Chapter 2: Pieced Together
The hazy man gazed at the full moon in the cloudless sky. I wasn't with him, or maybe he just didn't know I was there? I could barely see him in the moonlight. His figure was just a body with soft edges sitting on a rock. I couldn't tell how he looked like exactly. He never dropped his gaze. From what the scene appeared to be, it looked like he was praying.
Knock, knock, knock.
My eyes fluttered open.
Knock, knock, knock.
"Hey, you're home, right?"
I instantly recognized his voice. I nearly forgot about our plans for today. But we planned them before Jen took me from Candy.
I had to get up now. Jen tightened her grip around my sides when I moved. I stopped.
Just let me up. I'm not leaving, I said to her, sullen.
Her hold slipped away. I rolled over and got to my feet. She was already waiting for me at the door.
He knocked again from the hallway. Jen eagerly took my hand in hers. Her touch made me flinch from a new wave of sadness. This happened because now he was going to find out what happened yesterday. It made me feel worse than before. Jen took in my sadness, transformed it and injected it, then returned the leftovers. I sighed. I was nothing but her drug.
I couldn't look up at him when I opened the door. I just looked down at his navy blue tennis shoes. Jen remained attached to my hand.
"There you are, Mac-Attack," he cheerily said. "I've never heard your apartment so quiet before. I thought you weren't home–"
I gave in and met his eye. I saw a beanie covering his wavy black hair. Jen squeezed my hand. His expression changed as a tear dropped down my cheek from her touch. My eyes were red from no sleep, and I knew my face told the tale of fatigue. I pulled in a staggered breath. Here came the dreaded question.
"Tom left you, didn't he?" he asked, as if it wasn't a surprise.
I dropped my gaze. Jen placed her palm on my shoulder. The gesture was so powerful that multiple tears fell over. I stumbled forward and hugged him. I needed support to stay on my feet.
I became the motherlode for Jen's addiction.
She completely enfolded all of her limbs around me. I felt weak as she absorbed my misery, only to throw it back in my face. I could feel her purr from the wonderful feeling my body was giving off. I winced and sniffled. This was almost as miserable as my relationship with Tom. We cared about each other, but we kept hurting each other. I don't think Jen and I particularly cared about each other. We tolerated the other and found a slight balance between us, but she was the one who benefited from the whole thing. I suffered greatly. The best I could do was block her out from my sadness. It made her mad, but at least it stopped her from hurting me. I wanted to forgive her for making me suffer. She couldn't say sorry, though, because our relationship was created this way. It was a parasitism relationship. She was the parasite, and I was the host.
He listened to me weep into his shirt. I swore I have done this with him after every single breakup I've been through. Why wasn't he tired of it yet? This was something I probably would never understand about my dear friend.
I heard him sigh above me. His hands found my back, travelling through Jen's figure unknowingly. She jerked away from his hands. The touch spooked her away. I felt free from her all of a sudden.
No! Come back! Don't leave me!
I was beckoned inside my apartment. Once he shut the door behind us, I was lifted and placed on my kitchen table ever so gently. I was still crying, but not because of Jen's leftovers. I cried because Jen let go of me. I didn't know where she went. I didn't want her to leave me. I needed her right now. The pain didn't matter to me. I just needed her presence, her hand in my hand.
He caressed my face, wiping my tears away with his thumb. He tried shushing me to calm down. I couldn't find peace, though. I had to keep crying. Maybe Jen would return sooner if I gave her sadness to inhale.
"Shh…Macca. Please stop crying," he said. "It's going to be okay." He kissed my forehead
"Why does it always happen to me?" I blubbered.
"I don't know, but to be honest, Tom wasn't the best guy for you. I knew he would dump you eventually. It's not your fault he couldn't see the truly amazing person he had."
"He promised so much…"
"And the guy before him, and the guy before that guy, and so on. Look, Mac, love sucks a lot of times. I mean, look at me! I'm twenty-five years old and I've only had like, what? Three girlfriends? I don't know. But they all cheated on me! I'm still open for any girl to come by, but I'm not having any luck so far. I'm not giving up hope, though, and I'm still living my life. Love isn't the world, Macca."
