Chapter 5: Songs Of Memories
The following day Naura was determined to get through without allowing thoughts of Tyler to enter her mind. She had one class and after that she was going to put all of her focus on her schoolwork. Lucine had snuck in sometime in the middle of the night and hadn't mentioned anything about her late night rendezvous with whomever. Naura assumed it had something to do with a boy, possibly the blue-eyed one from the party, Louis. In any case, she wasn't one to pry so she wasn't going to bring it up unless her roommate did.
Halfway through an unbearably boring class, Naura's phone buzzed from her jeans pocket. She quickly snuck a look and saw that it was a text from Rez.
Want to grab lunch today? I'm out in an hour.
She quickly texted him back before pocketing her phone, smiling to herself.
Sure. Call you after class.
The next hour crawled by and twenty minutes after that she was seated at a table in the center of the busy school cafeteria with Rez. He looked gorgeous and perfectly put together as always. Dark locks styled as if he'd just been to a barbershop, a bit of a five o'clock shadow, and his outfit of dark jeans and a black V-neck shirt looked like Hercules himself had tailored it. Could he do no wrong?
And why the hell was he single?
"So why don't you have a boyfriend, or two?"
Naura laughed at his cheesy joke, twirling her fork in her hand. "To be honest I'm still getting over my last break up." Which happened six months ago, an annoying voice reminded her in her head.
"Do I need to kick your ex's ass? Any idiot that would let go of a girl like you has to be crazy." Rez smiled, his handsome brown eyes glinting in the sun streaming through the cafeteria windows.
She returned the smile, stabbing at a piece of lettuce in her salad. "No, he didn't do anything wrong. It was just long distance and we didn't make it." Well, he'd chickened out but she didn't want to admit that. It was hard enough to even think about, let alone say out loud.
"Well, long distance relationships are tough. Not a lot of couples make it."
"True…So what's your deal? No girlfriend with all these hot prospects around?"
Rez chuckled lightly, stirring his fork in the pasta he had ordered. "There's not as many hot prospects as you think. College girls aren't too classy. That was what I first noticed about you. You don't seem like that type."
Naura was surprised to hear him say that although it was true. She really wasn't as crazy as some girls. Not anymore, at least. "I am more reserved than I used to be but I can definitely party."
Rez's smile converted to a grin. "Oh, I don't doubt that. We'll have to see who can out drink the other."
"Good. So what do you usually do with your free time?"
"Since I've been in college, study. But I like to go to the movies or try out new restaurants. Anything I haven't done before that's fun."
"Well, that gives me some ideas. Have you ever been on a jet ski?"
Wow, jet skis? He was pulling out his big cards so soon. "No, but I've always wanted to."
"We can do that then. You haven't lived if you haven't tried jet skiing."
"Sounds like a plan."
Between hanging out with Rez and Tyler, she was going to have a busy weekend. Not to mention whatever Lucine wanted to do and she hoped to God that was shopping. She also wanted to find a part time job somewhere. Living on your own wasn't easy, even with the help of financial aid and her parents.
The rest of their lunch date was filled with witty banter and playful looks. Talking to Rez came easy and flirting with him wasn't too difficult either. It somewhat reminded her of the way she'd started out with Tyler although Tyler had been a lot more cocky about his pursuit. The sexual tension with Rez wasn't as strong but it certainly was there. The more she talked to him, the more she liked him. And the more she saw potential for more than a hook up. She told him about her hatred for math and he offered to tutor her. Their dorm buildings were just beside each other and his had a nicer common room so they decided to have weekly study sessions there. Once they finished with their lunch, Rez pulled the gentleman card and offered to walk her back to her dorm.
Whether or not he was normally a gentleman, it was definitely working.
"So how's your roommate? Is she a psycho or somewhat normal?"
"Thankfully, she's normal. I've heard the roommate horror stories so I definitely got lucky."
"Yeah, you can't be too careful. I got my own place. VIP benefits and all."
