Chapter 3 - Melody
I was disoriented, still unsteady on my feet after that kiss. He left me breathless, my heart unwilling to still, every inch of me on fire.
Who the hell was he? And who the hell was I, because Melody Davis didn’t go kissing complete strangers inside dark nightclubs, either. What the hell had gotten into me?
“Mel?” It was Heath’s voice; he was yelling my name, getting closer.
I pursed my lips and pulled my dress down, feeling my cheeks heat up in embarrassment as I realized that my dress had completely ridden up my thighs during that intense-as-hell experience, that was so much more than just a kiss. It was so much more, because mortals didn’t kiss like that.
“Over here,” I finally got my bearings together, and a few seconds later, Heath shined his phone’s flashlight on me and sighed audibly in relief.
“I was worried about you. I’ve been looking everywhere for you. Are you okay?” He stepped closer, flinging a proprietary arm around my shoulder.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I lied. Because in reality, I was still shaken up about the whole thing. The unexpected panic attack, followed by the even more unexpected run-in with the guy who saved my life. Which reminded me, I still was no closer to knowing his identity...
As Heath and I made our way towards the exit, following the fluorescent signs and line of other warm bodies exiting the dark club, it smashed into me that I had to break up with him. That I cheated on him, with a stranger. The strange thing was that Heath didn’t even cross my mind when I was with him.
At the same time, I realized that Heath had been right in his own way. We had become too familiar. Because the truth was that I’d never felt a quarter of the spark with Heath that I’d felt in that moment with my guardian angel when we kissed. I’d never gotten so lost in a kiss with Heath that I forgot who or where I was. He was familiar and handsome and smart, and I knew I was a lucky girl to have him by my side. We made perfect sense on paper, but our relationship lacked the kind of passion that I’d just felt... and now that I knew what it felt like, I craved more of it. It made absolutely no sense, but I was willing to throw almost five years with Heath away, based on one kiss and one conversation with a stranger. Was I going mad?
I took a deep breath of fresh air as we finally made it outside, feeling both relieved to be outside and a sense of longing at the same time. Because the truth was, I wished I could turn back time a few minutes and re-live that kiss with him again...
It took us a while to find the rest of our group, and Hailey was already busy organizing plans to move to another venue. I glanced at my watch - it was barely eleven p.m. And although I felt like being alone, like reflecting on what had happened, I knew I didn’t have that luxury tonight, because I was supposed to be the life of the party. I couldn’t just ditch my friends who’d made an effort to come out to celebrate my birthday, because I didn’t feel like it anymore. I had to put on a mask and pretend that I was still the same girl I was a week ago, although nothing was further from the truth.
We crammed into a few cabs and found ourselves at another club a few blocks away, a little while later. I went through the motions of having another drink, of dancing for a little while. But deep down inside, that little voice kept plaguing me, that sense of urgency permeating my thoughts, so that I wasn’t able to enjoy myself at all. I was flooded with guilt, but also consumed with the knowledge that I had to put an end to what has become an arrangement of convenience with Heath.
“Can I talk to you for a minute please?” I gathered the courage to talk to Heath, and he nodded, leading me away from the noisy, warm dance floor.
“What’s up? Need another drink?” He smiled, belying the tension that had been hanging between us for well over a week. I wasn’t the same, but perhaps, neither was he. Perhaps we’d both changed, and it took a wake-up call for me to realize it.
“I’m good, thanks. Let’s go sit down,” I led him to our booth, a few of our friends’ drinks still scattered on the table.
“Are you okay, Mel? You seem... off...” Heath said with a slight frown as we sat down. “You’re not still upset at me over...” he started, but I cut him off.
“No - I’m not upset. Actually, I’ve realized that there was some truth to what you’ve said,” I admitted, and his face wore a look of surprise.
"Really? You want to see other people, then?” His face broke into a smile, and just then, I knew that it never was going to work out between us. We simply didn’t want the same things anymore.
“Yeah, I want to see other people. But not at the same time,” I clarified, and his face fell again.
He sighed. “Mel, I don’t want to break up with you.”
I shook my head at him. “You can’t have it both ways, Heath. And you were right - I’ve thought about what you’ve said. The fact is, I want to see what else is out there, too.”
His frown grew bigger. “Are you saying... you want us to break up? Because that wasn’t what I had in mind...”
“I think... that is what I’m saying, yes. I think we should... break up.” And once I said those words, I almost couldn’t believe that they fell out of my lips, but I felt this sense of freedom nonetheless.
A deadly silence hung between us, heavy and smothering...
“Just forget about the whole thing. Forget I said anything, Mel,” he sighed, flinging his arm around my shoulder again, as though that would make things right. But it didn’t...
“The thing is... I can’t,” I said just above a whisper, wondering if I should tell him about the kiss in the dark with a complete stranger... but then I realized that I’d sound crazy - completely crazy, kissing a stranger in the dark, and I had no idea who he was or what he even looked like.
“Are you really breaking up with me? On your birthday?” He asked incredulously, dropping his arm from my shoulders, starting to sound irritated with me.
“Yeah, I think I am, Heath. And to be honest, I think I should’ve done it over a week ago when you first broached the subject of us seeing other people. Because that shows that we’re not solid. That perhaps, we’re not satisfied with what we have,” I said bravely, looking him in the eyes.
