You walked against all odds just to be on my side
Sacrifices and miseries mad it one hell of a ride
Yet, here you are smiling at me,
Turning the alphabets U and I into V
You are the centre of my universe, keeping me spinning,
For all I k now it’s just the beginning.
It became a daily routine for me to go to the shop and do my part of the job. I would usually be with my ear-plugs on trying not to get in anyone’s way as Amber was busy with her own wedding thing going on and Thomas with his exams, it was only me in the shop, not that it bothered anyway. It was like a smash of nostalgia hitting my face every day.
Ever since Miles and I managed to get our facts right and confessed each other, I had been meeting him—just like the way it used to be. He would somehow turn up at the shop telling that one of his clients needed some decorations or he needed few flowers at his place, not that I complained—it got me a good amount of hike and well, it never really hurt to see his face again.
It was one of the Friday nights when Miles came to my shop and asked me if I wanted to have dinner with him the next day. I was taken aback, but he said that it was just his way of showing me that he was sorry for shoving me out his restaurant the other night when I was with Pamela. Even when I had told him that it was a spur of the moment and he didn’t had to do that, he was persistent and somehow managed to make me agree to him—as he always did.
When Laura became aware of this, she came rushing at me, handing Emerald over to her nanny. “Oh my God!” she shrieked. “It’s a date!”
I had rolled my eyes at her and told her what Miles had told me, but she insisted it was otherwise. She even made me dress up against all my protests.
“Miles won’t care if I’m wearing scrapped jeans Lau!” I had told her, when she was doing my hair. She tugged it harder at my sentenced and glared at me. That made me shut up for good.
It would be a lie if I didn’t tell that Miles took a whole minute to analyse me when he was at my doorstep to pick me up. He was dressed too—just like a gentleman, making me halt for a second and get lost in his deep dark eyes.
We talked about all kinds of stuff and laughed together at the dinner forgetting why we had even broken apart in the first place. We were like two resonating strings, amplifying with greater life every time we met.
“So… you didn’t date at all… when you know…” he stopped his sentence, searching my eyes when we were having our chocolate mousse for our dessert.
“Miles,” I said, putting my spoon away. Talking about the times when he was not there with me, especially when we had broken up, was still an out of boundary question for me, but I was coping up. Now, I don’t cry every time that topic comes up. “Pam did set me up with few guys she knew.” I said while Miles waited patiently. I could see him tense when I let the sentence out, but he had held his ground. “But they never worked out. Either I was too mute or I would end up crying.”
“Oh, darling.” he said, with his eyes full of concern, as he held my cold hands against his warm ones. “Why did you cry?”
I could almost see anguish in his eyes, but I shook it away. It was a long time back. “I had learnt that it was a weak spot for the guys. When I started crying they would get me home soon.” I said, not wanting to ruin the night for us.
He shook his head as he laughed at my lame cover-up. “Only you, Megan.” He said. “Only you.”
“Oh, you have no idea how scared they were.” I laughed along with him. “One of the guy even asked Pam if I was mentally okay and from then on, she stopped hooking me up.”
Miles snorted. “But, I’m sorry.” He finally said. “I wish I could take back those cruel days from you.”
“No more apologies Miles.” I smiled faintly. “We have both done that enough.”
He smiled his lips momentarily quirking upwards as his eyes crinkled at his corners.
He then went on to tell me his hotel achievements in the past years and how a person named Gregory was behind him for some hotel. It seemed that they had had certain meetings last month and now, they were working together. I let out a sigh of relief when he had somehow managed to pull it off after learning that I was the one responsible for the loss of the hotel in the first place.
The car ride back home was silent with an occasional roar of the traffic. I secretly took his features as he drove. He had cut his hair short with a trendy fashion, I supposed it was for a new photo shoot, but it suited him, making him look younger and more handsome. His face was a little harder, yet softer in its own way that I couldn’t fathom. His eyes were keen and confident, ready for a hunt and kill. His lips lifted upwards when he noticed that I had been eyeing him all along.
When he halted his car near my apartment and just when I was about to get down, he ran the other side of the car to open the door for me.
“Still playing the gentleman?” I teased, taking his hand for support so as to not to trip and fall.
“Only for you darling.” he said, smirking.
“Well it’s me then.” I said, motioning my apartment. “Thanks for the dinner. It was wonderful as always.”
As I turned around, he pulled my left hand and twirled me such that I was facing him again. I clung to his chest to steady myself. He looked at me, watching me as if he was losing me—I could almost see the pain and desire, swimming in his eyes.
He leaned towards me and I closed my eyes, savoring the moment. I felt his breath on my lips and I gulped in response. He pressed tender kiss on my cheeks so close to my lips that it left me wanting for more. “I love you, Megan.” He whispered, as he touched his forehead with mine.
