Home > November 9(19)

November 9(19)
Author: Colleen Hoover

She allows it. For several quiet minutes, neither one of us speaks as I continue running my fingers over her arm and neck. Her eyes moisten, as if she’s on the verge of tears. It makes me wonder if she doesn’t like it. I can understand why this might make her uncomfortable, but for some twisted reason, I feel more comfortable with her right now than I have all day.

“I should hate this for you,” I whisper, trailing my fingers over the scars on her forearm. “I should be angry for you, because going through this must have been excruciatingly painful. But for whatever reason, when I touch you . . . I like the way your skin feels.”

I’m not sure how she’ll take the words that just came out of my mouth. But it’s true. I suddenly feel grateful for her scars . . . because they’re a reminder of how it could have been much worse. She could have died in that fire, and she wouldn’t be next to me right now.

I run my hand down her shoulder, down the length of her arm, and back up again. When my eyes meet hers, there’s evidence of a tear that just trailed down her cheek.

“One of the things I always try to remind myself is that everyone has scars,” she says. “A lot of them even worse than mine. The only difference is that mine are visible and most people’s aren’t.”

I don’t tell her she’s right. I don’t tell her that as beautiful as she looks on the outside, I only wish I could look like that on the inside.

Fallon

“Shit. Fallon! Shit, shit, shit, dammit, shit, shit.”

I hear Ben cursing like a sailor, but I don’t understand why. I feel his hands meet my shoulders. “Fallon the Transient, wake the hell up!”

I open my eyes and he’s sitting up on the bed, running one hand through his hair. He looks pissed.

I sit up on the bed and rub the sleep out of my eyes.

The sleep.

We fell asleep?

I look over at my alarm clock and it reads 8:15. I reach over and pick it up to bring it closer to my face. That can’t be right.

But it is. It’s 8:15.

“Shit,” I say.

“We missed dinner,” Ben says.

“I know.”

“We slept for two hours.”

“Yeah. I know.”

“We wasted two fucking hours, Fallon.”

He looks genuinely distraught. Cute, but distraught.

“I’m sorry.”

He shoots me a look of confusion. “What? No. Don’t say that. It’s not your fault.”

“I only slept three hours last night,” I say to him. “I’ve been really tired all day.”

“Yeah,” he says with a frustrated sigh. “I didn’t sleep much last night, either.” He pushes himself off the bed. “What time is your flight?”

“Eleven-thirty.”

“Tonight?”

“Yes.”

“Like as in three hours from now?”

I nod.

He groans and rubs his hands down his face. “Shit,” he says again. “That means you need to leave.” His hands drop to his hips and he looks down at the floor. “That means I should leave.”

I don’t want him to leave.

But I need him to. I don’t like this panicked feeling that’s building in my chest. I don’t like the words I want to say to him. I want to tell him I changed my mind, that he can have my phone number. But if I give him my phone number, I’ll talk to him. All the time. And I’ll be sidetracked by him and every little text he sends, and every phone call, and then we’ll Skype all the time and before I know it I won’t be Fallon the Transient anymore. I’ll be Fallon the Girlfriend.

The thought of that should fill me with a lot more distaste than it does.

“I should go,” he says. “You probably have a lot to do in the next few minutes so you can get to the airport.”

I don’t really. I’m already packed, but I don’t say anything.

“Do you want me to leave?” I can tell he’s hoping I say no, but there’s so much of me that needs him to go before I use him as an excuse not to move to New York.

“I’ll walk you out.” My voice is small and apologetic. He doesn’t react to my words right away, but he eventually presses his lips into a thin line and nods.

“Yeah,” he says, flustered. “Yeah. Walk me out.”

I slip on the shoes I had laid out to wear to dinner tonight. Neither of us says anything as we reluctantly head to the door. He opens it and walks out first, so I follow behind him. I watch him as he makes his way down the hall in front of me. His hand has a tight grip on the back of his neck, and I hate that he’s upset. I hate that I’m upset. I hate that we fell asleep and completely wasted our entire last two hours together.

We’re almost to the living room when he stops and spins around. Once again, he looks like he’s about to be sick. I stand still and wait for whatever it is he’s about to say.

“It may not be book-worthy, but it’ll have to do.” He takes two quick steps toward me until his hands are in my hair and his mouth is on mine. I gasp in surprise and grab his shoulders, but I immediately fall into step with him and slide my hands to his neck.

He backs me against the wall and his hands and chest and lips are pressed hungrily against mine. He’s gripping my face like he’s afraid to let go and I’m fighting for breath because it’s been so long since I’ve kissed anyone, I think I may have forgotten how to do it right. He pulls away long enough for me to inhale and then he’s back and . . . hands and . . . legs and . . . tongue.

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