"What can I do to make you see me?" With narrowed eyes, she looked at him. She rested her hands on her hips and moved forwards and backwards slightly, a thing that he seemed to find rather hypnotic; he stared at her with a dumb expression on his face.
The moment she spoke, he raised his hands in the air, palms up, in a bewildered gesture. "Huh? What? What do you mean? I see you! You're right in front of me."
"That's not what I mean, Nate," she replied, stilling her movements. "And you know it."
"What do you mean then? Care to fill me in here?"
"Nate!" There was a slightly whiny tone to her voice.
She pouted at him.
"I do see you, Sophie. I do. I don't know what more I can say to convince you I do." He shoved his hands into his pockets and tilted his head; strands of curly hair fell over his eyes. He looked back up and pierced her with his gaze.
"You don't, Nate, and you know how I know that?"
He shrugged, hands still in his pockets.
"We're still here," she stated. Her vision was beginning to blur, the frustration of their situation getting the better of her. "We are still here. I'm ready to move forwards but clearly I'm alone in that."
"I…no!" Shaking his head, he stepped towards her.
"What are you saying, Nate? Tell me. For once, open that stubborn mouth of yours and talk to me."
"I don't know what to tell you, Soph," he admitted. "I'm working through things. With my son, with Maggie. With all of this. With other things, too. It's a lot to deal with."
"I see," she said.
"No. No, you don't. You don't see," he insisted. "See, if you understood, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Sophie. You mean more to me than… You mean a lot to me. And I… I'm not good at this sort of thing, but I do see you."
The first tear rolled down her cheek.
"I see you, Sophie. But I just need a little more time."
She swallowed but said nothing.
"Is that okay? Can you wait, for me?"
"I realise I've taken a long time already, but if you can just give me some more time…"
Wrapping her arms around her middle, she turned away from him. She cast her gaze to the floor and ran her tongue across her lips, wetting them. "Nate, I can't. I can't do this for much longer."
"I promise it won't be too long." He cringed. "That is, if it hasn't been too long already."
Her eyes met his. "You and I both know there is something between us. It's been there for years now, Nate, and it hasn't gone away or faded. I think it might actually have grown. But I can't wait forever. I won't."
He nodded and watched her make her way to the door and open it. There, she hesitated. "I understand. And Sophie?"
She remained silent.
"I do see you. Don't ever forget that. I won't make you wait much longer."
As she left a smile flickered softly over her face but it was soon gone, to be replaced by the tormenting knowledge that Nate wasn't quite hers yet. It was unfair, really. She had been his for a long time now. But she would wait.