He was dark and tall
I couldn’t help but fall
It’s just a pleasurable sin
Like an addiction with a bottle of gin.
My head was aching like it had hit the walls a hundred times already. I hated hangovers. I slowly opened my eyes to adjust to the lighting.
“Hey.” As soon as I listened to the voice, my head ache seemed to triple. What was he doing here? I remember him hitting Dylan at the restaurant and me drinking all the way till I reached home. But the flashes of anything that was dealing with Miles seemed to have dulled out and I could not recollect anything from last night.
“Miles?” I said confusion clearly heard in my voice. Keeping one hand against my eyes to prevent the light stinging my eyes, I tried to sit up from the bed that I was lying in. I still didn’t know how I ended there. I shut my eyes immediately, headache returning back.
I could feel Miles walk up to me, kissing my temple and taking my hand away from my eyes. As I felt his lips on my head, it woke the lost feelings that I had so unsuccessfully tried to bury away. It was more than enough to get me back to my senses. I felt myself drawn towards him and melting away in his touch.
“W-what are you doing?” I asked, protesting against the will to stay close to him. I pushed his hands away, my eyes open and wildly staring at him. “Why are you here?”
Possibilities of him breaking and entering occurred through my mind, but the very next second, I ruled it out. He was mad at me for being there at his restaurant when I had been out there with Pam. It was hardly unlikely of him to break and enter. But the question still remained and he was taking all his time to answer them.
I could see his dark eyes, stare at me for a second more than necessary before his lips parted to answer to my questions.
“I came here to apologize.” He finally said, his head hung low. I sat up looking at him as he tried to explain. “I suppose you don’t remember anything from last night do you?”
I kept my hand pressed against my head, as a jolt of pain hit me at the head. I sighed as the pain subsided.
“Sorry,” he said again, giving me a glass of water with a tablet on his other hand, extending towards me. When I looked at him, with perplexed look, he added. “Aspirin helps with the ache.” He motioned his hand at my head. “I’ve also prepared the tea; my specialty to keep the head aches away.” He smiled proudly.
“I remember.” I said, talking the tablet and swallowing it in one go. That reminded me that I had totally forgotten to take my medicines last night. Damn, my doctor would be so pissed.
“You do?” Miles asked hopefully, his eyes lighting at the corners.
“I remember you hitting Dylan because I was there at your restaurant.” I said, my voice low. “I had met them for the first time in years.”
“I know.” He whispered back.
I shook my head. I had had enough of this shit all this while. And things were still blurry. Miles knew that Dill met me for the first time but still hits him and breaks his nose. He makes sure that I get a hint that he hates me with all his gut, yet he’s here as if last night didn’t happen, making me his tea as a remedy to my hangover.
I pressed my head with both my hands as another wave of pain hit me hard. I closed my eyes and waited for the pain to lessen.
“Megan, please don’t cry.” He said, caressing my cheeks. “I don’t hate you.”
I slowly opened my eyes, only to meet the burning dark gaze of his. “Why Miles? It’s too painful and I can’t stand it.” I was done running in circles, always in the same loop with no destination and no goal.
“I know, I know.” He said, pulling me towards his lap. I was too tired to protest and I let him hold me. It had been years since anyone held me close and for once I knew that I was glad that he was here. “I’m sorry for everything that happened to you.”
I pushed myself away from him. “You don’t know anything.” I pushed myself up and walked away from him. I went into the kitchen, keeping steady pace from him.
“I know enough to tell that you suffered all these years because of me.” He walked behind me. I picked up his tea from the kitchen counter. As I took a sip, I realized that how much I had been missing. “I just want to see you happy… again.”
I laughed and the next second another wave of pain came making me cringe. I took a second to recover as Miles looked at me with concern etched on his face. “What makes you think that I’m not happy?” I took another sip and closed my eyes savoring the taste.
I saw Miles roll his eyes at me. “You don’t have to pretend to be so strong you know?” Thankfully he let go of the topic and turned towards the stove. “You like scrambled eggs or your ever favourite noodles?”
