Xander: Coming Full Circle...
It’s funny how the scene plays out. How the beginning and the end can be so parallel. I guess it just goes to show that every end is really just a new beginning anyway.
Alessa stood across the room, looking right at me while trying to make it seem like she wasn’t. I saw her exchange a glance with Cole before turning back to her preppy friend. I suppressed a smile at the beautiful irony in it.
Leaving my own friend, I headed to the locker room to get my ball and shoes. The path took my right past her, but it was easy to ignore her. I wondered if it hurt her, watching me walk past her like she didn’t even register. Like she wasn’t the main focus of my radar.
I’d promised Cole I’d talk to her today. Maybe we wouldn’t sort everything out, or anything at all, but at least to let her know that I forgave her and I forgave myself…that was progress in itself. Anything was better than this torturous silence.
I spent a good five minutes convincing myself there wouldn’t ever be a better time. And then, with a sigh, I pushed myself up, swallowed any pride I had left, and stepped out into the main part of the alley.
I most certainly did not expect to see her talking to Cole. But sure enough, there they were, off in a corner. Whatever they were saying looked emotional. I’d seen that look in Alessa’s eyes before, the look of sincere desperation. The one that indicated her heart was on the verge of shattering into fragments. It was the look I most wanted to keep out of those perfect emerald eyes.
I knew that, at this point, I had nothing to loose. And so I started towards them both, with a little less confidence and a little less arrogance and a little more fear that if this went badly there wouldn’t ever be another chance.
When I reached them, Cole extended a hand to place on my shoulder. "Talk," he commanded, cutting off whatever she’d been saying. I dared to meet her eyes, and in them I saw so much pain it was unbearable. And I saw the same fear that I felt in my own heart. The one that assured me she was losing grip as quickly as I was.
Together, we went to the door. Alessa kept her head down as we stepped outside into the biting air of February. Just over a year ago, we’d stood here and I’d kissed her for the first time. Now we didn’t even know each other. I knew that had never been meant to happen. I knew that we’d been meant to hold on. Instead we’d surrendered the fight before we’d even drawn arms.
"What’s up?" I said at last. Some habits couldn’t ever be broken.
Alessa took in a massive breath of frozen air. When she spoke, the words came out jumbled and rushed. But I was clinging to each and every one, nevertheless. They were practically visible falling from her lips.
"I want you to know that there was once I time when you were my whole entire world. I would have done anything for you. I still would do anything for you, because I’ve never felt like this before. I’ve never cared about someone so much. And maybe you don’t feel the same. If that’s the case, that’s all you have to say. But I just had to try, because I don’t think I could ever bear to lose you again."
For a long time, I stood there. And stared at her. I watched her watching me. I knew she was waiting for a response. I could see the paranoia rising in the color of her cheeks. But I myself was trapped in time, motionless. The world had ceased to exist; only she and I remained.
And then, because I knew she was waiting for an answer, and words had long since failed me, I stepped forward, and pulled her into my arms. And it was enough. It was more than enough.
Alessa: The Roses Bloom...
Xander took me and pulled me to his chest. That was when the tears broke free. I stood there with my arms holding to him like he was all that was keeping me in place. And he was. I supposed in a way he almost was. Xander just kept holding me through the tears, through the raw pain pouring free from where I’d trapped it for so long.
"You never lost me," he whispered against the top of my head. "You never lost me."
Centuries might have passed with us standing like that. I never once noticed. For me there was nothing but him, me, us, lost in the never-ending moment. Together. That was how it was meant to be.
When all my tears were cried and Xander was hoarse from shushing me gently, I pulled away. I couldn’t bring myself to care about my hair or running makeup. All that mattered was his eyes on mine. His hand that was reaching out to take mine.
"I want to take this chance," he whispered softly, so soft I was straining to listen. "But I need you to understand something. If we do this, then that’s it. I don’t want anyone or anything else for the rest of my life. I don’t ever want there to be anyone but you. I don’t know if you can promise forever."
"There’s never been anyone but you," I told him. I was trembling where I stood, shaking so much I could barely stand it. "It’s always been you I wanted. I just didn’t realize it. And no, I can’t promise forever. No one can. No one knows what life has in store for them. But I can promise that I’ll never give up and I’ll never let go. This is real, Xander. This is all that I want, and the only thing I need."
Xander pulled me to him once again, and this time our lips met in a sweet and gentle kiss. Around me I felt the pieces fall into place. I knew that, for the moment, at least, everything was right.
When he pulled back, Xander let out a shaky laugh. "You know, this is the shit fairy tales are made of."
I flashed a brilliant smile of my own. Xander gave my hand a tight squeeze. Maybe he was right, I thought, if castles were bowling alleys and the knight in shining armor was wearing Converse and chains. Or if the dragon guarding the tower was only the past. Writing the matter off with a tiny smirk, Xander and I stepped back inside, right into our very own happily ever after.