By: Provocative Envy



Five Weeks Later

It was hard to pinpoint the exact moment I knew I'd been wrong, so wrong, to not believe him. His jaw was set at a furious angle, his eyes shut tight against the sight of me; he was angry at my disbelief, hurt by my hesitation. My mouth was open and words were waiting, impatiently, on the tip of my tongue, in the back of my throat, waiting waiting waiting for me to mean them, to speak them.

And yet I was frozen, stuck, a marble statue too fragile to be real, too empty to be beautiful.

I lifted a hand to my face, trailing my fingertips down the soft skin at my temple, feeling for a pulse, proof that I was still existing, taking breath after breath after breath—I was disconnected from time as he knew it, unable to differentiate between one second and the next, so uncertain of whether my realization was too early or too late, desperately necessary or utterly unwelcome. I wanted to blurt out everything that mattered, but had no idea if its significance was imaginary or not: I was lost.

"What are you so afraid of, that you can't even talk to me?" he asked, his complexion paler than normal, his eyes bloodshot.

"I'm not…That is to say, I can't be…I'm really not afraid," I stammered, my heart fluttering, my body aching to be enveloped by his own. I remembered, so vividly, what that felt like, that was the thing—

"What are you so afraid of?" he'd whispered, smiling, stepping closer, confidence radiating from his gleaming gray eyes.

"You," I replied honestly, knowing what would happen next, unable to stop it, unable to believe it, but craving it, just a little bit, more than a little bit.

"Are you scared I'll hurt you?" he asked, still coming closer.

"I'm scared of hurting myself," I responded, my voice quavering as his hands locked around my waist and his lips swooped towards mine, stopping just before we touched, the smallest fragment of space and time and oxygen separating us.

"You should leave that up to me, I think," he said, his words floating into my mouth, and then he was kissing me, and it didn't matter, actually, that what he'd said was so unromantic, so ridiculous, so him—all that mattered was that we were standing there, together, and it felt like he'd never let go.