Two Years Ago
Thirteen hours and I still didn't hear from Nate. Our suitcases were already standing in the hallway, waiting for our departure. Our taxi was supposed to arrive in thirty minutes, at least it had been thirty minutes when I climbed up here on my roof for one last time before we had to go.
Lying on top of it, I watched the sky. My thoughts were revolving around last night's fight again, I couldn't stop thinking about it since I left his room. Nate's words had hurt me badly, so had his silence and all the lies he had told to hide our relationship from everyone.
Now I was about to leave, estranged from my best friend and my supposed boyfriend and I can't even tell which one is worse. The fact that I had hurt my best friend Lizzy or the fact that my boyfriend Nate had hurt me. Both felt like fucking torture.
"Can we talk?" Nate's voice that came out of nowhere almost gave me a heart attack. As I jerked up in surprise, my heart started to beat wildly in a mix of both shock and relief that he came after all.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you," he mumbled as he sat beside me, engulfing my hand with his while he looked at me, his eyes full of remorse. "I'm sorry about last night. What I said was wrong, asking you to keep our relationship a secret was wrong as well. I guess I pretty much screwed up right from the beginning, didn't I?"
"No, you didn't. I guess you are partially right, I don't know much about relationships. I've never been in one," I told him truthfully. Over and over again I had thought about that the night before and I realised that we had never really been a couple to begin with. Not a real one. Maybe we had an affair, a friends with benefits kind of a thing. We had done what we always used to do as friends, just that we had added sex to it. A lot of sex. Good sex, certainly, but it wasn’t what I imagined a relationship to look like. And it wasn't what I wanted. I wanted something real, I wanted him to love me, not just as his best friend, but for real! The way I loved him.
"What are you talking about? You are my girlfriend and I am your boyfriend. This is a relationship, even though it's not exactly like those in your favourite tv shows. People are different and so are the relationship dynamics. But it doesn't mean that what we have is worth any less."
Sighing, I laid back down again as I looked into his eyes. That wasn't right. Nothing about that felt right. Wasn't love supposed to make us happy? Wasn't it supposed to be easy? People always said that you'd know it when you found a person you wanted to spend the rest of your life with and I had really thought I had felt it with Nate. I thought he was everything I ever wanted in a man, that there was something special between us.
But at that moment, I just wished to go back to the day before anything had ever happened, before this first fucking kiss had taken a jab at our friendship that had left a crack so deep that I wasn’t sure if we could ever be the same again. I felt like we had hit an iceberg in the night of my seventeenth birthday and the ship of our friendship had silently and slowly been sinking ever since. We were about to get sucked underwater completely, all hope to be saved was lost.
"I don't think I want this anymore. Us," I finally said the words I had been thinking about since last night, words burning their way up my throat, words shattering my heart into a million unmendable pieces as I heard them said out loud.
"No, Jay, you can't do this to me! You can't break up with me, I'm not going to accept it," Nate cried, the panic in his voice taking me by surprise even more than the words he said. For a moment, I just stared at him, not knowing how to respond or what to think about this sudden outburst. I thought that we both figured out that we'd be much better off being just friends.
"I think you will have to. We said we'd try and we did, but I don't think we should try any longer. I miss what we used to have, I miss what we have lost since we first kissed. Nate, you used to be my best friend, my soulmate! We used to be able to talk to each other about everything, there were no secrets, no complications or misunderstandings or confusions! Now it's only that, fights and sex, complications, misunderstandings, secrets. I don't want it any longer, I want my best friend back!"
"But you can't! It's too late, I can't be just your friend again! Jay, I love you! I love you in the truest meaning of the word love, not only as a friend but as my girlfriend. I'm in love with you, I love you, I want you! Please, I know I have fucked up, I know I need to change. I don't know what's been holding me back, what I've been scared of. Maybe it was this situation right here, the fear that you could leave me for real, but I promise, I can change. I will change! We can tell everyone, I can give you all you want, I will do anything! Just please, please don't leave me like this!"
Speechless, I stared at him, watched as tears started building in his desperate eyes. Desperate because I threatened to leave him. Because he said that he loved me, that he wanted me. He loved me, not only as a friend but ‘in the truest meaning of the word love', that's what he said. It was everything I had ever wanted and he was offering it to me right here and now. Yet I found myself unable to take it.
"Songbird, our taxi is here!" My dad's voice made both of us jump, letting us know it was time for our goodbyes. Before we could find a solution, before all the important words were said. Tears burned my eyes as I sat up and leaned my forehead against Nate's for one last time, for one moment until I couldn't control myself any longer and pressed my lips on his, despite everything I just told him. His arms wrapped me in a tight embrace while he kissed me with a need that made my stomach churn.
Yes, I loved him, there was no denying that. I loved him with all my heart, with all my soul, with everything I had. No matter what had happened those past five months, how much he had hurt me the night before, whether our attempt at a relationship was what I expected or not, my heart still wanted him. I still wanted him.
"I love you, too, Nate, but I just don't know how this is supposed to work. I feel like we have already destroyed so much, like all that is left of this special bond we used to have has been burned to the ground already."
"Then we will rebuild it, we can make it even better! Please, just give me a chance to show you I can be what you want. Fuck, Jay," Nate pleaded with me once more, his voice breaking when he said my name. And so did my heart.
"July Mary Dawson, get your fucking arse down here! Right now!" Dad annoyedly yelled at me from downstairs and I felt my heart wrenching and stinging with a breathtaking pain when I tightened my arms around Nate's stomach, held onto him with everything I had while the tears were breaking out of me uncontrollably.
"I'll be back in six months and wait here for you-" I cried as I clung to him- "and when you get back from the tour, we will start all over. I promise to wait for you, I promise to give us a chance. Let's just use this time to figure out what we really want from life and from each other and next year, we will try again. I love you, Nate, just remember that whenever you miss me. And that I won't vanish, we can talk whenever you want to! Just promise you won't forget me while you're on tour!" My voice started sounding strangely high as the first sob started building in my throat, threatening to come out any second. When I reluctantly pulled away from Nate again, his eyes were red from the tears he was still crying and he looked absolutely devastated. And it fucking hurt to see him like that, I just couldn't bear it!
"Nate, it's only a break, not a break-up. It's not a farewell, it's a see you soon! I love you, I love you so much that it fucking kills me to leave! But I can't let Dad go alone and maybe Liz is right, maybe it is good that I'm leaving now, maybe this break is exactly what we need to get over whatever it is that is always standing between us. Just know that I will spend every fucking second of the day thinking about you and counting the minutes until I finally see you again."
"Not a breakup, only a break, right? So you are still my girlfriend?" Nate asked again and for the first time since he came up here, I could see the devastation in his eyes making room for something else. I saw hope.
"I'm still your girlfriend, you're still my boyfriend! We'll just put our relationship on hold, recharge the batteries, get some rest and when we are both back in a year, we will give us a real chance, okay?" I promised him just when the car started honking downstairs to let us know our time had run out. Giving in to our fate, we got up together, climbed back down into my room for one last time and silently walked towards the car that took me away for way too fucking long. Everything had been said, there was nothing left to discuss.
Somehow, we were supposed to get through those next twelve months and then we were supposed to finally be together. And all of the mess-up was supposed to be forgotten.