He wanted to know what it was that had happened, what had triggered these moments and the downward spiral that had occurred so suddenly. Two days had passed and Essie had left her blind mark everywhere for him. He could feel it rising up inside of him like the tense burn of strangulation. She was no longer his, she was someone else’s, she had never been his, she’d always belonged to someone else and he couldn’t change that. No matter how many thoughts he had about doing just that.
There were scenarios playing in his head. Lost scenarios that he banished as soon as they were dreamed up. Scenarios of going down to where she was and taking her back again, telling her to abandon everything that existed between her and other people and making right what had seemingly been broken between the two of them. Scenarios of an actual love forming and standing unbreakable without possibility of end or fading. But that was the most horrible thing that he could hope for because he didn’t know if she was truly happy with her husband. He didn’t know how things would turn out with her daughter if she were to just leave the man she was married to. That was the most selfish thing that he had ever hoped for and yet he couldn’t disagree with it. Couldn’t bring himself to deny that he wanted it to happen no matter the consequences. He knew what his mom would say about that and that was something he couldn’t quite think up right now, not when he already felt like he was falling apart. That was the worst thing that he could face, wasn’t it?
Slowly he rose up from where he was sitting and walked over to the door. It was late enough that he could be by himself and no one would be around to intercept what he wanted to do. Just a bit of food and he would retreat back into this room and shelter himself from the edge of the loneliness that he was feeling. He knew it would fade, this emptiness, it always did but he also knew that it would take the time that he didn’t have. Soon people would start their questions and wonder where it was that Essie had gone off to. He would have the usual answer and yet that sort of lie would spark a sort of burn inside of him. There were only so many lies that he could give before he eventually allowed the truth to come out and what sort of response would he receive then?
Turning the door knob he slipped outside the room and stepped out into the hallway. A chill crawled up his spine but not from the cold, from the stark emptiness that so resembled the state that his head was in just then. He was wanting the kind of healing that came easy but he understood that with a man like himself there was no way to anything easy. Work came with the blood, sweat and tears of devotion. Love came with abandon that was both painful and uncertain. And brokenness came with a deep and gaping hole that he wouldn’t be able to fill.
Going into the kitchen he leaned on the counter for a moment, closing his eyes and allowing a breath to escape his lips. He was tired. He hadn’t been able to sleep and his impulses were nearly overriding the knowing of what was right in his mind. He couldn’t call Essie, couldn’t ask her to come back. That would only make everything down slide all over again and who said that it wouldn’t come back to him later and refuse to let the two of them last together? He didn’t need that dire uncertainty.
With a heavy sigh he grabbed a glass down from the cabinet and filled it with water from the tap. Watching the liquid settle he brought the glass’ rim to his lips and took a deep drink, letting the cool water slide down his throat and sooth the raw soreness that lingered there. Had he been crying? He wasn’t sure but with the dry feeling on his skin made it seem like he had been, the burn in his eyes made it obvious that he had, and all coupled with the soreness in his throat made it only evident that while he’d been in his room he had been. He hated crying.
Refilling the glass he once again found the burn of tears lingering in his eyes and harshly he wiped at them. He didn’t even know why he was crying. He knew that this would happen, he knew that she would walk right out of his life soon enough but he hadn’t expected it this soon. He hadn’t expected to feel this deeply for her all of a sudden when all that he wanted was the sweet feeling of being in her arms again, wanting to hear her say that everything he was saying was something intensely mutual. He didn’t want the memory of her saying that it hadn’t meant anything, that she could easily walk away and not feel a thing. Did she really not? Or had it simply been a sort of defensive guard against her true feelings?
He needed to stop kidding himself.
"Couldn’t sleep?" It was Marissa’s voice that broke through the barriers of his sorrow and when he turned that tear burned blue gaze to her she offered something of a sad smile to his expression. Her feet were bare and they made a light noise as she crossed the wood floor boards and stepped onto the tile that filled the kitchen. A soft snow glow that emanated from the windows outside whispered gently along her skin, what was exposed in her over sized sweater that fell over her shoulder, her blonde hair a muss of waves down her back.
