a second or two, dumbstruck, her fluffy, pale pink robe hanging partially open and barely concealing her nakedness. Her dark hair is disheveled and hangs carelessly in her face in gentle waves, hiding the flush in her pale cheeks as she stares out into the silent hallway of her apartment building, straining her ears to try and discern his retreating footsteps from the noises of early morning. Nothing, she decides bitterly, wishing that she could call him back to her, explain to him why their relationship keeps failing so miserably, why she can't handle it anymore. But more than anything, she wants to hold him to her body like she'd been doing only minutes before, to pretend one last time that he is hers, let him kiss her and touch her in the way that she's wanted him to for so long. Just one last time God. Just one more time.
But he doesn't come back for her, the cell phone sitting placidly on her white, mahogany nightstand frustratingly silent despite her mind's insistence that it ring, and then its desperate hoping that it be him on the other end of the line when it finally does ring, making her jump out of her skin as the volume shatters the haunting quiet. She rushes to answer it, her hands trembling with nervousness as she slides it open, staring blankly at the text message, her mind not quite comprehending the words on the little blue screen, waves of sadness churning deep inside her chest as she snaps the phone shut. She doesn't want to hear her brother's words of comfort, that everything will be alright, there'll be better days tomorrow, etc. She doesn't believe him anyway. Putting the phone underneath her pillow, she crawls sluggishly back into bed, curling up into a fetal position and praying for sleep for her aching body, and rest for her overwhelmed mind.
This was supposed to be a magical night, she thinks as sleep hovers elusively on the edges of her consciousness. You were supposed to hold me and tell me how beautiful I am, you were supposed to be sober, you weren't supposed to leave again. You promised me. She rolls over, frustrated, and hugs his pillow to her chest, glad to have some part of him to hold onto as the tears start to stream down her face. He always made things so tangled and complicated,nothing ever had a simple solution, and there had been days where she'd just wanted to tear her hair out because of the constant emotional roller-coaster that their relationship had been, but he'd tried to make it work despite that huge stressor, and he hadn't cared one bit that it was hurting him: Because I was there, her mind reminds her in a whisper.
She closes her eyes, lying amidst the tousled sheets and staring at the molding on her ceiling, trying not to feel guilty all over again. She's already spent countless nights worrying herself sleepless over him, whether he is OK or not, wondering how much damage her leaving him has done to him…it always leaves her tired and feeling emotionally drained. It's not that she enjoys feeling this way about him, but she simply can't take any more of the pain that he always brings with him. It isn't his fault that he can't seem to let go of her, but he has to understand that she can't take the fall every time. More tears fall, but she's too upset to swipe them away, letting herself lie exposed against the coolness of the cloud white sheets.
"I'd make myself disappear for you, if I knew how.", she mumbles brokenly into the softness of the pillow, listening as the doorknob rattles, then glancing up in surprise as her mother enters the room, giving her a simple cursory glance with pained eyes, as if merely looking at her daughter brings back a memory that she thinks better left to die in the ashes of the past. She can see a thousand unanswered questions rising from their grave in the very depths of her own eyes as she sits up slowly, hastily pulling her robe closed and holding the material in her fists, ready for the words that her mother hadn't wanted to say on the phone. The face that usually smiles warmly at her presence now only stares at her, the skin on it sickly pale, the eyes slightly narrowed in annoyance.
"I can't deal with you two acting like this: One minute, you decide to physically assault each other, and the next you decide to share a bed." she watches her mother's shake of the head, feeling anger simmering just underneath her heart, but she doesn't speak just yet, knowing that this is just the beginning of the lecture. "You need to figure out what you want, and tell him that. Don't play games with his head while he's this upset. It may not have been, a healthy relationship, but it was one that meant a lot to him." The unforgiving iciness of her mother's accusing stare is enough to color the younger woman's cheeks with shame, and she looks down at her hands, wishing that she could simply fade into the furniture as the next words add the icing to the cake. Those eyes that used to light up whenever she gazed at her daughter, no matter if she was crying out of sadness, or yelling out in anger, now only narrow completely on her bowed head, speaking in a loud, clear, resentful tone, with her mother's eyes locked onto hers the entire time, boring holes into her skull as her mother's voice continues to shake with the passion of words and feelings long held back "You, meant a lot to him, you still, mean a lot to him, no matter what he may have said to you at the bar, no matter what he's done, he still wants to understand why you can't seem to forgive him, and if you say that you have…I swear to God, I will just scream. I can tell that you haven't because you're not at home right now asking him if he's even OK. Tell me that I'm wrong, look at me…and tell me that I am WRONG!"