There was a swirl of emotions in me, which hooked me to the place, paralyzing me with his words. He had said the exact same words to me when I had packed to leave. I had always waved it away telling myself that he said it to make me stay. But now, hearing the same words from the guy that haunted my dreams sent me an electric wave through my spine, even when we both knew that I was not packing anytime soon.
“Miles…” I whispered, our breaths mingling as one. I had still closed my eyes, not daring to open them and do something stupid that I would regret later.
“Megan, you don’t have to.” He said, stopping me. “I just want you to know that.”
Tears pooled in my eyes as I played to be strong. Here I was in the embrace of the man who loved me, yet I couldn’t tell him how much he meant to me. Was it fair to him?
“You don’t have to cry.” He said, wiping my tears as they unconsciously fell down my cheeks. “Hannah and Laura are watching from the window. Can you hug me and then go back? You know, so that they won’t think that I made you cry.”
I laughed and pulled him for a warm embrace the next second, not because I had to prove anyone anything, just because of a small hope that he would hear in my actions when my mouth failed to speak.
“It’s a win-win, I must agree.”
I closed my eyes and let the warmth seep in. I held him for a minute longer than usual as he buried his face in my neck. “Thanks for coming to dinner with me, Meg.” He whispered, before he let go of me. “You should go back now.”
I nodded my head not able to form words of my own accord. Miles stood there till I had safely gone inside the house, where the two of them were ready for inquiry.
“What happened?” Laura asked unable to control her curiosity. “It was a date right?”
“Yes.” I whispered back.
Hannah laughed. “I still remember the first time you went out with him. Smith was so mad at you for not consulting him.”
I smiled weakly at her. “I miss Smith, Hannah.” I said, reaching to sit next to her.
“Oh, sweetheart.” She said, rubbing my back as I leaned against her shoulder. “He just wanted you happy if you took his permission or not.”
“Enough of the sappy talk.” Laura said, waving her hand at us. “I want all the juicy details.”
“We just talked.” I said, rolling my eyes at her.
“I saw some chemistry happening over in the driveway.” She winked her eyes. “I have a bet to Hannah that you two kissed.”
It was more than a kiss, I thought. “He said that he loved me.”
“That is old news. Google knows it too.” Laura rolled her eyes at me.
“Well, what did you tell?”
“What?” they both said in unison.
“I still can’t let the feeling go away.” I said, hanging my head low. “He’s out there, ready to give me the world at my word, but I don’t know if I can do the same for him.”
“Megan, it doesn’t have to be like that.” Hannah reasoned.
“No, Hannah.” I said, shushing her. “He is so much more than he gives credit to.”
“So, you mean to tell that he deserves someone better?” Laura said, voicing my thoughts. It was so much difficult to look at their eyes when I knew that they were telling the truth.
I nodded my head.
“Then, why can’t you be better for him?” Laura questioned again, making me look at her face with wonder. “If you want him to have a person who’s better, why can’t you try to be one… for him?”
“It’s not like that.” I said, trying my best to tell them how I was feeling. “You don’t understand. Hannah, tell her.” I turned towards her silently asking her to agree with me.
“She’s right, dear.” Hannah said, much to my plight. “There’s nothing like deserving when it comes to love.”
“It’s all in your hands, Megan.” Hannah said.
“It’s so late, Hannah.” I said, looking at her. “You really want to go to Amber’s at this time?”
“It’s so rare that she calls me over.” Hannah replied, walking along with me. “And, besides, I don’t want to miss the gossips.”
I laughed along with her. It was already half past ten, as Hannah and I went to my monthly therapist session. According to the good doctor, I was doing very much better than the times when I had been out of the town. She even doubted herself thinking if she had given me the right suggestion to turn my back to the only place I knew.
“Amber might like, if you are tagging along.” Hannah silently added.
“Tell her that I’m mad at her.” I said, pulling my coat towards me. It had been three months already since Zack proposed and Amber was in the bride-to-be mode all throughout, leaving me alone with the job of the shop. Thomas had done his best to cope up with me, but it was still Amber-less. “I’ve to cover for her today too.”
Hannah giggled. “Just her getting married then.”
“Megan!” someone called me. No, it was not someone, it was Miles. I turned around to see him, a block across from where we stood. He was in his casual jeans and rugged shirt, with a tux coat hung on his shoulders as his right hand was held at his ear.
As Hannah and I stood watching, he crossed the light traffic easily and came towards us, still talking on his phone. “I got to go now, but I’ll consider the offer.” He said, before he cut the call and turned his attention at us.
“Miles!” Hannah said, with a known smile on her face. “It’s been such a long time since I saw you.” She exclaimed as Miles hugged her response.
