a story about a girl and two boys – 9

I notice that she hasn’t been home a lot lately. I notice her late hours. I remember the first time coming home to an empty house. I remember panicking, worrying if there was an accident or something because throughout our years together, Kate had never once came home late. I called her cell and she picked up after the first call went to her voicemail. She said she was busy writing and didn’t pay attention to the time. I told her to come home soon because I had brought dinner.

I remember she barely touched her food that night. She played with her fork, and was completely immersed in her own thoughts. I caught her smiling to herself and looking happy. Happier than the pouty Kate that I was almost used to.
After that night I notice more changes. I don’t know how to explain it, but it seems like she has some kind of a new purpose in life, if that makes any sense, which is strange to me… To say that she’s happy is an understatement for she’s practically glowing. If I wasn’t engaged to her and she was some total stranger, I’d say that I’m looking at someone in love…

I look at her sleeping. She seems so at ease. I touch her cheek, and she smiles to the touch. Earlier I asked her about her day, she looked at me, shrugged and said, “It was okay”. But then when she thought I wasn’t looking, I saw her smiling, looking very pleased with herself… I’m pretty sure she’s working on a new project, or maybe it has something to do with the wedding. Strange how she hasn’t even mentioned it once. Normally she wouldn’t shut up about a new project, so I got curious…

The first place to look is her satchel. She brings it everywhere, as far as clues go, I’ll find them there. I open it and the first thing I see is this sketch of her. She looks very beautiful in it. The artist drew it perfectly. And then I find more sketches. More of her faces with various facial expressions. I toss them around and when I realize it, I’m surrounded by Kate’s faces. Many of them. I wonder to myself, who drew them? There’s an initial on every sketch. It simply says LR. Who’s LR?

Days went by since that night and I keep on waiting for her to tell me about them, about her late hours, about her days, about LR, but she has grown quiet. Very quiet. Too quiet. I can’t even remember the last time she nagged me about our nonexistent conversation.

But I keep telling myself that she has snapped out of whatever funk she was in. At least that’s what I need to believe. I need to believe that she’s finally happy again. And that we’re finally in a good place in our relationship again. And that this change is because we’re finally getting married. I want to believe that so much, but there’s this small annoying voice at the back of my mind, persisting, telling me that something is not right. And somehow it has something to do with those darn sketches…

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a story about a girl and two boys – 8

I spend most of my days here in Riley’s workshop now. Me writing, him sketching, but mostly we just talk. He never bores me. I love watching him talk about his work. About my writing. About life. I love how passionate he is about most things, and it’s good to be the one who listens for a change. But most of all, I love how he understands me. He just gets me. He never pushes me to talk about Charlie. He lets me play my pieces and watches me as I complete the puzzle. Patiently.

It’s been months since that fateful night when he asked me about my engagement ring. At this point, I know in my heart that I’m cheating on Charlie. As cliché as it may sound, I know I’m falling for this guy in front of me. Hard. And fast. And I’m not even sure if I want myself to stop. I never tell him about my feelings though… He never says anything anyway. He never demands anything anyway. In the back of my mind I keep toying with so many scenarios. So many what ifs… What if he just feels sorry for me and decided to be my friend because he knew I needed one… What if he basically is just a good guy whom is nice to all his friends… What if his affection towards me is just out of kindness, or even worse, pity…

Despite it all, I also know that right now there’s nowhere else I’d rather be. I love being with him. I love staying here until late, watching the afternoon sun streams in and its light hits his paintings. It’s so serene, the quietness is almost deafening but somehow I can still hear his heartbeats around me… And they’re always around. I love that. I love how his smile hits the corner of his eyes. I love his almost slouched back when he paints. I love being around his paintings. Being around so many beautiful pieces I could almost pretend that I was someone else. I love closing the workshop with him, our quick dinners. He usually orders something in and we will share the meal… After all, I have to be home before Charlie does and if I don’t eat with him he’d be suspicious.

Sometimes I want Charlie to be suspicious… Like the first night when I got home late. The very first night that started all of this. I wished he would at least be a bit curious and instead of just asking about why I was late, and when I fed him a feeble lie, I had wished that he would pester me a little. But he never did. They’re polar opposites, Riley and Charlie. One insistently dragging me towards him. One steadily pushing me away. And here I am, a mere bar of steel. Helpless to it all.

I wish the reality was a different one now. I wish I wasn’t someone’s fiancée. I wish I hadn’t said yes to the other man. I wish I could just stay here with Riley forever. No pretenses. No heartbreak. No lies. Just the two of us and all the serenity that draws us so close together. I wish this was my reality. I wish I was braver. But time and time again, I just stand still. In my heart I know I would follow him everywhere. If he asked, I would. I know in my heart I would. But Riley never asks. He doesn’t question.

He’s painting now. And I’m watching him. I should be writing, but I could do that later when silence gets too uncomfortable at home – at my reality. With Charlie. Which is a lie since he’s just around, but never really there… But right now, in this very moment, I’m with Riley. And really, that’s all that matters…