"Lucky. I'd kill to have my own room."
"Oh, would you? That's a bit drastic, don't you think?"
Naura laughed and lightly punched his arm. "You know what I mean."
Rez held his hands up. "Hey, I don't know. You could live a double life and be a murderer. I just met you. How do I know you're not crazy?"
They entered her building and headed for the elevator, a number of students hanging out in the hallways and a few of them giving she and Rez interested looks. "I guess you'll just have to go on faith," she said smartly. Once they reached her floor, they walked side by side to her room. Just as she was inserting her key the door swung open and Louis stepped out, surprising them.
"Oh, hey. Sorry."
Naura took a step back, smiling politely. "No worries. Louis, right?"
Pretty blue eyes smiled and nodded, adjusting the black and white striped snapback he wore. "Yeah. And it's Naura?"
"Yeah, this is Rez." She motioned toward Rez who stood beside her.
Rez nodded, shaking Louis's hand. "Nice to meet you, man."
Louis sized Rez up, not bothering to hide it, and nodded back. "You too. Well, I was just headed out so I'll see you guys later."
"Later." Naura let him pass before walking into her dorm. She noticed that Lucine was in the bathroom showering as she set her books on her desk and turned back to her lunch date.
Rez was standing just inside the door, watching her. He definitely had checked her out from behind, not that she minded.
"Thanks for walking me back," she said, walking back over to him. There was a bit more tension between them than there had been earlier and she was pretty sure he was going to make a move. The look in his eyes made her certain of it.
"Anytime. Thanks for letting me." He bit his lip, leaning to the side in the doorway and crossing his arms.
"So tutoring tomorrow? I'm out of class at four." He was definitely looking at her like a piece of meat he wanted to devour. And was she looking back at him in the same way? Possibly.
Rez nodded. "Yeah, I'm available then."
There was a semi awkward silence for a moment before Rez decided to end it. He uncrossed his arms and reached down to grip her waist, pulling her toward him those last few inches.
She wasn't exactly sure of what was going on in her head but suddenly she wanted this. Rez was attractive but she hadn't kissed anyone since Tyler. Not that she hadn't been tempted, but she just hadn't felt that connection with any guy since him. And the closer Rez got, the less she felt comfortable with starting something with anyone new.
And then she had a realization. She could waste her time pining over a guy she wasn't even sure still wanted her…or she could let go and live.
Time to let go.
When Rez's lips touched hers, instead of freezing, she responded by pressing hers back against his. She gripped his bicep with her left hand and placed her other hand on his chest. Her nose brushed his as she inhaled and wrapped her lips around his top lip, him doing the same with her bottom. She wanted so badly to slip her tongue in but tongue on a first kiss was a class-less move. So instead she relished in his hand on her hip and the heat radiating off his chest. She felt a tingling in her own chest as the kiss continued and his other hand moved to her back.
All too soon, it was over and Naura forced herself to pull back, giving him one last peck.
Rez smiled, removing the hand from her back. "See you tomorrow." He switched his gaze to something over her shoulder and grinned. "Hey Lucine."
And with that said, he made his exit.
Naura closed the door and slowly turned around, a silly smile on her face.
Lucine stood before her, wrapped in a towel, her hair sopping wet and a surprised smile on her face. "What have I been missing?"
Suddenly Naura felt as giggly as a first grader. Her smile widened. "I don't know. He's so hot, though."
"Tell me about it! I never thought Rez would be your type. How did you meet him?"
Naura walked past her roommate to sit on her bed, kicking off her sandals and crossing her legs. "He's in my math class. He sat next to me on the first day and we just started talking. I didn't think I was going to meet anyone this soon."
Lucine grabbed her lotion from her desk and sat down on her own bed, looking somewhat envious. "Damn girl. Rez is one fine guy. Just be careful. He has a bit of a reputation around campus and enough ex-girlfriends to fill up a football field."
