It was the second week of Timothée’s Christmas break and I truly couldn’t wait any longer. He, even though he was on beak, had gone home on Monday after our weekend together. He then came back on Thursday night and we had another wonderful weekend. We went to an art gallery where I was able to just be me and talk all I wanted about all the art we saw. I never worried about boring him. He was so perfect and listened and... and I was over the moon happy. I was so so happy.
He had gone home again and now I was waiting for him to come again. It was Thursday and Christmas was next week on Wednesday. I was so excited. I had told him not to buy me anything for Christmas. That all I needed was him and his time. I also knew his birthday was coming up and I just knew we would have an amazing time together.
I was in my living room with my phone waiting. Finally he called me.
“Hey. I’m outside.”
“Ok!” I said excitedly. I opened the gate and got up and waited and waited and waited.
Finally my front door opened and I saw him walk in. “Hey!” He said.
“Hey!” I answered back. I walked to him and wrapped him in my arms kissing him all over.
“Whoa!” He said laughing. “Someone is excited!”
I laughed. I was no good at keeping surprises so I just grabbed his hand and pulled him over to the couch. We sat down. I was so, so happy. “I have to go to Paris for work,” I said.
“Oh,” he said furrowing his brow a little. “When?”
“Leaving Monday, the 23rd,” I said.
“Oh,” Timothée said. “Ok. Wow. Right before Christmas.”
“Yes,” I said. “Yes. But,” I looked into his eyes. “I bought you a plane ticket too!”
Timothée froze and his beautiful eyes widened. “You what?”
“I bought you a plane ticket, too, Timothée,” I said grinning. “We can go together and spend Christmas and your birthday and New Years together. In Paris!” I grinned.
Timothée looked at me. “Wow,” he said. “Wow, Armie.”
“Are you happy?” I asked.
“I’m... I’m grateful and humbled and blown away,” he said.
I felt my grin falter. “Not excited or happy or impatient to go?” I asked.
“Ah,” Timothée said. “Ah, Armie. I...” he looked down at the floor and I saw him start to blush and it started to sink in what all this meant.
“You’re not? I mean.. you don’t want to go?” I asked. I was shocked. Who didn’t want to go to Paris?
“No, I do! I do!” He said.
“Ok, great!” I said chuckling. “I was getting worried there a moment.”
“No. No Armie, I mean. It sounds amazing and I’m so grateful you know, I mean, wow. But, uh.” He swallowed. “I can’t, Armie. I can’t go.”
I stared at him. “Why?”
“Well,” He said. “It’s five days till Christmas and my family is expecting me home. They’re in San Francisco and I normally go home right away because I only see them on my breaks and I am staying out till last minute to spend time with you,” he said. “But they are expecting me there. My grandmother came Armie.”
“Ok,” I said. “I mean you can see your grandmother at any time,” I said.
“Well, actually,” he said pulling his hands away from mine. “My grandmother is 92 and I cherish every Christmas with her. She came in November from New York and I was looking forward to seeing her. I haven’t seen her in several years and my family means a lot to me.”
“Right,” I said. “I get that.” I did. “Family means a lot to me too but -“
“Armie,” Timothée said. “There is no buts. I’m sorry. I wish... I wish it wouldn’t be so sudden. You know?”
“No,” I said, feeling really hurt and a little mad. I had bought him a ticket so we could be together in Paris. Who wouldn’t want this? “No, Timothée. I don’t know.”
Timothée scooted back on the couch a bit away from me. “Ok, you’re right. I mean you’re, you know, you’re your own man and independent and maybe to you it’s not so sudden. Maybe you’re used to this,” he said. “I mean you’re not a 22 year old still financially dependent on his parents, you know, so maybe your idea of sudden and mine are different.
“Maybe,” I said, not buying anything he was saying. I felt he was beating around the bush.
“Armie,” He said. “I’ve known you five weeks.”
“So?” I asked. It was irrelevant. Time was irrelevant. I knew what he felt, what I felt. Or maybe... or maybe he didn’t.
“So,” he said. “Maybe it’s no big deal to someone like you who travels on the drop of a hat and is used to picking up and going but...” he closed his eyes. “You’re like...”
“I’m like what?” I asked angrily.
“Armie, I’m sorry. I can’t go,” he said. His voice was slightly shaky.
I felt my anger rise. It was an ugly feeling. I had never been angry at him and just like every other feeling that flooded me concerning him it was sudden and strong and it was all I felt.
“I can’t believe you’re turning down an all expense paid trip to Paris!” I said. My voice shook with anger.
“With all due respect Armie,” he said softly in a calm voice. “I didn’t ask you to get it for me. I’m grateful you did, ok and I know -“
“No,” I said. “No you don’t know!”
