“I didn’t know you two had been talking,” Amelia’s tone was neutral but her raised eyebrow hinted at judgment. But I could just have been projecting my guilt.
“I never cheated on Charlie… Physically.” We both started laughing. After Amelia had talked to Charlie he’d facetimed me to explain himself. Sage was a friend who he’d developed feelings for. But he assured me that he never cheated on me. I told him that I was hurt, but I understood. I told him about Danny, to ease his guilt. We forgave each other and when we hung up I knew that while we would never be friends, I would never have anything but good things to say about sweet Charlie.
“An emotional affair,” Amelia tisked.
“Do you want to hear the rest of the story or not?” I cautioned.
“Yes!” She said and mimed zipping her lips.
“So after we got upstairs..
“Where’s Cami?” I said her name in a nasal voice, emphasizing each syllable as I looked around the apartment, as if she was going to pop out from behind the overburdened coat rack.
“I took her home.” Something in Danny’s tone was off. I looked over at him and I could tell he wasn’t up for our usual verbal sparring. His eyes were sad as he leaned against the inside of the doorway that separated the foyer from the living room. I leaned against the other side so I was facing him, my feet together in between his widely stances ones.
“Talk to me, Olly” he whispered, “why are you here.”
“I just wanted to see you,” I shrugged. A smile played at the corners of his lips.
“Well as fucking good as that is to hear, it means nothing doesn’t it?” he was bitter, I looked around and saw a bottle of whiskey and one glass.
“It means something to me,” I whispered looking down at my knees. The intimacy of the moment scared me. The few times I’d been around Danny in person the sparks that flew between us muted the rest of the world. That night in the bar, I’d barely noticed the crowd around me, I was lost in Danny, riding the euphoria that was being close to him. But we’d never been alone, not like this. I was completely comfortable but also vaguely aware that I didn’t have as much control around him and even less now that there was no audience to demand a certain level of decorum. I had the promise I’d made to myself, not to cheat on Charlie and I hoped that would be enough. I wasn’t a cheater and even though this was a special situation I didn’t want to ever be that person.
“Oh yeah,” he challenged, straightening. I nodded and he continued, “Do you lay awake at night picturing the girl you want more than anything fucking someone else? Are you blowing off perfectly nice models who want absolutely nothing from you but sex because the thought of being with another woman is just so unappealing?” As he talked, he looked me in the eyes and I felt my pulse quickening and my stomach dipping. “Do you hate how utterly pathetic you’re making yourself over a girl who is probably too young for you and who would rather be with an eighteen year old boy instead of you.”
I didn’t like when he attacked Charlie. None of this was his fault. Danny did that often, call Charlie a boy and tell me that I needed a man, that I needed him. I was starting to realize that he was right. He looked at me expectantly, he was bearing his soul, hanging on a ledge and he wanted to know if I was going to leave him hanging there alone. I knew I shouldn’t say what I was about to say, but I knew that Charlie and I were all but technically over, and I knew that Danny needed to hear it.
“I think about you too, Danny” my voice was steady and gentle, “I lay awake at night replaying our conversations in my head hoping that the next one will be soon.” Danny’s shoulders relaxed a little and I could tell my words were helping ease whatever stress he was feeling, “Times when I should be thinking about him, I think about you and I hate myself for it because I’m not this person. But there’s something about us… it’s…” I knew the word I wanted to say but I wasn’t ready to show my whole hand yet.
“Special? Different? Amazing?” Danny laughed.
“Yeah,” I smiled.
“I was beginning to think you were just playing games with me, Red.” He closed the distance between us and brought his forehead down to mine, our noses touching. His arms encircled my waist and pulled me close to him. He smelled amazing and was invitingly warm. I brought my arms up and wrapped them around his neck, gently stroking his hair. We stayed like this for a few moments, not knowing how far we were willing to take it, just enjoying where it was.
I could feel the kiss building, instinct was telling me to kiss him and I would have bet anything that he felt it as well. So I pulled away, gently and moved my hands to his chest applying just enough pressure to let him know we’d reach the brink without pushing him away.
“I hope you can understand,” I whispered, his face was still merely inches from mine, “I want to but I can’t until I end it with him, that’s just who I am.”
He nodded, trying not to look downtrodden, “I admire your loyalty,” he kissed my forehead then pulled me in for a tight hug, his chin resting on my head, “I’ll appreciate it alot more when I’m the only you’re loyal to.”
“And then I left” I finished my story and looked over at Amelia who’s eyes were misty, “Goodness, really?”
“It’s just so romantic!” she gushed.
“Yeah well it would be if i’d heard from him since.” I scoffed.
“You haven’t talked to him?!”
I shook my head fighting back the tears but they would win, they’d been winning for a few weeks now. The moment I’d gotten back from ending things with Charlie I’d called Danny and gotten his voicemail. I left a message and waited. I’d heard nothing. I didn’t know what to think, but I was deeply hurt.