Living With The Boys (Journey to Love, #1)

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08. Moving On

Mike’s POV

Rubbing my eyes and look beside me to see my half empty cup of coffee that is probably cold by now but as I have to get this essay done by tomorrow, anything is good right now, anything to keep me mildly awake to finish this fucker.

I only have 500 words left of the 3500 word essay which is the conclusion but they’re always the most annoying fuckers, or maybe I feel like that right now because I have been up for 20 hours and half of those were spent working and the other I have spent in this library finishing this essay.

My head, my eyes and everything is currently hurting as I close my eyes and try to refocus on the topic at hand but of course that is easier said than done as you reach that point where nothing is going in or coming out when it comes to academic thoughts and writing. For the up most time I have to push through the blurriness in my eyes to focus on what I am writing but I see my phone light up beside the mouse.

I know that I shouldn’t check it or reply to whoever it is because I am going to spend half an hour browsing through it when that is the last thing I should be doing right now. However, I can’t help myself when I see that it’s the guys saying that they’re going to have to each work late, which means that Hope is going to be home alone. That would be perfect for me to back right now and spend some time with her but there are priorities and I have to finish this essay.

I shut off my phone as I try to focus back on the 400 words I have left, when you get to this stage you’re counting every single one until you have reached the limit. This is my last one for this term so its safe to say that I am tired of them but I am at the home stretch of getting my masters so now is not the time for me to give up or to use my exhaustion as an excuse.

For the next hour and a half I drink way more coffee than I should and even worse mix that with a couple of energy drinks, nobody said that getting a degree was a healthy thing. You don’t really understand how unhealthy it is for you physically and mentally to study than when you’re the one going through it.

Somehow, through a miracle, in that hour and a half I manage to finish my essay which I save and email to myself just in case. Another thing you learn, is that you save one single piece of work in many different places in case on of them fucks you over, which has unfortunately happened to many of us.

I am going to proof-read it tomorrow before it is due, or should I say today as it is now a quarter past 1 in the morning and even though my heart is racing and I should be feeling somewhat energised after all those drinks, I just feel drained and like I need to sleep for at least half a day.

Even though I should probably proof-read the essay before I post it, I decide last minute that I am just going to submit it now and know that I have it done and out of the way, whatever grade I get is what I deserve anyway. When you get to this stage, you’re so tired that you know even if you read over the essay in the morning when you have had some sleep chances are you’re not going to change a single thing.

Grabbing everything from the mess around me that I have made, making 2 trips to the bins to throw out all the food and drinks I have consumed while finishing this essay before I can even begin to pack up all my notes and textbooks that I brought, thank fuck I live somewhat close to campus so I don’t have to travel long to get home.

There are a couple of people I am leaving behind, I guess everyone is pushing for that last deadline as December and May are the worst times to be a student, but come the end it’s all worth it.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself to get through this.

As soon as I walk out of the doors, I start to think what I could have for dinner, even though I have been snacking like hell for the past 5-6 hours I am still hungry and I am craving some food that will put me in a good food coma so I can sleep the day away tomorrow. I only have an afternoon lecture which I can’t afford to miss but thank fuck its at 2pm so I have some time to sleep tonight.

Even though sleeping has been a little harder now that Hope is not in my bed all the time, I got used to having her there. It’s a weird feeling because before when I used to sleep with people, I always found it uncomfortable to share a bed as I always wanted to be alone and spread out without thinking if I’m going to knock someone off the bed or worry about the duvet.

Dragging my feet down the corridor I try not to notice how creepy and haunted the building looks at this time during the night, I’m one of those people that is still a little afraid of the dark. It’s not something I’m exactly proud of but I have no idea when it started or why I still have it in my 20′s. Mark doesn’t have this fear but thankfully he hasn’t been making fun of it in these last couple of years, he used to be horrible about it when we were teenagers and finally got our own rooms. I guess he was just being the annoying brother he is.

We have always had that connection that many talk about with twins, nothing like reading each others minds or stuff like that but there is just something special about having someone able to understand you so well. It’s hard to find people otherwise who are willing to spend the time and energy to understand you, I was born into that with Mark.

