The One Who I Scared Away
After Abe, I really wasn't in the mood for a boyfriend. There were a few guys at school who I would mess around with, but nothing serious. It was now my last year of college and my friend Meghan and I were living together. We each had our own rooms which was a nice change. I had almost forgotten how nice it was not to have a roommate. This also gave us the opportunity to bring home more men, something which wasn't always a good idea but we were young and stupid.
I met Luke early in the year and we flirted like crazy. This isn't saying much. I flirt with everyone. But Luke was different. He didn't take my flirting seriously and knew that I was only having fun. We would dance together at the bars, he would take me home when I had too much to drink and I would do the same for him. He would show up at my apartment just to surprise me with take-out or pizza. We would send unbelievably flirty text messages back and forth all day long. And if I didn't feel like going out, I knew I could call Luke and he would be perfectly happy to sit on my couch and watch a Disney movie with me. We were friends but I knew that he wanted more. Under all our playful flirting, I could always sense he was secretly flattered by my attention. He always came up with some excuse to touch me, always put up with all of my bullshit no matter how annoying I was. But I didn't like him as anything more than a friend.
Luke watched me go through guy after guy and eventually started to pull away from me. I don't know if he was tired of watching me with other men or if he had just started to lose interest. But the second I realized what was happening, I panicked. I couldn't lose him. He had been there for me the entire year, like a surrogate boyfriend. He was someone I could depend on, a backup plan, if you will. Okay, I know that sounds horrible. But that is honestly how I thought of him. I knew that if I was lonely I could call him and he would come over and massage my ego for a bit. It's a horrible thing to say and a worse thing to feel. But that's just how it was.
I knew that if I wanted to keep Luke around, I was going to have to stop leading him on and try to make something out of whatever our relationship had become. So I invited him over one night, snuggled up next to him on the couch, and let him kiss me. He wasn't a bad kisser and I was actually surprised at how attracted to him I now found myself. He wasn't the best looking guy...by far. He was a little chubby and wore really tight designer shirts and expensive jeans. But he had a kind face and seemed to really care about me.
"What does this mean?" He asked me after I had let him kiss me.
"What does what mean?"
"What are we doing?"
"Like, right now?" Okay, way too many questions were being asked.
"I'm kissing you and I've wanted this for a long time, so I'm just wondering what it means to you," Luke clarified and I frowned.
I couldn't explain my real reasoning to him because he would most likely find it offensive. "It means we're trying something and we'll see where it goes." I didn't know where this would lead. We could decide that we were better off as friends or we could start dating, like legitimately dating.
Luke blinked and stared at me for a minute, clearly not liking my answer. "All right."
I don't think I ever went out on an actual date with Luke. It seemed pointless considering we already knew each other pretty well. But maybe that's where we went wrong. Maybe if we had actually dated, we would have both come to the same conclusion about where we wanted this relationship to go. I, for one, was starting to really like the guy but this was probably because I knew that if I didn't, I would lose him. He was confused by my new affection toward him and probably didn't know what to do now that he wasn't chasing after me all the time.
Luke and I never put a title to whatever it was we had going on. Things didn't last long enough and I was coming on way too strong. I thought that Luke would want me to act like he had been acting all year long. I would call just to 'chat', show up at his house just to hang out, go home with him after parties and spend the night. (Thank God I never had sex with him.)
But Luke apparently didn't like being pursued. He started flirting with other girls in front of me, started ignoring my calls and texts - all of which made me go insane. Why was this happening? He was supposed to like me. I was the pretty one, I was the one who had guys throwing themselves at me and was ignoring them just to spare Luke's feelings. What was wrong with this situation? I had never been so blatantly rejected before and it hurt. It was embarrassing more than anything.
I felt myself becoming absolutely desperate to win him back and I couldn't figure out why. I wasn't in control and I didn't like it. I didn't like it one bit because there was no reason Luke shouldn't like me. I was really that naive. I remember the night it all fell apart. I had been drinking with Meghan and returned home to find that Luke hadn't bothered calling me back. And that's when I lost it, like completely lost it. I started crying, mostly because I didn't know what else to do. I had invested so much time into this guy, trying to get him to like me again, and I was failing. I hated failing. I hated that I couldn't force him to like me.
So I drunk dialed him.
"Luke? Where are you?"
I could hear him sigh. "I'm driving home."
"What are you doing for the rest of the night?"
"Want to hang out?" I can't believe how desperate I had become.
"I'm with some friends."
That was a ‘no’ and all it took for me to start crying again.
"Are you crying?" He asked, not really sounding like he cared.
"Okay, there's really no point in lying to me."
I tried to stop but at this point I couldn't.
"Look," he started, "I don't know what you want me to do or why you called..."
"I just want you to say that everything will be okay...that we'll be good again."
"What are you talking about?"
"You know, that we'll be like we used to be. Back when you liked me."
"I'll come get you," he said quickly and then hung up the phone.
I waited until I heard his car outside and then I skipped down the stairs, eager to see him. But he wouldn't look at me and we drove to his house in silence. He took me up to his room and sat me on his bed.
"Lydia, I don't know what to tell you."
"I don't understand what I did wrong."
"You didn't do anything wrong," he sounded so annoyed with me.
"You used to like me, you know?"
"I know I did."
"So what does this mean?" I remembered the time he had asked me that question and I had lied to him about my answer.
"I don't know. Let's just go to bed."
And that was his way of telling me he didn't want me anymore. I spent the night, hoping he would wake up and change his mind, but that morning he made it incredibly obvious that he didn't care. I woke him up and told him I was going home. He handed me a sweatshirt and told me not to freeze to death. He didn't even walk me to the door. My walk of shame that morning was particularly rough for me. I knew I had fucked things up with Luke because I had been selfish. I should have let things naturally fall into place instead of trying to force something that I had never really wanted to begin with. It was a tough lesson learned and I had completely embarrassed myself in the process.
I returned Luke's sweatshirt later that day. Luckily his roommate answered the door so I didn't have to see him and I just handed him the sweatshirt and left. Luke and I didn't speak again...ever. It was too hard for me to suck up my pride and admit that I had been rejected by someone who should have been chasing after me. Luke was just too annoyed to initiate any contact. Oh well. At least I'm still pretty.
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