His smirk was infectious. I threw the kitchen towel at him and watched him catch it gracefully. “I take that you want scrambled eggs then.” He said as he began fetching eggs from the refrigerator. “I’m surprised; you have this filled for once.”
“Amber had threatened to kill me if I didn’t send her a pic of the fridge filled.” I said, rolling my eyes, as I completed my tea. I went to the sink to wash the glass.
He smiled knowingly. “I can imagine. Was there a flame burning through her nose?” he laughed, getting a playful blow on his shoulders from me. He lifted his hands in mock surrender as I hopped on the kitchen counter watching him.
It only seemed yesterday that I had visited his cooking class which were the culprits to bring us together. I noticed how different he looked from before. There always remained a five ’o clock subtle on his chin now. Though his eyes were darker than before, the lightning that used to pass through was missing. I had heard that he had stopped cooking since I left, but now, seeing him, I could tell how much he was missing it.
He stuck his tongue out as he mixed the contents together, making me smile. No, he was still the same. He turned around and caught me staring at him. But unlike before he didn’t make a comment on it and just smiled back at me. When I boldly continued staring at him, surprising myself, “What?” he asked.
“I… it’s just… I used to miss this.” I admitted frankly, shaking my head. “Sometimes I used to have dream about this, you know.” I stopped myself from continuing further. I didn’t want him to know how much he affected me.
“And I missed you.” he said, keeping his bowl aside and walking towards me. “I missed the fact that you were not mine. I missed that you were not there by my side when I woke up every day. I miss—”
“Please… Miles.” I said, keeping my hands on his chest, stopping him from coming too much near to me.
“I miss,” he continued, “that I don’t have to smell that over cooked noodles you used to prepare for me.” He smirked victoriously.
I smiled and put my head down, a sinking feeling taking over me.
“Hey,” he whispered, raising my chin to make me meet his eyes. “We both had our share of mistakes, shouldn’t we let it go?”
“I missed you too.” I said, without any hesitation. “But I don’t think I’m strong enough to go through all that again, Miles.”
The front door bell rang, making us startle. I did not grasp that he was standing so close to me and I could almost feel his warmth radiating from his body. He was standing right in front of me, his right hand cupped my face drawing circles, his eyes full of care and concern.
I cleared my throat first, and jumped off the counter. “I should get that.” I said, as he nodded his head and went towards his bowl to make scrambled eggs.
I walked up to the door and without peeking at the see through hole; I pulled the door open for the person standing on the other side of the door. I was surprised to see two people at this early hour at my doorstep.
“Are you okay?” it was Pamela, standing behind Amber with a guilty expression on her face.
“Is that even a question?” Amber lightly scolded her, and then she turned towards me. “She looks like shit.”
“I’m so sorry, Meg.” Pamela spoke with her head held low. “I shouldn’t have left you alone yesterday.”
I heaved a sigh as I understood what the girls were talking about. “Come on in.” I said, pulling the door wider for them to enter.
“I just didn’t want you to be in trouble.” Pam explained, as they both entered. “Hannah is already so worried about you and I thought leaving you at your place would be a good idea to keep things from her.” She blabbered on as Amber rolled her eyes at the white walls in front of her.
“Hannah has seen much worse, seriously.” Amber said, inspecting me with her Sherlock Holmes eyes.
“I never really thought about you really. I’m sorry for that.” Pam continued, in spite of Amber’s hot glare on her.
“It’s okay, Pam.” I assured her, trying to let go Amber from me. But she wouldn’t budge an inch. “I’m frankly alright.”
Amber held my face in both her hands tightly, making the jolt of pain hit me back with greater force than before as she studied me testing if I was telling the truth or not.
“You are hurting me.” I managed to whimper, with my teeth clutched tightly together. But Amber didn’t let go of me.
“I can smell alcohol and I remember Pamela telling me that you had been drinking since you saw him. But your eyes are a little livelier considering your crying last night. No bad dreams then?” she asked, as I winced under her hold.