“You have lost weight.” He commented back at her, making her blush as I hid my laugh. “Not eating now, are you?”
“She hardly makes it to her fourth spoon.” I added.
“I do not!” Hannah said.
Miles snorted. “So what makes you ladies here at this time?”
There was no sense in keeping it from Miles; after all he knew what I had been going through, though not all of it, some of it for sure. At least, Laura would have spilled the beans for me. “I just had an appointment with the therapist.” I said, looking at my knotted hands. I still didn’t understand why I was ashamed in accepting the fact.
“Oh, um… everything well?” he asked with a slight hesitation.
“She’s doing well.” Hannah said, with a warm smile. “In fact the doctor thinks that she will be more than fine within another two-three months.”
“That’s great.” He said and I could see the spark in his eyes even in the dark. “You guys need a ride or something?”
“Oh, no.” I said, shaking my head. “I have my van.”
“So you are heading to Hannah today?” Miles asked, shifting his coat further in his shoulder.
“No, I’m just dropping Hannah off at Amber’s. I got some work to cover for me when she’s at her nonsense.”
Miles laughed. “So you are working now? This late?”
“Long story short—Amber bailed on me and I’m covering for her.”
He laughed at my lame comeback.
“What are your plans now, Miles?” Hannah asked, with a smile of her own.
“Nothing for now.” He said with a hesitation and I knew that it was a lie. “Why?”
“I was wondering if you could accompany Megan.” She said.
“I know what Gwen said” She continued in spite of my protests and Miles looked at me, asking me silently who Gwen was.
“My therapist.” I said with an eye roll.
“Megan is alright now, but I still would like if she had someone, you know, at this hour at least.” Hannah said, not caring for my angry glares at her. “It would give the old soul some peace of mind.”
“You are starting to sound like Smith now.” I said, still with my glares on her.
“That would be fantastic!” Miles said, his eyes sparking in contrast to mine. “I mean, if you don’t mind me tagging along, I would love to come with you.”
I sighed. I, for one, didn’t need anyone to take care of me—I was fine. And secondly, it was Miles who said he would come. The last time I had given a hint of this fact, he had blown against me and I didn’t want the scene unraveling itself all over again. “Fine.” I said.
“Well, that’s settled then.” Hannah said, clapping her hands. “Get me to Amber and off you go.”
“I get it, I get it.” I said, raising my hand at her. “And, you are riding with me.” I went forward leaving the two behind me, to get the van where all the necessary items were there for the decorations.
“She’s into her moods again.” I heard Hannah say. “You got to be careful dear.”
“I can hear Hannah.” I said, not turning at her. “I’m sure Miles is a big boy who can handle himself.”
Soon, as promised, I dropped Hannah to Amber’s place where Laura was settled with Emerald who was sound asleep in her laps. They asked Miles and me to join them but I reasoned that I had to go finish my work. Though some part of me hated that Amber had ditched me with all the work, a bigger part of me knew that I owed it to her for the times I had put her in the same shoes.
“Are you okay?” he asked as we pulled into the road again.
“I was at two parties, a funeral and bouquet making for the past twenty four hours or so. I’m just a bit tired.” I said, my voice strained. It seemed as if I needed a glass of water. “The decorations need to be redone as it looks like it’s going to rain and it’s already eleven, I have to get this done today.”
“I feel the same when I’m working too.” he said, holding my spare hand that I felt it at the gear. “But you love this job, I’m sure you’ll be alright.”
“Yeah.” I said, smiling at him. I was glad that he was with me, even when I knew that he had work of his own.
We reached our destination and I let out a breath. “You can do this.” Miles encouraged.
I smiled. “Can you get me the water bottle in the back?” I asked, as I pulled out my pills for the day.
“Thanks.” I said, pouring the water down my throat as I gulped the pills. “Now, for my Bluetooth and then, we can go.” I fixed the Bluetooth across my ear and connected it to my phone. “Come on, let’s go. Can you grab those flowers for me?” I asked as I got down.
“I’m sorry, you are going through so much because of me.” Miles said, grabbing the white flowers.
“Where’s that coming from?” I asked, balancing the flowers on one hand and closing the car door with the other.
“I’m not blind Megan. I saw the pills.” He said, not looking at me.
“Whatever happened Miles, it’s because of me.” I said, having enough of this conversation already. Amber, Hannah, Laura and sometimes, even Thomas would join the trio—it was an expired conversation. “I shouldn’t have left and having left, I should have sobered up. You shouldn’t put all the blames on yourself for my mistakes.”
“No, what I meant was—”
“But it also made me realize one thing.” I said looking at him. “That I still do care for you.”
