***Sorry I didn’t get the BONUS post up sooner everyone, I had a rough week. Here it is now and I hope you enjoy! Soul xo***
Daniel and I were pretty much beat. Our emotions were like an elevator that could only descend, and in the end, we were just tired. We even physically descended; first we sat on the kitchen island stools, then the couch, then on the floor leaning up against the couch. Daniel felt upset, and I definitely made my emotions apparent.
“Did you get a new ring?” Daniel asked.
I looked down at my hand and at the one he was paying attention to. “It’s an old ring really, one of my mother’s, I decided to wear it today. Don’t remember why anymore.”
Daniel sighed. “So what do you want to do?”
“Is it all on me now?”
Daniel shook his head. “No, no, I just want to know what you think. If you want to move forward or not.” Daniel said the last words hesitantly.
I played with the band of my mother’s ring. “What if you can’t come to an agreement with your negotiations and you have to move to New York?”
I’ve been putting off asking that question because I think I already knew the answer to it. The only reason I asked was because I needed to hear the words from him. His body, his heart, his lips.
“I’ll have to,” he answered.
“Why can’t you find work here?”
“It’s hard to explain. It’s based there. I’m kind of using my father’s name to climb the ladder, and even though I detest people who actually do that for a living, I just have to do that for my mother.”
“But I thought his name was ruined now, considering the illegal investments?”
“One, I’m not even sure that he’s telling the truth. For all I know he could be saying that just so he doesn’t have to help my mother out, which is sick I know, but, taking into account what my father is like, it’s believable. Second, the people I’m networking are people who know that with the combination of my father’s ruthless money-making and my honest nature and reliability, I’d be a knock out.”
“Why couldn’t you tell me this earlier?”
“Because I didn’t want to turn this into a big deal.”
“It’s a big deal, Daniel. A big freakin’ deal. This is you and me we’re talking about.”
“I know,” he took my hand in his and began playing with the band of my mother’s ring like I was, “I know, I just didn’t want things to change between you and I and I thought it was a bad idea to tell you.”
I sighed. “Daniel?”
“How does it look?”
Daniel’s brows furrowed. “How does what look?”
“The negotiating. How does it look?”
Daniel paused with his finger on the band. An old, silver band that barely served any purpose beyond rusting. He shook his head. “It doesn’t look good, babe.”
I lazily smiled at the word ‘babe’. It was cute when he said it, it always sounded sincere. As if he was the one that made up that form of affection.
“When do you find out what will happen?” I asked.
“Sometime this week.”
Heat started crawling on my skin. Trickling upwards and downwards like an ebbing of fire. I was burning up and feeling sick in my stomach. I wasn’t ready to lose Daniel. I’ll never be. And yet I couldn’t help feeling that it was going down that road between us. We were slowly slipping away from each other, and blurring the lines between our duties and what we wanted. Just like Daniel, I couldn’t bear the thought of losing him, either.
“So what do you say?” he asked.
“I want to know what you think.”
Daniel switched up his legs. They were now bended upwards so that he could angle his body my way. “You are what I think,” he whispered as he stroked my arm with the back of his fingers. They finely reached passed my shoulder and onto my neck, pushing my dark hair aside to reveal my neck to him. “You are always what I think about,” he moved closer in one smooth motion. His lips made a trail from my shoulder to my neck, and right below my ear. His warm breath was the kind of heat I welcomed; the kind that I gave myself to because I wanted him to take me like this. “You are what I think of. I love you.” I closed my eyes at his last words as if they were commanding me to and propped my head back. He trailed his lips along my jaw line, and then down to the hollow on my throat, in between my collar bones. He moved his hand into my shirt and squeezed my breast in a way that made me feel like he needed me more than he wanted me.
I was intoxicated by his love, and yet I was tearing up. I was scared of losing this. Of losing him. But I was so trapped by my own fear to even realise that he was doing everything possible to make sure that didn’t happen. So misguided by my fear that I didn’t even realise that he was afraid of losing me too, if not more so then just as much as me.
Night was approaching so we wordlessly began moving to his room. I took off my clothes in an effort to get comfortable, and Daniel even started taking off the rest for me. I then started taking off Daniel’s clothes. All the while I was staring at his eyes, his nose, his lips, loving every detail my eyes grazed. When I pulled his shirt over his head, he and I, like magnets, moved into each other for a kiss. A luscious kiss, with the right amount of sweetness. I moved my lips down to write a trail of kisses on his collar bone, loving the smoothness of his skin, breathing him in, and taking in every natural scent.
As he moved his lips down to my neck, I began undoing his jeans, the last item of clothing. He stepped out of his jeans when it slid to the ground. He grabbed the bottom part of my butt and pushed it up a couple of times, and I knew exactly what he wanted me to do. I jumped into him for him to catch me and wrapped my legs around his waist.
Daniel gently placed me on the bed and kissed all up and down my neck and chest. My legs were still wrapped around him and he bobbed inwards and outwards. I loved it. We were like the lock and key.
“Daniel?” I breathed.
“Mmm?” he said into my chest and then looked up.
I was never going to call it quits. Not this soon. Not until we tried this relationship into the ground. I tried remembering what it was like before I met him and it was weird, as if being with Daniel, being in love with him and him in love with me, made me come alive. I loved caring about Daniel, and I loved that he cared enough about me to try so hard. And I wanted nothing more than to try harder. I was going to support him as much as I could help it through this. It was his life just as much as it was mine after all; and even though we were in this together, I needed to support him.
