Paulo lay on his bed, arms behind his head as he stared into the ceiling. There wasn't much going on up there, pretty barren really, but the blankness allowed him to think, and so he did. His current thoughts revolved around the incident yesterday, where he confronted Daniel and was again rebuked by Jasmine. He didn't even get a chance to explain what had happened before she had made her decision, her words shaking him to the core.
I never want to see you again.
Paulo rolled over, sighing. He knew that he could go to her, explain things, and maybe get her to see what a colossal douche Daniel was. It wouldn't take much effort, he'd just need to speak with her after school, or hell, even call her! He did kind of doubted the second option would work very well as she'd likely hang up the phone, but it was an option. The real problem lay in the conundrum that stayed his hand to begin with. What did she mean to him?
Certainly it was not she who ended the relationship, but it seemed she had moved on faster than he. It just didn't seem his place to interfere in her decisions affecting her wellbeing, whether they be good or bad; and he knew that staying with Daniel was bad. If he had moved past her, then he had no reason to get involved. It's not like she didn't just immediately take Daniel's side last night and tell him she'd never want to see him again, something like that certainly doesn't push people away from helping. Maybe she deserved what was coming to her then.
Paulo rolled over to the other side and squeezed his eyes shut. No, no, that's a terrible thought. Yes, they were through, but she still meant something to him, right? Their time together was brief, but he knew that every moment was wonderful, and to leave her to Daniel didn't seem right. He knew the Siamese was trouble, but he could also see this cat was clearly a master of manipulation. It wouldn't be right not to say something.
Paulo put his pillow over his head and rolled over once more, throwing his bed into turbulence. Maybe she knew about his behavior hmm? Perhaps she knows exactly what he's like and Daniel only acted that way to piss Paulo off. Paulo betted that she wanted this, and he even imagined her cackling with her new boyfriend as he walked off, conflicted. Bitch.
Throwing the pillow across the room he sat up and placed his head in his hands. He couldn't reconcile his thoughts at all. In one instant he spit on her name and in the next he worried about her like some guardian angel. It was almost as if he had two little Paulo's on his shoulder trying to convince him of the step to take, for good or evil. Trouble was, he couldn't tell which one had the halo, and which had the devil horns.
He couldn't just stay like this forever. He had to get out of the house or else he'd explode tossing his thoughts back and forth. But what would he do when he got out there? Probably just find another excuse to wallow in his own anger. No, he needed to meet up with someone, just do whatever to get his mind off it. With this thought in mind he headed downstairs to grab the phone and give David a call.
The phone rang three times before he heard the click of a recipient taking the call. "Hello?"
Paulo frowned as he recognized it to be the sound of David's mom. Odd, usually at this time David would bound forward and answer any call in a fit of unrestrained curiosity. Maybe he was just sleeping in. "Hi, it's Paulo, uh, is David there?"
Paulo heard a disappointed sigh before the reply. "Oh, I'm sorry, but David is a little sick right now. Apparently something he ate last night didn't agree with him. I'm afraid he needs to rest today and can't come out to play."
"Ah, well thanks anyway. Tell him that I hope he gets better then."
"Oh course dear, have a good day."
And with that the receiver clicked back into place, cutting off the line. Paulo stared at the phone, a look of disappointment on his face. Well he probably should have figured that David would be out of commission anyways. He didn't look so good when they had left, probably only putting on a brave face when he noticed Paulo looking the way he was.
Paulo sighed and thought about just hanging the phone up and going to sleep or something, when he paused. He clenched his jaw as his fingers moved on their own accord, dialing a number he didn't want to consider at first, yet he knew was the right choice. The phone rang once before it was answered.
"Hello, who's this?" Lucy answered.
Paulo stood underneath a massive tree in the park, a cold wind rushing past. It ruffled his coat and sent a chill down his spine as a cascade of leaves fell from the tree to tumble down into the piles at his feet. He had been waiting for close to half an hour now, not wanting to stay in his own home while Lucy came to meet him. He knew that he was going to be early, but he didn't care, he was content waiting.
