You wanna know what my boyfriend has just asked me? He's just asked me to move with him. To America. Yeah, fucking America. Now, I don't have 'owt against the Americans or 'owt like that. But I've got kids, ain't I? I can't just pack up and move. He said that he doesn't wanna be in Chester anymore. I don't see 'owt wrong with it to be honest. It's decent enough for most people. Nobody else seems to have a problem with it do they?
So I asked him why he wanted to go and to my surprise, he told me. He wants to leave cos of Brendan. Yeah, Brendan Brady. That Irish guy who .. well never mind. That doesn't matter. But he wants to go cos of Brendan. Brendan hasn't done 'owt wrong to us in ages now. He hasn't even bothered. Well, with Noah. He's still trying to get me. Which is a bit flattering I guess, 'cos you know Brendan as well as I do. He's a manipulative bastard at times. But you know that he does what he does for a reason. That much is obvious. A pretty stupid reason, yeah, but it's still a reason.
And you wanna know the worst thing? I agreed to go. I have no idea why though. I mean, he was just sat right in front of me. His big eyes pleading with me to say yes. And I dunno, I just .. I just nodded. I think. I never said anything. I couldn't seem to gather my thoughts or 'owt, so Noah took the nod as a 'Yeah, I'll move to America with you and leave me family behind.' and now he's gone out to fucking tell Cindy, his best friend, that we're leaving. News is gunna spread round fast. I need to tell Amy.
But right now, I'm on my way to the club. Where Brendan will be. I figured it might be best to tell him. I dunno what I'm hoping for. I guess a part of me wants him to tell me to stay. But I don't think he will. Cos that isn't Brendan. He doesn't care about me. He never did. I get why he did what he did to Danny. But it doesn't really mean much when he's still kicking my head in after everything. It's ridiculous innit? I thought that part of us relationship was over. I even said to him that we were quits now. He even said it! But we're clearly not, cos I hit him once. He's hit me too many times to count. And I dunno why I kept going back to him. I guess I just thought it was worth it. I get him, I take the consequences from the end of it. Cos I knew who he was and what he was like. So I knew what I was getting myself into.
I'm climbing the stairs of the club. Trying to keep my steps quiet. I don't want him to hear me. Yet he's gonna see me in about 10 seconds. I can hear him talking to Warren. I stop where I am. It might be best to just leave. Not tell him and go. But .. no fuck it. I want him to ask me to stay. Beg me even. Tell me that I'll be making the biggest mistake of my life going with him. Cos he isn't who I love. We all know that. Don't be so shocked. I don't love Noah. I've never loved Noah. I fucking love Brendan. Still. And I know that makes me a muppet, it makes me one of the biggest muppets going. But have you ever had that something that you want so badly? It's like a heroin addiction. Something you actually need to function on, but it can harm you so badly by the end of it all.
And now I'm stood at the top. They both turn to face me. Warren smiles. Brendan's face is a picture, actually. He looks shocked. I haven't really spoken to him for a couple of months now. I've just kept my distance. It's easier to resist him that way. Brendan tells Warren to give us a minute. And it'll only take a minute. I'll tell myself that. Just a minute Ste. Don't stay any longer. Don't get any closer to him. Just tell him you're quitting because you're moving away. Far away. Tell him that nothing can change your mind. Nobody can. Cos you're with Noah now, Ste. Keep that in mind. Noah is the one you want. Noah. You might not love him, but you can force yourself too. You fucking have to do it.
"Stephen.." He says. Fuck. His voice. So growly. "To what do I owe this ... honour?"
He's looking at me with those bastard eyes of his. Those soft ones. The ones that I used to see every day. The ones I thought meant that we had something proper. Something good going on. But then they always disappeared. They went cold. No emotion were behind them.
"I.. I need a word." I'm fucking stuttering. Get a grip you wuss. Get a grip. "Please."
