***This is not a bonus post. Just uploading the next post a little sooner since I can’t give a bonus just yet! Enjoy! xo***
“What’s going on here?” Tom asked, not even caring to know.
Adam turned to him. “I’m taking Anna to the hospital.”
“Was it really that bad?” Tom asked, assessing me with suspicion.
“Enough to need medical attention. Why?”
Janine and I are hitting another bar not far from here. Supposed to be really good…” Tom trailed off once he noticed Daniel for the first time. He narrowed his eyes in thought. “I’m sorry, and you are…?”
“Daniel,” he nodded. “I was just offering Anna my help at the same time.”
Tom looked at me with only one gaze I knew often given to many women, this time it was directed at me. He was wondering what made me so special, in a condescending way.
“Perfect,” Tom said. “That settles it. Her friend can take her and you can come with us.” Tom slapped Adam on the back and grinned proudly, as if he solved a difficult mathematical problem.
Daniel wore a sly smile while Tom spoke. It was as if he thought we were playing a game and he was winning. It annoyed me. The choice was no longer mine anymore, Tom ruined that for me.
“I, umm, I—”
“It’s okay,” I interrupted Adam, “you don’t have to go with me. I’ll have Daniel take me and you can go do your thing if you want.” I figured I may as well retain that spec of control in the end somehow, so I thought I’d grab a hold of the conversation and seem as if I almost intended things to turn out this way.
“Are you sure?” Adam asked.
I nodded. “I’ll call you in the morning.” It was then I turned to Daniel and returned a sly smile of my own. He rolled his eyes.
I had forgotten completely about the waitress that was standing attention behind me. It wasn’t until I moved forward and a small part of my back felt cool that I realised we were there for quite a while. Daniel escorted me out the door of the bar, and then called his driver. I wondered how fancy Daniel was that he had a driver at this point. I wondered a lot of things about Daniel to be honest.
It was silence galore once we were in the car. Daniel mumbled something off to the driver and then we were away. The bump and grind of the car made me wobble backwards and forwards. My back was too sore to be touching leather seats, so I ended up leaning forwards.
It felt weird that I didn’t know how to react around Daniel. Daniel, the man I’ve been madly in love with, suddenly felt like a stranger; and I hated the feeling. I hated it because my first instinct every time I forgot we weren’t together was to speak to him about everything and anything.
After a while, the car slowed and we were parked in front of an apartment building.
“Where are we?” I asked, confused.
I tilted my head. “Daniel, take me to the hospital, I might need stitches or something.”
Daniel leaned forwards, jolting my heart into thinking a different kind of something was about to happen. “The cut isn’t that deep. All you need is antiseptic and a patch. I’ve got those. Saves on the time and effort with the hospital.”
“Daniel…” I said again, feeling the name turn from liquid fire to naturally cool as it jumped off my tongue and into the pool of commonness.
“Your choice, Anna,” Daniel said. He got out of the car and I watched him walk up the steps and then freeze before the entranceway.
I sighed and then followed suit shortly after. Daniel had obviously moved for reasons that may be obvious. Instead of the huge loft I was accustomed to him living in, he was now renting a little modest living area. It was clearly only meant for one person and one person only, but it still looked like the quaint and yet suave, high-flying, extension of Daniel.
“Sit,” he said, moving his chin towards a kitchen stool.
I wasn’t given a quick tour, but I’m guessing by the sounds I was hearing that he disappeared into the bathroom. He then came back out with a first aid kit.
“This might sting a bit,” Daniel said, pouring some brown antiseptic into a cotton ball.
“I know a thing or two about stings,” I said.
I had turned around before I said that, so I couldn’t see Daniel’s reaction. Other than the silence, I knew he was instilling his gaze onto me. It was still warm outside, but in here, I felt even hotter. Just as before, the heat was coursing inside me. It opened the memories of what we once were, and a heart ache soon followed.
I sucked in sharply through my teeth as soon as he dabbed my shoulder with the cotton ball. “Ouch!”
“What are you doing here?” he asked after a while.
“Am I under interrogation now?”
“Just curious. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
I sighed. I remembered Daniel more differently to this. More confident. As the words left his mouth he seemed to sound more deflated.
“Just checking out New York.”
I shrugged and then winced at the pain I caused for myself. “Possibly for work.”
“Work? Are you thinking of moving here?” his hand paused on my back.