He smiled, all the pent up tension evaporating into thin air. “I just remembered, you had made me pick up flowers just like this when we first met.” He joked.
I laughed. I did remember. “Well, you need more practise at it, ’cause you still suck.” I said, as he lost his grip and making the flowers fall on the ground. “Hey!” I called out to the boys who were still working on the flower decorations. “Those are my boys.” I pointed out to Miles.
“Your boys?” Miles raised one eye brow at me.
“Ah, still a jealous type, I see.” I teased.
“That’s the guy you work with?” he asked pointing towards Thomas.
“Yeah, he’s our latest addition to our shop.” I said, looking at Thomas. He was arranging the flowers standing on the stool. “Amber hired him when I was at Chiley.”
Miles shook his head with a smile. “I once saw you with him and I was as mad as hell.”
I laughed, “He’s just a college student, Miles.”
“There are only guys working here, no girls?” Miles wondered out loud. “No wonder Hannah was worried sick about you going. I’m happy that I’m here.”
“Me too. I could push you to the vampires when they come hunting for me.” I smiled wickedly at him.
Miles laughed shaking his head at me.
We went towards the area where Thomas was working. “Thomas, change of plans. It looks like it’s going to rain, no a thunderstorm I would say, and I thought we would change just these to plastic ones.” I pointed towards the tub where the flowers were present.
“What!” he asked, taken aback. “I just brought my bunch of friends here for nothing? We got to redo all these again with those?” he asked pointing to the flowers which Miles and I had got.
“They can have extra pay.” I said, nervously smiling at him. “Besides only the garden needs the change and it will take a max of an hour. I promise to make the arrangements while you guys take the real flowers down.”
“Fine.” He said, walking to the others to let them know the change.
“You sure you’ll be okay?” I asked Miles who was watching me all this time. “I’ll complete it as soon as possible.”
“No problem, I have a few calls to make anyway.” He said. “I’ll be there when you are done, okay?” he asked pointing to the shelter hut.
“Awesome.” I said with thumbs up sign and went to start my work.
I was working on the arrangements with the plastic ones as Thomas cleared his throat. I looked at him as a reflex and saw him grin at me suggestively. “What?” asked, as I finally got the loop done at one corner.
“You guys are perfect for each other.” he said with the same grin. “He’s been ogling at you all the while.”
“No, he’s not.” I let out a snort. “He’s been working all the while.” I looked at Miles who was probably conducting the meeting with his clients. His laptop was stretched in front of him; he had worn his jacket and plugged his earphones on.
“Poor guy, looks like he need medication.” Thomas said with a smirk as he noticed Miles working.
“Hey!” I threw the plastic flower that was tucked at my pocket, laughing. “He’s just working.”
Instinctively, Miles looked at me and smiled. I pointed towards the corner that I was decorating as he nodded his head and went back to whatever he was doing.
“Like I said, you two are perfect.”
“I didn’t know it would start off raining this soon.” I said worry etched in my voice. “Hope the decorations stay while this storm lasts.”
“You need to relax.” Miles said, as he accompanied me with the ride back. As promised, I had completed my work within an hour and when we were packing, the first pitter-platter fell, getting us worried about the master piece we had just created.
I had put up a brave facade with the boys telling that our decorations were strong, but with the pours that fell now, I had my own doubts. By the time, we left the place, I was completely drenched, while Miles was half drenched.
“Just look at the rain!” I pointed at the closed window in desperation. Miles had said that he would drive telling that I was overreacting at the situation.
“It’s not your fault that it rained, come on.” He laughed.
“Great! The power’s out too?” I groaned, as there was pitch blackness when we neared my apartment. “Put this as my worst day ever.” I folded my hands and looked away as Miles laughed at my distress. “And you laugh!”
“Here’s your home.” He said as we reached. “I’ll call Steve and get back.”
“I’m not letting you go in this condition!” I said, waving my hands at his drenched attire. “Moreover, I don’t think your Steve will be able to make it anyway.”
“So, you are asking me to stay over?” he asked, carefully waiting for my response.
“Of course, I don’t want you to catch pneumonia or something.” I said, my cheeks turning a tinge of pink. “Who else is going to help me at times like these then?”
He laughed again. “We wouldn’t want that.”
“Okay, so here’s my key.” I said, holding out the apartment key at him. “And at three, let’s open the door and run towards the apartment, okay?”
“Sounds like a plan.” He chuckled as I rolled my eyes at him.
We both ran at the apartment and with one swish motion, the door opened miraculously as a high pitched thunder echoed across the halls.
“God, it’s so cold.” I wined as I closed the door securely. “There’s no power for the heater.”
“It’s freezing here.” Miles agreed. “We could have driven to my place at the least.”