Even though we have this connection, I never would have thought that we would be sharing a girlfriend, it’s always been an insecurity of ours when either one started dating someone new. Yet, here we are both in love with Hope and she’s in love with the both of us and he doesn’t seem to have a single problem with the whole thing.

I have to admit, I thought that the whole foursome thing was going to be some kind of thing that happens a couple of times but isn’t permanent or as serious as it has become. Granted, we haven’t all slept together since that first night, it seems that we are all spending time together as friends but when it comes to anything more than that it’s always away from the others.

Maybe I’m being old fashioned about this and selfish but a large part of me wishes that Hope was just mine. I know it’s selfish but I have never felt this kind of love before, a part of me wants to be mad and jealous of her love towards Mark and Martin but I can’t.

I just can’t judge or blame her for having those feelings, I’m sure that she is just as overwhelmed with all of this as I am. However, I have no idea how either Mark or Martin feel about this whole thing. All I know is that we all love each other in different ways and I’m too much of a pussy to voice my true feelings.

In truth, I wish that I could hold Hope’s hand around campus and take her out on dates every now and again, not having to worry that someone is going to start yet another rumour about her. I want her to turn to me when she has something to get off her chest and even though a part of me is always going to wish that I was her best friend, I can’t deny the bond she has the guys.

I just wish I knew what she is feeling.

Feelings aren’t my strongest suit, it may seem like I’m always serious or shy but I just don’t know how to stand out when in a room with such big personalities. It’s just easier to stick behind them and once in a while show my face, it’s the cowards way out but I guess I am still trying to fully understand who I am and what I want to.

Having spent so many years pursuing and working towards this job, it sometimes makes me think if it’s really what I want to do. I always felt like I had to do something academic and very smart to say but there are moments where I don’t know what I want anymore.

Mark is very passionate about doing business and wanting to be a consultant to big companies and he knows that he wants to start his own company down the line, I have a plan but I have no idea if I’m going to love my job.

Everyone seems to know exactly where they’re going and it seems like at 23 I am just following a path just because I’ve started. It’s not the right thing to do because I am going to possibly be stuck in a job and profession I don’t love, and I would have wasted so many years and resources towards something that might not be for me.

Being a mechanical engineer is a very fancy title and I doubt that many people know what the job entails, everyone knows that being an engineer is hard but saying that is also quite dismissive of how much work it really goes into getting a degree or becoming something.

I also have no idea why these thoughts are going through my head right now as I am way too tired to be contemplating my whole life but I know that tonight it’s once again going to be hard to fall asleep. Recently, it doesn’t matter how tired I am or what I have been doing during the day, I cannot fall asleep right away like I used to.

Hence, why I always feel tired no matter how much sleep I get, granted it’s very lucky if I get over 4 hours but I am just trying to get through this stage and I’ll worry about what comes next when it comes to that. I have reached that stage where I’m applying for jobs and that adds extra stress on top of everything else that’s causing me stress, and they say that young people have it easy now.

It seems that I have been concentrating too much on what is going on in my head that when Alyssa steps in front of me, she scares the shit out of me and not because of how she looks. Her hair is a mess which is something out of place for her, she always has to be put together which is why we were always late to things when we were together. Her makeup is smudged or maybe she did it like this, I can never tell but the way the buttons on her shirt are mismatched and her clothes are wrinkled tells me enough about why she looks like a mess.

I have seen this sight many times before, when she tries to get dressed quickly after having sex and she doesn’t do a very good job of doing so. This sight a couple of months ago would have haunted me and driven me insane to find out who it is that she’s fucking now, if it’s still with the guy that she cheated on me with.

However, as I stand frozen on the spot staring at her I’m no longer overcome with the sadness and anger that I used to feel when I ran into her after our breakup. The fact that I know she was fucking someone maybe a couple of minutes ago doesn’t cause my heart to squeeze in my chest with pain, it doesn’t make me want to curl up in a corner and cry.

