I was still breathless from what had taken place in my house three hours later. I was anxious to see Drew and to see how he reacted to all of this. The trip to my small café had been completely silent, but not awkward. It was almost as if both of us were still trying to handle the new feelings that were surfaced because of the kiss. Well, at least that’s what was going on in my mind.
I looked to the clock, and was almost breathless as I saw that there was only an hour left until my shift ended! I seriously thought that I was going to burst with joyful excitement just at the thought of what an hour from now would bring.
I was cleaning a window, viciously scrubbing a stubborn stain, when I heard Zach’s voice call my name from behind me.
“Wow, this is a surprise,” I said, after turning around and smiling politely. Zach suddenly chuckled as if I had just made the funniest joke. “Ri-ight,” he drawled slowly, and I found that he was wrapping his arms around my waist.
I smiled awkwardly, and I couldn’t help but frown at the closeness in which our bodies now were. It had never seemed awkward with Zach, but ever since that wonderful ten seconds with Drew this morning, I was growing uncomfortable with the way he was touching me. It didn’t seem to me that he was falling in love with me for anything but the physical aspect.
I casually pulled myself away and turned back to the window, attacking the stain with a few squirts of glass cleaner.
“So how have you been?” I asked, trying to bring the attention off of myself.
“Not bad, not bad,” Zach answered. I felt him take another step closer to me, and I was immensely thankful that the last customer had made their way out ten minutes ago. Still, that didn’t leave the people on the streets any other impression than that I was trying to snog while on duty. “I’ve been thinking about you, Em,” Zach crooned in my ear.
I was surprised as I almost rolled my eyes. It was strange that only a few days ago I wanted nothing more than what was happening right now. I wanted to tell Zach to leave me alone and that I was engaged, because if he couldn’t see the ring on my finger, then he obviously wasn’t big on morals. This annoyed me, and I turned to face Zach, about to tell him that he needed to leave me alone, but he suddenly spoke before I had a chance.
“I know, I know,” Zach said, resting his hands on my shoulders. His face looked guilty, but his eyes didn’t reflect what he was apparently pretending. “I’m sorry, I just can’t resist you. I really don’t think you know how attractive you are.” Zach laughed slightly, and I frowned, suspicious by his sudden change of heart.
“Oh, yeah, Zach. Why don’t you just nominate me for Miss America?” I said sarcastically, throwing him a smug smile.
Zach just looked me up and down and then nodded, “Yeah okay. I’d vote for you, hands down.”
I scoffed before rolling my eyes. I seemed to do that a lot around him. He wasn’t the same person that he had been on our date last week, and I found it rather strange that he could play two personalities like this. I moved away from him and started to wipe a table nearby, not really noticing that I was cleaning the wood with window cleaner. His new obsession for my body was slightly flattering, but I didn’t want to get stuck in the situation where he found someone else’s body that was more flattering than mine; and believe me, I was no shining star!
“Sure you would. Look, this whole sneaking around thing really isn’t a good idea. Especially right now.” I looked at my toes and avoided eye contact, somehow feeling scared that I would offend him. Why did I care? I couldn’t figure out my feelings. Why couldn’t I just let myself love Drew and only Drew? You know what? I don’t need an adventure, all I need is to be with a man who loves me for who I am, not a guy who only cares about what my body looks like. I was suddenly struck with determination concerning my feelings, and I looked up at Zach, with a shine in my eyes. He seemed taken aback by my sudden change of light, and frowned slightly at my small grin.
“You know what, Zach?” I asked with fervor. He shook his head, not willing to guess. “I don’t need an adventure! All that I need is a guy who loves me for me. Gosh, I’ve been so stupid about this whole thing. I should have realized a long time ago what I should have done, and do you know what that is? I need to tell him. I’ve got to tell him the way I feel, as soon as possible. Oh, Zach,” I said fervently, grabbing his arms effectively, “Thank you so much for helping me to see that!” I smiled up at him, but all that I could think about was Drew’s face when I told him how I felt. My shift was almost over; I could hardly contain my excitement.
