He turned his eyes from the lack of traffic to Rowan who was slowly swimming her spoon in her Earl Gray tea. Her half eaten scone was on a plate next to her mug and the napkin was disheveled and tucked beneath the plate. Her hair had fallen halfway over one of her eyes, the black horn rims prominent against her light skin. He could smell the whisper of her floral perfume and felt a strange and regretted need to get closer to her. She lifted her mug in her delicate hand, took a sip, and then set it back down. She looked up at him then, her eyes focusing only on him so softly. She smiled a little, the overhead lights glistening off the traces of her tea on her lips.
"Thank you for this...again it wasn't necessary."
He smiled. It was slight and just barely widened his lips. His eyes went down to the napkin he set down before returning to her. His gaze was so much gentler than it had been at the house when they had first met and somewhere inside he could feel himself softening towards her as well. He didn't know what was wrong with him. Whenever he found himself hiding in isolation he couldn't bring himself to want to see anybody at all. He wanted to say that Rowan reminded him so much of...her but he knew that wasn't true at all. It was because she was so different, so set apart. She was so gentle it seemed and the way she looked at him was almost adoring. He wasn't sure what there was to adore about him but he would take it. He had felt so empty and alone for a long time. Everyone needed to know that not everyone had to be by themselves.
"So, how did you happen to know my brother?" He sat back, trying to keep the fact that he was having a pretty good time from her.
"My sister and him used to date. They only just broke up."
"Ah, the one who left for Puerto Rico." Jared nodded, remembering how pissed Shannon had been after the breakup. It had been recent and he wondered if he was still recovering.
"Yes...but me and him never fell out." She smiled moreso to herself, at least she was able to count that a good fortune.
Jared saw her smile and thought for a moment that she could perhaps be interested in Shannon. He was a little more sane than Jared was, and he seemed more grounded in reality. That could very well be the possibility. But what did it really matter?
"I'm glad for that." Jared folded his gloved hands together and gave a hint of a smile before letting it fade.
She couldn't help how she reacted. Couldn't help either the flush that rose to her cheeks and settled somewhere in the hopefulness of her mind. She tucked her hair behind her ear and took a piece of her scone into her mouth. She had to keep telling herself that he was being polite, that he was just making it up to her for how he had been acting the previous night.
"You ready to go?" She asked, pushing her plate from her. She had to stop with all these crazy notions making their way into her mind. She wasn't supposed to look at him and see a man that somewhere inside she knew she wanted. She was only supposed to see a better version of a charity case. She was only supposed to be feeling compassion not a need to be near him and know him perhaps more than a friend. She looked away from him, unable now to make eye contact with him after those thoughts that just crossed her mind.
"Only if you are." He replied to which she nodded. "Let me pay." He stood up quickly and made his way to the waitress stand before she could object.
She smiled a little, grabbed her phone and put it in her pocket, before standing up as well. She left the restaurant standing under the hood above the door and looked up into the New York sky. It was gently raining but she knew that soon enough it was going to get heavier. She loved the rain though, loved the way it fell on her symbolically telling her that even whatever she had done could be washed away. She rubbed at her arms over the cold and winced a little when the sleeve of her coat hoarsely rubbed at her skin. She made to lift the material to check the state of it but the door opened behind her. She waited until he came beside her to look at him, wanting to get the emotions out of her eyes.
"You sure you want to walk out in this?" She asked, gesturing towards the rain fall.
Jared laughed a little, a sweet sound to her. She looked at him, loving the way it transformed his face. Softening his features and making him seem completely relaxed.
"Come on...It's not that far of a walk anyways."
Their talk along the way to her apartment building was casually. He asked her about her work and she asked about his well known business endeavors. Whatever the other said seemed to fascinate them. As the rain picked up she found herself move a bit closer to him due to the cold. He looked down at her, feeling her presence strongly beside him and swallowed almost nervously. He had only known her for a day and yet there was something in his eyes that seemed to linger inside his mind long after he was away from her. He felt foolish over this. Over noticing how the rain had tangled up the strands of her hair, the way the drops hung gently on her lashes. Over studying the sound of her voice, the way it filled his mind so sweetly. What the hell was the matter with him? He didn't like feeling this way, didn't want another woman only to lose her again. But what was he talking about? Who said that she would ever be his for him to lose her?
"Here we are." She finally said, snapping him out of his thoughts.
He was startled that they were there already. Something inside of him dropped. He was to go back now, back to his isolation where everything was painful and familiar. "Yeah, here we are."
She watched him looking up at her unimpressive building. The rain had matted his hair to his forehead and his eyes were a delicate blue now amidst the gentle night. His face seemed more serene than it had before and when he turned his eyes to hers he smiled and everything inside of her just broke. If had asked to do anything right then she was sure she would do it, no matter what it was.
"See you later?" She wasn't sure if she sounded too desperate when she put those words to him. She didn't want to but how could she help it?
He didn't answer for a moment, his eyes on her making her nervous suddenly. He was nearly unmoving except for the gentle rise and fall of his chest with his breathing, the blinking of his beautiful eyes and the moving strands of his hair in the falling rain. The rain was almost picking up into a heavy shower.
Finally he nodded. "Yeah...see you later." He replied, surprising himself with his own words.
Rowan nearly died when he reached his arms out and carefully set them around her. He was almost too rigid at first making the gesture seem mechanical but then he calmed and his arms went gently around her waist. She felt his chest against hers, the skin of his face to hers and she heard him whisper: "Bye." before he let her go. His scent wrapped around her, unwilling to cease its overwhelming affect on her senses. Her arms suddenly felt empty without him in them and everything else around her was meaningless. She watched him walk away, saying nothing else. A lone and rain drenched figure walking down the street. She got a worry suddenly that he would get sick being out in the rain so long, hoping that he would hail a taxi at some point.
She sighed to herself before turning towards her building. That damned and lonely building that made her feel like the only girl in the entire world. Where abandonment and painful memories were as natural as mere breathing. She was plunged back into her normal life that was free of breathlessness and overwhelming attraction. Hers was a life she hated and the realization that it was only one she belonged to, the only one she would have dawned on her painfully. She could hope though, hope had become her only companion. And now hope seemed pivotal if she were to survive being out of Jared's presence again.