Monday, December 28, 2015

Guest Fiction Series: I Used To Love Her, Part 5

For a few months, will be taking four guest authors #fromblogtobook. Each week you'll be able to read a new installment from unique aspiring authors. This tale is from Angelica Bryant. Enjoy!
To catch up on all parts click Here.

I wish I could tell you that the food was amazing.  I know that I had some kind of bananas foster fusion French toast; I know that he had a veggie frittata.   Each bite failed to satisfy the hunger Chase created in parts beneath my butterfly filled tummy.  I could have been chewing air; it wouldn’t have mattered.
“Thank you, so much, for meeting me Chloe.  I know you probably didn’t want to”
He was right; I hadn’t.
Who was I kidding? More like I had wanted to more than anything and I knew desire so strong for something obviously not good for me would only end in calamity… So I avoided it like the plague.  I fought the craving until willpower ran low and I convinced myself that I could do this; be here with him like this.  And now, looking into his face, with me sitting only inches away from that velvety skin, I felt compelled to apologize for the secret war I’d been raging since we ran into each other.
I know, I’m crazy.  But… how could I have ever thought to deny him?  How could I have ever thought to deny myself?
Small talk over fresh herbal tea.  He’d soon be opening an art gallery, something that he’d spoken of doing during our time together.  Then he was just a recent art school grad with a good eye and tons of tenacity; fastforward and he’s found an investor whose capital matches his creative genius.  He invited me to the opening in 2 months.
We reminisced about the time I challenged him to a bake off and his caramel cupcakes beat the pants off of my deflated chocolate soufflĂ©.  Then about the time we got caught in the rain at Piedmont Park and he carried me piggyback style all the way to the car.  I remembered how mad I was to have my hair ruined; he remembered that he had never seen me look more beautiful.
I told him that I’d worked my way up to executive producer; I now had the morning show and morning news under my masterful hand.  Leslie was getting married.  Which brought about a slightly uncomfortable pause; she wasn’t the only one who’d found a fiancĂ© in the years since we last spoke… 
“I’m glad you’ve been well Chase but what’s up?  Why’d you ask me here today?”
I had to get to the point.  Beating around the bush isn’t my strong suit and before I turned into any more of a sappy, love stricken fool, I had to know.  I was all but begging him to say something just painful enough to snap me out of my pseudo reality; the one where we ran off together and sped down the interstate until we reached coastline.
Earth to Chloe
“Because I missed you.  I didn’t realize how much until I saw you…. How much I had wanted to tell you.  It kinda all just came bursting out….”
Explains his word vomit; sharing so much so quickly that he hadn’t stopped to notice how his mere presence caused a dizzy spell so intense that I’d dropped my champagne.  I immediately succumbed to his power.  The same power that had me sitting here wondering why in the world I was sitting here at all.
“Ok.. Well.. I guess.. But so much has changed. You have a..”
I couldn’t bear to say it aloud.  Luckily I didn’t have to.
“My meeting with you today has nothing to do with Jessica.”
Then who did it have to do with?  My cool was beginning to wear thin; or was my common sense beginning to seep through?  All those thoughts of fantasy romance began to dwindle replaced by…. Annoyance.
“So.. Again. Why am I here?  I’m glad to have caught up with you.. Mainly because I felt horrible for the way that we ended… And I have missed you; but that’s beside the point….”
“I needed to see you.  Chloe, I know how this looks..”
I didn’t let him finish. “You’ve moved on and I’m happy for you.  I wish you guys all the best.  But I’ve moved on too and maybe it’s best we just leave this where it is…”
Chase looked utterly confused.  I didn’t expect him to get it.  I didn’t want to know “why” anymore.  That one statement…
 My meeting with you today has nothing to do with Jessica
…told me all that I needed to know.  Truth be told it didn’t have anything to do with me either.  This was about him.
And while I can’t blame him (roles reversed I might have done the same thing) it had become strikingly apparent that unless I felt like signing up for torture, I had to get out of this thing we were on the verge of creating and fast.
He hadn’t asked me here because he felt a pull that he couldn’t deny.
He hadn’t needed to breathe me in because I was the only thing that could fill his lungs.
He didn’t soak up my aura like it was the very life force necessary for his survival.
I smiled.
“Chloe… I mean can we be… why are you even saying all this?”
I almost laughed.  What? He wanted to be friends?!
“I still care about you a lot, I was  in love with you, but what did you expect me to do? You left me!”
I had left him, yes, but for his own good.  What sense did it make, me dragging him into my unresolved mess with Malik?  What did that have to do with anything now? 
I watched his lips move, hearing about half of what he said, really thinking of a response to shut him up.  When had he become so expressive?  His brow furled, his posture changed.  Each word he spoke dripped in passion.  He really wanted me to believe him.  He really wanted me to know he meant what he was saying. 
He really was still engaged and getting married in a month.
“You know, maybe this is something I should drop,” he sarcastically conceded, “You’re right.”
He looked like a kid on the verge of a tantrum; one that knew he wasn’t getting his way regardless so he sulked and pouted but gave up none the less.
“I mean we don’t have to be strangers,” I reasoned, “we can keep in touch periodically.  As long as Jessica doesn’t mind.”
“Sure,” he snorted.
His ego was clearly bruised but I knew this scenario all too well.  Thank God I woke up out of dreamville before it was too late.  Yes he thought I was amazing and sure he missed me—my listening ear, my giggling at his jokes, my devouring of his food, his art, his love; he probably also missed midnight dancing in my living room, Friday night ciphers at random hole in the wall lounges and love making so intense time itself stopped to try and trap the magic we created in those moments—but none of that and I mean NONE of it compared to his new reality, and I couldn’t beat the reality of wedding vows.  I wouldn’t even try.
He paid the check and we stood for goodbye hugs far less electric than those shared an hour before.  Replacing the static heat of longing was a distant coolness only former lovers can know.  I embraced it; maybe I needed to go through this rollercoaster of silly school girl desire so that I could emerge strong, resilient and most importantly OVER HIM.
I was aware of his stare, blazing straight thought me, as he walked me to my car.  We reached my door and I turned to him.
“Thanks Chase.  I’m really glad I got to see you.. “
“You too Chloe”
That goodbye was much too easy.  I got in my car and called Amali.

She had been right…. And I’d known it deep down inside all along.

At least I made it through. It was finally finished.


Angelica is a creator/writer living & loving in Atlanta, GA 

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