"I don't think I'm ready for anything serious yet anyway. Just some fun." If this ex-girlfriend thing was true, she wasn't sure she wanted to mess with Rez too much…Oh, who was she kidding? He was too hot to pass up. And so many girls would probably be jealous. She'd noticed all the looks the girls in her class gave him. Even boring nerd girl.
"You're in college anyway. This is no time to try and get wifed up. This is your chance to try new things, particularly men, and see what you like."
She already knew what she liked. Or rather, who. But she wasn't sure that person still liked her back. "I'm not closing myself off to new things. I just want to make sure I don't make any decisions I'm going to regret."
"Yes, but that's what college is about. Making dumb decisions and blaming it on being young, stupid, or drunk."
"Well, my reason for Rez is because I'm young. And because he's attractive."
Lucine laughed. "Good reason. There's a party tonight. Want to go?"
"Oh, did your secret lover Louis tell you about it?"
Lucine rolled her eyes as she combed out the tangles in her long hair. "Don't even get me started on him. But yeah, he was the one that invited us."
"Okay, I'll bug you about him later. I don't feel like going out but take a shot for me."
"Alright, lame-o. I will."
She felt, strangely enough, not excited to party this week. And if that made her lame, so be it. She wanted to relax and be responsible. She had only just gotten here, anyway. There was plenty of time for partying.
Or maybe she wanted to avoid seeing Tyler out with Chel. That could also be it.
Regardless, tonight was going to be a casual night and hopefully she was going to be able to make it through the rest of the week stress free.
But who was she kidding. She couldn't go a day without something going wrong.
The next day went much smoother than expected. She had one class and then a study session with Rez. The kiss the night before had been nothing short of magical but she wasn't quite ready to move on from Tyler. So anything with Rez would have to be taken slow. And she was going to have to let him know that. Especially considering how half the guys in his common room were giving her knowing looks.
"So what day are you free this weekend?"
Naura paused in her writing and looked up at Rez. "Um, Saturday or Sunday." She hadn't once considered cancelling on Tyler. And if he cancelled on her, she was going to lose her shit.
Rez nodded, flipping to the next page in her math book, which he had laid out on the table before him. "Alright, Saturday works. First date. Should be fun."
She smiled lightly. "Yes, it will. And Rez….I just want to take things slow, if that's alright? I like you but I don't want to rush anything."
Rez nodded, no signs of disappointment on his face. "That's fine. I understand. Your ex really did a number on you, didn't he?"
Naura smirked. "I'm not damaged goods or anything. I'm just so used to being in a relationship. Or moving quickly without taking the time to feel something out-"
Naura looked up and to her left stood a tall brunette with obviously fake fun bags. She looked pretty excited to see Rez and definitely not in a platonic way.
Rez smiled lightly and stood to hug her. "Hey Alicia, how are you?"
The hug suggested they knew each other well, maybe sexually, and it kind of turned Naura off. Was he friends with all of his old hook-ups?
"Good. How was your summer?"
Rez shrugged as they pulled apart. "Can't complain. How was yours? You're from California right?"
"Yeah, it was fun. I had a blast but I'm definitely happy to be back in Miami." The way she spoke was so enthusiastic and she practically hung on to his every word. "What are you doing this weekend?"
"Just hanging out with some friends. By the way, Alicia, this is Naura."
'Hanging out with some friends?' Guess he was really taking what she'd said about going slow seriously.
Naura shook the girl's hand and smiled politely although she really wanted to brush her off like she didn't exist.
"Nice to meet you, Naura." She quickly turned her attention back to Rez. "Well, my friend is having a party this weekend and you should come. Is your number still the same?"
"Yeah, same one." He wasn't exactly flirting but he wasn't acting too casual either.
"Alright. I'll text you. See you later." She winked.
Alicia, the peppy brunette, walked off without so much as a goodbye glance at Naura.
