Sitting at the table fidgeting with his drink, he checked the time on his phone. It was still early, much too early to call it a night. But what choice did he have? He’d ruined everything. The dinner, the mood, their relationship. The only thing left was to pronounce the whole thing dead.
It had only been a few minutes since she had excused herself to go to the restroom. He could only imagine what she was doing in there. Looking for a window to shimmy out of? Calling a girlfriend to request an SOS call so she’d have an excuse to leave? Maybe she really did have to pee.
Leaning back in his seat he couldn’t help but notice all of the other happy couples. Why couldn’t that be them? Why were things so damn hard? Pushing his drink away, he sighed. Did it really matter? Maybe it was for the best. After all, it had only been six months. Not like six years or anything crazy.
Leaning forward and looking at the few remaining ice cubes in his glass, he thought about those six months. The laughter, the corny jokes, the meals they’d shared. The first kiss, then the second, and every wonderful kiss after that.
He sipped his watered down drink, barely noticing its complete lack of flavor and potency. Then the one thing that he tried not to think about came to mind. The lovemaking, and after the lovemaking and the after the after lovemaking.
But it really wasn’t any of those things these past six months that caused his heart to yield and his brain to finally wrap around the fact that he loved her. It was her. She was the reason he fell helplessly in love. The journey hadn’t been easy.
He had baggage. She helped him unpack. Past loves and unrealistic expectations had left him broken. She showed him that broken crayons could still make beautiful art. He’d been hurt. She helped him heal. While he didn’t believe in soul mates, he knew that his soul had found a place with hers.
Now it was all messed up because of him. If she left, nothing would ever be right again. But he couldn’t blame her. Her actions would certainly be justified.
Still looking down into his drink, he tilted his head when he sensed her presence. Her beautiful eyes captured his but provided no clue as to what she was thinking.
He quickly rose and pulled out her chair, just like he’d been raised to do. Searching her face, he thought it odd that she was…smiling. Confused, he took his seat, never taking his eyes off her.
He didn’t dare speak but he had to. What had changed from the time she walked away until now?
He had to know. So he asked, “You’re not mad?”
She looked up at the waiter as he refreshed her coffee. Shaking her head slightly, she reached across the table and placed her hand on top of his. How could one touch evoke so many feelings? His heart melted.
“You said ‘I love you’ and I didn’t respond.”
She nodded. “And I’ll love you even if you don’t say it back.”
“You have to understand. Every time I’ve said those words someone has ended up hurt. I don’t want that to be us,” he said.
“Love is an action word. Even if you can’t say it, you show it every time we’re together. Do I need to hear it? It would be nice, but I’ll wait.” She winked.
Later that evening…
As she prepared for bed, she heard the text alert. Glancing at her phone, it was a text. From him.
You’ve become my best friend, my favorite person to wake up beside on lazy Saturday mornings. In the time we’ve been together you’ve become the person that I wasn’t looking for but who showed up at the perfect time. You’re my partner, my friend and the love of my life. I love you more than I can express with simple words.
With a smile on her face and lightness in her heart, she climbed into bed, shut off the lights, and went to sleep beside him knowing that tomorrow would begin their forever.