FATHERLY LOVE


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10. • CONFLICTED •

Kai

Even after the weekend had came to an abrupt, and slightly awkward end. I still worried about Russell Adams.

I was admittedly fretful after witnessing the injury, that he had succumbed to. Even though he'd seemed to have been doing well the next morning. I couldn't shake the feeling that he was in pain that day, trying to keep a strong face for his son.

The bitterness of it seeping through the lines of his forehead.

I regretted not asking him any more questions, but I figured the less I knew then; the less mess I would eventually pull myself into.

Tomorrow was another day at work, but tonight was my Dinner with Calum. My alleged companion at work, and colleague in the office. I had thought to call and cancel, but with a few weeks left. It couldn't hurt to have some fun with a Friend. Maybe it would help take my mind off Russell, God knows he was the last person I wanted to think about.

In any state of mind. I didn't want his teasing smirk, that would make me stutter in an instance. Leaving me out of breath, just by standing inches away from me.

I didn't want him to stare at me, with those bold, blue eyes.

Eyes that confused and enthralled me, with his wickedly handsome gaze. Which would leave me re-evaluating every bit of my life. Questioning every decision I'd made between myself, regarding love and romance. It was all too odd for me to comprehend, or to come to terms with. For he was entrancing, though I didn't want to admit it.

I was affected by him, in more ways than I'd care to imagine any at all..

It needed to stop at once.

             'Are you ok? You look a little dazed.'

Calum spoke beside me as we walked down Pelican Street, towards the parking lot. Upscale Boston was filled with lights and excitement. The rural towns usually just close down by nine pm.

The Restaurant Calum had chosen for us, was in the middle of the City. Filled with patrons who had many reasons to be there.

Whether to just frolic about in the Gardens of the Hotel Cheva, order martinis and a flirt at the Bar. Or to simply enjoy a meal where every social status could be fed.

It was such a booming night, we had to park the Car three blocks away. Due to the designated parking being filled, and us nearly missing our reservation.

          'Yes, I'm fine.' I lied through my teeth, for I was thinking about him again.

           'Just a bit full.' I confessed, patting my rather swollen torso. It was a night filled with energy, and I could admit that much.

That I enjoyed dinner with Calum, and his company was enough to keep me relaxed through some parts of the night.

He was quick to hawk over me, which I dismissed apropos to nothing. For he still decided to be chivalrous; pulling out my chair and pouring my Wine. Letting me do almost nothing. For I was surprised that he didn't feed me himself.

It felt like the eighties, where I would have been mistaken for a Dame, and I was slightly annoyed by the thought. Only the World was changing, and two members of the same sex could go out and enjoy the town; together. Didn't seem to even bother anybody, so I was grateful for diversity in this City.

I was entirely overwhelmed. Simply because I'd always been that Friend, that sits in the corner working on Poetry. One friend lays on the floor, watching YouTube videos on her laptop.

Two guys with a budding bromance, just enjoying the vibe together. Just mellow, and probably intoxicated or a little tipsy.

All of us sprawled across the soft, padded floor. Nobody paying attention to what the other was doing. Until one joke rings across the room, and even the Boy in the corner; laughs. And this was the vibe, and nobody would complain. Because we were all sated, and probably seeing blurred lines due to smoking marijuana.

Each of us trying to stay calm, and the nervousness that you feel is just quaking your body. Yet you're probably the most high, or more sober than the other guy beside you.

It was a time where everyone would go home and tell their Parents that they had fun. Despite the little communication between Friends.

          'Full?' He queried teasingly as I tried to gather my scattered wits. I nodded a simple yes, and he gazed at me with deep, unwavering interest.

          'You barely ate what you ordered.' He husked, feigning suspicion with his left eyebrow raised. His eyes glinted, with the reflection of the City lights. Dancing with ever turn of his head, and I chuckled to myself.

          'I have a small stomach you ass.' I argued nudging him, but he simply cackled deeply.

           'You are perfect Kai James.' He spoke beside me and I paused, shifting my gaze to him.

He was at least 8 inches taller than me, and he sported a challenging look. He was indubitably handsome, but he was no Russell Adams. Suffice to say, I still thought of the man the whole night.

I felt dreadful, but it wasn't as if me and Calum had been on a date. We had agreed it wasn't, and I hope Calum kept true to his words.

For he shouldn't be expecting a kiss after the night is done, and for the life of me; he better not be seeking payment for his gentlemanly pleasantries either.

             'I'm anything but perfect. We are all flawed Calum,' I spoke but he fanned me off dismissively, and I grimaced.

             'Being flawless is what makes you perfect.' He spoke haughtily, surprising me by taking my left hand in his. 'Your compassion, humanity. The way you think of others before yourself.' His voice had lowered an octave, and my breath hitched in my throat.

            'Are you speaking about people in general or me? Because this sorta sounds like an Alien conspiracy.' I mused and he chuckled, shaking his head. He then took my other hands in his, and I became rigid with anxiety.

Holding perfectly still, as his warm thumbs ran across the top of my fingers. Awkwardly caressing my flustered flesh.

            'Perfection is within the flaws. And I don't care about your imperfections. I just want you, and that's all that really matters.' My chin was already touching the cold, damp asphalt and I tried to contain myself.

I felt my palms begin to sweat. Throwing me into a state of both shock and surprise. Anxiety being the fuel, keeping my words at bay. Clustering my cheeks, indicating that the shifting atmosphere had nothing to do with the discoloration in my cheeks.

I knew Calum was interested in me, but surely he must know that I was serious about my words. I was leaving soon, for my new job and it was miles away.

How did he expect for us to hold a relationship with such distance?

