By the time I reached the house, rain was pouring. I was soaked to the bone; my hair was plastered all over my face. I placed a hand on my bulging stomach and felt the little body inside me kick my hand. I smiled to myself and pulled up my hood and took a step onto the stoop. I brought my hand to the door and knocked a couple of times. For a few seconds I couldn't hear anything, but then the door opened up and a familiar face appeared.
The face was the same as I had always remembered it. Perfectly chiseled features with a mop of brown hair that was tousled in the most amazing way it could ever be. Green eyes that looked into your very soul, long lashes that were beautiful. The small scar above the left eyebrow; a reminder of a bad Frisbee accident. The amazingly sculpted lips that were pursed in thought. Strong, tan hands that rested on either side of the doorway while those green eyes searched me for who I was.
It was simply. . . Perfect.
"Can I help you?" he asked, voice raspy just like the first time I had seen him.
Sometimes I regretted the first time I met him. Sometimes it was an awesome thought. What had become of that first meeting was my fault. Everything moved too fast too soon. We got caught up in the moment. Now I just had to deal with the consequences. The good consequences and the bad.
"Um, excuse me? Can I help you with something?" he asked again. I could hear him tapping his finger on the other side of the screen door.
"Are you. . ." my voice faltered, so I cleared my throat. "Are you by any chance, Josh Brooks?" I crossed my arms over my chest and shuffled my feet. This was starting to feel really awkward and I wasn't sure exactly how to handle this situation.
The man behind the screen door raised his eyebrows and stopped tapping his fingers. He gazed at me for a moment before realization dawned on his face. "Rachael?"
I smiled timidly and nodded. "It's me," I whispered. The wind blew, as if on a cue, and pushed my hood off while brushing my hair around my face. I could feel my ponytail coming undone, but I ignored it. All I could see at this very moment was the way his eyes were staring at me. Watching my every move. When they slipped down to my stomach, I instinctively clutched my elbows. I could feel the little body kicking inside me and although it usually made me laugh, I didn't this time. A serious and thoughtful silence had fallen over us like a great black veil, covering us and shielding us from the rest of the world. The thing that brought us back was the whistling of his breath.
"Come in, come in. Gosh, I'm so sorry. Do you need something? A drink of water, a blanket? Some food?" As he said this he unlatched the door and ushered me inside from the cold. Shutting the door behind us, he motioned to the couch. "Sit, sit. Are you sure you don't need anything?"
I shook my head, but whispered my thanks as I sat on the couch. It was brown leather, soft and smooth. It sunk down a bit whenever I sat in it (which reminded me just how far along I was), but other than that was very comfortable. I tried to cross my legs, but gave up because of my large tummy getting in the way. There was suddenly a feeling of self-consciousness that washed over me in a wave. I fiddled with the hem of my shirt, not sure what to do with my hands. Should I fold them? Should I leave them at my sides? Neither choice sounded right, so I settled for still fiddling with my shirt.
I could feel Josh's eyes on me, watching my every move again. I silently wondered what he had been up to. Was he seeing someone? Did he have a wife? Does he have kids? Did he get a new job? Did he get a good degree? I looked around the house for some sort of clue. Looking first to the farthest corner, I saw a small desk and chair next to a couple of plants. In front of the desk was a dark green recliner that had a pillow resting in it. Everything was practically the same as other houses: Television, stereo, recliners, sound system, coffee table, piano. I couldn't find anything that told me if he was married or not.
"I still haven't found the right person, if that's what you're looking for." Josh's voice startled me out of my thoughts. I turned to see him sitting in the nearest chair, leaning forward with his hands clasped firmly together. "I'm still waiting for that special someone."
I tried to contain my sigh of relief. If he had a girlfriend or wife that would have made this much more difficult than it already was. "Oh… I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize. It's not your fault." Josh looked off into space for a moment before turning back to me. "How'd you find me?"
"One phonebook and six houses later and I was here." That earned me a quick chuckle. "I'm sure you're probably wondering why I'm here, huh?" I winced as the baby kicked me a little harder.
Josh immediately stood up and came over. "Are you okay? Is something wrong?"
I laughed quickly. "No, I'm fine. I swear, this child is going to be a soccer player-slash-kick boxer."
"That would be a sight." Josh ran his hand over my spine, sending chills throughout me. I shivered involuntarily and glanced at him. "Is it something to do with your baby?"
"Our baby," I murmured quietly. I turned away from him and glared at the plant, trying to stop the tears that were brimming over. I felt Josh wrap his arm around me and place it on my stomach. I didn't understand why he was doing that, until he rested his chin on my shoulder.
"I can feel him kicking," Josh said. His lips were near my ear now, whispering silently. I sighed and leaned into him. The temptation to grab his lips with my own was stronger than I thought necessary and I had to twist my face away from his to fight it.
I knew he hadn't heard me. He didn't know the baby was ours. Not mine and someone else's. Ours. Him and me. Us. Together.
"Rachael?" Josh asked his lips at my ear again.
"Hmm?" I closed my eyes, relaxing in the warmth he gave to me.
"Why exactly did you come here?" Josh suddenly removed his hand from my stomach and moved back a respectable distance.
I rearranged my position so that I was facing him. There was at least a foot between us, but it seemed like a mile. It had been so long since I'd seen him and I just wanted to reach out and touch him. Have him just hold my hand. Just for a split second, that's all I wanted.
"I thought you realized why I was here," I said. I motioned toward my large tummy. "Did you not notice I'm as big as a house?"
