After the premiere of Civil War, Chris and Scarlett went a long time without seeing each other. She wasn't on any of the press tour or interviews. After that, Chris went back to stay with his family, those were the times he felt most happy, and he could say he didn't need anything else for the rest of his life, but that wasn't completely true. There was someone missing, someone he could consider sharing a life with, starting a family of his own. He never discussed that with anyone and people always made jokes about it, but deep down he was afraid he would never find that person. No matter how many times he tried and gave chances, he never found someone who would fit that part nearly as perfectly as she did.
On breaks like this, on which they would spend a lot of time away from each other, it was easier to think about her in a platonic way, but there were times when he wished she was there, more than anything, and he would think about all the great moments they once shared. It was different when they were face to face and she was near him, he felt as if wanting to run away from her but at the same time, she made him laugh and they could chat for hours and hours without any weirdness or discomfort.
Of course, that was only when they were working together or found themselves at the same event, so Chris could prepare himself for those periods of time. But on that year, something different happened, they were both invited to the USO tour where they would spend four days traveling to different air bases. It was completely different from anything they had done together, not just because of the different activities, but mostly because there wasn't any filming crew or other co-workers with them, they were the only actors there, so they spent most of the time together, answering questions, participating in the training activities...
It was past 10 pm when Scarlett heard someone knocking on her trailer door. It could only be him, she got up from her bed and went to open the door.
"Hi," she said, inviting Chris inside.
"Hi. You hungry? Of course, you are. I brought dinner." They had just arrived at the air base of Afghanistan, from Turkey, it was late so the activities would only start in the morning. It had been only two days of the tour but there were so much to do that they felt as if they had been traveling for an entire week.
"Oh, thank you! I really am hungry but I was too tired to go get it. I was just going to eat in the morning." she said, opening up the packed dinner.
"Yeah, I figured. Plus, I wasn't going to eat by myself. And..." he grabbed something from his bag and gave it to her. “I got us a movie! I know we’re probably going to fall asleep before it even starts, but it’s tradition.”
She laughed. “How the hell did you managed to find a movie in here?”
“One of the guys I was talking with while grabbing dinner had it in his bag. I don’t know it but he said it’s good. It’s a war movie or something like that.” He said, unpacking his dinner.
“Well, let’s watch it then.”
They sat on the bed and ate their dinner while watching the movie. But either they were too tired or the movie was too bad, because near the middle of it they were both fast asleep, one on each side of the bed.
“Chris” He woke up and saw Scarlett standing at the side of the bed, looking at him. The sun shining through the window made him realize how inconvenient it was for him to fell asleep on her trailer.
“Oh, shit. I’m sorry” He apologized, standing up so fast he almost knocked her off her feet, and started putting on his shoes. “I didn’t mean to fall asleep, I-”
“Hey! It’s fine!” She said, forcing him to stop apologizing. “I just woke you up because it’s almost time for our morning activities” she said, sating on the bed.
“Oh, right! Thanks for that!” he got up, grabbed his stuff went towards the door “I still gotta take a shower before I go.”
“See you later” she said as he went through the door
Later that night Chris was ready to sleep when he heard someone knocking on the door. It had to be her.
“Hey, everything alright?” he asked, for she didn’t have a much happy face.
“Did I leave my hoodie here for some reason? I can’t seem to find it and it’s freezing cold. I won’t be able to sleep without it.” She said. He smiled
“What are you smiling for?” she said, not helping but smiling too
“Nothing… It’s just with the face you came here I thought something tragic had happened”
She laughed “Well, it is tragic! It’s the only one I packed!”
“I’ve never even seen you wear it, how could it be here?” he asked
“I don’t know. It was my last hope.”
For a moment, he just looked at her. He knew she didn’t really thought her hoodie could be there. But she was looking at him as if asking for help. He thought it funny.
“Alright!” he said, pretending to roll his eyes “You can borrow one of mine, come in.”
A wide smile appeared in her face at that moment. “Aw, thank you!” And followed him to his suitcase.
“Here. Just pick one” He said as he laid three different hoodies on the bed.
“Hmmm… The blue one” She said, pointing at her chosen one.
“Alright, here” He said, handing it over to her. “Sleep well.”
“Oh, now I will” she said as he put the other two back in his bag. “Thank you.”
She gave him a hug and left.
Moments later she was ready to fall asleep on her bed, wearing his hoodie. It smelled like him, of course. But she wasn’t expecting to feel such a powerful sense of comfort and security with that scent. It brought her ten years back in time, when her favorite pajamas were his hoodies and shirts, mixed with himself beside her, holding her. The moment those thoughts reached her she regretted having borrowed his hoodie. For so many years she lived without even thinking about those three months. Putting an end to their relationship was one of the most difficult things she had ever done, so she tried her best to wipe all those memories off her head. But being there with him, spending so much time together… Those memories came running back and she felt the same thing happening to him. On that night, she let every single one of those memories fill her thoughts and guide her to sleep. She dreamt of him, of those three months, and a smile appeared on her face.
