I had been standing in front of Emily's door for probably five minutes but it felt like five hours. I wanted to knock, but I was apprehensive because I was afraid she would be mad at me for some unknown reason. Maybe she's busy and if I knock, she would be angry because I disturbed her. I let out a frustrated sigh as I looked at the plate of cookies I had baked about seven minutes prior to me awkwardly standing at her door. I then realized that maybe baking cookies was a stupid idea because I didn't even know if she liked cookies. Actually, didn't even know what kind of food she liked besides tacos from Rosey.
After a minute of staring at the plate, I stared back at Emily's door and knocked on her door somewhat confidently. I'm mostly apprehensive because I have never visited Emily's apartment on my own free will; I'm always dragged here or forced to follow her. So as I waited for Emily to answer, I rocked back and forth. When I heard shuffling on the other side and the door being unlocked, I became nervous because I don't want to be yelled at. I really don't want her to be mad at me. When the door opened and she stood on the other side with a grin, I almost dropped my plate of cookies.
"Hi Niall. What is that?" Emily asked as she pointed to the plate in my hand. I don't know why, but I felt insecure and embarrassed for a brief moment.
"I made cookies, but you don't have to eat them."
"No, I want them. I just... never mind. They're chocolate chip, right?"
"You're freaking amazing." She grinned as she took the cookies and walked to the kitchen.
I followed Emily and leaned against the counter as she inspected the cookies before taking one. I let my eyes wonder around her apartment and noticed a bouquet of flowers sitting on the coffee table. The flowers looked really nice and I had this unsettling feeling inside of me as I stared at them. Who bought her flowers? She hates everybody and has never spoken about a guy before, not that she would tell me anyway. So, where did they come from?
"Oh, you noticed the flowers." Emily said with her mouth full. I looked at her and nodded my head.
"They're not for me. I think flowers are a pathetic way of showing that you care or love someone."
"So you kept them?"
"Yes, I did. These cookies are so good. Damn, you are like perfect." She finished the cookie and grabbed two more before walking out of the kitchen and over to her red couch. I followed her again and sat beside her.
"So is this why you randomly showed up?" Emily asked.
"Yes, but I didn't mean to bother you."
"I was relieved you came by because I was getting bored and extremely tired of looking at these godawful flowers. After I finish this cookie, wanna burn the flowers with me?" I watched her finish half of the first cookie and realized she was being serious. She actually wanted to burn the flowers.
"Why not just throw them away?"
"Because burning them is fun." She answered like it was obvious.
"Sure," I shrugged because I've never burned flowers before.
It didn't take her long to finish her cookies before she grabbed two lighters and the flowers. We left her apartment and went outside in the parking lot. She led me to the end where she handed me a single flower and lighter. She had one of each for herself and dropped the rest of the flowers on the ground. She then pulled out a cigarette from her pocket and placed it between her lips. As she held the lighter next to the top of the flower, she looked at me as if asking if I were ready. I nodded as I mirrored what she did and lit the flower with her. She used the flower to light her cigarette.
"This is fun, huh?" Emily said after blowing smoke at the flower. I watched her and with the smoke swirling around the burning flower, it looked tragically beautiful.
"Drop it before you burn yourself." Emily said. I looked down at mine and saw that the small flower had already burned and the flame had gone to stem. I dropped it and picked up two more flowers.
"Next one?" I asked.
Emily still held hers even though the flower had already burned. She was watching the stem burn and waited a few moments longer until she dropped it.
"Have you ever given a girl flowers?" Emily asked as we stood in the parking lot. She was on her second cigarette and I had no idea she even had one with her.
"Yes, once on Valentine's Day my junior year of high school for my ex girlfriend. It was last minute and it was only a single rose. And then again to my prom date who was also my friend. Her corsage was made with real flowers."
"I'm disappointed, Niall. I thought you would've given more flowers to girls."
"Flowers aren't that cheap, well the nice ones. And I've only dated one girl. She broke up with me the summer before our senior year."
"But still, I think of you as more of the helpless romantic."
"Fine, what about you?" Emily continued to stare ahead of her before she replied.
"What do you think?"
"I assumed you didn't have any special guys, but I didn't know for sure. What about crushes?" She laughed.
"You sound like a girl."
"I'm only asking like you were."
"Fine, I never really had a crush on someone before. Yes, there was a boy who I thought was really cute here and there, but there just wasn't someone who I liked more than that. Like, there was no one who I would've wanted to label as my boyfriend."
"But things change. People change over time." I nodded.
"Did you take your high school girlfriend on dates?"
"Yes, we would do stuff together after school and on weekends. I took her to Portland a few times. We would spend the day there and hang out."
