Stormy Seas

Ben and Katie.
Katie and Ben.
But then there was Alex.

Katie lives her life in mental turmoil after her best friend moves to the other side of the world. After living with an alternative, she suddenly realises that she can't continue lying to herself. But just on the very day she finishes with Alex, Ben turns up. And it's all down hill from there, but is love enough to conquer all?

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6. Dangerous.

I stare hard at the haziness before my eyes. I blink it away, and suddenly I remember where I am. Who I’m with.

Before we fell asleep, we wrapped ourselves up in each other’s arms and drifted off with only my long woolly cardigan draped over us to keep us warm.

I gently roll Ben over and off me, and I reach for my clothes, throwing them on as best I can manage without the head room to fully stand up.

Once dressed, I sit on the hard floor and watch as he sleeps. 

I feel like I should pinch myself, like this is too good to be true. He stirs occasionally while I sit and think.

This uncomfortable space was where I made love to Ben Harris. But it was special, and I can’t stop thinking about how perfect it all seemed.

“Morning.” Ben croaks, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. He reaches for his underwear and slides them on underneath my cardigan, which is covering his manhood.

“Good morning.” I smile, placing a shoe over each of my feet as I sit.

He rolls himself onto his hands and knees and meets my face with his, touching my lips with his lips lightly and gently.

I can’t help but panic for a second about how my make up must’ve smeared, and how my hair is all ruffled and knotty and how my breath must stink-

“You look beautiful.” He whispers as he pulls his face away, but keeps it at a close distance.

I smile and look down at my hands avoiding his eyes in embarrassment.

He moves back and throws his clothes back on the same way I managed. Though he’s too tall to stand, even to duck.

Once we’re both fully dressed again, we meet each other’s eye and stare for a second or two. His smile creeps out and sends my heart into a spiral of poundings.

“Where do you fancy going for breakfast?” He smiles.

***

“So how’s Australia?” I ask over the plate of beans on toast that sits on the table in front of me. 

“Would you like any sauce?” Asks a middle-aged frumpy woman with her hair tied up in a bun on top of her head, and a pinny with spilt sauce down her front, though I wonder if she notices.

“Could I have some ketchup please?” Ben asks, licking his fingers as he puts one half of his bacon sandwich down on the plate. She nods and looks at me, so I shake my head and thank her. She toddles off and I bring my attention back to the conversation.

“Australia is good.” He nods and smiles, “How’s England?”

“A pile of shit?” I laugh, cutting at my toast with the knife and fork. “No, it’s actually not so bad. I’m just having a tough week is all.” I bring the fork to my mouth and eat the piece of toast and beans on the end of it.

I watch as his expression turns into a soft frown.

“Why, what’s wrong?”

I pause, I don’t think I know whether I should mention Alex or not. Or that I broke up with him hours before I had sex with Ben.

“I don’t-” I struggle, putting the knife and fork down on the plate. Luckily before I have to say anything else, the waitress returns placing the red bottle on the table in front of Ben. He nods in thanks, but turns his gaze back to me.

“Go on,” he smiles in a sad kind of way, and I think I should tell him the truth.

I think of how to word it in my head, watching my hands on my lap as I concentrate. Then after a few seconds, I say, “I moved in with Alex last month.” 

His eyes widen and I think I see panic in them, but he stays quiet.

“I’m not still with him or anything,” I say quickly, “I don’t cheat. I just-” Pausing seems to make me feel more awkward, and I wish the words could just be said. “I broke up with him last night.” I bite my lip and meet his eye again, “But if you knew why-“

“You broke up with him last night?” He’s angry. I see it.

“Yes, but it was because-“

“Shit, Katie.” He shakes his head and puts his elbows on the table top, resting his head on his clenched fists. “So I was just rebound sex?”

“No, Ben I-“

“After everything we talked about last night?” His angry panic is refusing to listen to me. He throws a ten pound note on the table before getting to his feet, “Forget last night.” He spits before leaving the café. 

In a state of shock, I hold my gaze on the money he threw. Should I go after him? 

I suddenly jump up to my feet, and rush towards the door. I throw the tenner at the lady who served us and run as fast as I can manage in my heels.

“Ben! Wait!” I shout as I clomp down the street, watching as he turns around waving his arms in the air aggressively. 

“Alex? I fucking knew you and Alex would stay together. I was nothing, huh? I was just a fucking coincidence last night. Someone you saw and thought, ‘oh hey, this mug could be a good opportunity to get over stupid, fucking Alex.’”

“WILL YOU JUST LISTEN TO ME?” I shout, which is followed by a silence. He sighs. “I broke up with Alex last night, because I don’t love him. I never have loved him and yes you were a coincidence last night, but not in the way that you think.”

“Well then how? What was last night?”

“Last night,” I catch my breath, “Last night was the best night of my life. And you turning up out of the blue, it sounds stupid,” I let out a laugh, “but it was like fate. Or an amazing coincidence. I broke up with Alex because I’ve had feelings for you for the past ten years.”

He rolls his eyes and turns as if to walk away. I grab his arm and turn him back to face me. “You expect me to believe that?” 

I frown as his words hit me like knives. “Why can’t you?” I say in a small voice.

He laughs in a horrible hurtful way. “Because I’m not fucking stupid.” And with that he leaves. He carries on walking as I watch on in horror. The man I just fell back in love with was walking away from me, again and I really can’t stop him.

***

“Where were you last night, I tried calling but your phone was off?” I’m greeted at the door by Liz, in her scruffy old pajamas with a tub of ice cream in her hand.

I walk in and slump myself down on the sofa, which is where I presume she was just sat due to the warmth underneath my bum.

“Please tell me you and Alex didn’t go home together and have make up sex or something?”

“No,” I sigh. “I bumped into an old friend.” 

“An old friend, that you stayed out all night and had sex with?” She smiles jokingly.

“Actually yeah.” 

Her face is priceless. A mix of shock and admiration along with a little bit of concern. “Woah, I was joking. Who, how, where?

“Urgh,” I groan, “I don’t want to talk about it.” I stand up and drag myself into the bathroom but she follows me, ice cream tub in hand.

“Woah, Katie. You have to tell me everything. Who was it, firstly?”

I stop in the hallway and turn to face her. “Ok,” I sigh, “Ben came back from Australia, he was in Junis, after Alex left, he saw me, we talked, had sex in his grandfather’s treehouse. Can I go shower now?”

“No! Katie, Ben? That’s dangerous.” 

“Why?”

“Because you two totally have a past.”

Not wanting to hear the best friend lecture, I turn into the bathroom and lock the door before she has a chance to follow me in there too.

I strip off my clothes and stare at myself in the mirror. I continue to fight off the lump in my throat, like I had managed the whole walk home, but being on my own all of a sudden, I can’t quite manage to hold it in any longer.

I watch as my face clams up, my eyes water and my throat makes an involuntary gasp. I watch as she deteriorates into a mass of sobs and snot.

I turn to the bathtub and run the shower. I climb in and let the water hit my face, my body. I let it wash away every inch of Benjamin Harris.

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