AN: I haven't forgotten about this story and I intend to finish it, but life has gotten in the way. I don't know when the next chapter will be uploaded (have not started writing it), but enjoy this one(?). I am very grateful to everyone who still enjoy my stories and take the time to review even though I've given you no reason to believe I'm even alive. Thanks for sticking with this one! For those of you interested in what has taken up my time these past three years, Google "Riverview High: The Musical". Cheers!
Her feet pounded the pavement as she ran faster. It was twilight but she could see the heavy clouds rolling in from the distance. If she did not get home soon, she would be caught in the middle of a thunderstorm, and the last thing she needed after a long day is to be soaking wet.
A drop of water hit her head. Then another. She sped up, but in two seconds, it became utterly pointless. The rain fell hard and fast. Her sprint slowed to a walk, and she decided to take her time walking home. After the day she has had at work, in which she had to stop a fight between Logan and a customer who thought he was at Hooters as evident by the way he took liberties with the waitresses' behinds, she might as well embrace this fitting end to a shitty day. It wasn't long before the sun finally disappeared in the west, and the only light was that from the street lamps and their illuminated reflections in the puddles.
As she approached her apartment building, she could see the outline of man holding a red umbrella. She could see him pointing his finger towards the buzzer, hesitating for a moment and then abandoning pressing the buzzer altogether. He repeated the motion several more times.
Probably another boyfriend that was thrown out of the building, she thought to herself.
As she neared her apartment, she became preoccupied with digging through the pile of gym clothes, wallet, old receipts and make-up in her oversized tote bag to find her keys. With her head down, she walked straight into the man with the red umbrella, and she would have lost her balance if he had not reached out with a hand on her elbow to steady her.
"Whoa… thanks." She said.
"De rien." He replied.
She recognized that voice immediately, and looked up and into the pair of ruby eyes that have haunted her dreams since the day he left. Her bag dropped to the ground.
"Hi." He said quietly.
Instinctively, she reached out her right hand and touched his face. As soon as she felt the warmth, she pulled back. Her eyes began to water as a rush of emotions engulfed her. The panic was setting in. She knelt down beside her bag as she frantically searched for her keys.
"Ya can't be here. This isn't happening." She said repeatedly, more so to herself than to him.
He knelt down beside her and calmly placed one hand over hers. For a brief moment, she let him before she pulled her hand away from him. Anger set in and she pushed him with as much strength as she could muster. He fell backwards but found his footing just in time.
"Get away from me!" She screamed as she jumped back from him.
"I'm sorry." He said as he stood up while trying to make eye contact with her.
She avoided his gaze, and kept her eyes on the pavement. She was trying to regain her composure, but with very little success. She couldn't hold them back any longer as tears streamed down her face, as she realized she had never prepared herself for this moment. Once they left, they never came back. All she was ever left with were the broken pieces. She would then mend them together again, piece by piece, and alone. With time, the memories would fade and she would be back to some semblance of herself. Him being here was breaking protocol.
"It's good to see you." He said gently, as he stood frozen in front of her, scared to tip the balance.
Finally, she said ever so softly, "I can't do this…"
Despite the pouring rain, he could see her tears and remorse overcame him again. The last thing he wanted was to make her cry again, and cry over him - a man not worthy of such tears.
This was not supposed to happen. This was not part of the plan. She was supposed to - what was she supposed to do? Was he stupid enough to think that she would actually welcome him back with open arms?
He looked at her, with her gaze still to the pavement, refusing to make eye contact with him. He desperately wanted to hold her in his arms and promise her the world if it would fix everything between them. Yet, as he watched her, he realized how deep his mistakes ran, and perhaps he wouldn't be able to fix them. Maybe there truly was no turning back. But if that was the case, he'd rather go down as a fighting man than an already dead one.
"I'm sorry… for everything." He said. He picked up his umbrella and walked slowly towards her. She stood still, fearing that any slight movement on her part would make him stop. Just as he was about an inch away from her, the smell of his scent of musk, cigarettes and bourbon brought back memories of the first time they met in the bar all those months ago. For a split second, she allowed herself to indulge in the memory.
He relished in the warmth emanating from her body. Even though they were a breath a part, he could feel the thin barrier between them. In that moment, he wanted nothing more than to shatter that barrier and pull her close to him. Yet, he feared that if he made any more sudden movements, she would run and he would lose the last opportunity he would ever have to be this close to her again. He was a gambling man, however, and his desire outweighed the risk. So, with his free arm, he reached out and in an instant, she was in his embrace.
She was caught off guard by his action, but she did not resist it. Everything that had ever felt right between them came flooding back, and although she did not return the sentiment, she allowed him to hold her in his arms.
"I missed you." He whispered as he dropped the umbrella and fully embraced her with both arms.
She murmured in agreement, afraid to say anything more. They stood there as the rain poured heavily down on them. However, it didn't faze them as the uncertainty of how long the moment would last caused them to focus on nothing but the connection they felt in that very instance.
"I still love you." He said, too indulgently. As soon as he said it, she snapped out her reverie and pulled back from him. She glared at him and he could see the anger, pain and sadness in her beautiful green eyes.
"How dare you? Ya don't get to come back here, pretend that nothing has happened, and say that to me." She said.
