It was still the middle of the night when I was bringing in two cups of water into the bedroom. I handed one to Daniel and the other I placed on my side of the bedside table. He did the same for his and then pulled me into him to lay down next to him.
We were all smiles the entire time, at certain points, apprehensive smiles, but happy nonetheless.
“I didn’t mean for this to happen when I came here,” he said.
“I know,” I replied, sitting upright and crossing my legs underneath each other.
“I mean, not that I regret it,” he caressed my bare leg. “I really don’t regret it.”
I smiled, glad it was still dark because I was going red again. “Me neither.”
I was wearing his buttoned down shirt and was contemplating asking him if I could keep it along with his jacket when I remembered he’d be leaving soon. I cleared my throat and leaned back to reach for my phone. Then, I stood up on the bed and snapped a picture of him.
“Wait, I wasn’t even smiling in that one,” he said.
“Oh, you were brooding. Avante garde Christian Grey.” I stepped over him and placed my feet on either side of his ribs.
I laughed, shaking my head and taking another picture. “Never mind.” This time, he raised both hands melded into peace signs and stuck his tongue out. I dropped down and straddled him. “That was a good one.”
“Is it a guy you’re dating?”
I furrowed my brows. “It’s from a movie. Fifty Shades of Grey.”
He lifted his brows. “Oh.” He paused. “But you are dating aren’t you?”
I chuckled awkwardly. “Daniel…”
“I mean—” he leaned forwards and propped himself up with his elbows, and looked down— “have you slept with anyone after…me? After us, I mean?”
I crossed my arms over my chest. “Is your date, the one you brought to the wedding, just a person you know or someone you’ve been dating?”
I half-smiled. “I feel like you know the answer.”
I looked down. “I feel like I do too, but I’d rather hear it from you.”
“She is…a girl I’ve been dating, yes. She thinks it’s monogamous, though I’ve slept with other women.”
I swallowed hard. “Yes, I’ve been sleeping with a guy. Just one.”
“Feels weird, doesn’t it?”
I nodded in agreement. “Feels like we shouldn’t even be talking about it,” I eyed him suggestively.
He chuckled. “Alright. So…how are things then?” He leaned back onto the pillow.
I smiled at his attempt of making this get together seem normal. “Fine. You?”
“Fine. Daddy’s girl is about ready to pop.”
“Oh yeah, I completely forgot about that.”
“He doesn’t let me forget about it. He’s quite proud.”
I could taste the venom coming from his mouth. “Sorry I couldn’t give you what you wanted.”
“What I wanted was you,” he said, angrily. “It’s always been you.”
“No, I meant—”
“I know what you meant,” he sighed, frustrated, rolling his eyes.
I squirmed off him and returned to sitting crossed legged beside him. We were both silent. It won’t matter how far we’ll go—how far we’ve gone—we’ll always have the same fight. And yet, the same restlessness from being apart.
I glanced at the time. “It’s nearly 3AM.”
“Did you want me to leave?”
I shook my head. “No. Not unless you want to.”
He shook his head, caressing my leg. “I don’t want to.” He paused, avoiding my gaze. “Sorry I couldn’t give you what you wanted, too.”
I smiled and shrugged. “It’s okay. It’s better this way, though.”
“I don’t see how,” he muttered.
“We wanted different things. What don’t you understand? We had to break up.”
“No, you thought we had to break up. You decided this, not me. I never wanted…” he cut himself off and got out of the bed, still in his boxers. He neared the window and looked out into the night, his bare muscled back facing me. “I’m just repeating myself. It’s starting to sound pathetic.”
“New York made you soft,” I mumbled a joke. He huffed a laugh. “Maybe you should move back to L.A.”
He looked down, shaking his head. His chuckle humourless. “And around we go…”
“I didn’t mean it like that,” I clarified.
He turned around and sat on the bed in front of me. “My father never let my mother go, you know. He suffocated her. He drove her to become unfaithful. She died having wished to be loved.” He looked down at my legs. “I could never do that to you. This is going to sound corny but, if I love you, I need to let you go.” My heart raced as he spoke. The final hour pressing on me like the weight of water. “We can’t keep coming back here, no matter how much I—”
“I love you, too,” I breathed, shakily. “I don’t know how to get over you. I don’t want to. But I want us to be happy too, I don’t know what to do.”
“Fuck…” he grumbled under his breath.
“No, it’s not you.”
“’It’s not you, it’s me’, right?”
He shook his head. “I don’t mean it like that.”
“Why did you have to come to the wedding?”
“What?” he asked, confusedly.
“Why did you have to come to the wedding and ruin it for us both? We were going along fine. Not seeing each other was working out fine.”
“I was getting withdrawals, Anna, I hardly think that that’s fine.”
“I hate this,” I spat.
He nodded calmly. “I know.”
“I hate this!”
“It wasn’t supposed to happen like this,” he agreed.
Ugh, why did I break us up!? Oh, right, he wanted kids, and I didn’t. And it was killing him.
I glanced back at the time. “3:30AM.”
“Feels like it went a lot longer.”
“When is your flight?”
“Afternoon. I didn’t take Monday off.”
“Isn’t your new girlfriend wondering where you are?”
He smiled. “She’s been blowing up my phone, but I don’t care. I know that’s horrible to say, but I really don’t give a shit about her.”
Great, now I’m the other woman. His previous woman. The other-previous-woman. How did I get here?
“Will you at least reconsider not having kids?” I asked, wondering immediately after if it was offensive to ask.
He lifted a brow and smiled wide. “Would you reconsider having kids?”
“So what now?”
I shrugged. “Now, we could sleep?”
He shook his head. “I want to spend the night with you.” His eyelids were coming down heavily.
“You’re not tired?”
“Okay,” I bit my lip, getting out of bed to get dressed, “then let’s go.”
Daniel’s eyes brightened and he hopped out of bed. “I’m going to need my shirt back.”
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