“Nope! You started it so now you have to pay.”
“Okay! Okay! I’m sorry!”
I tried to wriggle free but his grip was too strong. I could barely breathe because I was laughing so hard. He’d discovered how sensitive my sides were a long time ago and I was paying for my comments about his “cooking.” He’d never been much of a cook. The proof was in the pudding. And the pudding was what was supposed to be his mother’s famous porridge. Instead it was more like liquid cement.
“Say it again!”
“I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I’m sorry!”
“Say you’ll eat the porridge.”
“Never! It tastes like glue!”
I managed to get out of his grasp and ran away from him to the other side of the kitchen but he was too fast. He got ahold of me once more and this time picked me up and threw me over his shoulder.
“Me, Tarzan! You, Jane! Jane no eat breakfast, Jane must pay price!”
“Oh yeah? And what are you going to do about it?”
He marched towards the bedroom. The curtains did pirouettes in the breeze that was coming in through the opened window and sunlight warmed the room. Our clothes littered the floor and I smiled to myself while remembering what happened here the night before. I landed on the bed with a soft thud. We paused for a moment. That smile. His smile. It was contagious.
“I love you, Quinn.”
My smile disappeared and I looked away.
“Don’t freak out. You know what I mean. I just love being around you and spending time with you.”
I sat up and pressed my knees to my chest. How could I be so selfish?
Kyle had come into my life unexpectedly and I thought that our friendship would be innocent enough. From the beginning it was clear that he was a good fit for me. And once we started dating, it felt nice to be treated how I had always hoped to be. I loved Ryan, but he had a girlfriend. He was in a relationship. We were wrong for seeing each other and it was time that I went out and found someone of my own. I knew he was beginning to care about me. I was even growing a soft spot for him as well. But I was holding back. As soon as Kyle started to open up, I began to shut down. Was I really ready to date anyone else? Was I ready to date at all? It wasn’t fair to use Kyle like a security blanket. When Ryan chose to participate in his actual relationship and I was left alone, I’d call Kyle. No, it wasn’t fair at all. And here this man was, deserving of a woman better than the one I was, and he couldn’t see it.
Maybe if I could convince him that he didn’t care as much as he thought he did, I could also convince myself that I wasn’t totally fucked up and I could stop feeling as low as I did. I was becoming one of those people that my friends and I always said we hated.
“I love everything about you. I love your sense of humor. I love your free spirit. I love how you squint your eyes, knowing you need your glasses but you insist that its only a habit. I love that you yell at the television when you’re favorite show is on. I love when you make me grilled cheese sandwiches with bacon and then eat some of mine as well as all of your’s. I love your laugh. I love how you’re still gorgeous even when you do your ugly cry. I love that you’re a nerd and you want to be married in a library. I know you’re afraid of something. I’m not sure what it is and when you’re ready to tell me, I’ll listen.”
I wanted to tell him everything. How I didn’t deserve him and how I’d spent the past 3 years as someone’s secret. I wanted to tell him about how selfish I was for what I was doing to him and to Sam. I wanted to say that as wrong as I knew it was, I couldn’t stop. In some ways I didn’t want to. I was a terrible person and Kyle should run away as fast as he could because I would only hurt him too. But instead I said nothing at all. I touched his cheek. My chest felt heavy. My phone rang and I glanced over at the caller I.D.