Breathe, I tell myself… the car is cool and soft music fills the air, “Highway runs, into the midnight sun – wheels go round and round… in my mind…” who sings this song? Foreigner? Journey? Hmmm...
“I drove all night,” he begins, he face looking out the window of his driver side, “Just to get to you” he smiles quietly to himself. I feel the soft black leather under my bare legs, and breathe in the sweet vanilla scent of his car. “I know,” I whisper. I can’t bring myself to say more.
I know this is a man who chooses his words carefully. I know this is a man with a deep sense of pride and ‘masculinity’. I know that him being here tonight, chasing me, following me, makes him more vulnerable than he’s ever been before. Is it wrong that all this knowing makes him so much more attractive to me?
I wonder how long it took him to get here… we’ve been apart for weeks and the last time I saw him things were a little more than intense between us. How many times did he drive around looking for me… my house, school, work? How many bar nights and bar maids have crossed his path before he found himself driving out here… tonight… to find me on this road, in front of this house, happily infatuated with someone else.
I glance at his slick black hair gently tussled down the base of his neck. His pale skin looks smooth as marble and his jaw is clenched tight so that it looks more chiselled than I remember. Damn! It’s a good thing we’re on a public road… He turns his head and stares at me with warm, deep, beautiful brown eyes. I lose myself in his pain and reach out to touch his face. “I can’t leave you” his voice barely audible. I am magnetized – the air around us becomes electrified. Lightning sparks and pulls us in – energy envelopes and escalates between us… two people who need to be together, but must stay apart.
I feel my body edging dangerously close to him. No, no, no, – you have a boyfriend, I chastise myself – he’s in that house, ten feet away, he’s waiting for you… be strong, pull away, you can do this! My body stiffens and I shake my head quickly, like I’ve just awaken from a dream. “I can’t do this” I say catching my breath. “I have to go.” That’s it, I coach myself, get up, and get out… fast.
He reaches for me and my determination collapses. He pulls me close, his warm breath on my face and I’m falling. His mouth is warm and I can’t think straight. I am caught in his grasp and I allow myself to descend in the bliss of the cool car, his strong body, warm lips… He slides one of his arms around my waist and pulls me even closer. I fold like the wind - something in me, deep and raw, craves out for him.
“No, I can’t” breathing heavily, “I can’t do this Milo.” I pull myself away from him and suddenly my mind is clear, my thoughts return… reality hits me, and I stagger.
“Why?” he asks angrily. “Is it because of him?”
“Of course it’s because of him,” I answer defiantly. “You know I’m with him. I can’t do this … I can’t be with you and be with him. I’m not that girl.” I say this like I’m sure, but I’m not.
“Why?” his dark eyes flashing daggers at me, “What’s so special about this loser?” I know he’s getting angrier… a warning bell goes off somewhere far in my mind - I ignore it… I’m too caught up in his pain, my pleasure, our bliss.
“You know what this loser did last night?” he laughs sarcastically. Here we go, I smile to myself, he’s going to try and discredit my new beautiful ocean eyed boyfriend. Silent tension is building and the car begins to get smaller around me. “What?” I ask - Do I really want to know?
“Well, I saw him at the bar last night,” he begins self-righteously.
“So,” I edge him on pretending not to be interested.
“I walked right up to him,” he says knowing full well that we both know the reaction he receives when walking up to anybody. A vision of fear and intimidation passes briefly between us.
“You didn’t DO anything did you?” Poor Luke, what must he be thinking…
“No, of course not,” he says, like that would NEVER happen. “I walked in the bar and simply asked who was dating my girl,” he smiles and turns to me. “You’re still my girl right? The way I see it, you’re mine until someone has the balls to claim you,” he turns back to his window and mumbles something inaudible to himself.
“Yeah, that’s very subtle… and NOT intimidating at all,” I laugh out loud. “And I’m not something to be claimed Milo,” am I? “Anyway, how can any one mere mortal claim me with you walking around like thunder and lightning. You think you can stop frightening all the people who are trying to care for me?” Maybe I can’t have a normal boyfriend after all, what with all the psychotic exes I seem to collect.
“Not frightening,” he says defensively, “Just a question.” He pulls a cigarette out of its pack slowly, rolls it between his fingers and takes it to his lips. “And you know what this fool did?” he’s speaking through his fingers, which are now holding the cigarette to his mouth while the other hand is sparking a light. “Wanna know?” He breathes in, and exhales.
Smoke fills the car and I begin to feel claustrophobic… how long are we going to do this? I better get out soon. Still, I prompt him on, “What? What did this fool do?” I ask sarcastically. But something mean, and vicious in me wants to know. Did Luke stick up for me, did he stand in front of this incredibly frightening force of nature and proudly announce himself?
“He did nothing!” he laughs triumphantly. “He pretended like he didn’t even hear the question. And, he had four of his ‘boys’ with him too!” he falls about laughing so loud he almost chokes on the smoke of his cigarette.
I watch him and, for a moment, I almost lash out and smack him, hard. What’s the point? I knew it… it is too much to hope for… but how could I expect Luke to defend me when I’m still in this car. “I don’t care,” I answer, and we both know I’m lying. Of course I care. How can I be with a man who denies being with me, even in the face of bodily harm?
Milo knows me much to well. His fingers gently stroke the side of my face, “Really?” he asks softly. His face is serious now. I know he would have been more easily convinced I wanted to leave him if the guy was at least someone he could respect. Of course, earning respect in Milo’s world is much too complicated. My face is burning and I can barely hang on. What is it about this man that keeps me rooted in place? I gather all my strength and reach for the door handle.
“I have to go” I say and even I recognize the regret in my voice. “They’re all waiting for me.” I move to get up and out of the car but he grabs my arm, “Babe, you now what you mean to me,” he swallows hard. “You know who I am, not just who I am, but what I am,” he pauses searching for words. “You know you’re the closest to heaven that a guy like me will ever get… and I… I don’t wanna go home right now…come with me,” he pleads, “One more ride?” he smirks at me and I am powerless. I lose all sense of reason, righteousness, and everything begins to break down around me.
A warning bell goes off far away in my mind, but I am too enraptured to hear it. The air’s been knocked out of my lungs and I feel emptied, bottomless. “Ok” I breathe, “One last ride”.