Naura was feeling slightly put off now. At least he'd introduced her, but more as an after thought. "She seems nice," she said as Rez re-claimed his seat. The way she said it suggested a certain annoyed undertone she wasn't sure he'd pick up on.
"Yeah, she's alright. Why?" Rez smirked, his brown eyes glinting roguishly. "You jealous?"
Naura rolled her eyes. "You wish."
"Don't worry. I only have eyes for you, gorgeous."
Good grief, how many times had he used that line before? "I'm so relieved."
If he really was the player Lucine claimed, this wasn't going to last very long. She didn't have the patience she'd had before. She hadn't met too many worthy guys back home and already Florida was proving to be a bust.
Maybe Rez wasn't quite the prince charming she'd hoped he'd be, maybe he was. He still had a few more chances to prove her wrong.
The rest of their study session was filled with light banter and easy conversation as usual. Although Naura wasn't feeling as flirtatious as she had before, nor was she as blinded by Rez's good looks. Once a player, always a player.
Except when it came to Tyler. He was the one exception. Even with the way he had acted at the end of their relationship.
Come Friday, she was in the middle of her own private study session at the nearby coffee shop when her phone buzzed.
Still free tonight?
She hadn't seen or heard from him since dinner at their parents' and, as always, just one text was all it took to change her day.
She waited a moment before responding, typing slowly.
Yeah, just doing homework.
She focused again on what she was studying and tried not to let her mind wander. A minute later, her phone buzzed again.
Alright, pick you up at 7?
Naura texted back 'Sounds good' before checking the time.
Shit! It was already 6. She needed to go get ready.
Naura rushed back to the campus and half ran to her dorm. When she walked in, Lucine was seated on her bed, talking on the phone. The person on the other end of the line was probably pretty blue-eyed guy considering the flirty giggles. Sonya sat next to her doing her nails and watching a soap opera on Lucine's laptop, which she had placed in her lap.
Naura said a quick hello to the girls before rushing to take a shower. When she re-entered her room, she rushed to her dresser to find something to wear.
"You have a date tonight or something?" Lucine asked. She was now doing her nails while Sonya air-dried her own.
"Or something," Naura said. She pulled out a simple silk short-sleeved maroon dress that flared out at the bottom. Casual but still cute was what she was going for. She didn't want it to seem like she was trying too hard but she also didn't want to look like she didn't care.
She quickly slipped on the dress and added a thin black waist belt. She then snatched her makeup bag from atop her dresser and sat down on her bed.
"Okay, so Rez or Tyler?" Lucine really did remind her too much of Rachel. Only Rachel would be so blunt instead of dancing around the white elephant in the room.
Sonya's blue eyes widened. "You're dating Rez?"
"Not exactly dating. We just met. And I'm going out with Tyler tonight. It's not a date. We're just hanging out."
"Yeah, sure. I casually hang out with my exes all the time," Lucine said sarcastically. "Just be smart, okay? Don't get your hopes up. He's still hooking up with Chel as far as you know."
God, Lucine and Rachel would definitely get along well. Two peas in a pod. Rachel was never afraid to speak her mind even if it was the hard truth someone didn't want to hear.
"I know. I'm not." Flat out lie. "I just can't completely cut him out of my life. If we're not going to be together, we can still be friends." Partially true but being 'just friends' with Tyler was almost impossible.
Naura finished her makeup with a touch of lip gloss and ran to the bathroom to curl her hair. Tyler was going to be here any moment and she wanted to be ready. When she finished her hair, she rushed back into the room to slip on a cute simple gold bangle and her black strappy sandals, ignoring the sharp look from Lucine.
It was at that moment, five minutes past seven, that a knock sounded on the door.
Naura quickly sprayed herself with perfume, ignoring Lucine and Sonya's knowing looks, and went to open the door. When she did, she felt her heart go all a-flutter like it always did.
Why did he always have to look so damn delectable?
