With grace, Will climbed on top of me while I laid down on his bed. We had been making out for quite some time before the ascension came. With speedy kisses, Will marked a trail down my neck and onto my breasts. Neither of us were naked just yet, but the battle of heat was enough to burn the clothes off our fiery and hungry skin. Then Will slipped his hand underneath my dress and I responded by unbuttoning his shirt and unbuckling his belt. Once my underwear was completely off, my heart raced increasingly by at least a factor of ten thousand beats per second. The drumming echoed in my ears and I was beginning to wonder if Will heard it too. That’s how crazy it was!
Will came down to kiss me again; the prelude before the arc. I was writhing and breathing heavily, my eyes closed. I couldn’t even open them, he was so gentle and tender. I could barely breathe, but it was just enough to react to his sweet kisses. At this moment, he began undressing me, his lips remained on my skin. I was wriggling even more at his merciless touch.
“Oh,” I moaned, slipping into an addictively intoxicating haze, “Dan—Will!” I open my eyes immediately.
Will froze and I stared at the ceiling, wide-eyed. I had never ever in my life mixed up names during sex! All the heat that was once gushing all over my body rose to my cheeks. I placed both hands on my face to cover the sheer embarrassment and groaned.
Maybe it won’t count if I didn’t say his name completely? Oh who was I kidding, I would have become immediately immobile if after Will had mentioned some other girl’s name instead of my own.
“Dan?” Will asked, confusedly.
I laughed nervously. “I meant to say ‘damn’?”
Will sat up. “Who the hell is Dan?”
“Daniel,” I clarified, sitting up in front of him. “He was my ex.”
I nodded shamefully and then shrugged. “Mistake.”
Will narrowed his eyes, unfathomable to the whole situation. Even though these unfortunate occurrences aren’t exactly impossible.
“And why did this mistake come up now?” Will pressed.
“You know, it doesn’t even matter. I don’t even know why.”
“He lives in New York, doesn’t he?”
I was taken aback by his question. “How did you know that?”
Will shrugged and smiled in realisation. “I’m just piecing a few things together. I found you a little hesitant; unsure. But I passed it off as nerves, I didn’t know it was because of your ex.”
I shook my head vehemently. “It’s not because of him. We’re over.”
“I don’t think so,” Will surmised, “I think there still might be something there for him.”
I scoffed. “That’s absurd.”
What, we’ve been dating for five minutes and he thinks he can Dr. Phil me into figuring me out so easily?
“You weren’t going to have sex with me because you wanted to; you were trying to get over him.”
I paused for a moment as I registered his calculation, and then suddenly felt transparent. “I don’t…” I struggled, “I didn’t…”
This was so unfair! I cannot be this person. The person that has to get over someone by getting under someone else; but more of the fact that I’m realising—no! It can’t be. I’m not in love with Daniel.
“I’m not in love with Daniel,” I voiced, hoping that saying it out loud would help me come to terms with a lie. It did the opposite though; revealing the thin crack of my buried thoughts and feelings.
“Listen,” Will said, he was neither condescending nor unkind, “I don’t think we should carry on.”
The bridge of my nose crinkled in disappointment. “Why not?”
“Because it’s just not right. You need to work this out and figure out what you want before you go through with anything.”
I don’t need this psychoanalytic session! In my mind I was thrashing against the chains that bound me to the obvious truth, but I knew it wouldn’t be this easy. My shoulders slumped and I looked at Will through heavy, deepened eyes.
“I’m sorry.” And I truly was. It was so awkward and humiliating to be so caught out on something that you should have known was happening yourself. “It wasn’t my intention in the beginning. At least, I don’t think it was.”
Will smiled. “I can take you home if you like?”
I shook my head. “No it’s okay. Finding a cab will clear my head. Just, being on my own for now will clear my head.”
What else was I supposed to say? Hell yeah give me a ride? I took a slow walk outside; teachers would say I would be dawdling at this point. Killing time, as it were. But I wasn’t just doing that. My thoughts were scattered. In one swift moment, by one swift incomplete mention of a name, I had shattered the spherical glass that held most, if not all, the thoughts of Daniel. And just like when a water balloon is filled up with too much water, the thoughts burst from its bubble and started pouring out.
The light clicking of my heels made me think of each moment with him like a slideshow; fading in with each click of the right heel, fading out with each click of the left. Moments of good and bad. The best, the first and the last. Could it be true? Could my heart still belong to Daniel? I never liked to regret anything, because I tend to dwell on most things, but suddenly, I almost felt like I was regretting turning down Daniel too soon.
