Its been two weeks since I checked out of the hospital. Two weeks, and three days to be exact but, whose counting? The official report, as of the day I checked out, was that my body rejected the bovine (cow) valve, and it had to be replaced. I was given more orders to keep to my room, and rest but, knowing who I am, they knew better than to expect it.
In some ways I miss being there, I admit. Most of my time spent in there, was spent with Hayden. Talking more so than anything but, sometimes we would just sit there, watching tv. Or I would read a book, while he read stats. I think, I grew used to him over that time. He was always there.
Of course, I had Gavin, and Kyle to keep me company as well but, I knew they eventually would have to go back to school, and their lives. Even my parents, had to eventually go back to work. Hayden though, he never left. Not even when I asked, and I think that's where my problem started. I grew too used to the idea of him always being there. All of these thoughts, running through my head, as I'm headed to meet him. My first time out of the house in days.
"You ready?" his voice was hushed, as he lead me by my hand out of his truck. As embarrassing as it sounds, I still relied on that little heart-shaped pillow they give you after surgery to move around. I knew he wouldnt think anything of it but, for some reason I did. So I had matched my outfit accordingly to it.
"Where are we?" I asked. Shifted the pillow, and then said, "Kyle?"
"We're almost there," I could hear him laughing under his breath. "trust me."
After walking what felt like hours, we finally came to a stop. I could feel grass up to my shins and in the background, crickets chirped against the wind. When he removed the blindfold, I was taken back by the sight. There in front of me, sitting, below a straggling tree branch, there was an antique looking picnic table, and two chairs. Light beaming, not from the stars, but from luminescent glowing mason jars, uniquely positioned throughout the scenery.
"What's this?" I asked, breathless, and completely at a loss for words.
"This," He said, cleared his throat, and then walked in front of me, as if a tour guide. "This, your first date."
Glancing over my shoulder at him, he smiled before helping me into my chair. "Our first date?" I laughed, suddenly wishing I could take what I said, back.
"Did I say it was with me?" he cleared his throat again, and stumbled to collect himself. I could feel myself blushing. I hadnt meant to make him nervous. "What I meant to say, was-"
"Hayden?" I offered, and smiled playfully. Our eyes meeting across the table then, and I felt my chest tightening, as I saw the way he seemed entranced in my lips. I coughed. "You meant to say, that this is for Hayden and I, right?"
"Yes," he said, and shifted nervously where he stood. Then an awkward pause took over the space between us, before he turned around, as if to walk away and leave.
I hesitated for a moment, but then said, "Wait, are you leaving?"
He narrowed his eyes at me then, and smiled. Then he raised his hand behind his head, his shirt pulling slightly, when a thin line of skin caught my eyes. Under the moon light, his blonde hair seemed to glow. "It wouldnt very well be a date, if I stayed?" he said, though it came out more as a question than a statement. "Why, would you rather be here with me?"
I let his words drift between but, for a moment. "I just, I just dont want to be left alone."
Kyle glanced around the field. it was dark, and still. Then his eyes came back to me. "I guess I can wait a little while longer with you." he said, and then took a seat next to me. His hands glued to his lap as if he were trying not to disturb anything.
"So, how long have you all been planning this?" I asked.
"About a week." he said. Nodded his head, and continued to look around.
We sat in silence for a while after that. Me, taking in the view, and him pretending to be caught up in different things around us. I could tell he was uncomfortable being here, in this setting, with me. I was about to tell that I would alright alone, that Hayden couldnt be too much farther out. When he let out a huge breath of air. "Well, this is awkward."
I smiled, in relief (strangely), and relaxed. "It is, isnt it."
"Its just," He started to say, and then stopped. Looked at me, and then looked away.
I waited seeing if he would continue but, when he didnt, I spoke up. "It's just what?"
I could see the hesitation in his eyes, and the way he was awkwardly holding himself. Whatever it was, I could tell it was really upsetting him."Kyle, talk to me."
"It just feels wrong." He finally said. "You, with him."
"Oh," was all I could say. I hadnt expected that.
"Look, I know everything between us was all an act." He said. Rolled his eyes, as if he found what he said a minor detail. "But, I dont know. Somewhere along the line, didnt things change, for you at least?"
"Kyle, I'm not sure I get what-"
"Forget it then," he inturrupted. "Just forget, I said a thing."
"No, Kyle I want to talk about this." I continued, ignoring his pass at shluffing this off. "I can tell, you want to talk about it too. Just, just tell me."
Just then, Kyle stood up. The chair he had been sitting on, flying back into the grass. On the table, the glasses shook, and threaten to break. All I could do was watch him. "I like you Airee!" he finally said. "Okay, I like you!"
Throwing his hands through his hair, he turned around and took a few steps. I followed, shortly after. Both of us, well beyond the mason jars reach, and sheilded from everything else. When I caught up to him, his body tensed. "I know he loves you," Kyle's words trailed off. "But he's not the one for you."
Taking another step, I paused the moment his words settled inside my mind. "Hayden loves me?" I had thought aloud. My voice unreconizable to myself but, Kyle hadnt noticed. I smiled, and locked away the thought. Right now, there were others people needing my attention.
"Kyle, things did change for me." I admitted honestly. "Just not," I started, and then stopped.
It was stupid to think he wouldn't notice that. The second my words trailed off, he turned around. "Just not what, Airee? Just not the way it did for me?"
I shook my head. "Kyle, I don't mean it like that!" I paused. "You're my friend, and I care about you. Things changed because I saw the person you were underneath it all."
"Only Hayden's "underneath" is just more of what you want." He said in a matter of fact way. "I'm just not what you want!"
"Kyle, please." I begged him to stop. "This is coming out all wrong."
Behind us, I could hear something stirring but, couldn't bring myself to look. My mind was too caught up trying to figure out how to rewind the night, and start over somehow. It wasn't working. "Kyle, I-"
"Save it Airee." Kyle yelled. His tone harsh.
"God, can you just stop!" I yelled out. In that moment, Kyle had been pacing. "Please," I asked.
He stopped. "Airee, I cant stop!" He yelled. "I cant, I'm sorry. Any minute now, I'll have to drive away, and watch from my rearview as Hayden has his first date with you."
Just then, he closed the distance between us. His body warm and shaking against mine. He took in a breath, and then reached up with both arms, to hold me to him. My breathe caught, in that instance. I had never looked at Kyle in this way. Or in anyway other than a friend. Only now, as he was standing here, I couldn't see him as anything but. "Kyle, this cant-"
My sentence trailed off then. Only this time not by choice. His hands were on me then, and in my hair. When we finally fell apart, I was exasperated. "happen." I finished saying the word aloud, although it was pointless now.
That, I laughed to myself remembering. That, was when shit hit the fan. Excuse my French!