As Jared pulled the bathroom door open and stepped back into the room, I lifted my head in his direction and smiled.
“I thought for sure you’d be asleep.” He said quietly, walking to his side of the bed and pulling the blankets back, “You’re going to be so tired tomorrow, baby.”
“I tried closing my eyes but it just didn’t happen.” I said. Feeling the bed dip as he sat down, I rolled to face him, “I think I just needed you here.”
“I sleep better with you here too.” He said shyly smiling over his shoulder.
Turning out the light, Jared laid down, turning on his side so we could face each other. We were in complete darkness, so dark I couldn’t even see his eyes as I looked across to where I knew he was.
“I do.” He said quietly.
Tucking my hand under my cheek, I knew I should try to sleep but all I wanted was to have his arms wrapped around me. I needed to feel connected again, maybe then I’d have a chance at some rest.
“Can I share your pillow?” I asked.
Reaching for my wrist, Jared started to pull me towards him, “Come to me.” He whispered in the dark.
Once I moved closer, I laid my head on his pillow. We were so close, our noses were practically touching. Cuddling against his body, as he let my hand go I placed it against his chest. I could feel the steady beat of his heart under my fingertips and it was immediate comfort. I swear it was as if our bodies were starting to sync, we even began to breathe in the same rhythm.
Jared ran his fingers delicately up my arm then across my shoulder laying his warm palm across the side of my neck. Caressing my skin with his thumb, I could feel each exhale as his breath fluttered across my cheek. I thought since he was so quiet and probably trying to fall asleep, I should do the same.
“Sometimes I hold on to tight.” He said softly, “I love you and just want you with me.”
“I love you and want to be with you too…” I whispered.
Kissing my forehead, he said, “I know you do. That’s why I shouldn’t have acted the way I did. I know I can be overbearing. I want what I want and I have a hard time with the word ‘No’. I’m sorry things blew up the way they did.”
Not wanting to interrupted his train of thought, I kept quiet. I spent most of the day completely confused at what was going on and if he was going to explain even a little bit, I wanted to hear every word.
“I drive Shannon and my Mom crazy all the time…I don’t mean to, I just can’t help it. I want to make sure the people I love are taken care of and make the right decisions. The only way for me to do that is too keep them close.” He continued, “You were right when you said I was 'go with the flow’ only when the flow was going in the direction I wanted it to. I told Shannon you said that and he laughed….” he chuckled, “He really doesn’t want me to fuck this up.”
I didn’t know what to say to that but I was grateful he couldn’t see my mouth drop open in shock. Shannon actually said that?!
“When I was growing up, things were always so out of control, ya know, my Mom was young, things were hard.” He paused, “I had a great childhood but I remember always hating that powerless feeling. The older I got, the more I realized if my life was going to have any sort of direction, it was on me. I guess that’s why I need to control everything in my life.”
Every word he said made me see the events of the day clearer and clearer.
“Chicago was amazing. But having you here is different, more different than I thought it would be. The last few days… You being a part of my real life….” He paused again, trying to gather his scattered thoughts, “It made me realize you’re my dream too. I can’t help holding onto it with both hands because it’s never something I thought I’d have.”
I could feel my heart palpitating in my chest so hard I could hear my heart beat thumping in my ears.
Was I even breathing?!
“Things happened so fast between us, all the work stress, the schedule, the bullshit this afternoon, not knowing how you felt… I just hit my limit, ya know? I felt like everything was spiraling out of my control and I don’t deal with that well.”
“You’re a Capricorn.” I said, I hated how he was beating himself up like this.
Jared laughed, “That explains it, huh?”
“I think it explains a lot of it… What you’ve accomplished in your life, all on your own, is because of the way you are.” I said, “You’re a better man than you give yourself credit for.”
“I don’t know about that…” He said shyly, “I guess I know how much I am to handle and I just hope you don’t run.”
“Ahhh, so THAT’s why you want me to stay…afraid I’m going to run?” I leaned forward, “Not a chance.” Laying my palm on his cheek, I softly kissed him. “You made me fall in love with you so now your stuck with me, I promise..” I quietly giggled then kissed him again.
Finally, FINALLY, I know what was triggering his behavior today. Putting it all together, I felt like I could relate, most people could.
Jared has such a tough, take no prisoners exterior but it really does house a soul that feels deeply and he knows it. That’s why his walls are so high and he controls everything around him the way he does.
It wasn’t really me leaving that was the problem at all. It was the fact that he couldn’t handle the thought of me leaving without knowing if those feelings were reciprocated. That’s what happens when you’re emotionally invested and if I’m honest, that’s really what made parting in Chicago so hard for me. I didn’t know how he felt or what we were and it was like a weight on my heart.
