Trying to keep up with a daily post in November since I’m not doing NaNo this year. I heard It Must Have Been Love by Roxette yesterday. It reminded of an old story I’d written. A bit sketchy, but I like the feel.
“You’re just going to let me go? We can’t even talk about it.”
She didn’t speak above a whisper, but he could hear the pain she tried to hide. It cut him deep and he wanted to go to her, but held that desire in check, forcing himself to take a step back. The hurt that flared in her eyes nearly brought him to his knees. It was impossible to hold her gaze; the sadness tore him apart so he focused on his mailbox instead.
He needed her, but he wouldn’t hold on to her. This was right; this was for the best. And as much of a bastard as he was, he refused to hold her back and make her wait on him. For the first time, he wanted to do the right thing by someone other than himself.
It took a moment before he could school his features and meet her eyes. He knew she hated when he hid behind the mask, but knew he had to do in order to push her away. It didn’t stop pain from blossoming in his chest when their eyes met.
“There’s nothing to talk about.” He shrugged, trying to ignore the wounded look on her face. “You can’t stay.”
The shutters dropped over her expressive blue eyes and he felt like the warmth was sucked out of the day. She hadn’t looked at him like that since the first day he met her. Mistrust and fear kept her distant for too long. He’d pulled her from behind those walls, finding the beauty buried inside. He felt like the worst kind of asshole for making her run away.
Now they both were hiding.
This was still the right thing to do and he had to stick to it. Gritting his teeth, he reached for a coolness he didn’t feel. “Look, what we had was good and I’m—”
“Don’t.” Her voice cut across his words, stopping whatever he meant to say. “Don’t ruin what we did by making up some excuse. Don’t reduce how I feel about you to just a physical reaction.”
She was fierce now. He breathed a silent sigh; glad to see the fire in her instead of the flat blue of moments before. He’d rather her pissed than lifeless.
“I may not mean anything to you, but this –” She waved her hands around. “This, and you, mean everything to me. You pushing me away won’t change that.”
He wanted to scoop her up, wanted to tell her he wouldn’t let her go, but he held himself still. Examining his life, there were so many things he needed to set right before he asked her into his mess. It wasn’t right to expect her to stick around for him when he was so damn screwed up. Maybe when he got his shit together, maybe then he could seek her out and make her see he was worthy of her time.
He had to let her walk away now, had to let this end while she was still a whole person. It was right. He just had to keep telling himself that.
Unable to stop himself, he reached out to touch her cheek, his facade dropping away for just a second. “You mean everything to me, baby. More than you know.”
She turned her face into his palm, the feeling of her lips brushing his skin arousing emotions that tightened his chest. Softness and light, she was the most beautiful thing to walk into his life. He could see the darkness creeping in, waiting to engulf him. He’d take it all to keep her safe.
When she turned clear blue eyes on him, he wondered if he could do this. He wasn’t sure about the strength of his morals in the face of her love. That weakness reminded him that this was best.
She took a step back and he barely stopped himself from protesting. He fisted his hand into his side to keep from reaching for her again.
A tiny smile tipped the corner of her mouth. It was sad, but it still lit that place in his heart reserved just for her. “I know why you’re doing this. I’m going to leave, but know I’m going to wait for you to come for me.”
His heart clenched in his chest as he noted the stubborn set of her jaw. “You shouldn’t —”
“I will wait for you because I love you and trust you to come for me. But I’m asking one thing from you, and I want you to promise me this.” She took another step back, the distance between them growing steadily.
“Anything,” he replied easily, wanting her to linger just a second longer. There was no request he could deny from her.
She looked at him for a long time as though memorizing his face. When she spoke, there was such steadfast assurance that this would come true that he believed it himself. “Don’t make me wait too long.”