I had such a hard time picking out which scene to use for this...but ultimately I decided to share this one. Okay, so it's a bit long. Does that surprise you? Yeah. Didn't think so.
“I am beyond curious about you, Channing. It seems like one minute you’re an open book for me to read and you’re inviting me in to do just that. And then the next you’re distant and unsure of whether or not you want to be around me at all. I don’t understand.”
I drew in a deep breath, uncertain of how to respond to his beyond insightful observation of my totally erratic behaviors.
“If I say it has nothing to do with you, will that be enough?” I asked squinting my eyes and pleading with him to just agree with what I said so we could enjoy the time we had together, before it all fell apart like the rest of my life.
“Probably won’t be enough. If you haven’t taken the hint yet, I don’t give up easily. Why are you so intent on denying this? I know that we’ve only known each other for a little over a month, and I may be going out on a limb here, but I think you can see what’s going on here just as well as I can.”
His persistence was charming and painful at the same time, making it hard for me to know what to do.
“If you mean, do I enjoy spending time with you, then yes, I do. I just have a lot going on that makes life kind of strange and difficult and unlivable all at the same time. Being friends with you is one thing…” my voice trailed off undecided on how to end the sentence. How am I supposed to be convincing when I don’t even know what I want? I looked down, unknowingly tugging on my necklace and tried my best to avoid his eyes.
He tilted his head to the side and turned to face me. A gust of wind whipped by causing a few strands of my hair to get caught in front of my face and a chill ran down my spine. He reached down and softly pushed the hair from my face and tucked it behind my ear. I looked up and got lost in his eyes, almost forgetting how to breathe. How in the world did he manage to do these things to me? Quickly, I broke his gaze, knowing that if I didn’t do it then, I might just drop all my carefully built defenses and give in to him.
“Channing? Why can’t you look at me? It’s like it’s painful for you for some reason.” His strained voice came out in a fog in the crisp, cold air.
“No, it’s not painful the way you’re thinking.”
I wanted to say, it’s actually worse than painful. Excruciating.
But instead, I struggled to spurt out, “It’s just the opposite.”
He moved closer to me on the bench and before I knew it, he had both of his hands holding mine. I wanted to pull away, worried I might get sucked into a vision that might ruin the moment, but even more honestly concerned about getting sucked into him. I swallowed my fear and refused the temptation to pull away, letting him hold my hands. He made my heart flutter, against my will. It wasn’t fair what he was doing; making my mind and heart go to battle against each other like that.
I had never felt so thrilled and cursed at the same time.
“Reed…I…I’ve never dated anyone. I’m a really awful friend and I just don’t know if I can do this. Earlier when I said that it wasn’t you, I meant it. I have a really difficult time letting people come into my world. I know you don’t know this, but I’ve made a lot of progress with you and for some reason you’re the first person in a long time that I’ve been almost convinced to let in. I think about it all the time. But it’s just so complicated.”
I looked down, biting my bottom lip, afraid to hear what would come next. I wasn’t going to be able to keep up with this façade much longer. Fighting him off was much harder than I had anticipated.
My eyes were unable to follow my brain’s directions and no matter how hard I tried to keep them glued to the ground, they forced their way up to look at Reed’s face. All of the sudden, I wasn’t afraid that I was going to see a vision. I was seeing one unfold in real time. It was the same one that I had seen only a couple of weeks ago, on the day that I had first met Reed.
Knowing what was coming made it increasingly difficult to breathe. Every square inch of my being wanted to be there and experience this with him, but my mind was screaming to get up and run. The kiss seemed inevitable unless I freaked out in the last possible minute and left him hanging. It wasn’t likely that it would happen that way considering how much a piece of me wanted it and couldn’t wait for it. Not to mention the fact that my body was stuck to the spot I was sitting in.
Any time I had ever had a vision that included myself, the moment would seem to move into slow motion as everything around me stopped. This time, however, that was even intensified. There was not another person or care in this universe that existed and the only sound I could hear was the rough breathing escaping my mouth and the pounding of my heart in my ears. Get control of yourself Channing.
“Let me in,” he breathed, his face mere centimeters from mine.
Damn. I was like putty in his hands. There was no denying that.
Before I could make a mad dash and never look back, he made his move. It was so unlike me to even be in a situation like this, but I felt frozen, completely unable to break away from the unexplainable magnetic pull our bodies seemed to radiate when we were around each other. It was all over now. I had no fight left in me.
Everything in me melted, and I became his to do whatever he pleased. He took both of my hands with one, and placed his other gently under my chin so that he could put me into another one of his trances with his eyes. Sliding his hand up to my cheek, he held my face so affectionately; it evoked an array of emotions throughout my whole body. Emotions I had never experienced but felt so desperate to continue to feel. He stared into my eyes as he leaned down, letting his cold nose brush up against mine and then parted my lips with his and kissed me.
Oh. My. God. Was this really happening? The chill in the air was quickly replaced by a sudden warmth that ignited within me, seeping through my pores and covering my skin. It was definitely not cold anymore. At all. My cheeks flushed and I felt the need to dump a bottle of water over my head to cool myself down. But that would mean that I would have to pull away from him and there was no way I was about to do that. I never wanted it to end. It was the most amazing kiss, and I'm talking the heart-stopping, head-spinning kind. The vision did not prepare me for this. It was so much better.
And so much worse. Because it was real. Breaking the spell, I jumped up off of the bench, knocking over the hot chocolate.
“I…I have to go,” I stammered as I took one last look at his face, hurt and baffled, over my sudden disinterest. I didn’t have time to worry about his feelings. I would only end up hurting him more in the long run, so it was better for me to just get it over with. The chocolaty liquid formed a pool around my boots.
And if it wasn’t enough that I had already pulled his heart out of his chest and stomped on it, I added, “This was a mistake. I don’t want this, so just do me a favor and stay away.”
I forced myself to turn away from him and took off running, with tears streaming from my face as soon as he was no longer able to see me.