Story: Coffee

Series: Companion/Sequel to "It Just Wasn't Enough"

Author: M. Reis AKA Crazywriter, crazywriter@corporatedirtbag.com

Rating: PG

Warning and disclaimers: My God, this was written by me so of course they're queer. So homosexuality and I think there's some cussing. Yay.

Coffee

I finally cap the pen and take a bite out of the dry toast that the waitress must have set by me twenty minutes ago. It's cold now, but then, so am I so it doesn't really matter. Nothing matters, not me, not her, not the toast, not the words I've just penned on twelve napkins. I glance down at the pen, it's a really nice one, she gave it to me in fact. She… Kimber, the one girl I can't have. She wanted… she wanted me to remember her every time I wrote. Remembering that, I walk over to trashcan and throw the pen in, reaching in my pocket for a trusty ol' black Bic, an ordinary, meaningless pen. It fits because my words, they may not be ordinary, but they are meaningless.

I grab another napkin and start again. It's like this a lot, isn't it? Me sitting, alone, in some restaurant writing shards of words on napkins. Like the time I wrote a paper for Physics on the back of my bill at some cheap, greasy diner. My inspiration, it's a lot like me, hits me at the wrong place, wrong time. A lot like me… wrong place, wrong time.

"Hey," I hear a voice I never wanted to hear again say from above me. Speaking of wrong place, wrong time. "I thought I'd find you here." I look up and see her standing in front of me.

"How'd you find me, Kimber?" I ask tiredly.

"Well… I remembered that you came here for breakfast each Sunday," she says slowly. I'm not used to this, her speech being unsure. One of the things that most attracted me to Kimber was her certain speech, the confidence she always had, because she knew who she was, what she wanted, she was certain.

And now I wonder… maybe it was her who didn't know who she was, what she wanted.

Maybe through it all, she was guessing.

Just like me.

Instead of me.

"Didn't think you would," I respond, "What the hell are you doing here?"

There's something in her eyes right now, something that I'm sure is mirrored in my own. Regret, pain, remorse, hate, love, fear, all wrapped together until she looks positively broken. I can tell from her eyes, she's been crying a long time.

"You wouldn't return my calls," she sighs, "I thought you'd at least do that."

"You broke up with me, I don't owe you anything anymore," I shoot back coolly, actually savoring the twinge of pain I see in her face for a second, in my own self-satisfied sadistic way.

"About that…" she says stumbling over words.

"No!" I tell her firmly, I think it's the first time I've found my backbone around her in a month, because in the month we dated I never could just tell her no. She changed me, I don't know if it was good or bad, it's hard to tell because for the first time in a long time I see things aren't just black and white, there's so many shades of gray. "Don't, Kimber, because unless 'get the hell out' was code for something, I don't want to hear it."

"Damn it, Dagmar, we need to talk!"

"No," I tell her, there's that word again, no. "I don't want to talk about it, I don't want to think about it. I don't want to think about you. I'm tired of it already. You were right. Understand that, Kim? You were right about everything, I had just forgotten. You reminded me, thanks very much. So unless you're waiting around for a Congressional Medal of Honor, I don't think there's anything here for you anymore."

"Dagmar…" she protests quietly. But there's nothing to protest, not really. It's true you know, what she said, I'm not relationship material.

"No, Kim, I mean that. There's nothing here for you anymore."

"Oh no," she says, finally regaining that sure speech I loved, "Fuck you, Dagmar, there is everything here for me. And you know it, too." I don't say anything, except to thank the waitress as she brings me more toast. She actually laughs, "Going out for breakfast and all you get is dry toast? That's so like you, Dagmar." It's not condescending and what scares me more is the fondness that's crept back into her eyes.

"Like me? Kimber, you wouldn't even know who that is." She flinches, slapped by the words. But it's because they're true, every last one of them. That's the way it always was, I see that now. It's like when she roped me into playing cards with her grandparents, talk about pussy-whipped. She had a great poker face. I remember I won because I would only bet on cards that I had… she was always into bluffing, carefully turning over each card to see if she could psych me out.

That's what she's doing now. Slowly playing every card she's got, hoping I'll fold.

I'm not going to fold.

I've played this game before.

And she's bluffing.

"Guess I deserve that," she concedes softly. She traces her fingers over the napkins I've scrawled words on, "What are these?"

"Words," I tell her, "Just words that I could tear up and there'd be a million more."

"Million," she repeats and I swallow hard.

"Millions," I say, "Because you made me feel words I'd never felt before. But you're not the only who can. You don't want me, you said you didn't."

"I do want you!" she protests, "Dagmar… did you go out last night? Did you sleep with someone?" Her face makes me realize she doesn't want to know the answer. She looks tired, for the first time in all the years I've known her.

"Well, you know," I tell her, "I do have a reputation, might as well start living up to it. Got to make up for lost time, you see."

"You did," she says and there's the surrender in her eyes, the surrender I was so used to seeing right before we would make love… no, we would fuck. That's all it was, just fucking. Nothing more.

"I didn't," I tell her honestly, "God, Kimber, what do you think I am?"

"I don't know," she tells me, "I really don't. I know who I thought you were, but that ended up to be a lie. A trick, an illusion."

"You know, Kim, there may have been a lot or mirrors and smokescreens and the conjurer's laugh, but none of that was an illusion," I say, believing it all in my heart.

"Why didn't you go find someone?" she asks, not letting hope creep into her voice. "You could have, you know that."

"I was going to, but Puck talked me down. You didn't want me, I knew someone else would at least think they did. But I didn't, it would have been wrong. Guess I'm not as tough as I think I am."

