A/N: This version has not been proofread yet; I just wanted to get a move on first before my writing mood leaves me again. Enjoy. :)
DISCLAIMER : I do not own the rights to the song mentioned in this chapter.
"Slow Dancing in a Burning Room" by John Mayer
Steam from the hot water of the shower I just took wisp past me as I stepped out of the bathroom and into my room. Securing the towel wrapped around my body, I head straight for my dresser and snatched my phone from where I left it.
Still nothing. I clicked my tongue in annoyance.
I wasn't used to not receiving text messages or calls from my boyfriend of eight months first thing in the morning so obviously I was pissed. Last I heard of him, he'd arrived at one of his friends' condominium with three other people, something I'd been so openly against. I nagged him not to come of course, but since he wouldn't listen to me, we ended up fighting about it again and he didn't reply to any of my texts after he told me he'd safely arrived.
Sighing at the memory, I placed my phone down on the bed and got dressed. I stood in front of the mirror and combed my still-wet, natural, light-brown, wavy hair. I didn't have class 'til the afternoon so I settled for a light powder finish on my face instead of my usual full-on make up. I wasn't the type to be caught dead on the street with an oily face – gross – unlike any of Enzo's so-called friends. Which was probably why he went for me in the first place, I think.
Back when we were still a new couple, not even one month into the relationship, I used to think he asked me out because he wanted a change of pace and scenery. He had potential to be popular; well he already kinda was, despite his choice of company. He was one of those types who were just too talented, too friendly, and too easy to get along with. Frankly, I first agreed to date him thinking it could be a nice "project" – like those I often see in movies. His asking me out was a sign he wanted my help.
Or so I told myself back then.
So naturally, I took it upon myself to try and mold him into the kind of popular who everybody looked up to but can't and won't dare approach. But then I got to know him better. Imagine my surprise when I came to find that it was me who desperately needed a break from the assholes that were my exes. It was me that needed the personality overhaul. Me – the royal, pain-in-the-ass bitch.
Enzo was like a breath of fresh air and he only tolerated my vain and self-centered nature up to an extent, making me see how wrong it was that I treated the world like it owed me and forcing me to change my "wicked ways" bit by bit. I was the resident queen-bitch who stole other people's boyfriends, walked around like she was some crowned princess, treated people I deemed below me like dirt, and expected to get away with pretty much everything by pretending to be cute and helpless just because I can. I was nothing more than a spoiled brat gifted with a beautiful face. I was shallow. I was intolerable.
The longer I stayed with him, the more I felt myself changing. But I know I still have a long way to go. For instance, I still had the sharpest tongue; I always spoke my mind without ever thinking how my words can hurt other's feelings. And I was still as possessive, controlling, and jealous as when we first started going out. Which was why I was beyond irritated when he wouldn't listen to me and stop hanging around with those lowlife friends of his.
I gritted my teeth in annoyance when I checked my phone again and saw that he still hadn't texted or called. My phone's digital clock glared accusingly at me; it was almost 11:30AM.
Where the hell is he?
As if Enzo read my mind, my phone started ringing, his name flashing on the screen. I immediately answered it even before the second ring ended.
"Hey." He uttered from the other end.
What kind of greeting is that?
"Where are you? You didn't even bother to text or call me since last night." I tried to contain my irritation as best as I can.
I heard him sigh amidst the sound of road traffic in the background. "Are you still in your apartment? I'm on my way there now." He said instead of answering my question, which made me even more annoyed than I already was.
How dare he ignore me! I breathed my anger out. Calm down.. It can wait. I told myself to stop from screaming at him right then and there over the phone. At that point, I was sure I was going to explode once I saw his face. But what's a few more minutes of pretending I wasn't yet at the point of wanting to rip his head off?
It can wait.
"Yeah." I answered through gritted teeth. "How far are you?"
"Five minutes, top."
"Fine." I said and immediately dropped the call. At least I got to pretend I slammed the phone in my head.
There wasn't much to do with five minutes of waiting. All I really did was sat on my bed in front of the stand fan and tried drying my hair. I practically jumped to get the door when I heard the knock.
I didn't need to try hard to drag my anger back to the surface, it came naturally the moment I opened the door and saw his obviously still-a-little-drunk expression.