He looked up at the tree and saw the sun shining through a crack in its ever thinning supply of leaves. The way its light shone through the holes created a dazzling array as the tree swayed in the wind. Light splashed across his face and he thanked Luck for suggesting this place to meet, the scenery easing his mind. Another gust whipped past, this time much more fierce, and a shower of leaves was thrown into the air, creating a curtain of red, brown, and yellow. He threw up his hands as the leaves swirled around, only lowering them when the wind itself lessened in intensity. As the veil was cast aside his eyes beheld an alluring form and his heart shuddered as she saw the curious face of Lucy standing before him.
She cocked her head and watched as the leaves blew away, clearing a path between her and Paulo. When the wind was fully dissipated she shrugged and looked up to Paulo, crossing her arms and shifting her stance. "So, what's up?"
Paulo rubbed the back of his head uncomfortably. "Ah, yeah, right. Well David was kind of busy today and I thought, hey! Maybe you'd like to hang out today or something."
Lucy's face was not amused. "Yeah, and the President isn't a dog… Paulo, what do you really want?"
Paulo gritted his teeth, not surprised that Lucy had cut to the heart of the matter so soon. He looked away, trying to gather his thoughts about the matter before looking back to address her. "Fine, you got me. David really was busy, but that's not why I called you, I did so because… You were the only one I really wanted to see today."
Lucy's eyes narrowed as her cheeks reddened slightly. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"I don't really know actually. I dialed your number without thinking, but when you answered it made sense to me. I'm just really conflicted on where to go now, and I just wanted someone who can be honest with me and I can be honest with in turn."
Lucy looked down uncomfortably and took a deep breath. "Alright… well I'm here, so I guess let's hear what you have to say."
Paulo hesitated before beginning, taking one last opportunity to back out from speaking to Lucy about this. It didn't seem right, not with her, but he didn't know how else to resolve this. He then nodded to himself and began. "Ever since Jasmine and I broke up I just… can't seem to get her out of my head. I thought I had gotten over her, in fact I had prayed I had gotten over her, and it seemed to work most of the time, but when someone mentioned her name or my thoughts dragged across a memory with her in it, I couldn't help but feel a sense of guilt and regret. She's moved on already, but I don't think she knows what she's gotten herself into. Her new boyfriend is, well dangerous is a good word. One part of me wants to leave her to her own devices, to reap what she's sown and find something else, ripping her from my life. The other part wants to tell her, to make her understand, and to… to forgive me." He kicked a nearby rock and sighed in frustration. "What the hell do I do?"
Lucy was silent during the entire speech, her face growing progressively darker with every word. Paulo became concerned when she didn't reply at first, looking up to see Lucy quivering. He reached out a hand slowly, before drawing it back as she slowly looked up, chuckling.
"Even when we've been left behind we just keep going back to them huh?" She murmured during her laughter. She stopped the laugh in front of the bewildered Paulo and looked him in the eye with a saddened expression. "We can't just stand back and watch as those we love are hurt Paulo. I suppose then the true question is, do you love her?"
Paulo closed his eyes and was silent as he went deep into thought. The question wasn't posed for Lucy to hear the answer, it was for himself. He was tossed back and forth by his emotions and his rational thought. No matter the argument posed by each side there was always one constant that he deep down knew was there, an image of Jasmine's face, smiling in joy. With that he had his answer.
"Even though it was only for a short time, despite the fact that it was hard to see each other, and while we each had said some harsh things, I think deep down I've always loved her. I don't think things can go back to the way they were, but I don't think I can ever forget what was."
Lucy lowered her eyes. "I think we have our answer Paulo."
Paulo nodded and put a hand to her chin, lifting it up. "Thank you Lucy. I'm sorry for asking that of you, but I think I know what I need to do now." He moved in to give her a hug, and he held the Khao Manee who sat there, trembling in his arms. But it was over soon enough, and he released her and turned his back, walking away.
"What would you do if it was me? Would you save me, or would you leave me?" Lucy cried out, holding her chest.
Paulo didn't have to think this time. He immediately replied, "I'd never leave you", before walking off, a new wind flowing at his back, a curtain of autumn swirling into place behind him, sealing him from the now sobbing Lucy.