I awake the next morning with a groan. The light pouring in through the window blinds me and I use my hand to cover my eyes from the light. I blink my eyes rapidly until it adjusts to the bright morning sunlight and gasp.
I am in Tim's bed, in his room. I am naked! I lift the sheet covering my naked body and grimace at the sight of Tim's arm around my waist. I slowly turn to look behind me and I see that he is naked as well and he is softly snoring. Suddenly, the events of the night before come rushing back to me and I silently curse myself.
Stupid, stupid, stupid! What the hell was I thinking?
I slowly, cautiously, move to the edge of the bed. When Tim's arm falls off my waist I cringe hoping he doesn't wake up, but he doesn't. Instead, Tim licks his lip, turns to his side and continues to snore again. I exhale and tiptoe out of the room.
Once I am in my room, I close the door behind me and sigh. What happened last night between Tim and I was reckless and incredibly stupid and never should have happened. I chastise myself for being a complete idiot and quickly dress. I want to grab my things and move to my new place before Tim wakes up. I don't want to face him.
I quickly grab my boxes and carry them down to my car. I am glad that I don't have much other than my personal effects. Everything in the condo belongs to Tim anyway and I don't want to take it. I will buy my own furniture at some point. I am thankful that I thought to buy a bed and dresser in advance. I am sure it is already at the studio waiting for me.
Once I load the last box in the car, I turn back to the building and sigh. My thoughts travel to Sebastian and I yearn to see him again but can I? After hearing about him at the bar with the girls and my tumble in the sheets with Tim, I feel like a hypocrite. I suddenly wonder if I slept with Tim out of spite. I shake my head from the thoughts because I am scared to think of myself like that. It opens wounds that are better off closed.
Back inside the condo, I take the condo key off my keychain and place it on the kitchen counter. I grab a notepad and a pen and scribble a little note for Tim. I don't want him to look for me and it's better that I say my piece before leaving his life completely.
"Tim, I didn't have the guts to wake you up this morning and say goodbye because nothing between us has changed. Last night was a mistake and I'm sorry. You have your freedom and I have mine and neither of us should feel guilty anymore. Please don't come look for me, it is better this way. Take care in San Francisco and may your adventures bring you happiness."
I sign my letter with my name and leave it next to the house key. Walking out of the condo, I feel a huge weight being lifted off my shoulders. I haven't been alone in so long but it only makes me more determined to prove to myself that I can do this.
I spent the next few hours moving into my new studio; unpacking and decorating. I am exhausted and I am even more thankful that I don't have much to unpack. I sit on the floor surrounded by my books when my phone rings. I grab it while silently praying that it isn't Tim. My breath hitches when I see Sebastian's name on the screen.
I clear my throat and answer. "Hello?" I sound so pathetic.
"Hey," Sebastian says smoothly, "I was just checking in. I know you said you wanted space but I remember you said you were moving into your new place today and I was wondering if you needed help."
I bite one of my nails. I don't know what to say to him. He and I are nothing to each other, I remind myself, and he has his own life and I have mine. My flesh is so weak because I desperately want to see him again.
"I just finished," I tell him.
"Wow, that's incredible. Do you need a friend to come over and hang out? I don't mind helping you put your underwear away," he says suggestively.
"Oh, no thank you Sebastian." I close my eyes when I hear his soft breathing. I am positive he can tell something is off.
"Hey, what's wrong? Is everything okay?" he asked seriously.
"Nothing Sebastian, I'm fine. I really must go. We'll talk later, okay?"
"Wait, don't hang up Eliza. Tell me what's wrong, please. I understand if you don't want me over but I really want to see you. Can we meet up somewhere? Please?"
I run a hand through my brown hair. I can feel my head and heart arguing within my body as to what I should do. I want to take Sebastian's advice and take the time to get over my relationship with Tim but I also desperately want to see Sebastian. I then remember that Tim said he saw Sebastian with two other girls at the bar last night and it suddenly brings a clearer picture of why I don't want to see him.
"Please?" he asks again. "Meet me at Abby's, in like 10 minutes. Eliza, you're so quiet."
I sigh. My heart has won the argument. "Okay Sebastian, I'll be there soon."
You are so stupid Eliza.
Walking into Abby's I see Sebastian sitting at the very corner of the small café and luckily there is no one around. As I approach he stands up and brings me close.
"I am so glad you came. I was worried you were going to stand me up," he says.
I shake my head. "I'm here now." I take a seat in the chair across from him and I slowly lift my eyes up to his face. Sebastian looks as gorgeous as ever with his disheveled raven hair, smoldering blue eyes. He has just a bit of stubble lining his jawline and I notice that he is not wearing his trademark leather jacket but is instead wearing a dark red t-shirt. His black jeans are snug against his legs and I breathe in appreciatively the scent of his aftershave.
"How was the move? How did the guy take you leaving?" he asks.
I bite my lip. I don't want to talk about Tim because I am worried the truth of what happened last night will slip out. "He was sleeping. I didn't wake him up."
"Ouch, you are a brutal one princess. Remind me not to piss you off," Sebastian says with a smile.