Josh raised an eyebrow. "Congratulations?"
I sighed and glanced at the plant again. Surely Josh was smarter than this! I mean, I haven't talked to him for almost nine months and then I just pop up out of no where looking like this. Isn't that sort of obvious?
"Josh," I started. "Josh, it's not my baby. It's our baby."
I heard the air whistle out between his teeth. When I turned to face him, he was staring at the coffee table in front of us. I couldn't tell what he was thinking; he'd never been an easy person to read. After what seemed like days, he finally spoke:
"Are you sure?" Josh looked at me and locked his eyes onto mine.
I nodded. "Pretty sure. I mean, you're the only person I've ever been with… That way…" I could feel tears brewing over again. "Look, you don't have to do anything. You don't have to support me. I can handle it on my own. But I just thought you might like to know about your future son."
Josh kept his eyes on me while I rambled on. "Rachael," he interrupted. "Rachael, Rachael, Rachael. Why would you think I wouldn't help you? It's my child too. Sure, we didn't plan on it… And sure this is a little out of the blue. But Rachael, I loved you and I still do. I never quite understood why you left, though."
By now the tears were spilling over. My eyes felt like broken dams that couldn't be fixed. Josh reassuringly grabbed my hand and stroked his finger over my knuckles. He wrapped his free arm around me and kissed the top of my head so softly, I couldn't feel it. I could feel the tears rushing down my cheeks.
That was when I realized:
He loved me. He still did love me. I knew I had loved him so long ago and those feelings were never the same for anyone else but him. I was so scared to tell him though. But he felt the same way. I buried my head in his chest, not wanting him to see my grin beneath my tears. He rubbed his hand on my back and held me close.
"Tell me Rachael," he said, kissing the top of my head again. "Tell me why you left."
As I spoke he rocked me back and forth, numbing my cries to dull sobs. "I… I found out."
"Found out what?" When I shook my head, he pulled away from me and tipped my head up with one finger. "Tell me, Rachael."
"I found out I… Was pregnant." I could feel new tears forming at the corners of my eyes, but Josh wiped them away before they escaped.
"That's why you left?" I nodded. "Why didn't you tell me? Rachael, I wouldn't have left you."
"I didn't know that at the time. I knew I loved… Love you. But I didn't know if you felt the same way and I didn't want to risk what we had. So I ran." I bit my lip and looked away. I felt the baby kick and I winced and grabbed my stomach.
"Are you okay?" Josh brushed hair from my face, but left his hand where it was. His thumb stroked my cheekbone softly, as if I was going to break. As if I was a fragile glass statue that with the lightest touch of a feather would crack into a million tiny pieces. I glanced at him and his eyes suddenly sucked mine into his hypnotizing stare. I knew I was lost to him. For now and forever. When his lips suddenly moved closer, I knew I wouldn't be able to resist.
My eyes shifted down to his lips and I saw him mouth something before closing the distance between us. He rested his forehead against mine and set his free hand on my waist. He looked at me for a moment, as if wanting permission, before finally pressing his lips on mine. The instant fireworks crackled inside me, sending a wave of passion rippling over my body. It felt just like old times. The feel of his lips moving in rhythm with mine. The sweet taste of Chap Stick that he put on every afternoon. Everything was so perfect.
I felt him smile against my lips and pull away. He moved his hand to the back of my neck and rested his forehead against mine. "Rachael, I wouldn't have left you. Sure it would have taken me a bit to get used to, but I wouldn't leave you. Trust me. Whatever you need I'll take care of it. Just tell me."
I looked at him for a moment, weighing my options. Half of me wanted to let him help me, wanted to believe that he would be there for me. That he would keep his promise. But he had made a promise like that before. A promise that he had broken. I gazed into his eyes for a moment. I thought about what happened only a moment before. And that made my decision.
Yes, he did break a promise. Yes, he did almost break my heart. But I repaid him by running away from my problems. By not facing them like the woman I had hoped to be. I wanted to be the strong woman that could handle any situation. That was what I always wanted to do when I was a little kid. That was my dream. But when the time came, that dream was shattered. I wasn't the strong woman I wanted to be. I was a weak, worried woman who couldn't take care of herself.
Which meant I needed him.
I needed him like the moon needs the stars. Like the earth needs warmth. Like a soul needs a body. And like a heart needs a beat. I needed him so bad, but the raw and understated truth was: I couldn't have him. No matter how hard I tried. No matter what I did. Nothing was going to be the same again. We wouldn't love each other with the same passion as before. We wouldn't want to give each other everything that we had. It would be like peanut butter without bread. Or ice cream without tears. Nothing would be the same as before.
But it was worth a shot wasn't it?
Sure there were a lot of maybe's and what if's, but what it came down to was the raw truth: I couldn't have him, but I needed him. And that made my decision. Maybe at that point was good enough for me. It was good enough for us both. For us all. Maybe we could get that fire and passion back. Maybe we could learn to be selfless. Maybe, maybe, maybe. Was all there was.
And for me, maybe was good enough.
A/N: Hey guys! Alrighty, so if you haven't noticed this is an opposite of Maybe Isn't Good Enough. This was actually written for a friend who wanted a happy story from me and I decided to make it sort of the opposite.
So about BC. To tell you the truth, I am having so many difficulties. I've been thinking of continuing what I have. Or COMPLETELY starting over and making it completely different. I've also been stressed with school AND my social life. Which has been up for some reason.
ANYWAY, here's a new story to tell ya'll that I'm NOT dead. I promise.
R&R if you want!