I didn't say anything. I watched so many people fall in love, and here I was a hopeless romantic. It wasn't fair. I don't know what I do wrong.
"It's good that you haven't given up yet," he continued, "but you have to remember that you're still young. True love doesn't come at eighteen. I think you just need to let love go on without you for a few years, and then you can try again. I'll admit that I'm as much as an idiot as the next guy, but we men take a long time to mature. For you personally, you had to mature a long time ago. I get that you're ready to start that stage of life, but you have to remember that you still have a life to live. You have a career and friends and family. Let them be your main priority for now."
I sniffled. He went and brought me a paper towel to blow my nose with.
"You'll fall in love one day," he continued. "I promise you will. You're beautiful and kind and you have a really, really beautiful singing voice. I'm sure there's a nice guy who's maturing right now and he'll be ready to cross paths with you when the time comes. You will find him, just be patient."
I put the wadded paper towel on the table beside me. He gazed into my hazel eyes with his deep blue ones. This man has been in my life for over two years now. He has been by my side through the darkest moments I have ever encountered. He's held my hand and let me cry on his shoulder for the longest time. He's done so much for me that nobody else has done for me. Now that was true love to me.
"Trent," I said.
"Will you go out with me?"
He lightly sniggered. "As much as I would like to, Mac-Attack…I just can't."
I exhaled. "Why not?"
"Because I want to keep you in my life. I don't want romance ruining what we have. Believe me, Mac, I love you more than my own sister, which is pretty bad. Don't tell Kathryn I said that."
I wanted to grin at his words but I couldn't make the muscles in my lips curve up. I wasn't ready to be with Candy again. I had to heal from my emotional wounds first.
"Sorry, I'm just trying to lighten your mood a bit," he said.
I realized I was quiet and not looking at him anymore. I looked back into his eyes.
"It's fine. But are you sure we can't just try…?" My voice trailed into a question. I suddenly recognized my plead. Tom used it on me because I was hesitant at first. Look just where agreeing to that plead got me: another crash landing in the field and breaking my wing off.
Trent shook his head. "I don't think it's worth the risk. Besides, I already have a baby at home. I don't think you'd appreciate me spending so much time with my baby rather than you…"
I shut my eyes. "Trent. Geno is a cat."
"I know, but he's my baby."
"He's a cat."
I sighed, knowing if Candy was with me, I would've cracked a joke about a cat being the only thing he could get when it came to getting girls. He would laugh and then say I was already feeling better. I kept my mouth shut, though. Now just wasn't the time for me to laugh at my own jokes.
"You're thinking of a joke, aren't you?" he laughed.
"Yes you are. I can see it in your face, plus I know you would do it at a time like that."
"Aw c'mon, Trent! We're already practically dating! Please go out with me. We already know each other so well!"
"No, Macca. Don't beg for me. We're just friends, and I'd like to keep it that way. I love you, but I don't want to hurt you."
I dropped my gaze, feeling embarrassed and rejected. His lips found my forehead again. I found his hands after gliding my fingers down his forearms. I sighed again. This was so unfair. We even did things most couples did. We held hands and hugged and he even gave me innocent little kisses. I was mad that I was being penalized for not being able to take our relationship to the next level. I wanted that to happen between us now. I wouldn't mind being something more with him. One kiss to his lips could change his mind…
"Let's change our plans," he said, changing the subject.
I didn't answer at first. "Okay, to what then?"
"I'm taking you to Mr. Chen's Noodle House for lunch. How does that sound?"
"I won't eat anything, but sure."
"I'm a picky eater, remember? Sushi and red meat grosses me out."
"We can go somewhere else if you want."
"No, I'm not really hungry. We can go there. I know you love it."
I didn't lie to him. I really wasn't hungry, but it was because I was still grieving. Trent was now trying to mend my wing back where it belonged. He knew it would take some time before I would smile at something funny. I needed fresh air right now. I needed time away from my home that seemed more like a grief cave than anything else right now.
I slid off the table and threw the paper towel away. I grabbed my gym bag that had everything I needed inside. He opened the door for me. I took his hand and we left for our playdate. I didn't realize I was leaving someone behind, though.