“But I smell eggs.” Pam said, making Amber let go of me and turn towards her to check if she was right.
When Amber turned towards me again, her eyes had lit up the way I had never seen before—not even when she told me that Zack had proposed to her. “You are cooking again? So no more noodles then?” she asked.
Before I could answer her questions at me or even before she could do the math and guess the situation, Miles came to the living room, with my old apron tied on his chest. “Hey, you guessed all right, except for me.” He said, with a smile on his face.
“You…?” Pam stuttered blinking at him. “Aren’t you… you…”
“What are you doing here?” Amber asked, suspiciously holding me closer to her.
“That was more like a question I was expecting.” He said, wiping his hands on the apron. “While you are at it, would you guys like some scrambled eggs?”
Both of the girls looked at me, silently asking me the same question they had been asking him. I shrugged at them and went to the kitchen. All the three of them followed behind.
The phone rang loudly in contrast to the silent apartment. Miles answered it and nodded his head at us as he went towards the living room for some privacy.
“What the—” Amber’s mouth was open and was staring in the way Miles walked out.
“I don’t remember most of the details, but when I woke up he was here.” I answered, looking in his direction. “He told me he was here because he wanted to apologize.”
“He’s so hot.” Pam said in a dreamy voice as Amber hit her playfully.
“Pam!” she whisper shouted. “He’s already taken.”
I saw her wink at Pam and Pam gave me a knowing smile. I could neither accept it nor could I deny it. I shook my head at them, as I went to get the eggs to put them in the plate.
“Sorry girls.” Miles said, looking over his phone as he came back finishing his calls. “Duty calls. I should get going though.”
Neither of them spoke and were still wondering if it was all real or they were dreaming them.
“I know this one. But you are?” he asked pointed at Pamela.
I could see Pamela blush as Miles directed his attention to her. “I’m Pamela… but you can call me Pam. I mean most of them do.”
Miles gave his famous smirk. “Pam it is then. It’s pleasure meeting you. I’m Miles Jackson.” He extended his hands for her to shake.
Pamela looked at me for a fraction of a second before she hesitantly shook his hand. “I know who you are. I mean I’ve seen you on television. I even saw you on the party at Chailey.”
Then mention of that place brought sore memories back and both of our faces fell. I cleared my throat. “You’ll stay for a bite?” I asked motioning Miles.
He looked at me, and I could see his expression change slightest bit. “Sorry, I’ve this meeting due in half hour. I need to get going.” He turned towards Pam, with a soft smile. “Hope to see you around?”
“I’m going back home today.” She said in a sad voice. “My mother is not feeling quite well.” She added.
“Oh, I pray for her wellness.” He said. He turned to me and nodded at me before he took off, throwing off the apron at Amber on the way.
“Hey!” she cried. “I won’t even get a hello now?”
“I know you miss flirting with me Amb.” He said walking out, sparing a smirk at her. “Marrying has it’s own disadvantages right?”
“You are an idiot!” she shouted back, but all I could hear from him was laughter.
“Hey wait,” I called. “I’ll walk you out.” I gave a pointed look to both the girls before I reached for Miles.
When I reached out, he was waiting for me at the door. “Megan, I wish I could stay.”
“Yeah, that eggs do look yummy.” I said, giving a look at the kitchen.
Miles laughed, shaking his head. “You do know I didn’t mean that, right?”
I put my head low. I knew exactly what he meant. It had been so long since we had laughed together and I had forgotten how it felt to be laughing with him. “Thank you for staying. I’m glad you came.” I said and before he could respond, I pulled him in for a hug.
He was startled for a second, but he recovered quickly, holding me tightly in place. I took a deep breath and tried to keep each and every second etched in my memory. I was scared to finally wake up and find out it was all a dream.
He held me by my waist, burying his head in the crook of my neck. I circled my hand around his neck and closed my eyes. He let go of me and looked at me in the eye, his dark eyes boring into mine. “Anything for you, darling.”
