I released a held-in sigh, leaning back against the counter of the cookie shop. The customers had slowed tremendously within the past few hours, as it was getting closer to closing time. I brought my hand towards my face, looking at my nails out of boredom. I was the only person in the front of the cookie shop, taking over for the lack of customers while my other co-worker was in the back, busy with mixing multiple cookie batters and baking many types of cookies. I could smell the sweet scent of sugar cookies and chocolate chip cookies baking in the back, causing my eyes to close slowly as I breathed in deeply. I leaned back more, becoming completely relaxed. Silence filled the entire shop. It was very peaceful and, above anything, something I had longed for all day. After an entire day of classes and riding on the subway back to my apartment, only to go straight to this cookie shop after a short time to myself.
Still being in my serene state, the sound of giggles outside the shop made me sigh once more before I turned back around to look outside the window. What I saw made me turn numb. Aidan was standing outside, with his trademark smirk plastered on his face. But in front of him, pressed against the window and facing him, seemed to be a girl. I couldn’t tell her exact age; I only could see bleach blonde hair cascading down her back in soft waves as another giggle escaped her. Aidan’s eyes twinkled mischievously as he leaned closer to her. I looked away before I could see anymore, biting my lip softly.
“What an idiot,” I heard someone mutter behind me. I looked over to the left to see my co-worker standing near the door leading to the back, his hazel-like eyes narrowing slightly. He glanced at me and, gesturing to the two outside, mouthed, ‘You deserve better than that.’ With that, he had turned back towards the task in the back. I watched before the dinging of the bell on the door brought me to my senses again. Aidan had his arm wrapped around the girl, a grin spread on his lips. I cleared my throat softly before speaking in a quiet tone. “Welcome.”
My eyes narrowed slightly at the sight of Aidan suddenly growing rigid, recognizing my voice. He quickly turned his eyes towards me, their jade green hues suddenly losing their excitement to be replaced with immediate regret. I breathed out slowly through my nose before turning my attention to the girl with him. Of course he went for this one. She was drop-dead gorgeous, with her doe-like blue eyes and seemingly perfect complexion. Her fair skin was framed by her hair and her lips were pulled up in a welcoming smile. I smiled at her, feeling my own heart skip a beat at her smile, as I continued with the mandatory lines for work. “What can I help you with tonight, hon…?” Her smile widened more as she looked at Aidan before she said in a soft-spoken, lyrical voice, “Could I by any chance get some sugar cookies?” I returned my eyes to him, seeing that he had paled and was still looking at me. I raised an eyebrow, awaiting a response. The girl was waiting as well, her lips parting a little. Aidan finally responded with a low voice, “Yeah...go ahead.” I held back a shiver as his deep voice resonated from deep within him, but instead turned my attention to the cash register as I asked the girl, “How many, sweetheart?”
“Two, please,” the girl stated, leaning into Aidan’s chest. I added in her total for the cookies and looked up at Aidan, sensing that my gaze had turned cold. “And what about you, sir?” I hadn’t meant for my voice to sound completely void of emotion. It just came out that way. He flinched slightly and said in that same low tone, “Um…the same thing.” I nodded and looked back down at the register, not wanting to meet his eyes. The girl shifted from foot to foot as I finished calculating the amount before she piped up softly, “Excuse me, miss…?” I looked towards her warmly, cocking my head to the side in a questioning manner. “Where is your restroom...?” She asked, flashing me a crooked smile. God, help me
, I thought to myself before I pointed off to the far right as I answered, “Down the hall, first door on the right.”