“Yeah that sounds like a good idea now. But I’m not going back there now.” I said, rubbing my two palms together. “Just dry yourself, I’ll get the candles.”
“Um… what about the clothes?” he asked, scratching the back of his neck.
“Actually… there should be some of your clothes from before.” I said, not looking at him.
“From three years?” he asked surprised. “Um… I won’t make it any awkward, but you really thought it through?”
“No!” I said, taken aback. “I didn’t even know I was having company till you showed up in the first place!”
“Fine. I believe you.” he said, raising his hands up in mock surrender, with a mischievous smile of his own.
“You know the way around… so make yourself at home.” I said, walking towards the room to get the clothes. “I’ll tuck the clothes near the bathroom while you are at it, okay?”
“Yeah,” he said as he made his way towards the bathroom, with his mobile torch.
I was a little better from before as I was now in the confinement of the home, but the wet jeans and the shirt stuck,was making it unbearable. I just wished that Miles would make it fast so that I could clean myself up.
I used my phone flash to help me guide through the dark room. With a lot of searching, I found his shirts and a pair of pants, neatly tucked under the last row in my wardrobe. I sighed as the old memories came back but I shook my head, not wanting to go back to the same place again. I pulled out my clothes along with his for me.
As guaranteed, I tucked his clothes near the bathroom and then went in search for the candles. It had been too long since there was a power out, and I didn’t know where the candle was—if at all it was present. As I pulled out the drawer in the kitchen, I found the candle packet which was not used and was still in its packet.
“You can go now.” Miles shouted from the living room.
“Okay!” I shouted back. “There’s candles in the kitchen, just use them if you need anything.”
I didn’t hear him responding to me and I assumed that he understood. I was glad that Miles had left his phone with the flashlight on to guide me in, so I left mine at the table on the way to the bathroom. I grabbed my clothes and went in, cursing under my breath that there was no power to get some warm water.
I cussed again as I tried to pull the jeans from my legs but it wouldn’t comply. After another ten minutes of struggling, I got myself cleaned with the warm towel that I had brought along. I was almost done and as turned around to get the clothes, I slipped on the damp tiles beneath my feet tumbling around. In an attempt to hold myself steady, I tried to grab anything that was in my reach. I caught onto something, but that was the shower knob and it turned itself on, pouring ice cold water over me.
“Ahh!” I shouted as the water pierced through my shirt and bit my skin. “Damn!”
“Hey!” there was a knock at the door, a second later. “You alright?”
“Yeah, I’ll be there in a second.” I said, not believing what I was saying.
“Okay.” He said.
I was shivering by the time I came out of the bathroom. I had already sneezed twice before and now, I was sure that I would be catching the common cold soon.
When I went to the living room, I found Miles adjusting the couch near the window so that we could watch the rain. He stood there with no shirt on, keeping his index finger at his chin, judging the position of the couch. As I sniffed, he turned around and caught me staring, his lips turning upwards in an easy going smile automatically.
“I have grown fat, they don’t fit me.” he said. “And I borrowed this rug from the room, I hope you don’t mind.”
The only response I gave was a sneeze and his smile turned into a concerned frown. He had arranged two candles on either side of the couch, giving it a glow. Looking at him, in my apartment, with this damned weather, I knew deep down that I was doomed for good.
“Y-your p-phone.” She stuttered making me wonder if I was intimidating her or she was nervous about the whole decoration thing. I was about to tell her that I was joking and the shirts still fit me perfectly well and I could wear them if she was uncomfortable, but then she sneezed again.
She handed me my phone and sniffed.
“You caught cold?” I asked concerned. When I saw water droplets trickling down her head, I was simply confused. “You took a cold shower?”
“I-I hate to a-admit it, but I h-have a loose g-grip.” She mumbled as I walked towards her. For a moment she looked stunned, rooted to the spot where she was standing, watching my every move. When I touched her cheeks, there was ice cold. It was then that I realized that she was shivering.
“Oh, darling.” I said, tilting my head towards her. “Get a towel and dry your hair before you actually get sick. I’ll be back.”
I took a candle that I had placed on the side of the couch and went towards the kitchen, making sure that the candle was not turned off because of my speed. I found a bottle of chocolate syrup and then I knew what I was doing.
Within another few minutes, I came back with two mugs of hot chocolate and the candle neatly balanced in my hands. Carefully, I handed the mugs to Megan who for once was obeying me and drying her hair.
I sat on the couch, putting the rug around myself. “Now, get in here.”
“W-What?” she shivered again. I could tell that this time, it was not the cold, but it was me.
“To keep you warm, that’s all.” I couldn’t keep the smirk off my face, even though I was trying my best to not show it. “I promise.”
