They lied there in silence remembering all of the times that had gone and past. They reminisced about second chances, missed opportunities, and kisses in the rain. Yet, in that same miserable silence, they brooded over the things that would never be. Things that had long missed their chance at ever becoming a reality. Staring off into the hopeless, distant future, they lingered on their past and tried to absorb as much of it as they could.
“Remember when you sister caught us in your dads office?” he laughed. They’d just met at the time. Two star-crossed teenagers that were way too wrapped up into each other, awaiting a future they would never have.
“Ha! Yeah, I was so scared. She made me do the dishes for like a month. My fingers were so pruny, remember that?”
“Yeah, I do. Your hand jobs were terrible for a while there.”
She slapped him playfully, then nestled in closer to him. She inhaled his scent and immediately felt warm inside. Fifteen years later and he still made her knees weak.
“Don’t be gross. They got better though, right?”
“Better as in you finally stopped using your hands.”
Chuckling softly and wistfully, she said, “You’ll never change, Matthew.”
He thought about that for a moment. “Do you really want me to, though? You love me. Maybe if I changed, you wouldn’t love me anymore.”
“It doesn’t matter what I want now.”
“Come on, Ana. Don’t do that.” He moved his arm from behind her head, adjusted his position so he could look into her eyes, and tousled her hair softly. “Ana.”
“What? I won’t be like that, just leave me alone.”
His full lips broke into a smirk, and he said, “Is that what really want?”
Meeting his gaze for the first time, Ana bitterly responded, “It doesn’t matter what I want. Has it ever?”
Matthew looked at her worryingly, feeling a tug of pain from not being able to give her everything she’s ever wanted. Slowly, he moved his mouth towards hers and placed his lips on the only set of lips he wouldn’t mind kissing for the rest of his life. Ana placed her hand on the side of his face and moaned softly as he kissed her deeply. She pulled away from him and kissed his eyelids, and then his left cheek, right cheek, then the tip of his nose, and then kissed his lips once more.
Slightly breathless and completely in a daze, Matthew looked at her and said, “I love you, Ana.”
She responded to him with silence, and then readjusted herself. Back to laying in the crook of his arm, and taking in his scent, Ana bit her lips hoping to escape a flood of tears that would surely come.
His forehead creased and his lips pressed, Matthew quietly asked, “What do you want, Ana? What do you want that I can give you?”
Shielding her face, she uttered, “How did we get here, Matt?”
Feeling defeated, he lied back down. Within her eyes was the promise of disappointment that would follow them for the rest of their lives. He pushed her in closer to him and rested his chin on the top of her head.
“I was never a fan of your toes. They’re so long. I don’t know how you don’t get creeped out by just staring at them.”
Ana’s face broke into a grin and she couldn’t help but laughing.
“At least mine don’t smell as bad as yours do. You literally can’t ever take your socks off.”
Smiling, he said, “I’m a man. That’s man stink. You like my man stink.”
They sat in silence for what seemed like ages and held on to each other tightly. She was where she felt she belonged, and he was where he needed to be. Yet, neither of them could stay there.
Almost in a whisper, Ana pleaded, “Don’t go, Matt.”
“What do you mean? We can’t stay in this room forever, check out is at 11.”
Ana sighed and put her hand on the bridge of her nose, something he knew she did when she was tense.
“Look, I’m sorry. But Ana, what exactly is going to happen here? We’re where we are right now because you left and got married. You’re not going to leave him, so what else am I supposed to do? Annabelle, I love you, but I can’t do this with you forever.”
“You left me no choice, Matthew.”
“Yeah, well we’ve always disagreed there.”
More silence, and more regret.
“I made a lot of mistakes, Ana. I should’ve never cheated on you, I should’ve never hit rock bottom the way I did, but…but you could’ve…I don’t know, you could’ve w—“
“Waited for you? I could’ve waited for you to put down the fucking bottle and choose me for once? I could’ve waited in my car all night again while you had your whores and your drugs all over the place, just so I could clean you up when the sun came up? One of us had to grow up. I had to make a life for myself, Matthew. Maybe I should’ve waited, but you…you basically pushed me into his arms.”
Matthew sighed deeply and ran his hand through his hair, then left his hand resting behind his head.
Ana moved closer to him, closing the gap between them and said, “I’m sorry.”
“Me too.” He kissed her forehead. “I just can’t do hotels every other weekend with you. This can’t be our life, Ana.”
“How does joining the army solve the problem, Matt?”
“You won’t be there. Maybe I’ll fall out of love with you.” Before the words even left his mouth, he knew something like that could never be possible.
“I’ll never stop loving you. I’ll never stop wanting you.”
“I know.” He checked his watch. “Listen, we have two hours left so let’s do things that’ll make you hate your husband. I’m gonna need these memories in the desert, so lay it on me, woman.”
Annabelle laughed loudly, and her heart fluttered. “Don’t be gross.”
He sat up and removed his shirt. Smirking as he bent down to remove hers, he said, “Now isn’t the time to play hard to get, babe.”