She can't. Can't bear to look up and see her mother breaking into a million tiny pieces, pieces so shattered and jagged there is no way that they could ever make a whole heart again. "I have to go home now. I've said all I wanted to say, and I don't have any reason to stay. You obviously have nothing to say to me, so I'll go home and go to bed. My phone will be on if you change your mind." nodding solemnly her mother turns away on her heal and walks out without a word, closing the door quietly behind her. It takes a moment for her to look up, but when she does another form fills the doorway, the copper eyes slowly taking in her body from beneath a mop of light brown hair streaked with cranberry red-purple streaks, turning hard.
But she doesn't care. Doesn't care that she's practically naked as she runs hurriedly to embrace him, tripping over her clothes thrown on the floor, and almost over her own two feet before she catapults herself into his arms, wrapping her limbs around his waist and neck, pressing her nose into the hollow of his throat just at the edge of his shirt collar and inhaling the familiar scent of Old Spice, apples, and sweat that she's come to associate with him, and the sense of peace and warmth that he brings with him wherever he goes. He's taken aback by the intensity of her display of affection, but welcomes it nonetheless, letting her trail frantic kisses down from the right side of his face, back to the hollow of his throat, not stilling her when she gently trails kisses over the left side of his face, over the vivid scar that runs from the top of the left side of his head, all the way past his bottom jaw, to just underneath his chin. He knows nothing of how he received the mark, nothing but what she's already told him, and so he's shocked when the already-too-tight hug grips him even tighter, and for a fleeting moment, a picture exists in his mind, but the moment of recognition is severed by her nuzzling her face into the cotton of his alien green hoodie, wiping away a warm stream of tears into his chest. She's tired, and doesn't much care when he sets her down on the ground, doesn't answer when he hands her her clothes, only turning away when she lets the robe fall uselessly to the carpet. Everything is numb except for two things: her thoughts and her heart.
The kind, willing voice of her friend brings her out of her pain just enough to take the edge off, for which she's grateful as she faces the prospect of a morning-after without the breakfast in bed that she'd originally planned. He stands with his back to her as she pulls her clothes back on until she's completely dressed once again in the elegant black corset dress that she'd started her evening in.
"What do you want me to do?", he asks softly, turning his concerned gaze towards her. She shakes her head, unable to speak for fear that if she does she'll start bawling again, and she's lost too much already to add all of her dignity to the list: her mother's respect, the man that she loves more than her own sanity, her virginity, her peace of mind…everything had turned to Hell in one night. She closes her eyes, putting a trembling hand over his as his arms encircle her, bringing her carefully back into his chest.
She sighs, feeling her coiled muscles starting to relax under the influence of his soothing presence, driving out the overwhelming feeling of longing, even though it's not him that she imagines holding her. He makes everything easier, gives her the sense of being loved without the emotional thrill ride, and she can love him in return without the fear of heartache. This is what she wants.
"Don't leave me alone…I honestly don't know what I plan to do today.", she whispers into his ear, feeling him start as her hand slides coyly into the hip pocket of his plain, black jeans, drawing out a ninety-nine cent ballpoint pen. Her mind's voice is soft, heavy with the pressing weight of sadness as she slides out of his grasp, walking with shaking knees towards the blank canvas standing on an easel by the window of her room. He was supposed to paint me today, she reflects sadly as she places pen to canvas, trying to think of something that will mean a lot to him, something to reassure him, and maybe something that will tell him that she still cares, even though she doesn't necessarily want to be with him. She isn't surprised to find that she doesn't know what to say, but once she puts the pen to the surface the words seem to come much too easily.
