"Cerise! Let me explain, please!" He'd come after her, with arms stretched out towards her. His eyes, filling with regret as much as with shame, locked onto hers. For a second, she held his gaze, then dropped it, disgusted that she would ever be in love with such a man.
"You're a liar, Desmond! A liar! Don't touch me!" His fingers brushed against her bare arm, which she yanked away swiftly. A tear spilled out from her eyes, trailing down her face. "I trusted you! You think you can explain any of this?" She swore under her breath, wishing she was strong enough to hold back the tears.
"Please! Cerise… I love you." His face, which was usually handsome and smiling, was twisted in horror. At his side, another girl, only half-dressed, kept quiet. She pulled on her shirt, which Desmond had previously held in his hand, before Cerise entered the room.
"You don't love me." Cerise had fled the room, slamming the door behind her. She never heard it close; instead, she could hear his footsteps sounding behind her. "Please, give me another chance!" Gone, she noticed, was his plea to explain away the situation.
Turning around, she gave her head a shake. "Stop it, Desmond! Just go away," pausing, she couldn't stop the tears that wet her cheeks. To her horror, she saw that Desmond was going to brush them away. "Don't! Stop it Desmond…" her voice broke as she flinched.
His eyes, which were softening, suddenly narrowed and he swore under his breath. "Fine." Turning away, his hulking frame went back down the hall, towards the room where the girl was.
He'd actually listened to her-and that brought to her heart the most pain.
Of course, as the days passed after her discovery of his cheating ways, she began to forgive him. He apologized profusely, promised that it would never happen again and slowly won back her favor. During those two weeks in the hot, sweltering summer months, she let him back into her life. He was in fact, one of the only boys that she'd fallen so head over heels for her.
Cerise and Desmond were reconciled, fully, and the happiness the couple had felt before he cheated on her, returned. Again, he would kiss her, and she would kiss him back. His light caresses, the way he would hold her tightly, were almost enough to build their relationship back to its former glory. When neither of them were busy at work, or with friends, they would often go out together, spending countless hours doing all there was to do in Winnipeg.
Some nights would be spent at her place; most nights were spent at his. Since his single father was mostly gone, the place was left mostly to the inhabiting of the two lovers.
During that summer, Cerise fell more in love with Desmond then she thought possible. Even with the inevitably of his going off to university in the fall, she hoped that this summer would be enough to carry them through the stressful, busy times that autumn would usher in.
"I love you, Cerise." Desmond held her on his lap as they sat at the top of a bell tower. Over them, a rusted, old bell, nearly as large as they were, swung from a thick rope. In the dark of night, no one had noticed the two teenagers scaling the church roof and going up to the bell tower. Not a soul.
"I love you more, Desmond." She tilted her head to the side, kissing his cheek.
"No you don't. Not even close."
Cerise thought of the half-naked girl in his bedroom, frowning ever-so-slightly. That scene had been burned into her memory, forever haunting her. No matter how close they could become, she'd never forget that afternoon she'd stumbled upon him and another girl. "Okay Desmond."
Why bother bringing up the past, she reasoned, if all that would do was reignite an argument between them? Never mind that her friends had warned against getting back together with Desmond, or that her parents disapproved of their relationship; she loved him.
"Do you want to ring the bell?" Her question broke the awkward silence that had fallen over them. Forcing a smile, she glanced up at the bell hanging over their heads.
Her smile leapt to his and he nodded his head. "Let's do it." She stepped out of the shallow bell tower and onto the roof of the church, while Desmond followed suite. Together, with both their hands on the rope, they pulled down, sounding the bell. Neither of them were prepared for the loud, cacophonic noise that followed.
Cerise put her hands to her ears, letting out a cry of surprise and pain. Simultaneously she leapt back from the bell, landed awkwardly on the slanted roof and fell to her side. She began to slide down the roof, her progress unhindered by the tiles and encouraged by the steepness of the decline.
"Cerise!" Desmond let go of the rope, his own ears ringing profusely, and gave chase to Cerise. Running awkwardly down the steep incline, he struggled to reach her flailing arms. Shouting her name once more, he dove for her, wincing in pain as his stomach was ripped by the roof's tiles.
