Unfamiliar land is often a disconcerting place. The struggle to maintain my cool was present at times throughout today, but I made it through to this moment. I can't help but feel a smidgen of pride in myself for surviving this long, even as my nerves begin to take hold of me now that I've been left alone in the heart of this foreign territory. It's worth it for her, though.
I turn in my seat carefully, trying not to let my weakness show to the faces stealing glances at me from across the room. I am sure that despite my care in composing my expression, they can sense my fear. I try to remain as stoic as I can manage while waiting for her to return.
Where is she? She was just going to change her clothes, right? I look at her parents, whose eyes, I am perturbed to note, are on me. Oh, yeah, she needed to use the bathroom, too... I hope she's okay. I break eye contact in favor of watching my fingers pick at a stray string sticking out from the tan sleeve of my jacket I left lying beside me.
I hear soft footsteps. There she is, finally. I eye her outfit in the dim light, an oversized Pink Floyd t-shirt matched with grey sweats—again, at least three sizes too large on her—and leopard-print booties, and know that I have never been happier to see her than in that moment. The relief washes over me, and I am able to send her a small smile.
She waves at me as she saunters towards me, surprisingly without tripping over her pants. She sits next to me with an easy grin adorning her lips. I stay where I am, suddenly feeling awkward yet again as I realize that her parents are in the room still. I'm unsure of what to do, so I remain still and silent, waiting for her next move.
She is still, too, for a brief moment, before her grin becomes a smirk as she comes to understand what the problem is. She scoots toward me until she can press herself against my side. I have just enough time to be surprised at her openly touching me like this before she grabs my arm, lifting it before draping it across her shoulders. "Hold me," she drawls, sending me an amused look. I press her more firmly against my side, marveling at how right it feels to have her there. I forget for a heartbeat that her brother is with us, that her parents are with us, and I allow myself to get lost in the moment, to let down my guard for her.
The movie has just started, and we settle into the couch, her leaning into me, almost laying her head on my lap. We stay this way for the majority of the movie, the moments being interrupted only by some shifting around every now and then. This is the most content that I have been all day, I realize with a smile. There is nothing I would rather be doing at this time than have my arms wrapped around my girl, my fingers lightly stroking her skin. I wish this could last forever.
Unfortunately, it doesn't. The movie ends all too soon, and it's getting late. Her parents wish us a good night, and then they're gone. That leaves us with her little brother, and I engage in a conversation with him for a while. Then it really is time for me to go.
I stand up. "Are you going to walk me to the door?" I ask, looking down at her with a smile as I don my jacket.
She nods and quickly strides ahead of me without looking back. Once she reaches the door, she doesn't stop there. She opens it and steps outside. "I didn't mean you had to come outside with me," I comment with a chuckle as I join her.
She shuts the door carefully behind us before suddenly turning towards me and pulling me in for the kiss she evidently so desperately needs. For several moments, we move together as one, the kiss developing into something deep and tender and bittersweet, something that I know will linger with me for the rest of the night, if not longer.
We break apart but continue to hold each other. Our breaths come out hotly, steaming in the cold. Her fingers clutch at my back, pressing in tightly but not painfully. She doesn't want to let go.
She nuzzles her face against my chest.
"I wish you could stay longer," she murmurs into my shoulder.
I give her a squeeze. "Me, too."
"I wish this day could have lasted longer..."
"Me, too," I repeat myself hollowly. I have nothing better to say.
She pulls back to gaze up into my face. She remains silent for a moment, merely staring at me with an unfathomable expression made even harder to read by the darkness collected about us. Despite not being able to clearly see her face, I can sense the longing radiating from her core. I can see in her shadowed eyes the sorrow pooling in them, pooled sadness at the thought of my departure.
I sigh and tap a button on my keys, starting up my car. "You should be getting inside before you catch a cold," I tell her softly. She nods again before gripping the sides of my head lightly to pull me in for one last kiss. This one somehow feels more meaningful than the last, despite its lack of length. It speaks even more of the regret of parting, the longing we feel for each other, than the last. Our lips linger together for a heartbeat, and then it is done. She backs away from me, and her hands trail from my hair, down my arms, and finally to my hands. She grips them quickly and then lets go—almost a spasm if I didn't know better—her fingers slipping from mine, rendering them bare and bereft in the unforgiving winter air
I don't watch her go inside. I simply march out to my car with an aching hole in my chest. I can somehow feel it throb to the beat of my crunching footsteps in the freshly fallen snow. I only glance at the house one more time to wonder if she's looking out at me. This is all I allow myself to think before I force myself to leave my heart behind once more in favor of driving off into the darkness of the night.