I blinked as my grip on the can of sardine I was holding tightened. I shook my head, looking away from the man I’d been staring at for the last minute or so.
It’s not my business. I thought to myself as I tried to concentrate on the shopping I was supposed to be doing. Dropping the items noisily into the basket I was carrying didn’t drown the thoughts that Wayne — the actual Wayne Austin was a few meters away from me in a different aisle.
I mentally scolded myself when I turned to look at him again. He was still there in the pet aisle, examining a puppy bed. I felt myself flush when I noticed I was paying too much attention to his unruly mop of honey-colored hair.
Looking away again I tried to mind my business.
After all these years. A small voice muttered in my head. I shrugged at it. What it said was true. There was no reasonable explanation as to why I was reacting to the sight of Wayne Austin like this; there was no explanation as to why I was still helplessly in love with the man when he made it clear five years ago that he wanted nothing to do with me.
I felt the corner of my lips twitch downwards to form a frown. The truth stung, but it was the truth. I managed not to look towards the aisle he was in for a few minutes until I turned to look for him out of curiosity.
A feeling of relief and sadness took a hold of me when I saw that he was no longer there. I used my hand to brush away my blue fringe from my face as I wondered why on earth he had been doing here in the first place. The last time I heard of him he was working for a small digital company out of state.
I bit my lip, deciding on the rest of the items I was getting before leaving the aisle for another. I walked about for a bit, picking up things I needed at home before heading over to the checkpoint when I was done. I felt my heart beat against my rib cage when I was there because of the sight of his hair.
Calm down. I scolded myself mentally as I walked up to the line. I stood behind him, praying that he wouldn’t turn or recognize me if he actually did.
I kept my gaze on my painted fingernails. My fingers were gripping the handle of the basket I was holding so tightly. I watch them loosen then tighten their grip in an attempt to distract myself.
My light plaid black and white shirt were starting to make me feel a little uncomfortable even though the supermarket’s air conditioners were on. My sandaled toes had been feeling the chill thirty minutes before that.
I sighed under my breath in distress. The thought of Wayne, not to talk of being in the same proximity with him railed me up.
I had a problem — a big problem.
There wasn’t any good reason for a twenty-six-year-old to be acting the way I was.
Since I was dwelling in self-pity I didn’t realize when the line moved. I was brought out of my thoughts when someone tapped my shoulder. I blinked, looking away in shock when I realized it was Wayne who had tapped me.
“She’s done with me, plus you’re holding people up,” he muttered, picking up the bag of items on the counter as well as his change.
“Sorry,” I mumbled, looking anywhere but at him. He left soon after, leaving me to check out my stuff with the attendant behind the counter. I found myself apologizing for holding up the line but she assured me that it was okay. When she was done scanning my mind did the math and I realized Wayne hadn’t noticed me. I should have been happy about that. Happy that I’d avoided a very awkward situation.
Then imagine my surprise when I walked out of the supermarket to find Wayne standing beside the door.
I dropped the nylon bags I was holding in shock, cursing under my breath immediately after, before squatting down to pick up the spilled contents. Wayne was soon kneeling beside me and helping me out by picking things and stuffing them into the bag.
We got up at the same time. I was holding the good bag as I cradled the torn bag of items in the other.
“I have a bag I could give you,” Wayne said, noticing the tear in the bag I was holding to my chest with a pink bottle sticking out from it.
I just nodded, not trusting my mouth to speak.
“Come on then,” he said with a small smile. I felt the inside of my mouth dry up at that. It’s been so long since I’ve seen him smile — smile at me.
It took me a while to notice that he’d started walking off, and I had to snap myself out of the hypnosis his eyes had put in me before I started following him to his car.
Getting there I realized he was already digging around the back seat. He got out before holding out a plain white bag to me with a looped grin on his face. I took it with a little hesitance before transferring the items in the torn bag into it. The action was followed by a moment of awkward silence.
“Um, err, thank you,” I muttered, shrugging with the two bags weighing my hands down. I made to leave but Wayne took a hold of my shoulder.
“Hey Jonathan,” I heard him mutter as I turned. I felt my heart jump out of my body.
Did he just use my name?
Did he actually remember me?
He let go of my shoulder when he realized I was staring at it with a confused gaze.
“Sorry,” he muttered as he looked over me with his green eyes. I felt my face heat up so I looked down at the floor to avoid his gaze.
“Do you, do you have a ride home?” Wayne asked, making me look up at him with a puzzled look. He had his eyes on the floor and I noticed his freckled face was flushed.
“You know, because I could take you,” he muttered, looking up at me.
I tightened and loosened my grip on the nylon bags awkwardly before speaking, “I was going to take a taxi...” I started, trying to look at the eyes he had cast down. “But if you could take me...”
Wayne looked up as his face lightened up like a bulb. He then took a hold of the driver’s door.