He moves around the bar. Or should I say swaggers. I dunno what it is about him, but even the way he walks is fucking appealing. The lean he does. The hands in his pockets. Since I'm stood at the stairs, I can't take a step back or I'll fall down them. And hurt myself. Which would make a change from him hurting me, I guess. So instead I take a step away from them, by the railings of them. He stands a bit closer. I can smell his aftershave. The one that used to linger on me after we'd been together. That I never wanted to get rid of. Like a little reminder. A little momento to what we had.
"Cat got ye tongue?" He asks. Smiling. Stop smiling at me. Stop it. Please.
Ste, he can't hear you. Just tell him.
"Um.." I'm fiddling with my hands. Pulling at them so hard that I think I might dislocate each finger. "Me and Noah.."
His face falls. Shit. I've made him angry. But .. wait .. no. There's something in his eyes. A cloudy emotion. Something I can't quite work out. It's soft and ... sad, almost. His grey/blue eyes are staring straight at me. I feel like he's staring straight into my soul. Trying to read me. Trying to control me with his eyes. That's it.
"Yeah?" He blinks. The sad look has disappeared. I dunno what he's thinking now. I can't tell.
"I need to quit." I spit out. Finally. If you could see his face now. You'd be as confused as me. Again, a flicker of something in his eyes. It's all about the eyes with Brendan. If you look straight into them, you can tell what he's feeling or thinking. It's such an advantage. Especially if you're laid underneath him. You can always tell what he wants or what he feels. And I kidded myself into thinking that maybe it could have been love once. But anyway.
"Quit?" Brendan asks me. Yes. Quit. That's what I said. But I can only nod. Why have I become incapable of speaking all of a sudden? "Why would you .. why would you want to quit?" He's choking. I can hear it in his voice. He cares. He fucking cares.
"I'm .. er.."
He walks a bit closer. I try back away but my back hits the railings. Shit. I'm closed in. I can feel his hot breath against my face. His mouth is right there. If I just .. if I just leaned in now .. I could kiss him. I could forget Noah for a minute. I want him so badly. No. Stop. Stop doing this to yourself, Ste.
"You're .. what?" He asks. His eyes are dark now. No this isn't happening. You better not think this is happening, Brendan. Cos it isn't. Why can I only think that? Why can't my mouth produce the words? .. He reaches one of his hands up, bringing it to my face. His fingers brush against my skin. God this isn't going to happen. I can't .. Noah. Noah. Noah. Think of Noah.
"I'm.." My eyes won't move. Their fixed on his mouth. At that insane facial hair above his top lip. I want to run my fingers over it. I'm dead tempted. But it might ruin the moment. Cos I've done it before. He didn't like it. He got moody and ignored me for the rest of the night. Well, I say the rest of the night, he ignored me for 10 minutes before I jumped on him. If you just say it Ste. Do it. I'm leaving. We're leaving. Goodbye. Then he'll back off.
"Are ye quitting?" His voice is so low. I can hear the seductive tone in it. He wants me. I can tell. I want him, too. But I'm scared. I don't want him to hit me. If he does, I'll go back to Noah, and Noah will leave me. I'll be alone. I can't be alone. I wouldn't be able to cope alone. "No?"
Why am I shaking my head?
"Good." He leans in a bit closer. His breath smells of mint. All that chewing gum. I can practically taste it. His nose is touching mine. Nuzzling it. He's gonna kiss me. I can feel it almost. I want him to kiss me. Really badly. He's laughing. I remember that laugh. I fucking hate that laugh. It's not a genuine laugh. It's the arrogant laugh. It's a 'You've come back to me' laugh.
Shit. Did I just say that? Wait, yep. I did. I just said it. Way to ruin the moment Ste. He's still stood in front of me. Looking straight at me. His face has completely fallen. He exhales. Shaky. I try to move out of the way. But he puts his arms at either side of me. Gripping on to the railing behind me.
"You're .. wha- .. where?" He can barely speak. I bet he's just as shaken as I am.