It was a foolish choice, and I'd rather keep him a Friend than to end up hurting him. Or to not have him as a Friend any at all. Both would hurt me and him in the same way, if not worse than we both could anticipate.

            'Calum I-.' I stuttered foolishly, but his lips came crashing down unto mine, and I reacted due to shock.

I pushed him away from me, tearing his lips away from mine.

I glared at him, and fought the urge to punch him then and there, for my fists clenched. Filling me with a feeling, that wasn't anger nor rejection. Just the simple fact that I'd already explained this to him more times than even I could remember.

But he was persistent in his pursuit of my heart.

I was just baffled, with no other way to react than I did. And the hurt look on his face left me wavering. Benevolent thoughts, of him and me filling my mind to a point of blankness.

There was nothing there for both of us to achieve, unless he was willing to go for the long haul. Which I already told myself that I couldn't have. So I didn't pursue a relationship further than just being Friends with him.

Or anybody for that matter.

            'What are you doing?' I asked harshly, but the timid look on his face left me brazen. 'I told you, this is not going to work.' I spoke in a much calmer voice and Calum gazed down at his feet, suddenly ashamed of his actions.

              'I'm sorry Kai, but you know how I feel.' He stepped closer to me, but I backed away causing him to halt in his footsteps. 'What are you afraid of? Are you afraid that I will hurt you because I-.' I hushed him before he could go any further.

Simply because I didn't wish for him to feel like he was the problem. Or for him to feel as if I feared him hurting me in the future.

I didn't wish for any of this to happen, but it was the way it was. Whether I cared to admit it to myself or not. For we we're worlds apart from each other, and in the following weeks ahead. It would be more of a reality in its most literal way possible.

               'Calum, I'm leaving.' I finally confessed.

               'What do you mean leaving?' He queried with a raised eyebrow, causing me to sigh heavily.

My eyes drifted away from him for a second, as I tried to figure out the best way to explain things to him. Without it sounding like a lousy excuse as to why we couldn't be more.

               'I applied for a position at the Chicago Institute. I leave in less than two weeks.' I looked away from him, dreading the hurt that was inevitably there in his eyes.

He had grown accustomed to having me around, and even though we flirted off duty. Our friendship was somewhat frozen in one place. Insistent on not becoming anything but. Not evolving into a romance, that we both seemed to desire.

Yet we weren't in the same state of mind, concerning our needs in the World.

              'Wow. I-,' Calum scratched his head, seemingly dazed and bit confused. 'I guess I didn't see that coming huh?' He asked and I gazed at him bewildered, as to why he wasn't freaking out.

I had expected him to be at least a little upset, and it left me discombobulated. As to why he wasn't acting out on me not telling him this sooner.

             'Why aren't you upset?' I asked with a narrowed gaze, but he only grunted slightly.

             'I want to be upset about this Kai. You have no idea how much I want to be, but I'm more upset that I can't be.' He spoke heavily and I folded my hands across my chest, daring him to clarify his words.

             'It came as a surprise to me as well. In some way I wanted it to not come through, because well,-' I paused heaving a heavy breath, balancing myself and my mentality. 'It would be a reason for me to stay,' I finished and his gaze went flat, and my words connected immediately.

For even then I had confirmed to myself and him that he was not reason enough for me to want to stay. I'd wished so hard for it to be that way. But even I couldn't control how I felt, and my feelings for him were strictly platonic. For nothing more would come from it, as far as I could presume.

I'd thought Long and hard about me and him. Yet I couldn't see us being lovers.

I couldn't see us dating, and pursuing a life together. Despite him being a man of honor and various other traits. That others would undoubtedly find appealing enough for a romance.

               'What if I moved to Chicago with you?' He questioned hopefully, but I was adamant about my decision.

               'Calum, you have a life here. You have Family, and a job that you obviously love. I don't feel myself being here, and I need to find myself and explore other things. I also can't root you out of a life that you are accustomed to, because I've been moving and chasing myself for years.' I tried to explain and Calum gazed away from me, trying to decipher my words.

Words that he knew were true, and even he couldn't bring himself to do that for me. Whether he believed he could or not.

               'You have everything here, Calum.' I spoke as I stepped closer, taking his right hand in mine. Attempting to appease his dissatisfaction, with the entirety of my words and caress. 'And I don't want us to make any regretful mistakes. If we are to be together, then my mind has to be in the right place first.' I finished and he flashed my a faint smile, that did nothing to hide the disappointment in his gaze.

               'I don't like this any at all Kai, but you're too smart not to listen to.' He surmised lightly and I smiled in gratitude, for his understanding.

               'I wanted to tell you, but I wasn't sure my application would even be considered. I'm sorry Calum.'

               'It's ok,' he forced a tight smile, and I could tell that he was conflicted. He wanted to be upset with me, but his happiness for my promotion was fighting that dark path.

               'Come on, let me get you out of this cold.' He smiled and my cheeks burned, and for the first time Calum's spontaneity surprised me. Also his consideration for my feelings, and respect for my decisions.

I would love to at least keep contact with him when I leave. Because even I could admit that I didn't want to just let go of this place. He was my one true Friend here, and my only connection to Boston.

                'Just promise me one thing.' He spoke and I rose an eyebrow.

                'What?' I queried curiously, smiling in confusion yet.

                'That you'll Snapchat me through every city and town that you pass through.' He chuckled lightly and I punched his shoulder playfully.

                'What is Snapchat anyway?' I asked with a narrowed gaze.

Calum cast me an odd look, seemingly amused that I had little to no knowledge of gadgets, apps and all the technological nonsense.

Without having a clue as to what that was. I shrugged lightly and he nudged me with a deep chuckle, wrapping an arm around my shoulders as we continued down the path.

•••••

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