He woke up with a pounding headache.
“Too early for caffeine withdrawals,” he thought to himself as he saw the cat puke stain on the foot of his blanket leading onto the floor.
“Poor kitties,” he said aloud. The signs of the move were now unmistakable, and apparently the cats were already feeling the stress. Maybe he was too?
As he sat up to clean up the puke and then throw the blanket in the wash, he accidentally stirred her awake.
“Good morning,” she smiled at him, unaware of the cat barf a few inches from her feet.
“Hope so!” he said. “I have a headache.”
“Too early for caffeine withdrawals,” she started, “Is it the sinus thing?”
“No, that seems to be clearing finally. Might just be stress.”
“Or knowing this is about to end,” she said.
“Well, we knew before we started it that the time was limited. We really shouldn’t have let things get this far,” he told her.
“I know, but it’s just so damn fun. Besides, I know you love her.”
He got up and walked out of the room, forgetting to take the blanket. She just hit him right where he was vulnerable. He knew it, she knew it. Everyone probably knew it. But it didn’t really matter, did it? How was he supposed to make anything happen with that? She was right, but he wasn’t about to admit it. He started to make the coffees and realized he was out of flavoring. He called out to her, “Hey. no flavoring. Want me to go get us Starbucks?”
“Nah, I should be going anyway. I’ll just get something on my way into the office!” she yelled from the bedroom.
He went back into the bedroom to gather up the puke blanket and put it in the washer while she was getting dressed. He didn’t want to say it, but she could see it in his eyes.
“This is it, isn’t it?” she asked.
“Yeah, I should be pulling out of here about midnight.”
“The whole thing was supposed to be no strings, but there are strings pulling and I can feel them right here,” she told him as she pointed to her heart.
“I’m sorry,” he began. “I never meant to lead you on. I thought we were on the same page with that.”
“We were…at first. You didn’t do anything wrong,” she responded. “I just fell.”
She wrapped her arms around him and he could feel the tears on her cheek as her face met his. Then she quickly let go, turned away, and ran out of his house.
The whole thing left him a little shaken. But they had agreed on their relationship. She knew it came with a built-in end date and a reason why it would never be right. Even if she decided to move too, she couldn’t get passed the fact that he would be thinking about her.
As he started back in with the final bit of packing, his mind immediately went to her. The more he tried to convince himself not to think about her, the more he thought about her. The packing didn’t distract him from it, and he cursed his brain for making him such a good multi-tasker. Why was he stuck on this one woman? This one woman that it would take a miracle for him to have? This one woman who had the power to make him crazy and obsessed over her? This one woman, for which he turned down perfectly good women with great qualities for? This woman who prevented him from accepting the devotion of a beautiful woman who left his house crying just minutes earlier?
He actually knew the answer. Somewhere along the line, he fell. Everything about her was great to him. Even the things he didn’t like. There was no physical reason, as they’d hardly spent any time together. And every time he thought he might have found that she wasn’t the person he built her up to be, she proved him wrong. She haunted his dreams, and his thoughts. She made him forget about everything around him when they would talk. It was like the whole world disappeared except for her.
He loaded the last box into his car. He set his alarm for 11, because he wanted to shower before he hit the road. He drifted off to sleep. As he slept, he had dreams of her and him together. Just like he did every night. He woke up and threw off the freshly washed blanket to go to the bathroom when he heard a noise. He grabbed his gun beside the bed he would sleep in for the final time and walked carefully into the empty house.
She stood in the hall. He lowered his weapon.
“What are you doing here?” he asked her in disbelief.
“You’re the one who called me to you,” she told him.
“I never called you,” he replied.
“In your dreams. You have been every night for months now. I’m right in the middle of one of my dreams, and then I get sucked into yours,” she said.
She pulled her dress off her shoulders and let it fall to the floor. She smiled as she stood in front of him, her beautiful body on display.
“This is still a dream, isn’t it?”
She grabbed his hand and walked him back into the bedroom. “Let’s find out,” she said.
He woke up with a pounding headache.