“Thank you,” she responded before hurriedly walking to the restroom. I looked back down at the cash register before saying, “That’ll be $15.80, sir.” The sound of the door to the bathroom had shut and locked, making me look up at Aidan with anger and annoyance. “Bri, I—”
“What the fuck, Aidan?!” I growled out, resting my hands on the counter as I leaned closer to him, the longer side of my hair starting to peak out from underneath the ball-cap I had to wear for my work uniform. He leaned back and ran his hand through his hair, biting his lip. “I...I didn’t think you were working here tonight.” I let out a bitter laugh as he finished this sentence before I spat out, “Well, looks like you were wrong.” I felt more of my hair falling out, making it more unpresentable. Cursing I whipped the hat off, letting my hair fall freely from its confines. Aidan watched me in silence, his eyes going over my form. I narrowed my eyes and barked out, “Are you gonna pay for you and your date’s cookies or what?” His cheeks flushed red at these words as he dug out his wallet and produced a 20 dollar bill from it. I took it from his hand and easily gave him back the exact amount of change. Our hands touched lightly, making us both stop. I pulled my hand away and said quickly, “Let me check to see if the cookies are done.” Turning towards the door, I had started to walk away until I felt a heavy hand land on my shoulder. “Bri...” Aidan murmured, making me stop. I looked back and saw that his eyes had a sad gleam in them. One that I honestly did not want to see. “...I’m sorry.” He continued, pulling me closer towards him to where he was holding my hands in his. I looked down at this point, not wanting to meet his eyes again. I watched as his fingers traced patterns over my skin, a silence reaching us. All I could hear was his even breathing.
“How long...?” I asked meekly, finally looking up at him. Tears started to sting my eyes, threatening to spill. He watched, the sadness spreading more. He stayed quiet for a few moments before he responded softly, “Almost a year…” My insides started to twist at these words. My heart seemed to almost stop. I looked back down, the tears almost spilling over. I pulled my hands away from his and grabbed my hat again, keeping my eyes downcast. Just as long as I wasn’t looking at him…I would be perfectly fine. Until I could get alone. Nodding at his answer, I stayed silent and bit my lip. He remained silent as well, leading to an unbearable heavy silence to descend on us. Sniffling softly I pointed back to the door and said, “Let me see if the um…things are done.” Without waiting for a response I turned completely to the door and slipped through it. A shaky breath escaped my lips as a tear started to fall slowly. My co-worker was leaning against the counter where all the ingredients were at, remaining silent. He finally spoke up, coming closer to me as he asked, “You want me to take care of them...?” I nodded, keeping my hand over my mouth as if I were trying to hold in my upcoming sobs. His eyes softened before he pulled me closer to him, hugging me briefly before grabbing a few sugar cookies off the cooling rack. I sighed shakily as I heard him helping Aidan, then I heard the girl approach them as I heard a giggle and a sweet ‘Thanks!’ come from outside. Slipping down the wall, I covered my face with my hands and let out a soft sob, keeping it quiet. A few minutes went by after I heard the bell chime again, signaling their departure. My co-worker walked back into the back room, opening the door and standing in the open doorway, his shoulders resting against it. I looked up at him and smiled weakly. “I’m fine, Josh,” I said weakly, my voice cracking. He shook his head and mumbled, “That’s a load of shit and you know it, Briana.”
I sighed softly and stood up, wiping my hands on my pants before I went towards the sink to wash my hands. Josh looked over at me and said without hesitation, “You head on home. I’ve got it taken care of here.” I looked over at him, my head cocking slightly before I asked, “Are you sure?”
“Yeah. You came in earlier than normal and we had a pretty busy day today.” He smiled warmly and waved me off, making me smile back. “Have a good night, Josh.” I said, waving towards his general direction as I grabbed my black studded bag and started to head out the back entrance. “You too.” I heard him murmur back, focused on the exact measurements with each cookie recipe.
The ride back to my apartment was one that I didn’t truly enjoy. The subway was surprisingly packed full at 10:30 at night, causing me to get stuck between strangers. Being that I am more for myself and being, in other words, introverted, I don’t really enjoy these times with being on the subway. I released yet the billionth sigh for the past half hour as I walked up to my apartment, ready to just fall onto my bed and pass out, to just forget about the entire events of the day. Reaching my door, I pulled out the key and unlocked it. Once inside, I flipped the lights on and smiled softly as I heard Kabegami mewing softly, lifting her head up from her cat bed on the kitchen counter. “Hi, Kabe-G,” I squeaked out in a high pitched voice, making her meow happily back. I locked the door and walked into the kitchen, setting down my bag and keys on the hooks on the wall. Reaching for Kabegami, I grabbed her and picked her up, lovingly petting her as she purred and rubbed against my chest. I smiled down before I set her back down again. She moved back towards her bed and flopped back down, falling asleep immediately. “Kinda what I feel like doing, Kabe-G,” I mumbled, walking towards my bedroom and without hesitation began stripping off my work clothes. After getting down to just my undies, I rummaged through my clothes until I found a baggy dark tee shirt I could sleep in. Yawning I flopped down on my bed, my eyelids drooping from exhaustion.