I don't love you enough that I know how to let you go, but I won't have you thinking that I don't care. I think that you wish that, and maybe that would help you let go, but I do care. I really don't know how to make it any plainer. I'm not the perfect person that you think I am though, so you're not really helping yourself by keeping me on a golden pedestal. You know that I'm a real bitch, and you're not helping yourself by refusing to acknowledge the fact that I'm not the angel that you like to make me out to be. You're not allowing me to be human when you think that about me. I make mistakes like everyone else, but I can't change them, just like you can't change the mistakes that you made back then, and if you can't stop torturing yourself with them for you then do it for me. You're not perfect, I understand that. It hurts me that you're hurting, more than you realize, but I never expected you to be perfect. I fell in love with you because you cared about me, not because you thought I was some kind of savior. I can't live up to that status; that's why I left. You care too much. I don't want you to waste your life away by trying to convince yourself that you don't deserve better than me, you deserve someone amazing, and you need to realize that. I've never stopped caring about you, even through the times when I've wanted to beat you senseless, even though sometimes you were too intense and your demons put more than a strain on our relationship, I NEVER once stopped caring. I never wanted any of this to happen to you. I want you to find someone worth your time and effort…someone who can make you as happy as I once did. I don't want you to feel like Hell is out to get you when you get your feelings hurt, or like everything that goes wrong is your fault. Everyone makes mistakes, and you can't take them back. You're going to drown yourself in depression if you keep trying. Yes, you made a mistake, and it takes a lot of courage to admit that, but you did and what's more, you're feeling badly for it, but that doesn't change it. You've learned from it, just as you were supposed to do. I just wish you'd let it go. Everyone knows you're sorry, and they still care, but you don't seem to care about that. I want you to. I know that you'll listen to me more than you will to anyone, and for once I'm grateful for that: You hurt me, but you didn't mean to. I know that. I know that you were scared and didn't know where to turn to for help, that doesn't make you a bad person, and I wish that you would stop telling yourself that it does. I need you to do that, okay? I need to know that you'll be alright and happy with yourself. Please try for me. I love you.
Once she's finished, she looks it over checking for grammatical and spelling errors before handing the canvas to her friend. He shakes his head, reading her pleading eyes.
"Please, Adam. He won't take it from me."
"And I suppose the bruises on my stomach and my swollen face must mean he adores me?" he rolls his eyes, taking her face in his large hands, putting a glint of steel into his gaze.
"Now, you listen to me, Miss Matthews," he lets his grip become almost rough. "If you care about him at all like you say, you'll give him that yourself. Those words aren't mine, and I doubt I'll come back in one piece if he sees me again. He could've easily killed me last night, and he would have if you hadn't interfered. He's not being rational right now, and you're the only one he cares to listen to. I doubt I'll get the same warm reaction." he smiles grimly, the memory of having the breath literally kicked out of his gut reminding him of the hate blazing in those cool blue eyes, what it's like to be afraid of dying. But he doesn't tell her this.
"I'm afraid.", she searches his steel gaze anxiously for some reassurance, anything that will tell her that this trip won't end in tears and bitterness, that she'll wake up tomorrow and have everything the way that it was before, that his feelings for her haven't changed, despite the Hell that she's put him through. He senses this, and tries to push through her wall. She lets her eyelids flutter. "The things that he said to me tonight…", she opens her eyes, letting him see just how much the unhappiness of the man that she once thought that she could love forever still means to her, the control that he still has over her.
"He was drunk, Marylin," he strokes her hair back from her face "He's drunk must of the time." this is not what she wants, and she clasps his hand over hers, looking up at him. He doesn't understand.
"He drinks to escape pain,", she replies stonily. "That's how sad his life is to him right now. He's so hell-bent on forgetting that he wants to risk everything to feel peace." he nods in understanding.