“Mike!” She exclaims as she realised who she’s bumped into and even though I have had quite a good revelation in the last minute or so, she is still the last person I want to see right now.

“Alyssa.” I greet her back, I’m not going to be rude to her as it doesn’t seem that she planned this little run in. For a while after the breakup, she would just pop up everywhere and try to convince me that we should get back together. Also, I guess I didn’t help the matter by sleeping with her a couple of weeks ago now but i was weak and there is no point in trying to reason my mistake away.

As the silence grows longer and heavier between us, its kind of sad looking back and remembering that I used to love this woman and spend hours upon hours talking yet here I stand, having no idea what to say to her.

“I’ve been meaning to talk to you.” She starts and also I can her start to twist her hands, wringing her fingers together, something she used to do when she was nervous.

“I don’t have much time, I want to go home and sleep.” I reply honestly, I really don’t have the time to stand around and try to think of what to say to her.

“I know, I just wanted to talk to you and I don’t know, get some closure once and for all?” She says but to me it sounds more like a question and once again I don’t have the time or energy to stand here until she figures out what she wants to do.

“Closure about what? We’ve been broken up for nearly a year now and we’ve never sat down to talk. I don’t know what game you’re trying to play but I don’t want no part of it.” I reply as I try to get around from her but she stops me with a hand on my arm.

“I’m not playing any games, I was wrong the other weeks to cause that fight between you and Hope. Can you blame me though? I just always saw you as mine and then suddenly you weren’t anymore.” She stares at me, willing me to understand.

“It wasn’t sudden at all. Hope is the first woman I have been with since you and I have been over, what did feel sudden was walking in on you fucking some other guy. Yes, you were a bitch for causing a fight but it was my fault that slept with you in the first place.” I reply as some of the old anger comes rising up, guess I’m not over everything as I thought I was.

“I know that what I did was horrible and inexcusable, I’m not trying to defend that. I am trying to apologise for trying to ruin your relationship with Hope these past couple of weeks and spreading all those rumours about her.” She begins but all I can focus on is her last words.

“You’re the one that has been spreading and talking shit about her?” I ask as I think back on all the time I heard people whispering and Hope’s face drop when she heard it too, I wanted to shield her so badly from those nasty words as she doesn’t deserve any of it.

“I was very immature and yes, when I saw you guys together I knew something was going on so I got angry. I guess I hadn’t fully let go of the idea that you are mine and that we’ll get back together at some point once some of the hurt goes away. I didn’t like the thought of you being with someone else and I went a bit crazy.” She apologises and even though it’s not much of an apology, I’ll take this over her threatening and rumours any day.

“We’re not getting back together, I don’t love you anymore.” I say even though I miss out the part that a small part of me is always going to love her, she was my first real love and I spent 3 years with her. Those times and memories I can’t and don’t want to erase just like that.

“I know you don’t, I’m not asking you to love me because I know I messed that up and I regret it every single day. I do regret turning into a person that I hate, I hate what I did to you more than you know.” She confesses and I can see how much it took out of her to tell me this, I know she is being sincere right now.

“It was a long time ago and I think its time for the both of us to just move on. I’m in love with someone else and I’ve forgiven you for what you did. Please stop all this nonsense and quit messing with Hope, she doesn’t deserve it.” It’s my turn now to plead with her, if this is my chance to help Hope and stop these nasty rumours spreading then I am going to everything that I can.

“I know she doesn’t, she’s sickeningly sweet but anyway. You won’t be seeing much of me anymore as I’m going to be taking an interruption until I can come back and finish my masters. I’m pregnant.” Alyssa smiles gently as her hand drifts down to her stomach, and I think mine is somewhere next to my feet.

“This is not your way of telling me that the baby is mine, right?” I ask as I think in these moments I forgot to breathe as I wait for her answer.

“No, you’re not the father so don’t worry. He’s not currently in the picture so I’m going to interrupt my degree so I can take care of myself and the baby. Maybe later on I’ll start again, but I need to be a better mother than mine was.” She says while looking down at her hand covering her still flat stomach.

