She pulled herself out of bed, pushing away the worn blanket off her body and went into the bathroom. The cold tile was a bit shocking against her feet as she stripped off her clothes. She stepped into the shower, wincing at the heat and sighed as she tried to relax. She lifted her arm beneath the stream and watched as the water washed away the remnants of dried blood. The cuts revealing themselves from the night before, pale and opened without the tinge of blood to fill them. She traced her fingers over them as tears filled her eyes. She wanted to wish them away, wanted to know that it would end soon. That the tormented loneliness she felt wasn’t permanent. That the razor across her skin wouldn’t always be her only release.
She wiped at her eyes and finished up her shower before dressing. Pulling on a jacket over her pale dress. She laced up her boots, fixed her glasses onto her face and dried up her hair, fixing it up into a side braid. She sighed at her appearance as she put on a bit of makeup and then made her way out of the house.
She wasn’t sure where she was going, today was her day off and she had no one around to hang with. It had been four days since she had seen Jared and everything about that day seemed like it had never happened. It seemed like a dream that she couldn’t quite believe. She often dreamed about him. Dreamed that he hadn’t left that night the way he had, that he had actually stayed, taken her in his arms and told her that everything was going to be alright. Of course those hopes were ridiculous, they didn’t know each other and if he knew about her nothing would ever be the same.
She sighed to herself and pulled her coat closer around her to protect her from the cold although it had been calming down of late. She walked aimlessly for awhile, watching people come and go, looking in at stores, sipping on a hot cup of coffee. Finally she sat down at a bench and rested her head back. She tried to go calm in the song of the passing wind, letting her hands fall limply into her lap. Her phone ringing startled her out of her thoughts and with confusion she answered it.
“Rowan?” Jared’s voice came from the other end, deep and perfect.
She sat up, alarmed somewhat at hearing from him. “Jared?”
He heard a breath of a laugh come from his end before he said “Hey, I was wondering…you think that maybe we could see each other tonight?”
Everything inside of her stopped and she tried to calm the racing of her heart. Suddenly nothing else mattered but the way he spoke to her, but the things he had just said. Nothing mattered but the fact that he wanted to see her.
“Yeah, sure..of course. What did you have in mind?” She was trying to sound the most calm that she could and she had a feeling that she was doing a terrible job at it.
“Well there’s this lounge I’ve been wanting to go to…dinner, maybe?”
She couldn’t help the smile that formed on her face and she nodded before she let out a “Sounds amazing.”
“Alright…Is 7 okay?”
Jared climbed out of the taxi and asked the driver to wait before he looked towards the building ahead of him. He wasn’t quite sure what he was doing, he hadn’t even planned on doing something so spontaneous like this. The four days that had passed since seeing her had somehow been torturous. He had continuously thought of her, of the way she smiled, the things she said, the way her very presence had a calming effect on him. He had told himself over and over to stop acting crazy, that none of this was supposed to be happening. He was only latching himself onto something temporary, something that would lessen his pain momentarily. He wasn’t thinking of any consequence, of the way everything would work out not just for him but also for her. He wasn’t good for her, he should know that. But he did know that and yet in his usual stubbornness he didn’t care.
He walked slowly to the entrance of the building and was somewhat shocked when he saw her rush out before he could get there. She stood there, a smile resting on her lips nervously, and her hands clasped behind her back. The black chiffon of her dress fell almost proudly on the curves of her body and the leather of both her jacket and boots added a touch of edginess which was almost sexy. He smiled at her before he fully approached her and gently took her into his arms.
She sighed against his embrace, his arms tightening around her waist. Her hands rested delicately on his shoulders but her fingers clung almost desperately to his black coat. He smelled her hair, the gentle vanilla rising from the strands enough to calm the nervousness he knew he was doing a perfect job at hiding. He pulled her a little closer, testing perhaps even himself before he finally broke the embrace regretfully. He looked down at her, his eyes watching her making her nearly breathless. Her eyes were so clear it could have broken his heart because he knew that she was better than him. Better than the bitter state of his soul, better than the tragedy he couldn’t release himself from.
“It’s good to see you…” She nearly whispered with a smile, surprising herself with her boldness.
“You ready?” He asked, wanting nothing more than to lean down right then and taste the sweetness of her lips but he refrained.
She nodded and he led her into the taxi. The lounge was busier than he would have liked but instead on focusing on that he sank into the abandon he felt around Rowan. He kept his eyes on her and listened only to the gentle sound of her voice. Dinner went perfect and she had managed not to talk too much, she just went along with everything that was beautifully presenting itself before her. Not long after the dinner dishes were taken away Jared looked to her and asked her if she wanted to dance.
“Dance?” She questioned, unsure about the idea in her embarrassment.
He laughed a little and nodded. “Yeah..”
She thought for a moment about it, growing nervous at the thought of being so close to him. But what an escape that would be to find herself in his arms, letting herself fall into the unlikely reality in front of her. She looked back to him and gave him her hand. “I’d love to.” She answered, allowing him to lead her out onto the floor where everyone else was dancing.
It started out a bit unsure but as a couple of songs went by she found herself closer to him. He had his arms around her, crushing him to her, unwilling it seemed to let her go. She held close to him, not wanting him in anyway to end how inseparable they suddenly seemed. She could feel his face near her knock at times, could feel his lips brushing past her face. She could smell his scent wash over her, clinging to her. She fit so closely against her chest she could feel the rapid beating of his heart as he moved closely in rhythm with her. She was breathless there with him, needing him to let her go if she wanted to survive but longing for him to do more than just this dance. His hand moved down to her hips, securing her further to him and she heard a breath escape his lips. She looked up into his eyes, saw that they had darkened in the dim of the lounge and with whatever he was feeling. His lips glistened lightly and were slightly parted. She grew nervously needy beneath his stare, wanting him to take her out of the lounge and back somewhere else where everything that was passing through his mind in that moment could be let out. The thought shocked her, scared her and nearly excited her. She wanted him to make her no longer alone, she wanted this night to last forever, she didn’t want this moment to end. It wasn’t sexual, she found him slipping into the dark crevice of her soul making everything she was feeling entirely spiritual.
He lifted his hand to her face, the shade of the brim of his hat falling over them both. He touched his fingertips to her lips, trailed them along her jaw and then all at once he retreated. He broke their closeness, allowed her to release herself from his hold. He couldn’t look at her, he kept his eyes lowered. He ran his tongue across his lips, let out a shaky breath and then finally looked her in the eyes. She was confused as she waited for him to say something. She felt everything from the outside filling her again, felt her world again falling apart.
“We should go.” He said before he walked past her and back towards the table to pay the check.