He looked wounded, his expression one of disbelief.
“Are you really ready to just throw almost five years together away like that? We’ve invested in each other, Mel,” he said incredulously, sounding more and more irritated by the second.
“The thing is... I’m not looking for an investment. I want more than that...” I kept plowing forward, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that it was over between us. That we’d been delaying the inevitable for a while now, I was just too blind and comfortable and set in my ways to see it.
“I can’t fucking believe it!” He exploded, and just then, Hailey and her boyfriend, Davis joined us inside the booth, taking a seat on the opposite side.
“Whew! I’m HOT!” Hailey laughed as she reached for her drink, scrunching up her long hair with the other hand. “And what can’t you fucking believe, Heath?” Hailes asked with a massive smile, clearly not reading the situation, at all.
“That your sister is breaking up with me, on her birthday, completely out of the blue, like this,” he fired, and I took a deep breath, waiting for it...
“What?” Hailey’s jaw dropped, and she looked between Heath and I with utter disbelief. “No way! Stop messing with me, you two. Everyone knows the two of you will be getting married straight out of university,” she teased, not believing him for a second.
I shook my head at her, widening my eyes, and her jaw dropped again.
“Yeah,” I answered softly, avoiding Heath’s gaze.
“Well, in that case, it sounds like I’m a free man. Melody, thanks for almost five years. It seems that it meant nothing to you, if you’re willing to give up on us so easily. I’ll see you around,” Heath said furiously and got up, storming off into the direction of the dance floor. I closed my eyes, resting my head on my hands.
“What the hell just happened, Mel?” Hailey asked, completely astounded.
And the thing was, even though I knew it was the right thing to do, it still hurt. Because for almost five years, Heath had been there for me. We spent so much of our time together. Went to prom together. Shared so many firsts together... But most of all, it still hurt to rip someone out of your life - someone you cared deeply about for years - just like that, like a leaf on a calendar that was yesterday’s news and didn’t serve a purpose anymore.
“It wasn’t working anymore between us, Hailes,” I admitted, feeling the sting of tears burn inside my eyes.
“Excuse me; I’ll go get... um...” Davis stood up and excused himself, leaving Hailes and me alone to have a heart-to-heart.
“Because... just over a week ago, he said he wanted to see other people, too,” I admitted, finding the courage to look my sister in the eyes.
She inhaled sharply, her jaw dropping again. ”Heath wanted to see other people?”
“Yeah. I know, right? Doesn’t sound like him at all, but still.”
“You’ll find someone else, Mel. Someone better and less boring than Heath.” Hailes was trying to help, but somehow she made me feel even worse. Because I’d always known that my boyfriend didn’t live up to her standards, but still...
“He wasn’t boring,” I protested, even though his kisses never made me feel remotely as alive as that one kiss from Angel...
Hailey lifted an eyebrow in skepticism. “I’ll dump Davis if you want - we can be single and fabulous together!” She suddenly exclaimed, sounding excited at the prospect.
My jaw dropped. “You want to dump Davis out of sympathy for me?”
She giggled. I could see that she was perhaps also on the tipsy side of sobriety. “Not just that. He’s just right now - I have no illusions that I’ll end up with him one day. I don’t want to be Hailey Davis, married to Davis Bailey. I mean, think about it - I don’t want to be a Hailey Bailey, right?”
We both giggled.
“I haven’t thought about that,” I admitted, already feeling slightly better. “But don’t dump Davis for my sake, Hailes. I’ll be fine, I promise.”
“I’ll be your wing-woman, regardless,” she sniffed, looking at me with sympathy. “We’ll find you a good one - a much better one than Mr. Collared-Up-shirt over there.” She motioned towards the dance floor, where Heath was dancing with our group of friends, seemingly hell-bent on proving that he was having a great time.
I wondered for a second if I should tell her about Angel - my guardian angel - as I’d dubbed him inside my mind. Then I decided against it. I wanted to keep what happened just to myself. It still felt surreal, and part of me was starting to wonder if I’d hallucinated the whole thing. But I could still feel the remnants of that kiss on my lips... it was the best damn birthday kiss I ever could’ve asked for.
And so, I celebrated my twenty-first-birthday that night... it was bittersweet. I had to let go of what was safe and familiar, because it no longer fitted. Because that was life... sometimes you outgrew things you loved once upon a time, and although it was sad to let go, it was necessary to make space for something new that fitted better.
I’d had a taste of what may be laying beyond the known. But above all, I knew one thing: I needed to find him. I felt connected to him, and I wasn’t sure if it was because I owed him my life. He pulled me from the shadows, back to life, and breathed air into my lungs. And together with that oxygen, he breathed new life into me as well. It felt as though there was something invisible connecting us. I’d skirted the thin line between life and death with him by my side, and the moment he took my hand, I just trusted, I just knew that somehow I’d be alright.
But I had no leads. I didn’t know where to start looking. I knew nothing about him, except that he called me Snow, he kissed like a god, and I felt so damn awake and alive inside his arms.
But even though I was desperate to find him, my intuition told me that he’d find me before I’d be finding him... because that’s what angels did.