The next morning, she woke up and packed her suitcase, it was their last day and their flight home left in a couple of hours. She went to return his hoodie.
She knocked on the door. After a while he shouted from inside. “Come in! It’s open!”
She heard a sound of water running so maybe he was in the shower. She got inside the trailer and waited by the couch. Two minutes later he showed up, wearing jeans and drying his hair with a towel, shirtless. Not a good sight for someone who had just dreamt to be kissing that same person. “Hey, ready to go home?” he got closer and sat next to her.
“Are you okay?” he asked, snapping her out of her thoughts
She decided it would just be easier to deal with that situation if she had a little fun with it.
“Okay, first, put on a shirt please. This is insulting” she stood up, pretending to be upset.
“What?” he didn’t believe, of course, but went along with it.
“Just go.” She could barely hold her laugh. He was already laughing.
“Alright, alright” he went to the other room and opened his suitcase. She followed him.
“How come you’re so big? We’re not even about to shoot anything for Marvel” she sounded indignant.
“I’m trying to maintain a decent shape so I don’t have to, you know, torture myself so much later”
“Oh well, congrats or your commitment.” She said as he put on a white shirt that was clearly too small for him at that shape.
“Better?” he asked. She looked at his chest and could still she every muscle shape.
He rolled his eyes. “What do you even want here?” he asked
“Wow, is that how you talk to me now? Okay, I think better go. Oh, and you’re not getting your hoodie back. Bye” she said and started to walk towards the door
“Oh, no. C’mon, let’s start over, okay?” he said blocking her way.
“Scarlett, hi! How nice of you to come see me. How can I possibly help you with?”
She laughed at his performance.
“Actually, I just came to return your hoodie” she said, giving it to him.
“Oh, thank you very much” he said, taking it. “Served you well?” he asked.
“Yeah, yeah” she answered, they were standing very close to each other. “A little smelly, but it kept me warm.”
“Really?” he asked in disbelief. She nodded.
He took the hood to his nose and smelled it. At this point, both cracked up and started laughing. After a few seconds their eye met and you could tell they were both thinking about the same things, maybe it was the closeness, or maybe the situation reminded them of something. They stopped smiling and for a few moments none of them said anything.
“Uh, anyway” Scarlett said, breaking the eye contact and taking a step back from him. “Thanks for that, it was really nice of you”
“You’re welcome” he said, their eyes met again and the silence fell one more time.
“Hey, you know what. Here, you can have it.” He said, handing it back to her.
“What? No, it’s yours, you don’t have to-”
“C’mon, I know you love them. At least you used to.” he smiled.
“I still do” she said, accepting it from him.
“I remember you would always steal them from me.” He said
“Hey, that’s not true, you gave them to me”
“No, you just left wearing a different one every time, and never returned any of them”
“Well, you never asked for them back either”
“I didn’t have time to”
Silence fell. It was the longest conversation they had involving memories from that time. When both realized that, the mood of the conversation changed, their faces turned very serious. Scarlett looked down and after a few moments she began moving towards the door again.
“Here” she said giving the hoodie back to him. “I better go”
But he blocked her way once more. “No, please. We have to talk about it.” He said. He sounded tired.
“No, we don’t-”
She shook her head and bit her bottom lip.
“Please, don’t do this” she said
“No” he grabbed both of her arms “It’s been ten years, Scarlett. Ten years. And we still pretend it never happened. I know it was probably easier for you that way, but not for me.”
He took a second to choose his words and continued
“You keep saying I have to find someone to marry and have children. That my clock is ticking. But I can’t. I’m stuck, I realize that now. I’ve been feeling the same way for ten years and I don’t think it’ll ever go away. It is you and there’s nothing I can do about it, you were the closest I was of finding that person. It was a perfectly good relationship and it just ended, we never found out where that could take us, so I’ve never really gotten over it.”
She just listened, looking surprised and scared at the same time.
“And I tried, I really did. But every relationship I had after that was a complete disaster, I kept making comparisons. I just couldn’t settle for less than what we had. I know you did, but I couldn’t.”
She looked down and a sad smile appeared on his face.
“You said our relationship couldn’t work because we were both famous and it would ruin our friendship. Yet, a year later you were marrying Ryan… Do you know how bad that made me feel?”
She looked at him and meant to say something but he started talking again. A little louder this time.
“But it doesn’t matter now…” There was a mixed feeling of anger and sarcasm in his voice “No. Cause we’re here, and we’re friends, we’re really good friends. And you have your own family, and you’re happy. And I’m just a guy with commitment issues.”
He finished and waited. It was the time for her to say something but it seemed like the whole thing had been too much and she didn’t know what to say at that moment. He understood that, with a sight he reached for the door knob and held it open.
“Thank you for listening” he said.
She didn’t move. Seemed like she was deciding if she was going to say something. But after a few seconds, she walked through the door and left.