"I definitely can’t stay inside of the lines anymore.”
:: “Hey,” she said lamely, leaning her back against the closed the door.
He didn’t respond immediately, just continued studying her, his expression unreadable. “You disappeared on me,” he finally said, breaking the awkward silence.
She bit her lip and looked away, releasing another breath. There wasn’t any disappointment or anger in his tone. He said it the same way you’d tell someone that the sky was blue. It was a fact. Nothing more. Nothing less.
“I…” she paused, looking down at her hands before pushing out a breath. “I didn’t mean to.”
She looked up at him again. His expression was still muted. He leaned forward, placing his elbows on his knees. He finally broke their gaze and looked down at the floor, shaking his head slightly. His eyes were dark when he looked at her again.
“I don’t want to lose you,” he said, his voice low, causing her pulse to accelerate.
“You didn’t,” she answered immediately.
He got up and ran his hand over his head, pacing to the other side of her small living room.
“I’m sorry I didn’t answer your calls,” she said after a long minute. “I’m just… I’m scared.”
“Of what?” he asked. He stopped pacing and turned to look at her. She inhaled.
“Of losing you.” She exhaled and she felt embarrassment coursing through her but she didn’t look away.
His expression had shifted, and the ache she’d been experiencing the past couple of days was there, in his eyes.
“I’m not sure what this is, Brian,” she continued, waving a hand between them. “But it’s like, sudden. And new.”
“For you,” he said, meaningfully, staring at her. He was still standing at the far end of the room and walked over to the futon again, seating himself on the edge.
“What does that mean?” she asked, her heart thudding in her chest again.
“This,” he mimicked her earlier movement and waved a hand between them. “It’s new for you. Not for me.”
“Oh.” She bit her lip, studying the floor. That meant he’d been attracted to her for… how long? She looked up at him, her eyes questioning.
“I was trying to give you time to get used to the idea,” he answered. “But that didn’t work. Obviously.”
She felt like he was speaking in code.
“You mean you were trying to give me time to get used to the idea of us being attracted to each other?”
“I didn’t want to rush you,” he said, meeting her eyes. “I wanted for you to come to the conclusion on your own, I guess.”
“Come to the conclusion on my own?” she repeated, beginning to feel mentally challenged.
He sighed. “I knew you needed to be able to do that… and I didn’t want to push you. I wanted you to figure out that there’s more than just friendship between us on your own, in your own time.”
He hesitated and she bit her lip, her breath increasing as she looked at him uncharacteristically struggling to say the right words.
“But being around you and seeing you again…” he paused again, looking her directly in the eyes, “I have a hard time pretending like I don’t feel what I feel when I’m with you, Destiny. I definitely can’t stay inside of the lines anymore.”
•Better Than Okay by Jacinta Howard, Available Now- http://ow.ly/DdLgh
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