the journey of changing one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life.
I paced the living room as I waited for Kingsley to come home. Having left my phone in Benjamin’s car, I was unable to call her even though in my gut I knew she was with him. However, me being the overprotective friend I was, there was still a small part of me that feared the worst.
Not only that, I felt like I was crumbling and needed someone to vent to. I couldn’t form one coherent thought or opinion after last night and all I wanted was for her to snap me out of it and tell me what to do. I wasn’t use to someone being genuinely interested in getting to know me and what scared me even more was just how drawn to him I was.
Cooper wanted to know all the minor details about me and something in my core told me he’d remember every single thing I told him because he truly clung onto everything that I said – and I was the same way with him.
He was so laid back and easy to talk to and what was even better was that he was actually interesting. Listening to him talk about the things he was passionate about made me feel some type of way and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. But what I did know was that I wasn’t good enough for him.
I would break his heart without even trying to and I knew I couldn’t do that to him. Cooper made me want to commit and settle down but I had scars so deep that I wasn’t sure would ever heal. I couldn’t drag him down into those dark parts of me; it wouldn’t be fair for me to start leaning on him.
What the hell am I supposed to do when my head and my heart are on two separate pages?
I heard the door open and quickly ran over as Kingsley came strolling in. She was wearing her skirt from the night before but had on an oversized red sweatshirt instead. Kingsley had a giant smile on her face which made me immediately forget what I was just stressing out about.
“What’s that smile for?” I implored as I folded my arms over my chest and smiled. “Nice sweatshirt, by the way.”
“He’s so perfect, El,” she said dreamily as she set her bag down on the counter and walked over to fall onto the couch. “He didn’t force me into anything last night even though I definitely started it and he’s so talkative but he’s also a great listener and oh my god, does he know how to use –”
“Okay,” I said loudly, cutting her off quickly as I covered my ears with my hands. “I don’t need to know every little detail.”
“This coming from the girl who has told me very explicit stories of some of her escapades.”
I rolled my eyes and laughed as I said, “Yes, but I’m not on the receiving end of those stories.”
Kingsley chuckled and threw her legs up on the couch, laying down as she tucked her left arm under her head. I took a seat on our black saucer chair and reached for the remote but Kingsley stopped me.
“Not so fast. How was your night?” She asked with a twinkle in her eye. A smile came to my face unknowingly as the night flashed through my mind but I felt a small knot form in my stomach.
“It was amazing,” I told her, bringing my legs up to cross underneath me. “He was so sweet and such a gentleman and he asked me things no one has ever cared enough to wonder before. It was nice.”
“But?” Kingsley questioned and I turned to look at her in surprise with a raised brow.
“How’d you know there was a but?”
“I know you,” she responded, stating the obvious. “I also can guarantee I already know exactly what you’re about to say but I want to hear it from you.”
“Okay,” I huffed as I rested my elbows on my knees. “I really like him, King, but I would destroy him.”
“Maybe he’d be into that,” she said with a shrug which caused me to give her a distressed look.
“Anyway,” I drawled out with a roll of my eyes. “I just feel like he’s someone I would genuinely want to be with but I have so much baggage and shit I’m trying to get through and I don’t think it’s fair for me to get involved with him, or anyone for that matter, because I can’t give him what he wants.”
“And what’s that?” Kingsley asked as she turned her head to look at me.
“Ah,” she said as she pushed herself up to sit, scooting closer to me. “And you don’t.”
“No. Yes. God, I don’t know anymore,” I forced out through clenched teeth as I ran a hand through my horribly knotted hair. “He makes me want to settle down and change my ways but I also don’t want to change who I am. If I do change, I want it to be for me, not for somebody else.”
“Do you want my honest opinion?” Kingsley questioned as she fully turned her body to face me, resting a hand on my knee. I nodded wordlessly as I waited for her to speak. “I think you’re overthinking it. You are perfect the way you are and just because you stop doing something doesn’t mean you’re changing who you are. I can see how these past few months have been weighing on you and I know just how conflicted you’ve been, even if you haven’t admitted it. This was bound to happen, Cooper just helped you address it.”
“I don’t want to hurt him, King,” I whispered as I put my head in my hands. I felt her wrap her arms around my shoulders and I leaned my head into her.
“Everyone gets hurt in relationships in some form or another,” she said softly as she rubbed circles on my back. “You’re so much more than you think, El, and it breaks my heart that you can’t see how worth it you are. You deserve to be treated how Cooper would treat you and I think you owe it to yourself to learn exactly how that feels.”
Sighing, I pushed away from Kingsley and gave her a weak smile as she pushed some hair out of my face and tucked it behind my ear. Pushing myself out of the chair, I walked into the kitchen and grabbed my phone out of her bag she had brought in. Unlocking it, I opened up the message that I knew was from Cooper and took a deep breath.
Cooper: How does Tuesday sound?
Me: Sounds perfect.
Kingsley gave my shoulder a squeeze as she walked past me and sauntered down the hall toward her bedroom. I stood there for a few more minutes, second guessing my decision. Groaning, I went down the hall and slipped into the bathroom, stripping out of my clothes and turned on the shower.