Turning back around to the sink he could still keep her in his sight through the panes of the window in front of him as he rinsed his glass out and set it into the dishwasher. Wiping at his mouth with the back of his hand he took a small breath and gave a shrug before facing her again. “Guess not. Never was too good at it, was I?” He said with a small scoff, hoping that his tears had faded from his eyes, that his drawn expression was no longer lingering there on his features.
She gave a small laugh that agreed with what he said as she made her way further into the kitchen, light padding of her feet on the cold tile. He wondered if she was warm enough tucked away in her room, if someone had managed to light up her hearth. She had been really affected by the cold the night she had been let in by his mom. He didn’t want her here when he felt so broken, shades of the past returned and his reflection was there in the vastness of her eyes when she looked up at him. The same sorrowed reflection he had seen in her eyes the last time he had been near her.
"I always worried about you not sleeping enough. Out on the road, by yourself, no one to look after you but Shannon." She shook her head a little, a distant smile there on her lips as the past came back to mind. She remembered saying bye to him when he left to catch a flight, tours taking him away from her but the sweet and intense way he made up for it whenever he came back. The days they would spend locked away from the rest of the world. It was what love should be, it was where they were supposed to be.
He actually let out a small laugh as his fingers brushed back through the length of his hair as he gave a nod. “Seems like I took pretty good care of myself now.” He answered as if he really was doing okay, like he really was the man he had been before she tore out his heart, ripped it in two and put it back un-whole. And here he was feeling the same sorrow all over again with Essie walking straight out of his life. Being alone gave you compensation, you never got hurt, you were allowed to get hurt no matter what.
Her hand reached out and boldly she set it on his arm, letting out a nearly inaudible sigh at the touch of his skin. Flashes of him fingers caressing over her, kisses whispering along her skin, breath slipping from those lips that had just touched to hers. Slowly she lifted her eyes to his, those insurmountably captivating eyes that could keep you intoxicated until you forced yourself to look away. But there really was no turning away from him, from the clearness of their color, the way his lashes veiled them and the way they glistened differently with each emotion that flooded through him. “Jared…” She whispered softly, his name escaping her and entering him in a mirage of memories that sank into the both of them.
He shook his head and attempted to pull his arm away from her touch. “Marissa, don’t.” He insisted, his voice falling to the same whisper that she spoke with. Her touch had left an imprint on his skin and all that he wanted was for the remnants of what they had to disappear and fade away until only the loneliness remained. He could deal with loneliness but the scathing presence of wounds was nearly enough to drive him insane. He didn’t need her to step any closer than she was, didn’t need to hear her voice in a soothing tone to brush over wounds that she had initially caused and that Essie had only widened until it was gaping and bear.
She watched him as he turned away from her, his back a wall between them and she nearly cried at the sight of it, at the knowledge that it was present where it had never been before. She wondered if she truly had caused all of this from what had happened before or if time had merely torn them apart of seconds passed often did. All she knew for certain was that she still loved him and that she wanted him with an old possessiveness that had always been her own. She couldn’t bear to see him with someone else and the need that caused was always burning inside of her, just as it was now.
Stepping towards him now her arms wrapped around his waist and brought him close against her chest. She pressed a kiss to the part of his back between his shoulder blades and she knew that there had been an effect because he took in a breath just then, the tensity in his shoulders slacked and he seemed to lean back into the comfort that she was openly offering. Her hold on him urged him to turn around in her embrace and his eyes looked down at her, a knit expressing his confusion as her fingertips caressed over the side of his face down to the skin of his neck. His eyes closed and his breath caught slightly in his chest. Her hand pressed to his lower back and allowed her breath to erupt in her near loss of control as she lifted herself and touched her lips to his. He didn’t respond right away, his eyes opened briefly to be met with the features of her softened face so close to his own, her lips moving like a caress against his and this momentary comfort was what he needed deep inside where the wounds ran the deepest. This wasn’t just the past, just Essie, this was the knowledge that he had lost the man he had once been, that strength he had once held. And here he was falling to weakness again by seeking it in the throes of the past that echoed within Marissa’s arms.