Wonderstruck

Do you ever just see a beautiful stranger? Not just a stranger that looks nice, but a really beautiful stranger who just captures you with the way they look and the way they act and makes you think about them at 2 am. A beautiful stranger that leaves you wonder struck and makes you somehow want to see them again and be with them forever yet at the same time, make you want to stay away from them so they remain this mysterious beautiful person that's in the world that would never hurt you.
I should have gone with the latter.

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Ethan's point of view

After almost three weeks, I've had enough. Life's too short. Rosy and I belong together, I'm not going to be stupid and waste time because I'm embarrassed to talk to her. I try and act on this before I change my mind. I text:

Come over please. I want to say sorry and I want to talk x

She doesn't reply for half an hour. I know she's probably seen it and I know she's probably just thinking about what the right thing to do is. After that time is up, she replies:

I'm on my way x

 

Rosy's point of view

I walk into the flat, unsure. I'm waiting to feel excited to be back with Ethan, I'm waiting to feel relieved to be near him again, I'm waiting to look forward to going back to how things were before, but I don't feel those things and that is the moment I have the most devastating realisation of my life. 

He smiles that sad, apologetic smile that he always does when we see each other again after a big fight and there's a pang in my heart. He doesn't know what I'm thinking. He thinks this is just like every time before.

"I'm sorry." he whispers, pulling me close. 

It's not that I feel like pulling away. I just wish I felt like pulling away because it would make this much easier. I hold him tightly for the last time, savouring every moment of it. I don't try to commit him to memory because I already have. I just think about what this feels like while I still can. I think of how he smells and how that smell always makes me feel safe. I think of exactly how his arms feel wrapped around me, strong and warm and caring. I think of how it feels to stand so close to him, so close that we couldn't be closer if we tried. I pull back a little in his arms to look at his face. Seeing him this close is a privilege only I have and soon I won't have that. I appreciate how blue and kind his eyes are, how smooth his skin is and how beautiful his lips are. I brush my own lips against his, not enough to fall in love with him all over again like every time we kiss, but enough to enjoy them one last time. And then I step away from him.

"Will you sit with me?" I ask, quietly. I'm smiling a little but it's a sad smile. 

He nods, a little worried look on his face. He knows something's wrong. He knows me. Why am I doing this? I think to myself. Why am I losing somebody who knows me so well? It seems like a waste. I have to tell myself that just because I'm not feeling all those frustrating things right this second, that doesn't mean I don't have to face them now. I take both of his hands in mine and he interlinks his fingers with mine. Even that simple act of love bring tears to my eyes.

"I can't come back." I look at him quickly and then back at our hands. 

"Take your time." he says, softly. "Just come back to me eventually."

I shake my head, still not looking at him. I can't bring myself to look at someone so kind when I feel like I'm doing something so cruel to the two of us. 

"That's not what I mean." I say and a few tears fall onto my cheeks as that realisation hits us both. "I can't do it all again, E."

"What do you mean?" he asks. He still has this hope in his voice but that's gone for me. 

"We've done this before." I look at him finally. "We have a fight, we don't speak, we get back together and feel like it's never going to happen again and then we slowly start to annoy each other again and then we fight and it happens all over again. E, I can't bear the thought of waiting for it to all go wrong again."

"That's just what couples do." he laughs a little but it's shaky.

"That doesn't mean it doesn't hurt." I shake my head. "Ethan, all we do is hurt each other. I don't want it go get to a point where we don't love each other-"

"That's never going to happen." he says, definitely. He's lost the little hope he had but he's still pretending it's there. He never gives up. Another thing about him that makes me question myself. "Rosy, we love each other, that's never going to stop."

"I'm not going to wait around and find out." I'm still trying to smile but it's not convincing. I just don't want him to feel worse than I know he's going to. 

"So what?" he asks, letting go of my hands. "You just fell out of love with me? Everything just means absolutely nothing?"

"No!" I protest. "That's not it, E, you know it's not. I love you and that's why I have to walk away. I don't want to watch it turn into nothing."

He presses his lips together and looks away from me.

"Stop trying not to cry." I frown. "Ethan, it hurts, we both know it, just cry."
"Rosy, if I cry, if I admit that it hurts, that means it's happening."

"It is happening." I try to take his hands again but he pulls them away. I don't know what to say. After a moment of silence, he looks up at me. I can't look at him.

"You're just giving up." he says, quietly. 

"I thought that too." I admit. "But I'd be giving up if I went back to you and let us get hurt again. I don't want you to hurt me again, I don't want to hurt you again."

"You're not even trying though!" he says, frustrated. "You're not even hoping that anything could get better."

"You're not giving me anything to be hopeful about!" I'm really crying now. I hate that it's ending like this. I hate that it's ending at all. I hate that I've hurt him again. 

"You're doing this so we don't get hurt." He doesn't seem angry anymore but he's sad and that's worse. "But it hurts now."

"It's the last time we're going to hurt each other though." I say, wiping my eyes, trying to get it together. "So I'm going to go."

"I'll come too." he whispers, keeping his head down.

"My family and I moved house the other week." I whisper.

He winces a little, shaking his head as he takes my hands again. "No. No, don't. Don't move away from here." he mutters. Tears are running down his cheeks now.

"I'm not going to tell you where that is." I used to tell him everything. "And I don't want you to talk to me and I'm not going to talk to you."

He looks up at me, his face crumpled. "Don't do this, Rosy. Please, don't do this."

"I have to." I whisper, getting up. He holds onto my hands for a moment, looking at them but drops them, shrugging like he's lost everything anyway.

"I love you." he nods as if he's trying to get me to remember it forever.

I feel my face crumple as I try to hold back from crying even more. I can't break down in front of him, not when I'm walking away. That's not an option. I take a moment to just think about what I'm really doing here. This is Ethan. That face, those words, that person is Ethan. Ethan's mine, he's my person. Every memory flashes through me like lightning as I realise I'm walking away from making any more memories like that. Everything we've had is behind us now. I'm walking away from it. I'm walking away from him. 

"This doesn't mean that everything meant nothing." I whisper. "Remember that."

He nods and I walk away, praying that he doesn't call me back. He does though. I turn around, quickly before I have a chance to break down again. 

"I have something for you to remember as well, Rosy."

I turn around, taking a deep breath. "What's that?"

He me straight in the eye and says the words "We'll be okay."

I turn around and run down the hallway, out of the building all the way to the train station. I know it was mean of me to not respond, but I couldn't. That hurt too much. I want to apologise, but I can't go back to him. If I ever cared, if it ever meant anything, I have to stay away from it in case I ruin it. I can't ruin it again. I can't go back to this however much I want to. I can't go back to Ethan, however much I need him.

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