“You are so bossy.” She commented, but ended up in my lap all the same. I had never been happier before as I wrapped the rug around us. We both sipped on the hot chocolate as the rain drops dripped down the window pane. “This is too good.” She murmured as she took another gulp of the chocolate.
She always had a soft spot for chocolate. I smiled contentedly. “You know, I always dreamed of this.” I said, bringing her towards me.
“That I’ll catch a cold?” she asked turning around to look at my face. “No, that I’ll fall in the bathroom!”
I laughed, kissing her hair. “That we both will enjoy the rain with hot chocolate in our hands and you in my arms.”
She kept her empty mug at the window and turned towards me. “If I didn’t have a worst day today, I would have really enjoyed it.”
I sipped the hot chocolate as she turned towards the window. At each passing second she seemed to get distant. “Your hair looks longer now.” I commented to ease the situation for her.
“Huh? Yeah.” She said rubbing her hair in response. “I wanted to get it cut too short but Gloria, the hair girl, wouldn’t let me, then I asked her to color it but she didn’t let me do it either. Then I started wondering how I was not able to decide what I wanted for the hair and how I was not able to get it done and—”
I looked at her in confusion. She was talking in monosyllables and I knew something was wrong. “Hey, easy there.”
“Um, sorry.” She said, tucking her hair behind her ear. She sat upright, spacing away from me. “I’m just nervous with—” she gestured the window and then the candles and finally at me. “—all these.”
“Megan, you don’t have to be nervous, it’s just me.” I said, keeping my empty cup of hot chocolate at the window pane. “I promise, I won’t hurt you.”
“I know.” She sighed. “It’s just… I don’t know.”
“You need some sleep.” I said, pulling her towards me. “You seem really tired.”
She snuggled in my arms, as I wrapped the rug around us. “You remember the time when we played who wins with the rain droplets?” I asked, laughing at the memory. We were so bored that day and we ended up playing with the water droplets on the window pane.
“You always won that thing.” She said, making a face at me. “That was stupid anyway.”
“Okay, you seriously need some sleep, you are starting to talk nonsense now.” I tried to keep a serious face.
She playfully hit my chest and then rested her head over it. A little while later I found her sound asleep in my arms. I never thought I would feel this way ever again. Ever since the breakup with her, I had repressed all the thoughts of us being together. But this felt good, no better.
I had held her this same way many times before, but this was different, a good different. The last time I held her, there were lies lying on my back ready to jump at any moment. But now, I had come clean, I was not playing hide and seek anymore. Now with her in my arms, I knew I had found my home.
But this time, I knew she was keeping something from me. The way she tucks her hair behind, the way she looks at me as if she’s guilty or at times when she seems as if she’s lost— makes me wonder if she’s still the same Megan I fell in love with. Then again, I was the one responsible for all this to happen in the first place. I sighed looking out of the window.
The rain had stopped, but there was still a mild thunder rumbling beneath the dark clouds—just like Megan, I thought. Megan whimpered under my arms as she nestled closer to me. I protectively pulled her and wrapped the fallen rug off her, kissing her head.
Little by little she held me tighter as if she was clinging to me for her dear life. It was then that I heard her sobs. It was just a slight whining at the beginning and then it became worse. Tears rolled down her eyes as she kept her eyes closed. I wondered if she was still sleeping. “Megan, what’s wrong?” I asked concerned.
“No, no, no.” she said in her sleep, clutching me. “Ple… please no.” she sobbed.
“Megan, wake up, it’s just a dream.” I shook her, panic etched in my voice. As I tried to wake her up, her cries increased. “Wake up!”
She woke up with a jolt, her eyes teary and glossed. As soon as she saw me, I saw relief pass through her eyes for a second. “Miles!” she said, hugging me tightly. “I love you, please don’t go, please!”
“It’s okay.” I shushed her. “It was just a dream. I’m here now, everything’s gonna be alright. It’s okay.”
She clung to me tighter and sobbed more. “Don’t cry. Come on now, let’s get you to sleep.” I said, pulling her away.
“No!” she cried, not letting go. “Don’t go!”
“I’m not going anywhere, okay?” I said, cupping her face as I wiped her tears with my thumb. “Come now, let’s get you some good sleep.”
She nodded at me, but never let go of my hand. I took her to her room where she could sleep comfortably. She turned towards me and pulled me into her arms. “Please don’t go.” She said, sniffing.
“Never.” I assured her. “Sleep now.” I said, kissing her head.
As she slept, I wondered what she would have dreamed that scared her and to make her cry in her sleep. I had never seen Megan so worked up with a dream before and this scene that unfolded in front of me, scared the shit out of me. If these are the nightmares she got when I knew that she was healing, I dreaded to know what her case was when she was still depressed about me.