"Did she always make you pay for her food and stuff?"
"Not really, but I always offered."
"Would you guys walk around school holding hands?"
"She would hold my hand when we were sitting down, too. It was like she never let my hand go." Emily laughed.
"You're totally a helpless romantic. You'd do anything for love."
"It's sorta like that Nirvana song you showed me." She slowly took another drag of her cigarette before exhaling.
"You're right. And that's not a bad thing at all."
"I'm just curious, would you ever fall in love with someone?"
"Who's to say I haven't already? A crush is far different from loving somebody."
"You wouldn't tell me if you did." I said out loud.
"No, I wouldn't because love is stupid. People start becoming attached and then one day, that person leaves you forever and then what? You're all alone and become miserable. Some people won't admit it, but deep down they are nothing without that one person. For however long, you had let that person be the center of your world and the reason for your happiness. But then they just leave you, even after they promised you forever. I hate that.
"It's best to avoid lies and useless attachments. I'd rather be alone my whole my life with no one but myself than with someone who probably won't be there to see the end with me. Sure it's nice and a wonderful feeling, but it has a painful ending and I'm tired of pain. People don't realize, but our greatest threat is each other. We hurt each other. Love is pointless."
"So you've never been in love and are not in love with anyone."
"One day you're going to meet that guy and you will turn your back on everything you just said. And that guy is going to buy you beautiful flowers because he knows you love to burn them." She looked at me and grinned.
"You're the biggest dreamer in the world and highly unrealistic."
"I know, it's my greatest flaw."
"No, it's one of your best qualities."
Emily turned her head away from me and finished her smoke. I thought of the three things I learned about her as I admired her: she loves my cookies, she despises flowers and she hates love, period. I knew she would never want to be in a relationship with someone, but for some reason it hurt to hear her say it. She deserves someone who loves her and I think any guy who is not from this city would be lucky to be with her. She says she is satisfied with being alone forever, but I think she is lonely. She's been alone the majority of her life so far, she can't last for the rest of it. Someone has to commit themselves to sticking by her side forever even if she thinks it's a lie. I let myself wonder who that guy would be as I continued to admire Emily.
"How do you do it?" Emily asked. We had been standing outside for over an hour and the majority of the time I admired Emily. Before I answered, I took a moment to let myself be confused by her.
"It, how do you do it? How do you face every day, even if it's bad, so confidently and happily?" I shrugged my shoulders.
"I don't know? I just do it."
"It's impossible. I become enveloped into this darkness that transforms into this pain. All I want to do is stay by myself and let it eat me alive until I'm nothing. I can't let people in or be with me because it's not something worth sharing."
"What are you talking about?"
"I just don't want to drag someone in this. No one else should feel this or try to sympathize with it. I prefer to be by myself because it's just so much safer."
"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine. I am just... afraid."
"Niall, we can't do this anymore."
"Do what? Wait, I don't care about second-hand smoke."
"You have to leave."
"I'm trying hard, but I just can't win. I can't do it."
"What are talking about?"
"I'm becoming attached."
"Attached, attached to what?"
"Damn it, Niall. What do you think?"
"I'm totally confused right now."
"Of course you are and it pisses me off that I like that about you. I hate stupid and slow people, except you. This is ridiculous."
"How's that ridiculous?"
"Because! I just.... Why are you different?"
"I don't know? I just am."
"Well, you should change. You said people can change."
"You said people can't change."
"I said people can't change other people. You don't seem to believe that."
"I don't know what to believe anymore and I don't know where you're going with this."
"You are one hell of a guy, Niall Horan."
"You're welcome. So I guess this it then?"
"What is it?"
"I don't know?" She flicked the end of her cigarette, not caring to step on it. She crossed her arms over her chest as she leaned her head against the wall. Her eyes slowly shut before she exhaled deeply.
"Are you okay?" I asked after a minute passed.
"Yeah, I'm sorry. I was just thinking. What were you thinking about?"
"Oh, um nothing interesting." That was a lie because I had been thinking about her before she spoke.
"Do you think that maybe we will... never mind. Lets go back inside."
As I followed Emily back inside the building and to her apartment, I couldn't help but wonder what the rest of her question was. I was still confused by what she said, but I do know that she's attached to me. It's really shocking, but it gave me that weird feeling. The entire time I was with her, I had this weird feeling. I think I know what it is now. I know this feeling and I am starting to embrace it. I know why I've been so captivated by her. I know she is my drug. And if she ever tries to force me to leave her, I will go ballistic. After admiring her for over and hour, I realized who the guy that will be with her permanently is. I also realized I am a complete idiot, but that's only because of Emily's influence.