There was a gigantic smile on my face as I waved at Miles, when he took off. Even when the car was long gone, I stood at my door step, trying to get my head together. I slapped my cheek to get myself back to reality. I was not supposed to go to this dream land just because he was not cold to me now—the last time I was there, it all went into dust and smoke. I was not able to afford that this time too.
“What was that all about?” Amber asked, as I made my way into the kitchen, with a goofy grin of her own playing on her lips.
“He seems so sweet.” Pam said, taking a bite of the scrambled eggs, which Miles had prepared. “And this,” she said, pointing to her mouth full of eggs. “is heaven.”
“Nothing.” I said, tucking a strand of hair behind my ear. “As Pam said, he was just being nice to prepare something to eat after my hangover.”
As soon as the word was out, another rush of pain in my head started, amplifying every second. I pressed my hands at my head and stood motionless as I waited for the ache to stop. This was my version of hangover.
As the pain seemed to ease, I grabbed a plate of scrambled eggs and dug in, joining the girls. The eggs were delicious, just like the way I remembered them being cooked by him. How many times hadn’t he tried to teach me and how many times hadn’t I failed? When he pointed out that the eggs were not the way they were supposed to be, I would fight with him, arguing that it was the right way. Soon, food fight would start. I still remember the time, when we would clean the mess we made because of the fight.
“Megan, honey. Come on now.” Amber piped in, looking at my sore mood. “You don’t have to tell anything, we understand.” She said, nodding towards Pam, who was standing behind Amber with the same concerned face that shared with that of Amber’s.
“Sorry.” I said, embarrassed that I had zoned out. “So what’s the plan for today?” I managed to stay as energetic as possible.
“Well, for starters, Pamela has a flight to catch. So I thought we could bid her farewell.” Amber said.
“And I may or may not have told Hannah that you were upset and wanted to go to your place rather than hers.” Pamela silently added, looking guilty.
“Pam!” I shouted, standing up from my chair. The chair was knocked up and spaced itself out of my way, giving me ample area to motion my hands at her. “Hannah will be freaking out!”
“May be a little.” She added silently.
Another wave of sting ran across my head, and I steadied till it diminished. I might need another aspirin to keep these pain waves away.
“But you don’t have to worry about that.” Amber added hastily. “I told her that I visited you this morning and you were fine. She relaxed then.”
“Oh,” I managed. I didn’t want Hannah to worry about me. I was fine and that was how I wanted her to know me. I didn’t want any more trouble to her because of me.
“It was a good thing that Miles came around.” Pam said, “He did take care of you. So it was not a total lie to tell her that you were fine.”
I walked up to the dustbin and emptied my plate that was still full. It was not even ten yet and I was too tired of the day I was having. All my appetite had vanished just because of that. “What are you doing?” Amber shrieked, getting up from her chair. “You didn’t eat them.”
“I’m not hungry.” I said, shrugging my shoulders. “Anyway, I’m sure Hannah will prepare apple pie, if I called her and told her that I was coming over.”
“That’s not fair!” Pam wined. “I’ll be going today and I love her pie!”
“That’s your little punishment.” I smiled, hugging her in a bear hug. Amber soon joined and embraced us.
No matter what was at stake, I knew that these friends would never let go of my side. They were not friends, they were my family.
“Miles had come to her house.” Amber said in a hushed voice, giving the sentence more effect which it didn’t deserve. I rolled my eyes, taking a bite of apple pie, as I laid on Hannah’s lap. “And he prepared scrambled eggs.”
Hannah stroked my hair in a comforting manner. I don’t remember the last time, someone did that to me. I had never met my biological mother who gave me up to the adoption centre when I was just a baby. And the foster parents ignored me when they got their own kid. Though it was only a few years back that I got to know that I was adopted, I didn’t find the need to know who were my actual parents and what their story was. They had given me up and I was not going back to them in search for the painful answers. Once I had decided that, there was no turning back and now, if I think about it, I don’t really regret my decision.
“Does he still like you, dear?” Hannah asked, bringing me back to the present.
“I think he does.” Amber chirped. Gone was all the hushed tone and the girly Amber was in full swing.