It's true because after all this time, all that's happened, I still know right from wrong. I can honestly look at things and say, this is right, this is wrong. And it would have been wrong. Maybe she did change me, God, I hope not. Because I like who I used to be I want my life back. Pre-her. B.K. Before Kimber. Before…

"Dagmar, can we just go back to how it was before?" she asks seriously. She wants me back. She really does.

Before, God, now she's even reading my mind. Fuck her. Fuck her and her lies and her seeing right through me and the way she used make me feel, make me think, the way she'd taunt me to get me to smile. Fuck her for being right here and being so far way even though I could reach out and touch her and slide my fingers up and down her face tracing her jaw… And I could just go back in time, even though it'd just be maybe twenty-four hours back in time and she'd be there in my arms and we'd be… and…

And damn her for just being. Being her, here, now.

Because I don't want her anymore, not now, maybe not ever again. I really don't. Because there's no way it can be like it was before, she doesn't love me and I love her. I mean I know we guess our way through life but this is one of those times that I know for sure. I see everything so clearly, as though the blinders have been lifted, the epiphanies seen, the truth been spoken.

"No," I tell her, preparing the lie, "I don't love you anymore."

"Liar," she accuses, "Liar."

Yeah, I'm a liar, I know and now there's this ferocity in her eyes, I can almost her screaming, Barabas, Barabas, give us Barabas, as she watches me walk to my cross.

But then, I'm not Jesus, just a martyr.

I'm a good martyr you know, though I've never really put myself up on a pedestal. I'm just good at it, I guess, comes naturally to me but maybe that's because I've been kicked in the guts so many times.

"Liar," she repeats, "I know you, when you love someone you love them totally, without reservation or condition. You never fall out of love! That's not you!"

"No, I mean it," I repeat, "I don't want you anymore and you don't want me. I'd just be using you if I came back." There's a good line, I think I've used that one before. Step one to severing relationships: it's my problem, not yours.

"How?" she demands.

"I just would and I don't want to take advantage of you."

"If anything, I'd be taking advantage of you!" she protests. I shrug.

"Kim, it's my problem, not yours," I explain, "You were right to kick me out yesterday, you were right about everything. I'll only hurt you if I stick around."

"You don't believe that, Dagmar," she tells me, "I know you don't. I'm in love with you, Dagmar, I just…"

"No, you aren't," I tell her fiercely. "You don't get to be. You can love whatever you have. And Kimber, you don't have me. I don't care if you think you love me, you turned your back on me! Not the other way around!"

It's weird, having this backbone, it really is. I haven't had one for a long time, like I said, I'm not as tough as I thought I was.

Maybe I'll start being tough again, the kind of tough I used to be where I said things that I'm not allowed to say now. Where I was blunt and me, uncensored.

Not the me she manufactured, not the pussy-whipped prick who played canasta with her parents. 'Cause that's not me, that's who she made me.

It… she… I… she was changing me.

Like she's trying to now. I toss a ten on the table and walk out the door, nodding at the waitress. I'm maybe a block down the street when she catches up to me.

"Don't do this," she pleads.

"Get away from me."

"How did it become reversed?" she wonders out loud, "How did we become switched? It hasn't even been twenty-four hours."

"No, it's all back together now. Yesterday you were me and I was you, you were everything I used to be and now it's back to you being you and me being me. Now it's over. I've looked in the mirror and I see what you said was all right and good and so forth and so forth." I throw my hands up in a mock surrender, "So just leave me alone!" And that said, I start off done the street again. I feel her hand on my shoulder, grabbing me.

Kimber was always strong, sure I was stronger and if I wanted to fight her now, I could. But I don't, just let her push me up against the red, brick wall of YMCA.

"Damn you, Dagmar," she hisses, "Can't you just listen for one second? I. Was. Wrong."

And I start crying as she holds me there and she can't even hide the shock in her eyes. I never cried in front of her, I guess I was trying to be tough, like I thought I was. Never really cried in front of anyone, maybe… no, not anyone. Well, not for a good many years in any case. I cried in front of Cass, cried a lot but that was years ago and here… now, I'm crying in front of her.

"Wrong, yes, that's it, it was all wrong, every moment with you was wrong. But yesterday… you were right," I manage through the tears.

"Don't you see?" she whispers, "There is no good or bad, right or wrong, there's just people and what's happens between them."

"Yeah, "I whisper back, "I get that."

Shades of gray, so many different shades of gray. Our relationship, a charcoal drawing, some white, some black, but mostly just grays, filling in the paper, canvas, the crumbled up napkins in my pocket. So many words on them, words she made me feel.

I stare down at my combat boots, they're important see, I shine them daily, usually twice. They're spotless and spit-shined, like our relationship was until it broke.

Like the soles of the boots finally treaded down to a thin layer of rubber, it broke, the aging leather finally squeaking, the too tired and worn to keep going.

And I realize, no amount of boot polish is going to fix us up. Because like these boots, we looked good on the outside, but all the polish did was cover it up.

My God, I'm here crying in front of her and all I can think of is my boots.

How far gone am I?

But then I'm crying in front of her, like I never have before.

Maybe it's not broken.

"Dagmar," she tries again, and my name, it's like a prayer. A prayer that comes only when she says it. "Come back."

I sigh, feeling myself give in, "Try again?"

"Let's go get a cup of coffee," she says, pleading with me with those beautiful eyes. "Please. Just coffee, no promises."

I start walking back to the diner. There are no promises, no tomorrow, I understand that. But when you're willing to sit down for coffee with someone…

It's a start.