With Or Without You

***Dedicated to everyone that reads this blog, and also to the followers who actually put this extra long BONUS post out for everyone! Thank you and I hope you enjoy! Soul xo***

“Babysitting?” I asked incredulously. Even Nikki seemed surprised.

Derek grinned. “Is that a problem?”

I nodded vigorously. “Big problem. Very big problem.”

Nikki laughed. “Calm down,” she said, “you look like you’re about to have an aneurism.”

I smiled but was feeling my cheeks go red. Derek laughed. “Look,” he started, “we can both help each other out. I don’t want to go to this thing out of the goodness of my heart just as much as you clearly don’t want to babysit. So I figured, considering I’ll most definitely need the help, we may as well switch favours.”

“I can barely handle a live plant, let alone a child.”

“I’m the same, believe me,” Derek said, to which I mumbled, “I believe.” He narrowed his eyes but then went on smoothly and with the same calm tone. “I wouldn’t ask if I didn’t need the help, and have a sense that you’d also do it considering you need some time with your boyfriend.”

Derek looked like he was practically spitting those last words out. I found pleasure in that it aggravated him so, which seems weird I know, but he brings it on himself. He is kind of an asshole after all.

“Fine. I’ll do it. I don’t think I have much choice anyway,” I said, and I swear to you it was like my lips were trying to suck all the words back into my mouth and forget the whole thing. “When are we supposed to babysit?”

“Just on Saturday,” he replied.

Great, the day after I take Daniel to the airport, I’m stuck with Derek. Sounds like fun.

“Well Eddie said that I needed to dress to impress, so do you even own anything that’s impress-worthy?” I asked.

Derek narrowed his eyes. “Despite what you might think, my style doesn’t exactly scream hobo.”

“This is a very weird exchange,” Nikki muttered on the sidelines.

“So then I’ll see you on Saturday,” I finally said.

“Fine,” Derek answered.

“Fine.” I wanted the last word like a petulant child.

Derek shook his head and rolled his eyes. After the quick banter back and forth, he seemed to resign back to irritation. We’re definitely on funky terms.

I hopped into my car after saying my goodbye to Nikki (and making an obvious attempt to exclude Derek) and tried starting the engine. It was chugging but for some reason it wasn’t starting. The battery should be fine so I didn’t know what was going on. Then I looked at the petrol and it was empty. I remember it flashing periodically before but I thought that it was just acting up and the reading was wrong. I guess not. By this point, Derek hadn’t left. I noticed some movement in the car across the lot and then Nikki got out, skipping like a fairy, while I got out of the car.

“Need a ride?” she asked, lifting an eyebrow.

“I can just wait for roadside service to come.”

Nikki waved me off. “Don’t be silly, come with us.”

“I don’t know,” I hesitated, “I mean, I think Derek wouldn’t like that I’m joining the two of you.”

“Oh jeez,” Nikki rolled her eyes, “whatever is going on between the two of you, you guys have got to get over it. And plus, it’s just a ride. Is your battery down?”

“Gas,” I said.

“Easy peasy! He’ll drop me off and then you guys can go to the gas station together, he’ll drive you back here and then you’ll be on your way in no time.”

“I guarantee it won’t be that easy.”

Nikki tilted her head, put most of her weight on one leg, and put a hand on her hip. Her face was so serious; more serious than I had ever seen it, and I didn’t feel like disagreeing with her anymore. So I reluctantly nodded and followed her.

“What’s with the babysitting?” I asked. “Does Derek own a childcare company that I don’t know about?”

Nikki giggled. “Actually, he’s got nieces, believe it or not. And they love him, but he’s never actually babysat them before. He’s never really been alone with them before, but he has to be on Saturday night because his sister has date night with her boyfriend.” I was about to ask but then she laid it out herself. “Who also happens to be the father.” She then pretended to be shocked. “Oh my God, I know! They have kids and been together forever and they’re not married. And it’s the twenty-first century! Talk about an apocalypse!” We laughed together. “Anyway,” she continued, “I usually help out but I’ve got date night that night too, and I’m hoping to get some on the weekend.”

