On the trip home from the mall, I opted to keep silent while Jesse drove. I could tell that he was curious as to what happened in the exchange between Brendan and I but I wasn't about to budge. My whole mind was a blur. I couldn't think straight.
Brendan was my first love and he always will be. But I loved Theo now. Brendan had his shot and that was the end of it. Well, that's how I wish it would be. Simple.
We finally got home from what seemed like an endless car trip when in reality it was 10 minutes tops and I dashed up to my bedroom.I looked at my bed and the images of Brendan and I sleeping together and making love on it invaded my mind. I laid down and shut my eyes and attempted to shut my mind, but it was impossible.
'Rayney, are you alright?'
Jesse walked in and sat at the end of my bed with a concerned expression on his face.
'I'm fine,' I lied.
'What happened? Did he hurt you?'
'No,' I said. He had already hurt me enough. 'We just talked and it was... strange.'
'How was it strange? Talk to brother Jesse.'
'Well, I just hadn't expected to see him and wasn't ready for it. It was strange.'
'Do you still have feelings for him, Rayne?'
I didn't bother replying to that and looked away from the penetrating gaze of my brother.
'You do, don't you?'
'Is that bad?' I said, automatically thinking of my loving boyfriend Theo at home.
'No, it's not bad,' said Jesse reassuringly, 'you didn't exactly get closure on your break up with him. It's completely normal to still have feelings for him, especially after everything you two have been through together.'
'What should I do?'
'Talk to him. I suggest you get everything off your chest, talk to him, and maybe you'll get some sort of clarity on the situation and hopefully you can move on with Theo.'
Jesse smiled at me and I was so thankful for having the best brother in the world. I thanked him for his advice and excused myself so I could call Brendan. My heart was pounding as the phone began to dial and my heart stopped as Brendan picked up.
'Hi Brendan, how are you?'
'I'm good. How are you?'
'Swell. Listen, I really want to... I really have to talk to you. We need to talk. Can we meet up tonight?'
'Sure. Wanna go for a bite to eat?'
I mulled this thought over in my head and thought it was too date-y for two people just to 'talk', but Brendan insisted that that was the least he could do.
'Cool,' he replied after I had finally agreed to it, 'I'll pick you up at 7'.
And he was on time as usual. He looked so handsome in his casual short sleeve button up shirt and jeans while I opted for an even more casual look with a black v-neck tee and denim shorts.
'Hi Rayne,' he said with an awkward smile.
He looked at me and stretched his hand out after an awkward exchange of glances; I knew we were better than that so I wrapped my arms around him and inhaled the sweet scent of Brendan that I had missed so much.
'You ready?' he whispered, my touch seemingly making him uncomfortable.
I followed him into his car and the whole entire trip was silent; I dared to look at him out of the corner of my eye and it seemed as if he was doing the same.
I followed Brendan into our old favourite restaurant and I saw that he had reserved "our" table, a sweet touch to our "talk" meeting.
'So, what's on your mind?' Brendan asked me after we had ordered our meals.
'Well, I had a talk with Jesse and...' I hesitated. I didn't know how I was going to word this.
'Are you okay?' Brendan asked me, his eyes making me feel all warm inside.
'He thought we should have a talk, as in the talk. He thinks I need clarity.'
I could see in Brendan's eyes that there was a glimmer of hope that had just shattered and I wanted nothing more than to reach out and brush the side of his face with my hand.
'I'm sorry,' he mumbled, 'I'm sorry for everything I've put you through.'
I couldn't muster up any kind of reply so I simply smiled back at him.
'After what happened in Perth, I sought help. I went to an alcoholics anonymous group and it has really helped. I've been sober for nearly 6 months and my life has been incredible because of it.'
'Really? That's great Brendan!'
Brendan smiled and looked away and I looked away from him. Our conversation had gotten off to a good start but we had hit a road block.
'Can we just put all of our cards on the table?' suggested Brendan.
'Sure,' I said, relieved to have the stalemate silence broken.
'Are you happy?' he asked me.
'Good. I am happy that you are happy.' Brendan paused and sighed before he continued. 'I can make you happy, I know I can. Rayne, I'm not holding back... I love you. I always have and I have loved you every day since we first got together and I have loved you more with each day. After we had broken up, I thought I could get over you but I can't and I have still loved you since then.'
My heart stopped. I couldn't believe he was saying this to me.
'Rayne Marshall, I love you and I will not stop loving you. You bring out the best in me and I feel happy when I'm with you. I feel like a better man when I'm around you.'
'Rayne, I love you. I have never stopped loving you, not for one second.'
A tear fell out of my eye and Brendan reached over and caught it before it could hit the ground.
'I have to go,' I said.
I slid out of my chair and headed for the exit. I managed to get out of the door before Brendan's hand gripped my shoulder to stop me.
'Brendan, please,' I cried.
'Do you love me, Rayne?' he asked.
I looked away and tried to escape but Brendan wasn't having any of it.
'Rayne, do you love me?' he repeated himself.
I looked down at the ground as tears rolled down my face.
'Yes,' I admitted, 'I have never stopped loving you either.'
'Does he make you happy?' he asked in reference to Theo.
'He does,' I whispered.
'I can make you happy as well. Just like you bring the good out of me, I know I can bring the good out of you,' he said.
He put his hand under my jaw and tilted my head up so I was looking at him.
'Say it,' he said, 'say you love me.'
'I...' I couldn't do it.
'Say it,' he insisted.
'I love you Brendan. I really do. I need to get out of here.'
I got out of Brendan's grip and ran away, I didn't know where but I just ran and I was happy that Brendan wasn't going to stop me. I found a seat and sat down and buried my head in my hands.
Who was I trying to kid?
I was still in love with Brendan Thatcher.
(NOTE: the next edition of "Flawless" will be back in Brendan's perspective)