I suddenly heard my phone chirp, all the way in the kitchen. Groaning, I sat up and stood, walking into the kitchen. Rummaging through my bag I pulled out my phone to see that I had a new text message...from Aidan. My eyes narrowed slightly as I walked back to my bedroom, shutting off the lights as I went. I slipped back into my bed, pulling my blanket around me as I stared at my phone. Sighing I unlocked my phone and opened the new message.
Time: 11:45 PM
Msg: Hey...u wanna talk…?
I released another sigh as I laid there, contemplating as to whether I wanted to respond to him or not. In the end, I opened up the message again and started typing out a response to him. After a few minutes, I looked over it and pressed send. I looked over what I had said once more, reading everything.From: Briana
Time: 11:56 PM
Msg: There is nothing to clearly talk about, Aidan. You obviously showed me how you feel about our relationship, considering that we've been with each other for nearly six years.
I sighed once more and threw my head back on the bed, feeling like a complete idiot. I covered my face with my hands and heard my phone chirp again...and again. Letting out a loud breath, I looked back down and opened the first message from him.From: Aidan
Time: 11:59 PM
Msg: Do you think I don't realize that? The fact that I know that I hurt you over something this fucking stupid had me feeling completely awful. I know I am an idiot, but Jesus fucking Christ...I didn't think I was that much of a dumbass to get so caught up with some random chick when I’ve got someone like you who has put up with my constant bullshit.From: Aidan
Time: 12:01 AM
Msg: Just...hear me out, OK? I’m really sorry. And I’m well aware that I’m coming off as the asshole boyfriend who’s just trying to keep you with me for my own selfishness, where I’m not going to think about how you’re feeling about the situation. If you want to leave, then I won’t stop you. I want you to be happy with whatever you decide to do. I’m not gonna control what you end up doing; as long as you’re happy, I’ll be fine.
I stopped breathing momentarily, reading through the last message again. This was sounding more along the lines of ‘let’s break up’ more than anything else. Biting my lip, my finger hovered over the call button, trembling slightly. Finally, I pressed it and brought the phone up to my ear, laying on my side at this point. The phone rang a few times, each trill of the ring making my heart kick up nearly making me hang up and throw my phone across the room. Then, a click sounded on the other end of the line and his voice, deep and thick with exhaustion, spoke up, “Yeah...?” Biting my lip, I cleared my throat softly and asked hesitantly, “Are you sure this isn’t something that you’re wanting...?” The other end of the line was silent before he finally spoke up again, sounding like he was almost hurt. “You know how I feel towards you, Briana. If there is anything that you feel like you need to do to make yourself happy, I’m here to support you. Even if your family won’t, I will...” He got quiet for a moment, as I laid there in silence. Thinking back to all the bullshit that he and I had gone through similar to this...thinking that we were past the drama of this. Tears threatened to spill again as I bit my lip once more, still remaining silent.
“Bri...please don’t cry over this,” he started, sounding even more hurt. “I hate knowing that I’ve hurt you enough to make you cry… Please, love, I’m –“
“Aidan,” I spoke softly, my voice cracking and making me flinch. Dammit...
