Song-Fic: 'Won't Go Home Without You' by Maroon 5. What do you do when the person you loved most reappears into your life?
Well, almost silent. I could hear muffled sobs coming from the clearing ahead of me. Seeing a small dark figure kneeling on the ground, I broke into a run. My footsteps echoing loudly on the concrete path, before being muffled by the soft grass.
My initial fears that the kneeling person was being attacked faded when I realised they were alone. But this didn’t dispel my concern, because something had happened to them.
I reached the figure in the middle of the lawn and crouched down next to them. I realised the figure was a woman when I tilted her head up, but the sole lamp in the distance didn’t allow me to see her face very clearly.
The tears that ran down her cheeks glistened in the light, and her jeans were damp from sitting on the grass. But she showed no sign of physical injury. I had no idea who she was, that was until she spoke.
The single name, uttered so lightly I barely heard her, could have meant anything. It might have been the name of her attacker, or who she wanted me to contact. It could have been anything, were it not my own name.
I recognised her voice, and realised then who I was kneeling next to. I hadn’t forgotten the voice of my best friend, even if I hadn’t seen her for over two years.
“Kaitlyn?” I asked gently. “Oh, Kaitlyn! What’s happened to you?” When she didn’t reply, I gently wrapped my arms around her and helped her to stand. She was very weak, and she clung to my jacket for support, still sobbing quietly.
“C’mon Kaitlyn. We can’t stay here” I whispered gently. I moved her off in the direction of my apartment.
I asked her to stay, but she wouldn’t listen. She left before I had the chance to say… to tell her that I did truly love her.
“Goodbye Nathan.” And she was gone, the door clicking shut behind her.
“I love you” I whispered, but there was no one in the empty room to hear it.
“I love you,” but she wasn’t there to hear it. The one thing she had needed to hear, the one thing I had been unable to utter, until now.
“I love you.” The words that would mend the things what were broken…
“I love you,” the words echoed off the walls, empty without her. Tears rolled down my cheeks, but now it’s far too late, she’s gone away.
Now, two years later, she had come back. Back to the same apartment. Back into my life. She sat silently on the couch while I brought her a warm flannel to wipe away the tears. In the light of the apartment, I was able to see that she had no physical injuries. So then, why was she lying in the middle of Central Park, at night? She was extremely lucky that it had been me who had found her, and not someone else.
What were the chances of that? She had walked right out on me, and I hadn’t heard anything from her since. Then, why would I be the one to stumble upon her in the middle of New York?
“Here.” I knelt down in front of her and wiped the tears from her face. I had also brought her a hot chocolate, something to help her feel better.
As soon as I had brought her inside, her near uncontrollable sobs had calmed down, and now they had stopped completely. She took a sip of the hot chocolate I offered her, and for a brief moment, a faint smile brushed her lips.
“Thank you” she murmured. This was the first thing I had heard her say since she had spoken my name in the park. Three words in over two years.
“Come here.” I gathered her in my arms and hugged her tight. It seemed that all she needed now was for someone to pick up the pieces and hold her together, until she was ready to heal. Still, my burning curiosity made me ask: “Kait, what happened?”
Although I said it as gently as possible, I regretted the words as soon as they left my mouth. Hot tears leaked from her eyes, her face pressed against my chest. She was shaking, making me hold her tighter.
“Aww… Kaitlyn. I’m sorry. You don’t have to tell me.” I rocked her back and forth until she stopped crying.
Still holding her close, I looked past her to the small digital clock in the kitchen. It had just gone past midnight.
“Kaitlyn?” I asked, careful how to word my question. “You aren’t, ahh… expected anywhere are you? If not, you can stay here for the night. If you want” I added.
She shook her head. “I have no where else to go. Thank you for this Nathan.”
That night, I lay awake on the couch, watching the bars of light on the roof, which filtered in through the blinds. I rolled over on the hard couch. It was a warm night, and I didn’t need more than a thin blanket. Kaitlyn was asleep on my bed. I had offered it to her, knowing she deserved the comfort more than me.
Despite all that had happened in the last few hours, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I was almost asleep, when a cough from the other room woke me again. The sound of her rolling over brought back memories of when we used to live together, in this very apartment.