“Why isn’t he helping you?” I can’t help but ask, I used to care and love this woman. I would never wish for her to struggle and take on something she doesn’t want or is ready for. Her mother was a piece of work and Alyssa was terrified about becoming a mother, so I know that this is an even bigger leap than normal for a woman to become a mother.

“It was a fling with a marine, I haven’t told him because he just got his deployment papers last week and I have no idea how long he’s going to be gone for. I don’t want to put this extra stress onto him when I’m not even sure he’s going to come back alive.” She answers but it was the last thing I was expecting for her to say, she somehow always manages to get herself into the most complicated situations.

“You have to tell him!” I stress and I am once again back at caring about her, she might have done bad things but being a single mother is incredibly hard and she shouldn’t be doing this alone when the father doesn’t even have the chance to do anything about it.

“I’ve been thinking about it but I don’t know. Maybe I’ll write him a letter just in case because I’ll most likely chicken out if I have to tell him face to face.” She smiles sadly and I wish that I could help her with something but I know it’s not my place to do anything about the mess she has gotten herself in. I just wish that everything from here on out is a little easier on her, like I said, I don’t her suffering even after what she did to me.

“He might surprise you.” I say and don’t feel even the smallest amount of hurt and anger that there is another man in her life, I just hope he is man enough to help her and take responsibility.

“You’re surprising me right now, I would have thought that you would be happy that I am in such a mess.” She laughs lightly as she looks away from me.

“I’m not happy that your world is being turned upside down, remember we used to be friends before we started dating and I know how much of a big deal this is for you. I do wish you all the best because it’s not going to be easy from now on.” I find myself saying and I do mean it, I want her to be happy because at the end of the day it doesn’t matter what someone has done, everyone deserves some peace and happiness within themselves.

“It’s just going to keep getting harder but I also can’t wait to be a mother. Thank you for talking to me, I wasn’t even going to tell you about the baby. I haven’t told anyone else, people kind of abandoned me when I became a massive bitch.” She looks up at me with gratitude in her eyes, and this whole thing reminds me that even though she caused me so much pain. She is also going through her own hell and you can never forget that you can’t see the turmoil in the people you pass everyday.

“I’m sure that once you get in touch with people again they’ll see that you are back to being you. I think you were right about us needing closure, I wish you all the best with the baby.” I say as I try to comfort her a little, she has no one right now and it would be wrong for me to find pleasure in her pain.

“Thank you. I did want to talk to you and apologise for making your life hell this past year, you’re a nice guy who doesn’t deserve it and I hope she makes you extremely happy.” She gives me one last smile as we somewhat awkwardly hug for maybe the last time, we’re finally letting go of a very long past.

I have spent half a decade being her friend even though many won’t understand it or agree with me, I hope she is happy. The girl I fell in love with has turned into a woman but I am content knowing that I am not going to be the one she grows old with or is there to see her grow, we are no longer a part of each other’s lives.

As I turn away from her and walk out of the building, I can’t help but feel lighter. I don’t turn around to steal one last glance at her or feel any sort of resentment towards her, I guess its true when they say that time heals all wounds.

It seems like there is suddenly more energy in my step as before I realise it, I am opening the front door. I thought the house would be pitch black as it is nearly 2am and I know the guys are not home.

I follow the light into the living room to find Hope curled up on the couch writing on her laptop but barely keeping her eyes open. Seeing her after having that talk with Alyssa it like coming home, seeing Hope’s shiny black hair in contrast with Alyssa’s blonde, and everything else that is different and similar about them; I feel at home as I take my shoes off and drop down on the couch next to her.

She doesn’t say anything as she closes her laptop and sets it on the coffee table in front of us, she leans back against me as she brings her blanket around both of us, warming me up quickly from being outside in the freezing weather.

It’s still completely silent between us, not one word being said as we both cuddle on the couch, exhausted and drained but finding comfort in each other. I finally feel ready and free to enjoy being with Hope, no guilt or fear holding me back from naming my feelings.

I’m completely in love with Hope and I’m now ready to fight for her, and show her that she did not make a mistake by loving me.

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