Thursday, November 19, 2015

Back to California

I got up to leave. It seemed like the normal thing to do, but Scott pulled me close to him when I tried to wiggle free.

"I want you to stay, baby," he whispered. I wanted to yell at him. I also wanted to bury my face in his chest and cry. I needed to show him that he couldn't push me around, but I was exhausted. I didn't have it in me to fight the urge to lay with him for a little while longer.

I fell asleep next to him. I felt strangely relaxed. I woke up a few hours later feeling groggy and forgetting where I was for a second.

Scott was standing up and putting on his shirt. When he saw me looking at him, he half smiled at me. "Morning," he said.

I smiled. "Good morning," I teased. "What time is it?"

"About 5," he replied. He scratched the back of his head as he looked out the window. "I was going to see if you wanted to go grab food?"

I glared at him. "I'm confused," I replied. "Did I dream that you told me you weren't happy?"

Scott sighed. "I know, I suck," he said after a moment. "I thought you would agree. You can't be happy with this situation either. And I'm sorry that I brought it up so early, but I don't think we should spoil the weekend."

I half laughed. "So you want to pretend like everything is fine for the rest of the weekend? Until you can forget about me?"

Scott just stared at me. "You think I'm going to forget about you? That's not what this is."

I didn't respond. I turned toward the window and took my time before saying anything else.

Before I could even articulate my feelings, Scott moved over and sat down on the bed. "I still love you, but how is this supposed to work? Are you ever coming back to New York? You haven't mentioned it at all. And we haven't discussed me moving out there. This isn't sustainable, Caroline."

"Yeah," I replied, feeling sad but understanding. He was completely right. Then, right as I was about to agree to have a nice weekend before going back to California, I remembered the picture. I remembered the way he acted the past few days. I remembered that these events were all too close together.

"So this has nothing to do with your new coworker?"

Scott gave me a look of confusion, but I was watching him too close. There was a look of panic on his face, for just a split second, before the conscious look of confusion took over. "What are you talking about?"

I laughed. "Scott, if you seriously try to lie to me right now, I will murder you."

He laughed at my exaggeration, but I did not. When he saw I wasn't laughing, he began silently rubbing his chin.

"You can't tell me you don't wonder," he finally said. "I love you, but you never wonder about what could be?"

I wanted to push him as far away from me as possible at that moment. What could be? But then, I was honest with myself, and I had thought about it. I had thought about how different my life would be if I was single when I first went to California.

"I get it," I replied as I looked away. "I'm gonna go," I continued. "It's going to be too hard to play pretend for the day."

Scott nodded and looked down. "I completely understand." Then he paused before adding, "I'm so sorry, Caroline."

I smiled and nodded. Without another word, I gathered my things and left. That's when I should've known it was over. But I'm a sucker for romance. I thought he'd call me before my flight back to California, but as I checked my phone from my seat, nothing. When my phone pinged minutes later, my heart skipped a beat. It was Anna, though.

"Hey, I hope you still managed to have a good time this weekend. I love you and Charlie said you're awesome!"

Even though I wanted it to be a text from Scott, I smiled at the sentiment and quickly responded that I had a great time hanging out with her and her relatively new boyfriend.

I didn't want to go home after leaving Scott's place, so I called Anna. She was going out with her boyfriend and his friends that night, so the timing couldn't have been more perfect. I figured some harmless flirting would be exactly what I needed to take my mind off Scott.

While I had a good time, Charlie's friends were all ridiculously drunk and all they did was make me miss Scott more. I spent most of the time chatting with Anna and her boyfriend, who were the kind of couple that didn't make you feel like a third wheel at all.

"A break?" Charlie asked when I explained my last minute attendance. "That's fucked up," he replied.

"That's what I told her," Anna contributed.

I rolled my eyes at them. "Yeah, I know. Whatever. I'm not going to think about it." I didn't want to admit that even though Scott and I should've been over, I wasn't ready to let it go. I mean, there's a reason he called it a break and not a breakup, right?

When I still didn't hear from him a few days after I was back in California, I began to really feel down. I called him a coward over drinks with Shelby and Peggy when we went out for happy hour on Thursday.

"Why did he fucking say a 'break?'" I vented as I downed the rest of my Riesling.

It took me almost a full month before I gave in to Shelby and made a dating profile on WebMatch. She told me she would leave me alone if I went on just one date. So, I scheduled said date.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Are You Happy?

