“He found Heaven in his eyes. And for the first time in a very long time, he could feel the stars within him start to shine.” -Jessica Michelle
"Hello?" I answered, stopping the ringing of my phone. It was almost 2:30 AM. Who the hell would be calling me at this hour?
"Caleb?" I whispered, sitting up. Why was he calling?
"Yeah. Are you okay? Can you come over?" he asked. I glanced over at Theo who was sleeping soundly on the bed next to me.
"Yeah, what do you need? Can you pick me up?" I replied finally. I'd be back before Theo wakes up. It'd be fine.
"Sure. Send me the address."
"I'm at Theo's house."
"Okay I'm on my way," Caleb said, hanging up. I sat cross legged on my floor bed for a minute or two before standing up and quietly slipping out of the bedroom. I sat in Theo's living room. The living room that held so many memories; good and bad. My phone dinged, telling me I had received a new text.
Hey, I'm here.
I shoved my phone back into my pocket and left the house, locking the door behind me. I opened Caleb's car door and climbed inside. Quiet music immediately filled my ears.
Don't you go and carry on with your life
It was a one night stand 'til I woke up next to you
"So how are you doing?" Caleb asked, pulling away and driving in the direction of his house. He was completely oblivious to the previous events in my life. I pulled a big smile on.
"Great! Theo and I are getting closer I think," I exclaimed, faking excitement. Caleb clenched his jaw at the mention of Theo. I forgot he used to date him, my bad. I wonder what it would be like dating Theo.
"Hm.. yeah, great," he mumbled.
"Sorry. I forgot you guys used to date," I said, looking down at my lap. He shot his hand out to ruffle my hair for a second.
"Nah, it's not that," he assured. I just nodded in response and the car went silent for a little. The only sound was the quiet music playing from the radio.
Don't shut me down now
Just hear me out now
"Would you ever consider dating Theo?" Caleb asked me. I looked up in surprise. Would I? I don't even know myself. Theo's been nothing but nice to me since we met, but would I actually consider dating him? Sure he's a great guy, but am I ready for a relationship at the moment? Would it be like dating Scotty? I wouldn't date Scotty.
"...no," I answered hesitantly. Caleb let a short laugh out.
"Long pause, don't you think?" he pointed out and I shrugged. Averting my eyes out of the window. I watched his house appear no draw closer until we had stopped. The two of us got out of his car and walked into his house. When we arrived inside and the door was closed, Caleb wrapping his fingers around my wrist and tugged me into his bedroom, pinning me to his door and kissing me. My eyes widened, but I didn't fight it. Maybe I needed this. I know Caleb didn't try to hurt me. Maybe this would be relaxing for me. I kissed back and soon enough, shirts were on the floor followed by pants and boxers.
I let a soft moan escape my lips when Caleb hit that sweet spot inside of me and then released. I had already came a while ago but I waited until he was finished before moving away.
"Would you ever consider dating me?" Caleb asked shyly, handing me one hundred dollars. I took a fourth of it and gave the rest back. I didn't want to take his money. I needed some of it, but I don't want Caleb to suffer because of me. He smiled and tucked it into a drawer. Caleb was nice to me and gentle with me. Was dating just sex, though? I haven't really been with him without having sex with him. I want to see what he's like when he's not anticipating sex with me.
"I want to know you better before I give an answer," I answered him and he nodded.
"Do you wanna hang out tomorrow then?" he offered and I nodded. Why not? I wonder if Theo would be mad at me for doing this? Should I tell him or keep these meetings a secret? I don't wanna hide anything from Theo.
"Can I tell Theo we're doing these things?" I asked and Caleb shook his head quickly.
"No. I gotta take you back before he wakes up! Come on, let's go," he realized pulling me up and dragging me into his car. We sat in almost complete silence for the majority of the car ride, letting me think.
Would Estella prefer me to date Caleb or Theo? I miss her. I could have been with her if Theo hadn't saved me. Would I rather be with Estella or Theo and Caleb and Scotty? My eyes widened when I couldn't immediately say Estella was the choice I'd pick. I don't wanna move on. I wanted it to be easy to choose. I used to be, so why wasn't it easy now? Would I pick Estella over Theo alone? Would I pick Estella over Scott alone? What about Caleb? When did this become so complicated?
"When the sun goes down on this town, there'll be no one left but us. Just like run-aways," Caleb sang softly. Runaways...
"Come on, Tia! We should runaway! Your parents obviously don't get along. Your dad is going to end up hurting you guys! I don't think it's safe for you to stay there anymore!" Estella argued. I crossed my arms stubbornly.
"No! I love my dad! He wouldn't hurt us! I can't run away, Estellelle!" I pouted. Estellelle was my nickname for her. Even though it was longer than her actual name, I still used it. She sighed.
"Alright. Alright, you can stay. But please just consider running away. I don't want you to get hurt," she said in concern. I smiled and nodded. My dad would never hurt me or my mom. I know he wouldn't because he loves us!
"Where were you?" Theo asked groggily. "I woke up and you were not in bed."
"I was downstairs. I was thirsty. Sorry," I lied and laid down, already sore from Caleb.
"Mhm... I was worried... come here.." he slurred from sleepiness. I smiled lightly and crawled into bed with Theo. Was this bad? I was just in bed with Caleb. I heard Theo inhale sharply and then push me off of the bed roughly, standing up. I winced as I hit the floor. Did I do something wrong? Did I hurt him? Is he okay?
"What the hell? I thought you were somebody else.. sorry.." he apologized, helping me to my feet. "I must be super tired.."
I chuckled and snuggled into him. He inhaled again and held me out at arms length. I peered into his eyes. Why wasn't he snuggling me? Did I do something again?