Tyler stood before her in a casual outfit of black jeans and a dark blue denim collared shirt with the sleeves rolled up. His wavy hair was styled in that same messy but put together way and somehow he looked even more scrumptious than the last time she'd seen him.
"Yep, let me grab my purse." Naura turned to retrieve her small black cross-body bag and waved at the girls whom were both smiling wisely at Tyler. "See you later."
The walk to his car was slightly awkward and Naura half wished she'd worn jeans instead of a dress but it was too late now. Although Tyler did look like he'd made an effort at dressing nice so she possibly wasn't the only one? In any case, she was in dire need of a beer or a shot to calm her nerves. Anything to make her feel less awkward around him.
When they reached his car, Tyler opened the passenger side for her before walking around and seating himself in the driver's seat. "You look really nice, by the way."
She was almost surprised he'd said it. He had always been fond of compliments and he had paid her many back when they'd been together, but it still wasn't something she expected to hear now. "Thank you. Same to you."
Tyler pulled out onto the main street and switched on the radio, turning it to the same rock station as before. "So how did your first week go?"
"It went alright. My classes aren't crazy hard but the homework sucks." Her phone buzzed and she was half sure it was Rez.
So on a scale of 1-10, how much does it suck being at the same school as Tyler?
The text made her smile. It was Rachel, who she hadn't talked to all week.
I'd say a 7. We don't have any classes together but he might be hooking up with his ex-girlfriend who sold him out and is the reason he left Florida in the first place. Other than that, things are great. Please note sarcasm.
"Texting one of your new boy toys?"
Naura smiled and glanced at Tyler. "No, just Rachel."
"Tell her I said hi. How's she doing?"
"Good. She's been with the same guy since beginning of her freshman year and she's MVP on her track team."
"And my wonderful Julie?"
"Doing good in her classes and still just as dramatic as she's always been. Have you talked to Zach?"
"He hits me up every once in a while. I guess he got a mechanic job at some auto shop and is seeing a nice girl."
"That's good to hear." She and Zach had their differences but she really did wish him the best. She wasn't holding a grudge over how he'd blackmailed her into taking drugs…okay, only a little one.
Alas, it had been a year and holding onto the past was just unhealthy. A tiny part in the back of her mind reminded her that this was true for relationships as well. She reminded that part that this was different because they had unfinished business.
"Yeah, so how are you and Lucine getting along?"
"She's pretty cool so far. Reminds me a little of Rachel. How's your roommate?"
"I actually moved off campus this year and got an apartment. The dorms are just too crowded for me. You don't get any privacy."
Privacy to hook up with your ex junkie girlfriend? "Yeah, true. The only privacy I get is when Lucine is out in the middle of the day and I'm done with class."
And of course when she was out hooking up with Louis and pretending like it was a secret.
"That's exactly why I moved off campus. Get used to it."
"Yeah, I mean I'd like to have some privacy but since it's my first year here I want to have more of a chance to make friends."
"Well, you always have me."
Her heart did a silly little jump at that statement. As much as she wanted to hate him, she just couldn't. Especially when he said things like that. He was such a prime factor in the sanity of her emotional state. "I know…."
The rest of the short drive to the venue was filled with a lot less tension and more regular conversation, almost like the conversation they used to have driving to and from high school. It was a definite déjà vu moment for Naura, one she accepted gladly.
"My buddy that's performing tonight is pretty chill. You'll like him. And this place. I come here almost every week. They have all sorts of stuff going on like open mics, poetry night, small events, whatever."
We both exited the car and made our way up to the café that served as a café, bar, and small concert venue. The line wasn't extremely long but apparently Tyler was a well-known regular because he shook the bouncer's hand in hello and breezed right by.
The place was small and cozy with a bar in the back and small round tables and chairs spread about. A woman was already on stage with a guitar, singing about a love unrequited.
Tyler led her over to a table in the corner and pulled out her chair before seating himself beside her.