He just nodded. “I’m sorry,” he said.
There was a part of me inside that knew that I shouldn’t be mad. I had no right to be mad. And maybe it was easier to lash out in anger than to let myself feel the disappointment and pain and utter shock at the fact that he truly was saying no to me. “Why?” I asked. I still couldn’t wrap my head around it.
“It is just a bit sudden Armie and it’s too soon and I want to spend Christmas with my family. I miss my mom and dad and I want to see them.” He looked up at me with his big green eyes. “Armie I’m 22, I’m sorry. I’m sorry I’m not a kid and god knows I don’t want you to think of me as one, you know, but this is all so new. It’s all so new. And it’s sudden. And I just.. I’ve known you five weeks and I just wish to have more time before we do something like go to Europe together.”
And with that he got up. I watched as he got up and took his keychain out and I saw he took the key I gave him off the key ring.
“I.. well if you want to, when you’re back home you can give it back to me. I don’t feel comfortable holding on to it knowing you’re out of the country. How long will you be gone?” He asked. I stared at him and he finally met my gaze.
“I don’t know,” I said. I was feeling very hurt and empty. It was a horrible feeling and I had never felt it before.
“Have a safe trip,” he said and he grabbed his duffle bag and I watched him leave. I didn’t even try to stop him.
I walked out of Armie’s home as fast as I could. I practically ran to my car. I just wanted to hold it together. To hold it together till I got away and hopefully til I made it home. I cranked my car and turned and made it to the gate and finally took off. I drove a lot faster than I should have.
I could feel the tightness in my chest creeping up slowly. I shook my head and pushed it down. I couldn’t. I couldn’t fall apart driving. I couldn’t. Amazingly I didn’t. I pulled into my apartment and felt some relief. I parked and grabbed my bag from the back of my trunk. I ran up the stairs and got inside. Aiden was out. He actually wasn’t planning to come home till tomorrow. Good. The apartment was dark except for the lights coming in through the window. I took off my shoes and walked to my room and threw myself on the bed.
I let myself go and cried. I cried and cried and cried and cried. It was horrible. I sobbed like a baby and I couldn’t stop. My chest ached. My back hurt. I could hardly breathe. I lifted my shirt and covered my face and cried until I couldn’t anymore. I was left gasping and shaking. I laid in my bed in the darkness for a while, just gasping shakily. Sometime later I fell sleep.
It was Aiden. I kept my eyes closed. “Armie bought me a ticket to Paris. He wanted me to leave Monday and come back after New Years,” I said and new tears formed and slipped out of my eyes again.
“Holy shit dude. That’s like some Pretty Woman type shit. Maid in Manhattan type shit.”
“Yeah,” I said. “Yeah except this is real life and I have never felt more...” I struggled with how I was feeling.
“More...?” Aiden asked.
“More out of my league!” I said and sat up. I wiped my face with my shirt again. I had taken it off sometime in the middle of the night.
“Oh,” Aiden said.
“Aiden I’m 22! Fuck my mom has me on her medical insurance at work still! My parents pay my Discover card and my gas card!” I said. I couldn’t stop talking. “I’m not an independent adult Aiden. I mean I live here with you but right now, I couldn’t make it on my own! Let alone buy Armie a fucking plane ticket to Paris in return! And... and...” I began to cry again.
Aiden came and sat beside me and put his arm around me. “Just breathe,” he said.
I breathed for a while. I had my head on his shoulder. “And then I tried to tell him. And I felt so stupid. I told him it was too sudden. Because it is. Not BAD, just sudden. I’m still learning to deal with all I feel. I felt nervous and scared. He’s my first serious boyfriend... if he even is that. I don’t know. We haven’t spoken about it. We started having sex so fast and I’m feeling so much and.. and..”
“Breathe,” Aiden said again. “Breathe, Timothée.”
I did. I breathed and tried to calm my racing heart. “It happened so fast. It was so strong and so fast and suddenly I wondered if this is what it’s like for him. What if this is what it’s always like for him? He’s my first real anything and maybe I’m like number 6 or 7 for him and I’m just a dumb kid who doesn’t know any better?”
“No. No. Timothée I think he has real feelings for you,” Aiden said softly.
“Maybe Rhys is right,” I said. “Maybe he deserves someone who feels it’s nothing to drop their family at Christmas and go to Paris.”
“I think he should have asked you, Timothée. I mean, it would have been more decent if he had asked.”
I nodded. I knew Aiden, as my best friend, would always have my back. I felt tears slip down my face again.
“Don’t cry Tim,” Aiden said.
“I love him,” I said.
“I know,” Aiden said. “I know.”
It was sad. I had always believed love was always enough. Now... I suddenly wondered if it truly, truly was.