I didn’t see that coming. “Do I know the person?”

She wondered and peered into the distance, lost in thought. “I don’t think so. Nope.”

“Well,” I said, “I hope you have a very lovely time.”

Nikki sighed in yearning. “Me too.”

Neither Derek nor I realised that Nikki had been leading the conversation the entire time until she was dropped off. Then it was like crickets chirping and tumbleweeds rolling. It was as if, if the car wasn’t moving I wouldn’t know if there was anyone else in it, and if I wasn’t breathing he probably wouldn’t know that there was someone next to him. Honestly, talk about vacant!

I quickly filled up when we arrived at the gas station and then hopped back into the car. The ride seemed longer than it should have been but we eventually made it back to my car.

“You don’t have to walk me,” I said when I noticed Derek getting out of the car as well.

“It’s okay,” he replied. A dead tone I might add.

His demeanour seemed different but I didn’t know if he was just putting on a show or not. Derek was hard to read sometimes. It was annoying. Or maybe he switched that often that I couldn’t keep up. Either way, I couldn’t tell.

“I wonder how many times I’ve apologised to you,” Derek said as he filled up my tank (pun unintended!). I shrugged when he looked at me. “Do you think it’ll make a difference if I apologised again?” he asked. I shrugged again.

What was I supposed to say? Honestly? Did he want or expect me to forget everything? Was he hoping for a fresh start? Because at this point I don’t see that happening. Certain things just seem shot to shit!

“So you have nieces,” I said in my attempt to steer the conversation elsewhere.

Derek nodded. “Yup, they’re awesome. But I’ve never taken care of them by myself and it freaks me out.”

I laughed, unconfident in myself. “Well what makes you think I’d make the situation better?”

Derek started turning the cap back on. “I guarantee that you’re going to be one of those people that think they might suck at the start, but then turn out to do a really great job.”

I laughed again. “No, I think I’ll just end up ruining everything.”

“Either way, I feel like two people will be better than one. Besides, I know they’ll like you.”

“Oh? You reckon?”

Derek stared at me and nodded. Looking beyond what I saw, what I thought he was seeing. I blushed at the long gap he made, and then he seemed to snap out of it. The unfocused glaze in his eyes disappeared and then out popped Derek again. “So, I guess I’m finished here.”

I nodded. “I guess so.”

“Well you have a good night then,” he said, beginning to walk away.

“Umm…” I called.

Derek stopped. “Yeah?”

“Thank you. For everything.” The grateful feeling was hard to admit, and I was half-expecting to see him nod in agreement out of arrogance.

Instead he seemed humble about it. He nodded once. “You’re welcome,” he said with a friendly smile.

I nodded again, this time awkwardly considering the amount of nods going around. It was bobble head central. His demeanour completely changed indeed. A likeness to what was once Derek, he had now become humble, reserved, and less arrogant. Was this an emotional dry spell? Well it was only one night; you never know.

After some hard work I finally convinced Daniel for the cab ride instead of us driving there ourselves. It was more on the account of the unknown number of drinks we were going to consume. BARLO KITCHEN + COCKTAILS was packed. I was really glad to have the inkling that booking a table would be best. I’m surprised we even got a table on such short notice but hey, I don’t even want to think about the behind the scenes.

Daniel and I sat side by side on the comfortable part of the table: the couch up against the wall. As we perused the menu and waited for our waiter, I thought about the possibility of someone else booking this table and then cancelling. I wondered, could it have also been another couple? Perhaps on their own date night? Date night. Great. Now my mind is wandering off to my little deal with Derek. I guarantee that I’m going to get an earful from Eddie when I go back into work next week; and I’m not looking forward to it. The last thing I needed was a lecture on shiftiness from the king of deception himself.

We ate like hungry wolves when the food came. It was magnificent. The wine, the atmosphere, the food, everything was exciting. We tasted each other’s dishes, I embarrassed myself by choking on something spicy. This is the life.

“Damn,” Daniel said after he wiped his mouth with the cloth, “that was good.”

I took a sip of my wine. “Indeed it was. We should come here more often.”

