8 Months Ago

“Hey, mami.”

He kisses my lips. He tastes like his mint mouthwash. I think it’s so cute how he “cleans himself up” before I get here.

“What’s wrong?” he asks me, his light brown eyes on mine. I’m trapped between him and the door. Seems proverbial. I could run. But he’d catch me.
“Nothing,” I reply, averting my gaze to the floor. I can’t seem to lie to him. He knows that.
“Liar,” he tosses over his shoulder as he grabs my overnight bag and takes it to his room. I look at the door. I could still make a break for it. I close my eyes and follow him.

Once I enter the room he closes the door behind me. Before I can blink, my face is in his hands. He kisses me again, deeper. He missed me. He brushes my hair out of my face. I’ve worn it curly on purpose because he mentioned months ago that he liked it.
“You wanna tell me what’s up?” He looks me square in my eyes. I shiver and look away. He shakes me. Part of me is thrilled, exhilarated to be so moved, so outta control. Another part of me, a stronger part of me, is terrified to be so exposed. Sometimes I don’t want him to see how he affects me.

“I’m good,” I murmur. “Is the game on?” I ask, diverting the conversation. He hates when I do this. I can see it in the hard lines that appear in his jaw. He takes pause for a minute. He’s debating whether or not to fight with me. I know it. He concedes.
“Not yet. Change your clothes,” he says and leaves the room.
Victory for the time being.

My hands are shaking. I let out all the air I’ve been holding in a heavy sigh. I’m so stupid sometimes. I want to not be stupid forever.

I change and join him on the couch, my makeup washed off, sweats on, hair pulled up. He touches my face.
“Come here, crazy,” he says and tucks me under his arm as the whistle for the tip off sounds. He’s murmuring in my hair. Stroking the top of my head, running his fingers through the length of my mane, rubbing the back of my neck. The tension starts to leave me slowly. I feel my back loosen, my shoulders, my neck, my temples. He’s working on me. I know it. I wanna talk, but I’m just not that kinda girl.

We watch the game like that, me tucked into him, the smell of his cologne getting in my skin, laughing and smiling, talking too much shit. Between plays he showers me with kisses. My cheeks, the top of my head, my lips, my nose, my forehead, my neck, my collarbone. Oh, God I love when he kisses my collarbone. I feel his eyelashes flutter against my neck. I’m disarmed. His whispers in my hair some more. I giggle, soft and sweet and feminine and it occurs to me that I haven’t heard me this way in a long time.

Hours later he’s asleep and I’m watching him. From time to time he puts his fists up to his face, rubs them into his smooth skin before he settles back into sleep. He looks like a little boy. It’s like getting a glimpse of what his sons will look like while they sleep. For a second I allow myself to wonder if I’ll be around to watch them sleep too.
He wants to name his son after him. Call him Deuce. I know that.

I want to wake him up. I want to tell him about my parents, about my family, about my friends. I want to tell him my life story, the joys, the trivial memories important to only me. I want to tell him about me, give him details I’ve never told a soul. I want to show him my pain, paint him a complete picture of who I am. I want to let him in my head, get him to understand me better. I need him to understand me. Needing him to want me as I am, honestly, makes so much sense. I want to lay out my life for him and invite him to walk the rest of it with me, if he wants.

But I don’t. I put my back to the cold wall and pull at the hair at the back of my neck. Like I have for so many nights, I watch him sleep and I smile because I realize I’m so into him that I even wanna know how he sleeps. I laugh at myself. Sometimes I can be so stupid.

Maybe one day I’ll wake him up. Maybe one day I’ll stop being a coward, living behind the fear that if I let someone see me as I am, completely, honestly, no glitter or gold, that I’ll lose them. But not tonight. Tonight, I tuck myself underneath his arm and he curls his body around mine. He wakes up just long enough to kiss the back of my neck and then drift back off. His skin is warm and I’m hoping that maybe, just maybe, he’s patient enough with my coldness to thaw me.

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