"Really Enzo? You don't text or call me and then you come in here looking like that?" I waved my hands at abomination that was his wrinkled shirt, unwashed hair, shorts that looked like they could be mistaken for a table rag, and slippers.
"I came here straight from Ayet's. I didn't have extra clothes with me." He offered as if it made his appearance excusable.
My blood rose to my head at the mention of his friend's name. Of all the people he hung out with, Harriet was my least favorite. She was the most normal of them, in my opinion, if not only a little nerdy. But really, a closet gay who nobody else thinks is still in the closet, a lesbian who people can barely hear, and an anybody-will-do flirt who thinks she's just too cute and adorable for anyone not to like her? The bar set for "normal" was too low in the first place, to say the least.
Sure, Harriet should be tolerable to some extent, but there was just something about the way Enzo interacted with her that didn't sit well with me. If she'd been really pretty I would've gone all gaga jealous over his dependence on her. Like seriously, what guy would ask a girl for relationship advice? Even going over to her place at freaking 3AM just to personally talk of our problems with her? And he kept on exchanging text messages with her at night while he's waiting for me to get home. Probably not the wisest thing he did – telling me. It just made me hate her more.
Enzo insisted he only saw her as a friend, that she was his "best friend" who just happens to be a girl. Bullshit. The day I believe that would be the day I'll be referring to myself as "stupid".
"I told you many times. I don't like you going to her house." I seethed.
He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. He looked exhausted and drunk – not a good combination when you're about to get into a fight. Well, he should've thought of that before he went ahead and did what I told him not to. I wasn't about to let him off the hook just because he didn't feel up to it. To hell with being a considerate and loving girlfriend.
"Look Kayla." His eyes were closed as he rubbed his temples with one hand, clearly willing the hangover away. "Can I come inside first?"
My ears rang with irritation. I arched an eyebrow at him, hand on my hips. I couldn't believe he was taking such a tone with me. Who talks to their girlfriends like that when they were the one who did something wrong?
"Oh hell no, Enzo." I shook my head at him. "Not when you're going to be like that. You're the one who's in the wrong here." My temper was rising and I poked at his chest to get my point across. I could my voice getting louder but I couldn't find it in me to care about my neighbors hearing us argue. "I tolerate your drinking. I tolerate you hanging out with your loser friends. I even tolerate you going to that bitch's house in the wee hours because you say you just 'need' to talk to her about your problems – our problems! But what I won't tolerate is you hanging out with them, staying over at her house AND drinking!"
"Kayla." He ran his hand over his face. His look of exasperation only pissed me off even more.
"No! You don't get to stop me from saying what I want! I know how you are when you drink and I sure as hell don't want you anywhere near Harriet when you just have to have somebody to hit on!" I was practically yelling and out of breath by the time I got the last word out.
Enzo glared at me, his lips forming a thin line. If I'd accomplish anything, it was getting him mad. But at least we were now in the same boat.
"I am not – NOT – going to put up with this bullshit." I was back to seething the words out of my mouth.
A few seconds went by as we continued with our glaring contest in the hallway of my apartment building. I was about to tell him to leave when he broke the silence by speaking first.
"Well then, now you don't have to." His voice was low but I heard him perfectly well, the words spoken clearly unlike his usual mumbling whenever we fought.
My anger retreated and confusion masked my face. I could think of many other things he could've said but what left his mouth wasn't on my list. "What are you…? Are you still that drunk?"
I watched, dumbstruck, as Enzo took a deep breath before he spoke, a little louder this time. "I wanna break up, Kayla."
My mouth hung open. For once, I was silenced.
Break up – the two words that didn't even cross my mind, no matter how many times I got angry at him. The me from before I met him would've left him the second time he did what he wanted and went against what I did. I'd been always the one to give up on a relationship first. Always the one who broke other people's hearts. This was the first time I was being left behind. I'd never been on this side of a relationship and I didn't know how to handle it.
"I can't handle us anymore. I don't want to be fighting with you eight out of ten times I see or talk to you. I don't…" He sighed, running both hands over his face this time. At least he had the decency to look like he was having a hard time getting the heartbreaking words out.