"Why do you smell like.. my ex?" he asked suspiciously. I cocked my head to the side. What does he mean?
"Huh? I smell like Caleb?" I asked. He took a step back.
"How do you know him? How did you know Caleb was my ex?" he asked warily. I shrugged.
"He told me."
"When we're you with him?"
"Before all this happened. Why?" I asked, now really confused. Theo looked hurt. "Sorry, did I do something wrong?" I asked. He shook his head and then nodded his head, making my confusion increase.
"No. Yes. I- I don't know, did you?" he said.
"I don't know... did I?"
"Why are you hanging out with my ex, Christian?" he asked seriously. Tingles went up my spine and my stomach flipped. I felt my face heat up and I began to look everywhere but at Theo. What is this? What's happening?
"You like me back..." he murmured. I shook my head. I didn't. Did I? No. Did I? I.. I don't know anymore. He placed his hand on the side of my face and drew me closer to him. My heartbeat rapidly pounded against my rib cage and my breathing became ragged. Was I having another panic attack? I was inches away from his face. I saw his eyes flicker to my lips.
"What we're you doing with Caleb, Christian?" he asked.
"He- having. We were- he was- we had- sex w-we-" I stuttered out. Theo frowned and interrupted.
"I knew it! I can't believe he raped you!" he exclaimed stepping away and tangling his fingers in his hair, tugging on it in frustration. I was frozen in place. I really thought he was going to kiss me, but I guess not. Would I have let him this time? Then his words registered in my brain.
"Wait, no! He didn't rape me, we just did it normally! I let him! I promise he didn't rape me," I said hurriedly. Theo's anger dropped fro, his face, leaving it in a sad expression.
"What?" I asked, not liking the expression on his face. What did I say wrong? Why was he sad? I liked it better when he was angry.
"Well, that just makes me sad..." he admitted. I tilted my head to one side in confusion. He noticed and elaborated, "Well, it means that you did it because you wanted to, not because you were forced to. Which means you like him."
"No I don't," I said quickly. "Wait, I don't know. Do I? I don't think I do. I-I'm confused. I don't like him as in I would date him. He gives me money if I do it with him. I need money for things," I explained. I need money for cigarettes. Theo looked up, angry again. Why were his moods changing so much?
"That son of a bitch! Look, I need you to listen when I say he's bad. Don't go to him anymore, okay?" he commanded and I agreed. I didn't want him to be mad at me next. Angry Theo was a scary Theo.
"Why not?" I asked out of curiosity. Theo's face became a light shade of pink and he looked at his feet.
"He did the same with me. He sucked up to me and made it seem like he was good. Of course me, being the stupid little shit I was, I believed him and let h8 do whatever he pleased with me as long as he paid me. But over the course of a week, he had convinced me to stop expecting money and to date him. I accepted and later found out that Caleb had become obsessed with me. He was in love with me in a creepy way. He stalked me, wouldn't leave me alone, and always used me as a sex toy. I finally got fed up and confronted him about it. He locked me in his bedroom for two days before I was able to get out. He's creepy and bad," Theo said. I nodded. Does he love me in a creepy way too? I mean, he did stalk me.
"I will stop going to him, Theo I promise. Do you want me to block him on my phone?" I asked. If Theo says he's bad, I think I can trust him. Plus, I don't think Theo would make that whole story up. Theo nodded and I sent Caleb one last text before blocking the number.
Sorry, Caleb. I can't hang out with you anymore. I'm really sorry.
This number is blocked.
"Okay I'm done," I informed, looking up from my phone. Theo was looking down at me, mouth slightly parted and eyes glazed over. My words got stuck in my throat and I averted my eyes from his gaze and stared at him chest instead.
My face flushed and I entered panic mode again. Every time he says my name, I panic. I don't know why this happens to me. Does this happen to everybody? Am I just not used to him saying my name?
"Look at me, Christian."
My eyes snapped up to meet his and his hands found their way around my waist and pulled me in as he bent his head down.
"Can I kiss you?" he whispered. I didn’t say yes. I didn’t say no. I didn’t say anything. I simply closed my eyes and leaned forwards, pressing our lips together in our first kiss. It took less than a second for Theo to take control of the kiss, pushing me up against a wall and licking my lips. This didn’t feel like the kisses Caleb gave me. This felt different. This felt good. A soft groan escaped my lips when his crotch pressed firmly against mine, giving him the opportunity to slip his tongue past my lips. The kiss was anything but gentle. It was needy and rough, but I liked it. He grabbed my thighs and hoisted me up so my legs were wrapped around his waist. I broke the kiss due to lack of oxygen.
“Are you okay? Did I do something wrong?” Theo panted, searching my eyes. I shook my head and looked away, way too embarrassed to look in his eyes.
“Hey, look at me,” he said softly, placing two fingers under my chin and tilting my head to face him. I looked up and found Heaven in his eyes. And for the first time in a very long time, I could feel the stars within me start to shine. For the first time in a very long time, I felt safe, like I was going to be okay. The warmth of his beautiful brown eyes comforted me. They made me feel like this was where I belonged. Like my home was in his presence.
I leaned down to kiss him again, this one gentle and full of feelings. Theo smiled into the kiss and put me down. He pulled away and rested his head on my shoulder, taking my hand in his. We stood there, hand in hand, against his wall in his room in silence; our heart beats louder than ever. For the first time in a very long time, I wasn’t thinking about Estella. Every single one of my thoughts were fully focused on Theo. I closed my eyes. I was going to be okay.
And finally, for the first time in a very, very long time, it wasn’t a lie.
[December 24, 2020]