Authors: Lauren Pacaccio
But then, he stopped me.
"Pay, no. Stop. We can't," He was breathless, as was I. I frowned. Wasn't this what he wanted? "You are way too vulnerable right now. I couldn't ever take advantage of you like that. I love you too much."
He was right. I was not in my right mind. I was torn apart. I was torn in two. One part of me wanted to rip his clothes of and do what I had wanted to do for four years. The other part of me wanted to run outside, into my car, and go back to Braden's apartment and beg him for forgiveness.
I backed out of Hunter's arms. "I'm sorry. I'm…I'm just so sorry."
He grabbed me again, and pulled me down so that we were both lying down. He was still without a shirt, but he didn't seem to mind. "Get some rest, Paisley. I'll be here all night. Don't worry." I was drifting off. He was whispering something to me right before I dozed off.
"I'm never letting you go again."
I woke up very early the next morning. Hunter was still shirtless. My face was pressed to his chest and he was squeezing me to him. My head was right under his chin and I was just nestled there like I belonged there.
I tried to roll over so that I was on my back. Hunter did the same thing. His arm was under me, but he was knocked out. I wondered how long he had stayed up after I had fallen asleep. I was so grateful for him at that moment. I rolled to my side and put my head on his shoulder. His arm cradled me. He shifted a little and his eyes slowly started to open. "What's going on?" he said, slowly and very softly.
"Shhh," I said, putting my finger to his mouth, "nothing. It's fine. Go back to sleep Hunter," he smiled against my finger, kissed it, and whispered, "K, Pay." And then, he was back to sleeping.
I couldn't go back to sleep no matter how hard I tried. I rolled out of his arms, slowly, trying my best not to wake him.
I pulled my hair up into a messy bun and slipped out of my jeans to some more comfortable sweatpants. I put on my college sweatshirt and slipped on my slippers.
Nothing had happened between Hunter and I the night before. Only an intense make out session. No sex, though. I remembered that.
I needed to talk to Braden. My head was clearer. I needed to talk to him and sort everything out. We couldn't just throw three years down the drain because of a couple of kisses.
I decided to drive to Braden's apartment like I wanted to do the night before. I realized that I left my phone in my room. With Hunter.
He would be pissed when he realized that I had left. But, he would have to get over it. Braden was the guy I was supposed to be with. He had a career, an apartment, and he loved me. The drive felt so short. I was there before I realized it.
I ran up to his apartment and used the key that he had given me.
He was here because his keys were hanging on the hook. I smiled and ran to his room.
On the way there, I noticed clothes were all down the hallway. It wasn't like Braden to be messy. He must have been so upset that he just stripped down on his way to his room and fallen asleep.
It was still pretty early in the morning when I slowly opened his bedroom door.
There was Braden. I walked up to the bed and realized something that almost made me throw up right there.
Braden was sleeping, sure, but he wasn't sleeping alone.
"Oh, my god," I said, backing up, holding a hand to my mouth to keep from vomiting everywhere. While I was backing up, I underestimated the speed at which I was backing up and backed right into the wall with a loud bang.
Braden sat up quickly. "Paisley?" he said, looking very confused and disorientated. "Oh, shit," he said, really looking around. "Paisley, wait." He went to stand up and realized he was naked. "It's not what it looks like!" He said, rousing the sleeping girl next to him.
"Really, Braden?" I said, my voice rising, "So, you didn't sleep with some random person the day we…" I didn't want to say "broke up" because I didn't think that's what we did, "…the day that we did whatever the hell we did?!"
"Okay," he said, looking very guilty, "maybe it…is what it looks like, but you have to hear me out!"
The girl sat up and looked like a deer in the headlights. Wild hair and lip stick smeared all over her mouth. "Um, bay?" she said, looking at Braden, "who is this?"
I held up my left hand, "Well, sweetheart," I said to her, "I was his fiancé." Her mouth dropped open.
"You're engaged?!" She grabbed the sheets and pulled them over her as she ran into the bathroom, picking up any clothes she could find on the way there.
I looked right at Braden and said, "Not anymore, he's not." I took off the ring, looked at it for a second, and tossed it onto the bed.
Braden looked around for pants and ended up grabbing some boxers that were right by the bed. "Paisley, wait," he said, jogging after me. I was now in his living room area. I stopped, with my back still to him. "I'm sorry," he said, coming up behind me to hold me like he always did. I turned around fast.
"Don't you dare touch me!" I glared at him.
"Paisley, I was so pissed. I went to a bar. Okay? I got a little drunk. That girl," he gestured to the bathroom, "was all over me, and I don't know," and he put his hands over his eyes, "I guess I just liked the attention from someone who wasn't hung up on someone else."
"Oh," I said, nodding, "that's what this was? Revenge? Getting me back for just kissing someone?! You decided to go and sleep with someone? Good job, Bray," I gave him a thumbs up, "You really showed me."
"Come on, Paisley," he said, going to touch me again but I moved away, "you let Hunter kiss you after the way he treated you all those years, but you won't let me touch you?"
I looked him in the eyes, "First of all, Hunter never cheated on me. Not once, so, point for Hunter." He rolled his eyes. "And second of all," I said, placing my hands on my hips, "Why are you comparing yourself to Hunter right now when Hunter has nothing to do with the fact that you just fucked up everything?"