I smile politely but it doesn't reach my eyes and Sebastian quickly takes notice. "Eliza, what's wrong? Did he hurt you?"
I shake my head. The tears I've kept locked in place threatened to spill. I shouldn't cry. Sebastian isn't mine to cry about but oh, how much I wanted him to be mine! The truth I tried to suppress came flooding out and enveloped me in feelings of grief, desire and disappointment. How did I ever get myself in this situation?
"Eliza, please tell me," he says softly. He grabs my hands and squeezes.
"Tim said he saw you last night," I say. The words pour of my mouth before I even have a chance to stop them and I curse myself for not watching my tongue better.
Sebastian's face scrunches up in confusion. "Last night? Last night I was with my brother and sister at a family get together. I don't understand."
I look up at his eyes and see the concern in them. "He said he saw you at the bar with some girls."
"Oh did he now? Well it wasn't me Eliza. He's feeding you shit. He's probably pissed because he suspects me being the reason you left him." Sebastian lets my hands go and makes a fist. "Asshole," he mutters.
"Sebastian, it's okay. You and I never said we were anything more than friends. You don't need to defend yourself against whatever happened last night," I say. As soon as the words leave my mouth I realize I said them more for myself than him.
"I'm telling you now Eliza, it wasn't me at the bar." Sebastian looks at me. "You don't believe me."
I shrug. "I don't care if it was you or not. It's not my place to know."
He clicks his tongue. "You have a funny way of showing you don't care considering you came here with a sad look on your face."
Ouch. I nod. "You're right Sebastian, it did bother me but only because I didn't think you were that type of person." I am so full of crap and from the way he's looking at me, he knows it too.
"That's not the reason Eliza and you know it. Admit it, you like me and against your better judgement you couldn't help feeling betrayed by the thought of me at the bar with some chicks but I am telling you now I wasn't at a fucking bar last night. This guy, Tim, knows you better than I do. He's had… what? Two years with you whereas I've only known you a few days. He doesn't like me and he shouldn't because he's right about one thing about me. I am here to win you over and he knew the way you'd react if you thought badly of me."
I let out a deep breath of air and look down at my hands. Is it possible that Tim would really poison me against Sebastian? I can't believe that Tim would do such a thing but as I reflect on last night, I remember the way he described his inability to accept that I was leaving him. It wasn't until after his confession that I told him I was still planning on moving out that he brought up Sebastian at all. Stupidly I followed him into his room to ask him about it and after feeling a deep sense of sadness did things between Tim and I escalate. Perhaps that is what he wanted? Would Tim really use sex to get me to stay?
It feels like a massive rock has settled in the pit of my stomach and I look up to meet Sebastian's piercing gaze. He's silent as his allows me this time to reflect on this information. I bite my lip and against my better judgment I say, "I had sex with him last night Sebastian. After he told me about you and the girls I just felt so stupid. I wanted to erase that feeling for a little while."
Sebastian lean back in his chair and I suddenly miss his closeness. "I'm not mad at you Eliza. You were right when you said we weren't nothing more than friends. I'm hoping one day that will change. I can't hold what happened against you." He sighed. "Maybe he threw me under the bus in the hopes of getting you into bed and somehow convincing you to stay."
"That's what I was thinking too," I say softly.
Sebastian's eyes hold no sign of betrayal but only concern. I realize he is a much better man than I gave him credit for. I am still in disbelief that Tim would manipulate me like that, but he also was not in his right mind considering he had been drinking before coming home. I am so glad that I didn't have to see him or talk to him before leaving the condo. After this new development, I don't think I can ever see him the same way again.
Sebastian leans forward and grab my hands one again. "I am telling you right now Eliza so that there is no confusion next time. My intentions towards you are honorable. I want to know you in every way you allow. I want to eventually win your heart because that's all I wanted from the moment we bumped into each other last week. Forget about Tim and what happened last night. Your new life starts today and I want to be in it."
I nod my head. "You're right. Thank you."
We sat there a bit longer and talked about things unrelated to Tim and that drama and I felt myself slowly feeling liberated being with Sebastian. I hope he was right; that this is my new life and it is whatever I make it.
Sebastian holds the door open and we walk out of Abby's laughing. "I can't believe you did that!" I laughed.
Sebastian smiles and grins. "My brother was so mad at me Eliza. If you could have seen his face," he starts laughing, "I'll never forget it!"
We walk down the sidewalk away from the café and I notice the air has gotten slightly chillier. I should have brought a jacket. I wrap my arms around myself.
"I didn't think we would be here this long. The one day I don't bring my jacket it's freezing," says Sebastian as he takes in my cold form.
"Don't worry about it," I tell him. Sebastian grabs my arm and stops me. He lifts a hand to my cheek and his eyes flicker down to my lips. I suck in a breath because I suddenly become intrigued at the thought of him kissing me. The longer he looks at my lips the more I yearn for his kiss.
"I should go," I say suddenly. I blush when a look of disappointment crosses his face but he nods and backs away.
"I'll walk you to your car," he says. We walk back to my car in silence. As much as I crave his touch and his kiss I need to be wise and take things slowly. I can't risk getting my heart trampled any more than it already has.