Oh, dear Lord, save me....
HERE HE COMES.
I look up at him, pure blue piercing me. STOP IT, I want to scream at him. Dark blonde bangs catch in his long, dark blonde lashes, and he blinks, the soft licks of hair only tangling more in his eyes.
STOP IT NOW!
A cool, knowing smile spreads across his gorgeously lush, pink mouth. "Hey," he greets lazily.
I smile a tolerant hello, my brain and heart and body all warring against themselves violently, deep inside. It's every man for himself in this battle, and there will be no survivors this time around. He bends to whisper something in my ear he thinks will amuse me, dark tendrils of his hair falling against my neck, burning it. My face is crimson; I can feel it.
We begin to laugh at his comment spoken so gently to me. It hides the scarlet of my cheeks, and I smile at him. That same sensual, moving smile blooms on his lips, and my heart thunders. The sudden warmth fills me, overflowing in my cheeks.
A.C., I WANT YOU SO MUCH, DON'T YOU SEE?
He settles beside me, too close for conscious thought. He taps out a rhythm on his denim clad thigh, using mine as his cymbal. I flash that patient smile, and he pays no mind.
I HATE YOU!
I want to hit him so hard, so hard that it will rattle his perfectly even, white teeth. Hit him so hard his head will snap back, and he'll be bruised a dark, violent purple; the clear, perfect skin marred. I would love it. He drives me insane, and revenge would be gorgeous.
He slips a finely shaped arm about my shoulders to ask how I'm doing.
Fine, fine, I murmur, and I jump out of my seat, unable to bear the pure torture of him any longer.
I have to get out and catch a breath of fresh air. The kitchen is swimming in heat and smoke and laughter, an in-depth card game in progress. I stand in the doorway, and John pats my leg, asking me how I am, and what's wrong, why do you look so upset. I smile, say nothing, and head for the sink to get a glass of water.
And he glides into the kitchen behind me.
GO AWAY! I want to scream. I LEAVE TO GET AWAY FROM YOU! IMBECILE!
"Oh, Em! Can I have a Coke?!" he asks urgently, his head stuck in the refrigerator.
"Don't ask me. Not mine." She points at me, and I turn to look at him.
A sudden, pleading look fills the blue, and I nod, yes, it's all right.
"But it's the last one," he reminds.
I tell him it's OK, take it, it's yours. AND SO AM I.
He thanks me heartily and claps me on the shoulder, bounding out of the room happily. I roll my eyes at December, and she shrugs. John grabs my hand as I go by.
I nod, yes, thanks for being concerned, but yes, I am. He smiles satisfied that I speak the truth, and turns back to Makaela.
I come back in the room, my water cool in my burning hand. I sit by his legs. I couldn't bear sitting next to him any longer. He pats me on the head. LEAVE ME ALONE! I want to cry at him. I look up.
Yes? I ask him.
He thanks me again for giving up my last can of cold soda, and I tell him it's no problem, anytime, and turn away again.
IDIOT, my brain hisses, and I can't tell if it's meant for me or him ... maybe both. YOU LET HIM GET AWAY WITH IT EVERY TIME.
Get away with what?
THE DAMN MIND GAMES. HE LOVES TO CONFUSE. WHY DON'T YOU CALL HIM ON IT?
Because I don't want to know it. I mean, I know it, but I don't want to hear him say it.
HIT HIM. KICK HIM. TELL HIM YOU HATE HIM.
But I don't hate him. I only hate the things he does.
That's me. That's him.
HE'S NO FOOL. HE KNOWS WHAT HE DOES TO YOU.
He doesn't even! He doesn't even believe the fact that I don't hate him. He thinks I despise him completely. Most everyone thinks that. But I don't. I never have.
YES, YOU HAVE.
No, I've only been angry. Angry with him for not realizing, angry with me for not telling him. But I've never hated him. Ever.
That's me. That's him.
What do you mean, NOT TRUE? He lied all the time. To me, Mike, Em, John, Craig, Joel, even Lemon. All of us, his friends, the only people who care. But we forgive him. We always do. He's a part of us.
YOU HATE HIM.
HE WAS A FOOL TO TREAT "THE KINGDOM" THAT WAY.
He was confused. He was a fool to treat himself that way. But he's better now. Much better now.
BUT HE DOESN'T CARE ABOUT ANYONE BUT HIMSELF.
He does care. Only two hours ago he was trying to get me out of the car to make sure I could drive all right.
HE ONLY WANTED TO SEE IF YOU WOULD COME WHEN YOU WERE CALLED. AND YOU DIDN'T.
Because there was no reason for me to. I was fine. He just shook me up a little.
YOU BLEW IT.
Oh, what was I supposed to do? Get ridiculous and pounce on him? So he could've blown me off the next morning? We actually talked that day. A real conversation about everything.
Exactly. He must give a damn to talk to me. Really.
HE DOESN'T, STUPID.
That's me. That's him.
And he slides down beside me on the floor. Hi, he whispers. Are you OK? I mean, really OK? he asks.
I nod, sure. I'm fine. You?
Oh, OK, he answers. And we talk for a while. n
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.