This is finally finished. I started it a couple months ago when I was inspired by (another) Lady Antebellum song, but my muse kept running away. Orginally it was a one-shot, but after I wrote this part I decided that I wanted to write a second part from the other POV.
Many thanks to my beta, prehistoric-girl. She found the mistakes and helped me fix some parts.
A sudden shadow covers the words, bringing her out of the imaginary world created by her book to see that the sun is beginning to set. Knowing she will lose the natural light soon, she stands up and stretches as she reaches over the couch to turn on a lamp.
It has been a lazy afternoon, much needed after the long week. For reasons she cannot figure out, her mind has been racing all week, jumping from thought to thought, never settling on one for too long. It is exhausting, having to ignore her mind during work and attempt to quiet it at night so she can sleep. This is what she needs: a silent afternoon of peace.
She sits down again, sinking back into the comfortable cushions, allowing them to envelop her. The autumn weather has brought with it a chill in the air, causing her to pull the blanket draped across the back of the couch over her legs.
As she reaches for her book lying on the coffee table, a distinct sound chirps through the air. It takes a few seconds for her to realize that someone has rung the doorbell. Sighing, she stands up, allowing the blanket to drop to the floor, and pads over to the front door. She checks the peephole only to let out a gasp. Standing on the edge of her porch is her boyfriend of 2 years. Half of his face is covered in shadows from the sinking sun, but she can tell by his gait and distance from the door that something is not right.
Cautiously, she opens the door half way and steps into view. "Hey," she says quietly, afraid of what a loud noise might do. He turns his head from the yard and looks at her. She can see several emotions raging within his eyes, and he looks as if he is fighting an internal battle. "Do you want to come in?" she asks, unsure of what else to do. He nods and steps forward into the house. He hesitates after the door is shut, almost as if he is unsure where he is supposed to go. Confused herself, she begins to walk toward the living room but stops when she notices that he is not following her like usual. "Is something wrong?" she asks as she turns around.
"Hmm?" he answers as he shakes his head, looking like a deer caught in the headlights. "Oh, uh….yeah, I'm fine." Where did his sense of words go? She wonders.
"Drink?" she poses in an attempt to get him to talk.
He swallows before answering "sure" in a voice that she cannot exactly place.
She nods as she forces a small smile and walks to the kitchen. She does not like what is happening. Whatever it is, it feels wrong, foreign. She pushes the thought aside as she reaches into the cupboard for 2 mugs. "Do you want your usual?"
"No thanks, just water."
Her hand stops for a brief second as it touches the second mug before moving away and grabbing a plain glass. Now she knows something is wrong. He has never liked water. In fact, he only drinks water when he is forced to or he is uncomfortable.
She fills the glass only half-way before handing it to him and moving to make her a cup of tea. In truth, a chill has begun to set in her bones from the weather and she is hoping that the tea will calm her nerves. She tries not to notice the fact that he is sipping his water with more enthusiasm than normal, but it is staring her in the face as a silence falls over the room. The microwave finally buzzes, indicating that her tea is ready. She removes it and turns to face him, seeing that his glass is now empty but still resting in his hands as if it is full. His eyes are staring into the bottom of his glass, an unnerving calmness settled on his face. He's distracted, rings through her mind, the voice in her head obviously not content with the situation.
Again, she pushes the thought aside, determined that he will open up eventually if she does not push him. "Do you want to sit down?" she questions quietly, hoping she does not startle him. She watches as he shakes his head slowly and takes a deep breath, looking as if he is trying to reign in his emotions. "Josh, you're scaring me," she admits as she sets her steaming cup down.
He sighs again and places his glass on the counter before he walks toward her. Like they have done so many times before, he takes her into his arms, wrapping her small body in his. She doesn't fight it. This is what she has been wanting since he came in the house: some sign that everything will be fine. Giving in to the warmth, she places her head on his chest, almost startled when she hears his heart beating faster than normal. Please, let him be alright, she begs as her emotions begin to fight their way out of her hold. She closes her eyes to keep the tears in, afraid of what they might trigger.
After a time that is too short for her, she feels his hold on her loosen. She lifts up her head, her eyes still closed, and feels the lightest of kisses on her cheek. His lips linger for a few seconds and she opens her eyes. He is looking down at her, his eyes filled with regret and sorrow. She swallows back tears as she backs up slightly. The look in his eyes tells her everything that she has suspected for a few weeks now. Please don't do this, she begs him in her mind. Please.
Gently, he releases his hold on her completely, leaving her back vulnerable to the chill that has seeped in through the windows with the disappearance of the sun. His eyes look watery as he steps under the kitchen light and she has to bite the inside of her lip to keep from crying out. He glances down at the floor and takes a deep breath before looking back at her. Why is he doing this? She looks to the ground and begins to turn when his hand reaches out and grabs hers as if he senses she is about to run.
Tears threaten to spill as she raises her head and looks at him. The only thing she can manage to say comes out as a whisper. "Why?"
His breath hikes before he answers her. "I don't fit into your world anymore."
Her faces furrows in confusion. "What? Yes you do. You-"
"No, I don't. We're going down different paths and…..I can't follow you. I'm sorry." She watches as he fights back tears and walks toward the front door. She rushes after him, hoping to figure this out and change his mind.
He is reaching toward the doorknob when she grabs his other hand. "You don't want to do this. I can tell," she says with as strong a voice as she can manage.
She can see the muscles in his face tighten as he replies, "But I have to."
She takes a steadying breath before she speaks again. "Can we stay in touch?" Please. I can't lose you completely.
Her hope falls when he refuses to turn his head and look at her. He replies with a dejected "no" as he shakes his head regretfully.
All of the air seems to rush out of her lungs at this. His hand slides out of her grip slowly and she can do nothing but watch his back retreat from her house and the door closes just as slowly, prolonging his departure.
Everything slows down as the situation surrounds her like a restraint. She wants to rush out the door and make him talk to her, figure out the real reason behind his leaving, but the sound of quickly receding footsteps hits her like a ton of bricks. Her body can't seem to move as reality sinks in. He's really leaving. Her breaths quicken as she gasps for air, the air not wishing to return from when it left a couple minutes ago. Tears spill down her face as she slides down the wall, unable to keep a hold on anything that would hold her up. She doesn't feel the cold tile when she lands. Her senses seem to slowly fail her as time continues. Part of her wishes that he will come back, realize that she can help him with whatever is obviously bothering him, but the unmistakable sound of a car starting up and pulling away from the curb shatters all hope she has.
When silence once again settles in the cold house, her tears fall harder than before. Her chest feels like it is being constricted as she lets go of her hold on everything and cries into the night for her lost love.
The second part should be up soon. It helps this chapter make more sense, but I like how it flows with reading the girl's part first, so I left it this way. Drop a word!