He turned around, having felt the loss of her warmth against his back for a couple minutes to find her nowhere at all. His brows tensed and a small annoyed breath escaped his lips. Maybe this was a mistake. He shouldn’t have run off. Shouldn’t have gone with someone he didn’t know. He could leave now, he could slip back out that door that led to those creaky stairs and be out of here in no time. This was New York he could find his way around. And he would be back at the event in no time, a little late but that made no difference did it? Not when he was the one being celebrated. No one would even bat an eye at him.
But he didn’t leave. He told himself that he wanted an explanation from her. He wanted to know why he had to let go. Why she seemed so insistent on being the one to make him do just that. What did he really have to let go of? He wasn’t sure. It wasn’t like he was trapped inside of his own cage. People had trapped him in there on their own and he had yet to find a way out. And yet he knew somewhere inside that all of that made no sense. It made no sense because he had done it himself. He had trapped himself in a world where all that paced his mind was work, the constant need for perfection which ended in terrible stress, sleeplessness, loneliness. That was his world. It was his way of living. Why would anyone be worried that he was living that way? Much less someone that he didn’t know? What was it to anyone that he had thrown away the key? He had lost it a long while ago, wasn’t about to go and dig it out.
He walked further across the roof, eyes glancing up at the dark sky above him. It was cloudy. That was the look of being on the cusp of Winter. Everything grew just a little darker, a lot colder and a lot more lonely. It was a natural way of living wasn’t it? That people just had other people. They had someone to talk to, someone to invest their time in, someone to hold them. He had his family, they were the ones that kept him going and yet there was a part of him. It wasn’t exactly small but he had blown it away so many times that it had become miniscule. That part that was cold, webbed, empty. He shook himself of it though, no one was going to tell him that he needed it filled because it didn’t. He was fine the way he was. He wasn’t even sure why he was thinking of all of this. He was being absolutely ridiculous, that’s wall.
He finally found her. She was sitting back against the ledge, one knee drawn up to her chest and her other leg outstretched, the glimmering yellow light reflecting off the parts of her pale skin that he could see through the rips. She looked so small suddenly. Her eyes were distant, her full lips parted, her hair a wind blown mess. And for a second he had the thought of going over to her, wrapping her in his arms and bringing her close. He hadn’t held someone in such a long time, hadn’t felt their heartbeat against his own. He was always gone before they fell into the state of wanting to be held. He was never at their mercy, never there in the morning to see the vulnerable side that waking up next to someone brought up. He left the bed, the room cold and empty.
So what was suddenly so different about her? He knew some of the girls he spent time with, knew them quite well. He didn’t know this Essie at all. He couldn’t understand where his head was going with this. It really made no sense. He knew that he should leave. He was just too emotional right now. So fed up with the entire world as it stood. It wasn’t actually her. At least, that’s what he told himself. He still walked towards her though, still knelt down in front of her, his eyes trying to catch hers. He could see every rise and fall of her chest as her breath slipped past her lips.
Her eyes finally turned and found his. For a moment she just watched him. Eyes going over his features. She slowly shook her head and then lowered her gaze. “I’m sorry.” She whispered, fingers picking at the bracelet she was wearing. This was a huge difference from the girl that had brought him here, that was slowly turning his thoughts into something of a wreck.
“Don’t be.” He replied, lowering his head a little to catch her eyes again. There was something beautiful about them in the way the silver and yellow light intertwined making the green of her eyes almost undefined.
She sighed and then stood to her feet, smoothing down her skirt as she stepped closer to the edge. Her small hands pressed flat onto the ledge and her eyes slid shut. Jared moved closer but stayed behind her. He watched the wind play in the strands of her hair, watched the red of it darken and then lighten depending on the placement. He wanted to reach his hand out and touch his fingers through it, wanted to step behind her the way she had done to him but he held his place. A shiver ran through him as a wind whispered past them.
“I almost jumped from here once.” She whispered, her eyes finally opened slowly looking down at the streets below. There wasn’t any hesitance in her voice and when she looked back at him from over her shoulder he didn’t find reluctance there. Her hand lifted pushing back some of her hair that stuck to her lips before she turned back. “And I didn’t do it. Not because I was scared but because someone stopped me.” Her head bowed as if she were struggling with the memory and yet there was no falter in her tone, no tenseness in her body language.
He wasn’t sure how to answer her. Something like that was heavy to hear, heavy to bear. He could only imagine what she must be feeling coping with the aftermath of something so devastating. What the person who stopped her must feel.
“Want to know who stopped me?” She questioned, slowly turning around and leaning with her back against the ledge.
Jared nodded and took a cautionary step forward when she leaned back. He couldn’t be too careful.
She laughed softly when she noted the way he stepped forward and she took a step away from the ledge just so that she could see him calm. She shook her head though and sighed. “No, another time.” She whispered, walking back to him and lightly patted his chest.
Her touch sent something through him that he quickly swallowed down. His eyes followed her as she made her way back to the door that they had just come from. Her footsteps were so quiet on the unsteady rooftop. “Leaving?” He softly called out.
She turned to look at him and then made a gesture for him to follow. “No. I want to show you where I really live.” She answered, a smile on her lips as she opened the door, leaning back against it so he could pass through.
He returned the smile, gleaming there in his eyes as he followed her, walking past her only stopping when he felt her hand on his shoulder. She lifted herself, just a feel of hesitance echoing through her movements. Her lips gently touched his cheek. Soft lips that made his eyes close and everything inside of him both relax and tense. It was a weird feeling but when he opened his eyes down to her she was smiling and he couldn’t help but smile back.
She pushed off the door and went on back into the rotted building where the cold still could find them. He let the door close behind him and followed after her.