A random, yet vivid dream I had a few nights ago has spilled out onto the page. The emotions were so strong I lifted myself out of bed and wrote it, then sat on it until now, wondering where on earth it came from.
I have no idea who the characters are other than what they do, where the story is, and what will happen. Consider it a short glimpse, or a micro-story.
She stood in the doorway, the ache in her chest pulled outward by the look on his face. It was official then. She had heard the rumours.
“I have to go to Belgium, starting tomorrow, so I can’t come to your special dinner.” He said, then added, uncomfortably. “It’s for six months, they want to walk through on all the sets before shooting.”
She felt her emotions struggling to give way, and she felt the flush of tears behind her eyes, fighting the pressure, keeping them hidden. She couldn’t find words. If she did, they would spill out and force the tears to mix with them. The last thing she wanted to do was break down, betray what she felt or the loss she suddenly carried.
“Aren’t you going to say anything?” he asked, tilting his head. “You ok?”
She took a breath, and glanced at her feet. Grey, fuzzy socks, pilled and worn, contrasted against the concrete, against his luxurious leather shoes, steps from her. She focused on them, breathed again, then looked back at him, mustering courage.
“Yes, yes, fine. So soon!” She smiled slightly to cement the lie. “It will be a great time, I am sure. You’ll send me some chocolate, maybe some beer if you can?”
He blinked. She watched him mentally dust himself off. She didn’t know what he had expected her to say, or do and was slightly puzzled at his reaction, but let it go. No matter what she said or didn’t say, she could not make him stay, nor could she go with him. He was not hers to claim, even though her heart was screaming differently.
A drop of rain hit the cement driveway, then another. He simply looked back at her, letting more drops pepper the shoulders of his worn, brown leather jacket. The one he had let her wear when they were shooting outside the park that day, warm from his body, surrounding her with his expensive cologne. The way a smile had lit up his face when the arms had draped off the end of her hands, making him real, apart from what the world saw.
“I can do that.” He finally uttered, and stepped forward towards her, hand held out, hesitating. “Listen, I… I have to go, but-”
Please, please don’t touch me, she thought in her head, shrinking back slightly. If he touched her, it would be the end of her ability to be in control. She would let loose and he would know, and he could never know how she felt, or she would lose his friendship. Besides, it just wasn’t done. They could be friends, co-workers sometimes, but he was supposed to date starlets, or singers. Not caterers. Not her.
She watched him pause for a moment, his mouth tense, his posture unsure. His hand, still held in mid-air between them wavered, then dropped to his thigh. “Have a great time with your dinner, I’m sorry to miss it.”
The sound of the cab’s wipers across the windshield made them both startle, and he stepped away, out into the sprinkling rain. They looked at one another again as he reached the cab, her with one hand on her door, his in the pockets of his jeans.
“Thanks for dropping by to tell me.” She called out, a hitch in her breath, a lump in her throat. “Safe travelling, and I expect updates on Twitter!”
He nodded, the same unsure look on his face, and then dashed inside the cab to avoid the thickening rain. As he disappeared through the door, he waved, and she raised her hand back. A gesture that was bereft of what she wanted, but would have to do.
The tears hit as she closed the door, and washed down her face. She stuffed the sleeve of her sweater in her mouth to choke back the sobs of regret, bending her in two, the physical feeling of her broken heart almost unbearable. Six months without his laugh, without his presence in her life. It was unbearable to think, yet a reality to face. He would go, and come home a different man, one perhaps already taken by someone else.
She sank to the couch, and let it come. Let it out, gave the emotion permission to express itself. She let it flow freely, thinking, as she curled her knees to her chest that perhaps it would not dog her like it had for months, since he had come into her life, if she let it go. Maybe it was what she needed to get past this unrequited attachment to a man she could never, ever have.
The front door swung open, and she realized belatedly she hadn’t locked it. She stood quickly, wiping tears on her sleeve, attempting composure, and walked to close it, thinking wind may have blown it open again. The storm sounded as if it was hitting now, and she didn’t want a wet floor.
She startled, his presence in the doorway, drenched from the downpour outside, stopping her in her tracks. He paused for a moment to close the door, then stalked towards her, meaning in his step, purpose flashing in his eyes. She couldn’t move as he reached her, struck dumb at seeing him there, dripping on her carpet.
“I can’t leave without saying this.” He gasped, his chest heaving, and he grabbed her and pulled her to him. “I can’t pretend anymore that I don’t love you.”
She felt shock reverberate through her body at his words, and locked her eyes to his. She watched him catalog the redness from her tears, knowing full well she had given herself away. Wait. He loved her? How was this possible?
“What?” She managed to cough, before his lips met hers, insistent and warm. His hands held her rigid, and she relented, softening to his body, releasing her own tension against the onslaught of his mouth. She gave into the overwhelming need for him, the need for his touch, his kiss, his love. She fisted the lapels on his jacket, heedless of the cold zipper biting into her palm. She reveled in his scent, the feel of him against her, the curling of warmth through her body.
Too soon, he broke from her, and rested his forehead on hers.
“Please tell me I’m not crazy.” He whispered. “Please tell me all this time I have dreamed of you I wasn’t a fool.”
Her shaky hand found its way from his chest to his lips, fingers tracing the lower lip, cupping his jaw. She ran her thumb over his cheekbone, feeling his skin under the pad, marvelling at the sheer intensity of a simple touch. How many times had she wanted to smooth away the dark circles under his eyes, the tension that would run through him when he worked, wanted to reach for him, only to be caught by her own censor, too worried about the cameras and gossip?
“No.” she whispered back, letting another tear fall. “You’re not.”