Christmas & Chill

A Million Things

Ariana felt a million things at the sound of that familiar British accent. She knew she should throw Nathan out or demand answers but she stood there like an idiot as he walked inside the house and shut the door behind them.

“What are you doing here?: She hissed.

“I might have gotten a little lost on my way back to the UK,” he admitted.

There was a million things Ariana wanted to ask or say or yell at him about but instead she found herself asking if he wanted coffee. He did… of course.

As she lead him back through the house, there were a million things she tried not to notice. The fact that his smile hadn’t changed, for one, or that he still smelled the same--clean and slightly spicy with a hint of mint. The way his eyes swept over the room was another.

Nathan slipped off his coat deftly and folded it in half before laying it carefully over the back of the couch. Ariana couldn’t help but notice his classy white button-up and dark-wash jeans which in contrast to her onesie made her feel about three years old.

She walked into the kitchen and flipped on the lights. Nathan followed close behind and watched as she tried to make coffee. She’d made coffee a hundred times before but for some reason, she suddenly couldn’t remember how to work the Keurig machine. When Nathan took over for her, she gripped the side of her plush pants to hide how much her hands were shaking.

“So, uh, how have you been?” she asked once the silence between them became overwhelmingly awkward.

“Good,” he said in a way that made it hard to believe him. “My new single’s doing pretty well. Still miss the band sometimes.”

She heard his words but strained instead for the meaning behind them, a hint of why he was here tonight. Most of all she listening to the rhythm of his voice and realized how at home it made her feel. She was breathing deeper than she had in months.

“Are there mugs?” he asked and both their hands darted for the nearest cabinet.

As his soft skin brushed against hers, she jerked her hand back and pretended not to notice her racing heart. Maybe she was dreaming. That was the only explanation for why Nathan was in her kitchen making her a cup of coffee at 2am. Stuff like that didn’t happen in real life.

When the Keurig machine stopped bubbling, Ariana took her cup of coffee and Nathan followed her back to the living room. She sat down on the couch, tucking one leg underneath the other and he sat down across from her. He took a sip from his coffee, the steam clouding his face but his eyes never leaving hers.

“How have you been?” he asked, putting weight behind every word.

She shook her head and laughing, wishing they were home alone so she could scream at him or throw a coffee mug at his head. “You don’t get to show up and just ask me that.”

In an instant she flashed back to last year--red wine and matching footie pajamas, falling tipsy into bed together, snuggling under the quilt Nana made her when she was a kid, kissing until they fell asleep. It was the perfect Christmas Eve and he ruined it without an explanation.

Ariana’s eyes flushed with hot tears as she focused back on the present, on the boy sitting across from her, and asked in an angry whisper, “Why did you leave?”

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