“...Do I need to come over...?” He asked, rustling in the background. I could hear keys jingling in the background as well. I smirked a little, sniffling softly as I responded, “If you feel like you need to...” There was silence on the other end until he let out a sharp exhale and said, “I’m on my way.” Before I could answer I heard the click of disconnection, making me sigh once more and wipe my face with my hands. I stared at the ceiling. Would any of this get any easier...? Probably not. I sat up and rubbed my face once more, releasing a held in breath into my hands. I sat there for a few moments, rethinking about everything that had happened within the past few hours. Knowing how Aidan is, he won’t be the one to make the decision on whether our relationship would continue to grow after tonight, or if it would end. This was all on me. And it was a decision I honestly did not enjoy making. Granted, I have had to make this same decision before; multiple times, when it came to Aidan just being a giant flirt and not thinking about the consequences. But, knowing that he had hurt me all those times and I had every single right to end everything with him...I hadn't. Because, despite all the heartache, I loved him. And I knew this very well. Even with him being the way he is—the wild child who thrived for the party scene—he was a completely different person being around me. He was more calmed down when he was around me, more focused on me than he would be on his phone or on his friends. I sat up more fully and let my legs dangle over the edge of my bed, looking down at my feet. Being that he lived on the outer edge of the town, and that traffic wasn't all that bad this late at night, he would get here sooner than I was anticipating.
A lot sooner.
The lock on my apartment door clicked as someone was unlocking it, making me stand up and walk towards my doorway, leaning against the frame. Aidan slipped through the door as quietly as he could, being mindful to my neighbors, before he shut the door and relocked it. Turning towards me, he took no more than three steps before he had me in a tight embrace, holding me close to him. Resting my head on his chest, I breathed him in; his scent, his everything. I nearly closed my eyes during this, feeling myself completely relax before I remembered that I was the one making the call on this. I moved my head and looked up at him to catch a hint of a smirk on his face. “Nice PJs,” he said teasingly, his arms slipping around me more. Narrowing my eyes I bit his chest lightly and pulled away from him, missing the warmth immediately. Looking back up at him once more, the smirk that started appearing started going away as he was watching me, his eyes softening his features. I felt my cheeks heat up slightly, making him smile. “So, um…where do we wanna talk..?” I asked, wrapping my arms around myself as I looked at anything but him. He was quiet, making me look over at him to find him still watching me, his eyes seeming to glow in the dim lighting of the living room, warmth radiating from him. He reached for me, grabbing my hand gently and pulling me to him once more. “Can we talk in your room?” He questioned softly, resting his head on top of mine. Nodding, I followed him to my room, sitting down on my bed while he stood beside me. Looking up at him, it was now my turn to smirk a little; he had a light blush spreading across his cheeks as he watched me. “Aidan...” I started, making him blush a light more. “I’m not sure what to do about you…” I continued, leaning into my pillow, which was propped up behind me. He looked nervous, making me bite my lip for my own sake of not breaking out into a smile.
“What do you mean?” He asked in almost a squeak, nearly sitting down on the bed as he seemed to pale. Poor baby. He’s a nervous wreck, I thought to myself as I watched him. Sitting up more and leaning closer to him, I continued, “I mean that I’m not sure what we’re gonna do. You’ve done this so many times, and yet I keep forgiving you and telling you that I’ll leave if it happens again.” I looked into his eyes at this point, reaching forward to rest my hand in his. He watched and listened to me, nodding slightly in understanding. Taking this as a good sign, I kept going. “It may be because I just...love you so much that...I can’t help but think that maybe—” I was cut off when his lips pressed against mine, silencing my next few words. My eyes widened as he slipped his hands through my hair, pulling me closer to him and sighed softly. Relaxing a little, I kissed him back and leaned closer to him. I froze slightly when he pulled me closer, making our hips press together and causing my legs to spread slightly. I pulled away blushing as he chuckled softly and looked at me with a loving look in his eyes, making everything about him soften so much more. “Well, I love you, too,” he said after a moment of silence, kissing the tip of my nose. My heart beat kicked up out of force of habit at the utter of those words. Surprising the both of us I grabbed him and kissed him again, feeling him smile against my lips.
“I take it I’m forgiven...?” He asked softly, looking into my eyes as he ran is fingers down my sides lightly, attempting to tickle me. I giggled and, with an ever present blush spreading, I said, “It seems like it, Aidan.” He grinned and kissed me once more, this one filled with passion.Damn idiot
, I thought to myself, smiling into the kiss. I love you too much to let you go.