I pulled her closer in my arms, trying to protect her from any anything and everything. If she was suffering, I wouldn’t let her suffer alone. I was with her this time. I rocked her to sleep.
I had not gotten a wink of sleep the last night. I had been up all night soothing Megan for every slight whimper from her. How could I ever sleep when I knew my girl was suffering right next to me?
I wondered if she was ever getting better in the first place. It made me think if her therapist was right about what she had said about her. An urge to call Amber and Hannah flashed my mind, but it was soon dropped out as I heard Megan cry again.
I ran to the room as soon as possible. I saw her sobbing on her pillows, face down. “Megan, hey…” I sat next to her, caressing her back.
On hearing my voice, she turned towards me with wide eyes and within a second, she wrapped her arms around my neck. It felt as if she was consoling herself. “I was just making some breakfast for us.” I assured her. “I even used your drier to get my clothes dry, you don’t mind do you?”
She pulled herself back and wiped her face. She took a breath and smiled, as if her cries and the night didn’t happen. I was taken aback by her sudden change in behavior and I assumed it to be a good thing. “No, I don’t mind.” She said.
“You okay?” I asked, not able to resist myself. Megan Taylor confused me, but this was way off the bounds.
“Never better.” She smiled a little brighter this time, making me forget that she was crying her eyes out just a few minutes back.
“Okay then.” I said, getting up. “I’ll get the breakfast here. You can have a little breakfast in bed.”
She smiled again giving out nothing for me to catch on. As I got the breakfast to her bed, she looked a lot better—her puffy eyes had come down a bit, her cheeks looked a little pink and if I didn’t see closely, I would have forgotten that last night didn’t happen.
“Wow, it’s a sandwich.” She said, looking at the plates that I had laid out on the bed.
“Yeah,” I said, rubbing my neck. “That was all that was there.”
“These are yum.” She said, closing her eyes and relishing the taste. “You always made the best ones.”
I watched her eat and I realized that there was something she was holding back.
“You are not hungry, Miles?” she asked, interrupting my train of thoughts.
“I ate before I got for you.” I lied. There was only half a pound of bread loaf left in her kitchen. “I didn’t want you to eat mine too.”
She laughed at that and it somehow made me relax. I smiled against her laughter.
“So no work for today?” she asked as she took her last bite, taking a sip of her tea.
“No, most of my meetings are canceled because of the weather. And my clients can’t fly here, so it’s like a day off for me.” I shrugged.
“Oh shit!” she cursed. “The rain! I must call Thomas now.” She panicked as she went to grab her phone from the stand in the living room.
How could she act normal when she had spent a night with nightmares hanging around? There were a lot of questions that demanded answers, but it was her this time who had to speak. l took all the plates to the kitchen for cleaning. I scrubbed the plates, taking the steins away.
“It seems that the decorations are still holding up, but a small pillar at the corner has fallen down.” she said, walking into the kitchen. She sat at the counter next to where I was standing. “Tom said he would take care of it. Seems like even I got a day off.”
“I should buy some groceries before Amber shows up here.” She said looking at her empty shelves. “She’ll curse me if I don’t. We can both go for shopping a little later?”
I looked at her. She looked happy, almost, but there was something that I couldn’t point to. That bothered me.
“How do you do it, Megan?” I asked. She looked surprised, probably thinking that I was asking about the shopping stuff she was talking about. “You know put on a happy face when you are crying deep inside.”
For once, in the entire morning, she didn’t have any ready answers. Taking her time, she gnawed on her lips. “I am happy.”
That was when I lost my patience. She could fool anyone with that facade, but not me. “Don’t bullshit me!”
She was taken aback. “Miles, what are you talking about?”
I took a deep breath, trying to calm my nerves. I took her hands in mine. “What happened, darling? You know that you can tell me anything right? I just can’t see you suffering when I know that I can do something to ease the pain.”
She smiled. “It was just a dream Miles.”
“Come on!” I walked away jerking her hands. “Fine! You said that you loved me, can we talk about that then?”
She panicked the moment the words left my mouth. I could see tears pooled in her eyes. “It was just a dream, Miles.” She said in a small voice. “My therapist says that the shouting will go with time.”
“Damn your therapist, Megan!” I shouted at her. “Dream you say! That’s a fucking nightmare! You were crying for God’s sake, Megan!”
A tear descended down her cheeks. She turned away from me to wipe it clean. My heart broke at the scene, but I held my ground. It’s time I knew what was happening. I only knew a few details but I had to hear from her.
It was not the first time that I had seen her cry in her sleep. I remember few months back, when I had been to Laura’s, she was there babysitting Emerald, I had seen her cry too. I was a coward then and I remember I had walked away. I was not letting history repeat itself now.