When I visited New York, he asked me to be with him again. I refused. I didn’t even give it much thought. Not a cent’s worth of wonder. But I also never wanted to be one of those couples that are on-again off-again. It had always irked me, and I didn’t want my relationship with Daniel to be like that. I wanted it to last. I’ve always wanted it to last. But I didn’t want to go down that road. There’s always something miscalculated about on-again off-again relationships, like a math problem that you thought you found the answer to a million times over, only to conclusively give up because it had always been wrong. Daniel and I were never on-again off-again; but, could the question of us ever be rightly answered?
After I imagined slapping a group of guys that started whistling at me, I climbed into a cab and couldn’t wait to get home. Having women like Laura Bates and Tara Moss speak out against shitheads like those are comforting. Even the smallest gesture, act, or words can have the biggest impact.
I fumbled with the door until I stumbled into the dark house. Chloe never ever leaves the house this dark, unless she was out. I had to feel for the light until a little switch turned a lamp on. The place felt empty and the same; save for a fresh set of flowers in a vase on the kitchen top. I smiled, thinking that Chloe had someone on the side, and then remembered that she hadn’t mentioned anyone. I moved forward, throwing my keys and clutch next to the vase and sifting through pure scented petals. My hand caught the tiny card, and I pulled it out to read.
I was in love with you. I’m still in love with you. Will you consider taking a second chance on me?
I jumped and gasped at the sound of a man’s voice behind me. Daniel was here! More importantly, how the hell did I miss him seated on the couch? He stood and with that confidence I missed when I saw him in New York, took a hand out of his pocket and ran it through his hair. The low glow of the lamp made him look like the most handsome man in the world. My heart fluttered at the sight of him to the point where my breath caught in my throat.
“Chloe let me in,” Daniel said, “in case you’re wondering. I didn’t realise,” he appraised me, “you were on a date. You look beautiful, as always.”
I swallowed down a huge lump in my throat and then cleared it. “I don’t know what to say.”
Daniel smiled, sympathetically. “I’m sorry to have sprung this on you, especially since it seems you’ve moved on—”
“I haven’t moved on,” I said all too quickly. “I meant to say that it’s not so easy trying to get over you.”
“I don’t want you to get over me,” Daniel replied smoothly. Now towering over me, I was completely infatuated. I hated that I had a date the same day Daniel decided to surprise me by showing up.
I shrugged and repeated, “I don’t know what else to say.”
“How was your date?”
I chuckled at the random question. I don’t think there was anything that could phase Daniel to be honest.
“Not good, to say the least.”
“And the most?”
“A friendly disaster, one after the other. Would you have still come here if you had known I was on a date?”
Daniel paused and pondered for a minute. Then nodded. “Yes, I would. Selfishly, I had to try everything within my power.”
“I don’t know how this would work out.”
Daniel shrugged. “I don’t know how this would work out either. But I do know I want you by my side when we figure it out.”
I sighed. The air came out in shaky bits of nerves.
Daniel ran his thumb along my cheek. “I can give you some time if you’d like. There’s no need to rush. If anything, I want you to want me back too. And I want some time to pass between me and this date of yours.”
I cringed when he brought it up again. Why, why, why, did it have to be on the same night?
“There was something I also wanted to tell you,” Daniel said, crinkling the bridge of his nose, deep in thought, “I’m sorry.” He said the words, staring straight into my eyes. “I don’t think I ever told you properly, but I’m sorry, for ever hurting you.”
I gulped down the huge lump, now tracing a path down to my heart, expanding it into a stretch filled with pain and longing. I wanted to say that, in all honesty, it takes two people to break up. That it was never entirely his fault nor mine. That in some way, I didn’t nurture our relationship and let it flourish as it should have. Or could have. That mistakes were made, prices were paid, and here we were; as if the distance had never flung us into opposite directions.
So simply, I thanked him, and told him that it was never entirely his fault. This much he had to know. As much I hated what he did, I was equally irritated at the fact that I didn’t even fight till my last breath for our relationship to hold. At first sucker punch, I got knocked down to my knees, begged and pleaded for the bell to ring and the match to be over, and eventually got what I asked for.
“Where are you staying?” I asked.
“I hadn’t checked into a hotel yet.”
I shrugged. “If you want, you can crash here. I can bring out a pillow and blanket for you.”
I nodded. “As you wish.”
Knowingly, Daniel smiled.