"I saw you and everything collapsed underneath me - suddenly, nothing made sense anymore. Everything sensible, sane and normal crumbled and I was falling again."
Falling to her; for her. It was infuriating how little effort it took for Alex to deconstruct your life, your good life that you had built after her.
That was what came first; the anger. Hot furious anger that burned any who got too close. It didn't take long for it to be doused, however, by the pure feeling of relief - relief that she was okay. Alex is okay. Next came the intense need and desperate love. It renders you speechless, wide-eyed like a deer caught in headlights. Your trademark look, apparently.
Alex knew. That tell-tale, signature smirk was the start of it all again. She knew the power she had and subsequently had no qualms about using it; lording it over you. That smirk, those eyes, those words - they were all the components to the intense chemical reaction that, once upon a time, you would have called "us". If you looked closer, you could see that things were still the same. Those words were still sarcastic, manipulative yet charming. That smirk was still smug and arrogant with just the right amount of annoying to make it alluring. Those eyes were still bright, full of life and warmth and far too trusting. Could you trust each other again after all that had befallen you both? There seems to be an absence of equal ground, one always a step ahead of the other. But, for just a moment; a pure, unadulterated, moment she stops. Waits. Suddenly you're "them" again. No lies, empty promises or secrets. For a moment it's like you're 23 and no time has passed. Eye meets eye, smile mimics smile whilst hand reaches for hand to pull lip to lip, with the words; "You're enough, I promise you."
So you realise, maybe Alex hadn't deconstructed your good life but shown all of the flaws that it held, and maybe you're not angry because Alex is here complicating things but making you realise how simple things could be, how much easier she made them. Maybe you fell so fast because you had never stopped falling in the first place. Such a realisation throws you, terrifies you, because what if all of the stupid mistakes and childish, hurtful and oh so pointless words that led to endless streams of tears were all for nought. What if you were meant to end up here all along. What if.
She can hear you thinking and she laughs at you and tells you that "nothing ever changes, not really." You don't have the time to deconstruct what that could really mean. You find yourself wondering why she forgave you, why you forgave her. When, out of all of the words you both have left to say, you both decided that this would be the way you went. Somehow you don't regret that. One look was enough to bring it back to you, all of it. The good, the bad, the ugly. You're surprised by how much you still want it, despite the knowledge of how much could go wrong; how much would go wrong. You want it. You know she does too and the wondering comes again. The wondering if it's too much of a risk to utter the three words that you haven't said since a lifetime ago. If those three words even mean anything to either of you anymore.
Somehow you end up in the back of a cab, her fingers inches from your thigh as she sits, silent now, next to you. You watch her as she stares out of the window, eyes unblinking behind the frames, expression changing only when the tips of your fingers touch her own in a polite request to move just a little further. Her face changes into an expression of wonder or maybe excitement. The only thing you can think of is how much she reminds you of a kid in a candy shop with a ten dollar bill. You're not sure if you love or hate her more right now. The thought makes you chuckle, coinciding with her well-timed grin at your lack of resistance when she holds onto your hand, just a little firmer. She squeezes it, reminding you that it was you who left, yet here she was - reminding you that she was here. The universe is real twisted sometimes, you figure.
Suddenly you're outside her apartment and it's astonishing how familiar this feels, walking up the stairs and into the elevator. Hands linked, locked together in a complicated combination of intertwined fingers. Heavy, heavy silence crowds around you both in the elevator, shadows of lust etch your features whenever either catches the other looking. Soon enough the elevator shudders to a stop and you walk, heavy footed, down the carpeted hallways. Past the pictures hanging in the public hallway that remind you of hotels and down to the door at the end. A quick twist of a key allows you both entry and you stumble in, giggling like a teenager. Your hands finally unclasp, all of a sudden safe in this place. This place that once encompassed the very being of them. You notice that Alex hasn't moved anything. Anything at all. The toaster you fixed still lies, unused, on the kitchen counter. The books she bought you, the ones you left behind, line the shelves next to her own. The souvenirs you forced her to buy scattered on shelves and table tops. When you step further inside, it's not just Alex's place anymore. It's yours too.
You realise she's been watching you. No longer drunk on the feeling of remembering; you see her clearly. She's a little more pale, a little thinner, a little less not your-Alex. For the first time, you realise something's wrong. Her hands are twitching and her eyes now seem less trusting and more far-away. Pale lips part to sprout, "Pipes.." She's begging you again. Begging you to stay because she can see all of the pieces coming together, she can still read you like a book. She can see your mind turning, slogging away to find another excuse to leave because you can't see her like this and she doesn't want you to go, doesn't want you to find that excuse. So you nod once. Take a step closer, hands around her face and your foreheads touching.
"No more.." You whisper, quietly begging in your own way.
"No more." She replies, filling you with relief and just the tiniest glimmer of hope. Hope that maybe things will be different, if you can help her. If you don't leave. Maybe things will change. Until her phone rings and her hand leaves your hip to answer it right away and you're struck with the devastating notion that no, nothing ever changes. Not really.