I sit and watch TV and talk with my dad for a while when I get home that evening but then he has plans to go out for dinner with his colleagues so I'm left home alone. I'm pretty happy and content and tired at the same time so I just decide to go to bed. I wake up for no particular reason at about two in the morning and my phone is flashing with a text. It's from Alex:
I wanna talk
I reply sleepily:
Are you still awake?
He replies straight away:
Do you want to call me?
I kind of want to talk in person
I get up and look out of my window for Dad's car. It's parked in the driveway so he must be home. I look outside of my bedroom door and it looks like he went to bed a while ago. I nibble my lip as I send another message to Alex:
My dad is home and I really don't feel like sneaking out again. I'm warm and sleepy.
You don't have to sneak out. Can I sneak in?
I hesitate but reply:
I guess so, yeah. Come in through the living room window.
It's a weird moment being sat in bed in my pyjamas with the lamp on, listening to Oasis as Alex walks into my bedroom with barely any warning. He's wearing tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt and his hair is a mess as usual apart from it isn't an organised mess tonight but it's endearing and he still looks perfect anyway.
"Can I sit on your bed?" he asks even though I know he will anyway.
"Yeah of course." I say and he flops down on the end of my bed, half sitting up against the wall. I get out from underneath the covers and scoot down the bed, half lying down next to him in the same position. I kind of don't know why he's here, there isn't any sense of urgency like I thought there would be seeing as he wanted to speak to me in the middle of the night. He isn't saying anything, he's just lying on my bed looking sleepy. Maybe when he said he wanted to talk to me, he literally just wanted to have a conversation about anything. It's almost like he's just here to be here, because he wants to be around me. I don't know, maybe I'm making that up.
"Oasis." he observes.
"Yep." I say, glancing sideways at him. "You look tired."
"I am a bit."
"Why are you here and not in bed then?" I ask and he chuckles.
"I don't know. I just wanted to talk to you."
"About anything in particular?" I ask.
He smiles, shrugging. "I kind of feel bad about the whole kissing thing."
I wait for the room to feel tense, for my heart to start thudding, for things to feel sharp and nerve wracking because of how honest everything is but none of that happens. It just stays calm and open.
"Yeah?" I ask.
"Yeah." he says gently. "Not kissing your cheek today, but when I kissed you at my house and when I tried to kiss you in the movies."
I sigh. "Alex, you don't have to feel bad. I just didn't understand that it was normal to kiss someone and forget about it sometimes-"
"That's not what I feel bad about." he cuts me off but he's still speaking softly. "I mean, I do feel bad about that but that's not what I really feel bad about."
"I wouldn't have usually kissed you and then not done anything about it. I wouldn't have just acted like it was some disposable thing if you get me." he explains. "I kissed you because I realised that I really like you but then when I thought about how everybody would react, I got kind of scared. God, I don't want to explain this, it sounds awful."
"Keep going." I say softly, watching him speak the entire time. His brow is furrowed a little and he keeps nibbling his lip
"I just didn't know what my friends would think." he says and glances at me to see if I react badly. I don't and he keeps talking. "I know that sounds like a shitty thing to say, but do you know what I mean? They'd make fun of it. They'd be mean to me but they'd be mean to you as well and I didn't want any of that. I really didn't want them to make fun of me but it's not even just that. They sort of go weird about people who mix with people you wouldn't expect them to. Do you remember when Joe was friends with us all?"
"He started dating some girl that we weren't friends with and people said things and he eventually stopped being friends with us." he says. "My friends don't like when people in our group of friends get serious with people outside of it. They get sort of jealous and annoyed and just start being mean about it and then we lose friends because of it. They don't mind us being friends Kaya, but if we were together, they'd really care and I honestly don't want to lose my friends."
"That's okay." I say even though I'm disappointed. He actually feels the same way but we can't do anything about it. I half wish he was being really unfair so I could be angry at him but I can't be angry at him for not wanting to lose his friends.
"It's not." he says halfheartedly and he sits up properly, looking at me. "God Kaya, I really like you."
I can't really believe he's saying this but somehow I'm staying pretty calm. I sit up properly as well and I think about how most things are only forbidden when you're young and I think about how you should always just follow your gut and I think about him being sweet to my friends and I think about him laughing in the car today and I look at him here in my room, on my bed in the middle of the night when he could be anywhere else in the world and I kiss him. He kisses me back and then pulls away.
"Nobody has to know what we do." I say quietly before he can start panicking.
I kiss him again and he kisses me back. I feel like there are a lot of rules I follow in my head without realising it. I think you should feel what you feel when you feel it, I think you should do forbidden things while they're forbidden, I think you should do things as soon as the idea comes into your head and I think you should just go with things. All of those rules seem to be in place right now and I am following every single one of them. I can barely think right now but when I do think, I realise that Alex's clothes are on the floor and so are my pyjamas. I'm wondering why this is happening, whether it should be happening.
I never expected this. This isn't how it's meant to happen, surely. We're meant to have been together for months, we're meant to plan ahead, we're meant to know we're going to do it. Instead, we had no idea and we don't even have any plans of being together in the future but I know that right now, I am going by everything I believe in.
"I can't believe we did that." Alex murmurs against my ear.
If any one moment in my life has been surreal, it's this one. Alex's arms are wrapped around me, he's speaking right into my ear in a tone of voice he's never used with me before, I'm resting my head on his shoulder and I'm trailing a finger up and down his arm. Oh, also, I'm no longer a virgin.
"What did we just do?" I say and Alex chuckles, kissing my cheek.
"I don't know but I didn't hate it." he says.
"No, I definitely didn't hate it." I agree and then pause for a moment. "What do we do now?"
"I don't know and I don't care." he kisses my cheek again. "We don't have to worry about that until morning.
We stay up talking for the rest of the night and there's a kind of sadness to it. We're never going to do anything like this ever again. It's like these few hours have just been the shortest amount of time where it's okay for him to kiss my cheek for a long time while I'm speaking, where it's okay for me to stare at him while he speaks.
He leaves at six am and I'm left there to wonder what just happened and what I'm meant to do next.