the truth about Pete's relationship
When the couple finally reach their hotel room, they are laughing, and he is still covered in sweat. He pulls her closer for another kiss and she pushes him away.
"You need a shower." He laughs.
"In the worst way." He kisses her again and she giggles, climbing onto the bed and hiding in the covers, as if she were a small child. He smiles.
"That's why I love you Josie."
"You just-" He shakes his head and doesn't answer, just goes into the bathroom to shower. It's all right. There has never needed to be too much spoken between them. She calls back.
"Love you too Petey!" and it's enough that she hears him laughing in the shower, and they both know it's true, in spite of everything.
They had met over a year ago. Well, met in the technological sense, of course. She had asked him a question on his website that caught his attention. He answered it, prompting her to ask more and more. Soon, he was reading her blog, and soon after that, he emailed her. Their correspondences weren't much, a few lonely lines here and there, but something in him fit with something in her. They shared a similar writing style, which was what started it, a similar painfully optimistic view of a world that had been just unfair enough to them, similar problems communicating and connecting, and even similar hobbies and habits. She shared with him a sometimes obsessive Peter Pan complex, and a normal, crushingly suburban background which didn't account for the bouts of misery she endured. She also shared a fascination for train wrecks, as he called them, people who could not, would not be saved or save themselves, no matter how you love or care for them. In short, they were complete and utter soul mates. His self-obsession fueled his obsession with someone so like himself, and she was just hanging on because it was good to feel this good with someone and know they could feel the same.
It was six months into this 'relationship' when she asked him the real question.
"You talk so much about him." She said jokingly, but not quite. "are you in love with him?" He had answered just as glibly.
"Aren't you?" She laughed, even wrote it out, lol so he could see it.
"Don't be an idiot. Why else would I ask? I'm obsessed with him. But you see him every day. Do you love him or not?"
"You'd be more so, if you knew what I knew."
"So is that a yes?" She didn't need to ask the question. She knew. And the fact that he didn't answer, that he laughed it off, told her to get her mind out of the gutter, it confirmed it. She didn't ask again, but he accepted that she knew, and from then on, on occasions, they would talk about him, his voice, his lips, that embarrassed smile, as if he were afraid no one would get the joke if they knew why he was smiling...
It was six weeks after that they arranged to meet, at a concert, just in case, both of them expecting the worst, both of them a nervous wreck, thinking of the secrets they exposed... she arrived with her sister as a buffer, and he of course, was flanked by his best friends. He commented on the Peter Pan tattoo on her shoulder, and she will never remember what she said, how she replied, but it made him laugh, and he'd asked her out to eat. She and her sister, Hannah, had gone with the boys, and they talked about... oh everything, they never stopped talking, in half-sentences with a lot of meaningful looks, which meant something to them and nothing to anyone else. It was exactly as they had been afraid it wouldn't be, and since then, they were inseparable.
Their relationship was a surprisingly chaste one, though neither could resist kissing the other. She sighs happily, thinking of it, how kissing Pete is like kissing a boy in junior high, where you know it could go farther, but wouldn't it just ruin everything if it did, and anyway, how on earth does this turn into that? Their relationship is like this, which is why he won't have sex with her. He is afraid of what it will do to them, and to know that each one is thinking of him, in their own way. Instead, they kiss, rub each other's backs or shoulders, hold each other at night.
Still, she smiles when he emerges, body still slick with moisture, hair stuck to his face, upper part of his thigh and hip exposed with the way the towel is slung over him. He has a pretty face and a nice body, despite the tattoos, and sometimes it is almost a shame. They are too together to be together in such a crude way, she thinks, she knows that sex with him would ruin this illusion that they have somehow found something more than 'boy meets girl'. They are together in every way but that one, and truth be told, she doesn't much miss sex.
He does not so much as climb as willingly fall into the bed, wrap himself in the towel, and begin to pull on boxers. She sits up as he does this, puts an arm around him.
"I do you know." He nods, doesn't ask do what, doesn't laugh her off and ask where she's been all this time. She loves that.
"I know." and they kiss again. He does know, looking at her, he knows she loves him more than she has ever been capable of, because he feels it in himself, and trusts they are the same. But there is something missing from the two of them, not sex, not a connection, but purely and simple the passion of not knowing. Like their beloved Peter Pan, in having exactly what they want, they miss out on things they might like and will never know.
He pushes that thought away, and allows himself to be enfolded in her, the smell of wet hair and skin suddenly everywhere, and they kiss again, because they can. Her arms go around his neck, his stroke her back gently. He can't bear the thought of losing her, ever, even if he has to. Experience has taught him this is special. To be loved does not always mean to be understood.