But quite suddenly, then, I felt myself being pressed against Zach’s body, and his hands started rubbing the small of my back. What on earth? I tried to pull away, but he held tight and then whispered in my ear, “Oh, Emma, I love you too, babe.” Zach then proceeded to move his hand lower and reached my butt in a matter of seconds. My eyes became the size of disks, and anger mounted in my body. I couldn’t believe that he just did that! I wasn’t talking about him! I was talking about Drew!
“Stop it, Zach, get off of me,” I tried to struggle, but if you could see this guy, you would know my trouble. He wasn’t only over three inches taller than me; he was also built to the extreme.
“You’re so hot though, Emma,” Zach muttered in my ear, and I could hear the lust that was lining his comment. My anger surged to a new extreme as I realized that this retarded form of a human being had been using me to get sex this whole time. And I had fallen for it like the stupid, silly girl that I was!
“Zach!” I screeched, finally pushing him away from me. I took a step back and looked into his eyes, fire burning in my own. “I wasn’t talking about you, I was talking about Drew. Drew; my fiancé?” I held up my left hand and showed him the gorgeous diamond.
In his eyes were written complete shock. He seemed to ignore the ring as he asked, “So you’re seriously going for someone like him, over someone like me?” Zach straightened and fluffed his hair a bit at this, and my eyes narrowed in exasperation and surprise. I was taken aback at his cockiness, and then realized that he was making himself look like a gem so he could get me in bed. What a man whore.
I took a menacing step toward him and he scooted away, just as Drew had done a few nights ago. The thought of Drew made my enraged heart pump with anticipation, but I subtly ignored this and focused on Zach, for the time being. “I don’t to see you ever again, do you understand me?” I waited for his reply, but when he just stood with his mouth drooped open, I pressed, “Well, do you?”
He nodded quickly, and backed away before almost running out of the store; leaving me in a huge flustered heap. For the next hour, I imagined myself telling Drew my news. I went over the scene four thousand and twenty-two times in my head before I finally knew how I would reveal it.
I put away the equipment that I had just been using; my shift was over, I could just feel it; and if it wasn’t, then Randy could handle it himself for five minutes until the next worker came along. I was hardly watching where I was going as I almost soared into the small break room to collect my purse and such. I glanced into the mirror sub-consciously, I always did that before I left, and saw that my hair was messy from the contact against Zach’s shirt.
While pressing my nervous, damp hands into the tangles of hair, I made my way outside and I saw the silver car waiting for me at the curb like it always was. I took a deep breath and opened the door, just about ready to exclaim my feelings to Drew when I saw that it wasn’t Drew, but Mrs. Willings waiting for me.
“Oh!” I gasped in obvious surprise. My heart sunk when I realized that I would have to rethink my plan. I was going to tell Drew as soon as I sat my butt down in this car, but now I was going to have to plan accordingly.
“Yes, I’m sure that you’re wondering why Drew isn’t here to pick you up,” Mrs. Willings said, being the cheerful woman that she was. I only nodded and she continued, “Well, the truth is, Drew had already left to come get you, but then he came back and told me that he felt sick and that he wanted me to come get you.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, is he okay?” I asked with a small amount of fright in my voice.
“Yes, I’m sure he’ll be fine. He just went straight up to his room and tossed me the keys.”
“Hm,” I murmured. I couldn’t think of anything but his health, and I was surprised at how long it took to get home. It had never taken this long with Drew; he was always entertaining me in some way.
“Thank you for coming, Mrs. Willings,” I said with a thankful smile. “Please tell Drew that I hope he feels better.”
“I’ll do that for sure,” Mrs. Willings called out as she drove away.
I turned back to my house and frowned, wondering if I should text him or if I should just let him get better without bothering him. I decided to just leave him alone, and I knew that if my text woke him up that I would feel forever guilty. I noticed that my parents weren’t home, and I couldn’t help but wonder where they had gone. They hadn’t told me anything about going out for the night.
