Holy shit. What was I thinking? I opened my fridge and grabbed a couple cans of Coke. I took a few deep breaths before going back into the living room where he had put on 'The Others'.
"I cannot believe you own this movie," he snorted.
"Shut up," I said. "You're the one who put it in. We're sitting on the floor," I added. "I'm not sitting on the couch soaking wet."
"Fair enough," he said.
I sat down and got comfortable. He sat beside me and I passed him the Coke. Our fingers brushed and I quickly took my hand away. As the movie began, I found it hard to concentrate. Next to me, Caleb had finished his Coke and put the empty can on the coffee table beside him. I finished mine and set it on the floor. I rubbed the back of my neck and put my hands in my lap.
"You're not being very discreet," I said.
"You have a carpet floor," he said, now right next to me. He put his arm around me and I gulped. "Now, if it was wood like the rest of your house, then it wouldn't be a problem."
To calm myself down, I spoke along with the movie a little.
"How many times have you seen this?" he asked, laughing.
"A few times," I shrugged and tried to get out from under his arm. "Could I have some space?" I whispered.
"Sure," he said and removed his arm.
I frowned and snatched up the remote. I paused the moved and turned to him, crossing my arms. He looked at me, confused.
"What's your deal?" I demanded.
"What do you mean?" he asked. "You asked for space so I gave you space."
"No. A month ago, you would have refused."
"I didn't want you to think I was-"
"Oh, don't even try that."
He sighed and looked at his lap. "I don't know," he said. "I just- Do you want me to be pushy again?"
"Don't dodge it," I said. "Come on. Tell me. Please."
He groaned and ran his hand through his hair. "Why does it matter, Mirela?"
I stared at him until he looked back at me.
"Because I need to know the answer," I said quietly. "The truth."
"I'm not good at that," he said and reached for the remote but I held it away. "Come on, Mirela. Don't ruin this."
"Ruin what?" I asked.
"What we have," he said.
I had a lump in my throat and swallowed it.
"What do we have, Caleb?" I whispered.
"I-" He sighed. "We- Damn it." He gripped his hair. "This is new to me, Mirela. I'm not- This isn't the kind of guy I am."
"What kind of guy are you?"
He glared at me. "You know damn well what kind of guy I am," he snapped. When I didn't say anything, he ran his hand through his hair again. "I'm a player, Mirela! I go around to bars and coffee shops to pick up chicks! I take them home or to the studio, bang 'em, and send them on their way! I don't get into relationships and I certainly don't fall in love!"
"Who said anything about love?" I asked with a frown.
"No one," he snapped, glaring at the TV screen. "The point is I can't.... I don't feel comfortable right now."
I stared at the floor. "So leave," I whispered, disappointment filling me.
"But I don't want to."
I sighed. "Then what do you want?" I asked. "Because I'm really confused." He stared at me. "Look, I'm drawing a line. If you're going to keep tugging these strings, we can't do this anymore. I told you: I'm not the kind of girl to go around and fuck everything that moves." I looked him in the eyes. "That includes kissing. Why have you kissed me so much if you don't like me?"
"Because I've been hoping it'll soften you up," he snapped and I clenched my jaw. "Shit. That wasn't what I meant."
I stood up. "The first thing people say is always their first thought," I whispered. "Perhaps you should go," I said.
"Mirela," he began.
"Stop it," I snapped and he stood up. "Just call Luther and have him come pick you up."
"I am not going to have sex with you, Caleb!" I yelled, stomping my foot. "I don't give a shit how many times you kiss me! I'm not a toy that you can play with then toss in the trash when you're done! There are plenty of women like that out there! Go and find one of those!"
"I don't want one of those!" he yelled back. "I want you!"
"I told you! I'm not having-"
He grabbed my shoulders and kissed me. I tried to fight him but I eventually gave in. He pulled me close and pushed his tongue into my mouth. At first it was rough but then he slowed it down. I shook in his hands and began to cry. Finally, I came to my sense and pushed him off.
"Stop it," I cried. "Just stop it."
"You really haven't figured it out. Yes, I started kissing you because I thought it would loosen you up. I knew it wouldn't work, though!"
"So why keep it up?" I demanded.
He threw his hands up in the air and groaned.
"Why the fuck do you think I did?"
"If I knew I wouldn't be asking!" I snapped.
"Because I want to be with you, damn it!" he shouted. "I don't want you in my bed! I want you in my arms!"
"You're confusing me!" I shouted back.
He grabbed my face and made me look at him. I tried to get out of his grip in case he tried to kiss me again.
"You are an incredibly sexy woman, Mirela," he said firmly. "But you're more beautiful than sexy. I didn't see that before. I didn't see it until we started hanging out. I never thought I'd actually want to be in a relationship. I don't want to pretend, Mirela, that you're my girlfriend. I want it to be real." I gasped. "But I'm so fucking scared."
"You're scared?" I whispered and his hands slid to mine.
"More than you can understand," he mumbled, looking down. "You're used to the concept of relationships. I'm not. When my parents divorced, I told myself stuff like this didn't exist. I've spent 10 years like this, Mirela. And to have you be the one to show me that-that it isn't just something you read and see in movies.... It's intimidating. What if I fuck up? What if you don't want to be with me? What if we just end up like my parents? So angry at each other we can't even be in the same room? That's all I can think of when I think about being with you."
He sighed and shut his eyes tightly.
"Is it really that hard for you?" I asked softly. He just nodded. "As strange as this may seem, that's not unusual."
"What do you mean?"
I shrugged. "That's how everyone feels at some point; especially in a relationship."
He let out a long sigh. "Where does this leave us, Mirela?" he whispered.
I looked at our clasped hands, biting my lower lip. I was scared, too.
"I-I like you a lot, Caleb," I admitted and his hold on my hands tightened. "I don't know why, no offense, but I do." I cried a little. "And it kills me every time you kiss me or touch me because you look at me and see your bed. I look at you and see something different; something more innocent."
"Weren't you listening?" he whispered. "Look at me, Mirela." I did so hesitantly. "I don't want you just for sex anymore."
I shut my eyes. "We need to be blunt with each other, Caleb. Just like we were when we had dinner at your place." When I opened my eyes again, he was watching me. He looked scared. "At-At the risk of ruining our friendship, I want to be in a relationship with you. An exclusive relationship. No sleeping around, no flirting with other people. Just you and me." I gulped. "Now what do you want?"
"You," he whispered. "I don't care about the other stuff. I just want you. I don't want other women anymore. You don't ever need to worry about me sleeping around or flirting with other women. You're the only person I want to flirt with. You're the only person I want to kiss and hug." He took my face in his hands again and looked into my eyes. "I want to be in a relationship with you, too." He took a deep breath. "So what do you say, Mirela? Will you be with me? Will you be my girlfriend?"
My heart was pounding in my chest as I looked into his hazel eyes. The last time someone said this to me, he ended up just wanting me for my body, too.
"I know what you're thinking. I don't know that douche's name but I don't see the point in proposing if you're just going to break it off." He ran his thumb over my lips. "You don't need to be scared of me, Mirela."
"Yes," I whispered. "I really want to be with you. Yes, I will be your girlfriend."
He laughed breathlessly and kissed me.