I sat up and the two pair of eyes were staring at me silently asking for the answer. “I think so.” I said, looking at my intertwined fingers. “And it’s scary.”
“Megan!” Amber said, propping a pillow on her lap. “He likes you and you still like him. What’s the problem?”
“We liked each other before.” My head was still low and I didn’t dare to look at their expectant faces. In their mind, we were still a couple to be shipped off. But there were yet a lot of insecurities that came along that ship for which I was not ready yet. “Look where I’m now.”
“Honey,” Hannah said, holding my hands in hers. “It’s always scary when you like someone. But that’s what makes you trust each other.”
“Well, he was there in the morning, what did you feel when you were around him?” Amber asked. It was just like the times, when I was assigned to a professional psychiatrist, asking me questions that I didn’t want to answer.
“When I’m with him—he makes me feel happy. It’s… it’s as if we didn’t spend any time apart each other.” Unlike the time with my psychiatrist, I tried to open up. I knew I had to get these stuffs out of my system one day or the other.“And I for-forget everything and… the only thing that matters is u-us.”
The time when I had a fire accident in Brighton, he had made me stay at his room. I had seen the anguish in his eyes, as I opened them the first time I woke from the accident. He had held my hand when I absentmindedly hit them to the cold railing when I was having a hard time talking with my parents. He never once commented on my dyslexic abilities. He stayed by my side when I was dealing with my parents and Peter. He supported me mentally and emotionally.
But deep down, a voice spoke more loudly than the others. He broke your trust and played with you heart. I shivered at the ghostly voice. I had somehow managed to come back this time, if the history dares to repeat itself, I knew I was in deep shit.
“Sweetie…” Hannah pulled me to a hug. I curled under her arms, concentrating on the warmth she radiated.
“I’m scared because he has the power to hurt me the same way he did before. I’m scared that he will break my heart again.” I confessed. It was something that was bugging me when I saw him in my house this morning. “I’m scared because if he does, I’m sure I won’t be able to recover this time.”
“You are just being paranoid, Meg.” Amber said as she scooted closer to me. “It’s not like he cheated on you or something. Even if he did, there are many couples who forgive each other and can still live happily with each other.”
“It’s not the same.” I said, burying myself further in Hannah’s arms.
“Sweetheart, I know that you have trust issues and it was a major blow to you at what he did.” Hannah said, choosing her words wisely. “But as you said, he said that he wanted to make you happy. And he’s been doing it ever since—either by staying with you or not.”
I chewed my bottom lip thinking about what Hannah said. It was all making sense. I was happy seeing the notes that he sent, I did not want to find from whom it came from. When I had told Miles that I missed them since they had not come from a long time, the notes came to me the very next day. And Miles had been wanting to see me happy all along—with or without the notes.
“You should give him a chance at least.” Amber said, interrupting my thoughts. “I don’t mean you to go and act as if it all didn’t happen at all. But may be… you know stay friends.”
I did try to be friends with him. “I asked him to be friends.” I whispered. It was something that blow me off in the first place. It was the same idea that crumpled me further and pushed me into the doom that I was dreaming almost everyday. “He said that we could never be friends.”
“Oh, honey.” Hannah said, stroking my head.
“But maybe he didn’t know how much he was affecting you then.” Amber insisted. I knew that she wanted me and Miles to be together from the start but it was not always so easy. We were both stubborn and we both had made mistakes.
“Megan, look at me now.” Hannah said, holding my face in her tender palms. “I understand that you are scared. If you think about it, he must be scared too. There were many people in his life that fled away without a slight notice.”
I hung my head low. I always felt angry about people who had run away from him—his mother, father and even his ex-girlfriend. I always wondered how it was ever possible for anyone to run away from such a man.
At that very instant I felt angry for myself for fleeing away from him. I was no better than them.
“There is so much at stake for him as much as it is there for you.” Hannah continued. “He’s trying really hard by letting you in his life again. Probably that’s his way of telling you that he was sorry.”