I walked into the silent kitchen and noticed a small yellow post-it note on the refrigerator. ‘Gone out to dinner, last minute decision. There are leftovers in the fridge but feel free to make whatever you want, Mom.’ I smiled at the way she sometimes treated me like I was twelve years old and home alone. I stuck the note back onto the refrigerator and after seeing nothing that spiked my taste appeal, I trudged up the stairs and glided into my room, feeling awfully depressed that I wouldn’t be able to tell Drew the way that I felt.
I changed out of my work clothes and donned a pair of sweatpants and an oversized sweater. After washing my hair in the sink, I wrapped it up into a messy bun and dove into my bed, still feeling upset about the whole situation.
I was reading a ‘Vogue’ magazine in silence when I suddenly heard my door fling open and slam into the wall behind it. Luckily, there was a door stopper, because at the force in which the door was opened, I knew that there could have been a nasty hole in the wall. My eyes flew to the doorway, and I saw Drew walking in with an angry expression crowning his face.
“Drew!” I said piped with a smile before I really took in his face. “What’s wrong?”
“What do you think you’re going to accomplish with this whole ‘sneaking around’ thing, Emma?” he said, instead of answering my question. "And having my mother tell me that you gave your condolences, like you actually care?"
“Sneaking around? I’m not sneaking around with anyone, and I do care!” I bartered back, letting my brows draw.
“Not likely. And, oh, is that a fact?” Drew took a few menacing steps toward me. “What would you say if I told you that I’ve seen it with my own eyes?”
“I would say you’re crazy, Drew Willings.” My nostrils flared and there was nothing in my eyes but unpolluted confusion.
“What are you talking about?” I stood up, now, and crossed my arms in front of me.
“You really think that you can get away with this, don’t you?” Drew asked, incredulous at my apparent attempt to get out of trouble.
“Get away with what?” I flung my hands above me and begged him with my eyes to tell me what was going on.
Instead, Drew turned his back to me and began to pace, fury fueling his every step. “And after everything that I’ve done for you, everything that I’ve gone through, just for you and for you alone; this is how you repay me? I’ve listened to you talk about the stupidest men, I’ve given you a shoulder to cry on when those same stupid men hurt you, I took you to work every day for the past year, I compliment you and buy you anything that you want, Emma! And this?” he said the last word with utter shock. Drew turned to me, eyes flaming with emotion and the look of being betrayed. I stood watching him with tears almost pouring from my weak eyes.
I didn’t understand this, why was he acting so strangely? I thought about my plans to profess my love to him, and saw that the small window was quickly growing smaller. My eyebrows were knit, and my hands hung in question at my waist. Where was he going with this? I thought that we had already gone through that talk this morning.
“I’ve already told you that I’m thankful, Drew, what more can I offer?” I knew what else I could give him, but judging on the way he was acting now, it didn’t seem to me that he wanted anything close to my affection.
I saw his eyes flicker and he suddenly took my shoulders in his strong hands. I tried to ignore the boiling blood which rushed about me like a tsunami, and concentrated on his face. “I- I want,” Drew paused and closed his eyes, seemingly gaining courage as to what he was about to reveal to me. Time stood still as my heart raced, anxious to see what he would relay. Slowly, He opened his eyes and I saw that mysterious emotion written all over his face. I could have gasped at the intensity of his stare. I had never seen him so passionate about something, and the possibility that it was because of me, made his hands seem like hot chains on my body.
“The only thing that I could ever want in this lifetime,” he said with fervor, “is you, Emma. All I could possibly dream of having would be you, all of you, forever.”
“What?” I asked in a whisper. He wanted me? He wanted me? My mouth became dry and I was beating my brain in annoyance, trying to command it to produce words. I couldn’t think, I couldn’t see. My eyes clouded over with euphoric tears and I was just about to repeat his words, when he let go of my shoulders and covered his face with a hand. I stared at him, unable to move. I couldn’t believe it. I just absolutely couldn’t believe it!
