The gentle pitter-patter of rain and his rough hands on my waist. The cold breeze of the night and the warmth of his breath. Being with him was bittersweet. That's all I could think of as he embraced me.
His hands quickly let go as he turned to the other side in his sleep. With a sigh, I got out of bed as silently as I could and closed the window. My friends would call me a fool for still chasing after him. Our relationship hadn't changed over the years; yet every time he calls me a hope lights up that it's because he missed me.
I watched him as he slept without a care in the world, how his hair was slightly messed up due to my greedy hands, how his shoulders were slightly red still. Is it wrong of me to yearn for something I can't have? Am I weak if I chase after the loving memories we shared? Every moment I spend with him the more it hurts after he leaves.
"Maybe I'm a masochist," I smiled feeling envy as his face was peaceful. "But I still can't learn to hate you."
After a few moments I crawled back into the bed leaning into his back. I stared at the nape of his neck for a while before closing my eyes. We were so close, yet the distance between us was something I could never lessen. Touching him so casually hurt. He'll be gone in the morning, I'm sure. And I'll be stuck clinging to the fading warmth.
It's been two weeks since the last time he called me. The rainy days kept reminding me of him. The noise in the coffee shop still couldn't drown out my thoughts, nor could my best friend.
"You need to stop," Sophie sighed and sipped her coffee. "I mean, you're supposed to be focused on my wedding right now, but you're thinking about Jake, aren't you?"
"What?" I perked up. "I am, I swear! It's just sudden. I never thought he'd propose to you this year, that's all."
I have been friends with Sophie since our freshman year in high school. She was the new kid and I was the outcast, yet nothing deterred her. No rumors about me, nor her popular status. I was chosen by her and she never wronged me. Sophie began going out with her boyfriend Luke two years ago and the signs were clear that he wanted to take things a step further. But I couldn't tell if it was out of desperation or actual love that he rushed the proposal. Of course, my doubts weren't something I could tell her, not when she's so happy.
"I know! But I'm relieved, actually." Sophie was beaming with happiness. "For a while, I thought that maybe the idea of commitment scared him. It's just been two years and he's grown so much as a person. Okay, but back to the topic. Wedding. My dress. I've got time till March 12th. And you, Ann, need to let go of Jake. Whatever you two have, it's toxic." Sophie's blue eyes got serious. Her diamond ring was glinting as she impatiently tapped her fingers on her coffee cup.
"I am not talking about this, Sophie." I cut her off. I don't want to hear it. I already knew. It just hurt more. Avoiding her gaze, I looked out the window. It was raining. I missed him.
"You can't avoid this forever..."
I didn't say anything. Or rather, I didn't want to say anything hurtful. Quickly wanting to change the atmosphere between us, I changed the topic.
"Sooo... The dress. Have you decided? I swear you spent the last two months driving around the country for the dress of your dreams."
"A month and a half, thank you. I finally picked my top three! I just want to ask everyone's opinions on them. Just trust that they looked gorgeous on me and pick the one you like best." She quickly took out her phone from her purse and showed me three pictures of wedding dresses on mannequins.
"Didn't you go to graduation with this type of mermaid dress and almost tripped?" I pointed out, not being able to with-hold a smile from the memory.
Sophie thought about it a bit and withdrew her phone.
"Okay, make that top two dresses." She flashed the other pictures at me. "Luke thought the princess look was very befitting, but I'm kind of worried it might overwhelm me, you know? I'll look more like a poodle, less like a gorgeous bride."
"Soph, you're always gorgeous, I don't think that's something you have to worry abo-"
My phone began vibrating as an unknown number began calling me. Both me and Sophie tensed up. She gave me a displeased look. I had a gut feeling it'd be Jake. But, God, let me be wrong.
"Don't," Sophie shook her head.
I picked it up anyways.
"Hey," A hoarse voice greeted me, sending shivers down my spine. Did he just wake up? "It's me. Sorry, it's a new phone. You're probably getting tired of this," Jake chuckled softly.
Sophie groaned and stood up.
"Bathroom," she said and abruptly left. A part of me was thankful that she let me have this private moment. The rest of me battling with sadness and self-hate.
"No, no, it's okay. Just didn't expect it." My thoughts shifted back to Sophie's wedding. Hadn't I just said the same thing?
"Right..." There was a short silence. "Well, keep this number saved now, alright? I don't know for how long but..."
"As long as you don't lose mine, Jake." I chuckled, but in reality I feared he would.
"What! I've practically got yours memorized!"
My heart began pounding. This is how he always pulled me in. Catching me off- guard. Just why does he keep playing with me?
"Hey... Next Saturday, would you be free?" He asked me casually. We both know where it would lead. How I get hurt in the end. It's just easier to stay ignorant.
"Sure." I agreed without a second thought. "Same place? Oh! Sorry, Sophie's coming back..."
"Shit, you two still talk?" He suddenly sounded disappointed. I felt as if the air was getting knocked out of me. Before graduating, they both dated. It ended badly. Both of them got hurt, though Sophie got the worse end.
"Yeah," I mumbled. "She's getting married in six months."
Sophie sat back down next to me, avoiding my eyes.
"Right, well, she always wanted to settle down. It's good to know her dreams are coming true." Stop. Don't talk about her so lovingly. I didn't want to hear that gentleness in his voice. I couldn't hate her but I can't hate him either. "Anyways, maybe my apartment this time?"
"...Okay, see you then." I ended the call, shoving my phone into my bag. I already felt the tears swelling up.
"So?" Sophie inquired, still not looking at me. "You gonna meet him again? Cry afterwards? It's a sad sight, Ann."
I shook my head and sipped my coffee. It was cold now.
"It's different this time." I said. Sophie raised her eyebrows at me. "I swear. It won't end like before."
"Okay, but if it does, you owe me a bottle of wine." Sophie grinned. I couldn't help but smile back and hug her. She was a good friend to me. The least I could do is shift my focus back to her.
At least until the cycle repeats.