Hours After the Kiss
“Those make me feel bad.” She was saying to me. We were at the diner Sal’s having lunch. She was referring to the hamburgers, this was the moment we established that she was a vegetarian.
“Those,” I pointed to her burger, “make my mouth water.” I joked with her.
She smiled, the confusion was back in her eyes but I didn’t worry about it.
She ate around the burger and gulped down the French fries and her milkshake.
And I saw why, the basket was clean and only the meat patty was left. She had eaten everything except the patty.
“Oh my God you’re so picky.” I exaggerated.
She laughed heartily.
And I couldn’t help it; I placed my hand over hers.
Her smile faltered.
I was about to pull away but she told me not to.
“No. . . I- I like your hands.” And I tried so hard not to turn that phrase into a whole other sentence. I simply placed my hand back.
“Thanks.” I smiled lightly.
The bell over the door chimed and three guys I know from school, one of them being a friend of mine, walked in.
The neighborhood we lived in was small, everybody knew each other; there were no secrets here.
Those guys knew I had strong feelings for Evaine, everybody knew. When she and I walked in people smiled and waved and nodded greetings at us. The guy, Bert, running the counter smiled at us and pointed out a booth. Bert was a small man pro Americas extremist with a very French mustache. His eyes seemed to pop out of his head without literally falling out and his voice was unusually deep for such a small guy.
Evaine and I were regulars. On certain occasions he would give us free milkshakes or free fry refills. He was really a cool guy; he could hold his own and still respect you in the end.
Alex, Shane, and George walked up to us; Alex and Shane with smug looks, George, my friend, hanging back with a nervous look on his face.
I never liked Alex, he was dick, clearly. No need for elaboration. He is just your average dick.
Shane didn’t have a mind of his own so I paid no attention to him.
And George, God, I just never understood why he hung out with them.
“Sup Blayky?” Alex chimed. “Mademoiselle?” he said to Evaine.
“Hi, Alex.” I returned.
Evaine only smiled.
He helped himself to one of Evaine’s refilled fries and sat himself down next to her.
“What are you two up to on a day as fine as this?” he grinned.
I noticed George sit in an empty booth . . . far away from us, with his back to me.
Shane was just leaning on my booth with a stupid grin on his face and his fat arms crossed.
“Lunch!” Evaine smiled at him, holding up her fry, oblivious to the fact that he was eating them without asking.
He feigned surprise: “Really!?”
I bristled again.
Every time he ate one of her fries was my every hint of patience I had for him, gone.
“You know, Vainy, this is really an awesome place for lunch. Do you like dessert too?” he winked at me.
I felt the blood rushing to my head.
“I like the milkshakes.” She happily told him.
“So cool!” he laughed, “Chocolate or Vanilla?” he winked again.
“Both!” she chimed, bouncing around in her seat, happy to have someone to talk to. She loved to talk. Conversation made her happy; it made her feel like she belonged. She didn’t have to tell me this, it was just the look in her eyes; she felt accepted, like someone whom people actually wanted to talk to her. She knew she was different, and she knew some people would not even bother to strike up a conversation with her.
“Oh, so that’s how you roll?” he grinned.
She looked at him, still smiling, she was confused.
“Alex,” I said, quietly. “What do you want?”
He smiled and leaned over the table: “I want what you’re having.”
I slammed my fist on the table and shoved Shane out of my way as I jumped up and yanked Alex out of the booth. I punched him in the jaw and Shane pulled me away from him.
“Hey!” boomed a faint voice.
I shrugged myself out of his grasp, knocking him to the floor. I grabbed at Alex again and punched him, I don’t know how many more times. And I didn’t care; I was in a flow, no one else there but him and me.
“Blayke?” someone said my name.
I was yanked away from Alex and shoved further away.
I tried to go at him again but the arm shoved me back.
“What!” I shouted.
I looked at everyone in the diner watching me: fear, anger; shaking heads, covered mouths, averted gazes; whispers, grumble, utters, hisses . . .
I looked at what I did to Alex: his face was a bloody, swollen mess. He looked disoriented.
I felt no pity for him. He had been after me and Evaine for years and I never did anything to him. He knew I would defend her so why did he test me? Was he that stupid?
“Bastard!” I spat at him. I still wasn’t clear headed yet.
I glared at the source of the voice, it was Evaine. She pushed herself tightly into the corner of the booth, she was shaking. She looked at me as if I were going to hit her.
“Evaine, no.” I shook my head and held my hand out to her. She coward but took it anyway. Her hand was shaking so badly I was worried she might lose it. “I’m okay, Evaine.” I whispered close to her ear so that only she could hear.
I helped her out of the booth and I was heading to the door when Bert yanked at me arm and I reflexively shrugged him off and pushed him back.
“Hey!” he bellowed, pointing his finger at me. “You’d best leave her here.”
“I’m fine!” I exclaimed, leading Evaine out of the diner.
“Evaine!” he called after her.
She turned back to him, and waved: “He’s fine!”
I felt like I was a hundred miles away from her.
We were so close yet I couldn’t bring myself any closer.
I wanted to ask her if she was okay, but I could bring myself to do so.
We walked alongside each other in silence for a long time before the silence was broken.
“I’m sorry, Blayke.” she said.