His face isn't exactly what I expected it to be. He looks .. upset. Actually upset. He isn't letting go of the railings though. I can see his arms tensing up. The veins in them are bulging out. He's holding into those railings really tightly. So tightly that he could break them if he wanted too. He opens his mouth. To speak, I think. But then he shuts it again. His eyes are .. his eyes are wet. Is he .. he's not. No, that's stupid. I feel like laughing at what my brain just suggested.
"Yer kids.. ye can't leave your kids."
Well, he has a point. I don't even want to go. I really don't. My kids are my life. I love them to pieces. I'd die for them if I had too. I want to see them grow up. I want to see them go to school. Sit their tests. Do everything I never did. Get somewhere in life. I don't want to leave them and have them forget me. Noah doesn't have kids. He doesn't understand this sort of thing. All I do is shrug. I can't really think of any words that would be suitable for this conversation. He looks quite angry, too. I can hear him breathing heavily.
He backs away. Walks over to the bar. He picks up the bottle of beer that he was drinking out of before I arrived. And he throws it against the wall. Straight past me. I hear it smash behind me. The beer spills everywhere. The loud noise echoes in the quiet club. I start to move closer to the stairs, and I nearly get there. But he stands infront of them. Blocking me from moving. He holds his hands up to my chest. Pressing them against me. He's done this before. When I found out about Danny. He didn't want me to leave. I guess it means the same thing. But not in the way I probably want. But no, wait. He's .. fuck. He's actually ..
"Brendan.." I speak. My voice has finally come back to me. He's looking away. Down at the floor now. Trying to hide his face from me. He doesn't want me to see him like that. He hates me seeing him like his. He's so .. vulnerable. That's definitely the right word. And he cares. He does. He wouldn't be acting this way if he didn't. All he has to do is ask me not to go. Give me reasons to stay. I need a reason. He could be that reason. I would stay for him. I would do anything.. I .. God I'm pathetic. I can feel my eyes tearing up. As if I'm crying. Why do I need to cry? I have nothing to be sad about! I raise my hand, which is buried inside my jacket sleeve, and wipe my nose. Then my eyes. My bottom lip is quivering. Shaking like there's no tomorrow.
He sniffs. Loudly. And then moves. He moves out of my way. He doesn't speak. He's not looking at me. He's ignoring me. Fine. Okay. Ste, just ignore it. Don't let him upset you. He lured you into the false sense that he wanted you. Just walk out with your head held high. Keep your dignity. I go to move, again, but he grabs hold of my wrist. Tightly. Wrapping his whole hand around it. He finally looks at me. In the eye. I feel like my legs are going to give way. He shakes his head, slowly. Still staring straight at me. It kind of hurts, a bit. The strength in which he's hold onto my wrist with. Probably stopping the blood circulation. I look down. It's gone white with pressure. I don't want him to let go though. And he senses that.
"Give me a reason." I say. What am I doing? He hasn't even said anything. Nothing at all. But he knows. He knows exactly what I mean. The grip on my wrist loosens a bit. He runs his thumb over my arm. Stroking it. I'm saying this because I really do not want to go. I don't want to leave Amy, I don't want to leave the kids, and I don't want to leave him. I want him in my life. It's as simple as that. "Give me a reason to stay."
One reason is all I want. That's it.
"Me." He whispers.
I feel like my heart is going to explode out of my chest. I'm surprised he can't hear it thumping. He wants me to stay. He actually wants me to stay. For him. Not for my kids. Not for Amy. But for him. I never thought he'd say it.
"It's not good enough." I shake my head. Oh I bet you're all calling me stupid now aren't you? Well, that I might be. But it's not. I could go to America and lead this new life. Or I could stay here with someone who might hit me tomorrow. Or the day after. Who will continue to ruin my life. I try tug my hand free, but he tightens his grasp again. Even tighter this time. Fuck sake. He's too strong. He yanks me toward him. And I basically bump into him. But he doesn't let me go. He pulls me away from the stairs, until his back hits the office door. I did think I knew where this was going. But he stops. He stops and presses our heads together. His eyes are closed. He can't give me a reason. He can't promise me that he'll never hurt me. Or that he can change. Because he probably doesn't know if he can. But he doesn't know that I could wait. I could help.