“It’s just a thought.”
The silence came and once again it seemed as if we had nothing to say. After all we’ve had, it seemed this is what our relationship has gotten down to.
“I think it’d be better if you took a shower first,” Daniel said.
I widened my eyes. “A shower?” Well this whole process was completely pointless.
“To wash off the beer, any glass on you. To change out of that wet dress.”
I turned around swiftly. “If you just took me to the hospital like you were supposed to then we wouldn’t even be having this conversation.”
“If I took you to the hospital we probably wouldn’t even be having a conversation in the first place.”
I narrowed my eyes. “Well what makes you think I want to talk to you?”
“Because I still…” Daniel struggled, “I still…”
When I realised the potential of the words he was trying to say, I hopped off the stool and then went to the bathroom. Just before I entered I turned around, “I hope you got some clean clothes for me to wear?”
When the patchwork was done and I was wearing Daniel’s boxers and shirt, I sat at his dining table. I had grown hungry in the last few hours and regrettably made that fact audible. Daniel made a little snack for me and propped them on a cutting board. We sat at the corners of the table, I half-hoped he’d sit across from me.
“I should go back,” I finally said, breaking the silence.
“You can go in the morning,” Daniel replied.
I chuckled humourlessly. “Why do you insist that I stay here? What makes you think I have anything to say to you?”
“Because we’ve said nothing since—”
“Since you screwed us over!”
My words made him quiet. I had hoped I would never react that way, no matter how much I hated what he did.
“I’m sorry,” I muttered.
Daniel shook his limp head. “I deserve it.”
That melted my stone-cold chill. “You don’t. You really don’t actually.”
“I just think we left so much unsaid. At least for my sake, for my own sanity that I’ve actually done something, will you please just here me out? Who knows, maybe you’ll have some things to say as well.”
I’ve wanted to say so much, but I didn’t know where to begin. Neither did Daniel it seemed. After a while he put his face into his hands and started laughing.
I furrowed my brows. “Umm…”
He moved his hands away at the same time he was trying to stifle his laugh. “I’m sorry.”
I smiled politely. “It’s alright.”
“God,” Daniel let out a gust of air, “I’ve just been so stressed out. I’ve wanted to speak to you for so long but didn’t know how to approach you, and now that you’re here right in front of me I still don’t know how to approach you. All I know to say first is,” he took my hand in his and looked me dead in the eyes, “I’m sorry. Truly, I am. She’s out of my life. As you can tell, they never moved so I did.”
“Thank you,” I managed to whisper. I didn’t even know if it mattered anymore. I didn’t feel anything from that apology other than appreciation.
He caressed his thumb along my knuckles. “Also,” he continued, “I haven’t been completely honest with you over the course of our relationship; but that’s only because I thought it didn’t matter.”
“Yes?” I wondered.
“I tried sending my mother money,” he said, “but she wouldn’t accept it. That was way at the start though, and I still remained in New York. The job was too good to give up, which is not to say I didn’t want to be with you the entire time, I just…I don’t know.”
I was glad I wasn’t the one to bring it up. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Daniel shrugged. “I don’t know. I guess I didn’t want you to convince me to come back to California.”
I took my hand away and leaned back on the chair. “I wouldn’t have done that you know.”
Daniel nodded. “I know. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you. Or yet, assumed and didn’t give you a chance to react your way.”
I stood and walked to the kitchen. I opened the fridge, pulled out a container filled with water and poured myself a cup. The heat was beginning to rise again. This time I didn’t know if it was from the heat or mixed feelings. Daniel followed after me, and I placed my back on the fridge, hoping it’d cool me a bit.
“What do you want me to say?” I asked. “That I forgive you? Fine. I forgive you. Are you happy now?”
Daniel shook his head. “No, I just, I needed to tell you this stuff because I thought you should know. I don’t need the sarcasm.”
“Well I don’t need the apology.” I crossed my arms petulantly.
Daniel huffed a laugh. “Stubborn until the end.”
“I thought the end was a long time ago,” I said.
Daniel skimmed my lips. “It should have never been the end.”
“I think I should go,” I said, nervously.
“Don’t go,” Daniel whispered.
“I think I need to go before we rush into something we might regret.”
Daniel grazed his finger along my cheek, tingling every nerve in my body.
“I have to go,” I whispered again.
“We should never have ended.”