She saw her boyfriend dive onto his front side, his arms reaching out for her own. Both of them neared the edge of the roof, where a several meter fall awaited her. Would she die from the fall? Unlikely, but the pain and possible broken bones wouldn't be favorable.
Just before she went over the side of the roof, Desmond caught her hand, gripping it tightly. His fingers dug under one of the tiles, securing himself to the roof.
Cerise, who was half off the roof, her legs dangling over the side, gripped Desmond's hand with all her strength. Screaming, she regained composure when she noticed that he'd saved her from the fall.
"I got you, I got you! Hold on!" His face tensed as he tried to pull her up with his one hand.
Sweat built up where they were holding hands and she could feel the tension in his fingers loosening. "Don't let me go!"
"I can't…" They met one another's gazes; she almost let go of his hand. "I'm sorry Cerise."
"What?" She used her other hand and gripped his arm. "Don't let me go!"
"I have to… I'm sorry, Cerise." With a sad smile, he opened his hand, releasing her.
"Desmond!" In vain, she tried to grip one of the tiles, before falling off the roof.
Just before the moment of impact with the concrete sidewalk below, Cerise woke up from the terrifying nightmare.
Cerise sat up in bed, bathed in sweat. Her eyes danced over her room, which she was relieved to see she'd been in the entire time, instead of hanging off that church's roof, her boyfriend's hands wrapped around hers.
Until he'd let her go.
"What a horrible dream", she mumbled with a sad smile, her heart still racing. Yet, it wouldn't be so bad, if there wasn't a hint of truth in the events of the nightmare. No, she'd never been betrayed by Desmond in such a terrible manner, like being dropped from the roof of a church. Where that event in her dream had been inspired from, she could hardly guess.
Still-Desmond had cheated on her, not once, but twice in the spring leading up to the summer. Both times, she'd reluctantly forgiven him, after he apologized and promised that it would never happen again. Though she saw now how foolish it was, at the time, she'd been too afraid to let go of Desmond.
During the summer, as her dream narrated, she'd spent most of her time with Desmond. Only, unlike the dream, they were growing farther apart-not closer. Each time they got together, there'd be less smiles, or happy moments, instead, they were replaced by long moments of silence, short conversations and hasty goodbyes.
Just yesterday she'd said goodbye to Desmond before he boarded a plane for Alberta. Their kiss was short, dry and brief. He hadn't even turned around to give her a short wave.
There'd been no emotions in their goodbye; he hadn't even wanted her to go see him off at the airport in the first place.
"I'll be back in a few days, Cerise; don't worry about it." Was his bemused, nonchalant response when she offered to take him to the airport. Still, when she pressed him, he let her go with him and they both endured a silent, awkward time at the airport.
"Oh Desmond…" Cerise mumbled under her breath, getting out of bed. She wasn't tired at all, and even if she was, her mind was now too occupied to take the time to relax and sleep. No, she would go out and get some fresh air.
Opening her window, she ambled onto the roof, by twisting her body and pulling herself up onto the roughly tiled slant. In the cool, night air, under the stars, she was given an impressive, beautiful panoramic view of the night sky.
Donning only her pajamas and bathrobe, she stretched out onto the roof and thought of her final weekend.
Next Thursday, she'd be back in school, going through her final year of homework, assignments and drama. Finally, she'd be able to reach freedom, so she reasoned, and live her life. As a young adult, she'd have full license to pursue her dreams, let go of her mundane, petty life and do what she really wanted.
Perhaps, when she was graduated, she'd be free of her oppressive relationship with Desmond. Although she deeply loved him, she wasn't sure just how much that love could hold them together. She sensed he was growing tired of her, and if he didn't begin to show her love in return, perhaps she'd be the one who would let go of him.
"Or not," she said sadly, sitting up and pulling her legs in closer to her body. "I do really love him, and he really loves me too, how can he not? After all we've been through, it just has to be his recent struggles at work and university that are making it hard." Then again, that could just be wishful thinking.
Glancing over her neighborhood, she noticed that she wasn't the only one enjoying the night air. A few houses down, she could see a young man, her age, standing on his balcony. Steven Walker.
How long had it been since she'd seen him?
However, before she could consider calling out to him, he retreated back into his room.
Pity, she rather missed her old friend.