I felt my heart break for her; breaking because I did not want her to think this was her fault. She didn’t know; she couldn’t help that she didn’t know.
I stopped our walk and turned to her.
“No, Evaine, it’s not your fault,” I held her face in my hands, shaking my head, “it’s not your fault . . .”
“Yes it is.” She stated as if it were a fact that could not be argued. “I did something bad.”
I kissed her forehead, her doe eyes staring so deeply in to me I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out she knew me better than I knew myself.
“It was Alex, the boy talking to you,” I told her, “he did something bad.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know.”
I stared back into to those big sunset eyes, wishing I could just explain this to her in a way that she would understand, but I couldn’t find the words.
“Do you want to read?” I asked her instead.
She smiled and nodded.
We went to my house and I let her pick out the book.
“I- I don’t think Persuasion is good one.” I told her. For one: because I could barely understand the woman myself; second: I can’t stand Jane Austen.
She bit her lip and searched through my bookshelf again.
She was wearing knee-high socks and a skirt with Mary Jane’s and a baggy sweater. Her hair was back in a braid, out of her eyes the way I liked it though she did not know this of me.
“This one?” she picked up A Tale of Two Cities.
I shook my head. I was lying in my bed watching her scour my shelf, and suppressing a smile.
“T-this is hard.” She put the book down and sat on her heels, defeated.
I smiled at her.
“You see that red one there?” I asked her.
She looked and put her finger on it.
She picked it up and brought it to me.
“I am the cheese.” I read.
“What is so funny?” I feigned insult.
She shook her head and covered her face with my covers.
I sighed exaggeratedly and went under the covers with her.
“What is so funny?”
“If you’re cheese, then what am I?” she chuckled.
My smile faltered.
I slid the book to the floor and sat up on my elbow.
“You’re the love of my life.” I simply told her.
She looked at me, confused.
“I’m love?” she asked, more to herself than to me.
I lie back down, watching her as she twiddled with her fingers.
It was quiet in my room; dark under the covers, which were now becoming hot with our bodies and breathe. When we came in the house was empty, my mother was away at a conference, and my dad was probably out drinking with his coworkers if he wasn’t home by now. The sky was still bright with daylight; birds chirped happily and flew passed my window.
“That means something.” She suddenly said.
I looked at her and she looked at me.
There was no smiling now.
“That means everything.” I told her.
She sat back looking straight up through the blanket towards the ceiling.
I couldn’t stop staring at her.
She was daylight to me; the stars at night to me.
I removed the cover from over our heads.
She was watching me now. I leaned toward her and kissed her lip- just a slow peck before I pulled away. She was still watching me; her expression was simply there, there was no fear, no confusion.
I leaned in again and pressed my lips to her, this time keeping my eyes opened. She closed her eyes - gently this time, not clenched shut.
I let my legs on either side of her so that it was my elbows that kept me from crushing her, all while I kept my lips on hers. She breathed with me, exhaled with me. I shifted so that I could bring us closer. I put my leg in between her.
Why did I do that?
This couldn’t go there.
I couldn’t do that to her when she’s not in the position to consent.
But I wanted to be closer and this wasn’t close enough.
I slid up her sweater. . .
And she bit me.
“I’m sorry!” she sat up quickly bumping my head with hers. “Owe!”
I sat up with her and rubbed at my head while sucking at my lip.
“It’s okay.” I murmured through sucking.
“I didn’t mean to.”
“I know, I know. It’s my fault.”
She looked at me and then at herself.
“What?” I was still shocked from the bite.
“What happening?” she asked me again, looking at the knee that was in between her legs.
“Ah, shit.” I uttered, “I’m sorry, this- this . . . I don’t know what this is.”
I got off of her.
“I didn’t mean to do that.” I apologized to her.
“Do what? You didn’t hurt me. Did you do something bad?”
I looked at her: her skirt was off and her sweater was hiked up over her tee shirt . . . a very thin, transparent tee shirt-
“Yes I-I think I did something bad.” I looked away. I hated myself for doing what I was about to do! I wanted to scream. “God - I’m so sorry!”
Evaine looked at me, oblivious that her tee shirt was exposing everything.
“Blayke, I’m okay.” She said quietly, she put her hand on my cheek and slid away a tear I hadn’t realized was there.
“Thank you.” I whispered. “You have no idea what I almost did, Evaine.”
“What were you going to do?” she brought herself closer to me and wrapped her arms around me. I could feel the heat coming off of her skin, touching mine. I felt her chest rise and fall; her breath, warm in my ear.
“Evaine- it’s complicated.” I wanted to tell her what I wanted. But I knew that if I did she would say yes because she wanted to make me happy. I couldn’t make myself believe it was right when she didn’t even know what was happening. “I’m sorry.” I told her instead.
“I understand.” She let her head rest on my shoulder.
I pulled her sweater back down and let her comfort me the way she could.
She picked up the book and gave it to me, and held my hand while I read to her.
I feel like I’m invading her space. Being on the plane, heading towards her- no phone call, no email; what am I doing?
This three hour flight feels like it would take forever and when I do get to her, what am I going to do- what am I going to say?
It has been two years, does she even remember me?
Does she want to remember me?
They’ve probably turned her against me by now.
Evaine, do you miss me?