Driving over there took every ounce of strength in me. I wanted to tell him that I couldn't make it, that I was sorry but he could handle himself. I wanted to be content with leaving him hanging, like he had left me, but I just couldn't. Years with my mother taught me that, no matter how bad someone hurts you, you help them. I wasn't going to be the person that James last talked to before making some sort of fatal mistake out of grief. That wasn't me.
I walked up to his door, and knocked. I reverted back to our old knock, the one we made in senior year; three little knocks, and then a small kick. We'd always knock that way, so the other knew immediately who was at the door. After I kicked, I listened; I heard him get up from the couch, and come over to the door. The lock turned, and he opened it. I hadn't seen him in two years, so the surprise in my eyes was genuine. Only one word could've described my feelings right then; woah.
His scruffy brown hair was tossed about, like he had been asleep for years and just now managed to get out of bed. Green eyes, dull but still prominent, were sunken into their sockets, rimmed red from tears. He was holding a blanket around his shoulders, the grievous man's calling. He looked more like a lost child than the guy I'd befriended years ago.
"Hey, Jay," I said, softly. Four in the morning was the time for hushed words, mumbled sentences, and intimate conversations. I shifted my weight from leg to leg, as he stared me down. Silence filled the abyss between us, until he cleared his throat.
"I've missed you so much, Em." He stepped forward, dropping the blanket, and hugged me. As soon as it happened, I knew exactly how the night was going to happen- he wouldn't let me go for a while, he'd tell me again about everything, and then he'd act like nothing ever went south for us. I wasn't going to complain.
"I've missed you, too." It was the only thing I could say back. It was the only thing that felt right, really. After a few minutes, he let go, and wiped the tears from his eyes. He walked back inside, and motioned for me to follow him.
"So...ready for a long night?"