She wakes up one morning, before Tristan, of course, and stares at the ceiling. It is the beginning of the end. She can feel that their fling or whatever this is or was will be coming to an end. Her online degree is done, she’s sat the exam and graduated with honours. She’s done what she’s wanted to accomplish.
But she still feels empty.
And she knows why.
She wants him. Tristan. She wants him in an all-consuming, greedy selfish way where she intends to get what she wants. She wants his smiles, all for herself, and his arms wrapped tightly around her. She wants his sleepy eyes seeing her as the first thing in the morning and the last at night.
Except he has responsibilities and commitments that he won’t talk to her about. It’s true that she knows that he takes secret phone calls in the bathrooms and balconies and hallways of wherever they’re staying but she doesn’t eavesdrop. Not like she doesn’t have her secrets.
But this, her secrets and his secrets? They’re holding each other back and she can admit that she likes him enough that she wants him to be everything he can possibly. She’s woman enough to even admit she might even love him. Because she remembers that first day she met him, where she just knew that he was important in a way she refused to acknowledge. Because that would hurt and be completely counterproductive to what she is trying to do here and she has had enough with sacrificing for a man. Even if the man is her –
No. She has to focus on what she must do.
So she plans, while they go out for dinner and drinks and have deep conversations about history and politics and constellations and he makes a cheesy chat up line about seeing the past in the stars. She smiles and laughs and enjoys herself, not because she’s biding her time but because she’s savouring it. Their days are numbered, even if he doesn’t know it.
So she packs her bags discretely and hides them in the closet and that night has mind-blowing, leg melting, heart shattering, once in a lifetime sex.
And when she wakes up in the morning to leave, she turns around and sees him, looking at her. He kisses her. Gently, softly, lovingly. “Were you going to leave without saying goodbye?” His voice was quiet, but it resounded throughout the room. He wasn’t judging her, and that somehow hurt more.
“I thought it would easier this way.”
“A clean break?”
“Something like that.”
He nodded at her like it made sense, and gathered her into his arms to bring her closer. “I’m not going to stop you. I’m not going to force you to stay if you want to go. Not if you don’t want to be here. But know that I have enjoyed every single moment with you. There has been nothing that I regret.” He smiled at her, “It has been a pleasure and an honour to meet you.”
He moved in, kissing her. Leah kissed back, deepening the kiss so that their lips slotted against each other and his tongue pried her lips open. Soon enough, they were dry humping each other. They had to break apart to catch their breath but instead of trying to continue their previous actions, Tristan slunk back onto the bed, snuggling into the duvet. Leah looked down onto his face before getting up.
Brush teeth. Shower. Change clothes. Brush hair. Her body was on automatic as she was hyperaware that Tristan watched her through the open bathroom door. Soon, she was ready to go. With one final kiss, she was out the door.
On to the rest of my life, Leah thought to herself. It was about time. But she felt like she was making a mistake. It didn’t matter because in a few hours’ time, she would be on a plane to Toronto and there was a job waiting for her. Her emotional baggage could wait until she landed.