Once the car stopped Jared immediately got out and opened her door for her, not wanting her to hurry away without talking to him. He met her eyes and she gave him an attempt at a smile. He could see the sadness there, the burden of whatever was prohibiting her from falling into his arms. It was strange how he felt the same hurt that she was feeling, how he wished so desperately to just take it away.
He followed behind her silently, the only sound the ones of the insomniac city and their quiet footsteps. Finally they reached the doors of the apartment building and Jared lifted his eyes in disappointment. Was he really supposed to let her leave? Was he really expected to walk away after she so emotionally pulled away from him? He couldn't do that. The worry would plague him, the need to know would kill him.
"Well I'm here." She nearly whispered, making a small gesture behind her.
He nodded, trying not to distract himself by how beautiful she looked standing there in the dim light. Her hair was still damp and her skin had taken on a dewy glow after getting out of the water. The feeling of her in his arms stuck with him, wouldn't ever go away. Her skin so soft beneath his fingers, her gentle breath warming even the frozen barriers of his heart. He needed her, something told him that.
"Are you sure you're okay?" He asked softly, finally being brave enough and lightly touching the skin of her cheek. He needed that closeness again.
She closed her eyes briefly on his touch and then she nodded. Her smile was small, almost non- existent. "I'm fine." She swallowed harshly on her lie, wanting nothing more than to lay open the darkness of her soul before his eyes. But how could she do that? She would scare him away, make him afraid to even get near her again. Along with that would come the fact that she would be something of a monster to him suddenly and then the bitter loneliness would arrive. Something she just couldn't live with.
He sighed, withdrew his hand and shook his head. "Something's wrong, I can tell." He wasn't sure how exactly he knew, why he knew, and why it was so important to him.
She looked away, avoiding the knowing look in his gentle eyes. "I said I'm fine."
"Why can't you just tell me?" He asked, his voice desperate to hear her open herself up to him. How selfish he must have seemed, wanting to know about her but keeping everything locked up inside of himself.
She bowed her head, her eyes watching the light play in shadows on the sidewalk. She could feel the truth coming up, could feel tears blurring her gaze but she would suppress it. This was her problem, her own lonely tragedy. Something like this shouldn't be shared.
"Rowan, look at me." He called out. He had softened his tone, had wanted to make the atmosphere calmer for her. He didn't want to press her, but his worry and his sudden need to just take care of her was overwhelming.
She hesitated for a moment before she finally met his gaze. His blue eyes glistened stealing it seemed the light from the darkened sky.
"I'm here, you can talk to me...anything, I'll listen." He wasn't sure when he became so reliant about someone being there. But he supposed that's what happens when steals everything else from you. When love became a barren wasteland he thought he had gone through but he had yet to discover.
"I'm not who you think I am." She pushed out her words, knowing that she was intentionally trying to push him away. That hurt to do. It hurt to do that after today she could never see him again. But maybe that was for the best? Maybe he didn't need someone like her around, someone so broken. He had enough to deal with as it was.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I'm not who you think I am! You don't even know me, you don't know who I am. And I'm definitely not the kind of girl that you seem to think I am whenever you look at me. I'm not that person. Not at all." She blinked the blurriness away from her eyes, her hand reaching up quickly and wiping at the pearled tear on her lashes.
"Don't say that. I'm not expecting you to be anybody that you're not. I want you to be yourself..."
His words were perfect, the assurance that belonged to them reflected in his eyes and attempted to soothe her, convince her. She couldn't allow it though, the very thought of pulling him down with her was definitely not something she wanted.
"You don't want that." She stated adamantly.
Again he sighed but this time heavier and he pushed his hand back through his damp hair. "You can't tell me something like this and expect me to just walk away. I can't do that."
"Well you should Jared...all of this, it's beautiful, you're perfect but it doesn't belong to someone like me. It shouldn't happen to me." She cried out, her tears falling now.
"Rowan don't say that..." He pleaded, reaching out to take a hold of her but she pulled away with a shake of her head.
"You only think you want this because of whatever happened to you in Italy....I'm not her Jared, whoever she was."
He just stared at her, wondering where she was getting such an idea. The memory of Italy pierced his mind sharply but he tried to stay in the moment. He could see all her tears falling, each drop cutting him deeply. He wanted to put his arms around her, promise her that it would all be okay, that it was her and only her he wanted.
"I can't be saved Jared..." She whispered before slipping inside the building and rushing up the stairs.
Jared watched her, his own eyes burning with the emotion he was struggling with. Minutes flew by and he found himself in fragments. Everything he had been leaning on, depending on to heal him had gone away. She was so adamant in everything she had said and when she walked away she had taken his entire heart with her. Somehow during these few days he had known her he had given it to her, beating and alive. Didn't she know that?
He rushed inside, climbing the stairs until he came to her floor. He knocked and knocked, calling out to her to please open the door. But there wasn't any response, she never once gave him a reply. He slid down the length of the door and dropped his head to his hands. His tears came then, his hair fell in his face. He thought of a million ways he could get her to come out but none of them seemed like enough. Was it all really lost?