Chapter 24: The Rollercoaster

The whole walk back to his place (we were both way too tipsy to drive), we argued. But while we argued, we held hands – after a minute of back and forth, he (nicely) grabbed my hand and held it so warmly that even though we were arguing, I felt like we were getting closer. 

I was mostly just crying at this point, and fixing my dress from riding up, and I also had a drink too many, so I don’t remember all of the conversation but I do remember him mostly being mad at me because he was “just vibing” and really wanted to listen to the song and I ruined that for him, and that Pete and Jackie kept asking what he did to make me cry which made him look bad to them, which all made me cry harder that that was all he cared about. He kept denying that he’d done anything wrong by being all over Jackie (and Pete, for that matter) while ignoring me, as if my crying wasn’t enough to show him that clearly he had done something wrong. 

Hike views.

I remember talking about Christian a bit and telling him that his actions were bringing up bad feelings about being with him, and that I’ve been assaulted in settings like that before so I’m already on edge in clubs and didn’t appreciate being left to fend for myself. He didn’t have to give in to his dislike of PDA, but he could have at least made it clear that I was with him. I said that I was getting hit on by creepy guys in there, and he just kept saying that I should have told him those things before because he wanted and needed to know those things, which confused me even more because first he was mad at me, now all of a sudden he’s upset that I haven’t told him my whole life story basically. 

At one point, I said something about not having a good time because I didn’t have anyone to talk to since he would only talk to Jackie and Pete and he said that I could have talked to other guys if I wanted to. I said that I didn’t do that because earlier in the day, he’d told me that it’s always bothered him when past girlfriends used other guys to make him jealous – and also, that’s not my thing. I’m EXTREMELY loyal, to a fault, so I wouldn’t flirt with another guy when I’m hung up on someone else. To that, he said he wouldn’t have minded because “I’m not his girlfriend.” That was a massive, Christian-esque slap in the face. 

The only part I do remember very vividly is when we were almost back to his place and finally I just dropped his hand, stopped walking, and pretty much wailed out to him, “I just don’t see how you don’t get that I’m upset right now because I did ALL of this because I really like you and I’m starting to have feelings for you.” To this you would think that I had just slapped him across the face, like I’d told him I hated him, not that I liked and maybe even loved him. He then kept telling me that I was being “unrealistic” only citing the distance, which as far as I knew at that point wasn’t guaranteed to be an issue forever since he’d told me he was thinking of moving back to Massachusetts, and a couple of totally irrelevant differences in interests. 

When we got back up to his place, I was still a mess. By then I didn’t even know what else to say, I just stopped talking to him because I wasn’t getting anywhere, and I really just wanted my mom. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I was sitting on his floor pulling up the Marriott app and packing while he was getting into bed, and I was about to book a room at a hotel not too far away and call an Uber when he said to me, “Will you please just come to bed?” I looked at him very confused, and asked him to clarify. He said, “I don’t want to fight with you anymore. Please just come to bed.” I asked him again if he was sure, and he said that yes, he just wanted me next to him. I asked him if this meant that we were okay. He told me we were. When I got into bed a few minutes later, he said to me again, unprompted, “We’re okay. It’s okay. We’ll be okay.” as he pulled me into his side. 

I couldn’t sleep, too emotional and confused by everything that had happened. After about 10 minutes of just lying there thinking, with my head on his chest, I felt and heard him take a sharp inhale. You know when you’re about to say or do something you’re nervous about and you take that one last quick breath before ripping off the Band-Aid, so to speak? That’s exactly what it sounded and felt like. At first I thought maybe he was going to sneeze, and then all of a sudden I heard him say, clear as day, “I love you.” 

I was stunned. After a second or two of convincing myself that, no, I was not dreaming, but I did need to know if that was what he said, I finally asked, “What did you just say?” He said it again. He said, “I love you. That’s why we’re going to be okay.” I said it back. He pulled me in closer.

After that, I really couldn’t sleep. That was the first time I’ve ever had a guy say that to me. And it was only the second time I’d ever said it to someone, but the first time that I really felt it. When I did finally fall asleep, I was happy. Really happy. That was what I told myself not to expect, but what I secretly wanted to happen with going out there. And I got it. Even if it took an awful fight to get it, I’d take it.

The next morning when we woke up, he seemed good. I know I was good! He had said over the weekend that he would give me a massage, but I figured I’d give him one, first. So as I gave him a massage, we were talking about what we were going to do that day. We still had to play tennis and we said that maybe we could do that after breakfast, and here’s where I will always, always, always wonder if things would be different if I hadn’t done this. But, I told him that we should make a bet and he agreed. I said that if I won, I got a longer massage, but if he won, I’d tell him what he said to me the night before. He said I couldn’t do that to him, and after a bit of back and forth, I finally said I’d tell him what he said. And I did. I told him that he’d told me he loved me. 

At that he literally got up so fast that I almost fell off the bed because of the way that I was sitting to give him the massage. I don’t know how to describe the way he looked, it was panic, fear, a bit of anger, maybe even a bit of disgust? I don’t know, I just know that his reaction completely ruined the first time I heard those words. He said that maybe he was dreaming, or talking about his mom, but I really didn’t believe that. Not just because I didn’t want to believe it, but I felt the breath before he said it. He didn’t want me to leave, he said the same thing he’d said to me earlier, he said it twice, none of it made sense. All I knew was that my heart was broken. 

He told me then that we were going to have brunch with Pete and Jackie. Joy. We got up and dressed and walked to his car, and on the way we talked a bit about the night before. He kept saying the “not realistic” thing over and over again, and bringing up again that I’d killed his vibe at the club, and I just kept saying how I felt and that I was confused. 

Finally, we agreed that we had moved too fast too soon and that there were a lot of things we should have talked about before I came out there. I told him that I knew I was taking a risk, but I had to be overly optimistic to get myself on the plane. He admitted that he should have been more vocal about needing some space, and took me up on my offer to stay elsewhere. I mean, I went to boarding school, I have no concept of personal space at this point but he could have told me if he needed more space than 2 feet. But, I also told him that that was why I brought the banana bread he never ate, and cleaned every time he was gone, to show my appreciation. I could feel him wavering on certain things he’d told me before – like suddenly he didn’t know if he wanted kids, random things like that – but overall, I thought we were okay – we agreed to a “blank slate,” that we’d move forward knowing what we knew now and see what happened.

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