The crowd was pretty diverse, a mixture of people from their twenties all the way to their fifties. Naura was definitely relieved by the lack of people her age. This way she ran less of a chance of running into people she knew from school. She checked her phone and saw another text from Rachel.
Sounds like so much fun. Please keep me updated on all details. Also, try to have fun despite being forced to breath the same air as your ex. Please note seriousness.
Naura smiled and texted her best friend back before slipping her phone into her bag.
"Are you hungry or anything? I was going to order a drink at the bar."
She looked up at Tyler. "Um, I'm not really hungry but an iced tea sounds good." An iced tea with five shots of vodka.
"Alright, I'll be back."
Naura sat back in her seat and surveyed the room, chewing on her lip. There was a big turn out already and it was still early. Most of the tables were full and the girl onstage wasn't as drowned out by chatter as she had been at first.
"Excuse me, I don't mean to bother you but, would you like to get a drink with me?"
Naura looked up to her right and saw a somewhat older guy with one too many tattoos but nicely styled blond hair and a charming smile. "I'm sorry but I'm here with someone."
"Is he your boyfriend?"
The guy smiled. "So, have a drink with me. I won't bite, promise."
Naura almost rolled her eyes but decided that would be rude. "I'm really okay but thanks." This guy was a bit too persistent.
"Well, what's your name? I'm-"
Tyler appeared suddenly, placing a hand on the guy's shoulder. "Hey Dave. Is he bothering you?"
Naura smiled as Dave's eyes widened slightly and shook her head. "No, just keeping me entertained.
Dave turned to Tyler and shook his hand, laughing. "Sorry, Tyler. Didn't realize she was with you. Where'd you find her at? I need to hang out with you more often."
Tyler laughed and patted Dave on the back. "If we did, girls would never talk to me. Nice to see you, bro."
"Ouch, burn. You too. Sorry it didn't work out lovely. Looks like you're spoken for." Dave winked and walked off, seemingly unaffected by being rejected.
Tyler seated himself beside her once again and grinned. "I leave for a couple of minutes and already men are all over you. I almost forgot about how much of an attention grabber you are."
This time Naura did roll her eyes. "I don't know about all that. But thanks for saving me."
"Anytime. Sorry if I ruined your game." Tyler rested his arms on the table, watching her face for a reaction.
Naura didn't exactly want to seem too available but she also didn't want him to think she was on a manhunt. "Trust me, there's no game to ruin. And I'm sure the girls are constantly crawling all over you too."
"Even if they were, I wouldn't be interested."
Their eyes were locked now and Naura wanted nothing more than to be able to read his hazel ones. "Why not?" Please say it's because of her. Please say it's because of her. Please please please!
"Girls around her just aren't attractive to me. Especially the college ones…And I'm not exactly looking for something new."
What did that mean?! Ugh. Damn her shitty eye reading skills. Was he not over her yet or what?
"And what are you looking for?"
"Why don't you tell me what you're looking for? You've obviously had more luck with guys than I've had with girls."
Naura felt her heartbeat speed up. "None that are worth holding on to…." Please understand that I still want you.
Tyler stared at her for a moment before glancing down. He looked like he wanted to say something when suddenly the waitress showed up with their drinks.
And just like that, the moment was gone.
Tyler cleared his throat and thanked her, picking up his coke.
Naura couldn't shake the sudden disappointment and turned her attention toward the stage, grabbing her iced tea.
What had he been about to say? God, she wanted to know so badly.
The next performer was a young dark-skinned man with the stage presence of a natural. He walked up to the mic and smiled out at the crowd before speaking. "Hey everybody. Thanks for coming out tonight. This song is dedicated to my wife who's supported me from day one." He smiled at the pretty Latin woman that sat at one of the tables in the front row.
The pianist behind him started a soft melody to which he closed his eyes and started to sway. Twenty seconds in, he began to sing, the emotion in his deep voice real and raw.
