9: "Do you still love him?"
I was worried.
It was so unlike Alexander to go AWOL, but I couldn't do much about it from here. I was miles away.
I groaned, staring at my phone as I debated whether to text him.
Alexander, your sister is worried about you. Can you at least let me know you are ok? V
I drifted in and out of sleep, waking up to see a reply. I jumped up, pressing the read button before I could even open my eyes.
V, I'm alright. Just need some breathing space so I've come away for a bit. Thanks for asking, I'll call Claire. I miss you. X
I couldn't start this with him again.
I got up and showered, dressing in some leggings and a tunic, my thoughts drifting to that of Alexander.
"Victoria! You have a visitor!" my aunt bellowed up the stairs. I frowned as I rubbed lip gloss on my lips, wondering who it was. I jogged down the stairs to see Drake leaning against the doorway, a lazy smile on his mouth.
He laughed then, opening his hands out in confusion.
"Well, either that's a good surprise, or you have a guy leaving through your window right now..." he made a show of peering through the window, before turning to me with a playful smile on his face.
"It's a nice surprise," I murmured, as he lifted his eyebrows slowly.
"Damn, I'm a nice surprise. It's not the word I was hoping for, I've got to admit."
"I'm sorry, I've not slept well..."
"Coffee?" he suggested, as I nodded.
"Yeah- I'll just make us one-"
"No, I mean, can I take you for a coffee?" he corrected me, his eyes capturing mine as I nodded.
"Oh, sorry. I'm not with it. Aaron is back today so I'll just check what time I need to be back."
"It's just coffee, Victoria. Are you ok?" he asked softly, pushing his hair out of his face as I began studying his body again. Today he wore a thin long sleeved t shirt over his joggers, his hair slicked back and pushed into a cap that he wore backwards. You know, typical fuck boy attire.
"Yeah. I'll just get my stuff."
He waited patiently whilst I grabbed my jacket and bag, before calling goodbye to my aunt.
"So my parents are away this weekend." he said, winking at me when I raised my eyebrows.
"Look, just because I kissed you doesn't mean I'm fucking you now."
"Jesus, I didn't even-"
"You didn't say it, but you were thinking it, right?"
"Wrong. You're just too easy to tease."
He drove us to a coffee shop locally, and once we had our drinks we sat together on a tiny sofa by the window. My legs were pressed against his, and no matter how many times I tried to shift position I ended up with my legs touching his.
"So I've heard I'm quite the novelty," I said boldly, blowing on my latte as I watched his reaction carefully.
"Why would you be a novelty?" he looked confused, and I felt my jealously surface.
"Oh, just some girls I overheard. Apparently you're amazing in bed, and I'm a British bitch who won't last long."
I took a gulp of my latte, wincing when it burned my throat.
"What? Who the fuck said that about you?" he growled, suddenly angry.
"Just some girls-"
"That looked like?" he snapped, as I mumbled their descriptions.
"Fucking Bethany and Nadia. I know exactly who they are. Bitches."
"Well how do they know you're good in bed?" I asked innocently, sucking the foam from my straw as he watched me intently.
"It wasn't recent, that's all I can say."
I tried to keep my face neutral, but I couldn't deny how jealous I was. What was with him and these perfect looking women? It was depressing. What did he even see in me?
"I don't suppose I want to know. Maybe I shouldn't have asked. How did they know about the party at yours?"
He did a double take then, before peering at me.
I filled him in as he roared with laughter.
"The only party I want is with you and me."
I blushed then, as he chuckled.
"Bethany is my best friends cousin. He's probably told her my parents are away," he shrugged.
"You're fucking cute, you know that?"
"I'm tired. I must look like shit."
He raised his phone up, before snapping a selfie of us together.
"Shit!" I gasped as he showed me the photo.
"You're beautiful," he murmured, sliding his phone back into his pocket. "So how come I've not really seen you?" he asked, leaning back into his chair, commanding looks from the women surrounding us. I tried not to stare at his eyes, or the way he licked his lips.
"I've been studying, in the library, out for food..."
"Oh yeah? Who with, cus it wasn't me." He quipped.
"I know it wasn't you! It was with Greg. We went to this really nice place called Rudyards-"
"Whoa, hang on there sweetheart. Are are you telling me you went on a date?" he asked darkly, his eyes flashing as he waited for me to respond.
Was he jealous? Part of me was pleased that the shoe was on the other foot for once.
"No, it was with Greg." I repeated. "From my class?"
"Well, Greg, but yeah."
"You went out for dinner with him?" He stammered, his eyes narrowing when I nodded. "That sure sounds like a date to me."
"I can assure you it wasn't. We had been studying in the library-"
"Look beautiful. I'm gonna tell you something and it might just surprise you," he smirked, leaning towards me as I felt his hand softly touch mine. "Us guys...sometimes we can be a bit stupid. We think a girl likes us when she smiles a certain way, or I dunno...goes with us for dinner."
