That night, we slept in separate beds. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d slept alone. My bed felt cold and uncomfortable without Sean, and I didn’t sleep well.
Sean wanted space, and I knew I had to let him have it. We kept ourselves busy in our own ways. I favoured painting, whislt Sean preferred fixing things and working overtime on the computer.
Fairly soon it was time for my adult birthday.
I doubt Sean even noticed.
One day at work I was feeling quite emotional about the whole thing. Sean and I had always been something, if not romantic then at least friends. This nothing, I couldn’t stand it. When I made a mistake on an eyelash tinting, I ended up in tears along with my client. It was then, while I was out the back of the spa trying to compose myself that I made my decision. If Sean didn’t start talking to me again, I was going to have to move out. Because I couldn’t keep this up much longer.
You can imagine my surprise when I got out of work and Sean was freaking standing there, with that little annoying smile on his face.
‘I thought I’d come pick you up,’ he said hesitantly.
I just stared at him. ‘Thanks,’ I said, a little stiffly.
Sean bit his lip, an oddly uncharacteristic gesture. ‘I want to - can we start over?’
I closed my eyes briefly, and nodded. I didn’t trust myself to speak.
You could feel the tension in the car. I desperately wanted to sneak my hand over and hold his, but I didn’t want him to react badly. Instead, I just let the wanting build up inside me. When we got home, I was highly aware of his every movement. I walked slowly over to the fireplace and lit it, then sat down on the couch, feeling like an actor in a movie. Sean came over to me. He had a strange expression on his face.
‘My feet are sore,’ I said lamely.
Sean looked amused. ‘Then don’t wear heels to work, silly.’
It all happened very quickly. In one fluid motion Sean had sat down on the couch and was kissing me.
The fire was instant, and I immediately wanted more. But Sean pulled away and put his head in his hands.
‘I’m sorry,’ he said. ‘Just give me a sec.’
I got up off the couch to give him some space. When I heard him behind me, I turned around.
Sean looked vulnerable and confused. ‘I dunno. Maybe.’ He stroked my hair. ‘I want this, I just - I don’t know.’
I didn’t know what to say, so I gave him a soft peck on the lips, which set us off again.
We were intertwined, kissing furiously, making our way down to the bedroom as we did so.
I was ready, I was so ready - until Sean said, quietly ‘Stop. I can’t do this.’
I knew what his problem was. He just couldn’t trust me, and rightly so too.
When we were having lunch at the diner the next day, I saw VJ.
Conflicted emotions ran through me. I definitely liked VJ, but I liked Sean too. I didn’t want to break things off with VJ, but I wasn’t entirely sure what I wanted beyond that.
‘Let’s go somewhere,’ I said to Sean. I wanted to kiss him, but I didn’t want to do it in front of VJ.
Sean frowned. He hadn’t seen VJ. ‘Where? Home?’
‘No, um, the library!’ It was the first place that popped into my head.
Sean eyed me curiously. ‘Okay. The library it is.’
Let me just say, the library has a great selection of secluded corners to make out in. And I think Sean was more relaxed as well, seeing as we couldn’t exactly do the deed in the library.
We stayed there until Sean had to go to work. As I kissed him goodbye my phone started ringing.
‘Hello?’ I grinned as I watched Sean lope down the stairs. I gave him a little wave.
‘Hello, is that Viola Sharpe?’ The voice on the other end of the line was familiar, but I couldn’t place it.
‘This is Viola.’
‘Good, uh, this is Miraj, VJ’s brother. I’m calling to - I’m sorry to tell you that VJ passed away this afternoon. It was very sudden.’
I froze. ‘But I just - I just saw him today.’
‘I’m sorry,’ Miraj’s voice was clipped, broken. ‘You’ve got my number now if you need. I’ve got to go, Viola.’
I don’t know how long I stood there, in a daze. I made it home, somehow, my actions feeling numb and mechanical. As I locked the front door behind me, I let the tears fall.
Chapter title is Short Stack song lyrics again. From 'Counting the Stars'.
Sorry this isn’t a very long chapter! It just seemed to end naturally there. That is also the spot my game broke, weirdly.
I laughed so hard when I was writing the bit about Viola fudging an eyelash tint. I don’t know if any of you have experienced it, but if the therapist messes it up, it hurts like hell cos you have hair dye in your eyes! Not good. Let me know if you want more Viola-at-work stories. I think I’ve only done a couple before, but they’re pretty easy to make up, so I can do more.
Viola really did wish to go to the library when she was on a date with Sean and saw VJ. It was hilarious.
Sorry if the writing’s off in this chapter. A guy who doesn’t want sex is very hard to write, so bear with me (and Sean!).