He had spent over a decade being alone. It had become comfortable, to push people away, to pretend that he didn’t give a damn about anything or anybody, to wrap himself up in a bubble where nobody could ever hurt him again.
Then he met her. She was living proof of the age-old adage that good things came in small packages. A petite firecracker wrapped up in good intentions and a warm heart, she was a dizzying temptation to remember what it felt like to love somebody again. But there were times that he looked at her and all he could see were bloody corpses and dozens of multi-colored pills, chased by a bottle of cheap alcohol. So, he kept her at arm’s length and talked himself into believing the only thing between them was friendship. Even when it was glaringly obvious to everybody else around them that they were much more than friends.
He was okay with the status quo, even though he did spend the better part of two years pining away for her and writing her long, soppy love letters. He was still okay with pretending that he didn’t love her, to pretend that he was still a shell of man. . . soulless and dead to most human emotions. He didn’t believe that he deserved her. She was a saint and he was a sinner. She was an angel and he the badman. Everything he touched got ruined, he had already wrecked her a long time ago.
But mostly, he was still afraid that his heart would be broken again. That they would fall head-over-heels into stupid, crazy love and that he would lose her just like he’d lost his wife.
He didn’t think he could handle another broken heart. Not in this lifetime and maybe not in the next one either.
He just didn’t count on her ever meeting somebody else. He hadn’t counted on her going away. And suddenly everything he had been running away from came careening at him like a car that had lost all control. He had to face his feelings head-on or be in danger of the broken heart that he had been desperately trying to avoid.
But he couldn’t find the words, didn’t want to run her life like she had accused him of doing during their second reunion. So, he didn’t try even though it was killing him to watch her with somebody else, even though he was dying a little bit more every day while she slipped away from his grasp, fell out of his arms and into somebody else’s.
After feeling like he had been dying for the better part of a decade, he suddenly wanted to feel alive. He wanted to breathe again and get away from the feeling that he was drowning. He’d just spent so much time running away from it that he didn’t know how to start living again.
He bided his time and waited for the perfect opportunity to tell her exactly how he felt. Now that he knew how he felt about her and that he couldn’t live without her, he didn’t want to risk losing her. Especially not to a suave FBI agent and Washington DC.
He waited a little bit too long, the day she was going to leave was staring him in the face. She was going to stay and help them solve one more case and then, she was going to disappear from his life.
It was in the final moments that he finally plucked up the courage to tell her how he felt, to lay all his cards out on the table and asked her to stay with him, begged her to help him feel alive again. The look on her face made him think he had said the wrong thing, that she was still going to leave him by himself. He waited with bated breath, didn’t manipulate her or shower her with pretty lies about what he could offer her. The truth was, he couldn’t offer her much. So, there wasn’t any sense in telling her that he could.
After a long moment of silence, she closed her eyes and released a breath. It seemed like she had been holding it in for a really long time. He waited for her to say something, to say anything in reply to him. But she turned away from him wordlessly. It took him a moment to recover from his shock, when he did, he ran to catch up with her.
He caught her and gently steered her around to look at him. There was a breath of a moment before he acted on impulse and kissed her. For one ugly second, he didn’t think that she was going to reciprocate and then it happened. She kissed him back, causing his pulse to jolt unexpectedly. When he pulled away, all he could see was her and a dizzying amount of stars dancing in front of his eyes. He breathed out like a heavy weight had been lifted off his chest and then he released a breath again.
She looked at him in awe and disbelief. He had rendered her speechless when all he wanted to do was hear her voice telling him that she was going to stay with him. After a second, she framed his face with her hands and kissed him again, it was like she was making up for lost time.
She put his hands on his chest and gently pushed him away, biting her lower lip as her face broke into a smile. He tried to smile back but found his facial muscles wouldn’t comply as he stood there, still waiting for her to say something. . . still waiting for her to say anything.
She flattened her hand on his chest and took his hand with her other one. She opened her mouth then, preparing to say the words that would make him or break him. He braced himself for overwhelming disappointment.
He waited, the anxiety overtaking him like an inescapable wave at the beach. Then, relief came in a simple phrase.
For the first time in a decade, he was completely aware of being alive.
Again, this post is actually a fan fiction I wrote, but since I didn’t use names, I realized it could be for any couple. This piece was inspired by Being Alive from Company.