I began to panic then, wondering if I had given Greg the wrong idea. Nothing had happened though, I reminded myself, as my eyes locked with Drakes.
"And then some of us get to kiss the girl, and we feel like the luckiest men alive, trust me."
I smiled then, tearing my eyes away from his as I felt my heart rate begin to rise.
"And despite that; despite kissing you, we still don't know if you like us or not."
"Are we still referring to the male species or just you?"
He pretended to think about it before nodding.
"Yeah it's me."
"I do like you," I blushed, his hand lifting mine to his lips.
"But it's complicated. I'm complicated."
"Aren't we all?"
"I suppose. But I'm really not looking for a relationship, I've got to be honest."
I squirmed under his gaze, as he nodded slowly.
"I wasn't exactly looking for one myself. But with you, I don't know what it is. You're different to the others."
We drank our coffee silently whilst we absorbed our words.
"I had a messy relationship back home," I confessed, his eyes meeting mine. "As in, best friends brother. Didn't work out."
"Ouch. Best friends brother, huh? It happens more than you think. Lucky man though, if you were my best friends sister I'd be unable resist you."
I cringed slightly as memories of the relationship surfaced in my mind.
"How long ago was it?"
"Well, I moved here and didn't want the long distance thing. Plus he was a bit too possessive. A few red flags here and there, that kind of thing."
"But other than that everything was good?" He pressed, raising an eyebrow.
"When he found out I was moving, he went on a massive drinking session. Let's just say he ended up with another girl in his bed whilst I was staying over with Claire."
I closed my eyes, trying not to remember the smug grin on the woman's face when I walked in to his room. He was passed out asleep, the room stunk of sex and beer. I must've shuddered, because I felt Drake touch my arm.
"Hey, you ok?"
"Yeah. Anyway, now he's gone missing..."
"Before he did, he rang me and I just shut him down. I was worried but he has texted me to he is ok. I'm just not convinced."
Drake rubbed his lips, deep in thought. He didn't say anything, but I suppose there wasn't much he could say.
"Please stop apologising. I'm glad you've told me, it makes alot of sense. We aren't all like that you know."
I gazed at him as I nodded, finishing my coffee.
"I just want you to know why I'm not jumping into anything with you. It's really nothing to do with how I feel about you- It's more about healing from old wounds."
"Hey, I understand. I do. I've not been in that situation but I can imagine it's not easy. If you need space, I'll give it to you."
"I don't need space but I just want you to understand."
"I understand. Do you still love him?" he asked quietly, whilst I gazed at the floor.
"A part of me does. I mean, I-"
"It's ok, I get it," he said softly. "Well I think you need space, and maybe a good friend. I can do that."
I met his eyes then, nodding gratefully. He was so damn attractive- I couldn't be around him and not want to touch him.
"For now," I said, biting my lip as he leaned forward, cupping my face in his hand.
"For however long you need."
"I know you'll be with other women and that's fine. We aren't exclusive, so please don't hold back from anyone on my account."
Oh God, that killed me to say it out loud. I didn't want to think of him with anyone else, but I also didn't want him waiting for me. I had no idea how long that would be.
"Victoria, other women don't compare to you. Know that."
He stood up then, holding his hand out to me as we weaved through the coffee shop. My hand felt so right in his, but I couldn't start a relationship with this man.
No matter how much I wanted to.
Before we got in the car, he pulled me close to him. He smiled softly, gazing at me whilst he sighed.
"I know this is cliche, but I'll wait."
"Drake, I have no idea how long that will be. It's not fair of me to expect that from you."
"I know. I know what you said, but now it's my turn. I really like you. I know you think I'm a fuck boy, and I said I'd prove it to you-"
"You're a man. I know you will be fucking other women. Don't argue with me. It's ok, really. I need to sort my head out and I've no idea how long that will take."
His face was close to mine as he nodded, before releasing me.
"Ok," was all he said, before he walked around to the drivers side. I wondered what I'd said to change his demeanor so quickly.
The drive home was silent, and as I climbed out I leaned back in to say goodbye, frowning when he gazed past me towards the house.
"Who's that?" Drake asked curiously, as I turned to follow his gaze to the doorstep.
The blood drained from my face when I saw who was standing there, his long dark coat billowing around him as he studied me, his eyes drinking me in like he was dehydrated. I suddenly held on to the car door for dear life, my legs threatening to give way.
"Oh my God."
The man walked towards me, his long legs ceasing the distance between us easily.
"Victoria," he murmured, his voice making me feel weak. "I've missed you."
I tore my eyes away to Drake, who looked at me sadly. He didn't say anything as he drove away quickly, my eyes misting over as I watched him leave.
"Alexander, what the fuck are you doing here?"