My head spun. My legs suddenly felt like gelatin so I leaned on the door for support. There was a tightening in my chest, like a hand holding it was starting to want to crush it. I used to think all these heart ache stuff were just lies; I didn't know it really did feel like a ton of weight had suddenly landed on you from fifty stories up. People weren't exaggerating when they say it hurt a lot.
I thought he was done shattering my world as I knew it, but he kept on talking.
"I don't like what we've become. I can't stand it."
I stared at the floor, not wanting to look at his face and see that he really did mean what he was saying. Tears welled up in my eyes, though I willed them not to. What do people say in times like these? Words still failed me despite the turmoil in my head.
"I can't be with you anymore, Kayla." He sighed. "I'm sorry."
I shook my head, lightly at first, and then vigorously, hoping it would shake away the heartbreaking reality I was facing. "No. No no no no no. This isn't happening!" I all but squealed the words out.
With the haze in my head slowly lifting, my head snapped up to face him. I knew tears smeared by cheeks like waterfall, but I didn't care. He had to see what he was doing to me.
Enzo's face scrunched up a little, guilt masking his features.
"What are saying, Enzo? Do you think I like us this way? Of course I also don't wanna fight you all the time either, but you just make it so hard!" I whimpered. The me from before would've laughed at the state I was in right now. "I just want you in my world. Not theirs! And don't even get me started on Harriet. I'm fucking jealous of her! Don't you get that?"
His jaw clenched and it pained me that he wasn't saying anything to assure me that there really wasn't anything to be jealous about.
I took a step closer to him, fully committed on changing his mind now. "Didn't you say I was your dream girl?" I desperately tried to sound seducing, but it all went out between sniffles I doubt the effect was attractive. "C'mon Enzo, you don't mean this." I let my hands run up and down his arms.
Slowly, he withdrew himself from me and took a step back. I'd be lying if I said it didn't hurt to be rejected. I fought the urge to weep like a baby at his reaction.
"I do. I do mean it. I'm really sorry." He shook his head slowly, keeping his eyes on the ground. When he looked up he had a sad smile on his face. I fisted my hands at my side as my chest tightened a bit more. "I know you, Kayla. This is nothing to you. You'll be with the next guy in line after me in no time. You're just doing this because you've always been the one to break things off before." I couldn't tell if he was still talking to me or to himself, like he said it to help ease the guilt he was obviously feeling. He shook his head again.
"How dare you say that to me! What do mean 'nothing'? I wouldn't be crying like this if this was nothing!" By then my tears just wouldn't stop. I hiccupped after every few words that it hurt more to hear myself sound so pathetic.
He let out a deep sigh. I didn't know what went through his head in the few seconds neither of us spoke, but when he looked me straight in the eyes, I saw a flicker of determination behind them. And instead of the hand I was so desperately wishing to reach out to my face to dry my river of tears, he said the final words I really didn't want to hear.
"Goodbye, Kayla." He lightly placed a hand on my shoulder and leaned in to kiss my cheek. He squeezed my shoulder slightly before turning away and starting down the hallway towards the stairs.
The reality hit me like a fast ball. We're over.
"Enzo! Enzo please!" I all but screamed in his direction. I didn't care anymore how sad and pathetic I sounded, I just wanted him to stop and come back to me. Come back and maybe we could still talk things out. I should've asked him to come inside. I shouldn't have yelled at him when I saw him. There were just too many things I should and shouldn't have done.
I cried his name out one last time, but he didn't even turn to face me. I watched as his back disappeared down the staircase and knew that it was the end of "us".
My legs finally gave out as I shut the door of my apartment behind me. I slid down to the floor and cried like I've never before.
One of my neighbors' radio blared through the thin walls, hoping maybe to tune out the noise of our shouting, which he didn't know had already ended with me getting my heart broken for the first time in my life. It was as if the universe was mocking me when the next song started and the sound of an electric guitar weaving through its sad score played over my wailings.
I winced as John Mayer started singing the first verse.
It's not a silly little moment,
It's not the storm before the calm.
This is the deep and dying breath of
This love that we've been working on.
Despite my chest still tightening and feeling of wanting to vomit, I still managed to make a mental note to throw away all his albums as soon as I get myself up from the floor and stop crying.