For me, it was the fear of pushing him away that helped me bury those feelings in the back of my mind. But for a man like Jared, uncertainties would never settle. Like everything else in his life, he only knows how to deal with things head on.
Jared and I both got quiet again as we settled. I didn’t want to leave such a heavy conversation on anything other than another 'I love you’. Just as I was about to speak, I heard his voice so soft I could barely hear him.
“It’s been a really long time since I’ve had anyone in my life like this. I know I warned you about me making mistakes but thank you for understanding. I did just about everything I could to drive you away.”
Taking a second before I answered him, I tried to organize my thoughts. Tripping over my self is a common occurrence when I’m emotional. I wanted my words to come out as simple and pure as they truly felt.
“I believe when you truly love someone, you love and accept all of them, not just the easy stuff but everything..” I said, bringing my lips to his, “I love all of you, Jared.”
With a deep sigh, Jared rested his forehead on mine.
The day before the “party” everyone arrives on cue with Jared orchestrating the pick-up of everyone without a single hitch. He made certain to have his mother and Denise arrive as early as possible to keep his bride distracted while he finishes up the last minute details for their big day.
Today had been a no good, very bad
day. It already started this morning when you slept in, completely forgetting
that you had an early meeting. After you rushed to work, your assistant gave
you a much-needed coffee on your way to the meeting, which you successfully
spilled over your blouse. Luckily you had spare clothes in your office, so
quickly got changed and arrived 20 minutes late to the meeting. Your boss wasn’t
too pleased. Afterwards, he came into your office and yelled at you for 5
minutes straight. Did that guy ever
breathe??, you thought to yourself. The rest of the day didn’t get any
better and your mood got worse. You had to work overtime because you had computer
problems and the technician took his time to fix it.
Your phone buzzed. It was Jared, your boyfriend, asking where you were. You,
him and Shannon had planned on going to the movies. You texted him back, ‘Hey,
sorry. I don’t think I’ll make it home on time for the movie.’ ‘Is everything
okay?’. ‘Yeah, fine.’
Jared knew, that when you used ‘fine’ nothing was okay. ‘When do you think you
can leave? I’ll come pick you up. And don’t worry about the movie, I’m sure we’ll
find something else to do.’ You smiled, the first time today. ‘Around 7.30-ish
I guess.’. He quickly texted back, ‘Okay, I’ll be waiting out front. I love
you.’ ‘Ok, bye. Love you, too.’
The last two hours of work couldn’t have passed slower, but 7.30 came around
and you were finally able to leave. Outside, Jared was waiting for you in the
car, as promised. “Hey, you.”, he smiled at you. “Hey.” He leaned forward and
gave you a soft kiss. “Ready to head home?”, he asked. “So ready!”.
When you finally got home, you
directly went into the living room and collapsed on the couch. “Hello,
sunshine.” You turned your head to the side to see Shannon sitting opposite
you. “Hey.”, you mumbled. Jared joined you and took you bag and jacket from you
to hang them up. “Thanks.” “I’m sorry that we missed the film because of me.” “Don’t
stress about it, it’s not your fault.”, Shannon said getting up and walking
towards the kitchen, “You hungry?” “Starving actually.” Jared chuckled, “Good thing, we are prepared.” Shannon came back carrying boxes from your favorite
pizza place. “They arrived just a few minutes before you, so there still warm.”
Your eyes lit up. Shannon handed you your pizza, “Mhm, they already smell so
good.” They both sat down next to you, one on either side, with their own
pizza. Jared turned on the TV. The picture was stopped on a movie opening, “What
are we watching?”, you asked and took a bite of your pizza. Jared winked at
you, “I don’t know, Y/F/M perhaps.” “Really?”, you asked excitedly. They both
nodded and Jared pressed play. After you had all finished dinner, Jared went
into the kitchen to make some popcorn. He came back with to huge buckets of
popcorn. You grinned at him. You both were obsessed with popcorn.
The movie came to an end and you all decided to start binge watching a show neither of
you had seen. You were no longer in a bad mood, thanks to these amazing guys
next to you. You cuddled up to Jared and to no one’s surprise soon enough, you slowly
drifted off into a deep sleep. Shannon chuckled quietly. “Better get this one
to bed.”, Jared said to Shannon, who nodded in agreement. Jared picked you up
bridal style carried you into your shared bedroom. Carefully placing you in the
bed, he pulled the covers over you and gave you a kiss on the head. “Sweet
dreams, Y/N.”, he whispered before he left the room to say goodbye to Shannon
and clean up.