I looked into his deep brown eyes, knowing I had expected this moment. I had expected from the very beginning. This, what we had, it was never going to last. It had almost been a countdown in my head, all of it leading up to this. The grand finale. I suppose I ought to be grateful he was even bothering to do it face-to-face.
"We're too different babe." He was saying, his hands running up and down my arms, "I mean, it was fun for a while, but who were we kidding? You're you, and I'm, well, me."
Stellar reasons, clearly. I flinched back from his touch, taking several steps back, holding my hands out in front of me. I had my eyes closed as I took a deep breath, steeling myself before looking up. He was not going to get the satisfaction of seeing me cry, the jerk.
"Fine." I said, shrugging, careful to keep my voice nonchalant.
He looked surprised that I was taking it so well, and I suddenly felt my resolve to keep from bursting to tears strengthen. I waited until he had given me a hesitant nod, muttered, "Right, so that's done." And walked out my front door before I crumbled. The fucking jerk. Why did I insist on punishing myself with guys like him?!
I reached for my phone, dialing the number of the only guy I knew I could depend on. He picked up on the second ring, "Rae? It's really late." He sounded sleepy, making me glance to the digital clock by my bed. It read three am. Oops.
I sniffed, keeping my tears at bay, comforted by just his deep, warm voice. He always had that affect on me. I let out a shaky breath, "Sorry." I mumbled, "I'll call you tomorrow."
"Are you crying?" He sounded more alert now, concern coloring his voice, before it hardened with anger, "What did that asshole do now?!"
"N-No, you're right, it's late." I said, sniffing again, wanting so badly for him to be next to me, "I'll talk to you tomorrow, Flynn."
"I'm coming over." He stated simply, before the line went dead.
I put the phone down, knowing I should feel guilty for disturbing him, that too on a weeknight, but I didn't. I needed him. If he ever needed me like this I would do the same for him, not that he ever did. Sometimes I wondered why he kept me around, best friend though I am, it made no sense. He had plenty of friends, popular, the best-known RJ in the city, and then there was me, the boring librarian, safe, predictable, a small circle of two or three friends at the most, with him at the center of my social life. We just didn't fit. We had been best friends for twenty years now.
I felt my mattress shift as he climbed onto it, having let himself in with his key. Immediately, I moved into his arms, burying my face in his familiar chest, breathing in the scent of his cologne, smiling as I realized he had actually thought to spray something on himself before coming over. He wrapped his arms around me as well, his fingers combing through my long wavy brown hair, again and again. He had always had a strange habit of playing with my hair. Usually it annoyed me, but when I was upset, I found it endearing, and it made me feel closer to him so I never protested.
"I'm going to kill him." Flynn swore solemnly, his grey-green eyes glinting in the little moonlight that lit my room, "What the fuck did he do to you, Rae? If he laid one finger on you…" His voice dragged off, dangerously low.
I shook my head quickly, wiping my tears, "No! He would never hit me!"
Flynn snorted, "Sure he wouldn't, you really know how to pick them." He said darkly, "Now are you going to tell me what he did, or do I need to go find him and ask?"
The threat in his words was real, I could tell, so I quickly responded, "He broke up with me."
Flynn sighed, "Oh, well that's good then."
"Flynn!" I protested, shocked, "I really liked him!"
Flynn chuckled now, his body vibrating with the sound, and I loved that I could feel it as my head rested against his chest, "Raelin, aren't you getting tired of this?"
"Of what?" I asked, frowning, tears forgotten, enjoying my conversation with him. This was why I loved him; he had always had the ability to distract me entirely.
He pulled away a little to look down into my eyes, searching them for something, I think, before sighing and running a hand through his unruly black hair, "Of this, Rae. This circle of assholes you date. I know I'm getting tired of it."
"Excuse me?" I furrowed my eyebrows now, taken aback. He had never been quite so insensitive before. What did he mean, he was getting tired of it? I suppose I did bother him a lot with my problems, but he was my best friend! Who else was I supposed to go to? My mother? I cringed at the thought, and away from him, frowning, "I'm sorry this is all wearing on you, Flynn. I didn't realize how much of a emotional drag this must be for you." I said stiffly, turning away from him in bed, my back to him.
