Christian usually has to sleep on the couch, but every night, once my parents are asleep, he creeps up the stairs and slides under the covers of my bed with me. He's been doing that since we've kind of been together. I'm still not sure if we really are, or if this is just some fling. So tonight, once he's settled, I finally ask him.
"Are we dating?" I ask, my voice soft. I can feel the warmth my breath radiates onto his skin, heating his cheeks.
He buries his face in the crook of my neck, wrapping his arms around my waist and giving me a light squeeze. He sighs, his hot breath warming my skin. "I don't know, Princess. You tell me." His voice is low, gruff; I almost can't make out his words. He shifts his weight and tightens his arm around my waist, squeezing the air out of my lungs.
I prop myself up on my elbow, pulling away from him slightly. His big brown eyes stare up at me, sparkling from the moonlight that streams in through the window above our heads. "Well what do you want?" I ask him, my tone very serious now. I look down at him, searching his eyes for an answer because his mouth isn't giving me one.
He, too, props himself on his elbow, bringing himself to eye level with me. Christian sighs, his fingers playing with the loose feathers coming out from my pillow. "Do you want me to be honest?" he says, his voice low and groggy, almost as if his vocal chords are rubbing against sand paper.
He looks at me, dead in the eye, and he says, "Princess... I am in love with you. You're a beautiful, magnificent girl, and I want to be with you." He smirks. "There's your honesty. I'm sure that you don't love me the way I do you, and you don't have to, not at this moment, or ever if the feeling never comes. I just want to show you what I can do for you."
Shock courses through me. I didn't expect that much honesty. I didn't expect his confession at all, actually. I thought that he was going to give me a simple 'yes' or 'no' answer. My throat feels dry, my tongue numb. I'm not sure what to say. My insides feel as if they are being twisted counter clockwise, round and round each other until the tension makes them want to snap.
"Oh, Christian..." I say with a sigh. "Christian, Christian... I don't know what to say."
He kisses my temple. "You don't have to say anything. Just be with me, yeah?"
I nod in agreement, smiling at him, and he smiles back, seeming utterly proud of his accomplishment. Although I feel immense joy in my heart, there is a great feeling of agony forming at the bottom of my stomach. However I ignore it, because I'm sure it is just another great form of happiness.
♕ ♕ ♕
"What's happened to you, Mel? We don't hang out anymore."
Kelsey gives me a sad look, the one that includes the pushed out lip and the puppy dog eyes. We're sitting together in a coffee shop in the middle of the town, at a table where the both of us can sit side by side and do some people watching. It's almost the afternoon, and it's around the time where more and more people start piling in for their morning cup, or their second or third cup of coffee.
"We're hanging out now," I say into my cup, lightly sipping at the hot chocolate in my cup. It's still a bit too hot and it burns my tongue on impact. I set the cup down and rub my teeth over the tip of my tongue, which is now numb from the heart.
"You know what I mean!" Kelsey says, bumping her shoulder into mine. "I've hardly seen you since you started dating Cole. How's that going?"
Right. Cole. I never told her. "We broke up," I say, my voice very monotone. I try my best to not sound too hurt about it.
"Oh, Mel!" she says, putting her cup down and wrapping her lanky arms around my shoulders. "I'm sorry, hun. When did this happen? Are you okay? Do you need me to beat him up?"
I giggle and lean my head against hers. "It was a couple weeks ago, but I'm fine." She pulls back and gives me a look. "Really, I am!"
"Did he break up with you? Or you with him?"
"He ended it. I mean, he said that we're taking a break, but I know he's not coming back. He can't anyways."
"Why can't he?"
I twist my lips, and they form into this awkward, yet happily mischievous smile. I shy away from her in her arms, and my voice comes out very childish. "Because I'm with Christian now."
Kelsey stares at me, and there's a long silence that hangs between us, seeming to stretch on forever. Her arms go slack around my shoulders and she sits back in her seat, reaching for her cappuccino. "It's about time," she says, taking a sip.
I scoff. "What?"
"I knew you two were going to be with each other. It took you long enough though."
"Um, excuse me? You always told me how bad of a person he was!" I say, scoffing still.
"Mel, he still is a bad person. You just haven't seen his cruelty in a while."
"You have?" I ask in disbelief. My tone came out harsh and defensive without me meaning to be.
Kelsey takes another sip of her cappuccino. "Yes, I have, actually. Just because he left school doesn't mean he's a good person, Mel. I still see him picking fights at the back of the school."
My draw drops somewhat and I shake my head slowly, blocking out her words with every shake. "You're lying." I laugh shortly, still in utter disbelief. "Stop lying to me, Kels!"
"If you don't want to believe me you don't have to. I mean honestly, when have I ever lied to you, hm? I just want you to be careful. Christian is pretty violent, I've seen it."
I stand up and grab my things. "Okay, I can't stay here and listen to this." I rush out of the shop, the short ring of the bell over the door sounding as I pull the door open. The cold air from outside smacks me in the face and I shiver. I pull my coat closed and wrapped my fingers around my cup of hot chocolate. I regret not bringing gloves, but I overlook that matter because I'm not going to be out in the cold for very long.
I walk around the block and reach my car, fumbling in my pockets for my keys. My fingers feel so numb and once I get my keys out of my pocket I drop them on the ground.
Kelsey rushes up and stands by me, leaning her hand on my car. She immediately pulls it away and shakes her hand, throwing drops of water everywhere. She stoops down to pick up my keys and she holds them out for me to take. "Melinda please don't be mad. I just want you to be careful with him. I don't want you to get hurt in any way."
I scoff again, completely baffled by what she's saying. "Oh my god," I say, snatching my keys out of her hand. "Are you listening to yourself? First, you tell me that you were secretly rooting for us to be together, and now you're telling me to stay away from him? Seriously, Kelsey, what kind of friend are you? If you were really my friend you'd be happy for me!"
"Because I am your friend I am telling you to be careful! Yes, I am happy for you, but I just don't want you to get hurt and not know why." Her voice was level opposing to mine, which was riding all sorts of frequencies, cracking and shaking and rising to its highest volume. Kelsey was the type of person to control her tone, to not let her emotions get the best of her, unlike me, who was fuming with rage and overwhelming sadness.
I don't look at her, instead just shake my head and unlock my car. "I have to go." I get in and drive off, watching her slim figure shrink in the sideview mirror. I drive slow, careful because the road is slick with melted snow, and I watch as she steps up onto the curb and trudges back into the coffee shop. After that I can no longer see her, and as soon as I'm on the outskirt of town I drive a bit faster. The trees are flecked with snow as it begins to fall, onto their leaves and my windshield. The heater is finally at it's peak, warming my fingers and my toes.
My anger is starting to fade, but Kelsey's words continue to echo in my head. Her contradictions are what is getting to me. How can she say one thing but mean another?
This is truly a cold winter.
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