I had a crush on him in high school, and the years didn’t diminish my feelings. If anything, my crush has seems to have turned into lust, and now, love was mixed in there as well.
The crush I could deal with. It was just an innocent emotion I could easily block out. Lust? That is something completely different. My body craves his touch; I want to be around him and I want him to want me. And now that I’ve been feeling the love bug, it is no longer just my body that wants him. I want to hear him laugh or talk. I want to share my day with him. But since our first date, we agreed that we’re never going to be anything more than what we are now, which is basically fuck buddies.
At forty-three years old, I did not want this to be my life. My son is going to be eighteen in a week, and he’s going off to college at the end of the year. I’m not getting any younger, and I want someone to share my life with.
I look at the closed bathroom door, where Mike disappeared to moments ago, and sigh. I know what I need to do, but that doesn’t mean I want to do it.
Once I finish putting on my boots, I stand and run my fingers through my hair, trying to tame it. I look at the bed, and my stomach twists. Sex between us is phenomenal. He knows exactly how to touch me, but I desire more. No, I deserve more.
I hear the bathroom door open and almost back out of what I need to do. The sight of Mike in nothing but a towel doesn’t help at all. I still have no idea how he can have so many muscles at his age, but he does. I close my eyes, take a breath, and open my eyes at the sound of his voice.
“You’re leaving?” His eyes come together in confusion.
I know what he’s thinking—not that I don’t leave after sex, just that we normally spend the entire day together. But after that last round, where the word love was pressed to the roof of my mouth so hard that I wanted to cry, I knew then that I needed to end things between us.
“I can’t do this anymore.” Okay. The words are out. I can breathe again.
“What do you mean you can’t do this anymore?” His eyes narrow further and drop to my hand as I pick up my bag.
“This thing between us… I can’t do it anymore.” I shake my head, lifting my bag up and over my shoulder.
“This thing?” The words are growled and his eyes sweep the room.
I take a second to think about what I need to say before opening my mouth again. “You were honest with me and told me that you weren’t looking for a relationship.” I take a breath, feeling my heart speed up. “Nine months ago, I was okay with that because I felt the same way.” I smile but feel it wobble. “I no longer feel that way. I want more.”
He runs a hand over his hair, and I see pain flash through his eyes. The urge to comfort him hits me hard.
“I told you,” he whispers.
He’s right. He did tell me what his daughter’s mother had done to him, but that was years ago. I don’t want to sound like a heartless bitch, but people get screwed over every day. Sometimes, you have to get over shit. My ex-husband abandoned me, and as horrible as that is, I know that not all men are the same and somewhere out there is a man who will love me the way I need to be loved. Even if the man I wanted to love me didn’t.
“You did tell me, but I can’t be stuck in the past with you, Mike. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life alone.”
“You’re not alone,” he says, his eyebrows pulling together. I want to laugh at how oblivious he is.
“Mike, I see you for a few hours a couple of times a week. We have sex. Then I go home. We don’t have dinner or talk about our lives, so yes, I’m alone, and in five years, Mike, I don’t want to be alone.”
I wait to see if he’s going to say something, anything that will change the way I feel right now. If he will try to convince me to stay. But he just stands there looking at me. I shake my head in disappointment and turn for the door.
“Wait. We can do dinner,” he says.
A laugh so painful that I have to put my hand to my heart bubbles out of my mouth before I can stop it. I don’t even turn around to look at him when I reply.
“Mike, dinner isn’t going to change how I feel.” I’m positive that dinner would just make this whole thing more complicated, and it doesn’t need to be any more complicated.
“Will you please stop?” His hand wraps around my elbow as I start to open the front door. My head drops and I turn to face him. “Give me some time.”
My throat clogs and tears sting my nose at the pain I hear in his voice.
“I can’t. I’m sorry.” I shake my head again, pulling my elbow from his grasp before heading out to my car. I don’t want things to end like this, but there’s no way I can continue with the way things are going.
I quickly buckle up and start my car. I look up at the house one last time. Seeing Mike standing on the front porch makes me question my decision. Then I think about my life and what I want for myself and put my car in reverse, pulling my eyes from him and backing out of his driveway.
I look at the guy across from me and bite the inside of my cheek. I signed up for online dating three week ago and have gone out on two dates so far. This guy is better-looking than the last guy, but I just mean better-looking, not good-looking.
“I’ll be right back,” I tell Steve.
He nods, not even taking his eyes off the phone in his hand. I roll my eyes and stand up, grabbing my bag. As soon as I reach the restroom I step up in front of the sink and turn on the cool water, splashing some on my cheeks before looking at myself in the mirror. I told Mike that I didn’t want to be alone in five years and I need to date in order for that to happen, so that’s what I’ve been doing.
Mike has called a couple of times, and when he does reach out to me, I can’t help but pick up my phone. Call me weak if you want to, but I love him. He never says anything about hooking up again. He just asks how work’s going and if Brandon is doing okay. I try to keep the conversations short. My heart can only take so much.
After shaking the thoughts of Mike out of my head and pulling a couple of paper towels out of the dispenser, I dab my face, reminding myself that I just need to get through dinner. Then I can go home, have a glass of wine, and curl up in bed with some twenty-something hot guy with tattoos on my Kindle. I touch up my lip gloss, step out of the bathroom, and run right into a solid wall.
“Sorry,” I mumble, as warm hands wrap around my shoulders steadying me. A familiar smell surrounds me as my eyes travel up and meet a pair of warm, hazel eyes.