Jean Jacket

The Lake

Just sitting here waiting, I was about to lose my God forsaken mind. Who just calls someone up and says meet here at 6 and doesn't show up. Like, seriously. I looked like a complete idiot sitting here by myself. I stared at the window waiting for the rain to let up. That's when I saw him. Running down the sidewalk doing his best to keep his head covered from the storm. Mind you, he was failing miserably. He came to the window, smiling so wide it was like he had just gotten a bike from Santa on Christmas morning. I just shook my head. After years of avoiding phone calls, emailing and visits I caved. I missed his smile, his eyes, his voice. Him.

"You actually came!" he said pulling me out of the booth into the wettest tightest hug possible.

"Yeah, yeah I came. I felt like it was time for us to see each other. It's been a while." I said softly looking at him. He'd changed. Not in a bad way. His arms toned up, his eyes brighter than before. You could see he had a spark that turned into a wildfire inside.

We sat across from each other in the tiny booth sipping our drinks. The way he smiled and laughed, the way he spoke about touring and writing and his fans. This is why I left. Why I did what I knew had to be done. Why I sacrificed being happy with Brian to see Brian happy. I always knew he was doing well. I still talked to the rest of the band constantly. I never missed a show in or around Arizona. I watched him light up a crowd of hundred doing what he loved.

"Can I get you two something for dinner? Another drink?" the waited said looking out at the sky. It had finally started to clear up.

"Yeah actually. That'd be great now that you mention food. Can I get.... Oh shit. I forgot what's good here anymore."

"Go with pasta. Pasta never steers anyone wrong!" I said laughing.

"I'll take a baked spaghetti and a salad with ranch please."

"Make that a double." Brian said smiling.

The waited left and Brian just looked at me. His face blank. No expression.

"I missed you. I missed you a lot. Like.. Not having you around to talk to or see that was hell Kayley.. I missed doing stupid shit like driving in the car for no reason at two am just because we could." he said grabbing my hands. "You know never once did I forget you? Jess said you came to our shows and everything but I'd search before during and after and I couldn't find you.."

"I always did Brian. I couldn't tell you to chase your dreams and not see you do it. I just knew it'd be too much pain for us both for me to come in again too soon. You needed to get grounded with your life as a musician without me. I couldn't watch you sacrifice for me so I did it for you. It was easier that way."

"But Kayley -"

"There are no buts Brian. I could easily go to the front and pay the tab and leave, but I'm not. We're 26. We're not crazy kids anymore."

"I know.. I just.. I wish this was easy you know?? I wish you never left.. I wish you would have turned around and said you'd stay. You'd go through it with me. I went through it alone Kayley."

The waited dropped the food at the table with another set of drinks.

"If I stayed Brian you wouldn't have your band, you wouldn't have signed the record deal. You'd have none of that. You'd be working some dead-ended job here hating every second of your life with me in it. You have so much more because I went away." I said staring down at our hands squeezing his fingers. "I'm back. I promise. I'm here now." I could hear my own voice shake as a slid my hands away. We ate in silence. Every so often sneaking a glance at the other.

Once the mean was finished I payed my tab and left. I sat in my car and I screamed as loud and as sad as I could. I'd been strong for too long. I held my own had and told myself I'd fine fine for too long. I learned how to block out Brian and now I'm letting him and every goddamned memory of him back in. I was drowning and I was only doing it to myself.

The truth is I needed Brian, more than he probably needed me. Growing up was hell. My parents had died when I was four and I was bounced from foster home to foster home until I emancipated myself at 17. I was alone. I had no one until I met Brian. He became my safe haven and setting him free was sending my safety net with him. Along the way the 16 year old me fell in love with Brian. I loved everything from the way he smiled to the perfect tightness he had when holding me. I loved the sound of his voice first thing in the morning when we woke up in his car in the middle of nowhere not knowing how we got there or how we would get home. I could hear the tapping, I chose to ignore and let myself have the moment I was in. I needed this explosion of emotion if I was ever going to get through this.

"Kayley, Kayley. Open the door. Come on. I can't watch you cry and do nothing about it." his voice was muffled by the sound of him trying to open the door and the insulation between us. I slammed my hand down on the button allowing him in. Atleast this once. I needed to feel the comfort and safeness of him around me.

"Stop it. Stop this. You don't need this." he said running one hand through my hair the other wiping my tears. "I'm not here to hurt you. That's not in my plans. You of all people know I'm not capable to hurt you." Brian arms wrapped around me and I collapsed. I was trying so hard to collect myself, and at the same time to absorb the moment of peace in my brain.

"I just.. I don't know what happened. I just.. Seeing you. Talking to you. I did all of this to myself, but knowing you've done everything you wanted is worth it, I just.. I don't know. I'm stupid. I'm still the 19 year old girl that I was when you left."

"Who said I'm not the same 19 year old boy? Come on. Move over. I'll drive you home. You can't drive like this."

"You don't even know where I live."

"No one said you were going to your house now did they?"

"Well no.." I just sat there in silence. I couldn't fathom how he could still be so sweet, so caring, so... Brian after what I did.

I guess that with time, wounds you cause can heal. They cause people to grow. I wasn't sure. I just know that I was sitting there next to, his hand on my knee. He would give it a soft squeeze every few seconds. He still drove a little to fast. He still sang along to the radio like no one was around. I knew that we had grown up, but he didn't seem to have changed.

We pulled up to this two story house. It was a little older, but it was his style. It wasn't too big, but it was by no means small. It made my tiny apartment look like a grain of sand.

"Well, are you going to get out of the car and come inside?" he said smiling. "You'd probably like the inside. It's a bit guyish but it's decent."

I just shook my head trying not to laugh.

We walked in, and I looked around. It looked a lot bigger from the inside. It had a huge kitchen, the living room was the size of two of my bedrooms put together. It was definitely his style. I don't think I've ever seen so much leather furniture in my life.

"Well, do you like it?"

"Yeah actually. It's nice here. Maybe too much leather, but that's always been your thing." I said nudging him over.

"Well, there's more. Go look out back, I'll grab us some water." he said brushing the hair from in front of my face.

I walked down the hallway to the back door and just stared. It had the most beautiful view of a lake. It was calming, relaxing and made every single anxious muscle in my body fade away. I walked out and sat on the stair just staring in the serenity of it.

"I knew you'd like it." Brian said handing me a bottle of water. "It's like I got a piece of you when I got this house honestly. I figured if I couldn't have you here yourself, I'd get something close." he said softly.

"So you bought a house on the lake because it made you think of me?"

"No, not think of you. It gave me peace and the last time I had actual piece was the last time I saw you. I know I sound ridiculous, but I never gave up hope on seeing you again. I never gave up hope that the spark went out on us. And to be honest, I don't think it did. Just seeing you in the window of the restaurant gave me the old butterflies."

I couldn't lie. My stomachs been doing somersaults since I saw him.

"Don't get sappy. You're not a sappy person Brian." I said smiling.

"How about I invite the band over, tell them to bring some friends and we just have a party. Like old times?"

"I'd like that."

"Then it's done."