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The Last Flame

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A tall, beautiful redhead sat a table, slouching down in her seat as if attempting to disappear into the worn cushion of the bench. Her chocolate eyes, eyes that once held a spark of life in them, appeared dulled and sad. When she smiled—really smiled—dimples would highlight her gorgeous features. Today, though, Nicole was not smiling. The girl across from her, a dark haired woman with toned biceps and a permanent smirk, was talking animatedly at Nicole until she finally noticed the cloudiness in the redhead’s eyes.

“Babe, what’s up?” the brunette inquired, her hand quickly covering the length of the table to grab Nicole’s. The redhead quickly sat up, pulling her hand away slightly; the brunette stared at Nicole questioningly, her hand retreating to her own side, a look of rejection playing for a moment on her dark features.

So many thoughts bounced around in Nicole’s head… accusations, hurt feelings, distrust, discomfort… but all she said was, “I don’t think this is what I’m looking for right now.”

“What does that even mean?”

“I don’t think we’re at the same place right now, and I think we’re looking for different things.”

“Well, what are you looking for?”

Nicole closed her eyes for a moment and groaned inwardly. This girl. They had been on one date, shared one emotionless kiss, and she had already drunk-texted the redhead for two hours the day after their meeting, while Nicole was on duty. She just texted saying how much she missed Nicole, wanted to hold her, to kiss her, over and over again. Sure, she was nice, but Nicole didn’t even think she liked the girl like that. When you kiss someone, isn’t it supposed to feel like something? Fireworks? Sparks? Any little bit of conduction? The girl was getting very clingy, way too fast, and Nicole didn’t even feel a crush. Technically, Nicole was looking for the same type of relationship this other girl was—Nicole just didn’t see herself wanting it with her, though.

This dumping thing was harder than she thought. Every few seconds she wondered if she wasn’t just doing this because of what her exes had done or what her family would say… maybe she was scared to feel anything because that would mean opening herself up to get hurt. It would mean, if she found the right person, she wouldn’t be able to go back to her family at all. They wouldn’t let her if she was in a committed relationship with a woman. Is that why she didn’t feel anything for this girl? Because she wouldn’t let herself feel anything? No. Nicole actually didn’t feel that way towards her and she did deserve better. She deserved to be with someone she felt something for, who gave her butterflies. Someone she couldn’t wait to spend time with and didn’t have to force herself to make plans with. She hoped there was something better out there for her.

“I’m not sure what I’m looking for. I just know we’re at really different places with our feelings and I don’t want to feel like I have to pressure myself to catch up to how you feel, when I’m just not there yet,” Nicole finally answered, trying her best not to hurt the other girl. Sure, she was extremely clingy, but she was nice enough. They just didn’t mesh.

* * * * * *

Twenty minutes later, Nicole finally exited the restaurant. She was pretty sure the girl was still crying in there, but she had done her best to comfort her and it was at the point where Nicole realized she was only making things worse by being there. So she called the girl a cab, as she had shouted quite clearly at Nicole that she didn’t want the redhead to take her home, paid the bill, and left. Standing outside for a moment, she wondered if she had made a mistake. What if no one wanted her? What if this girl would have been the love of her life, the only chance for a love in her life, and she had just rejected her? Nicole had always been the one being cheated on and dumped… this new role came with a lot of confusion and doubt. She hated hurting people, but it was better to have done it now than to wait until the girl’s feelings grew more and have Nicole still not like her like that. To be fair, it had only been one date and the girl already had those feelings. It was a little much.

No, Nicole hadn’t made a mistake. Deep down, she did know that. She just wondered if she would ever find anyone, anyone whose feelings actually matched her own, anyone she could trust with her life and with her heart. If Nicole was being honest with herself, she didn’t ever see that happening—especially given all her past relationships.

Suddenly, the sky opened up and thundered violently down on her, the unexpected torrential rain drenching her in a matter of seconds. She ran through the dark, muggy air until she finally reached her small grey sedan. Fumbling with the keys, she managed to slide inside as lightning split the sky in front of her.

“Well, shit. Isn’t that just perfect,” she groaned, wringing out her sleeves inside the vehicle. Sighing, wondering if her life was always bound to be this difficult, she flipped on the wipers to full speed and started her way home, alone again.