"Please let me explain." He replied.
"Explain what? What is there to explain? You're getting married. You're having a baby. You're gonna be someone's fatha, Remy. Ya don't get to have it both ways!" She screamed as the memories of their last encounter came back to her.
His gaze shifted from her eyes and onto the concrete. "I'm not." He said softly.
"You're not what?" She snapped at him.
"I'm not getting married." He said.
"So, is that why you're here? Ya wanted to tell me the great news that you're finally free and now ya can be all mine? Or are ya just running away again from doing right by your baby?" She said spitefully.
"We lost de bebe." He said quietly.
"Oh." The anger immediately disappeared, and she was surprised to find herself feeling sympathy for him.
"I'm sorry, Remy." She said.
"It just wasn't meant to be, but I'm not here because of that."
"Then why did ya come?"
"I just wanted to see you." He replied honestly.
"Well, now you've seen me, so you can go." She said in a tone even harsher than she had intended.
"I can't go until y' tell me how I can make dis better." He said defiantly.
"There is nothing to make better, because there is nothing between us! Don't you get it? Look, I'm really sorry you lost your baby, but I can't have you dropping in and out of my life on a whim. It's not fair, and my heart can't…" She stopped mid-sentence when she realized she was about to reveal to him the one thing she convinced herself she had eradicated from her very being. It was too late, however, and he seized this opportunity when he realized that she still felt something for him.
"Rogue, I love you." He said as he stared intently into her eyes.
"Ya can't, Remy. We can't…"
"We can't what? I know y' still feel somet'ing for me, chere. I know I was an idiot and I don' deserve you, but dese months without you was…"
"What? Unbearable? Ya couldn't live without me? Leaving me was the biggest mistake of your life? How many clichés are ya going to throw at me? How many more lies?"
"I'm not lying. I promise I will never lie to you again if you would just…"
"Don't ya get it, Remy? We can't be together anymore because Ah can't trust you. Ah don't think Ah can ever trust ya again. Without trust, we don't have anything - at least, nothing worth saving. Maybe we just rushed into things too quickly. We barely knew each other the whole time we were together." She said.
"We didn't know each other? I know your favorite breakfast is bacon wit' a bowl of fruit loops. I know you hate it when anyone touches your right ankle because it's sensitive since de sprain never healed right. I know your favorite place in de world is de willow tree wit' de tire swing by de river because it was the last memory y' have of your mere. And I know dat sometimes when you can't sleep, y' like to go to de rooftop of your building and look at de stars to remind yourself dat even when de world is at its ugliest, dere is still somet'ing beautiful to look at. I know you, Rogue." He said as he grabbed her hands and looked intently into her eyes.
She was overwhelmed by how much he remembered. During his absence, she tried to tell herself that she didn't mean anything to him - that he had forgotten her and everything they had. It was easier to think that way, to think that she was not worth remembering, and to reduce the relationship to just an insignificant passage of time. No matter how hard she tried to tell herself otherwise, however, she could never fully stop wondering if he ever thought about her like she thought about him. Now, here he was, and she had her answer, but it didn't bring her any comfort. Instead, she felt her heart cracking.
"Well, then maybe the problem was that I didn't know you." She said.
"So, let's start again. Let's get to know each other again." He said.
"I promise dat I will give you all de time in de world to get to know me. If you give me de chance, I will fight tooth and nail to earn your trust back. Please believe me." He said.
"Please don't make false promises because I can't promise ya that I can ever forgive you. I have been through hell and back these past few months, and it has only been recently that I remembered what it's like to be me again. I can't do that again. I know I seem tough but I'm too tired for that shit, Remy. It'll be easier if ya just leave, and we forget this ever happened." She pleaded with him.
"Dat's de problem, chere. To forget you is to forget how to live. I'm not going to say dat I'm a good man, because a good man wouldn't have done to y' what I did to y'. I also know dat if I'm being honest wit' myself, I don't deserve a second chance. But dese months wit'out y' just confirmed to me dat my life has been pretty meaningless. For most of my life, I've been drifting from one thing to another and seeking pleasure from wherever I can get it. But I never felt like I was living until I met you. When I was wit' y', it was as if my senses came alive. I felt like I was seeing for de first time, tasting for de first time, and I know y' want to roll dem pretty eyes at me and you're t'inking dat I've watched one too many Jennifer Aniston movies, but chere, when I'm wit' you, I feel alive. And dat is what love is - love is inspiring de ot'er person to live. Dat is what you do for me. So, I'm sorry but I can't forget you and I won't let myself forget you because if I don't have you, the memories are de only t'ing I can hold onto to live this half-existence."
She wanted desperately to believe him, and she can tell that he wasn't lying. And everything he said, she felt it too. She wanted to reach out to grab him, tell him that they can try again, that everything they had can still exist, and that she still loved him.
But she couldn't.
As much as she wanted a fairy tale ending, she remembered who she was and the life she has led. She was an orphan - destined to be alone. A happily ever after is not her destiny, and she wasn't going to risk it all again for an inevitable fate.
She looked him in the eyes as she said dejectedly, "I can't. Whether ya go or leave, I don't care, but I just can't."
With that said, she went into her building and left him standing under the street lamp, a red umbrella on the ground and the rain pouring down.