"Go.", gripping her shoulders firmly, he directs her towards the door, fighting her resistance as she shakes her head, digging her toes into the carpet.
"I want to go back to bed."
"No. You need to do this, and I'll tuck you in all nice and snug when you get home." he tries to shove her, making up his mind that she won't move unless he forces her to, and she lets him at first, until she whips herself from his grasp, grabbing the sides of his face and crashing her lips into his, reaching desperately for the peace that he brings. The rush of adrenaline is slow in coming, and far more pleasant and satisfying then it is with her ex. When she used to kiss her ex, it felt like a wildfire of goose bumps was being started on the surface of her skin, but she'd been able to taste his fear in those kisses tonight, had been able to see it in the wildness in his eyes, to tell just how far he'd fallen in the way he'd tried to be gentle with her, but his fear of losing her had gripped him tighter than it ever had, so that she hadn't really been able to enjoy the experience of sex with him. Everything he'd done had been rough and frantic, tainted in a way. This feeling is something that happens naturally, a feeling that flows easily through her veins like a steady river rather than bashing into her like the waves of an angry sea.
She used to pretend that she found satisfaction in the kiss that holds her now, to deny anything about the attraction that she feels, but just as he'd done after waking up in the hospital after the accident, he pulls her into the kiss, and she lets him. He lets her go, and she walks away from him to go comfort another. Again.
"He's sleeping. He doesn't want to see anyone." there's pity in the girl's red contact covered eyes as they study her from the porch, one hand resting against the white column for support, her mane of dark brown hair falling across her face until she sweeps it away, the baby pink star sapphire of her engagement ring catching the morning sunlight as it slices across the brick steps, shimmering tauntingly in the ringless girl's face. Just one good shove, whispers the devious part of her brain as she nods at the brunette, holding the canvas out to her. Somehow, her mouth curves into a smile of thanks as if the girl standing on the porch is completely innocent, as if she truly considers them friends. She doesn't, not by a long shot, and the young woman on the porch stares at the words on the canvas, blissfully unaware. "I wish you'd come inside for breakfast. I'm sure that once things are settled down that it'll all work out between you two." her plump lips smile hopefully, her eyes brightening.
Another fake smile, this one nearly breaking at the sincere kindness of the girl. She appreciates that, just not the fact that it should be her wearing that ring, her inviting people into this house, her carrying the baby of the man that she loves inside her. A tear slips unconsciously from her eyes, and suddenly more are falling as the longing returns for another round, its sharpness not dulled by the girl stepping abruptly down from her perch, her own eyes misting in both compassion and horror as her arms wrap awkwardly around the sobbing woman in a half-hug, afraid to touch her.
"I can't do it, Nat!", she wails helplessly into her shoulder, hiding her face in the simple white, cotton and lace of the maternity gown, continuing to weep bitterly as the eyes of her one-time friend begin to overflow with misery for her friend, the tears landing on the softness of her hair. "I can't hurt him anymore, he's already so broken! I-I know that he hurt me, but I can't hurt him like that! I need him to be happy-without me, but I can't hurt him anymore." she begins to cough quietly, holding loosely to the clothing as the tears finally start to subside. Her cries are met with gentle shushing.
"You won't hurt him anymore, Marylin.", she whispers soothingly. "I can burn the canvas if you like?" her nod is barely perceptible, the muscles in her neck having trouble responding in the face of all the emotion.
"I don't want him to know that I was here, or that I talked to you." their eyes meet for only a moment, the understanding clear as they part, one girl heading back inside the house, while the other casts a glance at the burly form of her brother emerging from it, nodding to him before she walks hurriedly to her car parked at the end of the driveway, throwing herself inside and slamming the door shut, jerking the car into reverse before the longing can overwhelm her and speeding off down the street, forcing herself not to look back.
Picking up the forgotten canvas from the porch floor, he takes it inside, placing it in his fiancée's hands and instructing her to start a fire to ward off the uncomfortable silence.
A/N: Well there you have it. J Read/Review/Comment. Much love, LunarloverJ