He rolled his eyes, "Yeah, Paisley," he said, "because I would sleep with someone else if I didn't believe that you were doing the same thing with your ex. So, no, Hunter is definitely innocent in all of this."
"Hunter would never do anything like this to me, Braden," I said, knowing it was true.
"Oh, really?" he said, "then why did you break up with him if he was treating you so well?"
I thought about it. "At the time, it seemed like the right thing to do. We were just staring college and he had probably pissed me off with some smart ass thing he had said that day, and things just escalated. Once some things are said, you can't take them back." I looked at him hard. "And once things are done you can't take them back."
Braden pouted, and began to shout "Paisley, listen. I love you. I do. But," he sighed, "I can't love you if you're in love with another guy."
"Well," I said, feeling stronger than I had in years, my voice loud and not wavering, "That works out for me, then. Considering you screwed another girl," I looked at him with such rage that he almost cringed, "I could never love you."
He grabbed me quick and pushed his lips to mine. I pushed him away as hard as I could, and he started screaming again. "This is what Hunter did, right? Why won't you kiss me back like you kissed him?"
"Because," I said, glaring at him, meeting his volume, "when Hunter kissed me, I could not remember a single reason why I ever stopped loving him. But, with you," I said, gesturing towards him, "just now," talking about the kiss, "I couldn't remember why I ever started loving you."
I couldn't go home just yet. I was far too upset to drive that far. I decided I would stay in my apartment for the night and drive back to my parent's house the next morning. It would be Christmas in a couple of days. There was no reason for me to sulk around and hide from my family. I could handle it.
Pfft, I thought to myself as I was heading to my apartment. Who are you kidding? You're about 3 seconds away from crumpling into a pitiful heap. And now I was talking to myself. Fabulous.
I decided I would not wallow. Not in the car at least. I sat up straight and turned the radio up as loud as it would go. I don't even remember how I got to my parking spot. But I did. I trudged up to my apartment, trying my hardest to hold it together.
Only a couple more steps and you'll be in your apartment. I unlocked the door and shut the door behind me. I decided that before I broke down, I would call my parents to let them know that I was alright.
I called them on my house phone, considering my cell phone was in my old bedroom.
"Paisley!" My mom answered the phone, "Oh, thank god, you're alright!"
"Sorry, mom," I said, cradling the phone between my shoulder and my ear. I was busy picking at my nails, trying to distract myself to hold the phone. "Something happened between Br…" I cleared my throat, "Braden and I. I'm at my apartment, but I'll be back tomorrow morning and I'll explain everything. I just have to go now."
I expected her to say something dismissive and hang up, however, she answered with, "Baby, do you need to talk about it?" She was a fine mom, sure, but she was never too interested. That was always my dad.
"Rain check? I can't," I took a deep breath; "I can't talk about it right now."
"Alright, honey," she said, sounding like a completely different person, "Your father and I are very happy that you're alright." And then she hung up.
I went to wander down the hallway. I was so used to Daisy running up to greet me, but she was with a friend while I was out of town. I was halfway into the hallway when I realized that something had caught my eye from the living room. I backed up slowly, giving the room my full attention. Nothing was out of place. Lamp, couch, Hunter, TV, rug…wait.
I screamed. "Holy crap, Hunter," I said, "You almost gave me a heart attack!"
"You are far too oblivious for your own good, Pay," he said, smiling at me. "I've just been sitting here for like five minutes now. Waiting for you to realize it. I could have been anyone."
"What are you doing here?" I asked, and then thought about it. "More importantly, how did you get in here?"
"Well, I woke up when you not so stealthily left the house. I figured you would be going after Brady," he looked up at me, "Braden, sorry." I shrugged. He could call him whatever he wanted to.
"Either are gay names," I offered. He smiled widely.
"Anyways," he said, getting up and walking towards me, "I asked your parents for your address and drove straight here."
"Yes, but when you almost killed me from fright, you were sitting on my couch, not just waiting around outside my door. How did you get in?"
"You really don't believe that I know you as well as I do, Pay?" he was right in front of me now. "Your spare key was under your neighbor's mat.
Remember that one random discussion we had years ago? For whatever reason, we were talking about spare keys. And you said that you would be brilliant and put in under a neighbor's rug so that no one would ever be able to get into your house."
I gaped at him. "You remember that?"
"I remember everything," he said, putting his hand on my cheek. I leaned into it and closed my eyes. "Now, tell me what happened with Braden."
I backed up and shook my head. "I don't want to talk about it." He walked behind me and walked me to the couch like a child.
"Don't be stubborn. You know you'll feel a little better once you tell someone." He looked at me with his big blue, puppy dog like eyes.
I rolled my eyes and grabbed a pillow. I sat with my legs curled under me and I held the pillow on my lap. Hunter sat next to me, his body turned towards mine, waiting for me to start.
I took a deep breath once again and willed myself not to cry. "Well, I decided that it would be a good idea for me to go to Braden's to sort everything out. To explain to him that a few kisses was not a good reason to end a three year relationship. Apparently, he wanted to show me what a good reason would be." I looked at Hunter pointedly.