“There, I’ve said it. It’s finally out." He let out a semi-audible sigh. "Do you know how many times I’ve pictured myself falling before you and begging you to love me, Emma? It’s all that I crave, my only wish. But it turns out that I haven't been brave enough, so instead I tried to show you by my actions, and I even tried to tell you a couple times, but you never understood. No, you understood, but somehow you thought that I was referring to a different person; a different girl.” Drew looked at me, and I saw that brilliant sentiment burning in his eyes. I had been right, it was love. And here I was standing before him like the retarded girl I was; unable to speak, unable to move; breathe. I felt his hands around me, again, but this time, his hands surrounded my face. “There will never be another girl, there will never be anyone on this entire rotten planet that could alleviate the feelings that I have for you,” Drew said passionately. His hands went on his hips as he looked at me, staring into my face with an intense calm that I had never seen before. He looked up to my ceiling and let out a sardonic laugh. “In love with another girl! Are you crazy?” he grabbed my shoulders and shook them as he said; “I love you!”
He loved me... Drew loved…me? He loved me? I must be dreaming; I must be drunk, it couldn’t be real. It was better than any dream that I could possibly fathom.
“Oh Drew,” I started, grasping his hands in mine. The three words that would bring us together were on the tip of my tongue, but he looked down at my hands as if they were poison, making me stop short and look at him with question.
“I’ve never loved anyone else and here you are, stabbing me in the back with what you think is harmless.”
I frowned, completely confused as to what he was referring? “I don’t know what you’re talking about Drew, I swear!”
“I think you do.” After my silence and the question in my face, he backed up, shaking his head as he did so. “I saw you with Zach today at the café.”
Silence vibrated in my room. My eyes widened, wanting to tell him what really happened. Instead, I felt an unbearable amount of shame and guilt play upon my mouth, willing me not to utter a word. I knew the truth. I knew that Zach had come onto me and I had tried to push him away, but Drew would be convinced that I was making up excuses. How could I prove it to him? What could I do? I took a step forward, trying to embrace him, but he pushed me away and said harshly, “No. Don’t touch me.”
I gasped at the cruelness in which he said it, and he started to back out toward the door. “I can’t do this anymore, Em. I can’t sit around and watch you love another man. We aren’t getting married and that’s it,” Drew hissed with fury and took one long glance at me before storming out of the room.
“No,” I whispered. I fled after him, following him down the stairs, pleading with him to listen to me. At one point I turned him around and I saw the pain in his face that was so obviously erupted from his heart. He was on the brink of tears, eyes glassy and red, and he shrugged me off as if he was a giant and I was an ant.
“Drew, you’ve got to listen to me, I love you. Drew, please don’t go…” I wailed, grabbing onto his wrist and planting my feet into the ground. He struggled against me, but didn’t turn around.
“Let me go, Emma.” Drew’s voice cracked with tears and he pulled against my clinging hands.
“Drew, I love you, I love you so much; please you’ve got to believe me.” Tears were shamelessly following a trail down my cheeks and I ignored the sting and the sobs wracked my lungs.
Drew stopped resisting, but remained with his hand connected to the doorknob. “Why should I believe you, Em? Why?”
“Because I’m telling the truth, I swear! Zach came on to me, not me to him. If you just look at me you’ll know if I’m lying. Please look at me, Drew, please?” I thought that my begging was wearing him down, but to my surprise he laughed resentfully.
“I can’t.” He yanked his arm from my grasp and slammed the door on his way out.
“Don’t leave me,” I cried, burying my face into my hands. “Please come back, Drew! Please. Please, please…” I started saying the word over and over again, as if it was some sort of spell and, if chanted, would bring me what I wanted. But he didn’t come back. I lay on the floor next to the landing of the stairs and cried until the fountain of salty tears was fruitless. I don’t know for how long I sat there, but I saw that it was dark and I heard a door open.
I sub-consciously heard my mother crying out in alarm when she saw my body crumpled in an emotional heap. I reached up and clung to her, feeling suddenly faint. She embraced me for a few minutes, and then my dad gingerly picked me up and carried me to my room with my mother close behind. I was gasping for air, the hyperventilation made me see stars and my eyes rolled back into my head before I fainted in agony.