I’ll never understand what Daniel is going through with his mother, but, I almost feel selfish just thinking about us. Jade had been amazing to me. She’s an amazing person period, and I fully believe that she raised Daniel all by herself. I love her. Daniel needs her, she needs Daniel, and I would never want to get in the way of that. And if that meant that I would have to see Daniel on an infrequent basis based on availability (and, unfortunately, affordability of plane ticket prices), then I’ll do it.
This happens in relationships. We’re not different. It’s not like we’re inventing long distance or anything. In the long run, I know it’ll be great for us. It’ll be great for us to know that, if this works out – no, when this works out – we’ll be stronger than ever.
“So,” Daniel said when I paused, “what did you want to tell me?”
I ran my fingers through his hair and then struggled to lift myself up and kiss his forehead. I ended up twitching at the bend of my back because of the struggle, it was awkward and funny at the same time. But I loved it because, well, that was us!
When I leaned back and our laugh just morphed into a smile (for which I saw Daniel’s sexy dimples!), it was then that I said it. “I don’t want you to have any added pressure. I want you to stay here, so much, but if the job’s good in New York and they need you to be in New York for it, then that’s where you should be.”
“Wait, let me finish,” and here came the waterworks that I was trying to avoid in front of Daniel, “I’m going to miss you so much. So, so much,” I squeaked, “but this is something you have to do.”
“I will visit you, Anna.”
“I know you will. And I will try visiting you as much as I can, too. I mean, you’re going to be a New Yorker for Pete’s sake!”
I tried to lighten the mood but Daniel’s smile didn’t reach his eyes. Instead they remained troubled and sullen still. An uneasy mixture of how I felt too. Sprinkle some tears in the mix and we’d be identical.
“No matter what happens—”
“I know,” I said, putting a finger to his lips, “I know.”
He rolled over and collapsed on his back, and then pulled me in at the shoulder to his chest. I breathed in the delicate scent of his smooth skin, a combination of candy (oddly enough) and expensive cologne; the kind that wasn’t overpowering. This is where I fell asleep, this is where I’d fall asleep.
In the morning Daniel and I woke up pretty much at the same time. When we heard rustling outside of the room and then voices I looked at Daniel and he rolled his tired eyes.
“Stanley again,” he said.
I smiled. “This guy is on a roll.”
“Yeah, he’s making me miss the good old days,” Daniel grinned.
I nudged his rib with my elbow. “Be quiet,” I said, moving my hand to his groin, “or you’ll miss a lot more.”
Daniel looked at my hand and lifted an eyebrow. “Mmm, yes, ma’am!”
We got dressed and then walked out of the room to make breakfast. Well, I decided to make breakfast for Daniel. I wanted to show him that I was in this one hundred per cent. Breakfast was just a little gesture, I know, but I wanted him to be well treated in his time of need. To know that I support his decisions. And even though I didn’t know if he knew that most of it was in an effort to make his life easier, it didn’t matter to me, what mattered is that my intentions were met.
The door to Stanley’s room opened and out popped Janet and Stanley, laughing. When they noticed us they quickly ceased and stared.
“Well, well, well, if it ain’t my main man, Danny-boy!” Stanley said.
“Well, well, well, yourself,” Daniel replied.
“Janet?” was all I could say.
Janet blushed. “Guilty. I came back for seconds.”
“Oh you came alright!” Stanley chuckled.
Janet slapped his chest. “Shut up!” she turned an even darker shade of red.
“Aww, sorry, come here,” Stanley said, pulling her closer at the waist. Stroking her cheek, whispering a sweet nothing and then finally kissing her. They parted to smile, and then they turned to us as if discovering us for the first time.
Janet moved towards me and Stanley took up a seat next to Daniel.
“What’s cookin’ good-lookin’?” Stanley asked.
“After-party favourites,” I said, winking at Janet.
“Indeed,” she said, “tasty treats for tasty treats.”
“They’re talking about me,” Stanley said.
Daniel waved him off. “Dream on.”
It had been just like last time. We all ate together, at first with awkward and forced conversation, and then it became natural. I wondered, as I looked at Janet and Stanley, if they were becoming an item of interest. They had been spending a lot of time together, it seemed; consider the possibilities outside of this place. At Janet’s place for example. Was he spending time there? Are they just sex? It looked like it at first, the first time I saw them together; but I’m starting to sense a connection between them. Out of all my speculation, one thing’s for sure, they definitely looked cute together!
Daniel’s cell buzzed on the table, stopping his part of the conversation. I was too distracted to pay attention to Janet and Stanley that they too began fading into a noiseless blur. I watched as Daniel picked up his cell and tapped a few buttons. Sliding his thumb this way and that. And then he was reading. A text? An email? I didn’t know, but I continued watching. Not in a weird, obsessive kind of way, at least I didn’t think so. To make my interest look casual I moved my eyes back and forth between Daniel and Stanley and Janet.
Then Daniel put his cell down. I couldn’t read his face. Either he was acting cool, or he was cool; either way, I wasn’t. I was too anxious. I could only hear my heart beat. I lost my appetite and I wanted to do nothing but selfishly interrogate Daniel, but I stopped myself. All in good time, I thought, all on his own time. Daniel put his hand gently over mine and entered the conversation again, as if he never left.
***Hi everyone! If you didn’t know already, the title of this post (and of part 1) both refer to a song by Fiona Apple called Pale September. I encourage you to click on the link provided and check out the song as well as the lyrics (in the description box of the video), if you want a deeper connection to the emotions in both posts! This song means a lot to me and I hope it means something to you! Enjoy! Love, Soul xo***