Daniel nodded. “More like every night.”

We laughed. We both peered down at our hands interlocked into one another and then simultaneously at each other. Daniel smiled, and I couldn’t help but mirror his wide, proud grin. He leaned in and kissed me with grace and ease. I tasted just a bit of the chilli from his soft, wet lips and it was wonderful. I literally had to remember where I was and hold back from getting down and dirty right here, right now.

I nodded when we parted. “For a kiss like that, every night.”

Daniel laughed. “I just hope you don’t get blasted by your boss when you get into work.”

I narrowed my eyes. “Thanks for reminding me.”

Daniel laughed again. “You never actually told me what happened. How did you break loose?”

Daniel seemed calm and genuinely interested. The night had been going so well that I didn’t want to ruin it with the mention of Derek, but I also didn’t want to hide anything from Daniel. Couples who feel the need to hide something from one another never end up on the path of tranquillity. In other words, it ain’t worth it sahn! But then I thought, when does the justifications for being honest blur the lines of just unnecessary information? It’s a tricky slope; being honest or being pointlessly hurtful. I tucked in my fears, and looked straight ahead as I chose to blur the lines.

“Derek and I made a deal,” I breathed.

I turned to Daniel and he for sure didn’t looked pleased at all. And I didn’t blame him. The fact of the matter is, if he was doing something with Tanya (I almost forgot her name; almost!), then I’d be upset too.

“What?” he replied, probably in an effort to keep from saying anything regrettable.

“Let me explain,” I quickly said.

Daniel chuckled humourlessly. “I’m not stopping you.”

“Okay, so, uh, I needed someone to fill in for me at work, at this meeting-slash-party thing. Nikki had the idea of getting someone else that I think Eddie would approve of basically, and since Nikki was busy, and every other intern wasn’t up to what I thought Eddie would have liked, I asked Derek. And we switched favours.”

Daniel’s brows furrowed. “Switched favours?”

“Well,” I went on hesitantly, thinking that I was crossing the blurred line too far, “I’ll be babysitting with him on Saturday.”

“With him?”

I nodded. “I didn’t think there was any other way. I was running out of options and fast, Derek was my last resort.”

“How chivalrous of him.”

“Oh come on,” I said, sliding my fingers in between Daniel’s hand, which still remained on my leg, “it’s not that bad. I really wanted to spend time with you, this was important to me. If it were for any other occasion then I wouldn’t have agreed to it. I just couldn’t let you go without being with you.”

“I know I should be feeling mad right now,” Daniel said, “but I just can’t.”

“I don’t even like the guy,” I added, hoping it would help.

Daniel tried smiling. “Good.”

I was feeling a sense of uneasiness though, on Daniel’s part. I get where he was coming from, really, I do, but I had no choice. Derek was the only smart available person. And if it ever makes Daniel feel better, then I’ll get a Taser gun or some pepper spray. I’m not even kidding here.

I smiled back, kissing him on his cheek. He turned his face to really kiss me, and then it felt like we were back the way we were before. The mood was set again, and the rush of us wanting more was growing like crazy.

“Do you want to get out of here?” I asked.

“Oh please, before I take you right here right now.”

In the cab ride home we were all over each other. I wondered, while we were in this one, how many soft core pornos this cab driver has seen take place in the back of his car. It was only natural. In a lot of rom-coms it’s like a crucial aspect of filming. I bet it’s part of the studio contracts: must have soft core pornos in cabs. The Ramen Girl, springs to mind!

We went back to my place and because I pre-planned with Chloe, she wasn’t there. We had the whole place to ourselves until morning, which meant we could do whatever we want, wherever we want. We stripped in seconds and stumbled into my bedroom. Daniel had never been so physically passionate with me before. Most of the time we led each other equally, but this time, he wanted me exactly how he wanted.

I lay with my back on the bed, and without any warning, I felt Daniel push himself inside me. I gasped as I felt him fill me up, and then he spared no time with the force of each thrust. It was powerful, he squeezed my breasts as he went on and on, and I could only scratch his back and butt.

