Love on Three Levels

Five seconds, two breaths, and one moan sounding off into oblivion; it was worth half a life, two deaths, and one resurrection twice owed and once given. For those few seconds I had won, but at the same time had been defeated. They say that it doesn't matter how long it took you to get there. What matters is what it took to reach your definitive end. The costs are always deadly but the returns far more than what you would expect.

oOo

It was not more than five minutes ago when I was trapped against a sturdy hold, petulant but not struggling against my unlikely captor. I closed my eyes, willing myself to calm down, forcing myself to find another way. His ribs were too close to my elbow, his head too close behind my own that I could have jerked that head backwards or swung that elbow to attain my freedom. However, there are times when you must reject freedom in exchange for something you do not yet know of.

"Let go of me," I said. My voice was calm and my breathing even. If there was one thing I could do best, it was negotiate my way out of anything. He shouldn't have even tried.

"No, not yet," he whispered into my ear. He knew me well, I had to admit. It was not long after when he dropped a tender kiss on my shivering neck. I felt nothing but fear.

"There is infatuation, there is companionship, then there is empty love, which is it Trowa?" I said, refusing to be manipulated when I was so close to breaking.

"It started with infatuation. You were there. I'm sure you were well aware of it."

"Infatuation can only last for so long," I said. My neck stiffened and my body refused to slacken. If what we had was nothing more than infatuation, then I was a fool for believing otherwise.

"That might be true," he responded, again dropping his lips onto my skin before he opened his mouth in exploration.

oOo

It was not more than ten minutes ago when I was seething, torn between a want to throw several more things at him or to leave my study altogether. Anger for the most part of my life had been repressed. It had been hidden within the folds of understanding and feigned ignorance, but control could only last for so long. All it took was a single question.

"Do you still love me?" he asked.

"I do," was my automatic response. It was true, true enough that I had no trouble saying it when all else seemed to fail between us.

"Even after..."

"Yes."

"I've always loved you," he said with a straight face, the same straight face that he'd always had. No ounce of guilt, remorse, or admittance was on his face. I hated it, almost detested it, but my life was filled with contradictions. I hated him, but I loved him. I was doomed to an eternity where insanity was the only believable outcome.

"You always make it so difficult for me," I admitted. I was frustrated and I wasn't afraid to show it.

"Nobody said it was going to be easy."

I stood up, holding my fists against my side. Trowa was always too blunt, always too callous. I should have known this from the moment I met him. Even when he meant every word he said, there were still multitudes of other admittances he kept to himself. That enraged me. Before I could do anything more, I felt myself being pulled before I was secured with my back against a familiar chest.

oOo

It was not more than fifteen minutes ago when I was reading, the nonchalance on my face wavering as I enforced a strict code of discipline upon myself. If I was going to finish my work in time for bed, then I had to read and evaluate the contracts on my hand straight through. No breaks were necessary, no stray thoughts allowed. I was going to finish it before midnight.

"I'm busy Trowa," I'd said, but my voice held no contempt or avoidance. At least, that was my intention. If there was any variation in my speech pattern then it was for Trowa to interpret as he would.

"You always are. Some things are better discussed when there are no preoccupations."

"Then please allow me to finish. When I am through then I'm sure the problem of preoccupations won't be of any worry."

Formality is straight, is cold, and is built like an iceberg thousands of feet wide and thousands of years old. It is unbreakable.

"You won't be finishing that tonight," he said as if he knew what would happen next. It was either he had foresight or he was going make himself the distraction.

"Trowa, please leave me alone," I said straight out. When all else failed, bluntness usually worked. Trowa, however, was never affected by such tricks. He merely stared at me with fathomless eyes before he continued coming closer, his incessant need to disturb obvious from the way he stalked towards me.

"I will not leave you alone. Put your work down," he said as if he had the authority to do so.

"Leave me alone," I said again with my anger barely contained. Instinctively, I grabbed the first hard object I could find. I thought that it surely wouldn't be hard to hurtle it across the table to land at the distraction before me.

oOo

It was not more than twenty minutes ago when I was curled up on my chair, staring at the void of darkness that could only have been caused by the absence of the sun. I was waiting for nothing, but my mind told me otherwise. I was waiting and hoping. I knew he would be home soon.

"With that woman," my mind provided. It was a woman this time. Before that had been a man, an attractive man who'd been particularly loud and passionate. "It's his second," my agitated mind added. I was aware of the reasons for his truancy just like I was aware of everything else.

I closed my eyes recounting the nights he was gone, reliving the feeling of a cold bed on an equally cold night. No warmth would invade me, no emotion would overwhelm me because I knew and I accepted. What I could not tolerate was the fact that he never left me. He should have left me because I could never leave him.

The hours turned into minutes, the minutes into seconds until each second defined what was present and he was standing before me. I knew not what to do. I knew not how to act. All I could do was hide behind my work, the same way I had done so for the past several years on end. There were two hopes floating within me at that same second he entered my study. I hoped that he would leave me alone, yet I hoped that he'd finally talk. I could not decide between the two just like the way I could not decide whether to love him or to hate him.

oOo

And now, as my breath strikes at twenty-five minutes older, I can not help but disregard his advances and notice, at the same time, my helplessness when it came to his kisses. If there was anything that could catch my attention, that was certainly it. Secretly, I enjoyed his attention, the same attention that was denied of me so many times before.

"When we were kids, I was very much infatuated with you," he breathed into my ear the same moment my eyelids began to drop. I stayed as I was with my back against his chest. His grip on me remained firm, his lips against my skin still close.

"Then you got tired of me. I gave you half my life and you killed me twice," was my answer. I said it with as much conviction as I could muster, disregarding all his words in favor of my own. Hearing myself say it out loud was a relief. I could no longer deny myself such liberties.

To that he spoke a simple phrase, something short but filled with meaning.

"Then this will be our resurrection," he said.

It was strange the way he never said he was sorry and strange the way I never said I'd forgiven him. I suppose that after all these years; I really did know him enough to understand his subtle meanings. In that moment, I allowed myself to revel in his words, to bask in his return and my success. I turned my head and enveloped my lips around his in a fiery kiss.

oOo

Our five seconds, his two breaths, my one moan sounding off into oblivion; if these were merely physical, it would have meant nothing at all. Once you get past the giddy kind of love then all seems dull, all seems a little barren. The first level of love, they say, is the most intense and the well-remembered. Infatuation is the best high after all.

After the sudden high comes responsibility when one chooses to be with another and redundancy takes its toll. For that reason, the second level is where most find their demise and where I almost gave in to hopelessness.

The last level is the hardest to attain for what most seem to wish for is neither intensity nor stability. What most want is an eternity mixed with reality, a hint I'd picked up from the night we'd spent together.

"You're a bit of a trial," I told him that night.

To that, his answer was, "That's because I'm real."

I am thankful now that we did go through these trials because now we are stronger rather than flightier and meaningful rather than stable. Lucky for me my experience with reality will be an eternity.