"Please." He says. His voice seems to be cracking. I can hear his breath. It's all shaky still. But I can't see his face. I can feel his hand on the back of my neck. Stroking it. I shouldn't be letting him do this to me. I move my head, and look at him. He still refuses to look at me. I don't want to go, though. I want to stay here until he tells me that he wants me to stay. Promises me something.
"One reason. It's all I want."
He lets his hands fall down, and he takes hold of my hips. Gripping onto them. Digging his fingers into them. This is so .. weird. I never thought we'd be doing this. I never thought I would be able to basically force him to say something without being beaten up for it. He pulls my hips toward him. Pressing me against him. He wraps his arms around me. Holding me in place. We're so close. It's unbearable to be this close to him. I'm not sure what to do with my hands, at the minute their just by my sides. So I place them on his shoulders. I'm leaning against him now. It's a bit awkward. Warren could walk in, and I'm sure Brendan wouldn't want him to see him like this.
But then he does what I've expected him to do since I got here. He kisses me. His lips are so .. I don't know. So tempting. It's impossible not to respond. But it's not one of our usual kisses. It's not all tongues and clashing of teeth. It's slow. It's almost .. hypnotic. Moving in motion. Together. My hands go round to the back of his head, running through his hair. His hair is a bit sticky. Because of the gel he puts in it. He puts too much in it, sometimes. But I don't care. This isn't a reason. It isn't the reason I wanted. But the way he's kissing me. It feels like it means something. Because it's gentle. He hasn't tried anything. He's just .. stood there. Holding onto me. Tightly. He doesn't want to let me go. I feel like I can't breathe. I need air. It's all gone. But I can't break away. I won't let myself.
However he does it for me. He parts. Pressing our foreheads together again. His breathing is fast. Shallow. He's trying to control it. But he can't. Because he knows that he isn't in control now. I am. I'm making him act like this. I'm making him feel this way. It's all me. It's what I do to him. It's what I've always done to him. He always wants to be in control. But he knows. He knows too well that he never is. He knows exactly what I want, as well. He knows that I want him to stop hitting me. That I want to be with him. That I'd drop everything to be with him. But then he speaks.
"You need to be patient." He whispers. His eyes are open. He's looking down at the floor. Is he .. I don't understand. I can't really make sense of what he's saying.
"With what?" I ask. Because I really have no clue.
"Me." He raises his head to look at me. "Us."
I feel like jumping up and down. The smile on my face gets bigger. A lot bigger. It's almost hurting to smile this much. I know what he's saying. He's saying he wants to be with me. He doesn't want me to go, because he wants me. Properly. And I know that he still needs to work through a lot of stuff. I know that he isn't happy with who he is. I know all of that.
"If you.. if you hit me again.." I say. He needs to know this. "I swear.."
"I won't." He says. He's genuine. Completely genuine. He means it. "I promise."
I nod. It's all I can do again. My voice has disappeared. But I'm aware that I'm still smiling like a moron. He laughs, and pushes my face away from him gently. This is what I've wanted since we started. Just this. I don't care for big declarations of feelings. And I don't really care that for now, we'll probably have to be together in secret for a while. But to know that he actually wants me. Not under his control. And not to hurt me. He just wants to be with me. He's let himself be defeated. Because he knows that he can't fight it anymore. And neither can I.
"Just don't leave." He says to me. He opens the door of his office with one hand, pulling me into it with him. I know what's going to happen now. But nothing could be any better. Because everything I've wanted. The only person I've wanted this badly in my life, is finally mine. Mine. I can actually say that now. I'm his. I've always been his. Everything has fallen into place. They say good things come to those who wait. And I've waited almost a whole year for this. A whole fucking year. But now I've finally got it.. I'm so glad I did.