"At night I think of us
The trials we've been through, so rough
Each time I came running back
I though it might be the last
There were times I hurt you
You locked your heart away and hid the key
But still I yearned to learn
How to make you happy
The way you love
The feeling you give me
Is one of a kind
I'm so lucky you're mine
The real in you
The way you keep it true
Is one of a kind
How on earth did I find
Naura felt a constriction in her chest and a burning in her eyes. It was crazy how something as simple as a song could move her to tears but she honestly knew exactly what this man was feeling.
She'd felt this way about Tyler from the moment she realized she loved him. Maybe even before that. And she still did. It wasn't just chance that had brought them together. Or chance that kept bringing them back to each other. So why was it so easy to break them apart?
Naura almost jumped out of her skin when she felt a hand over hers. She glanced down at her lap where her hand had been resting and realized it was Tyler.
He laced his fingers with hers but his gaze was still on the stage, his mind elsewhere.
Naura relished in the warmth his hand brought. It was big over hers but not rough and fit perfectly like it always had. Her heart felt even heavier as she reminisced on the past. Tyler had never hesitated in comforting her when she'd been going through a hard time and in turn he had found comfort in her. She glanced over at him for a moment then switched her eyes back to the stage.
Maybe he did still love her.
When the man sang the last note, the entire room erupted into applause, a few whistling. He bowed, a huge smile on his face, and waved as he walked off the stage.
Tyler had released her hand, to her displeasure, to clap, clearly affected by the song. In fact, the entire place seemed to be.
Naura clapped until everyone subsided and then reached for her drink. She glanced at Tyler again and saw that a guy had walked up and stolen his attention for a quick conversation. She really had hoped he was going to say something to her after that but clearly not.
Another man walked up the stage and introduced himself and stated he'd be performing a spoken word piece.
Naura turned her attention to the stage and tried to void her face of any emotion besides interest. She also tried to make it seem as if all of her focus was on the music but her hearing was focused solely on his conversation.
"Alright, later man." Tyler turned back to the table as his friend walked away and sipped his coke, looking at the stage and then glancing at her.
Naura bit her lip and sat back in her chair. "When's your friend coming on?"
"Actually, that was him before. Did you like it?"
Of course the last performer was the one they had come to see. And the one that had affected them both the most. "Yeah, he was really good."
"I've known him since middle school. He's the one that convinced me to focus more on my music. I started performing here once a month after he introduced me to the manager."
"That's awesome. I'll have to come see you play."
"Yeah, you should."
They enjoyed the rest of the performers and tried to keep the light conversation going the rest of the night. After about twenty minutes, some of the tension was gone but there was still that underlying awkwardness. He was obviously not going to let another moment happen and hold her hand, but why? What was holding him back?
When they left, they ran into Dave who of course had to be obvious in checking her out. Tyler was increasingly distracted as they walked to his car. He was walking slower this time, his gaze ahead and never straying toward her. He held the car door open for her though before seating himself in the driver's side as always.
The drive back to the college was mostly silent with a casual question here and there. Naura wanted to bring up what had happened but she couldn't figure out how to do that without showing her feelings. But dammit, she wanted to know what was going through his head.
When they pulled up to her dorm, Tyler exited the car and met her on the sidewalk, putting his hands in his jeans pockets. His posture was straight but his eyes he obviously was attempting to keep void of emotion. She may not have been able to figure out exactly what he was thinking but she knew when his thoughts were out of whack.
Naura pushed her hair behind her ear, smiling lightly. "I had fun tonight. Thanks for taking me out."
"Glad you had fun. I'll let you know next time I perform."
She was surprised he'd interrupted her and locked eyes with him. "Yeah?"
Tyler looked torn, clearly having some type of internal battle. "I…" He took his hands out of his pockets and stepped toward her, leaving little space between them. "I really am sorry for the shitty way I treated you. Not just when we broke up but for everything before that."
"I know…" She didn't have much to say in response. He had hurt her. And continued to, although involuntarily.
"I just hope you can forgive me for being an asshole. I cared about you then and I still do. Sometimes I just show it the wrong way."