“Come for me,” he whispered in my ear. And just when the vibrating tingles started to get stronger, he whispered it again until I came, grabbing the sheets and angling my body as I did.

Without letting me rest even for a second, he switched me over on my stomach, but he hadn’t entered me yet. Instead, he did the most amazing thing; he kissed from my shoulder all the way down my spine, and to the top part of my butt cheek. He curled his arm around and grabbed my breasts as he kissed up my spine, tracing every last kiss he made, and it was divine.

“Fuck I’m going to miss you,” Daniel whispered when he reached my ear.

I turned my head to the side to at least catch a glimpse of him. “I’m going to miss you, too.”

Daniel pushed himself inside of me, on cue, and just like that filling me up again. “I love you, Daniel.”

“I fucking love you, Anna,” Daniel said, thrusting one last time and holding it as he came.

Daniel collapsed on me and remained still for a while. I turned onto my back and wrapped my legs around him. We began making out, tasting each other’s lops, remembering each other’s skin, the smell of us together. He kissed me a couple of times on my neck and then afterwards he moved onto his back and put his arm out for me to move into him. I kissed his chest a couple of times before I lay my head.

Daniel sighed. “Why haven’t you asked me to stay?”

I hadn’t expected the question. Maybe a lot earlier I would have but it didn’t exactly sound like something one says after sex.

“It didn’t seem fair to ask. I figured you would actually consider it, and I didn’t want to make it harder on you.”

“It’s already too hard.”

“I know. But with or without you, I still love you.”

Daniel’s chest rose and dropped rapidly, and I heard the little huffs of his laugh. “With or without you,” he mumbled.

I nodded into his chest. “Yup.”

“Like the song.”

“Only hopefully a little less sad.”

“Maybe it’s happy in a sense as well,” Daniel said. “With or without you. A single line that says it all. Four little words. As powerful as three little words.”

“Mmmm…” I said dreamily, my eyes feeling heavy and beginning to close.

“Anna?” he asked, sounding just as sleepy as I was, dragging my name out.

“Mmmm?”

“Don’t fall asleep.”

“Why?” I whispered.

And after a momentary silence, for which it made me begin to slip into a slumber much quicker, I heard, in an almost distant, far away voice, “So tomorrow doesn’t get here.”

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9 thoughts on “With Or Without You

  1. Good but sad!! I wonder what will happen if Anna stays here….Daniel in New York … Long distance relationships rarely last.

    Maybe Derek isn’t so bad. I mean you can’t blame a guy for trying & he did help Anna out to be with another guy!
    Good post soul!!

    1. I think Derek helped her out because he knows Daniel is leaving and he wants to get on good terms with Anna again, so in his mind something could happen between them.

  2. Three things….please please please please let Anna and Daniel stay together. Two, I hope she calls that guy that gave her the business card and I hope his office is in New York so they can be together. And three, dont let anything happen between Anna and Derek!

  3. Yep, I still hate Derek. I think this is all part of his asshole master plan. Be nice to Anna, make her think he’s a good guy so she’ll fall for him while Daniel is gone. He’s gonna hang around her and he’s gonna strike at a timing when Anna is probably feeling lonely or feeling like she’s drifting from Daniel. I hope to mankind that I am wrong though, because I really don’t want anything to happen between the two of them. I love Daniel as much as I love Anna and I would hate for her to shatter his heart again like Tanya did. That boy does not deserve it at all. I know it’s hard to be in long-distance, but I really hope the two of them can stay faithful and last.

    I’m so sad to see Daniel leave. It’s going to be weird reading posts without him. I hope we somehow get to hear about him a lot though. I really hope Jade does get better after everything Daniel is going through just to help her. I can’t imagine how he would feel if he lost his mom after all he’s done. Great post Soul! These characters feel so real to me. Love Anna and Daniel, love your writing, and love your blog!

  4. Awww!! I love this post!!! I agree with everyone that I really hope nothing happens between Derek and Anna! … Anna and Daniel are perfect together and I really hope that nothing comes between them even though they are apart! Love this blog so much thanks for the extra post!

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