“It’s nothing.” She repeated her lies. It seemed as if she had practiced them for years together.
“Come on, Megan!” I argued. “I thought we had both come clean. But I guess that was only me.”
She kept quiet.
“You said that you loved me, Megan. That was a lie too? It was just your dream?”
“No.” she said, fresh tears on her cheeks.
“Then tell me what’s wrong.”
She kept quite again.I ran my hands in my hair. I was done playing with her. I was done trying to understand her. I was done waiting for her to come around. I was done.
“Okay.” I said, talking a step back. “If that’s what you’ve got to say, then there’s nothing left. I won’t ever bother you. I promise.” I looked at her for a second more before walking out.
“Miles, please… don’t go.” She said, making me halt in my steps.
I let out a bitter laugh. “Look how the table turns right?” I turned around to see her sobbing. She had become so weak and vulnerable in minutes. I sighed. “Darling, just tell me what’s wrong, we can both deal with it together, okay?”
I could tell that she was almost debating with herself whether to tell me or not. I wondered what was the matter about that scared her to even talk about it.
“If you have nothing to say, then I don’t know how, making me stay will help.” I said when she didn’t let a word out. “Goodbye.” I said, walking away.
“It was you.” her voice was so weak that if I was a meter away or so, I wouldn’t have heard it. “I dreamed about you.”
I stopped in my place, not turning around. I wanted to hear more. If she dreamed about me, why was she crying? There were a lot of questions that I needed answers to.
“It all started… started when we broke up.” She said, making me turn to look at her. She was looking at her knotted hands, struggling to form the words. “A week after we-we broke up, I dreamt that you u-used me as a r-rebound.”
I closed my eyes and let the words sink.
“A month later, you started hurting me physically, showing me how much I… hurt you when I left.” She sobbed, holding her wrist. That was probably where I was hurting her. “Amber had taken me to the therapist already. But… she didn’t know about these dreams.”
She wiped her face and looked at me. She looked so broken. “She suggested me to have a change of environment when I first had… a panic attack. When I was in Chailey, the dreams had decreased, but they still came. I had convinced myself that it was just a dream, so I came back here when Smith asked me to.”
“Then I saw you again and you… you said you didn’t want to be friends. I realized that how much I had hurt you. How much my.. dreams were true.” She sniffed. I walked towards her, talking her hands in mine.
“No, then the dreams became better, day after day.” She said, wiping her tears as she looked at me. “I’m starting to feel so much b-better now. I really do.”
I pulled her into my arms, cradling her. She sobbed into my chest holding me tightly as she had held me when she had the dream. “Megan…”
“It was the first time you were there, when… I had a nightmare, you know.” She said, sniffing. “I just didn’t want to let… you go.”
I had never hated myself so much than I had done before. Not only had I hurt her emotionally, I had made me her weak physically and mentally. There was no forgiveness for me. It was possible that I was the one rekindling all her dreams over and over again making her go through the same pain. It would be the best if I stay out of her way and let her go. She would be happy without me right? Out of sight and out of mind.
“Megan, I’m so sorry you had to… go through all that because of me.” I managed to say. “But I think you are better off… without me.”
She curled her fists and banged my chest as hard as she could as she broke down into tears again. “What? I’m broken in front of you, pouring out everything but you… I hate you! This is the reason why I didn’t tell you before. Hell, no one, except you knows about it!”
“Wait! What?” I asked confused. “Your therapist?”
“No.” she whispered. “Everyone hates me when they actually get to know me. I thought you would be different. Maybe I was just wrong.”
“I don’t hate you, Megan.” I said, cupping her face. “I just don’t want to be the reason for you to cry. You said that your dreams had decreased when we didn’t see each other, right?”
“Hell!” she shouted. “Can’t you see how happy I am when I’m with you? I just want us back!”
I was shocked for a second. She wanted us back? She wanted me back with her. But what if she leaves me for another lame mistake of mine? But then again, life was full of what-if’s. There’s just a beauty in it to keep us on the edge and hope for the better. Hope was all we needed. Yes, there would be a bigger promise to fight and cry, but there still was a hope that we would still together. Perhaps it would be our happy place.
“I just want us back.” she repeated.
“I meant it when I said I love you.” she said, still crying. “I love you, Miles! I’m not saying this because you are leaving and—”
I pulled her into my arms and pressed my lips to hers. There it was— it was our happy place indeed. There would be ups and downs in our road but I knew we would be crossing them together. I kissed her like she was the only reason for me to live as she clung to me. I could feel her smile against my lips and there was nothing in this world that would make me feel better.
“You have no idea how much I wanted to hear that from you.” She chuckled as I wiped her tears. “I love you more.” I whispered back, in between the kisses.