It Was Always You
"I have feelings. I have a lot of them."
His words are playing on repeat in her head as she locks the door to her apartment behind her, reminding her over and over and over how she messed things up. The look on his face as his frustration forced the words out of him is etched on her mind, today she can do nothing but disappoint; disappoint Jesus and disappoint him, at this point she's not sure which is worse. She dumps her bag on the hardwood floor, tosses her keys carelessly on the tiny kitchen table, not caring if she scratches the laminate top. She leans her head back against the cool timber of her front door, closing her eyes, trying to still her mind but failing. Shame and guilt are her go-to emotions these days, but up until now she had thought her broken promise was affecting her and her alone, but that frown and the annoyance beaming out of those eyes brings fresh waves of shame and guilt. Shame that she convinced herself this was just about sex and guilt that she was so wrapped up in her own feelings that she completely disregarded his.
She shakes her head silently, trying to focus her mind. She is so ready for this day to be over, for her mistakes to be a memory rather than a dull pain in the pit of her stomach. She starts to peel off the day, layer by layer, grey jacket first, then shoes, then jeans. She steps into the shower and lets the scalding hot water sting her skin, letting her guilt sting her heart. It had been easier to compartmentalise her guilt when she had thought this had been all physical, it had been a clear cut breach of her promise to indulge in carnal satisfaction, an obvious sin, an act worthy of damnation. Now that he's put it out there that it's not just physical she is lost. She is not sure where Jesus stands on the grey zone between lust and commitment, the no man's land that is best friends falling into unchartered territory.
He has feelings for her. A lot of them. She lets it sink in, lets it simmer as she dries her hair and pulls on sweat pants and an old t-shirt. Even though he had practically spat the words out, their meaning is no less significant to her. He's been her best and perhaps only friend for a while now, but ever since they fell into bed together, repeatedly, their friendship has seemed tenuous, like it might shatter at any moment. His admittance solidifies their connection, justifies her lack of self-control, perhaps even sanctions her sins. It's a relief, but it's also a worry. Feelings like these cannot exist in a vacuum, they must be addressed, considered and ultimately reciprocated to continue to live. He has feelings, but what about her?
She pours herself a large glass of wine, red liquid swilling around in the tall glass, droplets clinging to the sides. She takes a big sip and checks her phone. No messages, no missed calls, no notifications. No trace of him reaching out at all. The way they left things she's not surprised, but she's still disappointed. He didn't give her a chance to address, consider or reciprocate, he poured his heart out and left her trying to contain the spill. She throws the phone down on the coffee table and takes another swig of wine. If he'd just given her a second she could have thought of something to say, something to reassure, confirm, to requite. The phone is still blank, still not offering any hope. She takes another slug of wine, cursing herself for comparing sex with him to a car crash, for explaining her metaphors badly, for not saying something when he opened up his heart to her.
She puts her glass down and picks up the phone, ever hopeful. There is no missed calls in her call log that she's somehow overlooked, no unread messages in her inbox, no sign of life at all. She opens a new message and stares at the little screen for a while without finding the right words. After a while she clicks the phone off, takes another sip of wine and runs her fingers through her hair. What she has to say should be said not written, she needs to stop making mistakes with him, start communicating, start relating. She flicks through her contacts, finds him, lets her finger hover over the call button. She inhales sharply, trying to suppress the butterflies in her stomach, trying to calm her nerves rising like bubbles in her throat. The corners of her mouth turn upwards as she devises a plan, playing out the scenario in her head. She is resolved, sets her jaw in firm lines, sets her glass down on the coffee table, turns the phone off, steels herself.
She applies blusher to her cheeks, adds another layer of mascara, building her confidence with each stroke of the wand. She adds a final touch of lipstick, rubs her lips together, spreading pink colour across them and checks her reflection. Her cold hands are a contradiction to her flushed face, the slight tremor betraying her jacked up nerves. She pulls out her red dress from the closet, smoothing the fabric down over her thighs as she pulls it down. The material clings to her body, forcing her to straighten up, to push her shoulder blades back and lift her chin. She checks the mirror one final time, pulling the hair back from her face, exhaling sharply. She grabs her purse and takes a few purposeful strides towards her front door, resolved to draw a line under all the miscommunication and to let him know she has feelings too.
She opens the door in a rush but he's already there, right outside her front door, arm raised and poised to knock. His eyebrows are pulled up in surprise, his mouth open in a question and for a fraction of a second they stare at each other in anticipation, each searching the other for an explanation. His eyes are full of some unnamed emotion, silently pleading with her, stopping her in her tracks. He doesn't have to say it, she feels it too. Her mind is impossibly loud, racing with thoughts she has never fully formulated until now, alarm bells sounding in her ears of how obvious this conclusion is. It's her and him and it has never been more glaringly visible, never more undeniable, never more inescapable. He doesn't have to say anything, his eyes say it all and a fraction of a second later her mind is stilled, completely blank because he has slammed her up against the wall and he is kissing her so hard and deep that she can't focus on anything but staying on her feet.
She feels it too, she wants him in the bluntest ways, she wants him with her, on her, in her. She wants his lips, his hands, his arms. She wants his fingers running up and down her spine, his fingertips hitting each vertebrae with a spark of electricity that fans out to the tips of her fingers and the top of her head. Her breath becomes shallow and constricted as he moves his mouth to her earlobe and whispers her name into her ear. As he moves down her neck a soft moan escapes her lips which only serves to make him bite down harder and push her tighter against the wall. She stretches and arches her neck under his breathless caress, bites down on her lip and opens her mouth, but the only words that escape are "fuck!" His lips are touching her, his body pressed up against her, his hands marking her skin, but his isn't about sex, this is him touching her soul and moving into her heart.
She addresses his feelings, she grabs, she pulls, she clenches, convincing him with her eagerness, apologising with fervent kisses and claiming him with strong arms. This is considered, this is not a loss of self-control, there is no sinning or damnation, just her and him and all their feelings, finally on the same page. She gasps, taking in air as she feels him going in, gently at first, softly and slowly unwinding her with his hands and his mouth. She grasps, she rubs, she tastes and she is full of him, he is in her heart, her mind, her body. She reciprocates, clinging to him, tangling her legs into his, winding her heart into his, leaving behind guilt and shame. He carries her, leads her as only he can, heart open, receiving her. He has feelings, a lot of them, for her, and she realises she has been his for a long time, before she even knew, and he has always been hers too.
"It was always you."
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