“Where are you?”
I stare at my phone, mildly surprised that the message went through. Then I realize that it’s SMS, not Whatsapp. I only have him blocked on Whatsapp.
My thumb hovers over the keyboard. “Why?” I type slowly. Then I hit send.
“I’m in the Philippines,” he answers. “We have to meet.”
3:30 PM I arrive at Infinitea. He’s sitting at my table, and he looks so startlingly handsome that I feel a ball of ice form at the the pit of my stomach. Don’t look up, I tell him silently.
Of course, he does.
His clear grey eyes blink up at me, and he smiles. “Kitten,” he says. “There you are.”
I sit down, not trusting myself to speak.
He leans forward and envelopes my hands in his. He stares at me. I feel surprised, because it’s the first time he has touched me that didn’t send an electric shock through me.
“Why are you here?” I ask.
His touch is familiar but doesn’t make me tense up like it used to. When we were together, we were never comfortable together. Everything was charged with tension and we could never be quiet together, which is maybe why we made out a lot. That’s easier that being comfortable.
“You’ve changed,” he says.
“You haven’t,” I answered.
“They tell me there’s someone else,” he ventures.
I nod. I think of his voice, his smile, I think of how different he is from Christian. I smile to myself and Christian sighs.
“Why not me?” he asks.
I don’t answer.
“I’m handsome, more handsome than anyone you know. I’m smart. You know I would kill for you.”
I smile, resting my head on the wall beside me. This way I have a side-view of his perfect face. “You can’t give me what I want,” I tease him. “You love yourself too much. I need complete adoration. You can’t love anyone else, not even yourself.”
I’m kidding, but he seems to ponder over my words.
“And you love him?”
I wince. “You don’t need to sound so surprised.”
“Does he know? That you love him.”
I smirk at him. “Oh, I know he does.”
He’s silent. I watch him. The barista watches us.
Memories flash by. When he slammed me against the wall and casually told me he’d kill me. When he would hit me whenever he became suspicious of me. When he smashed my 3DS in half because he was jealous of all the time I spent playing.
But he was also a boy who wrote poems and songs for me. Who painted for me. Who would surprise me with breakfast. Who sat beside me through IST and kissed my needle bruises. Who called me his angel and told random strangers on the street how much he loved me.
“First it was Lucien. Now him.”
I nod. “The timing is always wrong for us.”
“I’ll leave,” he says. “I’ll let you be happy.”
I nod. “I would appreciate that.”
He squeezes my hand one last time. “But,” he says, “you have to let me go too.”
I feel a sudden jealousy seize my lungs, hindering my breathing. “Is there someone else?”
He laughs. Everyone stops to look at him and marvel at his perfection. Even me.
“No. You know it’s only you. But you need to give me time to move on as well.”
We smile at each other, at ease for once.
He gets up to leave. We embrace, and he whispers that I will always, always come back to him. Like he always does.
“Be mine?” he asks one last time.
I give him my usual answer. “Never,” I reply.
He leaves. I finally order tea and take out my new book.
My phone buzzes.
The name that appears is not Christian’s. It’s the person I love the most in the whole world, and finally I smile.