I hadn't seen my boyfriend in two weeks and he told me he couldn't pick me up from the airport because of work. Work. Last time I checked, work didn't include going to happy hour and snapping a pic with a new associate, who just happened to be super hot. He wasn't dumb enough to post it, of course, but his coworker who I follow didn't see any problem with it.

The interns were gone. I was happy about that, but my relief was short lived when Scott informed me that they hired a bunch of new graduates. He nonchalantly showed me a few of their Facebook pages and there were three or four girls who made me instantly feel slightly jealous. I didn't think about them again, because I swear I'm not crazy, but here was one on my iPhone screen. Smiling up at me. I could've cracked my phone against the ground at that point.

Instead, I took a deep breathe and patiently waited for everyone else to wake up. It felt like eternity before Anna woke up.

I thanked my lucky stars that she awoke first. Jessica and Darlene can blow things out of proportion or, at the other extreme, only tell me what I want to hear. Anna always gave it to me straight.

I immediately passed her my phone. "Ew," she responded without hesitation. "I'd dump him," she said as she threw her phone back to me.

I pouted. I didn't consider this a dumpable offense, but knew it couldn't be a good sign for our relationship. I didn't think he was cheating on me, but choosing happy hour with his coworkers, which he could've done any other night, over picking me up from the airport wasn't good.

I decided to be an adult and simply wait until that night to ask him what the deal was. I was meeting him at his place and then we were going to lunch.

When I got there and he greeted me at the door, I was overwhelmed by different emotions. He was holding a bouquet of flowers. I felt like crying, screaming, and hugging him all at the same time. I couldn't help but feel that the flowers were an apology of sorts.

"Hey, babe," I managed to say before tiredly throwing my arms around his neck. "I missed you."

"I missed you more," he replied, squeezing his arms even tighter around my waist. Then, right before I pulled away, he let out a heavy sigh and said, "this sucks."

I gulped. "Yeah," I replied. My rage was suppressed by feeling defeated. I wanted to scream at him. He made it harder than it had to be this weekend, but I knew he was doing his best. I dragged him into this.

We began kissing and the kissing led us to the bedroom.

Scott didn't say anything and neither did I. As he kissed my neck, I let out a moan of pleasure. His hands felt so good on me. I didn't ever want to address any of our problems or my concerns from the last week.

When we were done, I pulled the sheet up to my chest and settled into his arms. I lightly kissed his chest a few times before shutting my eyes.

I always had to bring up relationship issues with Scott and as I lay there, I started to think about what would happen if I just didn't bring this issue up. I mean, things were good now, right?

As I rested my head on Scott's bare chest, I could feel his heart beating louder than usual. I didn't think much of it until he asked me a three worded question that pierced my heart.

"Are you happy?"

I snapped my head so I was looking at him. He was staring straight up at the ceiling, his jaw tight.


"Are you happy?" I thought he'd clarify what he meant instead of just literally repeating himself.

I paused and tried to give him the most honest answer possible. "Usually. I mean, mostly. I love you so much."

"I didn't ask if you loved me," he replied in a cold tone. He quickly caught himself and shook his head. "I didn't mean it that way," he continued. "I love you, too. Just, are you happy with our current situation?"

I sat up straight as I felt tears well in my eyes. "Well, it doesn't matter, because you clearly aren't." I threw my hands up. "If you want to end this, just do it. You're not going to get me to agree to it." There it was: all my frustration from the last few days, erupting as Scott tried to somehow manipulate me into ending our relationship.

Scott looked at me for the first time since starting the conversation. "It's hard, Caroline. I love you, but being apart like this, without any sort of end point, I mean, how can we maintain this?"

I looked away from him, tears now fully rolling down my cheeks. It took me a full three minutes to respond and Scott remained quiet the whole time. "I'd rather do this with you than be with anyone else."

Scott reached for me. I didn't resist as he pulled me against him and spooned me. I continued to sniffle, but my tears stopped. I think, deep down, I knew this was coming. Moving to California gave us an expiration date.

We laid there for an hour, not saying anything, before I turned to face him. "So, what does this mean for us?"

Scott traced a circle on my shoulder. "Do you wanna take a break? Take some time to think about what we both want?"

I didn't know if that's what I wanted. Why delay the inevitable? But then again, I was never good at ripping off the bandaid. I always dragged my misery out.

"Sure," I responded before pulling him close and tasting his lips, maybe for the last time.