“Come on,” he muttered, gesturing to the passenger seat of his car. I bit my bottom lip in thought before heading over to the other side. I climbed in, pulling the seat belt over me as I tried to find a comfortable position to place my legs between the grocery bags as Wayne started the car.
The ride was quite apart from me telling Wayne where to go and turn. He soon pulled up at the front of the apartment complex I lived in.
“Well then,” he sighed, looking over at me as I undid my seat belt. I could feel his gaze on me as I got out from the car but he soon stopped me.
“Wait,” he muttered as I turned to shut the door. I frowned in confusion, watching his green eyes as he ran a hand through his honey curls.
“Can... Can I come up with you?” he asked, looking at me with hopeful eyes. “For a drink, nothing more,” he added.
“I don’t know...” I trailed, tightening my grip on the plastic bags I was holding.
“It won’t take long,” he mumbled, looking away from me. I watched as his hair shone with bright highlights under the evening sun before I was distracted by a loud sigh he let out. “It’s just... We haven’t seen each other in so long...” He trailed, raising his gaze back to me.
I looked away, noticing I was going to regret the decision I was about to make.
“Okay,” I mumbled, looking up to find that he was looking at me. A smile formed on his lips and he got up without another thought. He took a bag from me before following me into the apartment complex and up the stairs until we got to mine.
Unlocking the door with shaking hands, I let him in with me.
My apartment was a plain little place, but it was tidy. There was no need for it to be overly decorated. I was the only one who lived here with my black tabby cat. The only thing close to fancy was the climbing boards my animal behaviorists prescribed since my cat seemed to be distressed by the small place since we moved out of my mom’s home to the little apartment.
“I’ll get you something to drink,” I mumbled as I watched Wayne look from wall to wall. I wondered what he found so interesting about them, they were all empty. He soon made his way to the peach sofas, placing the grocery bag he was holding on the center table before taking a seat.
I shook my head, deciding I’d stayed too long in the small living room before heading to the Kitchen. I got a carton of juice from the fridge before placing it on the counter afterward. I sighed, looking at nothing in particular as I let my thoughts overwhelm me.
What is he doing here?
That sounded stupid since I was the one that let him bring me to my stop and even allowed him into my apartment. I was more concerned about what he was doing on this side of the state — what was he even doing in said state in the first place?
As I thought to myself I heard the kitchen door creak open and footsteps begin to approach me. My cat, who’d been sitting on top of the fridge, meowed in distress. I don’t blame him. He hasn’t seen anyone other than me in a while.
“Is something wrong?” I heard Wayne say as he placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Everything’s fine, I was just thinking,” I mumbled, tensing at his touch. Wayne seemed to notice since he withdrew his hand.
“I’m sorry. I’ll leave if you don’t want me here,” he mumbled, letting his hands drop to his sides. I shook my head at that, running a hand through my dyed blue hair.
I turned, immediately tensing under Wayne’s gaze. He looked like he was studying me, trying to find a loophole of some sort.
“I... You’re making it hard to think, fuck,” I laughed, accepting my inability to come up with an explanation. “You just disappeared and got married...”
“That’s a rumor,” Wayne said, cutting me short. I looked at him with wide eyes. What did he mean it was a rumor?
“I’m not married, but I did cut our contact without thinking. I’m sorry... gosh, I didn’t know what I was doing,” Wayne muttered in a low tone. I’d never seen him so displaced before. Wayne Austin was really right in front of me and seemingly vulnerable.
“So what are you saying?” I asked, trying to search his eyes for an answer.
“I’m saying that I miss you, and I want us to start over... I came back to look for you. Please don’t turn me away,” he muttered, closing the distance between us and letting a hand of his cup my face.
What was he trying to do?
“I don’t know...” I trailed, trying to look down at the brown kitchen floor tiles but his hold on my face was strong. My tabby cat continued to meow in the background until the sound of jumping from board to board and landing made it clear that my cat had made a run for it.
Ciel was such a traitor.
I was brought out of my thoughts when Wayne pulled my face gently so we were looking at each other.
“I missed you, didn’t you miss me?” he asked in a soft voice as he ran his thumb over my cheek. “John, please talk to me.”
My mouth parted open but I didn’t know what to say. I watched him let out a sigh before leaning in until our lips brushed.
My cheeks flushed when I let out a moan I didn’t even know I had in me when he started moving his lips against mine. He chuckled into the kiss as he nipped at my lips.
I didn’t protest when his hand traveled down to unzip my pants. I bucked up against him when he slipped his hand down my pants. I didn’t protest either when he tugged at the buttons of my shirt or lead me to my bedroom.
As I moaned and shivered under his touch I realized that I hadn’t changed much. I was still the same Jonathan that was a prisoner to Wayne Austin.
I wanted to scold myself for being that way but I just couldn’t think around him.
It was helpless.