"I care about you too. I always have. And you're not an asshole…but sometimes you're really good at acting like one." The close proximity with which they were standing was causing her breathing to come out shallow. They weren't even making physical contact and yet she still couldn't keep it together.
"I want…" He reached up and caressed her face, his gaze intense on her.
Naura reached up to lightly hold his forearm, keeping his hand on her face. She didn't have any words so she kept silent, her eyes unwavering.
"I still..." He stopped and without hesitation moved his head forward and kissed her.
A warmth spread through her body as Naura responded to the kiss, pressing her lips back to his and then opening them a bit to catch his bottom lip.
Tyler's left hand came up to her hip and pulled her body close to his, leaving nothing but heat between them.
Naura's right hand unconsciously slid up around his neck as her head turned to the side.
How long had she waited for this moment? How many minutes of her day had been interrupted by daydreams of them getting back together? And still this kiss meant nothing. It just meant her feelings weren't one sided. But she hoped to God it meant more.
All too soon their lips parted, although the fire between them had been re-ignited.
Tyler kept his hand on her face, his thumb caressing her check. "I missed this."
Seems he didn't have as much of an issue forming a sentence as he had before but the confusion was clear.
And what did all this mean? She didn't want to over think something as simple as a kiss and yet…she couldn't help hoping it meant all that she wanted and more.
"Feeling is mutual." Was she ever going to be able to feel normal around him and not like a firework filled bubble, ready to pop?
Tyler hesitated a moment before stepping back, allowing a warm breeze to travel between them. His hand dropped and returned to his pocket, his left one running through his dark hair.
Naura awkwardly let her hands fall and placed one over the strap of her bag.
The silence between them stretched on for a bit, awkward and filled with an unknown meaning. Students passed by, unaware of the exchange that had gone on. And Naura, herself, wasn't even quite sure what had happened.
"Sorry…" Tyler apologized suddenly.
"Sorry for what exactly?" What was wrong with him? He'd gone from kissing her to apologizing for it.
"For kissing you. I don't want you to think I didn't want to but…my life is just complicated right now."
That bubble from earlier popped and the fireworks fizzled out, his words disappointing her more than she thought possible.
Tyler sighed and took a step back. "Between school and work, my mom, and watching out for Chel…"
Her blood boiled at the mention of this Chel girl. She really was beginning to hate her.
"I just don't want to complicate it anymore. And I don't want to hurt you. Which is why I think we'd be better off as friends right now."
Naura blinked, her eyes stinging with unshed tears. "I like how I get a choice in this," she bit out. "What if I can't just be your friend?"
Tyler sighed. "I don't know what to tell you, Naura. I care about you but…" His eyes had become unreadable as they focused on her. "I'm bad for you. Especially at this time in my life."
"Well, I can't just be your friend. So I don't know what to tell you either."
Why did their nights have to keep ending like this?
Tyler paused for a moment. "I guess there's nothing left to say then."
Naura pressed her lips together, trying to hold back from flipping out on him. "Fine. Thanks for tonight," she spat out finally and without leaving him a millisecond to respond, turned and made her way up to her dorm.
What a waste of a night. And as much as she hated him, she still hoped he would call out after her. But he didn't. So as soon as she reached her room, she threw herself onto her bed and let the hot tears fall.
Lucine wasn't there, probably at a party or with Louis, and Naura was thankful for that. She wanted to be alone. In fact, she wanted to be left alone. She was now going to make it her mission to avoid Tyler at all costs and especially that slut ex of his. If he didn't want to be with her, he wasn't going to have her at all. And that was that. Forget Tyler and his "complicated" life. She didn't want to be a part of it anyway. And thankfully tomorrow was a new day because she was going to start living sans Tyler. He officially had hurt her for the last time. Now it was time to move on.
A/N : My updates hopefully will be getting quicker and quicker! Review and let me know what you think! The good and the bad.