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…

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