We were friends in college, and we had managed to keep in touch after we left. It was several years later when we got together. It was perfect. I was sure we were made for each other.
Then something happened. Her friends hated me. They thought I was the worst thing to happen to her. One of them must have started the rumour that I was seeing someone else. Of course, I would have never cheated on her, and when she brought it up one evening, I got angry. I yelled at her when I knew I shouldn’t have.
“Is that what you think of me? Do you really think I’d do that to you?”
That night I had slept on the couch too. The next morning, I had tried to apologise. I was sorry I had lost my temper.
I could tell a part of her believed me, or wanted to. But even so, she was gone the next day.
She said there was no love anymore, but there was. She said I did not love her anymore, but I did. Yet, still she left. Of all the mistakes I had ever made, perhaps the worst was that I even let her go.
Tears rolled down her face, to fall lightly on the pillow. Nathan was kind, yes. But she couldn’t help thinking that this had all happened before.
A small sob escaped her lips. Why does this happen to me? Why does ever moment have to be so hard? The tears washed over her, like they did every night she had spent alone since she left Nathan. She cried softly until she fell asleep.
I awoke the next morning, to bright sunlight coming through the windows. Thankfully it was Sunday, and I didn’t have to go to work.
I rubbed my eyes and sat up. I hadn’t had much sleep last night. Thoughts of Kaitlyn and the noised she made, had kept me awake.
Looking into her room on the way past, I saw that she was still asleep. I left her. After what had happened last night, the peaceful look on her face meant she was in a happier place. For the moment.
“Good morning” I said when she came out a few minutes later. She was wearing an old t-shirt of mine and a pair of my boxers. She looked just like she had when we used to live together.
“Thank you” she said, taking the cup of coffee I offered her.
“Feeling better?” I asked, even though it was a stupid question.
“Yes, thanks.” She drank silently while she thought about what she was going to say next.
“Thank you for everything Nath. I couldn’t believe it was you, in the park. What are the chances eh?” She laughed softly.
“I’m glad it was me who found you like that. It could have been anyone” I added quickly at the look she gave me.
She nodded slowly. “I suppose I owe you an explanation. You saw I needed help, and you didn’t ask why. Thank you again.” I could see tears forming in her eyes. I took her hand.
“I don’t expect you to tell me. Not unless you’re sure you want to.”
“No. I do want to tell you. Out of everyone, I’m sure you’re the only one who would truly understand.” She gave my hand a squeeze. She didn’t wait for a reaction before starting with her story.
“After I left you, I travelled all over America before finding myself back in New York. Only, this time, I wasn’t alone.
I met Josh in Miami. He was there for a holiday, but he lived here. Anyway, one thing led to another, and I found myself living with him here in New York.
I wasn’t sure this was what I wanted to hear. I wondered what this ‘Josh’ had done to her.
Kaitlyn seemed to know what I was thinking. “I’m sorry for telling you all this,” she said.
“But just so you know, I never forgot you. Despite what I had heard, deep down, I always believed you.” She smiled at me, and I smiled back. It seemed I was forgiven.
“So” she said, continuing with her story. “I was living with Josh, and everything seemed perfect. At least it was perfect until last night,” she stopped. “Last night…” Tears rolled down her face, and I held her tight until she was ready to go on.
She took a deep breath to steady herself. I was still holding her, and she continued, speaking into my shoulder.
“I came home last night and everything was dark. I went into the bedroom… when I turned on the light… he was…” she stopped again, sobbing into my shirt. She didn’t need to tell me what happened next. What she found.
I was what she had accused me of two years ago. Only this time, it wasn’t a rumour. She had first hand evidence.
After that, she had run out into the night, to find herself in Central Park. And soon after, I found her lying on the grass.
I held onto her until the tears subsided. I didn’t know how long that was, only that time didn’t matter. It was like I was stopping her from falling apart. I was something solid she could hold onto.
“I’m so sorry Nathan” she whispered.
I pulled her back, so I could see her face. “Why’s that?”
“You’ve been so kind to me, even after I walked out on you two years ago. I have no way to repay you.”
“That’s not true.” I pulled her close, and pressed my lips to hers. I held the kiss for a few moments, and then pulled away.
Ignoring the look of surprise on her face, I said: “tell me you love me as much as I love you.”