“You’re pining.” He murmured, gaze set to the starry sky but seeming to look through the celestial masterpiece. He’d been doing that a lot lately.
“I know.” She shifted her head in his lap to wipe a few damp strands of hair from her face. If he asked, she would deny it but even he knew better than to address the reason for her puffy eyes. “You too.”
“I’m not.” He grunted and shifted his glare down to the back of her head. For a moment, he considered shoving her off but then she’d be looking at him and he didn’t feel like being dismantled tonight. “Why the fuck are you upset. He’s not gone. You see him every fucking day.”
He regretted the vehemence in his voice when her head snapped to look at him, her eyes narrowed in fury. “You’re right. I do. I see him every day and I’m nothing.”
“What? That…doesn’t make sense. You’re missing words again.” She did that fairly often.
“I am not. It’s…well, yeah. I skipped a lot of unnecessary inner dialogue and warped to the end, but that’s the summary. I’m nothing.”
He rolled his eyes and finally pushed her off, standing and heading back to the house. He didn’t have time for feminine dramatics. “You’re not nothing or he wouldn’t hang out with you. He’d have cut you off already.” The unspoken *like me* was still present even if he wouldn’t dare say it out loud. He wasn’t pining. He’d barely gotten the chance and he’d squandered what chance he had. There would be others…when he was ready.
“He won’t.” She rolled onto her knees and then back onto her ass to watch him go, unwilling to go back yet. “He’s nicer than he says.”
He stopped with his hand on the screen door and sighed before turning around to really look at her for the first time in a long time. Her eyes were puffy, but the redness was gone. So she’d finally stopped crying like a child who didn’t get what she wanted. This conversation wouldn’t help but she wasn’t moving on. If he was honest with himself, neither of them were. “That may be. But he’s a man accustomed to picking up and leaving whenever he wants. If he didn’t value your friendship, he’d be gone. Your website bullshit isn’t enough to make him put up with you if you were as annoying as you think you are.”
“I never said I was annoying.” She blinked and she was the one to look away this time.
“You said you were nothing and you forget- I know you. Trust me. You have value…but you’ve got to stop pining.”
“I’m not. It’s enough.” She snipped, followed by a slight sniff which she tried to play off as a huff but failed. She couldn’t do it as well as he could.
Her eyes were red again. If he wasn’t careful, he’d have a flood in his yard again just because he was an insensitive bastard.
“You’re not insensitive.” She countered, bringing up the annoying fact that even his thoughts would never be his own. “And you are pining. More than I am. As you said, I see him every day and I never really…well.” She sighed and ran her fingers through her hair to buy time. “I didn’t really get a lot of intimate time with him, did I?”
“Now you’re fucking ridiculous.” He snapped. “You held a remote in your fucking hand that gave him pleasure. He talked to you as he came. That’s fucking intimate. He asked you to be his girlfriend. That’s fucking intimate.” At this point, he had to let go of the handle to his screen door or risk breaking it and fucking up the small measure of protection he had against the elements.
“A week.” She replied softly. “I got a week and I chased him off.”
“You didn’t.” He argued, his tone soft but for all the wrong reasons. Frankly, he agreed with her but he couldn’t let her take all the blame. He was equally responsible. “I couldn’t give him what he wanted. I was too soft… We both are.”
She blinked rapidly and then stopped to fan her eyes. She didn’t want to wade through the mud if she decided to go back inside either. “So you admit that you’re pining too.”
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. In the darkness, he saw the eager eyes looking up at him and the fact that even now he struggled with what had to be an unhealthy amount of tenderness. Even if he’d managed to give him the roughness he wanted, this fucking tenderness would have ruined it. He’d have loved him until he ran away and there was no future in loving someone who didn’t want to be loved. He’d felt the cynicism from the start and he’d warned her about it. It was the only reason they were still standing. He’d done what he could. Now it was time to go home where he could recover. He opened his eyes and reached for the door. “I’m going.”
“Don’t leave me.” She pleaded. “I can’t do this.”
“You are doing it. Just keep doing. You know the drill. One day at a time. I’ll come back when I’m ready.”
“You’re running.” She wasn’t holding back now, that’s for sure.
“My presence here is not needed.” He argued, glancing to the side but refusing to turn around. “I tried. I don’t want to play with anyone else but I don’t have a purpose without it. I have no fucking outlet for this…bullshit. Do you…Fuck!” He cursed and finally turned around to glare at her. “Do you have any idea how it feels to try to play with someone else but it feels empty? I don’t feel anything. Nothing but bitterness because I know that- YES. I’m fucking pining.”
He growled and turned to kick the door, his boot putting a dent in the metal and shaking the frame. He hid his relief that the frame and lock held before turning to continue. “Are you happy? It bothers me because I know that it wasn’t what he wanted but I miss that closeness. It bothers me that I’m a confident fucking creature that feels inept. I exist -my sole existence- is to carry you when you’re feeling vulnerable and insignificant. I can’t do that right now when I’m fucked up. You say you’re nothing but you’re *everything*. I’m just a fucking gimmick. I can’t even fuck your cares away because I’m just…pathetic.”
The silence lasted longer than it should have. She didn’t agree, but when she opened her mouth to argue against it, she realized that by arguing against his argument, she would be arguing against her own. She was arguing with herself again.
“Do you think it’s because we’re crazy?” She sighed, falling onto her back to look up at the stars instead, hoping for the nonchalance that he portrayed earlier and knowing that if she looked at him any longer, she really would cry.
“Probably.” He returned the sigh and turned back to the door. “I’m going.”
“Bye.” She murmured, already feeling more alone than she did before but she didn’t really have an argument for him to stay. He was right. He didn’t have a purpose. He’d failed to protect her and he wouldn’t be helpful at all if he didn’t go heal. She’d do what he said. She’d just keep doing one day at a time.