He groaned, "Come on, Rae, I didn't mean it like that." I felt him right behind me, his chest rubbing against my back, his breath on my neck as he looked down at me, his head propped up on his elbow.
"Oh?" I asked, scowling at the wall, "What did you mean?"
I don't know what kind of answer I was expecting. Something to explain his ambiguous complaint probably, and maybe this did that. But it wasn't anything I expected. His lips touched the back of my neck, making me gasp. I whirled around to face him, only to have him cage me, his body moving over mine, hovering. His light green eyes held my, I suspected, flabbergasted gaze for a long moment, before his head dipped. He was kissing my neck, peppering light, nerve-frazzling kisses up the curve of my neck and along my jaw, making my eyes flutter shut as a soft moan of pleasure left me. What was happening? This was Flynn! Was he really making me feel all these things?
I felt hot and cold, like I was being reckless and yet I knew this was right, feeling safer than I had felt in my life. What surprised me though, was that somehow, the fact that Flynn did this to me, was doing this to me, did not even seem strange. It was natural. Like I had been expecting it. That was strange!
His thumb brushed over my lips, making them tingle, and I fought my lids, looking up into his suddenly dark gaze, uncertainty flashing in his eyes for a moment before his lips touched mine. I sighed against them, parting my lips when his tongue sought entry, a low groan sounding deep in my throat as it curled around mine, drawing me back into his mouth. It was unlike anything I had ever experienced. I never wanted it to end, but like all things, it did.
Flynn broke off the kiss, resting his forehead against mine, "Did that answer your question?" He asked softly, his eyes closed as his nose nudged mine.
"Which one?" I breathed, my mind a complete mess. I blamed his kiss.
He chuckled, his cat-green eyes looking down at me, something warm and inviting in his gaze, "Stop dating those jerks, Rae." He said quietly, pressing a light kiss to the corner of my lips, "Date me."
"Are you crazy?" I asked, a little incredulous.
He grinned, "Yes. About you."
I couldn't help it; I started to laugh, not demurely, nor shyly. Outright laughing, at him, at that incredibly cheesy line. He looked a little wounded, "Here I am, pouring my heart out and you laugh?"
My laughter subsided, but my smile lingered, "You have to admit, that was a stupid line."
He looked down at me, something odd lighting his eyes for a moment, his lips curving into a soft smile, "It was." He conceded, "I blame the kiss."
I snorted, looking up at his handsome face, wondering how I had never considered this. In my head, Flynn had just never been an option. He was too ridiculously out of my league, yet here was, asking me to be his. What was I even thinking about?
I let my fingers move down his face, my eyes thoughtful, watching how his eyes drifted close at my touch, "I don't want to lose you." I said finally, looking away from him, "I always screw this up, Flynn. I can't screw up with you. You're all I've ever had."
He caught my chin, forcing my eyes, bright with tears, to his; I blinked, letting them fall, clearing the blurry image of his face before me. His thumb brushed my tears away as he kissed me again, this time gently, "You will always have me, Rae. This is going to work. We're going to work. We've worked for the past twenty years, haven't we?"
I closed my eyes, letting my arms go around his neck, burying my face in the crook of his neck, "Yes we have." I said, my lips brushing against his skin as I spoke, "I love you."
"I love you too." He breathed, his face buried in my hair, "I always have. You don't know how much it has pissed me off to see you with jackasses that don't even deserve to look at you."
I chuckled now, "I think you're a little biased."
"And I think you don't see yourself properly. Let's just agree to disagree on this." He suggested, sounding amused.
"Hmm…all right." I murmured, sleepy now.
He shifted so he lay beside me, pulling my back up against his chest, his arm around me. In mere minutes we had changed the way we defined our relationship, and yet, I found I was not at all worried about it. We were going to work; I thought to myself, smiling, eyes closed. I snuggled closer to his warmth, "We've worked for twenty years after all." I mumbled to myself before slipping into the blissful darkness of sleep, sure of my future for the first time in my life.
There was going to be no countdown. No grand finale. At least not the kind I was used to. No, this finale, I had a feeling, would involve a white dress.
COPYRIGHT SANJANA BALARAMAN.