I didn’t want to enter the building and I didn’t want to see him. He’d been the love of my life for the past 4 years and in truth, despite everything that had happened, he still was. But why had he called me? It was well past 11 and there were very few people roaming the streets this late at night.
With one final deep breath, I edge my way forward, my fingers curling around the cool brushed stainless steel handle. I pull the glass door open slowly and make my way inside, smiling at the familiarity of the glossy white granite floor tiles, shimmering with multicoloured flecks giving an almost iridescent glimmer as the rubber soles of my sneakers squeak as I make my way to the elevator. Pressing my fingertips on the brushed steel button, illuminated by a neon blue halo, I stand back taking another deep breath as air fills my lungs, waiting in anticipation for the doors to open.
As the doors slide apart moments later, I hesitantly step inside, nerves swarming my body with ice as I turn and face the doors, watching as they close. Through all my anxiety I bite my bottom lip, my fingers lacing together, my palms clammy.
The rise of the elevator sends a small wave of nausea rolling inside my stomach but when it stops, my heart begins to pound as the doors open onto his floor.
Stepping out, I look left and right, grateful for the small mercy that no one else is still here. I head towards the corridor that leads down to his office, and as I see his door, the brushed steel nameplate shines from the lights overhead. Raising my hand, my knuckles poise ready to rap against the veneered glazed door and with a swallow I knock.
“Come in,” his smooth silken voice calls out.
I don’t reply but push at the door, my eyes roaming his office, which for whatever reason is blanketed mostly in darkness, apart from two floor lamps which give the darkened room a soft and almost sensual glow.
With a slight tremble of my voice, I straighten my back, my hands balled into fists as I look to him. With his back to me, his muscles swathed in the deep blue cotton dress shirt he’d chosen to wear today, I stand waiting for him to turn around.
“Thanks for coming,”
“Care to explain why I’m here?” I sigh.
“I wanted to see you,” he simply replies, his muscular back still facing me. His voice, like melted butter, could still with all the anger I felt, bring the same pleasurable ache it’s always brought. My body reacting as he shifts from one foot to the other.
“Max—, if you have something to say, just say it. You and I both know that this is the last place I’d ever want to be,”
“Emma,” I correct him as his shoulders drop, his head hanging low as he turns on his heel, with his fierce and brilliantly blue eyes finally looking up to me.
I’m trying to pull off the deception that I’m cool and calm when in reality, I’m anything but. As he begins to walk closer, the soft lights reflect off the obnoxiously large silver watch he’d been given for his last birthday.
“Max, I mean it, you can’t sweet talk your way out of this, you cheated, it’s that simple,”
“Jesus Em I know that, don’t you think I don’t know that?”
“You weren’t the one to walk in on the man you thought you’d spend the rest of your life with. The man you thought you’d marry one day, and have children with,”
His eyes drop to the floor, his hands pushing deep into his trouser pockets before returning his gaze to mine. I try not to let myself falter, this man has already seen how one single and selfish, lustful decision has ruined everything I’d—, we’d, both worked on over the last 4 years.
“We were happy once weren’t we Em?”
I don’t answer straight away but without a word, I nod my head. Watching as he rests himself against the edge of his desk, he crosses his ankles and folds his arms in front of his chest and just watches me.
“Max, just tell me what you want, I need to go home, I have so much work to catch up on, and I have another essay due at the end of the week, so the last thing I want is to be distracted by this—, by you,”
Standing from the desk, with his fingers gliding through the thick dark waves of his hair, Max walks forward again, but my feet instinctively move me back, taking me closer to the door.
“I needed to see you, you won’t answer your phone, my texts, emails, nothing,”
“Are you really that surprised? You know, for a man who’s supposed to be incredibly smart, you’re really not thinking this through, are you. Why on earth would I answer my phone or reply to any emails? You cheated on me,” I cry, ashamed that I couldn’t bite back the tears like I’d willed myself to.
Max rushes forward, trying with all his might to bring me into the comfort and safety of his arms, but I don’t want them, not now. To me his arms are tainted, the memory of them wrapped around the bottled brunette that he’d been fucking in this office, leant against the very same wooden desk behind him.
“Max, please,” I breathe heavily, hot tears streaming down my cheeks as I hold my hands up, protecting both my body and what’s left of my already shattered heart.
“Em please—, this is killing me. I don’t know how many more times I can say I’m sorry. I miss you, more than you could ever know, and I can’t stop thinking about you, about how much I’ve hurt you,”
“Shame you didn’t think of that when you were fucking her!” I shout, not caring if anyone is here and that they can hear me. As I see the hurt flash in his eyes, my heart can’t help but still love him, still feel something for him as he hushes me, slowly resting his hand on my back, Max rubs small circles against the leather of my jacket. I should move away I know I should, but I can’t ignore that this man still has my heart, even if he had been the one to break it in the first place.
As I shrug my body from him, I step back again and with another deep breath I ask, “So—, why am I here?”
“I already told you, I wanted to see you Em, and I wanted to apologise—, again. I’ll get down on my knees if I have to, I’ll plead, I’ll beg, I just—, I want you back. I don’t want anyone else, I don’t want her, she was just—, nothing, she was nothing. She means nothing to me, and I don’t love her,”
I shake my head, resting my back against the door, and swallow. I know I shouldn’t believe him, but as his eyes flicker between my own, I can’t deny that if he kissed me now I wouldn’t pull away, no matter how angry I felt.
“Please Em, please let me back in, please don’t hate me,” he pleads, walking forwards until the toe of his tan shoes touch mine. My eyes look up, holding his gaze as tears begin pooling in his eyes, trickling against his cheek, staggering as they fall through his short but neatly trimmed beard. It was then, in the dimly lit room that I could see the darkened shadows under his eyes.
“Have you even slept?”
“No—, not since that night,”
I shouldn’t care, but I do, and with a nod, I look to the floor again, my feet shuffling as fingertips rest under my chin, lifting my face to align with his.
“Em—, please,” he breathes, his face edging closer to my own, “Please Em, please baby, I miss you so much. I miss those eyes, and—,” he pauses as his head tilts, “I miss those lips,” he whispers as my heart hammers in my chest. With a single heated breath, his lips crash against mine, consuming me, body, mind and soul. Pouring any love that he still has for me into the kiss, his tongue slides across my bottom lip, desperately pleading to push inside.
Without thinking, I wrap my arms around his neck, his hands now resting against my hips as his body traps me between himself and the door, and pushes his way into my mouth, kissing me the only way he knows how.